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Title: Memorials and Other Papers — Complete
Author: De Quincey, Thomas
Language: English
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These papers I am anxious to put into the hands of your house, and, so
far as regards the U.S., of your house exclusively; not with any view
to further emolument, but as an acknowledgment of the services which
you have already rendered me; namely, first, in having brought together
so widely scattered a collection--a difficulty which in my own hands by
too painful an experience I had found from nervous depression to be
absolutely insurmountable; secondly, in having made me a participator
in the pecuniary profits of the American edition, without solicitation
or the shadow of any expectation on my part, without any legal claim
that I could plead, or equitable warrant in established usage, solely
and merely upon your own spontaneous motion. Some of these new papers,
I hope, will not be without their value in the eyes of those who have
taken an interest in the original series. But at all events, good or
bad, they are now tendered to the appropriation of your individual
house, the Messrs. TICKNOR & FIELDS, according to the amplest extent of
any power to make such a transfer that I may be found to possess by law
or custom in America.

I wish this transfer were likely to be of more value. But the veriest
trifle, interpreted by the spirit in which I offer it, may express my
sense of the liberality manifested throughout this transaction by your
honorable house.

Ever believe me, my dear sir,

Your faithful and obliged,





Many of the papers in my collected works were originally written under
one set of disadvantages, and are now revised under another. They were
written generally under great pressure as to time, in order to catch
the critical periods of monthly journals; written oftentimes at a
distance from the press (so as to have no opportunity for correction);
and always written at a distance from libraries, so that very many
statements, references, and citations, were made on the authority of my
unassisted memory. Under such circumstances were most of the papers
composed; and they are now reissued in a corrected form, sometimes even
partially recast, under the distraction of a nervous misery which
embarrasses my efforts in a mode and in a degree inexpressible by
the present act of republication had in any respect worn the character
of an experiment, I should have shrunk from it in despondency. But the
experiment, so far as there was any, had been already tried for me
vicariously amongst the Americans; a people so nearly repeating our own
in style of intellect, and in the composition of their reading class,
that a success amongst them counts for a success amongst ourselves. For
some few of the separate papers in these volumes I make pretensions of
a higher cast. These pretensions I will explain hereafter. All the rest
I resign to the reader's unbiased judgment, adding here, with respect
to four of them, a few prefatory words--not of propitiation or
deprecation, but simply in explanation as to points that would
otherwise be open to misconstruction.

1. The paper on "Murder as one of the Fine Arts" [Footnote: Published
in the "Miscellaneous Essays."] seemed to exact from me some account of
Williams, the dreadful London murderer of the last generation; not
only because the amateurs had so much insisted on his merit as the
supreme of artists for grandeur of design and breadth of style; and
because, apart from this momentary connection with my paper, the man
himself merited a record for his matchless audacity, combined with so
much of snaky subtlety, and even insinuating amiableness, in his
demeanor; but also because, apart from the man himself, the works of
the man (those two of them especially which so profoundly impressed the
nation in 1812) were in themselves, for dramatic effect, the most
impressive on record. Southey pronounced their preeminence when he said
to me that they ranked amongst the few domestic events which, by the
depth and the expansion of horror attending them, had risen to the
dignity of a _national_ interest. I may add that this interest
benefited also by the mystery which invested the murders; mystery as to
various points but especially as respected one important question, Had
the murderer any accomplice? [Footnote: Upon a large overbalance of
probabilities, it was, however, definitively agreed amongst amateurs
that Williams must have been alone in these atrocities. Meantime,
amongst the colorable presumptions on the other side was this:--Some
hours after the last murder, a man was apprehended at Barnet (the first
stage from London on a principal north road), encumbered with a
quantity of plate. How he came by it, or whither he was going, he
steadfastly refused to say. In the daily journals, which he was allowed
to see, he read with eagerness the police examinations of Williams; and
on the same day which announced the catastrophe of Williams, he also
committed suicide in his cell.] There was, therefore, reason enough,
both in the man's hellish character, and in the mystery which
surrounded him, for a Postscript [Footnote: Published in the "Note
Book."] to the original paper; since, in a lapse of forty-two years,
both the man and his deeds had faded away from the knowledge of the
present generation; but still I am sensible that my record is far too
diffuse. Feeling this at the very time of writing, I was yet unable to
correct it; so little self-control was I able to exercise under the
afflicting agitations and the unconquerable impatience of my nervous

2. "War." [Footnote: Published in "Narrative and Miscellaneous
Essays."]--In this paper, from having faultily adjusted its proportions
in the original outline, I find that I have dwelt too briefly and too
feebly upon the capital interest at stake. To apply a correction to
some popular misreadings of history, to show that the criminal (because
trivial) occasions of war are not always its trifle causes, or to
suggest that war (if resigned to its own natural movement of
progress) is cleansing itself and ennobling itself constantly and
inevitably, were it only through its connection with science ever more
and more exquisite, and through its augmented costliness,--all this may
have its use in offering some restraint upon the levity of action or of
declamation in Peace Societies. But all this is below the occasion. I
feel that far grander interests are at stake in this contest. The Peace
Societies are falsely appreciated, when they are described as merely
deaf to the lessons of experience, and as too "_romantic_" in
their expectations. The very opposite is, to _my_ thinking, their
criminal reproach. He that is romantic errs usually by too much
elevation. He violates the standard of reasonable expectation, by
drawing too violently upon the nobilities of human nature. But, on the
contrary, the Peace Societies would, if their power kept pace with
their guilty purposes, work degradation for man by drawing upon his
most effeminate and luxurious cravings for ease. Most heartily, and
with my profoundest sympathy, do I go along with Wordsworth in his
grand lyrical proclamation of a truth not less divine than it is
mysterious, not less triumphant than it is sorrowful, namely, that
amongst God's holiest instruments for the elevation of human nature is
"mutual slaughter" amongst men; yes, that "Carnage is God's daughter."
Not deriving my own views in this matter from Wordsworth,--not knowing
even whether I hold them on the same grounds, since Wordsworth has left
_his_ grounds unexplained,--nevertheless I cite them in honor, as
capable of the holiest justification. The instruments rise in grandeur,
carnage and mutual slaughter rise in holiness, exactly as the motives
and the interests rise on behalf of which such awful powers are
invoked. Fighting for truth in its last recesses of sanctity, for human
dignity systematically outraged, or for human rights mercilessly
trodden under foot--champions of such interests, men first of all
descry, as from a summit suddenly revealed, the possible grandeur of
bloodshed suffered or inflicted. Judas and Simon Maccabæus in days of
old, Gustavus Adolphus [Footnote: The Thirty Years' War, from 1618 to
the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, was notoriously the last and the
decisive conflict between Popery and Protestantism; the result of that
war it was which finally enlightened all the Popish princes of
Christendom as to the impossibility of ever suppressing the antagonist
party by mere force of arms. I am not meaning, however, to utter any
opinion whatever on the religious position of the two great parties. It
is sufficient for entire sympathy with the royal Swede, that he fought
for the freedom of conscience. Many an enlightened Roman Catholic,
supposing only that he were not a Papist, would have given his hopes
and his confidence to the Protestant king.] in modern days, fighting
for the violated rights of conscience against perfidious despots and
murdering oppressors, exhibit to us the incarnations of Wordsworth's
principle. Such wars are of rare occurrence. Fortunately they are so;
since, under the possible contingencies of human strength and weakness,
it might else happen that the grandeur of the principle should suffer
dishonor through the incommensurate means for maintaining it. But such
cases, though emerging rarely, are always to be reserved in men's minds
as ultimate appeals to what is most divine in man. Happy it is for
human welfare that the blind heart of man is a thousand times wiser
than his understanding. An _arrière pensée_ should lie hidden in
all minds--a holy reserve as to cases which _may_ arise similar to
such as HAVE arisen, where a merciful bloodshed [Footnote: "_Merciful
bloodshed_"--In reading either the later religious wars of the
Jewish people under the Maccabees, or the earlier under Joshua, every
philosophic reader will have felt the true and transcendent spirit of
mercy which resides virtually in such wars, as maintaining the unity of
God against Polytheism and, by trampling on cruel idolatries, as
indirectly opening the channels for benign principles of morality
through endless generations of men. Here especially he will have read
one justification of Wordsworth's bold doctrine upon war. Thus far he
will destroy a wisdom working from afar, but, as regards the immediate
present, he will be apt to adopt the ordinary view, namely, that in the
Old Testament severity prevails approaching to cruelty. Yet, on
consideration, he will be disposed to qualify this opinion. He will
have observed many indications of a relenting kindness and a tenderness
of love in the Mosaical ordinances. And recently there has been
suggested another argument tending to the same conclusion. In the last
work of Mr. Layard ('Discoveries in the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon,
1853') are published some atrocious monuments of the Assyrian cruelty
in the treatment of military captives. In one of the plates of Chap
xx., at page 456, is exhibited some unknown torture applied to the
head, and in another, at page 458, is exhibited the abominable process,
applied to two captives, of flaying them alive. One such case had been
previously recorded in human literature, and illustrated by a plate. It
occurs in a Dutch voyage to the islands of the East. The subject of the
torment in that case as a woman who had been charged with some act of
infidelity to her husband. And the local government, being indignantly
summoned to interfere by some Christian strangers, had declined to do
so, on the plea that the man was master within his own house. But the
Assyrian case was worse. This torture was there applied, not upon a
sudden vindictive impulse, but in cold blood, to a simple case
apparently of civil disobedience or revolt. Now, when we consider how
intimate, and how ancient, was the connection between Assyria and
Palestine, how many things (in war especially) were transferred
mediately through the intervening tribes (all habitually cruel), from
the people on the Tigris to those on the Jordan, I feel convinced that
Moses must have interfered most peremptorily and determinately, and not
merely by verbal ordinances, but by establishing counter usages against
this spirit of barbarity, otherwise it would have increased
contagiously, whereas we meet with no such hellish atrocities amongst
the children of Israel. In the case of one memorable outrage by a
Hebrew tribe, the national vengeance which overtook it was complete and
tearful beyond all that history has recorded] has been authorized by
the express voice of God. Such a reserve cannot be dispensed with. It
belongs to the principle of progress in man that he should forever keep
open a secret commerce in the last resort with the spirit of martyrdom
on behalf of man's most saintly interests. In proportion as the
instruments for upholding or retrieving such saintly interests should
come to be dishonored or less honored, would the inference be valid
that those interests were shaking in their foundations. And any
confederation or compact of nations for abolishing war would be the
inauguration of a downward path for man.

A battle is by possibility the grandest, and also the meanest, of human
exploits. It is the grandest when it is fought for godlike truth, for
human dignity, or for human rights; it is the meanest when it is fought
for petty advantages (as, by way of example, for accession of territory
which adds nothing to the security of a frontier), and still more when
it is fought simply as a gladiator's trial of national prowess. This is
the principle upon which, very naturally, our British school-boys value
a battle. Painful it is to add, that this is the principle upon which
our adult neighbors the French seem to value a battle.

To any man who, like myself, admires the high-toned, martial gallantry
of the French, and pays a cheerful tribute of respect to their many
intellectual triumphs, it is painful to witness the childish state of
feeling which the French people manifest on every possible question
that connects itself at any point with martial pretensions. A battle is
valued by them on the same principles, not better and not worse, as
govern our own schoolboys. Every battle is viewed by the boys as a test
applied to the personal prowess of each individual soldier; and,
naturally amongst boys, it would be the merest hypocrisy to take any
higher ground. But amongst adults, arrived at the power of reflecting
and comparing, we look for something nobler. We English estimate
Waterloo, not by its amount of killed and wounded, but as the battle
which terminated a series of battles, having one common object, namely,
the overthrow of a frightful tyranny. A great sepulchral shadow rolled
away from the face of Christendom as that day's sun went down to his
rest; for, had the success been less absolute, an opportunity would
have offered for negotiation, and consequently for an infinity of
intrigues through the feuds always gathering upon national jealousies
amongst allied armies. The dragon would soon have healed his wounds;
after which the prosperity of the despotism would have been greater
than before. But, without reference to Waterloo in particular,
_we_, on _our_ part, find it impossible to contemplate any memorable
battle otherwise than according to its tendency towards some
commensurate object. To the French this must be impossible, seeing that
no lofty (that is, no disinterested) purpose has ever been so much as
counterfeited for a French war, nor therefore for a French battle.
Aggression, cloaked at the very utmost in the garb of retaliation for
counter aggressions on the part of the enemy, stands forward uniformly
in the van of such motives as it is thought worth while to plead. But
in French casuistry it is not held necessary to plead _any_thing;
war justifies itself. To fight for the experimental purpose of trying
the proportions of martial merit, but (to speak frankly) for the
purpose of publishing and renewing to Europe the proclamation of French
superiority--_that_ is the object of French wars. Like the Spartan
of old, the Frenchman would hold that a state of peace, and not a state
of war, is the state which calls for apology; and that already from the
first such an apology must wear a very suspicious aspect of paradox.

3. "The English Mail-Coach." [Footnote: Published in the "Miscellaneous
Essays."]--This little paper, according to my original intention,
formed part of the "Suspiria de Profundis," from which, for a momentary
purpose, I did not scruple to detach it, and to publish it apart, as
sufficiently intelligible even when dislocated from its place in a
larger whole. To my surprise, however, one or two critics, not
carelessly in conversation, but deliberately in print, professed their
inability to apprehend the meaning of the whole, or to follow the links
of the connection between its several parts. I am myself as little able
to understand where the difficulty lies, or to detect any lurking
obscurity, as those critics found themselves to unravel my logic.
Possibly I may not be an indifferent and neutral judge in such a case.
I will therefore sketch a brief abstract of the little paper according
to my own original design, and then leave the reader to judge how far
this design is kept in sight through the actual execution.

Thirty-seven years ago, or rather more, accident made me, in the dead
of night, and of a night memorably solemn, the solitary witness to an
appalling scene, which threatened instant death, in a shape the most
terrific, to two young people, whom I had no means of assisting, except
in so far as I was able to give them a most hurried warning of their
danger; but even _that_ not until they stood within the very
shadow of the catastrophe, being divided from the most frightful of
deaths by scarcely more, if more at all, than seventy seconds.

Such was the scene, such in its outline, from which the whole of this
paper radiates as a natural expansion. The scene is circumstantially
narrated in Section the Second, entitled, "The Vision of Sudden Death."

But a movement of horror and of spontaneous recoil from this dreadful
scene naturally carried the whole of that scene, raised and idealised,
into my dreams, and very soon into a rolling succession of dreams. The
actual scene, as looked down upon from the box of the mail, was
transformed into a dream, as tumultuous and changing as a musical
fugue. This troubled Dream is circumstantially reported in Section the
Third, entitled, "Dream-Fugue upon the Theme of Sudden Death." What I
had beheld from my seat upon the mail,--the scenical strife of action
and passion, of anguish and fear, as I had there witnessed them moving
in ghostly silence; this duel between life and death narrowing itself
to a point of such exquisite evanescence as the collision neared,--all
these elements of the scene blended, under the law of association, with
the previous and permanent features of distinction investing the mail
itself, which features at that time lay--1st, in velocity
unprecedented; 2dly, in the power and beauty of the horses: 3dly, in
the official connection with the government of a great nation; and,
4thly, in the function, almost a consecrated function, of publishing
and diffusing through the land the great political events, and
especially the great battles during a conflict of unparalleled
grandeur. These honorary distinctions are all described
circumstantially in the FIRST or introductory section ("The Glory of
Motion"). The three first were distinctions maintained at all times;
but the fourth and grandest belonged exclusively to the war with
Napoleon; and this it was which most naturally introduced Waterloo into
the dream. Waterloo, I understood, was the particular feature of the
"Dream-Fugue" which my censors were least able to account for. Yet
surely Waterloo, which, in common with every other great battle, it had
been our special privilege to publish over all the land, most naturally
entered the Dream under the license of our privilege. If not--if there
be anything amiss--let the Dream be responsible. The Dream is a law to
itself; and as well quarrel with a rainbow for showing, or for
_not_ showing, a secondary arch. So far as I know, every element
in the shifting movements of the Dream derived itself either primarily
from the incidents of the actual scene, or from secondary features
associated with the mail. For example, the cathedral aisle derived
itself from the mimic combination of features which grouped themselves
together at the point of approaching collision, namely, an arrow-like
section of the road, six hundred yards long, under the solemn lights
described, with lofty trees meeting overhead in arches. The guard's
horn, again--a humble instrument in itself--was yet glorified as the
organ of publication for so many great national events. And the
incident of the Dying Trumpeter, who rises from a marble bas-relief,
and carries a marble trumpet to his marble lips for the purpose of
warning the female infant, was doubtless secretly suggested by my own
imperfect effort to seize the guard's horn, and to blow a warning
blast. But the Dream knows best; and the Dream, I say again, is the
responsible party.

4. "The Spanish Nun." [Footnote: Published in "Narrative and
Miscellaneous Essays."]--There are some narratives, which, though pure
fictions from first to last, counterfeit so vividly the air of grave
realities, that, if deliberately offered for such, they would for a
time impose upon everybody. In the opposite scale there are other
narratives, which, whilst rigorously true, move amongst characters and
scenes so remote from our ordinary experience, and through, a state of
society so favorable to an adventurous cast of incidents, that they
would everywhere pass for romances, if severed from the documents which
attest their fidelity to facts. In the former class stand the admirable
novels of De Foe; and, on a lower range, within the same category, the
inimitable "Vicar of Wakefield;" upon which last novel, without at all
designing it, I once became the author of the following instructive
experiment. I had given a copy of this little novel to a beautiful girl
of seventeen, the daughter of a statesman in Westmoreland, not
designing any deception (nor so much as any concealment) with respect
to the fictitious character of the incidents and of the actors in that
famous tale. Mere accident it was that had intercepted those
explanations as to the extent of fiction in these points which in this
case it would have been so natural to make. Indeed, considering the
exquisite verisimilitude of the work meeting with such absolute
inexperience in the reader, it was almost a duty to have made them.
This duty, however, something had caused me to forget; and when next I
saw the young mountaineer, I forgot that I _had_ forgotten it.
Consequently, at first I was perplexed by the unfaltering gravity with
which my fair young friend spoke of Dr. Primrose, of Sophia and her
sister, of Squire Thornhill, &c., as real and probably living
personages, who could sue and be sued. It appeared that this artless
young rustic, who had never heard of novels and romances as a bare
possibility amongst all the shameless devices of London swindlers, had
read with religious fidelity every word of this tale, so thoroughly
life-like, surrendering her perfect faith and her loving sympathy to
the different persons in the tale, and the natural distresses in which
they are involved, without suspecting, for a moment, that by so much as
a breathing of exaggeration or of embellishment the pure gospel truth
of the narrative could have been sullied. She listened, in a kind of
breathless stupor, to my frank explanation--that not part only, but the
whole, of this natural tale was a pure invention. Scorn and indignation
flashed from her eyes. She regarded herself as one who had been hoaxed
and swindled; begged me to take back the book; and never again, to the
end of her life, could endure to look into the book, or to be reminded
of that criminal imposture which Dr. Oliver Goldsmith had practised
upon her youthful credulity.

In that case, a book altogether fabulous, and not meaning to offer
itself for anything else, had been read as genuine history. Here, on
the other hand, the adventures of the Spanish Nun, which in every
detail of time and place have since been sifted and authenticated,
stood a good chance at one period of being classed as the most lawless
of romances. It is, indeed, undeniable, and this arises as a natural
result from the bold, adventurous character of the heroine, and from
the unsettled state of society at that period in Spanish America, that
a reader the most credulous would at times be startled with doubts upon
what seems so unvarying a tenor of danger and lawless violence. But, on
the other hand, it is also undeniable that a reader the most
obstinately sceptical would be equally startled in the very opposite
direction, on remarking that the incidents are far from being such as a
romance-writer would have been likely to invent; since, if striking,
tragic, and even appalling, they are at times repulsive. And it seems
evident that, once putting himself to the cost of a wholesale fiction,
the writer would have used his privilege more freely for his own
advantage. Whereas the author of these memoirs clearly writes under the
coercion and restraint of a _notorious reality_, that would not
suffer him to ignore or to modify the leading facts. Then, as to the
objection that few people or none have an experience presenting such
uniformity of perilous adventure, a little closer attention shows that
the experience in this case is _not_ uniform; and so far otherwise,
that a period of several years in Kate's South American life is
confessedly suppressed; and on no other ground whatever than that
this long parenthesis is _not_ adventurous, not essentially
differing from the monotonous character of ordinary Spanish life.

Suppose the case, therefore, that Kate's memoirs had been thrown upon
the world with no vouchers for their authenticity beyond such internal
presumptions as would have occurred to thoughtful readers, when
reviewing the entire succession of incidents, I am of opinion that the
person best qualified by legal experience to judge of evidence would
finally have pronounced a favorable award; since it is easy to
understand that in a world so vast as the Peru, the Mexico, the Chili,
of Spaniards during the first quarter of the seventeenth century, and
under the slender modification of Indian manners as yet effected by the
Papal Christianization of those countries, and in the neighborhood of a
river-system so awful, of a mountain-system so unheard-of in Europe,
there would probably, by blind, unconscious sympathy, grow up a
tendency to lawless and gigantesque ideals of adventurous life; under
which, united with the duelling code of Europe, many things would
become trivial and commonplace experiences that to us home-bred English
("_qui musas colimus severiores_") seem monstrous and revolting.

Left, therefore, to itself, _my_ belief is, that the story of the
Military Nun would have prevailed finally against the demurs of the
sceptics. However, in the mean time, all such demurs were suddenly and
_officially_ silenced forever. Soon after the publication of Kate's
memoirs, in what you may call an early stage of her _literary_
career, though two centuries after her _personal_ career had closed, a
regular controversy arose upon the degree of credit due to these
extraordinary confessions (such they may be called) of the poor
conscience-haunted nun. Whether these in Kate's original MS.
were entitled "Autobiographic Sketches," or "Selections Grave and
Gay," from the military experiences of a Nun, or possibly "The
Confessions of a Biscayan Fire-Eater," is more than I know. No matter:
confessions they were; and confessions that, when at length published,
were absolutely mobbed and hustled by a gang of misbelieving (that is,
_miscreant_) critics. And this fact is most remarkable, that the
person who originally headed the incredulous party, namely, Senor de
Ferrer, a learned Castilian, was the very same who finally
authenticated, by _documentary_ evidence, the extraordinary
narrative in those parts which had most of all invited scepticism. The
progress of the dispute threw the decision at length upon the archives
of the Spanish Marine. Those for the southern ports of Spain had been
transferred, I believe, from Cadiz and St. Lucar to Seville; chiefly,
perhaps, through the confusions incident to the two French invasions of
Spain in our own day [1st, that under Napoleon; 2dly, that under the
Due d'Angoulême]. Amongst these archives, subsequently amongst those of
Cuzco, in South America; 3dly, amongst the records of some royal courts
in Madrid; 4thly, by collateral proof from the Papal Chancery; 5thly,
from Barcelona--have been drawn together ample attestations of all the
incidents recorded by Kate. The elopement from St. Sebastian's, the
doubling of Cape Horn, the shipwreck on the coast of Peru, the rescue
of the royal banner from the Indians of Chili, the fatal duel in the
dark, the astonishing passage of the Andes, the tragical scenes at
Tucuman and Cuzco, the return to Spain in obedience to a royal and a
papal summons, the visit to Rome and the interview with the Pope--
finally, the return to South America, and the mysterious disappearance
at Vera Cruz, upon which no light was ever thrown--all these capital
heads of the narrative have been established beyond the reach of
scepticism: and, in consequence, the story was soon after adopted as
historically established, and was reported at length by journals of the
highest credit in Spain and Germany, and by a Parisian journal so
cautious and so distinguished for its ability as the _Revue des Deux

I must not leave the impression upon my readers that this complex body
of documentary evidences has been searched and appraised by myself.
Frankly I acknowledge that, on the sole occasion when any opportunity
offered itself for such a labor, I shrank from it as too fatiguing--and
also as superfluous; since, if the proofs had satisfied the compatriots
of Catalina, who came to the investigation with hostile feelings of
partisanship, and not dissembling their incredulity,--armed also (and
in Mr. de Ferrer's case conspicuously armed) with the appropriate
learning for giving effect to this incredulity,--it could not become a
stranger to suppose himself qualified for disturbing a judgment that
had been so deliberately delivered. Such a tribunal of native Spaniards
being satisfied, there was no further opening for demur. The
ratification of poor Kate's memoirs is now therefore to be understood
as absolute, and without reserve.

This being stated,--namely, such an attestation from competent
authorities to the truth of Kate's narrative as may save all readers
from my fair Westmoreland friend's disaster,--it remains to give such
an answer, as without further research _can_ be given, to a
question pretty sure of arising in all reflective readers' thoughts--
namely, does there anywhere survive a portrait of Kate? I answer--and
it would be both mortifying and perplexing if I could _not_--
_Yes_. One such portrait there is confessedly; and seven years ago
this was to be found at Aix-la-Chapelle, in the collection of Herr
Sempeller. The name of the artist I am not able to report; neither can
I say whether Herr Sempeller's collection still remains intact, and
remains at Aix-la-Chapelle.

But inevitably to most readers who review the circumstances of a case
so extraordinary, it will occur that beyond a doubt _many_ portraits
of the adventurous nun must have been executed. To have affronted
the wrath of the Inquisition, and to have survived such an audacity,
would of itself be enough to found a title for the martial nun
to a national interest. It is true that Kate had not taken the
veil; she had stopped short of the deadliest crime known to the
Inquisition; but still her transgressions were such as to require a
special indulgence; and this indulgence was granted by a Pope to the
intercession of a king--the greatest then reigning. It was a favor that
could not have been asked by any greater man in this world, nor granted
by any less. Had no other distinction settled upon Kate, this would
have been enough to fix the gaze of her own nation. But her whole life
constituted Kate's supreme distinction. There can be no doubt,
therefore, that, from the year 1624 (that is, the last year of our
James I.), she became the object of an admiration in her own country
that was almost idolatrous. And this admiration was not of a kind that
rested upon any partisan-schism amongst her countrymen. So long as it
was kept alive by her bodily presence amongst them, it was an
admiration equally aristocratic and popular,--shared alike by the rich
and the poor, by the lofty and the humble. Great, therefore, would be
the demand for her portrait. There is a tradition that Velasquez, who
had in 1623 executed a portrait of Charles I. (then Prince of Wales),
was amongst those who in the three or four following years ministered
to this demand. It is believed, also, that, in travelling from Genoa
and Florence to Rome, she sat to various artists, in order to meet the
interest about herself already rising amongst the cardinals and other
dignitaries of the Romish church. It is probable, therefore, that
numerous pictures of Kate are yet lurking both in Spain and Italy, but
not known as such. For, as the public consideration granted to her had
grown out of merits and qualities purely personal, and was kept alive
by no local or family memorials rooted in the land, or surviving
herself, it was inevitable that, as soon as she herself died, all
identification of her portraits would perish: and the portraits would
thenceforwards be confounded with the similar memorials, past all
numbering, which every year accumulates as the wrecks from household
remembrances of generations that are passing or passed, that are fading
or faded, that are dying or buried. It is well, therefore, amongst so
many irrecoverable ruins, that, in the portrait at Aix-la-Chapelle, we
still possess one undoubted representation (and therefore in some
degree a means for identifying _other_ representations) of a
female so memorably adorned by nature; gifted with capacities so
unparalleled both of doing and suffering; who lived a life so stormy,
and perished by a fate so unsearchably mysterious.




My route, after parting from Lord Westport at Birmingham, lay, as I
have mentioned in the "Autobiographic Sketches," through Stamford to
Laxton, the Northamptonshire seat of Lord Carbery. From Stamford, which
I had reached by some intolerable old coach, such as in those days too
commonly abused the patience and long-suffering of Young England, I
took a post-chaise to Laxton. The distance was but nine miles, and the
postilion drove well, so that I could not really have been long upon
the road; and yet, from gloomy rumination upon the unhappy destination
which I believed myself approaching within three or four months, never
had I weathered a journey that seemed to me so long and dreary. As I
alighted on the steps at Laxton, the first dinner-bell rang; and I was
hurrying to my toilet, when my sister Mary, who had met me in the
portico, begged me first of all to come into Lady Carbery's [Footnote:
Lady Carbery.--"To me, individually, she was the one sole friend that
ever I could regard as entirely fulfilling the offices of an honest
friendship. She had known me from infancy; when I was in my first year
of life, she, an orphan and a great heiress, was in her tenth or
eleventh."--See closing pages of "_Autobiographic Sketches_."]
dressing-room, her ladyship having something special to communicate,
which related (as I understood her) to one Simon. "What Simon? Simon
Peter?"--O, no, you irreverend boy, no Simon at all with an S, but
Cymon with a C,--Dryden's Cymon,--

  "That whistled as he went for want of thought.'"

This one indication was a key to the whole explanation that followed.
The sole visitors, it seemed, at that time to Laxton, beside my sister
and myself, were Lord and Lady Massey. They were understood to be
domesticated at Laxton for a very long stay. In reality, my own private
construction of the case (though unauthorized by anything ever hinted
to me by Lady Carbery) was, that Lord Massey might probably be under
some cloud of pecuniary embarrassments, such as suggested prudentially
an absence from Ireland. Meantime, what was it that made him an object
of peculiar interest to Lady Carbery? It was the singular revolution
which, in one whom all his friends looked upon as sold to
constitutional torpor, suddenly, and beyond all hope, had kindled a new
and nobler life. Occupied originally by no shadow of any earthly
interest, killed by _ennui_, all at once Lord Massey had fallen
passionately in love with a fair young countrywoman, well connected,
but bringing him no fortune (I report only from hearsay), and endowing
him simply with the priceless blessing of her own womanly charms, her
delightful society, and her sweet, Irish style of innocent gayety. No
transformation that ever legends or romances had reported was more
memorable. Lapse of time (for Lord Massey had now been married three or
four years), and deep seclusion from general society, had done nothing,
apparently, to lower the tone of his happiness. The expression of this
happiness was noiseless and unobtrusive; no marks were there of vulgar
uxoriousness--nothing that could provoke the sneer of the worldling;
but not the less so entirely had the society of his young wife created
a new principle of life within him, and evoked some nature hitherto
slumbering, and which, no doubt, would else have continued to slumber
till his death, that, at moments when he believed himself unobserved,
he still wore the aspect of an impassioned lover.

                           "He beheld
  A vision, and adored the thing he saw.
  Arabian fiction never filled the world
  With half the wonders that were wrought for _him_.
  Earth breathed in one great presence of the spring
  Her chamber window did surpass in glory
  The portals of the dawn."

And in no case was it more literally realized, as daily almost I
witnessed, that

                           "All Paradise
  Could, by the simple opening of a door,
  Let itself in upon him."
  [Footnote: Wordsworth's "Vandracour and Julia."]

For never did the drawing-room door open, and suddenly disclose the
beautiful figure of Lady Massey, than a mighty cloud seemed to roll
away from the young Irishman's brow. At this time it happened, and
indeed it often happened, that Lord Carbery was absent in Ireland. It
was probable, therefore, that during the long couple of hours through
which the custom of those times bound a man to the dinner-table after
the disappearance of the ladies, his time would hang heavily on his
hands. To me, therefore, Lady Carbery looked, having first put me in
possession of the case, for assistance to her hospitality, under the
difficulties I have stated. She thoroughly loved Lady Massey, as,
indeed, nobody could help doing; and for _her_ sake, had there
been no separate interest surrounding the young lord, it would have
been most painful to her that through Lord Carbery's absence a periodic
tedium should oppress her guest at that precise season of the day which
traditionally dedicated itself to genial enjoyment. Glad, therefore,
was she that an ally had come at last to Laxton, who might arm her
purposes of hospitality with some powers of self-fulfilment. And yet,
for a service of that nature, could she reasonably rely upon me? Odious
is the hobble-de-hoy to the mature young man. Generally speaking, that
cannot be denied. But in me, though naturally the shyest of human
beings, intense commerce with men of every rank, from the highest to
the lowest, had availed to dissipate all arrears of _mauvaise
honte_; I could talk upon innumerable subjects; and, as the readiest
means of entering immediately upon business, I was fresh from Ireland,
knew multitudes of those whom Lord Massey either knew or felt an
interest in, and, at that happy period of life, found it easy, with
three or four glasses of wine, to call back the golden spirits which
were now so often deserting me. Renovated, meantime, by a hot bath, I
was ready at the second summons of the dinner-bell, and descended a new
creature to the drawing-room. Here I was presented to the noble lord
and his wife. Lord Massey was in figure shortish, but broad and stout,
and wore an amiable expression of face. That I could execute Lady
Carbery's commission, I felt satisfied at once. And, accordingly, when
the ladies had retired from the dining-room, I found an easy opening,
in various circumstances connected with the Laxton stables, for
introducing naturally a picturesque and contrasting sketch of the stud
and the stables at Westport. The stables and everything connected with
the stables at Laxton were magnificent; in fact, far out of symmetry
with the house, which, at that time, was elegant and comfortable, but
not splendid. As usual in English establishments, all the appointments
were complete, and carried to the same point of exquisite finish. The
stud of hunters was first-rate and extensive; and the whole scene, at
closing the stables for the night, was so splendidly arranged and
illuminated, that Lady Carbery would take all her visitors once or
twice a week to admire it. On the other hand, at Westport you might
fancy yourself overlooking the establishment of some Albanian Pacha.
Crowds of irregular helpers and grooms, many of them totally
unrecognized by Lord Altamont, some half countenanced by this or that
upper servant, some doubtfully tolerated, some _not_ tolerated,
but nevertheless slipping in by postern doors when the enemy had
withdrawn, made up a strange mob as regarded the human element in this
establishment. And Dean Browne regularly asserted that five out of six
amongst these helpers he himself could swear to as active boys from
Vinegar Hill. Trivial enough, meantime, in our eyes, was any little
matter of rebellion that they might have upon their consciences. High
treason we willingly winked at. But what we could _not_ wink at
was the systematic treason which they committed against our comfort,
namely, by teaching our horses all imaginable tricks, and training them
up in the way along which they should _not_ go, so that when they
were old they were very little likely to depart from it. Such a set of
restive, hard-mouthed wretches as Lord Westport and I daily had to
bestride, no tongue could describe. There was a cousin of Lord
Westport's, subsequently created Lord Oranmore, distinguished for his
horsemanship, and always splendidly mounted from his father's stables
at Castle M'Garret, to whom our stormy contests with ruined tempers and
vicious habits yielded a regular comedy of fun; and, in order to
improve it, he would sometimes bribe Lord Westport's treacherous groom
into misleading us, when floundering amongst bogs, into the interior
labyrinths of these morasses. Deep, however, as the morass, was this
man's remorse when, on leaving Westport, I gave him the heavy golden
perquisite, which my mother (unaware of the tricks he had practised
upon me) had by letter instructed me to give. He was a mere savage boy
from the central bogs of Connaught, and, to the great amusement of Lord
Westport, he persisted in calling me "your majesty" for the rest of
that day; and by all other means open to him he expressed his
penitence. But the dean insisted that, no matter for his penitence in
the matter of the bogs, he had certainly carried a pike at Vinegar
Hill; and probably had stolen a pair of boots at Furnes, when he kindly
made a call at the Deanery, in passing through that place to the field
of battle. It is always a pleasure to see the engineer of mischief
"hoist with his own petard;" [Footnote: "Hamlet," but also "Ovid:"--
"Lex nec justior ulla est, **Quam necis artifices arte perire sua."]
and it happened that the horses assigned to draw a post-chariot
carrying Lord Westport, myself, and the dean, on our return journey to
Dublin, were a pair utterly ruined by a certain under-postilion, named
Moran. This particular ruin did Mr. Moran boast to have contributed as
his separate contribution to the general ruinations of the stables. And
the particular object was, that _his_ horses, and consequently
himself, might be left in genial laziness. But, as Nemesis would have
it, Mr. Moran was the charioteer specially appointed to this particular
service. We were to return by easy journeys of twenty-five miles a day,
or even less; since every such interval brought us to the house of some
hospitable family, connected by friendship or by blood with Lord
Altamont. Fervently had Lord Westport pleaded with his father for an
allowance of four horses; not at all with any foolish view to fleeting
aristocratic splendor, but simply to the luxury of rapid motion. But
Lord Altamont was firm in resisting this petition at that time. The
remote consequence was, that by way of redressing the violated
equilibrium to our feelings, we subscribed throughout Wales to extort
six horses from the astonished innkeepers, most of whom declined the
requisition, and would furnish only four, on the plea that the leaders
would only embarrass the other horses; but one at Bangor, from whom we
coolly requested eight, recoiled from our demand as from a sort of
miniature treason. How so? Because in this island he had always
understood eight horses to be consecrated to royal use. Not at all, we
assured him; Pickford, the great carrier, always horsed his wagons with
eight. And the law knew of no distinction between wagon and post-
chaise, coach-horse or cart-horse. However, we could not compass this
point of the eight horses, the double _quadriga_, in one single
instance; but the true reason we surmised to be, not the pretended
puritanism of loyalty to the house of Guelph, but the running short of
the innkeeper's funds. If he had to meet a daily average call for
twenty-four horses, then it might well happen that our draft upon him
for eight horses at one pull would bankrupt him for a whole day.

But I am anticipating. Returning to Ireland and Mr. Moran, the vicious
driver of vicious horses, the immediate consequence to _him_ of
this unexpected limitation to a pair of horses was, that all his
knavery in one hour recoiled upon himself. The horses whom he had
himself trained to vice and restiveness, in the hope that thus his own
services and theirs might be less in request, now became the very curse
of his life. Every morning, duly as an attempt was made to put them in
motion, they began to back, and no arts, gentle or harsh, would for a
moment avail to coax or to coërce them into the counter direction.
Could retrogression by any metaphysics have been translated into
progress, we excelled in that; it was our _forte_; we could have
backed to the North Pole. That might be the way to glory, or at least
to distinction--_sic itur ad astra_; unfortunately, it was not the
way to Dublin. Consequently, on _every_ day of our journey--and
the days were ten--not once, but always, we had the same deadly
conflict to repeat; and this being always unavailing, found its
solution uniformly in the following ultimate resource. Two large-boned
horses, usually taken from the plough, were harnessed on as leaders. By
main force they hauled our wicked wheelers into the right direction,
and forced them, by pure physical superiority, into working. We
furnished a joyous and comic spectacle to every town and village
through which we passed. The whole community, men and children, came
out to assist at our departure; and all alike were diverted, but not
the less irritated, by the demoniac obstinacy of the brutes, who seemed
under the immediate inspiration of the fiend. Everybody was anxious to
share in the scourging which was administered to them right and left;
and once propelled into a gallop (or such a gallop as our Brobdignagian
leaders could accomplish), they were forced into keeping it up. But,
without rehearsing all the details of the case, it may be readily
conceived that the amount of trouble distributed amongst our whole
party was enormous. Once or twice the friends at whose houses we slept
were able to assist us. But generally they either had no horses, or
none of the commanding power demanded. Often, again, it happened, as
our route was very circuitous, that no inns lay in our neighborhood;
or, if there _were_ inns, the horses proved to be of too slight a
build. At Ballinasloe, and again at Athlone, half the town came out to
help us; and, having no suitable horses, thirty or forty men, with
shouts of laughter, pulled at ropes fastened to our pole and splinter-
bar, and compelled the snorting demons into a flying gallop. But,
naturally, a couple of miles saw this resource exhausted. Then came the
necessity of "drawing the covers," as the dean called it; that is,
hunting amongst the adjacent farmers for powerful cattle. This labor
(O, Jupiter, thanks be for _that_!) fell upon Mr. Moran. And
sometimes it would happen that the horses, which it had cost him three
or four hours to find, could be spared only for four or five miles.
Such a journey can rarely have been accomplished. Our zigzag course had
prolonged it into from two hundred and thirty to two hundred and fifty
miles; and it is literally true that, of this entire distance from
Westport House to Sackville-street, Dublin, not one furlong had been
performed under the spontaneous impulse of our own horses. Their
diabolic resistance continued to the last. And one may venture to hope
that the sense of final subjugation to man must have proved penally
bitter to the horses. But, meantime, it vexes one that such wretches
should be fed with good old hay and oats; as well littered down also in
their stalls as a prebendary; and by many a stranger, ignorant of their
true character, should have been patted and caressed. Let us hope that
a fate, to which more than once they were nearly forcing _us_,
namely, regress over a precipice, may ultimately have been their own.
Once I saw such another case dramatically carried through to its
natural crisis in the Liverpool Mail. It was on the stage leading into
Lichfield; there was no conspiracy, as in our Irish case; one horse
only out of the four was the criminal; and, according to the queen's
bench (Denman, C. J.), there is no conspiracy competent to one agent;
but he was even more signally under a demoniac possession of mutinous
resistance to man. The case was really a memorable one. If ever there
was a distinct proclamation of rebellion against man, it was made by
that brutal horse; and I, therefore, being a passenger on the box, took
a note of the case; and on a proper occasion I may be induced to
publish it, unless some Houynhm should whinny against me a chancery

From these wild, Tartar-like stables of Connaught, how vast was the
transition to that perfection of elegance, and of adaptation between
means and ends, that reigned from centre to circumference through the
stables at Laxton! _I_, as it happened, could report to Lord Massey
their earlier condition; he to me could report their immediate
changes. I won him easily to an interest in my own Irish experiences,
so fresh, and in parts so grotesque, wilder also by much in Connaught
than in Lord Massey's county of Limerick; whilst he (without affecting
any delight in the hunting systems of Northamptonshire and
Leicestershire) yet took pleasure in explaining to me those
characteristic features of the English midland hunting as centralized
at Melton, which even then gave to it the supreme rank for brilliancy
and unity of effect amongst all varieties of the chase. [Footnote: If
mere names were allowed to dazzle the judgment, how magnificent to a
gallant young Englishman of twenty seems at first the _tiger-
hunting_ of India, which yet (when examined searchingly) turns out
the meanest and most _cowardly_ mode of hunting known to human
experience. _Buffalo-hunting_ is much more dignified as regards
the courageous exposure of the hunter; but, from all accounts, its
excitement is too momentary and evanescent; one rifle-shot, and the
crisis is past. Besides that, the generous and honest character of the
buffalo disturbs the cordiality of the sport. The very opposite reason
disturbs the interest of _lion-hunting, especially at the Cape. The
lion is everywhere a cowardly wretch, unless when sublimed into courage
by famine; but, in southern Africa, he is the most currish of enemies.
Those who fancied so much adventurousness in the lion conflicts of Mr.
Gordon Cumming appear never to have read the missionary travels of Mr.
Moffat. The poor missionary, without any arms whatever, came to think
lightly of half a dozen lions seen drinking through the twilight at the
very same pond or river as himself. Nobody can have any wish to
undervalue the adventurous gallantry of Mr. G. Cumming. But, in the
single case of the Cape lion, there is an unintentional advantage taken
from the traditional name of lion, as though the Cape lion were such as
that which ranges the torrid zone.]

Horses had formed the natural and introductory topic of conversation
between us. What we severally knew of Ireland, though in different
quarters,--what we both knew of Laxton, the barbaric splendor, and the
civilized splendor,--had naturally an interest for us both in their
contrasts (at one time so picturesque, at another so grotesque), which
illuminated our separate recollections. But my quick instinct soon made
me aware that a jealousy was gathering in Lord Massey's mind around
such a topic, as though too ostentatiously levelled to his particular
knowledge, or to his _animal_ condition of taste. But easily I
slipped off into another key. At Laxton, it happened that the library
was excellent. Founded by whom, I never heard; but certainly, when used
by a systematic reader, it showed itself to have been systematically
collected; it stretched pretty equably through two centuries,--namely,
from about 1600 to 1800,--and might, perhaps, amount to seventeen
thousand volumes. Lord Massey was far from illiterate; and his interest
in books was unaffected, if limited, and too often interrupted, by
defective knowledge. The library was dispersed through six or seven
small rooms, lying between the drawing-room in one wing, and the
dining-room in the opposite wing. This dispersion, however, already
furnished the ground of a rude classification. In some one of these
rooms was Lord Massey always to be found, from the forenoon to the
evening. And was it any fault of _his_ that his daughter, little
Grace, about two years old, pursued him down from her nursery every
morning, and insisted upon seeing innumerable pictures, lurking (as she
had discovered) in many different recesses of the library? More and
more from this quarter it was that we drew the materials of our daily
after-dinner conversation. One great discouragement arises commonly to
the student, where the particular library in which he reads has been so
disordinately collected that he cannot _pursue_ a subject once
started. Now, at Laxton, the books had been so judiciously brought
together, so many hooks and eyes connected them, that the whole library
formed what one might call a series of _strata_, naturally allied,
through which you might quarry your way consecutively for many months.
On rainy days, and often enough one had occasion to say through rainy
weeks, what a delightful resource did this library prove to both of us!
And one day it occurred to us, that, whereas the stables and the
library were both jewels of attraction, the latter had been by much the
least costly. Pretty often I have found, when any opening has existed
for making the computation, that, in a library containing a fair
proportion of books illustrated with plates, about ten shillings a
volume might be taken as expressing, upon a sufficiently large number
of volumes, small and great, the fair average cost of the whole. On
this basis, the library at Laxton would have cost less than nine
thousand pounds. On the other hand, thirty-live horses (hunters,
racers, roadsters, carriage-horses, etc.) might have cost about eight
thousand pounds, or a little more. But the library entailed no
permanent cost beyond the annual loss of interest; the books did not
eat, and required no aid from veterinary [Footnote: "_Veterinary_."--By
the way, whence comes this odd-looking word? The word _veterana_ I
have met with in monkish writers, to express _domesticated quadrupeds_;
and evidently from that word must have originated the word _veterinary_.
But the question is still but one step removed; for, how came _veterana_
by that acceptation in rural economy?] surgeons; whereas, for the
horses, not only such ministrations were intermittingly required,
but a costly permanent establishment of grooms and helpers. Lord
Carbery, who had received an elaborate Etonian education, was even
more earnestly a student than his friend Lord Massey, who had probably
been educated at home under a private tutor. He read everything
connected with general politics (meaning by _general_ not personal
politics) and with social philosophy. At Laxton, indeed; it was that
I first saw Godwin's "Political Justice;" not the second and emasculated
edition in _octavo_, but the original _quarto_ edition, with all its virus
as yet undiluted of raw anti-social Jacobinism.

At Laxton it was that I first saw the entire aggregate labors,
brigaded, as it were, and paraded as if for martial review, of that
most industrious benefactor to the early stages of our English
historical literature, Thomas Hearne. Three hundred guineas, I believe,
had been the price paid cheerfully at one time for a complete set of
Hearne. At Laxton, also, it was that first I saw the total array of
works edited by Dr. Birch. It was a complete _armilustrium_, a
_recognitio_, or mustering, as it were, not of pompous Praetorian
cohorts, or unique guardsmen, but of the yeomanry, the militia, or
what, under the old form of expression, you might regard as the
_trained bands_ of our literature--the fund from which ultimately,
or in the last resort, students look for the materials of our vast and
myriad-faced literature. A French author of eminence, fifty years back,
having occasion to speak of our English literature collectively, in
reference to the one point of its _variety_, being also a man of
honor, and disdaining that sort of patriotism which sacrifices the
truth to nationality, speaks of our pretensions in these words: _Les
Anglois qui ont une littérature infiniment plus variée que la
nôtre_. This fact is a feature in our national pretensions that
could ever have been regarded doubtfully merely through insufficient
knowledge. Dr. Johnson, indeed, made it the distinguishing merit of the
French, that they "have a book upon every subject." But Dr. Johnson was
not only capricious as regards temper and variable humors, but as
regards the inequality of his knowledge. Incoherent and unsystematic
was Dr. Johnson's information in most cases. Hence his extravagant
misappraisement of Knolles, the Turkish historian, which is exposed so
severely by Spittler, the German, who, again, is himself miserably
superficial in his analysis of English history. Hence the feeble
credulity which Dr. Johnson showed with respect to the forgery of De
Foe (under the masque of Captain Carleton) upon the Catalonian campaign
of Lord Peterborough. But it is singular that a literature, so
unrivalled as ours in its compass and variety, should not have produced
any, even the shallowest, manual of itself. And thus it happens, for
example, that writers so laborious and serviceable as Birch are in any
popular sense scarcely known. I showed to Lord Massey, among others of
his works, that which relates to Lord Worcester's (that is, Lord
Glamorgan's) negotiations with the Papal nuncio in Ireland, about the
year 1644, &c. Connected with these negotiations were many names
amongst Lord Massey's own ancestors; so that here he suddenly alighted
upon a fund of archæologic memorabilia, connecting what interested him
as an Irishman in general with what most interested him as the head of
a particular family. It is remarkable, also, as an indication of the
_general_ nobility and elevation which had accompanied the revolution
in his life, that concurrently with the constitutional torpor
previously besetting him, had melted away the intellectual torpor
under which he had found books until recently of little practical
value. Lady Carbery had herself told me that the two revolutions
went on simultaneously. He began to take an interest in literature
when life itself unfolded a new interest, under the companionship
of his youthful wife. And here, by the way, as subsequently
in scores of other instances, I saw broad evidences of the credulity
with which we have adopted into our grave political faith the
rash and malicious sketches of our novelists. With Fielding commenced
the practice of systematically traducing our order of country
gentlemen. His picture of Squire Western is not only a malicious, but
also an incongruous libel. The squire's ordinary language is
impossible, being alternately bookish and absurdly rustic. In reality,
the conventional dialect ascribed to the rustic order in general--to
peasants even more than to gentlemen--in our English plays and novels,
is a childish and fantastic babble, belonging to no form of real
breathing life; nowhere intelligible; not in _any_ province;
whilst, at the same time, all provinces--Somersetshire, Devonshire,
Hampshire--are confounded with our midland counties; and positively the
diction of Parricombe and Charricombe from Exmoor Forest is mixed up
with the pure Icelandic forms of the English lakes, of North Yorkshire,
and of Northumberland. In Scotland, it needs but a slight intercourse
with the peasantry to distinguish various dialects--the Aberdonian and
Fifeshire, for instance, how easily distinguished, even by an English
alien, from the western dialects of Ayrshire, &c.! And I have heard it
said, by Scottish purists in this matter, that even Sir Walter Scott is
chargeable with considerable licentiousness in the management of his
colloquial Scotch. Yet, generally speaking, it bears the strongest
impress of truthfulness. But, on the other hand, how false and
powerless does this same Sir Walter become, when the necessities of his
tale oblige him at any time to come amongst the English peasantry! His
magic wand is instantaneously broken; and he moves along by a babble of
impossible forms, as fantastic as any that our London theatres have
traditionally ascribed to English rustics, to English sailors, and to
Irishmen universally. Fielding is open to the same stern criticism, as
a deliberate falsehood-monger; and from the same cause--want of energy
to face the difficulty of mastering a real living idiom. This defect in
language, however, I cite only as one feature in the complex falsehood
which disfigures Fielding's portrait of the English country gentleman.
Meantime the question arises, Did he mean his Squire Western for a
_representative_ portrait? Possibly not. He might design it expressly
as a sketch of an individual, and by no means of a class. And
the fault may be, after all, not in _him_, the writer, but in
_us_, the falsely interpreting readers. But, be that as it may,
and figure to ourselves as we may the rustic squire of a hundred to a
hundred and fifty years back (though manifestly at utter war, in the
portraitures of our novelists, with the realities handed down to us by
our Parliamentary annals), on that _arena_ we are dealing with
objects of pure speculative curiosity. Far different is the same
question, when practically treated for purposes of present legislation
or philosophic inference. One hundred years ago, such was the
difficulty of social intercourse, simply from the difficulty of
locomotion (though even then this difficulty was much lowered to the
English, as beyond comparison the most equestrian of nations), that it
is possible to imagine a shade of difference as still distinguishing
the town-bred man from the rustic; though, considering the multiplied
distribution of our assize towns, our cathedral towns, our sea-ports,
and our universities, all so many recurring centres of civility, it is
not very easy to imagine such a thing in an island no larger than ours.
But can any human indulgence be extended to the credulity which assumes
the same possibility as existing for us in the very middle of the
nineteenth century? At a time when every week sees the town banker
drawn from our rural gentry; railway directors in every quarter
transferring themselves indifferently from town to country, from
country to town; lawyers, clergymen, medical men, magistrates, local
judges, &c., all shifting in and out between town and country; rural
families all intermarrying on terms of the widest freedom with town
families; all again, in the persons of their children, meeting for
study at the same schools, colleges, military academies, &c.; by what
furious forgetfulness of the realities belonging to the case, has it
been possible for writers in public journals to persist in arguing
national questions upon the assumption of a bisection in our
population--a double current, on the one side steeped to the lips in
town prejudices, on the other side traditionally sold to rustic views
and doctrines? Such double currents, like the Rhone flowing through the
Lake of Geneva, and yet refusing to intermingle, probably _did_
exist, and had an important significance in the Low Countries of the
fifteenth century, or between the privileged cities and the
unprivileged country of Germany down to the Thirty Years' War; but, for
us, they are in the last degree fabulous distinctions, pure fairy
tales; and the social economist or the historian who builds on such
phantoms as that of a rustic aristocracy still retaining any
substantial grounds of distinction from the town aristocracies,
proclaims the hollowness of any and all his doctrines that depend upon
such assumptions. Lord Carbery was a thorough fox-hunter. The fox-
hunting of the adjacent county of Leicestershire was not then what it
is now. The state of the land was radically different for the foot of
the horse, the nature and distribution of the fences was different; so
that a class of horses thoroughly different was then required. But
then, as now, it offered the finest exhibition of the fox-chase that is
known in Europe; and then, as now, this is the best adapted among all
known varieties of hunting to the exhibition of adventurous and skilful
riding, and generally, perhaps, to the development of manly and
athletic qualities. Lord Carbery, during the season, might be
immoderately addicted to this mode of sporting, having naturally a
pleasurable feeling connected with his own reputation as a skilful and
fearless horseman. But, though the chases were in those days longer
than they are at present, small was the amount of time really
abstracted from that which he had disposable for general purposes;
amongst which purposes ranked foremost his literary pursuits. And,
however much he transcended the prevailing conception of his order, as
sketched by satiric and often ignorant novelists, he might be regarded,
in all that concerned the liberalization of his views, as pretty fairly
representing that order. Thus, through every _real_ experience,
the crazy notion of a rural aristocracy flowing apart from the urban
aristocracy, and standing on a different level of culture as to
intellect, of polish as to manners, and of interests as to social
objects, a notion at all times false as a fact, now at length became
with all thoughtful men monstrous as a possibility.

Meantime Lord Massey was reached by reports, both through Lady Carbery
and myself, of something which interested him more profoundly than all
earthly records of horsemanship, or any conceivable questions connected
with books. Lady Carbery, with a view to the amusement of Lady Massey
and my sister, for both of whom youth and previous seclusion had
created a natural interest in all such scenes, accepted two or three
times in every week dinner invitations to all the families on her
visiting list, and lying within her winter circle, which was measured,
by a radius of about seventeen miles. For, dreadful as were the roads
in those days, when the Bath, the Bristol, or the Dover mail was
equally perplexed oftentimes to accomplish Mr. Palmer's rate of seven
miles an hour, a distance of seventeen was yet easily accomplished in
one hundred minutes by the powerful Laxton horses. Magnificent was the
Laxton turn-out; and in the roomy travelling coach of Lady Carbery,
made large enough to receive upon occasion even a bed, it would have
been an idle scruple to fear the crowding a party which mustered only
three besides myself. For Lord Massey uniformly declined joining us; in
which I believe that he was right. A schoolboy like myself had
fortunately no dignity to lose. But Lord Massey, a needy Irish peer
(or, strictly speaking, since the Union no peer at all, though still an
hereditary lord), was bound to be trebly vigilant over his surviving
honors. This he owed to his country as well as to his family. He
recoiled from what he figured to himself (but too often falsely
figured) as the haughty and disdainful English nobility---all so rich,
all so polished in manner, all so punctiliously correct in the ritual
of _bienséance_. Lord Carbery might face them gayly and boldly:
for _he_ was rich, and, although possessing Irish estates and an
Irish mansion, was a thorough Englishman by education and early
association. "But I," said Lord Massey, "had a careless Irish
education, and am never quite sure that I may not be trespassing on
some mysterious law of English good-breeding." In vain I suggested to
him that most of what passed amongst foreigners and amongst Irishmen
for English _hauteur_ was pure reserve, which, among all people
that were bound over by the inevitable restraints of their rank
(imposing, it must be remembered, jealous duties as well as
privileges), was sure to become the operative feeling. I contended that
in the English situation there was no escaping this English reserve,
except by great impudence and defective sensibility; and that, if
examined, reserve was the truest expression of respect towards those
who were its objects. In vain did Lady Carbery back me in this
representation. He stood firm, and never once accompanied us to any
dinner-party. Northamptonshire, I know not why, is (or then was) more
thickly sown with aristocratic families than any in the kingdom. Many
elegant and pretty women there naturally were in these parties; but
undoubtedly our two Laxton baronesses shone advantageously amongst
them. A boy like myself could lay no restraint upon the after-dinner
feelings of the gentlemen; and almost uniformly I heard such verdicts
passed upon the personal attractions of both, but especially Lady
Massey, as tended greatly to soothe the feelings of Lord Massey. It is
singular that Lady Massey universally carried off the palm of unlimited
homage. Lady Carbery was a regular beauty, and publicly known for such;
both were fine figures, and apparently not older than twenty-six; but
in her Irish friend people felt something more thoroughly artless and
feminine--for the masculine understanding of Lady Carbery in some way
communicated its commanding expression to her deportment. I reported to
Lord Massey, in terms of unexceptionable decorum, those flattering
expressions of homage, which sometimes from the lips of young men,
partially under the influence of wine, had taken a form somewhat too
enthusiastic for a literal repetition to a chivalrous and adoring

Meantime, the reader has been kept long enough at Laxton to warrant me
in presuming some curiosity or interest to have gathered within his
mind about the mistress of the mansion. Who was Lady Carbery? what was
her present position, and what had been her original position, in
society? All readers of Bishop Jeremy Taylor [Footnote: The Life of
Jeremy Taylor, by Reginald Heber, Bishop of Calcutta, is most
elaborately incorrect. From want of research, and a chronology in some
places thoroughly erroneous, various important facts are utterly
misstated; and what is most to be regretted, in a matter deeply
affecting the bishop's candor and Christian charity, namely, a
controversial correspondence with a Somersetshire Dissenting clergyman,
the wildest misconception has vitiated the entire result. That
fractional and splintered condition, into which some person had cut up
the controversy with a view to his own more convenient study of its
chief elements, Heber had misconceived as the actual form in which
these parts had been originally exchanged between the disputants--a
blunder of the worst consequence, and having the effect of translating
general expressions (such as recorded a moral indignation against
ancient fallacies or evasions connected with the dispute) into direct
ebullitions of scorn or displeasure personally against his immediate
antagonist. And the charge of intolerance and defective charity becomes
thus very much stronger against the poor bishop, because it takes the
shape of a confession extorted by mere force of truth from an else
reluctant apologist, that would most gladly have denied everything that
he _could_ deny. The Life needs more than ever to be accurately
written, since it has been thus chaotically mis-narrated by a prelate
of so much undeniable talent. I once began a very elaborate life
myself, and in these words: "Jeremy Taylor, the most eloquent and the
subtlest of Christian philosophers, was the son of a barber, and the
son-in-law of a king,"--alluding to the tradition (imperfectly
verified, I believe) that he married an illegitimate daughter of
Charles I. But this sketch was begun more than thirty years ago; and I
retired from the labor as too overwhelmingly exacting in all that
related to the philosophy and theology of that man 80 "myriad-minded,"
and of that century so anarchical.] must be aware of that religious
Lady Carbery, who was the munificent (and, for her kindness, one might
say the filial) patroness of the all-eloquent and subtle divine. She
died before the Restoration, and, consequently, before her spiritual
director could have ascended the Episcopal throne. The title of Carbery
was at that time an earldom; the earl married again, arid his second
countess was also a devout patroness of Taylor. Having no peerage at
hand, I do not know by what mode of derivation the modern title of the
nineteenth century had descended from the old one of the seventeenth. I
presume that some collateral branch of the original family had
succeeded to the barony when the limitations of the original settlement
had extinguished the earldom. But to me, who saw revived another
religious Lady Carbery, distinguished for her beauty and
accomplishments, it was interesting to read of the two successive
ladies who had borne that title one hundred and sixty years before, and
whom no reader of Jeremy Taylor is ever allowed to forget, since almost
all his books are dedicated to one or other of the pious family that
had protected him. Once more there was a religious Lady Carbery,
supporting locally the Church of England, patronizing schools,
diffusing the most extensive relief to every mode of indigence or
distress. A century and a half ago such a Lady Carbery was in South
Wales, at the "Golden Grove;" now such another Lady Carbery was in
central England, at Laxton. The two cases, divided by six generations,
interchanged a reciprocal interest, since in both cases it was young
ladies, under the age of thirty, that originated the movement, and in
both cases these ladies bore the same title; and I will therefore
retrace rapidly the outline of that contemporary case so familiarly
known to myself.

Colonel Watson and General Smith had been amongst the earliest friends
of my mother's family. Both served for many years in India: the first
in the Company's army, the other upon the staff of the king's forces in
that country. Each, about the same time, made a visit to England, and
each of them, I believe, with the same principal purpose of providing
for the education of his daughter; for each happened to have one sole
child, which child, in each case, was a girl of singular beauty; and
both of these little ladies were entitled to very large fortunes. The
colonel and the general, being on brotherly terms of intimacy, resolved
to combine their plans for the welfare of their daughters. What they
wanted was, not a lady that could teach them any special arts or
accomplishments--all these could be purchased;--but the two
qualifications indispensable for the difficult situation of lady-
superintendent over two children so singularly separated from all
relatives whatever, were, in the first place, knowledge of the world,
and integrity for keeping at a distance all showy adventurers that
might else offer themselves, with unusual advantages, as suitors for
the favor of two great heiresses; and, secondly, manners exquisitely
polished. Looking to that last requisition, it seems romantic to
mention, that the lady selected for the post, with the fullest
approbation of both officers, was one who began life as the daughter of
a little Lincolnshire farmer. What her maiden name had been, I do not
at this moment remember; but this name was of very little importance,
being soon merged in that of Harvey, bestowed on her at the altar by a
country gentleman. The squire--not very rich, I believe, but rich
enough to rank as a matrimonial prize in the lottery of a country girl,
whom one single step of descent in life might have brought within sight
of menial service--had been captivated by the young woman's beauty; and
this, at that period, when accompanied by the advantages of youth, must
have been resplendent. I, who had known her all my life, down to my
sixteenth year (during which year she died), and who naturally,
therefore, referred her origin back to some remote ancestral
generation, nevertheless, in her sole case, was made to feel that there
might be some justification for the Church of England discountenancing
in her Liturgy, "marriage with your great-grandmother; neither shalt
thou marry thy great-grandfather's widow." She, poor thing! at that
time was thinking little of marriage; for even then, though known only
to herself and her _femme de chambre_, that dreadful organic malady
(cancer) was raising its adder's crest, under which finally she
died. But, in spite of languor interchanging continually with
disfiguring anguish, she still impressed one as a regal beauty. Her
person, indeed, and figure, _would_ have tended towards such a
standard; but all was counteracted, and thrown back into the mould of
sweet natural womanhood, by the cherubic beauty of her features. These
it was--these features, so purely childlike--that reconciled me in a
moment of time to great-grandmotherhood. The stories about Ninon de
l'Enclos are French fables--speaking plainly, are falsehoods; and sorry
I am that a nation so amiable as the French should habitually disregard
truth, when coming into collision with their love for the extravagant.
But, if anything could reconcile me to these monstrous old fibs about
Ninon at ninety, it would be the remembrance of this English
enchantress on the high-road to seventy. Guess, reader, what she must
have been at twenty-eight to thirty-two, when she became the widow of
the Gerenian horseman, Harvey. How bewitching she must have looked in
her widow's caps! So had once thought Colonel Watson, who happened to
be in England at that period; and to the charming widow this man of war
propounded his hand in marriage. This hand, this martial hand, for
reason inexplicable to me, Mrs. Harvey declined; and the colonel
bounced off in a rage to Bengal. There were others who saw young Mrs.
Harvey, as well as Colonel Watson. And amongst them was an ancient
German gentleman, to what century belonging I do not know, who had
every possible bad quality known to European experience, and a solitary
good one, namely, eight hundred thousand pounds sterling. The man's
name was Schreiber. Schreiber was an aggregate resulting from the
conflux of all conceivable bad qualities. That was the elementary base
of Schreiber; and the superstructure, or Corinthian decoration of his
frontispiece, was, that Schreiber cultivated one sole science, namely,
the science of taking snuff. Here were two separate objects for
contemplation: one, bright as Aurora--that radiant Koh-i-noor, or
mountain of light--the eight hundred thousand pounds; the other, sad,
fuscous, begrimed with the snuff of ages, namely, the most ancient
Schreiber. Ah! if they _could_ have been divided--these twin yoke-
fellows--and that ladies might have the privilege of choosing between
them! For the moment there was no prudent course open to Mrs. Harvey,
but that of marrying Schreiber (which she did, and survived); and,
subsequently, when the state of the market became favorable to such
"conversions" of stock, then the new Mrs. Schreiber parted from
Schreiber, and disposed of her interest in Schreiber at a settled rate
in three per cent. consols and terminable annuities; for every
_coupon_ of Schreiber receiving a _bonus_ of so many thousand pounds,
paid down according to the rate agreed on by the lawyers of the
two parties; or, strictly speaking, _quarrelled on_ between the
adverse factions; for agreement it was hard to effect upon any point.
The deadly fear which had been breathed into him by Mrs. Schreiber's
scale of expenditure in a Park Lane house proved her most salutary
ally. Coerced by this horrid vision, Schreiber consented (which else he
never would have done) to grant her an allowance, for life, of about
two thousand per annum. Could _that_ be reckoned an anodyne for
the torment connected with a course of Schreiber? I pretend to no

Such were the facts: and exactly at this point in her career had Mrs.
Schreiber arrived, when, once more, Colonel Watson and General Smith
were visiting England, and for the last time, on the errand of settling
permanently some suitable establishment for their two infant daughters.
The superintendence of this they desired to devolve upon some lady,
qualified by her manners and her connections for introducing the young
ladies, when old enough, into general society. Mrs. Schreiber was the
very person required. Intellectually she had no great pretensions; but
these she did not need: her character was irreproachable, her manners
were polished, and her own income placed her far above all mercenary
temptations. She had not thought fit to accept the station of Colonel
Watson's wife, but some unavowed feeling prompted her to undertake,
with enthusiasm, the duties of a mother to the colonel's daughter.
Chiefly on Miss Watson's account it was at first that she extended her
maternal cares to General Smith's daughter; but very soon so sweet and
winning was the disposition of Miss Smith that Mrs. Schreiber
apparently loved _her_ the best.

Both, however, appeared under a combination of circumstances too
singularly romantic to fail of creating an interest that was universal.
Both were solitary children, unchallenged by any relatives. Neither had
ever known what it was to taste of love, paternal or maternal. Their
mothers had been long dead--not consciously seen by either; and their
fathers, not surviving their last departure from home long enough to
see them again, died before returning from India. What a world of
desolation seemed to exist for them! How silent was every hall into
which, by natural right, they should have had entrance! Several people,
kind, cordial people, men and women, were scattered over England, that,
during their days of infancy, would have delighted to receive them;
but, by some fatality, when they reached their fifteenth year, and
might have been deemed old enough to undertake visits, all of these
paternal friends, except two, had died; nor had they, by that time, any
relatives at all that remained alive, or were eligible as associates.
Strange, indeed, was the contrast between the silent past of their
lives and that populous future to which their large fortunes would
probably introduce them. Throw open a door in the rear that should lay
bare the long vista of chambers through which their childhood might
symbolically be represented as having travelled--what silence! what
solemn solitude! Open a door in advance that should do the same
figurative office for the future--suddenly what a jubilation! what a
tumult of festal greetings!

But the succeeding stages of life did not, perhaps, in either case
fully correspond to the early promise. Rank and station the two young
ladies attained; but rank and station do not always throw people upon
prominent stages of action or display. Many a family, possessing both
rank and wealth, and not undistinguished possibly by natural endowments
of an order fitted for brilliant popularity, never emerge from
obscurity, or not into any splendor that can be called national;
sometimes, perhaps, from a temper unfitted for worthy struggles in the
head of the house; possibly from a haughty, possibly a dignified
disdain of popular arts, hatred of petty rhetoric, petty sycophantic
courtships, petty canvassing tricks; or again, in many cases, because
accidents of ill-luck have intercepted the fair proportion of success
due to the merits of the person; whence, oftentimes, a hasty self-
surrender to impulses of permanent disgust. But, more frequently than
any other cause, I fancy that impatience of the long struggle required
for any distinguished success interferes to thin the ranks of
competitors for the prizes of public ambition. Perseverance is soon
refrigerated in those who fall back under any result, defeated or not
defeated, upon splendid mansions and luxuries of every kind, already
far beyond their needs or their wishes. The soldier described by the
Roman satirist as one who had lost his purse, was likely enough, under
the desperation of his misfortune, to see nothing formidable in any
obstacle that crossed his path towards another supplementary purse;
whilst the very same obstacle might reasonably alarm one who, in
retreating, fell back under the battlements of twenty thousand per
annum. In the present case, there was nothing at all to move wonder in
the final result under so continual a siege of temptation from the
seductions of voluptuous ease; the only wonder is, that one of the
young ladies, namely, Miss Watson, whose mind was masculine, and in
some directions aspiring, should so readily have acquiesced in a result
which she might have anticipated from the beginning.

Happy was the childhood, happy the early dawn of womanhood, which these
two young ladies passed under the guardianship of Mrs. Schreiber.
Education in those days was not the austere old lady that she is now.
At least, in the case of young ladies, her exactions were merciful and
considerate. If Miss Smith sang pretty well, and Miss Watson
_very_ well, and with the power of singing difficult _part_ music
at sight, they did so for the same reason that the lark sings,
and chiefly under the same gentle tuition--that of nature, glad
almighty nature, breathing inspiration from her Delphic tripod of
happiness, and health, and hope. Mrs. Schreiber pretended to no
intellectual gifts whatever; and yet, practically, she was wiser than
many who have the greatest. First of all other tasks which she imposed
upon her wards, was that of daily exercise, and exercise carried to
_excess_. She insisted upon four hours' exercise daily; and, as
young ladies walk fast, _that_ would have yielded, at the rate of
three and a half miles per hour, thirteen plus one third miles. But
only two and a half hours were given to walking; the other one and a
half to riding. No day was a day of rest; absolutely none. Days so
stormy that they "kept the raven to her nest," snow the heaviest, winds
the most frantic, were never listened to as any ground of reprieve from
the ordinary exaction. I once knew (that is, not personally, for I
never saw her, but through the reports of her many friends) an intrepid
lady, [Footnote: If I remember rightly, some account is given of this
palæstric lady and her stern Pædo-gymnastics, in a clever book on
household medicine and surgery under circumstances of inevitable
seclusion from professional aid, written about the year 1820-22, by Mr.
Haden, a surgeon of London.] living in the city of London (that is,
technically the _city_, as opposed to Westminster, etc., Mary-le-
bone, etc.), who made a point of turning out her newborn infants for a
pretty long airing, even on the day of their birth. It made no
difference to her whether the month were July or January; good,
undeniable air is to be had in either month. Once only she was baffled,
and most indignant it made her, because the little thing chose to be
born at half-past nine P. M.; so that, by the time its toilet was
finished, bonnet and cloak all properly adjusted, the watchman was
calling "Past eleven, and a cloudy night;" upon which, most
reluctantly, she was obliged to countermand the orders for that day's
exercise, and considered herself, like the Emperor Titus, to have lost
a day. But what came of the London lady's or of Mrs. Schreiber's
Spartan discipline? Did the little blind kittens of Gracechurch-street,
who were ordered by their penthesiléan mamma, on the very day of their
nativity, to face the most cruel winds--did _they_, or did Mrs.
Schreiber's wards, justify, in after life, this fierce discipline, by
commensurate results of hardiness? In words written beyond all doubt by
Shakspeare, though not generally recognized as his, it might have been
said to any one of this Amazonian brood,--

                   "Now mild may be thy life;
  For a more blust'rous birth had never babe.
  Quiet and gentle be thy temperature;
  For thou'rt the rudeliest welcomed to this world
  That e'er was woman's child. Happy be the sequel!
  Thou hast as chiding a nativity
  As fire, air, water, earth, and heaven, can make,
  To herald thee from darkness!"--_Pericles, Act III._

As to the city kittens, I heard that the treatment prospered; but the
man who reported this added, that by original constitution they were as
strong as Meux's dray-horses; and thus, after all, they may simply
illustrate the old logical _dictum_ ascribed to some medical man,
that the reason why London children of the wealthier classes are
noticeable even to a proverb for their robustness and bloom, is because
none but those who are already vigorous to excess, and who start with
advantages of health far beyond the average scale, have much chance of
surviving that most searching quarantine, which, in such [Footnote: For
myself, meantime, I am far from assenting to all the romantic abuse
applied to the sewerage and the church-yards of London, and even more
violently to the river Thames. As a tidal river, even: beyond the
metropolitan bridges, the Thames undoubtedly does much towards
cleansing the atmosphere, whatever may be the condition of its waters.
And one most erroneous postulate there is from which the _Times_
starts in all its arguments, namely, this, that supposing the Thames to
be even a vast sewer, in short, the _cloaca maxima_ of London,
there is in that arrangement of things any special reproach applying to
our mighty English capital. On the contrary, _all_ great cities
that ever were founded have sought out, as their first and elementary
condition, the adjacency of some great cleansing river. In the long
process of development through which cities pass, commerce and other
functions of civilization come to usurp upon the earlier functions of
such rivers, and sometimes (through increasing efforts of luxurious
refinement) may come entirely to absorb them. But, in the infancy of
every great city, the chief function for which she looks to her river
is that of purification. Be thou my huge _cloaca_, says infant
Babylon to the Euphrates, says infant Nineveh to the Tigris, says
infant Rome to the Tiber. So far is that reproach from having any
special application to London. Smoke is not unwholesome; in many
circumstances it is salubrious, as a counter-agent to worse influences.
Even sewerage is chiefly insalubrious from its moisture, and not, in
any degree yet demonstrated, from its odor.] an atmosphere, they are
summoned to weather at starting. Coming, however, to the special case
of Mrs. Schreiber's household, I am bound to report that in no instance
have I known young ladies so thoroughly steeled against all the
ordinary host of petty maladies which, by way of antithesis to the
capital warfare of dangerous complaints, might be called the
_guerilla_ nosology; influenza, for instance, in milder forms,
catarrh, headache, toothache, dyspepsia in transitory shapes, etc.
Always the spirits of the two girls were exuberant; the enjoyment of
life seemed to be intense, and never did I know either of them to
suffer from _ennui_. My conscious knowledge of them commenced when
I was about two years old, they being from ten to twelve years older.
Mrs. Schreiber had been amongst my mother's earliest friends as Mrs.
Harvey, and in days when my mother had opportunities of doing her
seasonable services. And as there were three special advantages which
adorned my mother, and which ranked in Mrs. Schreiber's estimate as the
highest which earth could show, namely: 1°, that she spoke and wrote
English with singular elegance; 2°, that her manners were eminently
polished; and 3°, that, even in that early stage of my mother's life, a
certain tone of religiosity, and even of ascetic devotion, was already
diffused as a luminous mist that served to exalt the coloring of her
morality. To this extent Mrs. Schreiber approved of religion; but
nothing of a sectarian cast could she have tolerated; nor had she
anything of that nature to apprehend from my mother. Viewing my mother,
therefore, as a pure model of an English matron, and feeling for her,
besides, a deeper sentiment of friendship and affection than for
anybody else on her visiting list, it was natural enough that she
should come with her wards on an annual visit to "The Farm" (a pretty,
rustic dwelling occupied by my father in the neighborhood of
Manchester), and subsequently (when _that_ arose) to Greenhay.
[Footnote: "_Greenhay_."--As this name might, under a false
interpretation, seem absurd as including incongruous elements, I ought,
in justification of my mother, who devised the name, to have mentioned
that _hay_ was meant for the old English word (derived from the
old French word _haie_) indicating a rural enclosure. Conventionally,
a _hay_ or _haie_ was understood to mean a country-house within a
verdant ring-fence, narrower than a park: which word park, in Scotch
use, means any enclosure whatever, though not twelve feet square; but
in English use (witness Captain Burt's wager about Culloden parks)
means an enclosure measured by square miles, and usually accounted to
want its appropriate furniture, unless tenanted by deer. By the way, it
is a singular illustration of a fact illustrated in one way or other
every hour, namely, of the imperfect knowledge which England possesses
of England, that, within these last eight or nine months, I saw in the
_Illustrated London News_ an article assuming that the red deer was
unknown in England. Whereas, if the writer had ever been at the English
lakes during the hunting season, he might have seen it actually hunted
over Martindale forest and its purlieus. Or, again, in Devonshire and
Cornwall, over Dartmoor, etc., and, I believe, in many other regions,
though naturally narrowing as civilization widens. The writer is
equally wrong in supposing the prevailing deer of our parks to be the
_roe_ deer, which are very little known. It is the _fallow_ deer that
chiefly people our parks. Red deer were also found at Blenheim, in
Oxfordshire, when it was visited by Dr. Johnson, as may be seen in
"Boswell."] As my father always retained a town-house in Manchester
(somewhere in Fountain-street), and, though a plain, unpretending man,
was literary to the extent of having written a book, all things were so
arranged that there was no possibility of any commercial mementos ever
penetrating to the rural retreat of his family; such mementos, I mean,
as, by reviving painful recollections of that ancient Schreiber, who
was or ought to be by this time extinct, would naturally be odious and
distressing. Here, therefore, liberated from all jealousy of
overlooking eyes, such as haunted persons of their expectations at
Brighton, Weymouth, Sidmouth, or Bath, Miss Smith and Miss Watson used
to surrender themselves without restraint to their glad animal impulses
of girlish gayety, like the fawns of antelopes when suddenly
transferred from tiger-haunted thickets to the serene preserves of
secluded rajahs. On these visits it was, that I, as a young pet whom
they carried about like a doll from my second to my eighth or ninth
year, learned to know them; so as to take a fraternal interest in the
succeeding periods of their lives. Their fathers I certainly had not
seen; nor had they, consciously. These two fathers must both have died
in India, before my inquiries had begun to travel in that direction.
But, as old acquaintances of my mother's, both had visited The Farm
before I was born; and about General Smith, in particular, there had
survived amongst the servants a remembrance which seemed to us (that is
to them and to myself) ludicrously awful, though, at that time, the
practice was common throughout our Indian possessions. He had a Hindoo
servant with him; and this servant every night stretched himself along
the "sill" or outer threshold of the door; so that he might have been
trodden on by the general when retiring to rest; and from this it was
but a moderate step in advance to say that he _was_ trodden on. Upon
which basis many other wonders were naturally reared. Miss Smith's
father, therefore, furnished matter for a not very amiable tradition;
but Miss Smith herself was the sweetest-tempered and the loveliest of
girls, and the most thoroughly English in the style of her beauty. Far
different every way was Miss Watson. In person she was a finished
beauty of the very highest pretensions, and generally recognized as
such; that is to say, her figure was fine and queenly; her features
were exquisitely cut, as regarded their forms and the correspondences
of their parts; and usually by artists her face was said to be Grecian.
Perhaps the nostrils, mouth, and forehead, might be so; but nothing
could be less Grecian, or more eccentric in form and position, than the
eyes. They were placed obliquely, in a way that I do not remember to
have seen repeated in any other face whatever. Large they were, and
particularly long, tending to an almond-shape; equally strange, in
fact, as to color, shape, and position: but the remarkable position of
these eyes would have absorbed your gaze to the obliteration of all
other features or peculiarities in the face, were it not for one other
even more remarkable distinction affecting her complexion: this lay in
a suffusion that mantled upon her cheeks, of a color amounting almost
to carmine. Perhaps it might be no more than what Pindar meant by the
_porphyreon phos erotos_, which Gray has falsely [Footnote: Falsely,
because poxphuxeos rarely, perhaps, means in the Greek use what we mean
properly by _purple_, and _could_ not mean it in the Pindaric passage;
much oftener it denotes some shade of _crimson_, or else of _puniceus_,
or blood-red. Gibbon was never more mistaken than when he argued that
all the endless disputing about the _purpureus_ of the ancients might
have been evaded by attending to its Greek designation, namely,
_porphyry_-colored: since, said he, porphyry is always of the same
color. Not at all. Porphyry, I have heard, runs through as large a
gamut of hues as marble; but, if this should be an exaggeration, at all
events porphyry is far from being so monochromatic as Gibbon's argument
would presume. The truth is, colors were as loosely and
latitudinarially distinguished by the Greeks and Romans as degrees of
affinity and consanguinity are everywhere. _My son-in-law_, says a
woman, and she means _my stepson._ _My cousin_, she says, and she means
any mode of relationship in the wide, wide world. _Nos neveux_, says a
French writer, and means not _our nephews_, but _our grandchildren_,
or more generally _our descendants_.] translated as "the bloom of
young desire, and PURPLE light of love." It was not unpleasing, and
gave a lustre to the eyes, but it added to the eccentricity of the
face; and by all strangers it was presumed to be an artificial color,
resulting from some mode of applying a preparation more brilliant than
rouge. But to us children, so constantly admitted to her toilet, it was
well known to be entirely natural. Generally speaking, it is not likely
to assist the effect of a young woman's charms, that she presents any
such variety in her style of countenance as could naturally be called
_odd_. But Miss Watson, by the somewhat scenical effect resulting
from the harmony between her fine figure and her fine countenance,
triumphed over all that might else have been thought a blemish; and
when she was presented at court on occasion of her marriage, the king
himself pronounced her, to friends of Mrs. Schreiber, the most splendid
of all the brides that had yet given lustre to his reign. In such cases
the judgments of rustic, undisciplined tastes, though marked by
narrowness, and often by involuntary obedience to vulgar ideals (which,
for instance, makes them insensible to all the deep sanctities of
beauty that sleep amongst the Italian varieties of the Madonna face),
is not without its appropriate truth. Servants and rustics all thrilled
in sympathy with the sweet English loveliness of Miss Smith; but all
alike acknowledged, with spontaneous looks of homage, the fine presence
and finished beauty of Miss Watson. Naturally, from the splendor with
which they were surrounded, and the notoriety of their great
expectations,--so much to dazzle in one direction, and, on the other
hand, something for as tender a sentiment as pity, in the fact of both
from so early an age having been united in the calamity of orphanage,--
go where they might, these young women drew all eyes upon themselves;
and from the _audible_ comparisons sometimes made between them, it
might be imagined that if ever there were a situation fitted to nourish
rivalship and jealousy, between two girls, here it might be anticipated
in daily operation. But, left to themselves, the yearnings of the
female heart tend naturally towards what is noble; and, unless where it
has been tried too heavily by artificial incitements applied to the
pride, I do not believe that women generally are disposed to any
unfriendly jealousy of each other. Why should they? Almost every woman,
when strengthened in those charms which nature has given to her by such
as she can in many ways give to herself, must feel that she has her own
separate domain of empire unaffected by the most sovereign beauty upon
earth. Every man that ever existed has probably his own peculiar talent
(if only it were detected), in which he would be found to excel all the
rest of his race. And in every female face possessing any attractions
at all, no matter what may be her general inferiority, there lurks some
secret peculiarity of expression--some mesmeric individuality--which is
valid within its narrower range--limited superiority over the supreme
of beauties within a narrow circle. It is unintelligibly but
mesmerically potent, this secret fascination attached to features
oftentimes that are absolutely plain; and as one of many cases within
my own range of positive experience, I remember in confirmation, at
this moment, that in a clergyman's family, counting three daughters,
all on a visit to my mother, the youngest, Miss F---- P----, who was
strikingly and memorably plain, never walked out on the Clifton Downs
unattended, but she was followed home by a crowd of admiring men,
anxious to learn her rank and abode; whilst the middle sister,
eminently handsome, levied no such _visible_ tribute of admiration
on the public.

I mention this fact, one of a thousand similar facts, simply by way of
reminding the reader of what he must himself have often witnessed;
namely, that no woman is condemned by nature to any ignoble necessity
of repining against the power of other women; her own may be far more
confined, but within its own circle may possibly, measured against that
of the haughtiest beauty, be the profounder. However, waiving the
question thus generally put here, and as it specially affected these
two young women that virtually were sisters, any question of precedency
in power or display, when brought into collision with sisterly
affection, had not a momentary existence. Each had soon redundant
proofs of her own power to attract suitors without end; and, for the
more or the less, _that_ was felt to be a matter of accident.
Never, on this earth, I am satisfied, did that pure sisterly love
breathe a more steady inspiration than now into the hearts and through
the acts of these two generous girls; neither was there any sacrifice
which either would have refused _to_ or _for_ the other. The
period, however, was now rapidly shortening during which they would
have any opportunity for testifying this reciprocal love. Suitors were
flocking around them, as rank as cormorants in a storm. The grim old
chancellor (one, if not both, of the young ladies having been a ward in
Chancery) had all his legal jealousies awakened on their behalf. The
worshipful order of _adventurers_ and _fortune-hunters_, at that
time chiefly imported from Ireland, as in times more recent from
Germany, and other moustachoed parts of the continent, could not live
under the raking fire of Mrs. Schreiber, on the one side, with her
female tact and her knowledge of life, and of the chancellor, with his
huge discretional power, on the other. That particular chancellor, whom
the chronology of the case brought chiefly into connection with Miss
Watson's interests, was (if my childish remembrances do not greatly
mislead me) the iracund Lord Thurlow. Lovers and wooers this grim
lawyer regarded as the most impertinent order of animals in universal
zoology; and of these, in Miss Watson's case, he had a whole menagerie
to tend. Penelope, according to some school-boy remembrance of mine,
had one hundred and eighteen suitors. These young ladies had almost as
many. Heavens! I what a crew of Comus to follow or to lead! And what a
suitable person was this truculent old lord on the woolsack to enact
the part of shepherd--Corydon, suppose, or Alphesibæus--to this goodly
set of lambs! How he must have admired the hero of the "Odyssey," who
in one way or other accounted for all the wooers that "sorned" upon his
house, and had a receipt for their bodies from the grave-digger of
Ithaca! But even this wily descendant of Sisyphus would have found it
no such easy matter to deal with the English suitors, who were not the
feeble voluptuaries of the Ionian Islands, that suffered themselves to
be butchered as unresistingly as sheep in the shambles--actually
standing at one end of a banqueting-room to be shot at with bows and
arrows, not having pluck enough to make a rush--but were _game_
men; all young, strong, rich, and in most cases technically "noble;"
all, besides, contending for one or other of two prizes a thousand
times better fitted to inspire romantic ardor than the poor, withered
Penelope. One, by the way, amongst these suitors (I speak of those who
addressed Miss Watson), merits a separate commemoration, as having
drawn from Sheridan his very happiest _impromptu_--and an _impromptu_
that was really such--(the rarest of all things from Sheridan).
This was Lord Belgrave, eldest son of Lord Grosvenor—then an
earl, but at some period, long subsequent to this, raised to the
Marquisate of Westminster, a title naturally suggesting in itself a
connection with the vast Grosvenor property, sweeping across the whole
area of that most aristocratic region in the metropolis now called
_Belgravia_, which was then a name unknown; and this Hesperian
region had as yet no architectural value, and consequently no ground-
rent value, simply because the world of fashion and distinction had as
yet not expanded itself in that direction. In those days the
territorial importance of this great house rested exclusively upon its
connection with the county of Chester. In this connection it was that
the young Viscount Belgrave had been introduced, by his family
interest, into the House of Commons; he had delivered his maiden speech
with some effect; and had been heard favorably on various subsequent
occasions; on one of which it was that, to the extreme surprise of the
house, he terminated his speech with a passage from Demosthenes--not
presented in English, but in sounding Attic Greek. Latin is a
privileged dialect in parliament. But Greek! It would not have been at
all more startling to the usages of the house, had his lordship quoted
Persic or Telinga. Still, though felt as something verging on the
ridiculous, there was an indulgent feeling to a young man fresh from
academic bowers, which would not have protected a mature man of the
world. Everybody bit his lips, and as yet did _not_ laugh. But the
final issue stood on the edge of a razor. A gas, an inflammable
atmosphere, was trembling sympathetically through the whole excited
audience; all depended on a match being applied to this gas whilst yet
in the very act of escaping. Deepest silence still prevailed; and, had
any commonplace member risen to address the house in an ordinary
business key, all would have blown over. Unhappily for Lord Belgrave,
in that critical moment up rose the one solitary man, to wit, Sheridan,
whose look, whose voice, whose traditional character, formed a prologue
to what was coming. Here let the reader understand that, throughout the
"Iliad," all speeches or commands, questions or answers, are introduced
by Homer under some peculiar formula. For instance, replies are usually
introduced thus:

    "_But him answering thus addressed the sovereign Agamemnon;_"

or; in sonorous Greek:

  "Ton d' apameibomenos prosephé kreion Agamemnon;"

or, again, according to the circumstances:

  "But him sternly surveying saluted the swift-footed Achilles;"
  "Ton d'ar', upodra idon, prosephé podas okus Achilleus."

This being premised, and that every one of the audience, though
pretending to no Greek, yet, from his school-boy remembrances, was as
well acquainted with these _formulæ_ as with the scriptural
formula of _Verily, verily, I say unto you, &c._, Sheridan,
without needing to break its force by explanations, solemnly opened

  "Ton d' apameibomenos prosephé Sheridanios heros."_

Simply to have commenced his answer in Greek would have sufficiently
met the comic expectation then thrilling the house; but, when it
happened that this Greek (so suitable to the occasion) was also the one
sole morsel of Greek that everybody in that assembly understood, the
effect, as may be supposed, was overwhelming, and wrapt the whole house
in what might be called a fiery explosion of laughter. Meantime, as
prizes in the matrimonial lottery, and prizes in all senses, both young
ladies were soon carried off. Miss Smith, whose expectations I never
happened to hear estimated, married a great West India proprietor; and
Miss Watson, who (according to the popular report) would succeed to six
thousand a year on her twenty-first birthday, married Lord Carbery.
Miss Watson inherited also from her father something which would not
generally be rated very highly, namely, a chancery lawsuit, with the
East India Company for defendant. However, if the company is a potent
antagonist, thus far it is an eligible one, that, in the event of
losing the suit, the honorable company is solvent; and such an event,
after some nine or ten years' delay, did really befall the company. The
question at issue respected some docks which Colonel Watson had built
for the company in some Indian port. And in the end this lawsuit,
though so many years doubtful in its issue, proved very valuable to
Miss Watson; I have heard (but cannot vouch for it) not less valuable
than that large part of her property which had been paid over without
demur upon her twenty-first birth-day. Both young ladies married
happily; but in marriage they found their separation, and in that
separation a shock to their daily comfort which was never replaced to
either. As to Miss Smith's husband, I did not know him; but Lord
Carbery was every way an estimable man; in some things worthy of
admiration; and his wife never ceased to esteem and admire him. But she
yearned for the society of her early friend; and this being placed out
of her reach by the accidents of life, she fell early into a sort of
disgust with her own advantages of wealth and station, which, promising
so much, were found able to perform nothing at all in this first and
last desire of her heart. A portrait of her friend hung in the drawing-
room; but Lady Carbery did not willingly answer the questions that were
sometimes prompted by its extraordinary loveliness. There are women to
whom a female friendship is indispensable, and cannot be supplied by
any companion of the other sex. That blessing, therefore, of her golden
youth, turned eventually into a curse for her after-life; for I believe
that, through one accident or another, they never met again after they
became married women. To me, as one of those who had known and loved
Miss Smith, Lady Carbery always turned the more sunny side of her
nature; but to the world generally she presented a chilling and
somewhat severe aspect--as to a vast illusion that rested upon pillars
of mockery and frauds. Honors, beauty of the first order, wealth, and
the power which follows wealth as its shadow--what could these do? what
_had_ they done? In proportion as they had settled heavily upon
herself, she had found them to entail a load of responsibility; and
those claims upon her she had labored to fulfil conscientiously; but
else they had only precipitated the rupture of such tics as had given
sweetness to her life.

From the first, therefore, I had been aware, on this visit to Laxton,
that Lady Carbery had changed, and was changing. She had become
religious; so much I knew from my sister's letters. And, in fact, this
change had been due to her intercourse with my mother. But, in reality,
her premature disgust with the world would, at any rate, have made her
such; and, had any mode of monastic life existed for Protestants, I
believe that she would before this have entered it, supposing Lord
Carbery to have consented. People generally would have stated the case
most erroneously; they would have said that she was sinking into gloom
under religious influences; whereas the very contrary was the truth;
namely, that, having sunk into gloomy discontent with life, and its
miserable performances as contrasted with its promises, she sought
relief and support to her wounded feelings from religion.

But the change brought with it a difficult trial to myself. She
recoiled, by natural temperament and by refinement of taste, from all
modes of religious enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is a large word, and in many
cases I could not go along with her; but _canting_ of all descriptions
was odious to both of us alike. To cultivate religious knowledge in an
intellectual way, she very well understood that she must study
divinity. And she relied upon me for assisting her. Not that she made
the mistake of ascribing to me any knowledge on that subject; but I
could learn; and, whatsoever I _had_ learned, she knew, by experience,
that I could make abundantly plain to her understanding. Wherever I did
_not_ understand, I was far too sincere to dissemble that fact. Where I
_did_ understand, I could enable _her_ to understand.

On the subject of theology, it was not easy indeed for anybody, man or
boy, to be more ignorant than myself. My studies in that field had been
none at all. Nor was this any subject for wonder, or (considering my
age) for blame. In reality, to make theology into a captivating study
for the young, it must be translated into controversial theology. And
in what way could such a polemic interest be evoked except through
political partisanship? But such partisanship connects itself naturally
with the irritability of sectarianism, and but little with the majestic
repose of a church such as the Romish or the Anglican, founded upon the
broad basis of national majorities, and sheltered from danger, or the
sense of danger, by state protection. Dissenters stand upon another
footing. The Dissenter from the national church, whether in England or
in France, is reminded by his own distinguishing religious opinions of
the historic struggles through which those opinions have travelled. The
doctrines which give to his own sect a peculiar denomination are also
those which record its honorable political conflicts; so that his own
connection, through his religious brotherhood, with the civil history
of his country, furnishes a standing motive of pride for some
acquaintance more or less with divinity; since it is by deviating
painfully, conscientiously, and at some periods dangerously, from the
established divinity, that his fathers have achieved their station in
the great drama of the national evolution.

But, whilst I was ignorant of theology, as a direct and separate branch
of study, the points are so many at which theology inosculates with
philosophy, and with endless casual and random suggestions of the self-
prompted reason, that inevitably from that same moment in which I began
to find a motive for directing my thoughts to this new subject, I
wanted not something to say that might have perplexed an antagonist, or
(in default of such a vicious associate) that might have amused a
friend, more especially a friend so predisposed to a high estimate of
myself as Lady Carbery. Sometimes I did more than amuse her; I startled
her, and I even startled myself, with distinctions that to this hour
strike me as profoundly just, and as undeniably novel. Two out of many
I will here repeat; and with the more confidence, that in these two I
can be sure of repeating the exact thoughts; whereas, in very many
other cases, it would not be so certain that they might not have been
insensibly modified by cross-lights or disturbing shadows from
intervening speculations.

1. Lady Carbery one day told me that she could not see any reasonable
ground for what is said of Christ, and elsewhere of John the Baptist,
that he opened his mission by preaching "repentance." Why "repentance"?
Why then, more than at any other time? Her reason for addressing this
remark to me was, that she fancied there might be some error in the
translation of the Greek expression. I replied that, in my opinion,
there was; and that I had myself always been irritated by the entire
irrelevance of the English word, and by something very like cant, on
which the whole burden of the passage is thrown. How was it any natural
preparation for a vast spiritual revolution, that men should first of
all acknowledge any special duty of repentance? The repentance, if any
movement of that nature could intelligibly be supposed called for,
should more naturally _follow_ this great revolution--which, as
yet, both in its principle and in its purpose, was altogether
mysterious--than herald it, or ground it. In my opinion, the Greek word
_metanoia_ concealed a most profound meaning--a meaning of prodigious
compass--which bore no allusion to any ideas whatever of repentance.
The _meta_ carried with it an emphatic expression of its original
idea--the idea of transfer, of translation, of transformation; or,
if we prefer a Grecian to a Roman apparelling, the idea of a
_metamorphosis_. And this idea, to what is it applied? Upon
what object is this idea of spiritual transfiguration made to
bear? Simply upon the _noetic_ or intellectual faculty--the
faculty of shaping and conceiving things under their true relations.
The holy herald of Christ, and Christ himself the finisher of prophecy,
made proclamation alike of the same mysterious summons, as a baptism or
rite of initiation; namely, _Metanoei_. Henceforth transfigure
your theory of moral truth; the old theory is laid aside as infinitely
insufficient; a new and spiritual revelation is established.
_Metanoeite_--contemplate moral truth as radiating from a new
centre; apprehend it under transfigured relations.

John the Baptist, like other earlier prophets, delivered a message
which, probably enough, he did not himself more than dimly understand,
and never in its full compass of meaning. Christ occupied another
station. Not only was he the original Interpreter, but he was himself
the Author--Founder, at once, and Finisher--of that great
transfiguration applied to ethics, which he and the Baptist alike
announced as forming the code for the new and revolutionary era now
opening its endless career. The human race was summoned to bring a
transfiguring sense and spirit of interpretation (_metanoia_) to a
transfigured ethics--an altered organ to an altered object. This is by
far the grandest miracle recorded in Scripture. No exhibition of blank
power--not the arresting of the earth's motion--not the calling back of
the dead unto life, can approach in grandeur to this miracle which we
all daily behold; namely, the inconceivable mystery of having written
and sculptured upon the tablets of man's heart a new code of moral
distinctions, all modifying--many reversing--the old ones. What would
have been thought of any prophet, if he should have promised to
transfigure the celestial mechanics; if he had said, I will create a
new pole-star, a new zodiac, and new laws of gravitation; briefly, I
will make new earth and new heavens? And yet a thousand times more
awful it was to undertake the writing of new laws upon the spiritual
conscience of man. _Metanoeite_ (was the cry from the wilderness),
wheel into a new centre your moral system; _geocentric_ has that
system been up to this hour--that is, having earth and the earthly for
its starting-point; henceforward make it _heliocentric_ (that is,
with the sun, or the heavenly for its principle of motion).

2. A second remark of mine was, perhaps, not more important, but it
was, on the whole, better calculated to startle the prevailing
preconceptions; for, as to the new system of morals introduced by
Christ, generally speaking, it is too dimly apprehended in its great
differential features to allow of its miraculous character being
adequately appreciated; one flagrant illustration of which is furnished
by our experience in Affghanistan, where some officers, wishing to
impress Akhbar Khan with the beauty of Christianity, very judiciously
repeated to him the Lord's Prayer and the Sermon on the Mount, by both
of which the Khan was profoundly affected, and often recurred to them;
but others, under the notion of conveying to him a more
_comprehensive_ view of the Scriptural ethics, repeated to him the
Ten Commandments; although, with the sole exception of the two first,
forbidding idolatry and Polytheism, there is no word in these which
could have displeased or surprised a Pagan, and therefore nothing
characteristic of Christianity. Meantime my second remark was
substantially this which follows: What is a religion? To Christians it
means, over and above a mode of worship, a dogmatic (that is, a
doctrinal) system; a great body of doctrinal truths, moral and
spiritual. But to the ancients (to the Greeks and Romans, for
instance), it meant nothing of the kind. A religion was simply a
_cultus_, a _thræskeia_, a mode of ritual worship, in which
there might be two differences, namely: 1. As to the particular deity
who furnished the motive to the worship; 2. As to the ceremonial, or
mode of conducting the worship. But in no case was there so much as a
pretence of communicating any religious truths, far less any moral
truths. The obstinate error rooted in modern minds is, that, doubtless,
the moral instruction was bad, as being heathen; but that still it was
as good as heathen opportunities allowed it to be. No mistake can be
greater. Moral instruction had no existence even in the plan or
intention of the religious service. The Pagan priest or flamen never
dreamed of any function like that of _teaching_ as in any way
connected with his office. He no more undertook to teach morals than to
teach geography or cookery. He taught nothing. What he undertook was,
simply to _do_: namely, to present authoritatively (that is,
authorized and supported by some civil community, Corinth, or Athens,
or Rome, which he represented) the homage and gratitude of that
community to the particular deity adored. As to morals or just opinions
upon the relations to man of the several divinities, all this was
resigned to the teaching of nature; and for any polemic functions the
teaching was resigned to the professional philosophers--academic,
peripatetic, stoic, etc. By religion it was utterly ignored.

The reader must do me the favor to fix his attention upon the real
question at issue. What I say--what then I said to Lady Carbery--is
this: that, by failing to notice as a _differential_ feature of
Christianity this involution of a doctrinal part, we elevate Paganism
to a dignity which it never dreamed of. Thus, for instance, in the
Eleusinian mysteries, what was the main business transacted? I, for my
part, in harmony with my universal theory on this subject,--namely,
that there could be no doctrinal truth delivered in a Pagan religion,--
have always maintained that the only end and purpose of the mysteries
was a more solemn and impressive worship of a particular goddess.
Warburton, on the other hand, would insist upon it that some great
affirmative doctrines, interesting to man, such as the immortality of
the soul, a futurity of retribution, &c., might be here commemorated.
And now, nearly a hundred years after Warburton, what is the opinion of
scholars upon this point? Two of the latest and profoundest I will
cite:--1. Lobeck, in his "Aglaophamus," expressly repels all such
notions; 2. Otfried Mueller, in the twelfth chapter, twenty-fourth
section, of his "Introduction to a System of Mythology," says: "I have
here gone on the assumption which I consider unavoidable, that there
was no regular instruction, no dogmatical communication, connected with
the Grecian worship in general. _There could be nothing_ of the
kind introduced into the public service from the way in which it was
conducted, for the priest _did not address the people at all_."
These opinions, which exactly tallied with my own assertion to Lady
Carbery, that all religion amongst the Pagans resolved itself into a
mere system of ceremonial worship, a pompous and elaborate
_cultus_, were not brought forward in Germany until about ten or
twelve years ago; whereas, my doctrine was expressly insisted on in
1800; that is, forty years earlier than any of these German writers had
turned their thoughts in that direction.

Had I, then, really all that originality on this subject which for many
years I secretly claimed? Substantially I had, because this great
distinction between the modern (or Christian) idea of "a religion" and
the ancient (or Pagan) idea of "a religion," I had nowhere openly seen
expressed in words. To myself exclusively I was indebted for it.
Nevertheless, it is undeniable that this conception must have been long
ago germinating in the world, and perhaps bearing fruit. This is past
all denial, since, about thirteen or fourteen years ago, I read in some
journal (a French journal, I think) this statement: namely, that some
oriental people--Turks, according to my present impression, but it
might have been Arabs--make an old traditional distinction (so said the
French journal) between what they call "religions of the book" and all
other religions. The religions of the book, according to them, are
three, all equally founded upon written and producible documents,
namely: first, the Judaic system, resting upon the Pentateuch, or more
truly, I should imagine, upon the Law and the Prophets; secondly, the
Christian system, resting upon the Old and New Testaments; thirdly, the
Mahometan system, resting confessedly upon the Koran. The very meaning,
therefore, of styling these systems, by way of honorable distinction,
_religions of the book_, is, not that accidentally they had
written vouchers for their creed, whereas the others had only oral
vouchers, but that they severally offer to men's acceptance a large
body of philosophic truth, such as requires and presupposes a book.
Whereas the various religions contradistinguished from these three--
namely, the whole body of Pagan idolatries--are mere forms of adoration
addressed to many different divinities; and the brief reason why they
are essentially opposed to religions of the book is, not that they
_have_ not, but logically that they _cannot_ have, books or
documents, inasmuch as they have no truths to deliver. They do not
profess to teach anything whatsoever. What they profess, as their
justifying distinction, is, to adore a certain deity, or a certain
collective Pantheon, according to certain old authorized forms--
authorized, that is to say, by fixed, ancient, and oftentimes local

What was the great practical inference from the new distinction which I
offered? It was this: that Christianity (which included Judaism as its
own germinal principle, and Islamism as its own adaptation to a
barbarous and imperfect civilization) carried along with itself its own
authentication; since, whilst other religions introduced men simply to
ceremonies and usages, which could furnish no aliment or material for
their intellect, Christianity provided an eternal _palæstra_ or
place of exercise for the human understanding vitalized by human
affections: for every problem whatever, interesting to the human
intellect, provided only that it bears a _moral_ aspect, immediately
passes into the field of religious speculation. Religion had thus
become the great organ of human culture. Lady Carbery advanced
half-way to meet me in these new views, finding my credentials as a
theologian in my earnestness and my sincerity. She herself was
painfully and sorrowfully in earnest. She had come at this early age of
seven or eight and twenty, to the most bitter sense of hollowness, and
(in a philosophic sense) of _treachery_ as under-lying all things
that stood round her; and she sought escape, if escape there were,
through religion. Religion was to be sought in the Bible. But was the
Bible intelligible at the first glance? Far from it. Search the
Scriptures, was the cry in Protestant lands amongst all people, however
much at war with each other. But I often told her that this was a vain
pretence, without some knowledge of Greek. Or perhaps not always and
absolutely a pretence; because, undoubtedly, it is true that oftentimes
mere ignorant simplicity may, by bringing into direct collision
passages that are reciprocally illustrative, restrain an error or
illuminate a truth. And a reason, which I have since given in print (a
reason additional to Bentley's), for neglecting the thirty thousand
various readings collected by the diligence of the New Testament
collators, applied also to this case, namely: That, first, the
transcendent nature, and, secondly, the _recurrent_ nature, of
Scriptural truths cause them to surmount verbal disturbances. A
doctrine, for instance, which is sowed broadcast over the Scriptures,
and recurs, on an average, three times in every chapter, cannot be
affected by the casual inaccuracy of a phrase, since the phrase is
continually varied. And, therefore, I would not deny the possibility of
an effectual searching by very unlearned persons. Our authorized
translators of the Bible in the Shakspearian age were not in any
exquisite sense learned men; they were very able men, and in a better
sense able than if they had been philologically profound scholars,
which at that time, from the imperfect culture of philology, they could
not easily have been; men they were whom religious feeling guided
correctly in choosing their expressions, and with whom the state of the
language in some respects cooperated, by furnishing a diction more
homely, fervent, and pathetic, than would now be available. For their
apostolic functions English was the language most in demand. But in
polemic or controversial cases Greek is indispensable. And of this Lady
Carbery was sufficiently convinced by my own demur on the word
_metanoia_. If I were right, how profoundly wrong must those have
been whom my new explanation superseded. She resolved, therefore,
immediately on my suggesting it, that she would learn Greek; or, at
least, that limited form of Greek which was required for the New
Testament. In the language of Terence, dictum factum--no sooner said
than done. On the very next morning we all rode in to Stamford, our
nearest town for such a purpose, and astounded the bookseller's
apprentice by ordering four copies of the Clarendon Press Greek
Testament, three copies of Parkhurst's Greek and English Lexicon, and
three copies of some grammar, but what I have now forgotten. The books
were to come down by the mail-coach without delay. Consequently, we
were soon at work. Lady Massey and my sister, not being sustained by
the same interest as Lady Carbery, eventually relaxed in their
attention. But Lady Carbery was quite in earnest, and very soon became
expert in the original language of the New Testament.

I wished much that she should have gone on to the study of Herodotus.
And I described to her the situation of the vivacious and mercurial
Athenian, in the early period of Pericles, as repeating in its main
features, for the great advantage of that Grecian Froissart, the
situation of Adam during his earliest hours in Paradise, himself being
the describer to the affable archangel. The same genial climate there
was; the same luxuriation of nature in her early prime; the same
ignorance of his own origin in the tenant of this lovely scenery; and
the same eager desire to learn it. [Footnote: "About me round I saw
  Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains,
  And liquid lapse of murmuring streams; by these
  Creatures that lived and moved, and walked or flew;
  Birds on the branches warbling; all things smiled;
  With fragrance and with joy my heart o'erflowed.
  Myself I then perused, and limb by limb
  Surveyed, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran
  With supple joints, as lively vigor led;
  _But who I was or where, or from what cause_,
  Knew not."--_Paradise Lost_, Book viii.
The _who_, the _where_ (in any extended sense, that is, as
regarded the _external_ relations of his own country), and the
_from what cause_--all these were precisely what the Grecian did
_not_ know, and first learned from Herodotus.] The very truth, and
mere facts of history, reaching Herodotus through such a haze of remote
abstraction, and suffering a sort of refraction at each translation
from atmosphere to atmosphere, whilst continually the uninteresting
parts dropped away as the whole moved onwards, unavoidably assumed the
attractions of romance. And thus it has happened that the air of
marvellousness, which seems connected with the choice and preferences
of Herodotus, is in reality the natural gift of his position. Culling
from a field of many nations and many generations, reasonably he
preferred such narratives as, though possible enough, wore the coloring
of romance. Without any violation of the truth, the mere extent of his
field as to space and time gave him great advantages for the wild and
the marvellous. Meantime, this purpose of ours with regard to Herodotus
was defeated. Whilst we were making preparations for it, suddenly one
morning from his Limerick estate of Carass returned Lord Carbery. And,
by accident, his welcome was a rough one; for, happening to find Lady
Carbery in the breakfast-room, and naturally throwing his arm about her
neck to kiss her, "Ruffian," a monster of a Newfoundland dog,
singularly beautiful in his coloring, and almost as powerful as a
leopard, flew at him vindictively as at a stranger committing an
assault, and his mistress had great difficulty in calling him off. Lord
Carbery smiled a little at our Greek studies; and, in turn, made us
smile, who knew the original object of these studies, when he suggested
mildly that three or four books of the "Iliad" would have been as
easily mastered, and might have more fully rewarded our trouble. I
contented myself with replying (for I knew how little Lady Carbery
would have liked to plead the _religious_ motive to her husband),
that Parkhurst (and there was at that time no other Greek-
_English_ Lexicon) would not have been available for Homer;
neither, it is true, would he have been available for Herodotus. But,
considering the simplicity and uniformity of style in both these
authors, I had formed a plan (not very hard of execution) for
interleaving Parkhurst with such additional words as might have been
easily mustered from the special dictionaries (Græco-Latin) dedicated
separately to the service of the historian and of the poet. I do not
believe that more than fifteen hundred _extra_ words would have
been required; and these, entered at the rate of twenty per hour, would
have occupied only ten days, for seven and a half hours each. However,
from one cause or other, this plan was never brought to bear. The
preliminary labor upon the lexicon always enforced a delay; and any
delay, in such case, makes an opening for the irruption of a thousand
unforeseen hindrances, that finally cause the whole plan to droop
insensibly. The time came at last for leaving Laxton, and I did not see
Lady Carbery again for nearly an entire year.

In passing through the park-gates of Laxton, on my departure northward,
powerfully, and as if "with the might of waters," my mind turned round
to contemplate that strange enlargement of my experience which had
happened to me within the last three months. I had seen, and become
familiarly acquainted with, a young man, who had in a manner died to
every object around him, had died an intellectual death, and suddenly
had been called back to life and real happiness--had been, in effect,
raised from the dead--by the accident of meeting a congenial female
companion. But, secondly, that very lady from whose lips I first heard
this remarkable case of blight and restoration, had herself passed
through an equal though not a similar blight, and was now seeking
earnestly, though with what success I could never estimate, some
similar restoration to some new mode of hopeful existence, through
intercourse with religious philosophy. What vast revolutions (vast for
the individual) within how narrow a circle! What blindness to
approaching catastrophes, in the midst of what nearness to the light!
And for myself, whom accident had made the silent observer of these
changes, was it not likely enough that I also was rushing forward to
court and woo some frantic mode of evading an endurance that by
patience might have been borne, or by thoughtfulness might have been
disarmed? Misgivingly I went forwards, feeling forever that, through
clouds of thick darkness, I was continually nearing a danger, or was
myself perhaps wilfully provoking a trial, before which my
constitutional despondency would cause me to lie down without a



To teach is to learn: according to an old experience, it is the very
best mode of learning--the surest, and the shortest. And hence,
perhaps, it may be, that in the middle ages by the monkish word
_scholaris_ was meant indifferently he that learned and he that
taught. Never in any equal number of months had my understanding so
much expanded as during this visit to Laxton. The incessant demand made
upon me by Lady Carbery for solutions of the many difficulties
besetting the study of divinity and the Greek Testament, or for such
approximations to solutions as my resources would furnish, forced me
into a preternatural tension of all the faculties applicable to that
purpose. Lady Carbery insisted upon calling me her "Admirable
Crichton;" and it was in vain that I demurred to this honorary title
upon two grounds: first, as being one towards which I had no natural
aptitudes or predisposing advantages; secondly (which made her stare),
as carrying with it no real or enviable distinction. The splendor
supposed to be connected with the attainments of Crichton I protested
against, as altogether imaginary. How far that person really had the
accomplishments ascribed to him, I waived as a question not worth
investigating. My objection commenced at an earlier point: real or not
real, the accomplishments were, as I insisted, vulgar and trivial.
Vulgar, that is, when put forward as exponents or adequate expressions
of intellectual grandeur. The whole rested on a misconception; the
limitary idea of knowledge was confounded with the infinite idea of
power. To have a quickness in copying or mimicking other men, and in
learning to do dexterously what _they_ did clumsily,--ostentatiously
to keep glittering before men's eyes a thaumaturgic versatility
such as that of a rope-dancer, or of an Indian juggler, in petty
accomplishments,--was a mode of the very vulgarest ambition: one
effort of productive power,--a little book, for instance, which should
impress or should agitate several successive generations of men, even
though far below the higher efforts of human creative art--as, for
example, the "De Imitatione Christi," or "The Pilgrim's Progress," or"
Robinson Crusoe," or "The Vicar of Wakefield,"--was worth any
conceivable amount of attainments when rated as an evidence of anything
that could justly denominate a man "admirable." One felicitous ballad
of forty lines might have enthroned Crichton as really admirable,
whilst the pretensions actually put forward on his behalf simply
install him as a cleverish or dexterous ape. However, as Lady Carbery
did not forego her purpose of causing me to shine under every angle, it
would have been ungrateful in me to refuse my cooperation with her
plans, however little they might wear a face of promise. Accordingly I
surrendered myself for two hours daily to the lessons in horsemanship
of a principal groom who ranked as a first-rate rough-rider; and I
gathered manifold experiences amongst the horses--so different from the
wild, hard-mouthed horses at Westport, that were often vicious, and
sometimes trained to vice. Here, though spirited, the horses were
pretty generally gentle, and all had been regularly broke. My education
was not entirely neglected even as regarded sportsmanship; that great
branch of philosophy being confided to one of the keepers, who was very
attentive to me, in deference to the interest in myself expressed by
his idolized mistress, but otherwise regarded me probably as an object
of mysterious curiosity rather than of sublunary hope.

Equally, in fact, as regarded my physics and my metaphysics,--in short,
upon all lines of advance that interested my ambition,--I was going
rapidly ahead. And, speaking seriously, in what regarded my
intellectual expansion, never before or since had I been so distinctly
made aware of it. No longer did it seem to move upon the hour-hand,
whose advance, though certain, is yet a pure matter of inference, but
upon the seconds'-hand, which _visibly_ comes on at a trotting
pace. Everything prospered, except my own present happiness, and the
possibility of any happiness for some years to come. About two months
after leaving Laxton, my fate in the worst shape I had anticipated was
solemnly and definitively settled. My guardians agreed that the most
prudent course, with a view to my pecuniary interests, was to place me
at the Manchester Grammar School; not with a view to further
improvement in my classical knowledge, though the head-master was a
sound scholar, but simply with a view to one of the school
_exhibitions_. [Footnote: "_Exhibitions_."--This is the technical
name in many cases, corresponding to the _bursæ_ or _bursaries_
of the continent; from which word bursæ is derived, I believe,
the German term _Bursch_,--that is, a bursarius, or student, who
lives at college upon the salary allowed by such a bursary.
Some years ago the editor of a Glasgow daily paper called upon
Oxford and Cambridge, with a patronizing flourish, to imitate some one
or more of the Scottish universities in founding such systems of
aliment for poor students otherwise excluded from academic advantages.
Evidently he was unaware that they had existed for centuries before the
state of civilization in Scotland had allowed any opening for the
foundation of colleges or academic life. Scottish bursaries, or
exhibitions (a term which Shakspeare uses, very near the close of the
first act in the "Two Gentlemen of Verona," as the technical expression
in England), were few, and not generally, I believe, exceeding ten
pounds a-year. The English were many, and of more ancient standing, and
running from forty pounds to one hundred pounds a-year. Such was the
simple difference between the two countries: otherwise they agreed
altogether.] Amongst the countless establishments, scattered all over
England by the noble munificence of English men and English women in
past generations, for connecting the provincial towns with the two
royal universities of the land, this Manchester school was one; in
addition to other great local advantages (namely, _inter alia_, a
fine old library and an ecclesiastical foundation, which in this
present generation has furnished the materials for a bishopric of
Manchester, with its deanery and chapter), this noble foundation
secured a number of exhibitions at Brasenose College, Oxford, to those
pupils of the school who should study at Manchester for three
consecutive years. The pecuniary amount of these exhibitions has since
then increased considerably through the accumulation of funds, which
the commercial character of that great city had caused to be neglected.
At that time, I believe each exhibition yielded about forty guineas a-
year, and was legally tenable for seven successive years. Now, to me
this would have offered a most seasonable advantage, had it been
resorted to some two years earlier. My small patrimonial inheritance
gave to me, as it did to each of my four brothers, exactly one hundred
and fifty pounds a-year: and to each of my sisters exactly one hundred
pounds a-year. The Manchester exhibition of forty guineas a-year would
have raised this income for seven years to a sum close upon two hundred
pounds a-year. But at present I was half-way on the road to the
completion of my sixteenth year. Commencing my period of pupilage from
that time, I should not have finished it until I had travelled half-way
through my nineteenth year. And the specific evil that already weighed
upon me with a sickening oppression was the premature expansion of my
mind; and, as a foremost consequence, intolerance of boyish society. I
ought to have entered upon my _triennium_ of school-boy servitude
at the age of thirteen. As things were,--a delay with which I had
nothing to do myself,--this and the native character of my mind had
thrown the whole arrangement awry. For the better half of the three
years I endured it patiently. But it had at length begun to eat more
corrosively into my peace of mind than ever I had anticipated. The
head-master was substantially superannuated for the duties of his
place. Not that intellectually he showed any symptoms of decay: but in
the spirits and physical energies requisite for his duties he did: not
so much age, as disease, it was that incapacitated him. In the course
of a long day, beginning at seven A. M. and stretching down to five P.
M., he succeeded in reaching the further end of his duties. But how?
Simply by consolidating pretty nearly into one continuous scene of
labor the entire ten hours. The full hour of relaxation which the
traditions of this ancient school and the by-laws had consecrated to
breakfast was narrowed into ten, or even seven minutes. The two hours'
interval, in like manner prescribed by the old usages from twelve to
two P. M., was pared down to forty minutes, or less. In this way he
walked conscientiously through the services of the day, fulfilling to
the letter every section the minutest of the traditional rubric. But he
purchased this consummation at the price of all comfort to himself:
and, having done _that_, he felt himself the more entitled to
neglect the comfort of others. The case was singular: he neither showed
any indulgence to himself more than to others (which, however, could do
nothing towards indemnifying others for the severe confinement which
his physical decay inflicted upon them--a point wholly forgotten by
him); nor, secondly, in thus tenaciously holding on to his place did he
(I am satisfied) govern himself by any mercenary thought or wish, but
simply by an austere sense of duty. He discharged his public functions
with constant fidelity, and with superfluity of learning; and felt,
perhaps not unreasonably, that possibly the same learning united with
the same zeal might not revolve as a matter of course in the event of
his resigning the place. I hide from myself no part of the honorable
motives which might (and probably _did_) exclusively govern him in
adhering to the place. But not by one atom the less did the grievous
results of his inability to grapple with his duties weigh upon all
within his sphere, and upon myself, by cutting up the time available
for exercise, most ruinously.

Precisely at the worst crisis of this intolerable darkness (for such,
without exaggeration, it was in its effects upon my spirits) arose, and
for five or six months steadily continued, a consolation of that nature
which hardly in dreams I could have anticipated. For even in dreams
would it have seemed reasonable, or natural, that Laxton, with its
entire society, should transfer itself to Manchester? Some mighty
caliph, or lamp-bearing Aladdin, might have worked such marvels: but
else who, or by what machinery? Nevertheless, without either caliph or
Aladdin, and by the most natural of mere human agencies, this change
was suddenly accomplished.

Mr. White, whom I have already had occasion to mention elsewhere, was
in those days the most eminent surgeon by much in the north of England.
He had by one whole generation run before the phrenologists and
craniologists,--having already measured innumerable skulls amongst the
omnigenous seafaring population of Liverpool, illustrating all the
races of men,--and was in society a most urbane and pleasant companion.
On my mother's suggestion, he had been summoned to Laxton, in the hope
that he might mitigate the torments of Mrs. Schreiber's malady. If I am
right in supposing that to have been cancer, I presume that he could
not have added much to the prescriptions of the local doctor. And yet,
on the other hand, it is a fact--so slowly did new views travel in
those days, when scientific journals were few, and roads were heavy--
that ten years later than this period I knew a case, namely, the case
of a butcher's wife in Somersetshire who had never enjoyed the benefit
of hemlock in relieving the pangs of a cancerous complaint, until an
accident brought Mr. Hey, son to the celebrated Hey of Leeds, into the
poor woman's neighborhood.

What might be the quality or the extent of that relief with which Mr.
White was able to crown the expectations of poor Mrs. Schreiber, I do
not know; but that the relief could not have been imaginary is certain,
for he was earnestly invited to repeat his visits, costly as
unavoidably they were. Mrs. Schreiber did not reside at Laxton.
Tenderly as she loved Lady Carbery, it did not seem consistent with her
dignity that she should take a station that might have been grossly
misinterpreted; and accordingly she bought or hired a miniature kind of
villa, called _Tixover_, distant about four miles from Laxton. A
residence in such a house, so sad and silent at this period of
affliction for its mistress, would have offered too cheerless a life to
Mr. White. He took up his abode, therefore, at Laxton during his
earliest visit; and this happened to coincide with that particular
visit of my own during which I was initiating Lady Carbery into the
mysteries of New Testament Greek. Already as an infant I had known Mr.
White; but now, when daily riding over to Tixover in company, and daily
meeting at breakfast and dinner, we became intimate. Greatly I profited
by this intimacy; and some part of my pleasure in the Laxton plan of
migration to Manchester was drawn from the prospect of renewing it.
Such a migration was suggested by Mr. White himself; and fortunately he
_could_ suggest it without even the appearance of any mercenary
views. His interest lay the other way. The large special retainer,
which it was felt but reasonable to pay him under circumstances so
peculiar, naturally disturbed Mr. White; whilst the benefits of visits
so discontinuous became more and more doubtful. He proposed it,
therefore, as a measure of prudence, that Mrs. Schreiber should take up
her abode in Manchester. This counsel was adopted; and the entire
Laxton party in one week struck their Northamptonshire tents, dived, as
it were, into momentary darkness, by a loitering journey of stages,
short and few, out of consideration for the invalid, and rose again in
the gloomy streets of Manchester.

Gloomy they were at that time--mud below, smoke above--for no torch of
improvement had yet explored the ancient habitations of this Lancashire
capital. Elsewhere I have expressed the inexhaustible admiration which
I cherish for the _moral_ qualities, the unrivalled energy and
perseverance, of that native Lancashire population, as yet not much
alloyed with Celtic adulteration. My feelings towards them are the same
as were eloquently and impressively avowed by the late eminent Dr.
Cooke Taylor, after an _official_ inquiry into their situation.
But in those days the Manchester people realized the aspiration of the
noble Scythian; not the place it was that glorified _them_, but
they that glorified the place. No great city (which technically it then
was not, but simply a town or large village) could present so repulsive
an exterior as the Manchester of that day. Lodgings of _any_ sort
could with difficulty be obtained, and at last only by breaking up the
party. The poor suffering lady, with her two friends, Lady Carbery and
my mother, hired one house, Lord and Lady Massey another, and two
others were occupied by attendants--all the servants, except one
lady's-maid, being every night separated by a quarter of a mile from
their mistresses. To me, however, all these discomforts were scarcely
apparent in the prodigious revolution for the better which was now
impressed upon the tenor of my daily life. I lived in the house of the
head-master; but every night I had leave to adjourn for four or five
hours to the drawing-room of Lady Carbery. Her anxiety about Mrs.
Schreiber would not allow of her going abroad into society, unless upon
the rarest occasions. And I, on my part, was too happy in her
conversation--so bold, so novel, and so earnest--voluntarily to have
missed any one hour of it.

Here, by the way, let me mention that on this occasion arose a case of
pretended "_tuft-hunting_," which I, who stood by a silent
observer, could not but feel to involve a malicious calumny. Naturally
it happened that coroneted carriages, superb horses, and numerous
servants, in a town so unostentatious and homely as the Manchester of
that day, drew the public gaze, and effectually advertised the visit of
the Laxton ladies. Respect for the motive which had prompted this visit
coöperated with admiration for the distinguished personal qualities of
Lady Carbery, to draw upon her from several leading families in the
town such little services and attentions as pass naturally, under a
spontaneous law of courtesy, between those who are at home and those
who suffer under the disadvantages of _strangership_. The Manchester
people, who made friendly advances to Lady Carbery, did so, I am
persuaded, with no ulterior objects whatsoever of pressing into
the circle of an aristocratic person; neither did Lady Carbery herself
interpret their attentions in any such ungenerous spirit, but accepted
them cordially, as those expressions of disinterested goodness which I
am persuaded that in reality they were. Amongst the families that were
thus attentive to her, in throwing open for her use various local
advantages of baths, libraries, picture-galleries, etc., were the wife
and daughters of Mr. White himself. Now, one of these daughters was
herself the wife of a baronet, Sir Richard Clayton, who had honorably
distinguished himself in literature by translating and _improving_
the work of Tenhove the Dutchman (or Belgian?) upon the house of the
_De' Medici_--a work which Mr. Roscoe considered "the most engaging
work that has, perhaps, ever appeared on a subject of literary
history." Introduced as Lady Clayton had been amongst the elite of our
aristocracy, it could not be supposed that she would be at all
solicitous about an introduction to the wife of an Irish nobleman,
simply _as_ such, and apart from her personal endowments. Those
endowments, it is true,--namely, the beauty and the talents of Lady
Carbery, made known in Manchester through Mr. White's report of them,
and combined with the knowledge of her generous devotion to her dying
friend, secluding her steadily from all society through a period of
very many months,--did, and reasonably might, interest many Manchester
people on her behalf. In all this there was nothing to be ashamed of;
and, judging from what personally I witnessed, this seems to have been
the true nature and extent of the "tuft-hunting;" and I have noticed it
at all simply because there is a habit almost national growing up
amongst us of imputing to each other some mode of unmanly prostration
before the aristocracy, but with as little foundation for the charge
generally, I believe, as I am satisfied there was in this particular

Mr. White possessed a museum--formed chiefly by himself, and
originally, perhaps, directed simply to professional objects, such as
would have little chance for engaging the attention of females. But
surgeons and speculative physicians, beyond all other classes of
intellectual men, cultivate the most enlarged and liberal curiosity; so
that Mr. White's museum furnished attractions to an unusually large
variety of tastes. I had myself already seen it; and it struck me that
Mr. White would be gratified if Lady Carbery would herself ask to see
it; which accordingly she did; and thus at once removed the painful
feeling that he might be extorting from her an expression of interest
in his collection which she did not really feel.

Amongst the objects which gave a scientific interest to the collection,
naturally I have forgotten one and all--first, midst, and last; for
this is one of the cases in which we all felicitate ourselves upon the
art and gift of forgetting; that art which the great Athenian
[Footnote: "The great Athenian"--Themistocles.] noticed as amongst the
_desiderata_ of human life--that gift which, if in some rare cases
it belongs only to the regal prerogatives of the grave, fortunately in
many thousands of other cases is accorded by the treachery of a human
brain. Heavens! what a curse it were, if every chaos, which is stamped
upon the mind by fairs such as that London fair of St. Bartholomew in
years long past, or by the records of battles and skirmishes through
the monotonous pages of history, or by the catalogues of libraries
stretching over a dozen measured miles, could not be erased, but
arrayed itself in endless files incapable of obliteration, as often as
the eyes of our human memory happened to throw back their gaze in that
direction! Heaven be praised, I have forgotten everything; all the
earthly trophies of skill or curious research; even the ærolithes, that
might possibly _not_ be earthly, but presents from some superior
planet. Nothing survives, except the _humanities_ of the collection;
and amongst these, two only I will molest the reader by noticing.
One of the two was a _mummy;_ the other was a _skeleton_. I,
that had previously seen the museum, warned Lady Carbery of both; but
much it mortified us that only the skeleton was shown. Perhaps
the mummy was too closely connected with the personal history
of Mr. White for exhibition to strangers; it was that of a lady
who had been attended medically for some years by Mr. White, and had
owed much alleviation of her sufferings to his inventive skill. She
had, therefore, felt herself called upon to memorialize her gratitude
by a very large bequest--not less (I have heard) than twenty-five
thousand pounds; but with this condition annexed to the gift--that she
should be embalmed as perfectly as the resources in that art of London
and Paris could accomplish, and that once a year Mr. White, accompanied
by two witnesses of credit, should withdraw the veil from her face. The
lady was placed in a common English clock-case, having the usual glass
face; but a veil of white velvet obscured from all profane eyes the
silent features behind. The clock I had myself seen, when a child, and
had gazed upon it with inexpressible awe. But, naturally, on my report
of the case, the whole of our party were devoured by a curiosity to see
the departed fair one. Had Mr. White, indeed, furnished us with the key
of the museum, leaving us to our own discretion, but restricting us
only (like a cruel Bluebeard) from looking into any ante-room, great is
my fear that the perfidious question would have arisen amongst us--what
o'clock it was? and all possible ante-rooms would have given way to the
just fury of our passions. I submitted to Lady Carbery, as a liberty
which might be excused by the torrid extremity of our thirst after
knowledge, that she (as our leader) should throw out some angling
question moving in the line of our desires; upon which hint Mr. White,
if he had any touch of indulgence to human infirmity--unless Mount
Caucasus were his mother, and a she-wolf his nurse--would surely
relent, and act as his conscience must suggest. But Lady Carbery
reminded me of the three Calendars in the "Arabian Nights," and argued
that, as the ladies of Bagdad were justified in calling upon a body of
porters to kick those gentlemen into the street, being people who had
abused the indulgences of hospitality, much more might Mr. White do so
with us; for the Calendars were the children of kings (Shahzades),
which we were not; and had found their curiosity far more furiously
irritated; in fact, Zobeide had no right to trifle with any man's
curiosity in that ferocious extent; and a counter right arose, as any
chancery of human nature would have ruled, to demand a solution of what
had been so maliciously arranged towards an anguish of insupportable
temptation. Thus, however, it happened that the mummy, who left such
valuable legacies, and founded such bilious fevers of curiosity, was
not seen by us; nor even the miserable clock-case.

The mummy, therefore, was not seen; but the skeleton was. Who was he?
It is not every day that one makes the acquaintance of a skeleton; and
with regard to such a thing--thing, shall one say, or person?--there is
a favorable presumption from beforehand; which is this: As he is of no
use, neither profitable nor ornamental to any person whatever,
absolutely _de trop_ in good society, what but distinguished merit
of some kind or other could induce any man to interfere with that
gravitating tendency that by an eternal _nisus_ is pulling him
below ground? Lodgings are dear in England. True it is that, according
to the vile usage on the continent, one room serves a skeleton for bed-
room and sitting-room; neither is his expense heavy, as regards wax-
lights, fire, or "bif-steck." But still, even a skeleton is chargeable;
and, if any dispute should arise about his maintenance, the parish will
do nothing. Mr. White's skeleton, therefore, being costly, was
presumably meritorious, before we had seen him or heard a word in his
behalf. It was, in fact, the skeleton of an eminent robber, or perhaps
of a murderer. But I, for my part, reserved a faint right of suspense.
And as to the profession of robber in those days exercised on the roads
of England, it was a liberal profession, which required more
accomplishments than either the bar or the pulpit: from the beginning
it presumed a most bountiful endowment of heroic qualifications--
strength, health, agility, and exquisite horsemanship, intrepidity of
the first order, presence of mind, courtesy, and a general
ambidexterity of powers for facing all accidents, and for turning to a
good account all unlooked-for contingencies. The finest men in England,
physically speaking, throughout the eighteenth century, the very
noblest specimens of man considered as an animal, were beyond a doubt
the mounted robbers who cultivated their profession on the great
leading roads, namely, on the road from London to York (technically
known as "the great north road"); on the road west to Bath, and thence
to Exeter and Plymouth; north-westwards from London to Oxford, and
thence to Chester; eastwards to Tunbridge; southwards by east to Dover;
then inclining westwards to Portsmouth; more so still, through
Salisbury to Dorsetshire and Wilts. These great roads were farmed out
as so many Roman provinces amongst pro-consuls. Yes, but with a
difference, you will say, in respect of moral principles. Certainly
with a difference; for the English highwayman had a sort of conscience
for gala-days, which could not often be said of the Roman governor or
procurator. At this moment we see that the opening for the forger of
bank-notes is brilliant; but practically it languishes, as being too
brilliant; it demands an array of talent for engraving, etc., which,
wherever it exists, is sufficient to carry a man forward upon
principles reputed honorable. Why, then, should _he_ court danger
and disreputability? But in that century the special talents which led
to distinction upon the high road had oftentimes no career open to them
elsewhere. The mounted robber on the highways of England, in an age
when all gentlemen travelled with fire-arms, lived in an element of
danger and adventurous gallantry; which, even from those who could
least allow him any portion of their esteem, extorted sometimes a good
deal of their unwilling admiration. By the necessities of the case, he
brought into his perilous profession some brilliant qualities--
intrepidity, address, promptitude of decision; and, if to these he
added courtesy, and a spirit (native or adopted) of forbearing
generosity, he seemed almost a man that merited public encouragement;
since very plausibly it might be argued that his profession was sure to
exist; that, if he were removed, a successor would inevitably arise,
and that successor might or might _not_ carry the same liberal and
humanizing temper into his practice. The man whose skeleton was now
before us had ranked amongst the most chivalrous of his order, and was
regarded by some people as vindicating the national honor in a point
where not very long before it had suffered a transient eclipse. In the
preceding generation, it had been felt as throwing a shade of disgrace
over the public honor, that the championship of England upon the high
road fell for a time into French hands; upon French prowess rested the
burden of English honor, or, in Gallic phrase, of English _glory_.
Claude Duval, a French man of undeniable courage, handsome, and noted
for his chivalrous devotion to women, had been honored, on his
condemnation to the gallows, by the tears of many ladies who attended
his trial, and by their sympathizing visits during his imprisonment.
But the robber represented by the skeleton in Mr. White's museum (whom
let us call X, since his true name has perished) added to the same
heroic qualities a person far more superb. Still it was a dreadful
drawback from his pretensions, if he had really practised as a
murderer. Upon what ground did that suspicion arise? In candor (for
candor is due even to a skeleton) it ought to be mentioned that the
charge, if it amounted to so much, arose with a lady from some part of
Cheshire--the district of Knutsford, I believe;--but, wherever it was,
in the same district, during the latter part of his career, had resided
our X. At first he was not suspected even as a robber--as yet not so
much as suspected of being suspicious; in a simple rustic neighborhood,
amongst good-natured peasants, for a long time he was regarded with
simple curiosity, rather than suspicion; and even the curiosity pointed
to his horse more than to himself. The robber had made himself popular
amongst the kind-hearted rustics by his general courtesy. Courtesy and
the spirit of neighborliness go a great way amongst country people; and
the worst construction of the case was, that he might be an embarrassed
gentleman from Manchester or Liverpool, hiding himself from his
creditors, who are notoriously a very immoral class of people. At
length, however, a violent suspicion broke loose against him; for it
was ascertained that on certain nights, when, perhaps, he had
_extra_ motives for concealing the fact of having been abroad, he
drew woollen stockings over his horse's feet, with the purpose of
deadening the sound in riding up a brick-paved entry, common to his own
stable and that of a respectable neighbor. Thus far there was a
reasonable foundation laid for suspicion; but suspicion of what?
Because a man attends to the darning of his horse's stockings, why must
he be meditating murder? The fact is--and known from the very first to
a select party of amateurs--that X, our superb-looking skeleton, did,
about three o'clock on a rainy Wednesday morning, in the dead of
winter, ride silently out of Knutsford; and about forty-eight hours
afterwards, on a rainy Friday, silently and softly did that same superb
blood-horse, carrying that same blood-man, namely, our friend the
superb skeleton, pace up the quiet brick entry, in a neat pair of
socks, on his return.

During that interval of forty-eight hours, an atrocious murder was
committed in the ancient city of Bristol. By whom? That question is to
this day unanswered. The scene of it was a house on the west side of
the College Green, which is in fact that same quadrangle planted with
trees, and having on its southern side the Bristol Cathedral, up and
down which, early in the reign of George III., Chatterton walked in
jubilant spirits with fair young women of Bristol; up and down which,
some thirty years later, Robert Southey and S. T. C. walked with young
Bristol belles from a later generation. The subjects of the murder were
an elderly lady bearing some such name as Rusborough, and her female
servant. Mystery there was none as to the motive of the murder--
manifestly it was a hoard of money that had attracted the assassin; but
there was great perplexity as to the agent or agents concerned in the
atrocious act, and as to the mode by which an entrance, under the known
precautions of the lady, could have been effected. Because a thorough-
bred horse could easily have accomplished the distance to and fro (say
three hundred miles) within the forty-eight hours, and because the two
extreme dates of this forty-eight hours' absence tallied with the
requisitions of the Bristol tragedy, it did not follow that X must have
had a hand in it. And yet, had these coincidences _then_ been
observed, they would certainly--now that strong suspicions had been
directed to the man from the extraordinary character of his nocturnal
precautions--not have passed without investigation. But the remoteness
of Bristol, and the rarity of newspapers in those days, caused these
indications to pass unnoticed. Bristol knew of no such Knutsford
highwayman--Knutsford knew of no such Bristol murder. It is singular
enough that these earlier grounds of suspicion against X were not
viewed as such by anybody, until they came to be combined with another
and final ground. Then the presumptions seemed conclusive. But, by that
time, X himself had been executed for a robbery; had been manufactured
into a skeleton by the famous surgeon, Cruickshank, assisted by Mr.
White and other pupils. All interest in the case had subsided in
Knutsford, that could now have cleared up the case satisfactorily; and
thus it happened that to this day the riddle, which was read pretty
decisively in a northern county, still remains a riddle in the south.
When I saw the College Green house in 1809-10, it was apparently empty,
and, as I was told, had always been empty since the murder: forty years
had not cicatrized the bloody remembrance; and, to this day, perhaps,
it remains amongst the gloomy traditions of Bristol.

But whether the Bristol house has or has not shaken off that odor of
blood which offended the nostrils of tenants, it is, I believe, certain
that the city annals have not shaken off the mystery: which yet to
certain people in Knutsford, as I have said, and to us the spectators
of the skeleton, immediately upon hearing one damning fact from the
lips of Mr. White, seemed to melt away and evaporate as convincingly as
if we had heard the explanation issuing in the terms of a confession
from the mouth of the skeleton itself. What, then, _was_ the fact?
With pain, and reluctantly, we felt its force, as we looked at the
royal skeleton, and reflected on the many evidences which he had given
of courage, and perhaps of other noble qualities. The ugly fact was
this: In a few weeks after the College Green tragedy, Knutsford, and
the whole neighborhood as far as Warrington (the half-way town between
Liverpool and Manchester), were deluged with gold and silver coins,
moidores, and dollars, from the Spanish mint of Mexico, etc. These,
during the frequent scarcities of English silver currency, were
notoriously current in England. Now, it is an unhappy fact, and
subsequently became known to the Bristol and London police, that a
considerable part of poor Mrs. Rusborough's treasure lay in such coins,
gold and silver, from the Spanish colonial mints.

Lady Carbery at this period made an effort to teach me Hebrew, by way
of repaying in _kind_ my pains in teaching Greek to _her_. Where,
and upon what motive, she had herself begun to learn Hebrew, I
forget: but in Manchester she had resumed this study with energy on a
casual impulse derived from a certain Dr. Bailey, a clergyman of this
city, who had published a Hebrew Grammar. The doctor was the most
unworldly and guileless of men. Amongst his orthodox brethren he was
reputed a "Methodist;" and not without reason; for some of his Low-
Church views he pushed into practical extravagances that looked like
fanaticism, or even like insanity. Lady Carbery wished naturally to
testify her gratitude for his services by various splendid presents:
but nothing would the good doctor accept, unless it assumed a shape
that might be available for the service of the paupers amongst his
congregation. The Hebrew studies, however, notwithstanding the personal
assistance which we drew from the kindness of Dr. Bailey, languished.
For this there were several reasons; but it was enough that the
systematic vagueness in the pronunciation of this, as of the other
Oriental languages, disgusted both of us. A word which could not be
pronounced with any certainty, was not in a true sense possessed. Let
it be understood, however, that it was not the correct and original
pronunciation that we cared for--_that_ has perished probably
beyond recall, even in the case of Greek, in spite of the Asiatic and
the Insular Greeks--what we demanded in vain was any pronunciation
whatever that should be articulate, apprehensible, and intercommunicable,
such as might differentiate the words: whereas a system of mere vowels
too inadequately strengthened by consonants, seemed to leave all words
pretty nearly alike. One day, in a pause of languor amongst these arid
Hebrew studies, I read to her, with a beating heart, "The Ancient
Mariner." It had been first published in 1798; and, about this time
(1801), was re-published in the first _two_-volume edition of "The
Lyrical Ballads." Well I knew Lady Carbery's constitutional inaptitude
for poetry; and not for the world would I have sought sympathy from her
or from anybody else upon that part of the L. B. which belonged to
Wordsworth. But I fancied that the wildness of this tale, and the triple
majesties of Solitude, of Mist, and of the Ancient Unknown Sea, might
have won her into relenting; and, in fact, she listened with gravity
and deep attention. But, on reviewing afterwards in conversation such
passages as she happened to remember, she laughed at the finest parts,
and shocked me by calling the mariner himself "an old quiz;" protesting
that the latter part of his homily to the wedding guest clearly pointed
him out as the very man meant by Providence for a stipendiary curate to
the good Dr. Bailey in his over-crowded church. [Footnote: St. James',
according to my present recollection.] With an albatross perched on his
shoulder, and who might be introduced to the congregation as the immediate
organ of his conversion, and supported by the droning of a bassoon, she
represented the mariner lecturing to advantage in English; the doctor
overhead in the pulpit enforcing it in Hebrew. Angry I was, though
forced to laugh. But of what use is anger or argument in a duel with
female criticism? Our ponderous masculine wits are no match for the
mercurial fancy of women. Once, however, I had a triumph: to my great
surprise, one day, she suddenly repeated by heart, to Dr. Bailey, the
beautiful passage--

  "It ceased, yet still the sails made on," &c.

asking what he thought of _that?_ As it happened, the simple,
childlike doctor had more sensibility than herself; for, though he had
never in his whole homely life read more of poetry than he had drunk of
Tokay or Constantia,--in fact, had scarcely heard tell of any poetry
but Watts' Hymns,--he seemed petrified: and at last, with a deep sigh,
as if recovering from the spasms of a new birth, said, "I never heard
anything so beautiful in my whole life."

During the long stay of the Laxton party in Manchester, occurred a
Christmas; and at Christmas--that is, at the approach of this great
Christian festival, so properly substituted in England for the Pagan
festival of January and the New Year--there was, according to ancient
usage, on the breaking up for the holidays, at the Grammar School, a
solemn celebration of the season by public speeches. Among the six
speakers, I, of course (as one of the three boys who composed the head
class), held a distinguished place; and it followed, also, as a matter
of course, that all my friends congregated on this occasion to do me
honor. What I had to recite was a copy of Latin verses (Alcaics) on the
recent conquest of Malta. _Melite Britannis Subacta_--this was the
title of my worshipful nonsense. The whole strength of the Laxton party
had mustered on this occasion. Lady Carbery made a point of bringing in
her party every creature whom she could influence. And, probably, there
were in that crowded audience many old Manchester friends of my father,
loving his memory, and thinking to honor it by kindness to his son.
Furious, at any rate, was the applause which greeted me: furious was my
own disgust. Frantic were the clamors as I concluded my nonsense.
Frantic was my inner sense of shame at the childish exhibition to
which, unavoidably, I was making myself a party. Lady Carbery had, at
first, directed towards me occasional glances, expressing a comic
sympathy with the thoughts which she supposed to be occupying my mind.
But these glances ceased; and I was recalled by the gloomy sadness in
her altered countenance to some sense of my own extravagant and
disproportionate frenzy on this occasion: from the indulgent kindness
with which she honored me, her countenance on this occasion became a
mirror to my own. At night she assured me, when talking over the case,
that she had never witnessed an expression of such settled misery, and
also (so she fancied) of misanthropy, as that which darkened my
countenance in those moments of apparent public triumph, no matter how
trivial the occasion, and amidst an uproar of friendly felicitation. I
look back to that state of mind as almost a criminal reproach to
myself, if it were not for the facts of the case. But, in excuse for
myself, this fact, above all others, ought to be mentioned--that, over
and above the killing oppression to my too sensitive system of the
monotonous school tasks, and the ruinous want of exercise, I had fallen
under medical advice the most misleading that it is possible to
imagine. The physician and the surgeon of my family were men too
eminent, it seemed to me, and, consequently, with time too notoriously
bearing a high pecuniary value, for any school-boy to detain them with
complaints. Under these circumstances, I threw myself for aid, in a
case so simple that any clever boy in a druggist's shop would have
known how to treat it, upon the advice of an old, old apothecary, who
had full authority from my guardians to run up a most furious account
against me for medicine. This being the regular mode of payment,
inevitably, and unconsciously, he was biased to a mode of treatment;
namely, by drastic medicines varied without end, which fearfully
exasperated the complaint. This complaint, as I now know, was the
simplest possible derangement of the liver, a torpor in its action that
might have been put to rights in three days. In fact, one week's
pedestrian travelling amongst the Caernarvonshire mountains effected a
revolution in my health such as left me nothing to complain of.

An odd thing happened by the merest accident. I, when my Alcaics had
run down their foolish larum, instead of resuming my official place as
one of the trinity who composed the head class, took a seat by the side
of Lady Carbery. On the other side of her was seated a stranger: and
this stranger, whom mere chance had thrown next to her, was Lord
Belgrave, her old and at one time (as some people fancied) favored
suitor. In this there was nothing at all extraordinary. Lord Grey de
Wilton, an old _alumnus_ of this Manchester Grammar School, and an
_alumnus_ during the early reign of this same _Archididascalus_,
made a point of showing honor to his ancient tutor, especially now when
reputed to be decaying; and with the same view he brought Lord
Belgrave, who had become his son-in-law after his rejection
by Lady Carbery. The whole was a very natural accident. But
Lady Carbery was not sufficiently bronzed by worldly habits to treat
this accident with _nonchalance_. She did not _to the public
eye_ betray any embarrassment; but afterwards she told me that no
incident could have been more distressing to her.

Some months after this, the Laxton party quitted Manchester, having no
further motive for staying. Mrs. Schreiber was now confessedly dying:
medical skill could do no more for her; and this being so, there was no
reason why she should continue to exchange her own quiet little
Rutlandshire cottage for the discomforts of smoky lodgings. Lady
Carbery retired like some golden pageant amongst the clouds; thick
darkness succeeded; the ancient torpor reestablished itself; and my
health grew distressingly worse. Then it was, after dreadful self-
conflicts, that I took the unhappy resolution of which the results are
recorded in the "Opium Confessions." At this point, the reader must
understand, comes in that chapter of my life; and for all which
concerns that delirious period I refer him to those "Confessions." Some
anxiety I had, on leaving Manchester, lest my mother should suffer too
much from this rash step; and on that impulse I altered the direction
of my wanderings; not going (as I had originally planned) to the
English Lakes, but making first of all for St. John's Priory, Chester,
at that time my mother's residence. There I found my maternal uncle,
Captain Penson, of the Bengal establishment, just recently come home on
a two years' leave of absence; and there I had an interview with my
mother. By a temporary arrangement I received a weekly allowance, which
would have enabled me to live in _any_ district of Wales, either
North or South; for Wales, both North and South, is (or at any rate
_was_) a land of exemplary cheapness. For instance, at Talyllyn,
in Merionethshire, or anywhere off the line of tourists, I and a
lieutenant in our English navy paid sixpence uniformly for a handsome
dinner; sixpence, I mean, apiece. But two months later came a golden
blockhead, who instructed the people that it was "sinful" to charge
less than three shillings. In Wales, meantime, I suffered grievously
from want of books; and fancying, in my profound ignorance of the
world, that I could borrow money upon my own expectations, or, at
least, that I could do so with the joint security of Lord Westport (now
Earl of Altamont, upon his father's elevation to the Marquisate of
Sligo), or (failing _that_) with the security of his amiable and
friendly cousin, the Earl of Desart, I had the unpardonable folly to
quit the deep tranquillities of North Wales for the uproars, and
perils, and the certain miseries, of London. I had borrowed ten guineas
from Lady Carbery; and at that time, when my purpose was known to
nobody, I might have borrowed any sum I pleased. But I could never
again avail myself of that resource, because I must have given some
address, in order to insure the receipt of Lady Carbery's answer; and
in that case, so sternly conscientious was she, that, under the notion
of saving me from ruin, my address would have been immediately
communicated to my guardians, and by them would have been confided to
the unrivalled detective talents, in those days, of Townsend, or some
other Bow-street officer.

       *       *        *       *        *

That episode, or impassioned parenthesis in my life, which is
comprehended in "The Confessions of the Opium-Eater," had finished;
suppose it over and gone, and once more, after the storms of London,
suppose me resting from my dreadful remembrances, in the deep monastic
tranquillity, of St. John's Priory; and just then, by accident, with no
associates except my mother and my uncle. What was the Priory like? Was
it young or old, handsome or plain? What was my uncle the captain like?
Young or old, handsome or plain? Wait a little, my reader; give me
time, and I will tell you all. My uncle's leave of absence from India
had not expired; in fact, it had nine or ten months still to run; and
this accident furnished us all with an opportunity of witnessing his
preternatural activity. One morning early in April of the year 1803, a
gentleman called at the Priory, and mentioned, as the news of the
morning brought down by the London mail, that there had been a very hot
and very sudden "press" along the Thames, and simultaneously at the
outports. Indeed, before this the spiteful tone of Sebastiani's Report,
together with the arrogant comment in the _Moniteur_ on the
supposed inability of Great Britain to contend "single-handed" with
France; and, finally, the public brutality to our ambassador, had
prepared us all for war. But, then, might not all this blow over? No;
apart from any choice or preference of war on the part of Napoleon, his
very existence depended upon war. He lived by and through the army.
Without a succession of wars and martial glories in reserve for the
army, what interest had _they_ in Napoleon? This was obscurely
acknowledged by everybody. More or less consciously perceived, a
feeling deep and strong ran through the nation that it was vain to seek
expedients or delays; a mighty strife had to be fought out, which could
not be evaded. Thence it was that the volunteer system was so rapidly
and earnestly developed. As a first stage in the process of national
enthusiasm, this was invaluable. The first impulse drew out the

Next, as might have been foreseen, came an experience which taught us
seasonably that these redundant materials, crude and miscellaneous,
required a winnowing and sifting, which very soon we had; and the
result was, an incomparable militia. Chester shone conspicuously in
this noble competition. But here, as elsewhere, at first there was no
cavalry. Upon that arose a knot of gentlemen, chiefly those who hunted,
and in a very few hours laid the foundation of a small cavalry force.
Three troops were raised in the _city_ of Chester, one of the
three being given to my uncle. The whole were under the command of
Colonel Dod, who had a landed estate in the county, and who (like my
uncle) had been in India. But Colonel Dod and the captains of the two
other troops gave comparatively little aid. The whole working
activities of the system rested with my uncle. Then first I saw energy:
then first I knew what it meant. All the officers of the three troops
exchanged dinner-parties with each other; and consequently they dined
at the Priory often enough to make us acquainted with their
characteristic qualities. That period had not yet passed away, though
it was already passing, when gentlemen did not willingly leave the
dinner-table in a state of absolute sobriety. Colonel Dod and my uncle
had learned in Bengal, under the coërcion of the climate, habits of
temperance. But the others (though few, perhaps, might be systematic
drinkers) were careless in this respect, and drank under social
excitement quite enough to lay bare the ruling tendencies of their
several characters. Being English, naturally the majority were
energetic, and beyond all things despised dreaming _fainéans_
(such, for instance, as we find the politicians, or even the
conspirators, of Italy, Spain, and Germany, whose whole power of action
evaporates in talking, and histrionically gesticulating). Yet still the
best of them seemed inert by comparison with my uncle, and to regard
_his_ standard of action and exertion as trespassing to a needless
degree upon ordinary human comfort.

Commonplace, meantime, my uncle was in the character of his intellect;
there he fell a thousand leagues below my mother, to whom he looked up
with affectionate astonishment. But, as a man of action, he ran so far
ahead of men generally, that he ceased to impress one as commonplace.
He, if any man ever did, realized the Roman poet's description of being
_natus rebus agendis_--sent into this world not for talking, but
for doing; not for counsel, but for execution. On that field he was a
portentous man, a monster; and, viewing him as such, I am disposed to
concede a few words to what modern slang denominates his "antecedents."

Two brothers and one sister (namely, my mother) composed the household
choir of children gathering round the hearth of my maternal grand-
parents, whose name was Penson. My grandfather at one time held an
office under the king; how named, I once heard, but have forgotten;
only this I remember, that it was an office which conferred the title
of _Esquire;_ so that upon each and all of his several coffins,
lead, oak, mahogany, he was entitled to proclaim himself an
_Armiger;_ which, observe, is the newest, oldest, most classic
mode of saying that one is privileged to bear arms in a sense
intelligible only to the Herald's College. This _Armiger_, this
undeniable Squire, was doubly distinguished: first, by his iron
constitution and impregnable health; which were of such quality, and
like the sword of Michael, the warrior-angel ("Paradise Lost," B. vi.),
had "from the armory of God been given him tempered so," that no
insurance office, trafficking in life-annuities, would have ventured to
look him in the face. People thought him good, like a cat, for eight or
nine generations; nor did any man perceive at what avenue death could
find, or disease could force, a practicable breach; and yet, such
anchorage have all human hopes, in the very midst of these windy
anticipations, this same granite grandpapa of mine, not yet very far
ahead of sixty, being in fact three-score years and none, suddenly
struck his flag, and found himself, in his privileged character of
_Armiger_, needing those door (coffin-door) plates, which all
reasonable people had supposed to be reserved for the manufacturing
hands of some remote century. "_Armiger_, pack up your traps"--
"Collige sarcinas"--"Squire, you're wanted:" these dreadful citations
were inevitable; come they must; but surely, as everybody thought, not
in the eighteenth, or, perhaps, even the nineteenth century. _Diis
aliter visum._ My grandfather, built for an _Æonian_ duration,
did not come within hail of myself; whilst his gentle partner, my
grandmother, who made no show of extra longevity, lived down into my
period, and had the benefit of my acquaintance through half a dozen
years. If she turned this piece of good fortune to no great practical
account, that (you know) was no fault of mine. Doubtless, I was ready
with my advice, freely and gratuitously, if she had condescended to ask
for it. Returning to my grandfather: the other distinguishing
endowment, by which he was so favorably known and remembered amongst
his friends, was the magical versatility of his talents, and his power
of self-accommodation to all humors, tempers, and ages.

  "Omnis Aristippum decuit color, et status, et res."

And in allusion to this line from Horace it was, that amongst his
literary friends he was known familiarly by the name of Aristippus. His
sons, Edward and Thomas, resembled him, by all accounts, in nothing;
neither physically, nor in moral versatility. These two sons of the
Squire, Edward and Thomas, through some traditional prejudice in the
family, had always directed their views to the military profession. In
such a case, the king's army is naturally that to which a young man's
expectations turn. But to wait, and after all by possibility to wait in
vain, did not suit my fiery grandfather. The interest which he could
put into motion was considerable; but it was more applicable to the
service of the East India Company than to any branch of the home
service. This interest was so exerted that in one day he obtained a
lieutenantcy in the Company's service for each of his sons. About 1780
or 1781, both young men, aged severally sixteen and seventeen years,
went out to join their regiments, both regiments being on the Bengal
establishment. Very different were their fates; yet their
qualifications ought to have been the same, or differing only as
sixteen differs from seventeen; and also as sixteen overflowing with
levity differs from seventeen prematurely thoughtful. Edward Penson was
early noticed for his high principle, for his benignity, and for a
thoughtfulness somewhat sorrowful, that seemed to have caught in
childhood some fugitive glimpse of his own too brief career. At
noonday, in some part of Bengal, he went out of doors bareheaded, and
died in a few hours.

In 1800-1801, my mother had become dissatisfied with Bath as a
residence; and, being free from all ties connecting her with any one
county of England rather than another, she resolved to traverse the
most attractive parts of the island, and, upon personal inspection, to
select a home; not a ready-built home, but the ground on which she
might herself create one; for it happened that amongst the few
infirmities besetting my mother's habits and constitution of mind, was
the costly one of seeking her chief intellectual excitement in
architectural creations. She individually might be said to have built
Greenhay; since to _her_ views of domestic elegance and propriety
my father had resigned _almost_ everything. This was her _coup-
d'essai_; secondly, she built the complement to the Priory in
Cheshire, which cost about one thousand pounds; thirdly, Westhay, in
Somersetshire, about twelve miles from Bristol, which, including the
land attached to the house, cost twelve thousand five hundred pounds,
not including subsequent additions; but this was built at the cost of
my uncle; finally, Weston Lea, close to Bath, which being designed
simply for herself in old age, with a moderate establishment of four
servants (and some reasonable provision of accommodations for a few
visitors), cost originally, I believe, not more than one thousand
pounds--excluding, however, the cost of all after alterations.

It may serve to show how inevitably an amateur architect, without
professional aid and counsel, will be defrauded, that the first of
these houses, which cost six thousand pounds, sold for no more than
twenty-five hundred pounds, and the third for no more than five
thousand pounds. The person who superintended the workmen, and had the
whole practical management of one amongst these four houses, was a
common builder, without capital or education, and the greatest knave
that personally I have known. It may illustrate the way in which lady
architects, without professional aid, are and ever will be defrauded,
that, after all was finished, and the entire wood-work was to be
measured and valued, each party, of course, needing to be represented
by a professional agent, naturally the knavish builder was ready at
earliest dawn with _his_ agent; but, as regarded my mother's
interest, the task of engaging such an agent had been confided to a
neighboring clergyman,--"evangelical," of course, and a humble
sycophant of Hannah More, but otherwise the most helpless of human
beings, baptized or infidel. He contented himself with instructing a
young gentleman, aged about fifteen, to take his pony and ride over to
a distant cathedral town, which was honored by the abode of a virtuous
though drunken surveyor. This respectable drunkard he was to engage,
and also with obvious discretion to fee beforehand. All which was done:
the drunken surveyor had a sort of fits, it was understood, that always
towards sunset inclined him to assume the horizontal posture.
Fortunately, however, for that part of mankind whom circumstances had
brought under the necessity of communicating with him, these fits were
intermitting; so that, for instance, in the present case, upon a severe
call arising for his pocketing the fee of ten guineas, he astonished
his whole household by suddenly standing bolt upright as stiff as a
poker; his sister remarking to the young gentleman that he (the
visitor) was in luck that evening: it wasn't everybody that could get
that length in dealing with Mr. X. O. However, it is distressing to
relate that the fits immediately returned; and, with that degree of
exasperation which made it dangerous to suggest the idea of a receipt;
since that must have required the vertical attitude. Whether that
attitude ever was recovered by the unfortunate gentleman, I do not
know. Forty-and-four years have passed since then. Almost everybody
connected with the case has had time to assume permanently the
horizontal posture,--namely, that knave of a builder, whose knaveries
(gilded by that morning sun of June) were controlled by nobody; that
sycophantish parson; that young gentleman of fifteen (now, alas! fifty-
nine), who must long since have sown his wild oats; that unhappy pony
of eighteen (now, alas! sixty-two, if living; ah! venerable pony, that
must (or mustest) now require thy oats to be boiled); in short, one and
all of these venerabilities--knaves, ponies, drunkards, receipts--have
descended, I believe, to chaos or to Hades, with hardly one exception.
Chancery itself, though somewhat of an Indian juggler, could not play
with such aerial balls as these.

On what ground it was that my mother quarrelled with the advantages of
Bath, so many and so conspicuous, I cannot guess. At that time, namely,
the opening of the nineteenth century, the old traditionary custom of
the place had established for young and old the luxury of sedan-chairs.
Nine tenths, at least, of the colds and catarrhs, those initial stages
of all pulmonary complaints (the capital scourge of England), are
caught in the transit between the door of a carriage and the genial
atmosphere of the drawing-room. By a sedan-chair all this danger was
evaded: your two chairmen marched right into the hall: the hall-door
was closed; and not until then was the roof and the door of your chair
opened: the translation was--from one room to another. To my mother,
and many in her situation, the sedan-chair recommended itself also by
advantages of another class. Immediately on coming to Bath her carriage
was "laid up in ordinary." The trifling rent of a coach-house, some
slight annual repairs, and the tax, composed the whole annual cost. At
that time, and throughout the war, the usual estimate for the cost of a
close carriage in London was three hundred and twenty pounds; since, in
order to have the certain services of two horses, it was indispensable
to keep three. Add to this the coachman, the wear-and-tear of harness,
and the duty; and, even in Bath, a cheaper place than London, you could
not accomplish the total service under two hundred and seventy pounds.
Now, except the duty, all this expense was at once superseded by the
sedan-chair--rarely costing you above ten shillings a week, that is,
twenty-five guineas a year, and liberating you from all care or
anxiety. The duty on four wheels, it is true, was suddenly exalted by
Mr. Pitt's triple assessment from twelve guineas to thirty-six; but
what a trifle by comparison with the cost of horses and coachman! And,
then, no demands for money were ever met so cheerfully by my mother as
those which went to support Mr. Pitt's policy against Jacobinism and
Regicide. At present, after five years' sinecure existence, unless on
the rare summons of a journey, this dormant carriage was suddenly
undocked, and put into commission. Taking with her two servants, and
one of my sisters, my mother now entered upon a _periplus_, or
systematic circumnavigation of all England; and in England only--
through the admirable machinery matured for such a purpose, namely,
inns, innkeepers, servants, horses, all first-rate of their class--it
was possible to pursue such a scheme in the midst of domestic comfort.
My mother's resolution was--to see all England with her own eyes, and
to judge for herself upon the qualifications of each county, each town
(not being a bustling seat of commerce), and each village (having any
advantages of scenery), for contributing the main elements towards a
home that might justify her in building a house. The qualifications
insisted on were these five: good medical advice somewhere in the
neighborhood; first-rate means of education; elegant (or, what most
people might think, aristocratic) society; agreeable scenery: and so
far the difficulty was not insuperable in the way of finding all the
four advantages concentrated. But my mother insisted on a fifth, which
in those days insured the instant shipwreck of the entire scheme; this
was a church of England parish clergyman, who was to be strictly
orthodox, faithful to the articles of our English church, yet to these
articles as interpreted by Evangelical divinity. My mother's views were
precisely those of her friend Mrs. Hannah More, of Wilberforce, of
Henry Thornton, of Zachary Macaulay (father of the historian), and
generally of those who were then known amongst sneerers as "the Clapham
saints." This one requisition it was on which the scheme foundered. And
the fact merits recording as an exposition of the broad religious
difference between the England of that day and of this. At present, no
difficulty would be found as to this fifth requisition. "Evangelical"
clergymen are now sown broad-cast; at that period, there were not, on
an average, above six or eight in each of the fifty-two counties.

The conditions, as a whole, were in fact incapable of being realized;
where two or three were attained, three or two failed. It was too much
to exact so many advantages from any one place, unless London; or
really, if any other place could be looked to with hope in such a
chase, that place was Bath--the very city my mother was preparing to
leave. Yet, had this been otherwise, and the prospect of success more
promising, I have not a doubt that the pretty gem, which suddenly was
offered at a price unintelligibly low, in the ancient city of Chester,
would have availed (as instantly it _did_ avail, and, perhaps,
ought to have availed) in obscuring those five conditions of which else
each separately for itself had seemed a _conditio sine qua non_.
This gem was an ancient house, on a miniature scale, called the
_Priory_; and, until the dissolution of religious houses in the
earlier half of the sixteenth century, had formed part of the Priory
attached to the ancient church (still flourishing) of St. John's.
Towards the end of the sixteenth and through the first quarter of the
seventeenth century, this Priory had been in the occupation of Sir
Robert Cotton, the antiquary, the friend of Ben Jonson, of Coke, of
Selden, etc., and advantageously known as one of those who applied his
legal and historical knowledge to the bending back into constitutional
moulds of those despotic twists which new interests and false counsels
had developed in the Tudor and Stuart dynasties. It was an exceedingly
pretty place; and the kitchen, upon the ground story, which had a noble
groined ceiling of stone, indicated, by its disproportionate scale, the
magnitude of the establishment to which once it had ministered.
Attached to this splendid kitchen were tributary offices, etc. On the
upper story were exactly five rooms: namely, a servants' dormitory,
meant in Sir Robert's day for two beds [Footnote: The contrivance
amongst our ancestors, even at haughty Cambridge and haughtier Oxford,
was, that one bed rising six inches from the floor ran (in the day-
time) under a loftier bed; it ran upon castors or little wheels. The
learned word for a little wheel is _trochlea_; from which Grecian
and Latin term comes the English word _truckle_-bed.] at the
least; and a servants' sitting-room. These were shut off into a
separate section, with a little staircase (like a ship's companion-
ladder) and a little lobby of its own. But the principal section on
this upper story had been dedicated to the use of Sir Robert, and
consisted of a pretty old hall, lighted by an old monastic-painted
window in the door of entrance; secondly, a rather elegant dining-room;
thirdly, a bed-room. The glory of the house internally lay in the
monastic kitchen; and, secondly, in what a Frenchman would have called,
properly, Sir Robert's own _apartment_ [Footnote: _Apartment_.--
Our English use of the word "apartment" is absurd, since it leads to
total misconceptions. We read in French memoirs innumerable of _the
king's apartment_, of _the queen's apartment_, etc., and for us English
the question arises, How? Had the king, had her majesty, only one room?
But, my friend, they might have a thousand rooms, and yet have only one
apartment. An apartment means, in the continental use, a section or
_compartment_ of an edifice.] of three rooms; but, thirdly and chiefly,
in a pile of ruined archways, most picturesque so far as they went, but
so small that Drury Lane could easily have found room for them on its
stage. These stood in the miniature pleasure-ground, and were
constantly resorted to by artists for specimens of architectural
decays, or of nature working for the concealment of such decays by her
ordinary processes of gorgeous floral vegetation. Ten rooms there may
have been in the Priory, as offered to my mother for less than five
hundred pounds. A drawing-room, bed-rooms, dressing-rooms, etc., making
about ten more, were added by my mother for a sum under one thousand
pounds. The same miniature scale was observed in all these additions.
And, as the Priory was not within the walls of the city, whilst the
river Dee, flowing immediately below, secured it from annoyance on one
side, and the church, with its adjacent church-yard, insulated it from
the tumults of life on all the other sides, an atmosphere of conventual
stillness and tranquillity brooded over it and all around it forever.

Such was the house, such was the society, in which I now found myself;
and upon the whole I might describe myself as being, according to the
modern phrase, "in a false position." I had, for instance, a vast
superiority, as was to have been expected, in bookish attainments, and
in adroitness of logic; whilst, on the other hand, I was ridiculously
short-sighted or blind in all fields of ordinary human experience. It
must not be supposed that I regarded my own particular points of
superiority, or that I used them, with any vanity or view to present
advantages. On the contrary, I sickened over them, and labored to
defeat them. But in vain I sowed errors in my premises, or planted
absurdities in my assumptions. Vainly I tried such blunders as putting
four terms into a syllogism, which, as all the world knows, ought to
run on three; a tripod it ought to be, by all rules known to man, and,
behold, I forced it to become a quadruped. Upon my uncle's military
haste, and tumultuous energy in pressing his opinions, all such
delicate refinements were absolutely thrown away. With disgust _I_
saw, with disgust _he_ saw, that too apparently the advantage lay
with me in the result; and, whilst I worked like a dragon to place
myself in the wrong, some fiend apparently so counterworked me, that
eternally I was reminded of the Manx half-pennies, which lately I had
continually seen current in North Wales, bearing for their heraldic
distinction three human legs in armor, but so placed in relation to
each other that always one leg is vertical and mounting guard on behalf
of the other two, which, therefore, are enabled to sprawl aloft in the
air--in fact, to be as absurdly negligent as they choose, relying upon
their vigilant brother below, and upon the written legend or motto,
STABIT QUOCUNQUE JECERIS (Stand it will upright, though you should
fling it in any conceivable direction). What gave another feature of
distraction and incoherency to my position was, that I still occupied
the position of a reputed boy, nay, a child, in the estimate of my
audience, and of a child in disgrace. Time enough had not passed since
my elopement from school to win for me, in minds so fresh from that
remembrance, a station of purification and assoilment. Oxford might
avail to assoil me, and to throw into a distant retrospect my boyish
trespasses; but as yet Oxford had not arrived. I committed, besides, a
great fault in taking often a tone of mock seriousness, when the
detection of the playful extravagance was left to the discernment or
quick sympathy of the hearer; and I was blind to the fact, that neither
my mother nor my uncle was distinguished by any natural liveliness of
vision for the comic, or any toleration for the extravagant. My mother,
for example, had an awful sense of conscientious fidelity in the
payment of taxes. Many a respectable family I have known that would
privately have encouraged a smuggler, and, in consequence, were beset
continually by mock smugglers, offering, with airs of affected mystery,
home commodities liable to no custom-house objections whatsoever, only
at a hyperbolical price. I remember even the case of a duke, who bought
in Piccadilly, under laughable circumstances of complex disguise, some
silk handkerchiefs, falsely pretending to be foreign, and was so
incensed at finding himself to have been committing no breach of law
whatever, but simply to have been paying double the ordinary shop
price, that he pulled up the _soi-disant_ smuggler to Bowstreet,
even at the certain price of exposure to himself. The charge he alleged
against the man was the untenable one of _not_ being a smuggler.
My mother, on the contrary, pronounced all such attempts at cheating
the king, or, as I less harshly termed it, cheating the tax-gatherer,
as being equal in guilt to a fraud upon one's neighbor, or to direct
appropriation of another man's purse. I, on my part, held, that
government, having often defrauded me through its agent and creature
the post-office, by monstrous over-charges on letters, had thus created
in my behalf a right of retaliation. And dreadfully it annoyed my
mother, that I, stating this right in a very plausible rule-of-three
form--namely, As is the income of the said fraudulent government to my
poor patrimonial income of one hundred and fifty pounds per annum, so
is any one special fraud (as, for instance, that of yesterday morning,
amounting to thirteen pence upon a single letter) to that equitable
penalty which I am entitled to recover upon the goods and chattels
(wherever found) of the ill-advised Britannic government. During the
war with Napoleon, the income of this government ran, to all amounts,
between fifty and seventy millions pounds sterling. Awful, therefore,
seemed the inheritance of retaliation, inexhaustible the fund of
reprisals, into which I stepped. Since, even a single case of robbery,
such as I could plead by dozens, in the course of a few years, though
no more than thirteen pence, yet multiplied into seventy million times
two hundred and forty pence, _minus_ one hundred and fifty pounds,
made a very comfortable property. The right was clear; and the sole
difficulty lay in asserting it; in fact, that same difficulty which
beset the philosopher of old, in arguing with the Emperor Hadrian;
namely, the want of thirty legions for the purpose of clearly pointing
out to Cæsar where it was that the truth lay; the secret truth; that
rarest of all "nuggets."

This counter-challenge of government, as the first mover in a system of
frauds, annoyed, but also perplexed my mother exceedingly. For an
argument that shaped itself into a rule-of-three illustration seemed
really to wear too candid an aspect for summary and absolute rejection.

Such discussions wore to me a comic shape. But altogether serious were
the disputes upon INDIA--a topic on separate grounds equally
interesting to us all, as the mightiest of English colonies, and the
superbest monument of demoniac English energy, revealing itself in such
men as Clive, Hastings, and soon after in the two Wellesleys. To my
mother, as the grave of one brother, as the home of another, and as a
new centre from which Christianity (she hoped) would mount like an
eagle; for just about that time the Bible Society was preparing its
initial movements; whilst to my uncle India appeared as the
_arena_ upon which his activities were yet to find their adequate
career. With respect to the Christianization of India, my uncle assumed
a hope which he did not really feel; and in another point, more trying
to himself personally, he had soon an opportunity for showing the
sincerity of this deference to his spiritual-minded sister. For, very
soon after his return to India, he received a civil appointment
(_Superintendent of Military Buildings in Bengal_), highly
lucrative, and the more so as it could be held conjointly with his
military rank; but a good deal of its pecuniary advantages was said to
lie in fees, or perquisites, privately offered, but perfectly regular
and official, which my mother (misunderstanding the Indian system)
chose to call "bribes." A very ugly word was _that_; but I argued
that even at home, even in the courts at Westminster, in the very
fountains of justice, private fees constituted one part of the
salaries--a fair and official part, so long as Parliament had not made
such fees illegal by commuting them for known and fixed equivalents.

 It was mere ignorance of India, as I dutifully insisted against
"Mamma," that could confound these regular oriental "nuzzers" with the
clandestine wages of corruption. The _pot-de-vin_ of French
tradition, the pair of gloves (though at one time very costly gloves)
to an English judge of assize on certain occasions, never was offered
nor received in the light of a bribe. And (until regularly abolished by
the legislature) I insisted--but vainly insisted--that these and
similar _honoraria_ ought to be accepted, because else you were
lowering the prescriptive rights and value of the office, which you--a
mere _locum tenens_ for some coming successor--had no right to do
upon a solitary scruple or crotchet, arising probably from dyspepsia.
Better men, no doubt, than ever stood in _your_ stockings, had
pocketed thankfully the gifts of ancient, time-honored custom. My
uncle, however, though not with the carnal recusancy which besieged the
spiritual efforts of poor Cuthbert Headrigg, that incorrigible
worldling, yet still with intermitting doubts, followed my mother's
earnest entreaties, and the more meritoriously (I conceive), as he
yielded, in a point deeply affecting his interest, to a system of
arguments very imperfectly convincing to his understanding. He held the
office in question for as much (I believe) as eighteen or nineteen
years; and, by knowing old bilious Indians, who laughed immoderately at
my uncle and my mother, as the proper growth of a priory or some such
monastic establishment, I have been assured that nothing short of two
hundred thousand pounds ought, under the long tenure of office, to have
been remitted to England. But, then, said one of these gentlemen, if
your uncle lived (as I have heard that he did) in Calcutta and Meer-ut,
at the rate of four thousand pounds a year, _that_ would account
for a considerable share of a mine which else would seem to have been
worked in vain. Unquestionably, my uncle's system of living was under
no circumstances a self-denying one. To enjoy, and to make others
enjoy--_that_ was his law of action. Indeed, a more liberal creature,
or one of more princely munificence, never lived.

It might seem useless to call back any fragment of conversations
relating to India which passed more than fifty years ago, were it not
for two reasons: one of which is this,--that the errors (natural at
that time) which I vehemently opposed, not from any greater knowledge
that I had, but from closer reflection, are even now the prevailing
errors of the English people. My mother, for instance, uniformly spoke
of the English as the subverters of ancient thrones. I, on the
contrary, insisted that nothing political was ancient in India. Our own
original opponents, the Rajahs of Oude and Bengal, had been all
upstarts: in the Mysore, again, our more recent opponents, Hyder, and
his son Tippoo, were new men altogether, whose grandfathers were quite
unknown. Why was it that my mother, why is it that the English public
at this day, connect so false an image--that of high, cloudy antiquity
--with the thrones of India? It is simply from an old habit of
associating the spirit of change and rapid revolution with the
activities of Europe; so that, by a natural reaction of thought, the
Orient is figured as the home of motionless monotony. In things
religious, in habits, in costume, it _is_ so. But so far otherwise
in things political, that no instance can be alleged of any dynasty or
system of government that has endured beyond a century or two in the
East. Taking India in particular, the Mogul dynasty, established by
Baber, the great-grandson of Timour, did not subsist in any vigor for
two centuries; and yet this was by far the most durable of all
established princely houses. Another argument against England urged by
my mother (but equally urged by the English people at this day) was,
that she had in no eminent sense been a benefactress to India; or,
expressing it in words of later date, that the only memorials of our
rule, supposing us suddenly ejected from India, would be vast heaps of
champagne-bottles. I, on the other hand, alleged that our benefits,
like all truly great and lasting benefits (religious benefits, for
instance), must not be sought in external memorials of stone and
masonry. Higher by far than the Mogul gifts of mile-stones, or
travelling stations, or even roads and tanks, were the gifts of
security, of peace, of law, and settled order. These blessings were
travelling as fast as our rule advanced. I could not _then_ appeal
to the cases of Thuggee extirpated, of the Pindanees (full fifteen
thousand bloody murderers) forever exterminated, or of the Marhattas
bridled forever--a robber nation that previously had descended at
intervals with a force of sometimes one hundred and fifty thousand
troopers upon the afflicted province of Bengal, and Oude its neighbor;
because these were events as yet unborn. But they were the natural
extensions of that beneficent system on which I rested my argument. The
two terrors of India at that particular time were Holkar and Scindiah
(pronounced _Sindy_), who were soon cut short in their career by
the hostilities which they provoked with us, but would else have
proved, in combination, a deadlier scourge to India than either Hyder
or his ferocious son. My mother, in fact, a great reader of the poet
Cowper, drew from _him_ her notions of Anglo-Indian policy and its
effects. Cowper, in his "Task," puts the question,--

  "Is India free? and does she wear her plumed
  And jewelled turban with a smile of peace,
  Or do we grind her still?"

Pretty much the same authority it is which the British public of this
day has for its craze upon the subject of English oppression amongst
the Hindoos.

My uncle, meantime, who from his Indian experience should reasonably
have known so much better, was disposed, from the mere passive habits
of hearing and reading unresistingly so many assaults of this tone
against our Indian policy, to go along with my mother. But he was too
just, when forced into reflection upon the subject, not to bend at
times to my way of stating the case for England. Suddenly, however, our
Indian discussions were brought to a close by the following incident.
My uncle had brought with him to England some Arabian horses, and
amongst them a beautiful young Persian mare, called Sumroo, the
gentlest of her race. Sumroo it was that he happened to be riding, upon
a frosty day. Unused to ice, she came down with him, and broke his
right leg. This accident laid him up for a month, during which my
mother and I read to him by turns. One book, which one day fell to my
share by accident, was De Foe's "Memoirs of a Cavalier." This book
attempts to give a picture of the Parliamentary war; but in some places
an unfair, and everywhere a most superficial account. I said so; and my
uncle, who had an old craze in behalf of the book, opposed me with
asperity; and, in the course of what he said, under some movement of
ill-temper, he asked me, in a way which I felt to be taunting, how I
could consent to waste my time as I did. Without any answering warmth,
I explained that my guardians, having quarrelled with me, would not
grant for my use anything beyond my school allowance of one hundred
pounds per annum. But was it not possible that even this sum might by
economy be made to meet the necessities of the case? I replied that,
from what I had heard, very probably it was. Would I undertake an
Oxford life upon such terms? Most gladly, I said. Upon that opening he
spoke to my mother; and the result was, that, within seven days from
the above conversation, I found myself entering that time-honored




It was in winter, and in the wintry weather of the year 1803, that I
first entered Oxford with a view to its vast means of education, or
rather with a view to its vast advantages for study. A ludicrous story
is told of a young candidate for clerical orders--that, being asked by
the bishop's chaplain if he had ever "been to Oxford," as a colloquial
expression for having had an academic education, he replied, "No: but
he had twice been to Abingdon:" Abingdon being only seven miles
distant. In the same sense I might say that once before I had been at
Oxford: but _that_ was as a transient visitor with Lord W----,
when we were both children. Now, on the contrary, I approached these
venerable towers in the character of a student, and with the purpose of
a long connection; personally interested in the constitution of the
university, and obscurely anticipating that in this city, or at least
during the period of my nominal attachment to this academic body, the
remoter parts of my future life would unfold before me. All hearts were
at this time occupied with the public interests of the country. The
"sorrow of the time" was ripening to a second harvest. Napoleon had
commenced his Vandal, or rather Hunnish War with Britain, in the spring
of this year, about eight months before; and profound public interest
it was, into which the very coldest hearts entered, that a little
divided with me the else monopolizing awe attached to the solemn act of
launching myself upon the world. That expression may seem too strong as
applied to one who had already been for many months a houseless
wanderer in Wales, and a solitary roamer in the streets of London. But
in those situations, it must be remembered, I was an unknown,
unacknowledged vagrant; and without money I could hardly run much risk,
except of breaking my neck. The perils, the pains, the pleasures, or
the obligations, of the world, scarcely exist in a proper sense for him
who has no funds. Perfect weakness is often secure; it is by imperfect
power, turned against its master, that men are snared and decoyed. Here
in Oxford I should be called upon to commence a sort of establishment
upon the splendid English scale; here I should share in many duties and
responsibilities, and should become henceforth an object of notice to a
large society. Now first becoming separately and individually
answerable for my conduct, and no longer absorbed into the general unit
of a family, I felt myself, for the first time, burthened with the
anxieties of a man, and a member of the world.

Oxford, ancient mother! hoary with ancestral honors, time-honored, and,
haply, it may be, time-shattered power--I owe thee nothing! Of thy vast
riches I took not a shilling, though living amongst multitudes who owed
to thee their daily bread. Not the less I owe thee justice; for that is
a universal debt. And at this moment, when I see thee called to thy
audit by unjust and malicious accusers--men with the hearts of
inquisitors and the purposes of robbers--I feel towards thee something
of filial reverence and duty. However, I mean not to speak as an
advocate, but as a conscientious witness in the simplicity of truth;
feeling neither hope nor fear of a personal nature, without fee, and
without favor.

I have been assured from many quarters that the great body of the
public are quite in the dark about the whole manner of living in our
English universities; and that a considerable portion of that public,
misled by the totally different constitution of universities in
Scotland, Ireland, and generally on the continent, as well as by the
different arrangements of collegiate life in those institutions, are in
a state worse than ignorant (that is, more unfavorable to the truth)--
starting, in fact, from prejudices, and absolute errors of fact, which
operate most uncharitably upon their construction of those insulated
statements, which are continually put forward by designing men. Hence,
I can well believe that it will be an acceptable service, at this
particular moment, when the very constitution of the two English
universities is under the unfriendly revision of Parliament, when some
roving commission may be annually looked for, under a contingency which
I will not utter in words (for I reverence the doctrine of
_euphæmismos_), far worse than Cromwellian, that is, merely
personal, and to winnow the existing corporation from disaffection to
the state--a Henry the Eighth commission of sequestration, and levelled
at the very integrity of the institution--under such prospects, I can
well believe that a true account of Oxford _as it is_ (which will
be valid also for Cambridge) must be welcome both to friend and foe.
And instead of giving this account didactically, or according to a
logical classification of the various items in the survey, I will give
it historically, or according to the order in which the most important
facts of the case opened themselves before myself, under the accidents
of my own personal inquiry. No situation could be better adapted than
my own for eliciting information; for, whereas most young men come to
the university under circumstances of absolute determination as to the
choice of their particular college, and have, therefore, no cause for
search or inquiry, I, on the contrary, came thither in solitary self-
dependence, and in the loosest state of indetermination.

Though neither giving nor accepting invitations for the first two years
of my residence, never but once had I reason to complain of a sneer, or
indeed any allusion whatever to habits which might be understood to
express poverty. Perhaps even then I had no reason to complain, for my
own conduct in that instance was unwise; and the allusion, though a
personality, and so far ill-bred, might be meant in real kindness. The
case was this: I neglected my dress in one point habitually; that is, I
wore clothes until they were threadbare--partly in the belief that my
gown would conceal their main defects, but much more from carelessness
and indisposition to spend upon a tailor what I had destined for a
bookseller. At length, an official person, of some weight in the
college, sent me a message on the subject through a friend. It was
couched in these terms: That, let a man possess what talents or
accomplishments he might, it was not possible for him to maintain his
proper station, in the public respect, amongst so many servants and
people, servile to external impressions, without some regard to the
elegance of his dress.

A reproof so courteously prefaced I could not take offence at; and at
that time I resolved to spend some cost upon decorating my person. But
always it happened that some book, or set of books,--that passion being
absolutely endless, and inexorable as the grave,--stepped between me
and my intentions; until one day, upon arranging my toilet hastily
before dinner, I suddenly made the discovery that I had no waistcoat
(or _vest_, as it is now called, through conceit or provincialism),
which was not torn or otherwise dilapidated; whereupon, buttoning up my
coat to the throat, and drawing my gown as close about me as possible,
I went into the public "hall" (so is called in Oxford the public
eating-room) with no misgiving. However, I was detected; for a
grave man, with a superlatively grave countenance, who happened on
that day to sit next me, but whom I did not personally know, addressing
his friend sitting opposite, begged to know if he had seen the last
Gazette, because he understood that it contained an order in council
laying an interdict upon the future use of waistcoats. His friend
replied, with the same perfect gravity, that it was a great
satisfaction to his mind that his majesty's government should have
issued so sensible an order; which he trusted would be soon followed up
by an interdict on breeches, they being still more disagreeable to pay
for. This said, without the movement on either side of a single muscle,
the two gentlemen passed to other subjects; and I inferred, upon the
whole, that, having detected my manoeuvre, they wished to put me on my
guard in the only way open to them. At any rate, this was the sole
personality, or equivocal allusion of any sort, which ever met my ear
during the years that I asserted my right to be as poor as I chose.
And, certainly, my censors were right, whatever were the temper in
which they spoke, kind or unkind; for a little extra care in the use of
clothes will always, under almost any extremity of poverty, pay for so
much extra cost as is essential to neatness and decorum, if not even to
elegance. They were right, and I was wrong, in a point which cannot be
neglected with impunity.

But, to enter upon my own history, and my sketch of Oxford life.--Late
on a winter's night, in the latter half of December, 1803, when a snow-
storm, and a heavy one, was already gathering in the air, a lazy
Birmingham coach, moving at four and a half miles an hour, brought me
through the long northern suburb of Oxford, to a shabby coach-inn,
situated in the Corn Market. Business was out of the question at that
hour. But the next day I assembled all the acquaintances I had in the
university, or had to my own knowledge; and to them, in council
assembled, propounded my first question: What college would they, in
their superior state of information, recommend to my choice? This
question leads to the first great characteristic of Oxford, as
distinguished from most other universities. Before me at this moment
lie several newspapers, reporting, at length, the installation in
office (as Chancellor) of the Duke of Wellington. The original Oxford
report, having occasion to mention the particular college from which
the official procession moved, had said, no doubt, that the gates of
University, the halls of University, &c., were at such a point of time
thrown open. But most of the provincial editors, not at all
comprehending that the reference was to an individual college, known by
the name of University College, one of twenty-five such establishments
in Oxford, had regularly corrected it into "gates of the University,"
&c. Here is the first misconception of all strangers. And this feature
of Oxford it is which has drawn such exclamations of astonishment from
foreigners. Lipsius, for example, protested with fervor, on first
seeing this vast establishment of Oxford, that one college of this
university was greater in its power and splendor, that it glorified and
illustrated the honors of literature more conspicuously by the pomps
with which it invested the ministers and machinery of education, than
any entire university of the continent.

What is a university almost everywhere else? It announces little more,
as respects the academic buildings, than that here is to be found the
place of rendezvous--the exchange, as it were, or, under a different
figure, the _palæstra_ of the various parties connected with the
prosecution of liberal studies. This is their "House of Call," their
general place of muster and parade. Here it is that the professors and
the students converge, with the certainty of meeting each other. Here,
in short, are the lecture-rooms in all the faculties. Well: thus far we
see an arrangement of convenience--that is, of convenience for one of
the parties, namely, the professors. To them it spares the disagreeable
circumstances connected with a private reception of their students at
their own rooms. But to the students it is a pure matter of
indifference. In all this there is certainly no service done to the
cause of good learning, which merits a state sanction, or the aid of
national funds. Next, however, comes an academic library, sometimes a
good one; and here commences a real use in giving a national station to
such institutions, because their durable and monumental existence,
liable to no flux or decay from individual caprice, or accidents of
life, and their authentic station, as expressions of the national
grandeur, point them out to the bequests of patriotic citizens. They
fall also under the benefit of another principle--the conservative
feeling of amateurship. Several great collections have been bequeathed
to the British Museum, for instance--not chiefly _as_ a national
institution, and under feelings of nationality, but because, being
such, it was also permanent; and thus the painful labors of collecting
were guaranteed from perishing. Independently of all this, I, for my
part, willingly behold the surplus of national funds dedicated to the
consecration, as it were, of learning, by raising temples to its honor,
even where they answer no purpose of direct use. Next, after the
service of religion, I would have the service of learning externally
embellished, recommended to the affections of men, and hallowed by the
votive sculptures, as I may say, of that affection, gathering in amount
from age to age. _Magnificabo apostolatum meum_ is a language
almost as becoming to the missionaries and ministers of knowledge, as
to the ambassadors of religion. It is fit that by pompous architectural
monuments, that a voice may forever be sounding audibly in human ears
of homage to these powers, and that even alien feelings may be
compelled into secret submission to their influence. Therefore, amongst
the number of those who value such things, upon the scale of direct
proximate utility, rank not me: that _arithmetica officina_ is in
my years abominable. But still I affirm that, in our analysis of an
ordinary university, or "college" as it is provincially called, we have
not yet arrived at any element of service rendered to knowledge or
education, large enough to call for very extensive national aid. Honor
has thus far been rendered to the good cause by a public attestation,
and that is well: but no direct promotion has been given to that cause,
no impulse communicated to its progress, such that it can be held out
as a result commensurate to the name and pretensions of a university.
As yet there is nothing accomplished which is beyond the strength of
any little commercial town. And as to the library in particular,
besides that in all essential departments it might be bought, to order,
by one day's common subscription of Liverpool or Glasgow merchants,
students very rarely indeed have admission to its free use.

What other functions remain to a university? For those which I have
mentioned of furnishing a point of rendezvous to the great body of
professors and students, and a point of concentration to the different
establishments of implements and machinery for elaborate researches
[as, for instance, of books and MSS., in the first place; secondly, of
maps, charts, and globes; and, thirdly, perhaps of the costly apparatus
required for such studies as Sideral astronomy, galvanic chemistry or
physiology, &c.]; all these are uses which cannot be regarded in a
higher light than as conveniences merely incidental and collateral to
the main views of the founders. There are, then, two much loftier and
more commanding ends met by the idea and constitution of such
institutions, and which first rise to a rank of dignity sufficient to
occupy the views of a legislator, or to warrant a national interest.
These ends are involved: 1st, in the practice of conferring
_degrees_, that is, formal attestations and guarantees of competence
to give advice, instruction, or aid, in the three great branches
of liberal knowledge applicable to human life; 2d, in that
appropriation of fixed funds to fixed professorships, by means of which
the uninterrupted succession of public and authorized teachers is
sustained in all the higher branches of knowledge, from generation to
generation, and from century to century. By the latter result it is
secured that the great well-heads of liberal knowledge and of severe
science shall never grow dry. By the former it is secured that this
unfailing fountain shall be continually applied to the production and
to the _tasting_ of fresh labors in endless succession for the
public service, and thus, in effect, that the great national fountain
shall not be a stagnant reservoir, but, by an endless _derivation_
(to speak in a Roman metaphor!), applied to a system of national
irrigation. These are the two great functions and qualifications of a
collegiate incorporation: one providing to each separate generation its
own separate rights of heirship to all the knowledge accumulated by its
predecessors, and converting a mere casual life-annuity into an estate
of inheritance--a mere fleeting _agonisma_ into a _ktæma es æi_; the
other securing for this eternal dowry as wide a distribution as
possible: the one function regarding the dimension of _length_ in the
endless series of ages through which it propagates its gifts; the other
regarding the dimension of _breadth_ in the large application
throughout any one generation of these gifts to the public service.
Here are grand functions, high purposes; but neither one nor the other
demands any edifices of stone and marble; neither one nor the other
presupposes any edifice at all built with human hands. A collegiate
incorporation, the church militant of knowledge, in its everlasting
struggle with darkness and error, is, in this respect, like the
church of Christ--that is, it is always and essentially invisible
to the fleshly eye. The pillars of this church are human champions; its
weapons are great truths so shaped as to meet the shifting forms of
error; its armories are piled and marshalled in human memories; its
cohesion lies in human zeal, in discipline, in childlike docility; and
all its triumphs, its pomps, and glories, must forever depend upon
talent, upon the energies of the will, and upon the harmonious
cooperation of its several divisions. Thus far, I say, there is no call
made out for _any_ intervention of the architect.

Let me apply all this to Oxford. Among the four functions commonly
recognized by the founders of universities, which are--1st, to find a
set of halls or places of meeting; 2d, to find the implements and
accessaries of study; 3d, to secure the succession of teachers and
learners; 4th, to secure the profitable application of their
attainments to the public service. Of these four, the two highest need
no buildings; and the other two, which are mere collateral functions of
convenience, need only a small one. Wherefore, then, and to what end,
are the vast systems of building, the palaces and towers of Oxford?
These are either altogether superfluous, mere badges of ostentation and
luxurious wealth, or they point to some fifth function not so much as
contemplated by other universities, and, at present, absolutely and
chimerically beyond their means of attainment. Formerly we used to hear
attacks upon the Oxford discipline as fitted to the true
_intellectual_ purposes of a modern education. Those attacks, weak
and most uninstructed in facts, false as to all that they challenged,
and puerile as to what implicitly they propounded for homage, are
silent. But, of late, the battery has been pointed against the Oxford
discipline in its _moral_ aspects, as fitted for the government
and restraint of young men, or even as at all contemplating any such
control. The Beverleys would have us suppose, not only that the great
body of the students are a licentious crew, acknowledging no discipline
or restraints, but that the grave elders of the university, and those
who wield the nominal authority of the place, passively resign the very
shows of power, and connive at general excesses, even when they do not
absolutely authorize them in their personal examples. Now, when such
representations are made, to what standard of a just discipline is it
that these writers would be understood as appealing? Is it to some
ideal, or to some existing and known reality? Would they have England
suppose that they are here comparing the actual Oxford with some
possible hypothetic or imaginable Oxford,--with some ideal case, that
is to say, about which great discussions would arise as to its
feasibility,--or that they are comparing it with some known standard of
discipline actually realized and sustained for generations, in Leipsic,
suppose, or Edinburgh, or Leyden, or Salamanca? This is the question of
questions, to which we may demand an answer; and, according to that
answer, observe the dilemma into which these furciferous knaves must
drop. If they are comparing Oxford simply with some ideal and better
Oxford, in some ideal and better world, in that case all they have
said--waiving its falsehoods of fact--is no more than a flourish of
rhetoric, and the whole discussion may be referred to the shadowy
combats of scholastic declamation-mongers--those mock gladiators, and
_umbratiles doctores_. But if, on the other hand, they pretend to
take their station upon the known basis of some existing institution,--
if they will pretend that, in this impeachment of Oxford, they are
proceeding upon a silent comparison with Edinburgh, Glasgow, Jena,
Leipsic, Padua, &c.,--then are they self-exposed, as men not only
without truth, but without shame. For now comes in, as a sudden
revelation, and as a sort of _deus ex machina_, for the vindication
of the truth, the simple answer to that question proposed above,
Wherefore, and to what end, are the vast edifices of Oxford? A
university, as universities are in general, needs not, I have shown, to
be a visible body--a building raised with hands. Wherefore, then, is
the _visible_ Oxford? To what _fifth_ end, refining upon the
ordinary ends of such institutions, is the far-stretching system of
Oxford _hospitia_, or monastic hotels, directed by their founders,
or applied by their present possessors? Hearken, reader, to the answer:

These vast piles are applied to an end, absolutely indispensable to any
even tolerable system of discipline, and yet absolutely unattainable
upon any commensurate scale in any other university of Europe. They are
applied to the personal settlement and domestication of the students
within the gates and walls of that college to whose discipline they are
amenable. Everywhere else the young men live _where_ they please
and _as_ they please; necessarily distributed amongst the towns-
people; in any case, therefore, liable to no control or supervision
whatever; and in those cases where the university forms but a small
part of a vast capital city, as it does in Paris, Edinburgh, Madrid,
Vienna, Berlin, and Petersburg, liable to every mode of positive
temptation and distraction, which besiege human life in high-viced and
luxurious communities. Here, therefore, it is a mockery to talk of
discipline; of a nonentity there can be no qualities; and we need not
ask for the description of the discipline in situations where
discipline there can be none. One slight anomaly I have heard of as
varying _pro tanto_ the uniform features of this picture. In
Glasgow I have heard of an arrangement by which young academicians are
placed in the family of a professor. Here, as members of a private
household, and that household under the presiding eye of a
conscientious, paternal, and judicious scholar, doubtless they would
enjoy as absolute a shelter from peril and worldly contagion as parents
could wish; but not _more_ absolute, I affirm, than belongs,
unavoidably, to the monastic seclusion of an Oxford college--the gates
of which open to no egress after nine o'clock at night, nor after
eleven to any ingress which is not regularly reported to a proper
officer of the establishment. The two forms of restraint are, as
respects the effectual amount of control, equal; and were they equally
diffused, Glasgow and Oxford would, in this point, stand upon the same
level of discipline. But it happens that the Glasgow case was a
personal accident; personal, both as regarded him who volunteered the
exercise of this control, and those who volunteered to appropriate its
benefits; whereas the Oxford case belongs to the very system, is
coextensive with the body of undergraduates, and, from the very
arrangement of Oxford life, is liable to no decay or intermission.

Here, then, the reader apprehends the first great characteristic
distinction of Oxford--that distinction which extorted the rapturous
admiration of Lipsius as an exponent of enormous wealth, but which I
now mention as applying, with ruinous effect, to the late calumnies
upon Oxford, as an inseparable exponent of her meritorious discipline.
She, most truly and severely an "Alma Mater" gathers all the juvenile
part of her flock within her own fold, and beneath her own vigilant
supervision. In Cambridge there is, so far, a laxer administration of
this rule, that, when any college overflows, undergraduates are allowed
to lodge at large in the town. But in Oxford this increase of peril and
discretionary power is thrown by preference upon the senior graduates,
who are seldom below the age of twenty-two or twenty-three; and the
college accommodations are reserved, in almost their whole extent, for
the most youthful part of the society. This extent is prodigious. Even
in my time, upwards of two thousand persons were lodged within the
colleges; none having fewer than two rooms, very many having three, and
men of rank, or luxurious habits, having often large suites of rooms.
But that was a time of war, which Oxford experience has shown to have
operated most disproportionably as a drain upon the numbers disposable
for liberal studies; and the total capacity of the university was far
from being exhausted. There are now, I believe, between five and six
thousand names upon the Oxford books; and more than four thousand, I
understand, of constant residents. So that Oxford is well able to
lodge, and on a very sumptuous scale, a small army of men; which
expression of her great splendor I now mention (as I repeat) purely as
applying to the question of her machinery for enforcing discipline.
This part of her machinery, it will be seen, is unique, and absolutely
peculiar to herself. Other universities, boasting no such enormous
wealth, cannot be expected to act upon her system of seclusion.
Certainly, I make it no reproach to other universities, that, not
possessing the means of sequestering their young men from worldly
communion, they must abide by the evils of a laxer discipline. It is
their misfortune, and not their criminal neglect, which consents to so
dismal a relaxation of academic habits. But let them not urge this
misfortune in excuse at one time, and at another virtually disavow it.
Never let _them_ take up a stone to throw at Oxford, upon this
element of a wise education; since in them, through that original vice
in their constitution, the defect of all means for secluding and
insulating their society, discipline is abolished by anticipation--
being, in fact, an impossible thing; for the walls of the college are
subservient to no purpose of life, but only to a purpose of
convenience; they converge the students for the hour or two of what is
called lecture; which over, each undergraduate again becomes _sui
juris_, is again absorbed into the crowds of the world, resorts to
whatsoever haunts he chooses, and finally closes his day at----if, in
any sense, at home--at a home which is not merely removed from the
supervision and control, but altogether from the bare knowledge, of his
academic superiors. How far this discipline is well administered in
other points at Oxford, will appear from the rest of my account. But,
thus far, at least, it must be conceded, that Oxford, by and through
this one unexampled distinction--her vast disposable fund of
accommodations for junior members within her own private cloisters--
possesses an advantage which she could not forfeit, if she would,
towards an effectual knowledge of each man's daily habits, and a
control over him which is all but absolute.

This knowledge and this control is much assisted and concentrated by
the division of the university into separate colleges. Here comes
another feature of the Oxford system. Elsewhere the university is a
single college; and this college is the university. But in Oxford the
university expresses, as it were, the army, and the colleges express
the several brigades, or regiments.

To resume, therefore, my own thread of personal narration. On the next
morning after my arrival in Oxford, I assembled a small council of
friends to assist me in determining at which of the various separate
societies I should enter, and whether as a "commoner," or as a
"gentleman commoner." Under the first question was couched the
following latitude of choice: I give the names of the colleges, and the
numerical account of their numbers, as it stood in January, 1832; for
this will express, as well as the list of that day, (which I do not
accurately know), the _proportions_ of importance amongst them.

  1. University College ................. 207
  2. Balliol         "  ................. 257
  3. Merton          "  ................. 124
  4. Exeter          "  ................. 299
  5. Oriel           "  ................. 293
  6. Queen's         "  ................. 351
  7. New             "  ................. 157
  8. Lincoln         "  ................. 141
  9. All Souls'      "  .................  98
  10. Magdalene      "  ................. 165
  11. Brazennose     "  ................. 418
  12. Corpus Christi "  ................. 127
  13. Christ Church  "  ................. 949
  14. Trinity        "  ................. 259
  15. St. John's     "  ................. 218
  16. Jesus          "  ................. 167
  17. Wadham         "  ................. 217
  18. Pembroke       "  ................. 189
  19. Worcester      "  ................. 231

Then, besides these colleges, five _Halls_, as they are technically
called, (the term _Hall_ implying chiefly that they are societies not
endowed, or not endowed with fellowships as the colleges are), namely:

  1. St. Mary Hall.  ..............  83
  2. Magdalen   "    .............. 178
  3. New Inn    "    ..............  10
  4. St. Alban  "    ..............  41
  5. St. Edmund "    ..............  96

Such being the names, and general proportions on the scale of local
importance, attached to the different communities, next comes the very
natural question, What are the chief determining motives for guiding
the selection amongst them? These I shall state. First of all, a man
not otherwise interested in the several advantages of the colleges has,
however, in all probability, some choice between a small society and a
large one; and thus far a mere ocular inspection of the list will serve
to fix his preference. For my part, supposing other things equal, I
greatly preferred the most populous college, as being that in which any
single member, who might have reasons for standing aloof from the
general habits of expense, of intervisiting, etc., would have the best
chance of escaping a jealous notice. However, amongst those "other
things" which I presumed equal, one held a high place in my estimation,
which a little inquiry showed to be very far from equal. All the
colleges have chapels, but all have not organs; nor, amongst those
which have, is the same large use made of the organ. Some preserve the
full cathedral service; others do not. Christ Church, meantime,
fulfilled _all_ conditions: for the chapel here happens to be the
cathedral of the diocese; the service, therefore, is full and
ceremonial; the college, also, is far the most splendid, both in
numbers, rank, wealth, and influence. Hither I resolved to go; and
immediately I prepared to call on the head.

The "head," as he is called generically, of an Oxford college (his
_specific_ appellation varies almost with every college--
principal, provost, master, rector, warden, etc.), is a greater man
than the uninitiated suppose. His situation is generally felt as
conferring a degree of rank not much less than episcopal; and, in fact,
the head of Brazennose at that time, who happened to be the Bishop of
Bangor, was not held to rank much above his brothers in office. Such
being the rank of heads generally, _a fortiori_, that of Christ
Church was to be had in reverence; and this I knew. He is always, _ex
officio_, dean of the diocese; and, in his quality of college head,
he only, of all deans that ever were heard of, is uniformly considered
a greater man than his own diocesan. But it happened that the present
dean had even higher titles to consideration. Dr. Cyril Jackson had
been tutor to the Prince of Wales (George IV.); he had repeatedly
refused a bishopric; and _that_, perhaps, is entitled to place a
man one degree above him who has accepted one. He was also supposed to
have made a bishop, and afterwards, at least, it is certain that lie
made his own brother a bishop. All things weighed, Dr. Cyril Jackson
seemed so very great a personage that I now felt the value of my long
intercourse with great Dons in giving me confidence to face a lion of
this magnitude.

Those who know Oxford are aware of the peculiar feelings which have
gathered about the name and pretensions of Christ Church; feelings of
superiority and leadership in the members of that college, and often
enough of defiance and jealousy on the part of other colleges. Hence it
happens that you rarely find yourself in a shop, or other place of
public resort, with a Christ-Church man, but he takes occasion, if
young and frivolous, to talk loudly of the Dean, as an indirect
expression of his own connection with this splendid college; the title
of _Dean_ being exclusively attached to the headship of Christ
Church. The Dean, as may be supposed, partakes in this superior dignity
of his "House;" he is officially brought into connection with all
orders of the British aristocracy--often with royal personages; and
with the younger branches of the aristocracy his office places him in a
relation of authority and guardianship--exercised, however, through
inferior ministry, and seldom by direct personal interference. The
reader must understand that, with rare exceptions, all the princes and
nobles of Great Britain, who choose to benefit by an academic
education, resort either to Christ Church College in Oxford, or to
Trinity College in Cambridge; these are the alternatives. Naturally
enough, my young friends were somewhat startled at my determination to
call upon so great a man; a letter, they fancied, would be a better
mode of application. I, however, who did not adopt the doctrine that no
man is a hero to his valet, was of opinion that very few men indeed are
heroes to themselves. The cloud of external pomp, which invests them to
the eyes of the _attoniti_ cannot exist to their own; they do not,
like Kehama, entering the eight gates of Padalon at once, meet and
contemplate their own grandeurs; but, more or less, are conscious of
acting a part. I did not, therefore, feel the tremor which was expected
of a novice, on being ushered into so solemn a presence.



The Dean was sitting in a spacious library or study, elegantly, if not
luxuriously furnished. Footmen, stationed as repeaters, as if at some
fashionable rout, gave a momentary importance to my unimportant self,
by the thundering tone of their annunciations. All the machinery of
aristocratic life seemed indeed to intrench this great Don's
approaches; and I was really surprised that so very great a man should
condescend to rise on my entrance. But I soon found that, if the Dean's
station and relation to the higher orders had made him lofty, those
same relations had given a peculiar suavity to his manners. Here,
indeed, as on other occasions, I noticed the essential misconception,
as to the demeanor of men of rank, which prevails amongst those who
have no personal access to their presence. In the fabulous pictures of
novels (such novels as once abounded), and in newspaper reports of
conversations, real or pretended, between the king and inferior
persons, we often find the writer expressing _his_ sense of
aristocratic assumption, by making the king address people without
their titles. The Duke of Wellington, for instance, or Lord Liverpool,
figures usually, in such scenes, as "Wellington," or "Arthur," and as
"Liverpool." Now, as to the private talk of George IV. in such cases, I
do not pretend to depose; but, speaking generally, I may say that the
practice of the highest classes takes the very opposite course. Nowhere
is a man so sure of his titles or official distinctions as amongst
_them_; for, it is upon giving to every man the very extreme
punctilio of his known or supposed claims, that they rely for the due
observance of their own. Neglecting no form of courtesy suited to the
case, they seek, in this way, to remind men unceasingly of what they
expect; and the result is what I represent--that people in the highest
stations, and such as bring them continually into contact with
inferiors, are, of all people, the least addicted to insolence or
defect of courtesy. Uniform suavity of manner is indeed rarely found,
except in men of high rank. Doubtless this may arise upon a motive of
self-interest, jealous of giving the least opening or invitation to the
retorts of ill-temper or low breeding. But, whatever be its origin,
such I believe to be the fact. In a very long conversation of a general
nature upon the course of my studies, and the present direction of my
reading, Dr. Cyril Jackson treated me just as he would have done his
equal in station and in age. Coming, at length, to the particular
purpose of my visit at this time to himself, he assumed a little more
of his official stateliness. He condescended to say that it would have
given him pleasure to reckon me amongst his flock; "But, sir," he said,
in a tone of some sharpness, "your guardians have acted improperly. It
was their duty to have given me at least one year's notice of their
intention to place you at Christ Church. At present I have not a dog-
kennel in my college untenanted." Upon this, I observed that nothing
remained for me to do but to apologize for having occupied so much of
his time; that, for myself, I now first heard of this preliminary
application; and that, as to my guardians, I was bound to acquit them
of all oversight in this instance, they being no parties to my present
scheme. The Dean expressed his astonishment at this statement. I, on my
part, was just then making my parting bows, and had reached the door,
when a gesture of the Dean's, courteously waving me back to the sofa I
had quitted, invited me to resume my explanations; and I had a
conviction at the moment that the interview would have terminated in
the Dean's suspending his standing rule in my favor. But, just at that
moment, the thundering heralds of the Dean's hall announced some man of
high rank: the sovereign of Christ Church seemed distressed for a
moment; but then recollecting himself, bowed in a way to indicate that
I was dismissed. And thus it happened that I did not become a member of
Christ Church.

A few days passed in thoughtless indecision. At the end of that time, a
trivial difficulty arose to settle my determination. I had brought
about fifty guineas to Oxford; but the expenses of an Oxford inn, with
almost daily entertainments to young friends, had made such inroads
upon this sum, that, after allowing for the contingencies incident to a
college initiation, enough would not remain to meet the usual demand
for what is called "caution money." This is a small sum, properly
enough demanded of every student, when matriculated, as a pledge for
meeting any loss from unsettled arrears, such as his sudden death or
his unannounced departure might else continually be inflicting upon his
college. By releasing the college, therefore, from all necessity for
degrading vigilance or persecution, this demand does, in effect,
operate beneficially to the feelings of all parties. In most colleges
it amounts to twenty-five pounds: in one only it was considerably less.
And this trifling consideration it was, concurring with a reputation
_at that time_ for relaxed discipline, which finally determined me
in preferring W--- College to all others. This college had the capital
disadvantage, in my eyes, that its chapel possessed no organ, and no
musical service. But any other choice would have driven me to an
instant call for more money--a measure which, as too flagrantly in
contradiction to the whole terms on which I had volunteered to
undertake an Oxford life, I could not find nerves to face.

At W---- College, therefore, I entered: and here arises the proper
occasion for stating the true costs of an Oxford education. First comes
the question of _lodging_. This item varies, as may be supposed;
but my own case will place on record the two extremes of cost in one
particular college, nowadays differing, I believe, from the general
standard. The first rooms assigned me, being small and ill-lighted, as
part of an old Gothic building, were charged at four guineas a year.
These I soon exchanged for others a little better, and for them I paid
six guineas. Finally, by privilege of seniority, I obtained a handsome
set of well-proportioned rooms, in a modern section of the college,
charged at ten guineas a year. This set was composed of three rooms;
namely, an airy bedroom, a study, and a spacious room for receiving
visitors. This range of accommodation is pretty general in Oxford, and,
upon the whole, may be taken perhaps as representing the average amount
of luxury in this respect, and at the average amount of cost. The
furniture and the fittings up of these rooms cost me about twenty-five
guineas; for the Oxford rule is, that if you take the rooms (which is
at your own option), in that case, you _third_ the furniture and
the embellishments--that is, you succeed to the total cost diminished
by one third. You pay, therefore, two guineas out of each three to your
_immediate_ predecessor. But, as he also may have succeeded to the
furniture upon the same terms, whenever there happens to have been a
rapid succession of occupants, the original cost to a remote
predecessor is sometimes brought down, by this process of diminution,
to a mere fraction of the true value; and yet no individual occupant
can complain of any heavy loss. Whilst upon this subject, I may observe
that, in the seventeenth century, in Milton's time, for example (about
1624), and for more than sixty years after that era, the practice of
_chumship_ prevailed: every set of chambers was possessed by two
cooccupants; they had generally the same bed-room, and a common study;
and they were called _chums_. This practice, once all but universal, is
now entirely extinct; and the extinction serves to mark the advance of
the country, not so much in luxury as in refinement.

The next item which I shall notice is that which in college bills is
expressed by the word _Tutorage_. This is the same in all colleges,
I believe, namely, ten guineas per annum. And this head suggests
an explanation which is most important to the reputation of Oxford,
and fitted to clear up a very extensive delusion. Some years ago,
a most elaborate statement was circulated of the number and costly
endowment of the Oxford professorships. Some thirty or more there were,
it was alleged, and five or six only which were not held as absolute
sinecures. Now, this is a charge which I am not here meaning to
discuss. Whether defensible or not, I do not now inquire. It is the
practical interpretation and construction of this charge which I here
wish to rectify. In most universities, except those of England, the
professors are the body on whom devolves the whole duty and burthen of
teaching; they compose the sole fountains of instruction; and if these
fountains fail, the fair inference is, that the one great purpose of
the institution is defeated. But this inference, valid for all other
places, is not so for Oxford and Cambridge. And here, again, the
difference arises out of the peculiar distribution of these bodies into
separate and independent colleges. Each college takes upon itself the
regular instruction of its separate inmates--of these and of no others;
and for this office it appoints, after careful selection, trial, and
probation, the best qualified amongst those of its senior members who
choose to undertake a trust of such heavy responsibility. These
officers are called Tutors; and they are connected by duties and by
accountability, not with the university at all, but with their own
private colleges. The professors, on the other hand, are _public_
functionaries, not connected (as respects the exercise of their duties)
with any college whatsoever--not even with their own--but altogether
and exclusively with the whole university. Besides the public tutors
appointed in each college, on the scale of one to each dozen or score
of students, there are also tutors strictly private, who attend any
students in search of special and extraordinary aid, on terms settled
privately by themselves. Of these persons, or their existence, the
college takes no cognizance; but between the two classes of tutors, the
most studious young men--those who would be most likely to avail
themselves of the lectures read by the professors--have their whole
time pretty severely occupied: and the inference from all this is, not
only that the course of Oxford education would suffer little if no
professors at all existed, but also that, if the existing professors
were _ex abundanti_ to volunteer the most exemplary spirit of
exertion, however much this spectacle of conscientious dealing might
edify the university, it would contribute but little to the promotion
of academic purposes. The establishment of professors is, in fact, a
thing of ornament and pomp. Elsewhere, they are the working servants;
but, in Oxford, the ministers corresponding to them bear another
name,--they are called _Tutors_. These are the working agents in the
Oxford system; and the professors, with salaries in many cases merely
nominal, are persons sequestered, and properly sequestered, to the
solitary cultivation and advancement of knowledge, which a different
order of men is appointed to communicate.

Here let us pause for one moment, to notice another peculiarity in the
Oxford system, upon the tendency of which I shall confidently make my
appeal to the good sense of all unprejudiced readers. I have said that
the _tutors_ of Oxford correspond to the _professors_ of
other universities. But this correspondence, which is absolute and
unquestionable as regards the point then at issue,--namely, where we
are to look for that limb of the establishment on which rests the main
teaching agency,--is liable to considerable qualification, when we
examine the mode of their teaching. In both cases, this is conveyed by
what is termed "lecturing;"--but what is the meaning of a lecture in
Oxford and elsewhere? Elsewhere, it means a solemn dissertation, read,
or sometimes histrionically declaimed, by the professor. In Oxford, it
means an exercise performed orally by the students, occasionally
assisted by the tutor, and subject, in its whole course, to his
corrections, and what may be called his _scholia_, or collateral
suggestions and improvements. Now, differ as men may as to other
features of the Oxford, compared with the hostile system, here I
conceive that there is no room for doubt or demur. An Oxford lecture
imposes a real, _bona fide_ task upon the student; it will not
suffer him to fall asleep, either literally or in the energies of his
understanding; it is a real drill, under the excitement, perhaps, of
personal competition, and under the review of a superior scholar. But,
in Germany, under the declamations of the professor, the young men are
often literally sleeping; nor is it easy to see how the attention can
be kept from wandering, on this plan, which subjects the auditor to no
risk of sudden question or personal appeal. As to the prizes given for
essays, etc., by the professors, these have the effect of drawing forth
latent talent, but they can yield no criterion of the attention paid to
the professor; not to say that the competition for these prizes is a
matter of choice. Sometimes it is true that examinations take place;
but the Oxford lecture is a daily examination; and, waiving _that_,
what chance is there (I would ask) for searching examinations, for
examinations conducted with the requisite _auctoritas_ (or weight of
influence derived from personal qualities), if--which may Heaven
prevent!--the German tenure of professorships were substituted for our
British one: that is, if for independent and liberal teachers were
substituted poor mercenary haberdashers of knowledge--cap in hand to
opulent students--servile to their caprices--and, at one blow,
degrading the science they profess, the teacher, and the pupil? Yet I
hear that such advice _was_ given to a Royal Commission, sent to
investigate one or more of the Scottish universities. In the German
universities, every professor holds his situation, not in his good
behavior, but on the capricious pleasure of the young men who resort to
his market. He opens a shop, in fact: others, without limit, generally
men of no credit or known respectability, are allowed to open rival
shops; and the result is, sometimes, that the whole kennel of scoundrel
professors ruin one another; each standing with his mouth open, to leap
at any bone thrown amongst them, from the table of the "Burschen;" all
hating, fighting, calumniating each other, until the land is sick of
its base knowledge-mongers, and would vomit the loathsome crew, were
any natural channel open to their instincts of abhorrence. The most
important of the Scottish professorships--those which are fundamentally
morticed to the moral institutions of the land--are upon the footing of
Oxford tutorships, as regards emoluments; that is, they are not
suffered to keep up a precarious mendicant existence, upon the alms of
the students, or upon their fickle admirations. It is made imperative
upon a candidate for admission into the ministry of the Scottish Kirk,
that he shall show a certificate of attendance through a given number
of seasons at given lectures.

The next item in the quarterly (or, technically, the _term_) bills
of Oxford is for servants. This, in my college, and, I believe, in all
others, amounted, nominally, to two guineas a year. That sum, however,
was paid to a principal servant, whom, perhaps, you seldom or never
saw; the actual attendance upon yourself being performed by one of his
deputies; and to this deputy--who is, in effect, a _factotum_,
combining in his single person all the functions of chambermaid, valet,
waiter at meals, and porter or errand-boy--by the custom of the place
and your own sense of propriety, you cannot but give something or other
in the shape of perquisites. I was told, on entering, that half a
guinea a quarter was the customary allowance,--the same sum, in fact,
as was levied by the college for his principal; but I gave mine a
guinea a quarter, thinking that little enough for the many services he
performed; and others, who were richer than myself, I dare say, often
gave much more. Yet, sometimes, it struck me, from the gratitude which
his looks testified, on my punctual payment of this guinea,--for it was
the only bill with regard to which I troubled myself to practise any
severe punctuality,--that perhaps some thoughtless young man might give
him less, or might even forget to give anything; and, at all events, I
have reason to believe that half that sum would have contented him.
These minutiae I record purposely; my immediate object being to give a
rigorous statement of the real expenses incident to an English
university education, partly as a guide to the calculations of parents,
and partly as an answer to the somewhat libellous exaggerations which
are current on this subject, in times like these, when even the truth
itself, and received in a spirit of candor the most indulgent, may be
all too little to defend these venerable seats of learning from the
ruin which seems brooding over them. Yet, no! Abominable is the
language of despair even in a desperate situation. And, therefore,
Oxford, ancient mother! and thou, Cambridge, twin-light of England! be
vigilant and erect, for the enemy stands at all your gates! Two
centuries almost have passed since the boar was within your vineyards,
laying waste and desolating your heritage. Yet that storm was not
final, nor that eclipse total. May this also prove but a trial and a
shadow of affliction! which affliction, may it prove to you, mighty
incorporations, what, sometimes, it is to us, poor, frail
_homunculi_--a process of purification, a solemn and oracular
warning! And, when that cloud is overpast, then, rise, ancient powers,
wiser and better--ready, like the _lampudæphoroi_ of old, to enter
upon a second _stadium_, and to transmit the sacred torch through
a second period of twice [Footnote: Oxford may confessedly claim a
duration of that extent; and the pretensions of Cambridge, in that
respect, if less aspiring, are, however, as I believe, less accurately
determined.] five hundred years. So prays a loyal _alumnus_, whose
presumption, if any be, in taking upon himself a monitory tone, is
privileged by zeal and filial anxiety.

To return, however, into the track from which I have digressed. The
reader will understand that any student is at liberty to have private
servants of his own, as many and of what denomination he pleases. This
point, as many others of a merely personal bearing, when they happen to
stand in no relation to public discipline, neither the university nor
the particular college of the student feels summoned or even authorized
to deal with. Neither, in fact, does any other university in Europe;
and why, then, notice the case? Simply thus: if the Oxford discipline,
in this particular chapter, has nothing special or peculiar about it,
yet the case to which it applies _has_, and is almost exclusively
found in our universities. On the continent it happens most rarely that
a student has any funds disposable for luxuries so eminently such as
grooms or footmen; but at Oxford and Cambridge the case occurs often
enough to attract notice from the least vigilant eye. And thus we find
set down to the credit account of other universities the non-existence
of luxury in this or other modes, whilst, meantime, it is well known to
the fair inquirer that each or all are indulgences, not at all or so
much as in idea proscribed by the sumptuary edicts of those
universities; but, simply, by the lower scale of their general
revenues. And this lower scale, it will be said--how do you account for
that? I answer, not so much by the general inferiority of continental
Europe to Great Britain in _diffusive_ wealth (though that argument
goes for something, it being notorious that, whilst immoderate
wealth, concentrated in a small number of hands, exists in various
continental states upon a larger scale than with us, moderately large
estates, on the other hand, are, with them, as one to two hundred, or
even two hundred and fifty, in comparison of ours), but chiefly upon
this fact, which is too much overlooked, that the foreign universities
are not peopled from the wealthiest classes, which are the class either
already noble, or wishing to become such. And why is that? Purely from
the vicious constitution of society on the continent, where all the
fountains of honor lie in the military profession or in the diplomatic.
We English, haters and revilers of ourselves beyond all precedent,
disparagers of our own eminent advantages beyond all sufferance of
honor or good sense, and daily playing into the hands of foreign
enemies, who hate us out of mere envy or shame, have amongst us some
hundreds of writers who will die or suffer martyrdom upon this
proposition--that aristocracy, and the spirit and prejudices of
aristocracy, are more operative (more effectually and more extensively
operative) amongst ourselves, than in any other known society of men.
Now, I, who believe all errors to arise in some narrow, partial, or
angular view of truth, am seldom disposed to meet any sincere
affirmation by a blank, unmodified denial. Knowing, therefore, that
some acute observers do really believe this doctrine as to the
aristocratic forces, and the way in which they mould English society, I
cannot but suppose that some symptoms do really exist of such a
phenomenon; and the only remark I shall here make on the case is this,
that, very often, where any force or influence reposes upon deep
realities, and upon undisturbed foundations, _there_ will be the
least heard of loquacious and noisy expressions of its power; which
expressions arise most, not where the current is most violent, but
where (being possibly the weakest) it is most fretted with resistance.

In England, the very reason why the aristocratic feeling makes itself
so sensibly felt and so distinctly an object of notice to the
censorious observer is, because it maintains a troubled existence
amongst counter and adverse influences, so many and so potent. This
might be illustrated abundantly. But, as respects the particular
question before me, it will be sufficient to say this: With us the
profession and exercise of knowledge, as a means of livelihood, is
honorable; on the continent it is not so. The knowledge, for instance,
which is embodied in the three learned professions, does, with us, lead
to distinction and civil importance; no man can pretend to deny this;
nor, by consequence, that the professors personally take rank with the
highest order of gentlemen. Are they not, I demand, everywhere with us
on the same footing, in point of rank and consideration, as those who
bear the king's commission in the army and navy? Can this be affirmed
of the continent, either generally, or, indeed, partially? I say,
_no_. Let us take Germany, as an illustration. Many towns (for
anything I know, all) present us with a regular bisection of the
resident _notables_, or wealthier class, into two distinct (often
hostile) coteries: one being composed of those who are "_noble_;"
the other, of families equally well educated and accomplished, but
_not_, in the continental sense, "noble." The meaning and value of
the word is so entirely misapprehended by the best English writers,
being, in fact, derived from our own way of applying it, that it
becomes important to ascertain its true value. A "nobility," which is
numerous enough to fill a separate ball-room in every sixth-rate town,
it needs no argument to show, cannot be a nobility in any English
sense. In fact, an _edelmann_ or nobleman, in the German sense, is
strictly what we mean by a _born gentleman_; with this one only
difference, that, whereas, with us, the rank which denominates a man
such passes off by shades so insensible, and almost infinite, into the
ranks below, that it becomes impossible to assign it any strict
demarkation or lines of separation; on the contrary, the continental
noble points to certain fixed barriers, in the shape of privileges,
which divide him, _per saltum_, from those who are below his own
order. But were it not for this one legal benefit of accurate
circumscription and slight favor, the continental noble, whether Baron
of Germany, Count of France, or Prince of Sicily and of Russia, is
simply on a level with the common landed _esquire_ of Britain, and
_not_ on a level in very numerous cases.

Such being the case, how paramount must be the spirit of aristocracy in
continental society! Our _haute noblesse_--our genuine nobility,
who are such in the general feeling of their compatriots--will do
_that_ which the phantom of nobility of the continent will not:
the spurious nobles of Germany will not mix, on equal terms, with their
untitled fellow-citizens, living in the same city and in the same style
as themselves; they will not meet them in the same ball or concert-
room. Our great territorial nobility, though sometimes forming
exclusive circles (but not, however, upon any principle of high birth),
do so daily. They mix as equal partakers in the same amusements of
races, balls, musical assemblies, with the baronets (or _elite_ of
the gentry); with the landed esquires (or middle gentry); with the
superior order of tradesmen (who, in Germany, are absolute ciphers, for
political weight, or social consideration, but, with us, constitute the
lower and broader stratum of the nobilitas, [Footnote: It may be
necessary to inform some readers that the word _noble_, by which
so large a system of imposition and fraud, as to the composition of
foreign society, has long been practised upon the credulity of the
British, corresponds to our word _gentlemanly_ (or, rather, to the
vulgar word _genteel_, if that word were ever used legally, or
_extra gradum_), not merely upon the argument of its _virtual_
and operative value in the general estimate of men (that is,
upon the argument that a count, baron, &c., does not, _qua_
such, command any deeper feeling of respect or homage than a British
esquire), but also upon the fact, that, originally, in all English
registers, as, for instance, in the Oxford matriculation registers, all
the upper gentry (knights, esquires, &c.) are technically designated by
the word _nobiles_.--_See Chambeilayuc_, &c.] or gentry). The
obscure baronage of Germany, it is undeniable, insist upon having "an
atmosphere of their own;" whilst the Howards, the Stanleys, the
Talbots, of England; the Hamiltons, the Douglases, the Gordons, of
Scotland, are content to acknowledge a sympathy with the liberal part
of their untitled countrymen, in that point which most searchingly
tries the principle of aristocratic pride, namely, in their pleasures.
To have the same pursuits of business with another, may be a result of
accident or position; to have the same pleasures, being a matter of
choice, argues a community of nature in the _moral_ sensibilities,
in that part of our constitution which differences one man from another
in the capacities of greatness and elevation. As with their amusements,
so with their graver employments; the same mutual repulsion continues
to divide the two orders through life.

The nobles either live in gloomy seclusion upon their private funds,
wherever the privilege of primogeniture has enabled them to do so; or,
having no funds at all (the case of ninety-nine in one hundred), they
go into the army; that profession, the profession of arms, being
regarded as the only one compatible with an _edelmann's_ pretensions.
Such was once the feeling in England; such is still the feeling
on the continent. It is a prejudice naturally clinging to a
semi-barbarous (because growing out of a barbarous) state, and, in its
degree, clinging to every stage of imperfect civilization; and, were
there no other argument, this would be a sufficient one, that England,
under free institutions, has outrun the continent, in real
civilization, by a century; a fact which is concealed by the forms of
luxurious refinement in a few exclusive classes, too often usurping the
name and honors of radical civilization.

From the super-appreciation of the military profession arises a
corresponding contempt of all other professions whatsoever _paid by
fellow-citizens_, and not by the king or the state. The clerical
profession is in the most abject degradation throughout Southern
Germany; and the reason why this forces itself less imperiously upon
the public notice is, that, in rural situations, from the absence of a
resident gentry (speaking generally), the pastor is brought into rare
collision with those who style themselves _noble_; whilst, in
towns, the clergy find people enough to countenance those who, being in
the same circumstances as to comfort and liberal education, are also
under the same ban of rejection from the "nobility," or born gentry.
The legal profession is equally degraded; even a barrister or advocate
holds a place in the public esteem little differing from that of an Old
Bailey attorney of the worst class. And this result is the less liable
to modification from personal qualities, inasmuch as there is no great
theatre (as with us) for individual display. Forensic eloquence is
unknown in Germany, as it is too generally on the continent, from the
defect of all popular or open judicatures. A similar defect of
deliberative assemblies--such, at least, as represent any popular
influences and debate with open doors--intercepts the very possibility
of senatorial eloquence. [Footnote: The subject is amusingly
illustrated by an anecdote of Goethe, recorded by himself in his
autobiography. Some physiognomist, or phrenologist, had found out, in
Goethe's structure of head, the sure promise of a great orator.
"Strange infatuation of nature!" observes Goethe, on this assurance,
"to endow me so richly and liberally for that particular destination
which only the institutions of my country render impossible. Music for
the deaf! Eloquence without an audience!"] That of the pulpit only
remains. But even of this--whether it be from want of the excitement
and contagious emulation from the other fields of oratory, or from the
peculiar genius of Lutheranism--no models have yet arisen that could,
for one moment, sustain a comparison with those of England or France.
The highest names in this department would not, to a foreign ear, carry
with them any of that significance or promise which surrounds the names
of Jeremy Taylor or Barrow, Bossuet or Bourdaloue, to those even who
have no personal acquaintance with their works. This absence of all
fields for gathering public distinctions cooperates, in a very powerful
way, with the contempt of the born gentry, to degrade these
professions; and this double agency is, a third time, reinforced by
those political arrangements which deny every form of state honor or
conspicuous promotion to the very highest description of excellence,
whether of the bar, the pulpit, or the civic council. Not "the fluent
Murray," or the accomplished Erskine, from the English bar--not
Pericles or Demosthenes, from the fierce democracies of Greece--not
Paul preaching at Athens--could snatch a wreath from public homage, nor
a distinction from the state, nor found an influence, nor leave behind
them an operative model, in Germany, as now constituted. Other walks of
emolument are still more despised. Alfieri, a continental "noble," that
is, a born gentleman, speaks of bankers as we in England should of a
Jewish usurer, or tricking money-changer. The liberal trades, such as
those which minister to literature or the fine arts, which, with us,
confer the station of gentleman upon those who exercise them, are, in
the estimate of a continental "noble," fitted to assign a certain rank
or place in the train and equipage of a gentleman, but not to entitle
their most eminent professors to sit down, except by sufferance, in his
presence. And, upon this point, let not the reader derive his notions
from the German books: the vast majority of German authors are not
"noble;" and, of those who are, nine tenths are liberal in this
respect, and speak the language of liberality, not by sympathy with
their own order, or as representing _their_ feelings, but in virtue
of democratic or revolutionary politics.

Such as the rank is, and the public estimation of the leading
professions, such is the natural condition of the universities which
rear them. The "nobles" going generally into the army, or leading lives
of indolence, the majority by far of those who resort to universities
do so as a means of future livelihood. Few seek an academic life in
Germany who have either money to throw away on superfluities and
external show, or who have such a rank to support as might stimulate
their pride to expenses beyond their means. Parsimony is, therefore, in
these places, the governing law; and pleasure, not less fervently wooed
than at Oxford or at Cambridge, putting off her robes of elegance and
ceremony, descends to grossness, and not seldom to abject brutality.

The sum of my argument is--that, because, in comparison of the army, no
other civil profession is, in itself, held of sufficient dignity; and
not less, perhaps, because, under governments essentially unpopular,
none of these professions has been so dignified artificially by the
state, or so attached to any ulterior promotion, either through the
state or in the state, as to meet the demands of aristocratic pride--
none of them is cultivated as a means of distinction, but originally as
a means of livelihood; that the universities, as the nurseries of these
unhonored professions, share naturally in _their_ degradation; and
that, from this double depreciation of the place and its final objects,
few or none resort thither who can be supposed to bring any extra funds
for supporting a system of luxury; that the general temperance, or
sobriety of demeanor, is far enough, however, from keeping pace with
the absence of costly show; and that, for this absence even, we are to
thank their poverty rather than their will. It is to the great honor,
in my opinion, of our own country, that those often resort to her
fountains who have no motive but that of disinterested reverence for
knowledge; seeking, as all men perceive, neither emolument directly
from university funds, nor knowledge as the means of emolument.
Doubtless, it is neither dishonorable, nor, on a large scale, possible
to be otherwise, that students should pursue their academic career
chiefly as ministerial to their capital object of a future livelihood.
But still I contend that it is for the interest of science and good
letters that a considerable body of volunteers should gather about
their banners, without pay or hopes of preferment. This takes place on
a larger scale at Oxford and Cambridge than elsewhere; and it is but a
trivial concession in return, on the part of the university, that she
should allow, even if she had the right to withhold, the privilege of
living within her walls as they would have lived at their fathers'
seats; with one only reserve, applied to all modes of expense that are,
in themselves, immoral excesses, or occasions of scandal, or of a
nature to interfere too much with the natural hours of study, or
specially fitted to tempt others of narrower means to ruinous

Upon these principles, as it seems to me, the discipline of the
university is founded. The keeping of hunters, for example, is
unstatutable. Yet, on the other hand, it is felt to be inevitable that
young men of high spirit, familiar with this amusement, will find means
to pursue it in defiance of all the powers, however exerted, that can
properly be lodged in the hands of academic officers. The range of the
proctor's jurisdiction is limited by positive law; and what should
hinder a young man, bent upon his pleasure, from fixing the station of
his hunter a few miles out of Oxford, and riding to cover on a hack,
unamenable to any censure? For, surely, in this age, no man could
propose so absurd a thing as a general interdiction of riding. How, in
fact, does the university proceed? She discountenances the practice;
and, if forced upon her notice, she visits it with censure, and that
sort of punishment which lies within her means. But she takes no pains
to search out a trespass, which, by the mere act of seeking to evade
public display in the streets of the university, already tends to limit
itself; and which, besides, from its costliness, can never become a
prominent nuisance. This I mention as illustrating the spirit of her
legislation; and, even in this case, the reader must carry along with
him the peculiar distinction which I have pressed with regard to
English universities, in the existence of a large volunteer order of
students seeking only the liberalization, and not the profits, of
academic life. In arguing upon their case, it is not the fair logic to
say: These pursuits taint the decorum of the studious character; it is
not fair to calculate how much is lost to the man of letters by such
addiction to fox-hunting; but, on the contrary, what is gained to the
fox-hunter, who would, at any rate, be such, by so considerable a
homage paid to letters, and so inevitable a commerce with men of
learning. Anything whatsoever attained in this direction, is probably
so much more than would have been attained under a system of less
toleration. _Lucro ponamus_, we say, of the very least success in
such a case. But, in speaking of toleration as applied to acts or
habits positively against the statutes, I limit my meaning to those
which, in their own nature, are morally indifferent, and are
discountenanced simply as indirectly injurious, or as peculiarly open
to excess. Because, on graver offences (as gambling, &c.), the
malicious impeachers of Oxford must well have known that no toleration
whatsoever is practised or thought of. Once brought under the eye of
the university in a clear case and on clear evidence, it would be
punished in the most exemplary way open to a limited authority; by
_rustication_, at least--that is, banishment for a certain number
of terms, and consequent loss of these terms--supposing the utmost
palliation of circumstances; and, in an aggravated case, or in a second
offence, most certainly by final expulsion.

But it is no part of duty to serve the cause even of good morals by
impure means; and it is as difficult beforehand to prevent the
existence of vicious practices so long as men have, and ought to have,
the means of seclusion liable to no violation, as it is afterwards
difficult, without breach of honor, to obtain proof of their existence.
Gambling has been known to exist in some dissenting institutions; and,
in my opinion, with no blame to the presiding authorities. As to Oxford
in particular, no such habit was generally prevalent in my time; it is
not an English vice; nor did I ever hear of any great losses sustained
in this way. But, were it otherwise, I must hold, that, considering the
numbers, rank, and great opulence, of the students, such a habit would
impeach the spirit and temper of the age rather than the vigilance or
magisterial fidelity of the Oxford authorities. They are limited, like
other magistrates, by honor and circumstances, in a thousand ways; and
if a knot of students will choose to meet for purposes of gaming, they
must always have it in their power to baffle every honorable or
becoming attempt at detecting them. But upon this subject I shall make
two statements, which may have some effect in moderating the
uncharitable judgments upon Oxford discipline. The first respects the
age of those who are the objects of this discipline; on which point a
very grave error prevails. In the last Parliament, not once, but many
times over, Lord Brougham and others assumed that the students of
Oxford were chiefly _boys_; and this, not idly or casually, but
pointedly, and with a view to an ulterior argument; for instance, by
way of proving how little they were entitled to judge of those thirty-
nine articles to which their assent was demanded. Now, this argued a
very extraordinary ignorance; and the origin of the error showed the
levity in which their legislation was conducted. These noble lords had
drawn their ideas of a university exclusively from Glasgow. Here, it is
well known, and I mention it neither for praise nor blame, that
students are in the habit of coming at the early age of fourteen. These
may allowably be styled _boys_. But, with regard to Oxford,
eighteen is about the _earliest_ age at which young men begin
their residence: twenty and upwards is, therefore, the age of the
majority; that is, twenty is the _minimum_ of age for the vast
majority; as there must always be more men of three years' standing,
than of two or of one. Apply this fact to the question of discipline:
young men beyond twenty, generally,--that is to say, of the age which
qualifies men for seats in the national council,--can hardly, with
decency, either be called or treated as boys; and many things become
impossible as applied to _them_, which might be of easy imposition
upon an assemblage _really_ childish. In mere justice, therefore,
when speculating upon this whole subject of Oxford discipline, the
reader must carry along with him, at every step, the recollection of
that signal difference as to age, which I have now stated, between
Oxonians and those students whom the hostile party contemplate in their
arguments. [Footnote: Whilst I am writing, a debate of the present
Parliament, reported on Saturday, March 7, 1835, presents us with a
determinate repetition of the error which I have been exposing; and,
again, as in the last Parliament, this error is not _inert_, but
is used for a hostile (apparently a malicious) purpose; nay, which is
remarkable, it is the _sole_ basis upon which the following
argument reposes. Lord Radnor again assumes that the students of Oxford
are "boys;" he is again supported in this misrepresentation by Lord
Brougham; and again the misrepresentation is applied to a purpose of
assault upon the English universities, but especially upon Oxford. And
the nature of the assault does not allow any latitude in construing the
word _boys_, nor any room for evasion as respects the total
charge, except what goes the length of a total retraction. The charge
is, that, in a requisition made at the very threshold of academic life,
upon the under standing and the honor of the students, the university
burdens their consciences to an extent, which, in after life, when
reflection has enlightened them to the meaning of their engagements,
proves either a snare to those who trifle with their engagements, or an
insupportable burden to those who do not. For the inculpation of the
party imposing such oaths, it is essential that the party taking them
should be in a childish condition of the moral sense, and the sense of
responsibility; whereas, amongst the Oxonian _under_-graduates, I
will venture to say that the number is larger of those who rise above
than of those who fall below twenty; and, as to sixteen (assumed as the
representative age by Lord Radnor), in my time, I heard of only one
student, amongst, perhaps, sixteen hundred, who was so young. I grieve
to see that the learned prelate, who replied to the assailants, was so
much taken by surprise; the defence might have been made triumphant.
With regard to oaths incompatible with the spirit of modern manners,
and yet formally unrepealed--_that_ is a case of neglect and
indolent oversight. But the _gravamen_ of that reproach does not
press exclusively upon Oxford; all the ancient institutions of Europe
are tainted in the same way, more especially the monastic orders of the
Romish church.] Meantime, to show that, even under every obstacle
presented by this difference of age, the Oxford authorities do,
nevertheless, administer their discipline with fidelity, with
intrepidity, and with indifference as respects the high and the low, I
shall select from a crowd of similar recollections two anecdotes, which
are but trifles in themselves, and yet are not such to him who
recognizes them as expressions of a uniform system of dealing.

A great whig lord (Earl C----) happened (it may be ten years ago) to
present himself one day at Trinity (the leading college of Cambridge),
for the purpose of introducing Lord F----ch, his son, as a future
member of that splendid society. Possibly it mortified his aristocratic
feelings to hear the head of the college, even whilst welcoming the
young nobleman in courteous terms, yet suggesting, with some solemnity,
that, before taking any final resolution in the matter, his lordship
would do well to consider whether he were fully prepared to submit
himself to college discipline; for that, otherwise, it became his own
duty frankly to declare that the college would not look upon his
accession to their society as any advantage. This language arose out of
some recent experience of refractory and turbulent conduct upon the
part of various young men of rank; but it is very possible that the
noble earl, in his surprise at a salutation so uncourtly, might regard
it, in a tory mouth, as having some lurking reference to his own whig
politics. If so, he must have been still more surprised to hear of
another case, which would meet him before he left Cambridge, and which
involved some frank dealing as well as frank speaking, when a privilege
of exception might have been presumed, if tory politics, or services
the most memorable, could ever create such a privilege. The Duke of W--
--had two sons at Oxford. The affair is now long past; and it cannot
injure either of them to say, that one of the brothers trespassed
against the college discipline, in some way, which compelled (or was
thought to compel) the presiding authorities into a solemn notice of
his conduct. Expulsion appeared to be the appropriate penalty of his
offences: but, at this point, a just hesitation arose. Not in any
servile spirit, but under a proper feeling of consideration for so
eminent a public benefactor as this young nobleman's father, the rulers
paused--and at length signified to him that he was at liberty to
withdraw himself privately from the college, but also, and at the same
time, from the university. He did so; and his brother, conceiving him
to have been harshly treated, withdrew also; and both transferred
themselves to Cambridge. That could not be prevented: but there they
were received with marked reserve. One was _not_ received, I
believe, in a technical sense; and the other was received
conditionally; and such restrictions were imposed upon his future
conduct as served most amply, and in a case of great notoriety, to
vindicate the claims of discipline, and, in an extreme case, a case so
eminently an extreme one that none like it is ever likely to recur, to
proclaim the footing upon which the very highest rank is received at
the English universities. Is that footing peculiar _to them_? I
willingly believe that it is not; and, with respect to Edinburgh and
Glasgow, I am persuaded that their weight of dignity is quite
sufficient, and would be exerted to secure the same subordination from
men of rank, if circumstances should ever bring as large a number of
that class within their gates, and if their discipline were equally
applicable to the habits of students not domiciled within their walls.
But, as to the smaller institutions for education within the pale of
dissent, I feel warranted in asserting, from the spirit of the
anecdotes which have reached me, that they have not the
_auctoritas_ requisite for adequately maintaining their dignity.

So much for the aristocracy of our English universities: their glory
is, and the happiest application of their vast influence, that they
have the power to be republican, as respects their internal condition.
Literature, by substituting a different standard of rank, tends to
republican equality; and, as one instance of this, properly belonging
to the chapter of _servants_, which originally led to this
discussion, it ought to be known that the class of "servitors," once a
large body in Oxford, have gradually become practically extinct under
the growing liberality of the age. They carried in their academic dress
a mark of their inferiority; they waited at dinner on those of higher
rank, and performed other menial services, humiliating to themselves,
and latterly felt as no less humiliating to the general name and
interests of learning. The better taste, or rather the relaxing
pressure of aristocratic prejudice, arising from the vast diffusion of
trade and the higher branches of mechanic art, have gradually caused
these functions of the order (even where the law would not permit the
extinction of the order) to become obsolete. In my time, I was
acquainted with two servitors: but one of them was rapidly pushed
forward into a higher station; and the other complained of no
degradation, beyond the grievous one of exposing himself to the notice
of young women in the streets, with an untasselled cap; but this he
contrived to evade, by generally going abroad without his academic
dress. The _servitors_ of Oxford are the _sizars_ of Cambridge; and I
believe the same changes [Footnote: These changes have been
accomplished, according to my imperfect knowledge of the case, in
two ways: first, by dispensing with the services whenever that could be
done; and, secondly, by a wise discontinuance of the order itself in
those colleges which were left to their own choice in this matter.]
have taken place in both.

One only account with the college remains to be noticed; but this is
the main one. It is expressed in the bills by the word _battels_,
derived from the old monkish word _patella_ (or batella), a plate;
and it comprehends whatsoever is furnished for dinner and for supper,
including malt liquor, but not wine, as well as the materials for
breakfast, or for any casual refreshment to country visitors, excepting
only groceries. These, together with coals and fagots, candles, wine,
fruit, and other more trifling _extras_, which are matters of
personal choice, form so many private accounts against your name, and
are usually furnished by tradesmen living near to the college, and
sending their servants daily to receive orders. Supper, as a meal not
universally taken, in many colleges is served privately in the
student's own room; though some colleges still retain the ancient
custom of a public supper. But dinner is, in all colleges, a public
meal, taken in the refectory or "hall" of the society; which, with the
chapel and library, compose the essential public _suite_ belonging
to every college alike. No absence is allowed, except to the sick, or
to those who have formally applied for permission to give a dinner-
party. A fine is imposed on all other cases of absence. Wine is not
generally allowed in the public hall, except to the "high table," that
is, the table at which the fellows and some other privileged persons
are entitled to dine. The head of the college rarely dines in public.
The other tables, and, after dinner, the high table, usually adjourn to
their wine, either upon invitations to private parties, or to what are
called the "common rooms" of the several orders--graduates and
undergraduates, &c. The dinners are always plain, and without
pretensions--those, I mean, in the public hall; indeed, nothing
_can_ be plainer in most colleges--a simple choice between two or
three sorts of animal food, and the common vegetables. No fish, even as
a regular part of the fare; no soups, no game; nor, except on some very
rare festivity, did I ever see a variation from this plain fare at
Oxford. This, indeed, is proved sufficiently by the average amount of
the _battels_. Many men "battel" at the rate of a guinea a week: I
did so for years: that is, at the rate of three shillings a day for
everything connected with meals, excepting only tea, sugar, milk, and
wine. It is true that wealthier men, more expensive men, and more
careless men, often "battelled" much higher; but, if they persisted in
this excess, they incurred censures, more and more urgent, from the
head of the college.

Now, let us sum up; premising that the extreme duration of residence in
any college at Oxford amounts to something under thirty weeks. It is
possible to keep "short terms," as the phrase is, by a residence of
thirteen weeks, or ninety-one days; but, as this abridged residence is
not allowed, except in here and there a college, I shall assume--as
something beyond the strict _maximum_ of residence--thirty weeks
as my basis. The account will then stand thus:

  1. Rooms,......................................... £10 10 0
  2. Tutorage,................ .....................  10 10 0
  3. Servants (subject to the explanations made above),
      say...........................................   5  5 0
  4. Battels (allowing one shilling a day beyond what
     I and others spent in much dearer times; that is,
     allowing twenty-eight shillings weekly), for
     thirty weeks,..................................  40  4 0
                                                     £66  9 0

This will be a liberal calculation for the college bill. What remains?
1. Candles, which the reader will best calculate upon the standard of
his own general usage in this particular. 2. Coals, which are
remarkably dear at Oxford--dearer, perhaps, than anywhere else in the
island; say, three times as dear as at Edinburgh. 3. Groceries. 4.
Wine. 5. Washing. This last article was, in my time, regulated by the
college, as there were certain privileged washer-women, between whom
and the students it was but fair that some proper authority should
interfere to prevent extortion, in return for the monopoly granted. Six
guineas was the regulated sum; but this paid for everything,--table-
linen, &c., as well as for wearing apparel; and it was understood to
cover the whole twenty-eight or thirty weeks. However, it was open to
every man to make his own arrangements, by insisting on a separate
charge for each separate article. All other expenses of a merely
personal nature, such as postage, public amusements, books, clothes,
&c., as they have no special connection with Oxford, but would,
probably, be balanced by corresponding, if not the very same, expenses
in any other place or situation, I do not calculate. What I have
specified are the expenses which would accrue to a student in
consequence of leaving his father's house. The rest would, in these
days, be the same, perhaps, everywhere. How much, then, shall we assume
as the total charge on account of Oxford? Candles, considering the
quantity of long days amongst the thirty weeks, may be had for one
shilling and sixpence a week; for few students--unless they have lived
in India, after which a physical change occurs in the sensibility of
the nostrils--are finical enough to burn wax-lights. This will amount
to two pounds, five shillings. Coals, say sixpence a day; for
threepence a day will amply feed one grate in Edinburgh; and there are
many weeks in the thirty which will demand no fire at all. Groceries
and wine, which are all that remain, I cannot calculate. But suppose we
allow for the first a shilling a day, which will be exactly ten guineas
for thirty weeks; and for the second, nothing at all. Then the extras,
in addition to the college bills, will stand thus:

  Washing for thirty weeks, at the privileged rate, .. £6  6  0
  Candles, ...........................................  2  5  0
  Fire, ..............................................  5  5  0
  Groceries, ......................................... 10 10  0
                                         Total, ..... £24  6  0

The college bills, therefore, will be sixty-six pounds, nine shillings;
the extras, not furnished by the college, will be about twenty-four
pounds, six shillings,--making a total amount of ninety pounds, fifteen
shillings. And for this sum, annually, a man may defray _every_
expense incident to an Oxford life, through a period of weeks (namely,
thirty) something more than he will be permitted to reside. It is true,
that, for the _first_ year, there will be, in addition to this,
his outfit: and for _every_ year there will be his journeys. There
will also be twenty-two weeks uncovered by this estimate; but for these
it is not my business to provide, who deal only with Oxford.

That this estimate is true, I know too feelingly. Would that it were
_not_! would that it were false! Were it so, I might the better
justify to myself that commerce with fraudulent Jews which led me so
early to commence the dilapidation of my small fortune. It _is_
true; and true for a period (1804-8) far dearer than this. And to any
man who questions its accuracy I address this particular request--that
he will lay his hand upon the special item which he disputes. I
anticipate that he will answer thus: "I dispute none: it is not by
positive things that your estimate errs, but by negations. It is the
absence of all allowance for indispensable items that vitiates the
calculation." Very well: but to this, as to other things, we may apply
the words of Dr. Johnson--"Sir, the reason I drink no wine, is because
I can practise abstinence, but not temperance." Yes: in all things,
abstinence is easier than temperance; for a little enjoyment has
invariably the effect of awaking the sense of enjoyment, irritating it,
and setting it on edge. I, therefore, recollecting my own case, have
allowed for _no_ wine-parties. Let our friend, the abstraction we
are speaking of, give breakfast-parties, if he chooses to give any; and
certainly to give none at all, unless he were dedicated to study, would
seem very churlish. Nobody can be less a friend than myself to monkish
and ascetic seclusion, unless it were for twenty-three hours out of the

But, however this be settled, let no mistake be made; nor let that be
charged against the system which is due to the habits of individuals.
Early in the last century, Dr. Newton, the head of a college in Oxford,
wrote a large book against the Oxford system, as ruinously expensive.
But then, as now, the real expense was due to no cause over which the
colleges could exercise any effectual control. It is due exclusively to
the habits of social intercourse amongst the young men; from which
_he_ may abstain who chooses. But, for any academic authorities to
interfere by sumptuary laws with the private expenditure of grown men,
many of them, in a legal sense, _of age_, and all near it, must
appear romantic and extravagant, for this (or, indeed, any) stage of
society. A tutor being required, about 1810, to fix the amount of
allowance for a young man of small fortune, nearly related to myself,
pronounced three hundred and twenty pounds little enough. He had this
allowance, and was ruined in consequence of the credit which it
procured for him, and the society it connected him with. The majority
have two hundred pounds a year: but my estimate stands good, for all

Having stated, generally, the expenses of the Oxford system, I am
bound, in candor, to mention one variety in the mode of carrying this
system into effect, open to every man's adoption, which confers certain
privileges, but, at the same time (by what exact mode, I know not),
considerably increases the cost, and in that degree disturbs my
calculation. The great body of undergraduates, or students, are divided
into two classes--_Commoners_, and _Gentlemen Commoners_. Perhaps
nineteen out of twenty belong to the former class; and it is
for that class, as having been my own, that I have made my estimate.
The other class of _Gentlemen Commoners_ (who, at Cambridge, bear
the name of _Fellow Commoners_) wear a peculiar dress, and have
some privileges which naturally imply some corresponding increase of
cost; but why this increase should go to the extent of doubling the
total expense, as it is generally thought to do, or how it _can_
go to that extent, I am unable to explain. The differences which attach
to the rank of "Gentlemen Commoners" are these: At his entrance he pays
double "caution money;" that is, whilst Commoners in general pay about
twenty-five guineas, he pays fifty; but this can occur only once; and,
besides, in strict point of right, this sum is only a deposit, and is
liable to be withdrawn on leaving the university, though it is commonly
enough finally presented to the college in the shape of plate. The next
difference is, that, by comparison with the Commoner, he wears a much
more costly dress. The Commoner's gown is made of what is called
_prince's stuff_; and, together with the cap, costs about five
guineas. But the Gentleman Commoner has two gowns--an undress for the
morning, and a full dress-gown for the evening; both are made of silk,
and the latter is very elaborately ornamented. The cap also is more
costly, being covered with velvet instead of cloth. At Cambridge,
again, the tassel is made of gold fringe or bullion, which, in Oxford,
is peculiar to the caps of noblemen; and there are many other varieties
in that university, where the dress for "pensioners" (that is, the
Oxford "Commoners") is specially varied in almost every college; the
object being, perhaps, to give a ready means to the academic officers
for ascertaining, at a glance, not merely the general fact that such or
such a delinquent is a gownsman (which is all that can be ascertained
at Oxford), but also the particular college to which he belongs.
Allowance being made for these two items of "dress" and "caution-
money," both of which apply only to the original outfit, I know of no
others in which the expenditure of a Gentleman Commoner ought to
exceed, or could with propriety exceed, those of a Commoner. He has,
indeed, a privilege as regards the choice of rooms; he chooses first,
and probably chooses those rooms which, being best, are dearest; that
is, they are on a level with the best; but usually there are many sets
almost equally good; and of these the majority will be occupied by
Commoners. So far, there is little opening for a difference. More
often, again, it will happen that a man of this aristocratic class
keeps a private servant; yet this happens also to Commoners, and is,
besides, no properly college expense. Tutorage is charged double to a
Gentleman Commoner--namely, twenty guineas a year: this is done upon a
fiction (as it sometimes turns out) of separate attention, or aid given
in a private way to his scholastic pursuits. Finally, there arises
naturally another and peculiar source of expense to the "Gentleman
Commoner," from a fact implied in his Cambridge designation of
"_Fellow_ Commoner," _commensalis_--namely, that he associates
at meals with the "fellows" and other authorities of the college.
Yet this again expresses rather the particular shape which his
expenditure assumes than any absolute increase in its amount. He
subscribes to a regular mess, and pays, therefore, whether present or
not; but so, in a partial sense, does the Commoner, by his forfeits for
"absent commons." He subscribes also to a regular fund for wine; and,
therefore, he does not enjoy that immunity from wine-drinking which is
open to the Commoner. Yet, again, as the Commoner does but rarely avail
himself of this immunity, as he drinks no less wine than the Gentleman
Commoner, and, generally speaking, wine not worse in quality, it is
difficult to see any ground for a regular assumption of higher
expenditure in the one class than the other. However, the universal
impression favors that assumption. All people believe that the rank of
Gentleman Commoner imposes an expensive burden, though few people ever
ask why. As a matter of fact, I believe it to be true that Gentlemen
Commoners spend more by a third, or a half, than any equal number of
Commoners, taken without selection. And the reason is obvious: those
who become Gentlemen Commoners are usually determined to that course by
the accident of having very large funds; they are eldest sons, or only
sons, or men already in possession of estates, or else (which is as
common a case as all the rest put together) they are the heirs of
newly-acquired wealth--sons of the _nouveaux riches_--a class
which often requires a generation or two to rub off the insolence of a
too conscious superiority. I have called them an "aristocratic" class;
but, in strictness, they are not such; they form a privileged class,
indeed, but their privileges are few and trifling, not to add that
these very privileges are connected with one or two burdens, more than
outweighing them in the estimate of many; and, upon the whole, the
chief distinction they enjoy is that of advertising themselves to the
public as men of great wealth, or great expectations; and, therefore,
as subjects peculiarly adapted to fraudulent attempts. Accordingly, it
is not found that the sons of the nobility are much inclined to enter
this order: these, if they happen to be the eldest sons of earls, or of
any peers above the rank of viscount, so as to enjoy a title themselves
by the courtesy of England, have special privileges in both
universities as to length of residence, degrees, &c.; and their rank is
ascertained by a special dress. These privileges it is not usual to
forego; though sometimes that happens, as, in my time, in the instance
of Lord George Grenville (now Lord Nugent); he neither entered at the
aristocratic college (Christ Church), nor wore the dress of a nobleman.
Generally, however, an elder son appears in his true character of
nobleman; but the younger sons rarely enter the class of Gentlemen
Commoners. They enter either as "Commoners," or under some of those
various designations ("scholars," "demies," "students," "junior
fellows") which imply that they stand upon the foundation of the
college to which they belong, and are aspirants for academic

Upon the whole, I am disposed to regard this order of Gentlemen
Commoners as a standing temptation held out by authority to expensive
habits, and a very unbecoming proclamation of honor paid to the
aristocracy of wealth. And I know that many thoughtful men regard it in
the same light with myself, and regret deeply that any such
distribution of ranks should be authorized, as a stain upon the
simplicity and general manliness of the English academic laws. It is an
open profession of homage and indulgence to wealth, _as_ wealth--
to wealth disconnected from everything that might ally it to the
ancestral honors and heraldries of the land. It is also an invitation,
or rather a challenge, to profuse expenditure. Regularly, and by law, a
Gentleman Commoner is liable to little heavier burdens than a Commoner;
but, to meet the expectations of those around him, and to act up to the
part he has assumed, he must spend more, and he must be more careless
in controlling his expenditure, than a moderate and prudent Commoner.
In every light, therefore, I condemn the institution, and give it up to
the censures of the judicious. So much in candor I concede. But, to
show equal candor on the other side, it must be remembered that this
institution descends to us from ancient times, when wealth was not so
often divided from territorial or civic honors, conferring a real



There was one reason why I sought solitude at that early age, and
sought it in a morbid excess, which must naturally have conferred upon
my character some degree of that interest which belongs to all
extremes. My eye had been couched into a secondary power of vision, by
misery, by solitude, by sympathy with life in all its modes, by
experience too early won, and by the sense of danger critically
escaped. Suppose the case of a man suspended by some colossal arm over
an unfathomed abyss,--suspended, but finally and slowly withdrawn,--it
is probable that he would not smile for years. That was my case: for I
have not mentioned, in the "Opium Confessions," a thousandth part of
the sufferings I underwent in London and in Wales; partly because the
misery was too monotonous, and, in that respect, unfitted for
description; but, still more, because there is a mysterious sensibility
connected with real suffering which recoils from circumstantial
rehearsal or delincation, as from violation offered to something
sacred, and which is, or should be, dedicated to privacy. Grief does
not parade its pangs, nor the anguish of despairing hunger willingly
count again its groans or its humiliations. Hence it was that Ledyard,
the traveller, speaking of his Russian experiences, used to say that
some of his miseries were such, that he never _would_ reveal them.
Besides all which, I really was not at liberty to speak, without many
reserves, on this chapter of my life, at a period (1821) not twenty
years removed from the actual occurrences, unless I desired to court
the risk of crossing at every step the existing law of libel, so full
of snares and man-traps, to the careless equally with the conscientious
writer. This is a consideration which some of my critics have lost
sight of in a degree which surprises me. One, for example, puts it to
his readers whether any house such as I describe as the abode of my
money-lending friend could exist "_in_ Oxford-street;" and, at the
same time, he states, as circumstances drawn from my description, but,
in fact, pure coinages of his own, certain romantic impossibilities,
which, doubtless, could as little attach to a house in Oxford-street as
they could to a house in any other quarter of London. Meantime, I had
sufficiently indicated that, whatsoever street _was_ concerned in
that affair, Oxford-street was _not_; and it is remarkable enough,
as illustrating this amiable reviewer's veracity, that no one street in
London was absolutely excluded but one; and that one, Oxford-street.
For I happened to mention that, on such a day (my birth-day), I had
turned aside _from_ Oxford-street to look at the house in question.
I will now add that this house was in Greek-street: so much it
may be safe to say. But every candid reader will see that both
prudential restraints, and also disinterested regard to the feelings of
possibly amiable descendants from a vicious man, would operate with any
thoughtful writer, in such a case, to impose reserve upon his pen. Had
my guardians, had my money-lending friend of Jewry, and others
concerned in my memoirs, been so many shadows, bodiless abstractions,
and without earthly connections, I might readily have given my own
names to my own creations, and have treated them as unceremoniously as
I pleased. Not so under the real circumstances of the case. My chief
guardian, for instance, though obstinate to a degree which risked the
happiness and the life of his ward, was an upright man otherwise; and
his children are entitled to value his memory.

Again, my Greek-street _trapexitæs_, the "_foenerator Alpheus_,"
who delighted to reap where he had not sown, and too often (I fear)
allowed himself in practices which not impossibly have long
since been found to qualify him for distant climates and "Botanic"
regions,--even he, though I might truly describe him as a mere
highwayman, whenever he happened to be aware that I had received a
friendly loan, yet, like other highwaymen of repute, and "gentle
thieves," was not inexorable to the petitions of his victim: he would
sometimes toss back what was required for some instant necessity of the
road; and at _his_ breakfast-table it was, after all, as elsewhere
recorded, that I contrived to support life; barely, indeed, and most
slenderly, but still with the final result of escaping absolute
starvation. With that recollection before me, I could not allow myself
to probe his frailties too severely, had it even been certainly safe to
do so. But enough; the reader will understand that a year spent either
in the valleys of Wales, or upon the streets of London, a wanderer, too
often houseless in both situations, might naturally have peopled the
mind of one constitutionally disposed to solemn contemplations with
memorials of human sorrow and strife too profound to pass away for

Thus, then, it was--past experience of a very peculiar kind, the
agitations of many lives crowded into the compass of a year or two, in
combination with a peculiar structure of mind--offered one explanation
of the very remarkable and unsocial habits which I adopted at college;
but there was another not less powerful, and not less unusual. In
stating this, I shall seem, to some persons, covertly designing an
affront to Oxford. But that is far from my intention. It is noways
peculiar to Oxford, but will, doubtless, be found in every university
throughout the world, that the younger part of the members--the
undergraduates, I mean, generally, whose chief business must have lain
amongst the great writers of Greece and Rome--cannot have found leisure
to cultivate extensively their own domestic literature. Not so much
that time will have been wanting; but that the whole energy of the
mind, and the main course of the subsidiary studies and researches,
will naturally have been directed to those difficult languages amongst
which lie their daily tasks. I make it no subject of complaint or
scorn, therefore, but simply state it as a fact, that few or none of
the Oxford undergraduates, with whom parity of standing threw me into
collision at my first outset, knew anything at all of English
literature. The _Spectator_ seemed to me the only English book of
a classical rank which they had read; and even this less for its
inimitable delicacy, humor, and refined pleasantry in dealing with
manners and characters, than for its insipid and meagre essays, ethical
or critical. This was no fault of theirs: they had been sent to the
book chiefly as a subject for Latin translations, or of other
exercises; and, in such a view, the vague generalities of superficial
morality were more useful and more manageable than sketches of manner
or character, steeped in national peculiarities. To translate the terms
of whig politics into classical Latin, would be as difficult as it
might be for a whig himself to give a consistent account of those
politics from the year 1688. Natural, however, and excusable, as this
ignorance might be, to myself it was intolerable and incomprehensible.
Already, at fifteen, I had made myself familiar with the great English
poets. About sixteen, or not long after, my interest in the story of
Chatterton had carried me over the whole ground of the Rowley
controversy; and that controversy, by a necessary consequence, had so
familiarized me with the "Black Letter," that I had begun to find an
unaffected pleasure in the ancient English metrical romances; and in
Chaucer, though acquainted as yet only with part of his works, I had
perceived and had felt profoundly those divine qualities, which, even
at this day, are so languidly acknowledged by his unjust countrymen.
With this knowledge, and this enthusiastic knowledge of the elder
poets--of those most remote from easy access--I could not well be a
stranger in other walks of our literature, more on a level with the
general taste, and nearer to modern diction, and, therefore, more
extensively multiplied by the press.

Yet, after all--as one proof how much more commanding is that part of a
literature which speaks to the elementary affections of men, than that
which is founded on the mutable aspects of manners--it is a fact that,
even in our elaborate system of society, where an undue value is
unavoidably given to the whole science of social intercourse, and a
continual irritation applied to the sensibilities which point in that
direction; still, under all these advantages, Pope himself is less
read, less quoted, less thought of, than the elder and graver section
of our literature. It is a great calamity for an author such as Pope,
that, generally speaking, it requires so much experience of life to
enjoy his peculiar felicities as must argue an age likely to have
impaired the general capacity for enjoyment. For my part, I had myself
a very slender acquaintance with this chapter of our literature; and
what little I had was generally, at that period of my life, as, with
most men, it continues to be to the end of life, a reflex knowledge,
acquired through those pleasant miscellanies, half gossip, half
criticism--such as Warton's Essay on Pope, Boswell's Johnson, Mathias'
Pursuits of Literature, and many scores beside of the same
indeterminate class; a class, however, which do a real service to
literature, by diffusing an indirect knowledge of fine writers in their
most effective passages, where else, in a direct shape, it would often
never extend.

In some parts, then, having even a profound knowledge of our
literature, in all parts having some, I felt it to be impossible that I
should familiarly associate with those who had none at all; not so much
as a mere historical knowledge of the literature in its capital names
and their chronological succession. Do I mention this in disparagement
of Oxford? By no means. Among the undergraduates of higher standing,
and occasionally, perhaps, of my own, I have since learned that many
might have been found eminently accomplished in this particular. But
seniors do not seek after juniors; they must be sought; and, with my
previous bias to solitude, a bias equally composed of impulses and
motives, I had no disposition to take trouble in seeking any man for
any purpose.

But, on this subject, a fact still remains to be told, of which I am
justly proud; and it will serve, beyond anything else that I can say,
to measure the degree of my intellectual development. On coming to
Oxford, I had taken up one position in advance of my age by full thirty
years: that appreciation of Wordsworth, which it has taken full thirty
years to establish amongst the public, I had already made, and had made
operative to my own intellectual culture in the same year when I
clandestinely quitted school. Already, in 1802, I had addressed a
letter of fervent admiration to Mr. Wordsworth. I did not send it until
the spring of 1803; and, from misdirection, it did not come into his
hands for some months. But I had an answer from Mr. Wordsworth before I
was eighteen; and that my letter was thought to express the homage of
an enlightened admirer, may be inferred from the fact that his answer
was long and full. On this anecdote I do not mean to dwell; but I
cannot allow the reader to overlook the circumstances of the case. At
this day, it is true, no journal can be taken up which does not
habitually speak of Mr. Wordsworth as of a great if not _the_
great poet of the age. Mr. Bulwer, living in the intensest pressure of
the world, and, though recoiling continually from the judgments of the
world, yet never in any violent degree, ascribes to Mr. Wordsworth (in
his _England and the English_, p. 308) "an influence of a more
noble and purely intellectual character, than _any_ writer of our
age or nation has exercised." Such is the opinion held of this great
poet in 1835; but what were those of 1805-15,--nay, of 1825? For twenty
years after the date of that letter to Mr. Wordsworth above referred
to, language was exhausted, ingenuity was put on the rack, in the
search after images and expressions vile enough--insolent enough--to
convey the unutterable contempt avowed for all that he had written, by
the fashionable critics. One critic--who still, I believe, edits a
rather popular journal, and who belongs to that class, feeble,
fluttering, ingenious, who make it their highest ambition not to lead,
but, with a slave's adulation, to obey and to follow all the caprices
of the public mind--described Mr. Wordsworth as resembling, in the
quality of his mind, an old nurse babbling in her paralytic dotage to
sucking babies. If this insult was peculiarly felt by Mr. Wordsworth,
it was on a consideration of the unusual imbecility of him who offered
it, and not because in itself it was baser or more insolent than the
language held by the majority of journalists who then echoed the public
voice. _Blackwood's Magazine_ (1817) first accustomed the public
ear to the language of admiration coupled with the name of Wordsworth.
This began with Professor Wilson; and well I remember--nay, the proofs
are still easy to hunt up--that, for eight or ten years, this
singularity of opinion, having no countenance from other journals, was
treated as a whim, a paradox, a bold extravagance, of the
_Blackwood_ critics. Mr. Wordsworth's neighbors in Westmoreland,
who had (generally speaking) a profound contempt for him, used to rebut
the testimony of _Blackwood_ by one constant reply--"Ay, _Blackwood_
praises Wordsworth, but who else praises him?" In short, up to 1820,
the name of Wordsworth was trampled under foot; from 1820 to 1830, it
was militant; from 1830 to 1835, it has been triumphant. In 1803, when
I entered at Oxford, that name was absolutely unknown; and the finger
of scorn, pointed at it in 1802 by the first or second number of the
_Edinburgh Review_, failed to reach its mark from absolute defect of
knowledge in the public mind. Some fifty beside myself knew who was
meant by "that poet who had cautioned his friend against growing
double," etc.; to all others it was a profound secret.

These things must be known and understood properly to value the
prophetic eye and the intrepidity of two persons, like Professor Wilson
and myself, who, in 1802-3, attached themselves to a banner not yet
raised and planted; who outran, in fact, their contemporaries by one
entire generation; and did _that_ about 1802 which the rest of the
world are doing in chorus about 1832.

Professor Wilson's period at Oxford exactly coincided with my own; yet,
in that large world, we never met. I know, therefore, but little of his
policy in regard to such opinions or feelings as tended to dissociate
him from the mass of his coevals. This only I know, that he lived as it
were in public; and must, therefore, I presume, have practised a
studied reserve as to his deepest admirations; and, perhaps, at that
day (1803-8) the occasions would be rare in which much dissimulation
would be needed. Until Lord Byron had begun to pilfer from Wordsworth
and to abuse him, allusions to Wordsworth were not frequent in
conversation; and it was chiefly on occasion of some question arising
about poetry in general, or about the poets of the day, that it became
difficult to dissemble. For my part, hating the necessity for
dissimulation as much as the dissimulation itself, I drew from this
peculiarity also of my own mind a fresh reinforcement of my other
motives for sequestering myself; and, for the first two years of my
residence in Oxford, I compute that I did not utter one hundred words.

I remember distinctly the first (which happened also to be the last)
conversation that I ever held with my tutor. It consisted of three
sentences, two of which fell to his share, one to mine. On a fine
morning, he met me in the Quadrangle, and, having then no guess of the
nature of my pretensions, he determined (I suppose) to probe them.
Accordingly, he asked me, "What I had been lately reading?" Now, the
fact was, that I, at that time immersed in metaphysics, had really been
reading and studying very closely the _Parmenides_, of which
obscure work some Oxford men, early in the last century, published a
separate edition. Yet, so profound was the benignity of my nature,
that, in those days, I could not bear to witness, far less to cause,
the least pain or mortification to any human being. I recoiled, indeed,
from the society of most men, but not with any feelings of dislike. On
the contrary, in order that I _might_ like all men, I wished to
associate with none. Now, then, to have mentioned the _Parmenides_
to one who, fifty thousand to one, was a perfect stranger to its whole
drift and purpose, looked too _méchant_, too like a trick of
malice, in an age when such reading was so very unusual. I felt that it
would be taken for an express stratagem for stopping my tutor's mouth.
All this passing rapidly through my mind, I replied, without
hesitation, that I had been reading Paley. My tutor's rejoinder I have
never forgotten: "Ah! an excellent author; excellent for his matter;
only you must be on your guard as to his style; he is very vicious
_there_." Such was the colloquy; we bowed, parted, and never more
(I apprehend) exchanged one word. Now, trivial and trite as this
comment on Paley may appear to the reader, it struck me forcibly that
more falsehood, or more absolute falsehood, or more direct inversion of
the truth, could not, by any artifice of ingenuity, have been crowded
into one short sentence. Paley, as a philosopher, is a jest, the
disgrace of the age; and, as regards the two universities, and the
enormous responsibility they undertake for the books which they
sanction by their official examinations for degrees, the name of Paley
is their great opprobrium. But, on the other hand, for style, Paley is
a master. Homely, racy, vernacular English, the rustic vigor of a style
which intentionally foregoes the graces of polish on the one hand, and
of scholastic precision on the other--that quality of merit has never
been attained in a degree so eminent. This first interchange of thought
upon a topic of literature did not tend to slacken my previous
disposition to retreat into solitude; a solitude, however, which at no
time was tainted with either the moroseness or the pride of a cynic.

Neither must the reader suppose that, even in that day, I belonged to
the party who disparage the classical writers, or the classical
training of the great English schools. The Greek drama I loved and
revered. But, to deal frankly, because it is a subject which I shall
hereafter bring before the public, I made great distinctions. I was not
that indiscriminate admirer of Greek and Roman literature, which those
too generally are who admire it at all. This protesting spirit, against
a false and blind idolatry, was with me, at that time, a matter of
enthusiasm--almost of bigotry. I was a bigot against bigots. Let us
take the Greek oratory, for example:--What section of the Greek
literature is more fanatically exalted, and studiously in depreciation
of our own? Let us judge of the sincerity at the base of these hollow
affectations, by the downright facts and the producible records. To
admire, in any sense which can give weight and value to your
admiration, presupposes, I presume, some acquaintance with its object.
As the earliest title to an opinion, one way or other, of the Greek
eloquence, we ought to have studied some of its most distinguished
artists; or, say _one_, at least; and this one, we may be sure,
will be, as it ought to be, Demosthenes. Now, it is a fact, that all
the copies of Demosthenes sold within the last hundred years would not
meet the demand of one considerable town, were that orator a subject of
study amongst even classical scholars. I doubt whether, at this day,
there exist twenty men in Europe who can be said to have even once read
Demosthenes; and, therefore, it was that, when Mr. Mitford, in his
"History of Greece," took a new view of this orator's political
administration--a view which lowered his character for integrity--he
found an unresisting acceder to his doctrines in a public having no
previous opinion upon the subject, and, therefore, open to any casual
impression of malice or rash judgment. Had there been any acquaintance
with the large remains which we still possess of this famous orator, no
such wrong could have been done. I, from my childhood, had been a
reader, nay, a student of Demosthenes; and, simply, for this reason,
that, having meditated profoundly on the true laws and philosophy of
diction, and of what is vaguely denominated style, and finding nothing
of any value in modern writers upon this subject, and not much as
regards the grounds and ultimate principles even in the ancient
rhetoricians, I have been reduced to collect my opinions from the great
artists and practitioners, rather than from the theorists; and, among
those artists, in the most plastic of languages, I hold Demosthenes to
have been the greatest.

The Greek is, beyond comparison, the most plastic of languages. It was
a material which bent to the purposes of him who used it beyond the
material of other languages; it was an instrument for a larger compass
of modulations; and it happens that the peculiar theme of an orator
imposes the very largest which is consistent with a prose diction. One
step further in passion, and the orator would become a poet. An orator
can exhaust the capacities of a language--an historian, never.
Moreover, the age of Demosthenes was, in my judgment, the age of
highest development for arts dependent upon social refinement. That
generation had fixed and ascertained the use of words; whereas, the
previous generation of Thucydides, Xenophon, Plato, &c., was a
transitional period: the language was still moving, and tending to a
meridian not yet attained; and the public eye had been directed
consciously upon language, as in and for itself an organ of
intellectual delight, for too short a time, to have mastered the whole
art of managing its resources. All these were reasons for studying
Demosthenes, as the one great model and standard of Attic prose; and,
studied him I _had_, more than any other prose writer whatever.
_Paripassu_, I had become sensible that others had _not_ studied
him. One monotonous song of applause I found raised on every side;
something about being "like a torrent, that carries everything
before it." This original image is all we get in the shape of
criticism; and never any attempt even at illustrating what is greatest
in him, or characterizing what is most peculiar. The same persons who
discovered that Lord Brougham was the modern Bacon have also
complimented him with the title of the English Demosthenes. Upon this
hint, Lord Brougham, in his address to the Glasgow students, has
deluged the great Athenian with wordy admiration. There is an obvious
prudence in lodging your praise upon an object from which you count
upon a rebound to yourself. But here, as everywhere else, you look in
vain for any marks or indications of a personal and _direct_
acquaintance with the original orations. The praise is built rather
upon the popular idea of Demosthenes, than upon the real Demosthenes.
And not only so, but even upon style itself, and upon the art of
composition _in abstracto_, Lord Brougham does not seem to have
formed any clear conceptions--principles he has none. Now, it is
useless to judge of an artist until you have some principles on the
art. The two capital secrets in the art of prose composition are these:
1st, The philosophy of transition and connection, or the art by which
one step in an evolution of thought is made to arise out of another:
all fluent and effective composition depends on the _connections_;
--2dly, The way in which sentences are made to modify each other; for,
the most powerful effects in written eloquence arise out of
this reverberation, as it were, from each other in a rapid
succession of sentences; and, because some limitation is necessary to
the length and complexity of sentences, in order to make this
interdependency felt, hence it is that the Germans have no eloquence.
The construction of German prose tends to such immoderate length of
sentences, that no effect of intermodification can ever be apparent.
Each sentence, stuffed with innumerable clauses of restriction, and
other parenthetical circumstances, becomes a separate section--an
independent whole. But, without insisting on Lord Brougham's
oversights, or errors of defect, I will digress a moment to one
positive caution of his, which will measure the value of his philosophy
on this subject. He lays it down for a rule of indefinite application,
that the Saxon part of our English idiom is to be favored at the
expense of that part which has so happily coalesced with the language
from the Latin or Greek. This fancy, often patronized by other writers,
and even acted upon, resembles that restraint which some metrical
writers have imposed upon themselves--of writing a long copy of verses,
from which some particular letter, or from each line of which some
different letter, should be carefully excluded. What followed? Was the
reader sensible, in the practical effect upon his ear, of any beauty
attained? By no means; all the difference, sensibly perceived, lay in
the occasional constraints and affectations to which the writer had
been driven by his self-imposed necessities. The same chimera exists in
Germany; and so much further is it carried, that one great puritan in
this heresy (Wolf) has published a vast dictionary, the rival of
Adelung's, for the purpose of expelling every word of foreign origin
and composition out of the language, by assigning some equivalent term
spun out from pure native Teutonic materials. _Bayonet_, for
example, is patriotically rejected, because a word may be readily
compounded tantamount to _musket-dirk_; and this sort of
composition thrives showily in the German, as a language running into
composition with a fusibility only surpassed by the Greek.

But what good purpose is attained by such caprices? In three sentences
the sum of the philosophy may be stated. It has been computed (see
_Duclos_) that the Italian opera has not above six hundred words
in its whole vocabulary: so narrow is the range of its emotions, and so
little are these emotions disposed to expand themselves into any
variety of thinking. The same remark applies to that class of simple,
household, homely passion, which belongs to the early ballad poetry.
Their passion is of a quality more venerable, it is true, and deeper
than that of the opera, because more permanent and coextensive with
human life; but it is not much wider in its sphere, nor more apt to
coalesce with contemplative or philosophic thinking. Pass from these
narrow fields of the intellect, where the relations of the objects are
so few and simple, and the whole prospect so bounded, to the
immeasurable and sea-like arena upon which Shakspeare careers--co-
infinite with life itself--yes, and with something more than life. Here
is the other pole, the opposite extreme. And what is the choice of
diction? What is the _lexis_? Is it Saxon exclusively, or is it
Saxon by preference? So far from that, the Latinity is intense--not,
indeed, in his construction, but in his choice of words; and so
continually are these Latin words used, with a critical respect to
their earliest (and, where _that_ happens to have existed, to
their unfigurative) meaning, that, upon this one argument I would rely
for upsetting the else impregnable thesis of Dr. Farmer as to
Shakspeare's learning. Nay, I will affirm that, out of this regard to
the Latin acceptation of Latin words, may be absolutely explained the
Shakspearian meaning of certain words, which has hitherto baffled all
his critics. For instance, the word _modern_, of which Dr. Johnson
professes himself unable to explain the _rationale_ or principle
regulating its Shakspearian use, though he felt its value, it is to be
deduced thus: First of all, change the pronunciation a little, by
substituting for the short _o_, as we pronounce it in _modern_, the
long _o_, as heard in _modish_, and you will then, perhaps, perceive
the process of analogy by which it passed into the Shakspearian use.
The _matter_ or substance of a thing is, usually, so much more
important than its fashion or _manner_, that we have hence adopted, as
one way for expressing what is important as opposed to what is trivial,
the word _material_. Now, by parity of reason, we are entitled to
invert this order, and to express what is unimportant by some word
indicating the mere fashion or external manner of an object as opposed
to its substance. This is effected by the word _modal_ or _modern_, as
the adjective from _modus_, a fashion or manner; and in that sense
Shakspeare employs the word. Thus, Cleopatra, undervaluing to Caesar's
agent the bijouterie which she has kept back from inventory, and which
her treacherous steward had betrayed, describes them as mere trifles

  "Such gifts as we greet modern friends withal;"

where all commentators have _felt_ that modern must form the
position, mean, slight, arid inconsiderable, though perplexed to say
how it came by such a meaning. A _modern_ friend is, in the
Shakspearian sense, with relation to a real and serviceable friend,
that which the fashion of a thing is, by comparison with its substance.
But a still better illustration may be taken from a common line, quoted
every day, and ludicrously misinterpreted. In the famous picture of
life--"All the world's a stage"--the justice of the piece is described

  "Full of wise saws and modern instances;"

which (_horrendum dictu!_) has been explained, and, I verily
believe, is generally understood to mean, _full of wise sayings and
modern illustrations_. The true meaning is--full of proverbial
maxims of conduct and of trivial arguments; that is, of petty
distinctions, or verbal disputes, such as never touch the point at
issue. The word _modern_ I have already deduced; the word
_instances_ is equally Latin, and equally used by Shakspeare in
its Latin sense. It is originally the word _instantia_, which, by
the monkish and scholastic writers, is uniformly used in the sense of
an argument, and originally of an argument urged in objection to some
previous argument. [Footnote: I cannot for a moment believe that the
original and most eloquent critic in _Blackwood_ is himself the
dupe of an argument, which he has alleged against this passage, under
too open a hatred of Shakspeare, as though it involved a contradiction
to common sense, by representing _all_ human beings of such an age
as school-boys, all of such another age as soldiers, of such another as
magistrates, &c. Evidently the logic of the famous passage is this
that whereas every age has its peculiar and appropriate temper, that
profession or employment is selected for the exemplification which
seems best fitted, in each case, to embody the characteristic or
predominating quality. Thus, because impetuosity, self-esteem, and
animal or irreflective courage, are qualities most intense in youth,
next it is considered in what profession those qualities find their
most unlimited range; and because that is obviously the military
profession, therefore it is that the soldier is selected as the
representative of young men. For the same reason, as best embodying the
peculiar temper of garrulous old age, the magistrate comes forward as
supporting the part of that age. Not that old men are not also
soldiers; but that the military profession, so far from strengthening,
moderates and tempers the characteristic temper of old age.]

I affirm, therefore, that Lord Brougham's counsel to the Glasgow
students is not only bad counsel,--and bad counsel for the result, as
well as for the grounds, which are either capricious or nugatory,--but
also that, in the exact proportion in which the range of thought
expands, it is an impossible counsel, an impracticable counsel--a
counsel having for its purpose to embarrass and lay the mind in
fetters, where even its utmost freedom and its largest resources will
be found all too little for the growing necessities of the intellect.
"Long-tailed words in _osity_ and _ation_!" What does _that_
describe? Exactly the Latin part of our language. Now, those
very terminations speak for themselves:--All high abstractions
end in _ation_; that is, they are Latin; and, just in proportion
as the abstracting power extends and widens, do the circles of thought
widen, and the horizon or boundary (contradicting its own Grecian name)
melts into the infinite. On this account it was that Coleridge
(_Biographia Literaria_) remarks on Wordsworth's philosophical
poetry, that, in proportion as it goes into the profound of passion and
of thought, do the words increase which are vulgarly called
"_dictionary_ words." Now, these words, these "dictionary" words,
what are they? Simply words of Latin or Greek origin: no other words,
no Saxon words, are ever called by illiterate persons dictionary words.
And these dictionary words are indispensable to a writer, not only in
the proportion by which he transcends other writers as to extent and as
to subtility of thinking, but also as to elevation and sublimity.
Milton was not an extensive or discursive thinker, as Shakspeare was;
for the motions of his mind were slow, solemn, sequacious, like those
of the planets; not agile and assimilative; not attracting all things
within its own sphere; not multiform: repulsion was the law of his
intellect--he moved in solitary grandeur. Yet, merely from this quality
of grandeur, unapproachable grandeur, his intellect demanded a larger
infusion of Latinity into his diction.

For the same reason (and, without such aids, he would have had no
proper element in which to move his wings) he enriched his diction with
Hellenisms and with Hebraisms; [Footnote: The diction of Milton is a
case absolutely unique in literature: of many writers it has been said,
but of him only with truth, that he created a peculiar language. The
value must be tried by the result, not by inferences from _a
priori_ principles; such inferences might lead us to anticipate an
unfortunate result; whereas, in fact, the diction of Milton is such
that no other could have supported his majestic style of thinking. The
final result is a _transcendant_ answer to all adverse criticism;
but still it is to be lamented that no man properly qualified has
undertaken the examination of the Miltonic diction as a separate
problem. Listen to a popular author of this day (Mr. Bulwer). He,
speaking on this subject, asserts (_England and the English_, p.
329), that, "_There is scarcely an English idiom which Milton has not
violated, or a foreign one which he has not borrowed._" Now, in
answer to this extravagant assertion, I will venture to say that the
two following are the sole cases of questionable idiom throughout
Milton:--1st, "Yet virgin of Proserpine from Jove;" and, in this case,
the same thing might be urged in apology which Aristotle urges in
another argument, namely, that _anonymon to pathos_, the case is
unprovided with _any_ suitable expression. How would it be
possible to convey in good English the circumstances here indicated--
namely, that Ceres was yet in those days of maiden innocence, when she
had borne no daughter to Jove? Second, I will cite a case which, so far
as I remember, has been noticed by no commentator; and, probably,
because they have failed to understand it. The case occurs in the
"Paradise Regained;" but where I do not at this moment remember. "Will
they _transact_ with God?" This is the passage; and a most flagrant
instance it offers of pure Latinism. _Transigere_, in the language
of the civil law, means to make a compromise; and the word
_transact_ is here used in that sense--a sense utterly unknown to
the English language. This is the worst case in Milton; and I do not
know that it has been ever noticed. Yet even here it may be doubted
whether Milton is not defensible; asking if they proposed to terminate
their difference with God after the fashion in use amongst courts of
law, he points properly enough to these worldly settlements by the
technical term which designated them. Thus, might a divine say: Will he
arrest the judgments of God by a _demurrer_? Thus, again, Hamlet
apostrophizes the lawyer's skull by the technical terms used in actions
for assault, &c. Besides, what proper term is there in English for
expressing a compromise? Edmund Burke, and other much older authors,
express the idea by the word _temperament_; but that word, though
a good one, was at one time considered an exotic term--equally a
Gallicism and a Latinism.] but never, as could be easy to show, without
a full justification in the result. Two things may be asserted of all
his exotic idioms--1st, That they express what could not have been
expressed by any native idiom; 2d, That they harmonize with the English
language, and give a coloring of the antique, but not any sense of
strangeness to the diction. Thus, in the double negative, "Nor did they
not perceive," &c., which is classed as a Hebraism--if any man fancy
that it expresses no more than the simple affirmative, he shows that he
does not understand its force; and, at the same time, it is a form of
thought so natural and universal, that I have heard English people,
under corresponding circumstances, spontaneously fall into it. In
short, whether a man differ from others by greater profundity or by
greater sublimity, and whether he write as a poet or as a philosopher,
in any case, he feels, in due proportion to the necessities of his
intellect, an increasing dependence upon the Latin section of the
English language; and the true reason why Lord Brougham failed to
perceive this, or found the Saxon equal to his wants, is one which I
shall not scruple to assign, inasmuch as it does not reflect personally
on Lord Brougham, or, at least, on him exclusively, but on the whole
body to which he belongs. That thing which he and they call by the
pompous name of statesmanship, but which is, in fact, _statescraft_--
the art of political intrigue--deals (like the opera) with ideas so few
in number, and so little adapted to associate themselves with other
ideas, that, possibly, in the one case equally as in the other, six
hundred words are sufficient to meet all their demands.

I have used my privilege of discursiveness to step aside from
Demosthenes to another subject, no otherwise connected with the Attic
orator than, first, by the common reference of both subjects to
rhetoric; but, secondly, by the accident of having been jointly
discussed by Lord Brougham in a paper, which (though now forgotten)
obtained, at the moment, most undue celebrity. For it is one of the
infirmities of the public mind with us, that whatever is said or done
by a public man, any opinion given by a member of Parliament, however
much out of his own proper jurisdiction and range of inquiry, commands
an attention not conceded even to those who speak under the known
privilege of professional knowledge. Thus, Cowper was not discovered to
be a poet worthy of any general notice, until Charles Fox, a most
slender critic, had vouchsafed to quote a few lines, and that, not so
much with a view to the poetry, as to its party application. But now,
returning to Demosthenes, I affirm that his case is the case of nearly
all the classical writers,--at least, of all the prose writers. It is,
I admit, an extreme one; that is, it is the general case in a more
intense degree. Raised almost to divine honors, never mentioned but
with affected rapture, the classics of Greece and Rome are seldom read,
most of them never; are they, indeed, the closet companions of any man?
Surely it is time that these follies were at an end; that our practice
were made to square a little better with our professions; and that our
pleasures were sincerely drawn from those sources in which we pretend
that they lie.

The Greek language, mastered in any eminent degree, is the very rarest
of all accomplishments, and precisely because it is unspeakably the
most difficult. Let not the reader dupe himself by popular cant. To be
an accomplished Grecian, demands a very peculiar quality of talent; and
it is almost inevitable that one who is such should be vain of a
distinction which represents so much labor and difficulty overcome. For
myself, having, as a school-boy, attained to a very unusual mastery
over this language, and (though as yet little familiar with the
elaborate science of Greek metre) moving through all the obstacles and
resistances of a Greek book with the same celerity and ease as through
those of the French and Latin, I had, in vanquishing the difficulties
of the language, lost the main stimulus to its cultivation. Still, I
read Greek daily; but any slight vanity which I might connect with a
power so rarely attained, and which, under ordinary circumstances, so
readily transmutes itself into a disproportionate admiration of the
author, in me was absolutely swallowed up in the tremendous hold taken
of my entire sensibilities at this time by our own literature. With
what fury would I often exclaim: He who loveth not his brother whom he
hath seen, how shall he love God whom he hath not seen? You, Mr. A, L,
M, O, you who care not for Milton, and value not the dark sublimities
which rest ultimately (as we all feel) upon dread realities, how can
you seriously thrill in sympathy with the spurious and fanciful
sublimities of the classical poetry--with the nod of the Olympian Jove,
or the seven-league strides of Neptune? Flying Childers had the most
prodigious stride of any horse on record; and at Newmarket that is
justly held to be a great merit; but it is hardly a qualification for a
Pantheon. The parting of Hector and Andromache--that is tender,
doubtless; but how many passages of far deeper, far diviner tenderness,
are to be found in Chaucer! Yet in these cases we give our antagonist
the benefit of an appeal to what is really best and most effective in
the ancient literature. For, if we should go to Pindar, and some other
great names, what a revelation of hypocrisy as respects the _fade_
enthusiasts for the Greek poetry!

Still, in the Greek tragedy, however otherwise embittered against
ancient literature by the dismal affectations current in the scenical
poetry, at least I felt the presence of a great and original power. It
might be a power inferior, upon the whole, to that which presides in
the English tragedy; I believed that it was; but it was equally
genuine, and appealed equally to real and deep sensibilities in our
nature. Yet, also, I felt that the two powers at work in the two forms
of the drama were essentially different; and without having read a line
of German at that time, or knowing of any such controversy, I began to
meditate on the elementary grounds of difference between the Pagan and
the Christian forms of poetry. The dispute has since been carried on
extensively in France, not less than in Germany, as between the
_classical_ and the _romantic_. But I will venture to assert
that not one step in advance has been made, up to this day. The shape
into which I threw the question it may be well to state; because I am
persuaded that out of that one idea, properly pursued, might be evolved
the whole separate characteristics of the Christian and the antique:
Why is it, I asked, that the Christian idea of _sin_ is an idea
utterly unknown to the Pagan mind? The Greeks and Romans had a clear
conception of a moral ideal, as we have; but this they estimated by a
reference to the will; and they called it virtue, and the antithesis
they called vice. The _lacheté_ or relaxed energy of the will, by
which it yielded to the seductions of sensual pleasure, that was vice;
and the braced-up tone by which it resisted these seductions was
virtue. But the idea of holiness, and the antithetic idea of sin, as a
violation of this awful and unimaginable sanctity, was so utterly
undeveloped in the Pagan mind, that no word exists in classical Greek
or classical Latin which approaches either pole of this synthesis;
neither the idea of _holiness_, nor of its correlate, _sin_,
could be so expressed in Latin as at once to satisfy Cicero and a
scientific Christian. Again (but this was some years after), I found
Schiller and Goethe applauding the better taste of the ancients, in
symbolizing the idea of death by a beautiful youth, with a torch
inverted, &c., as compared with the Christian types of a skeleton and
hour-glasses, &c. And much surprised I was to hear Mr. Coleridge
approving of this German sentiment. Yet, here again I felt the peculiar
genius of Christianity was covertly at work moving upon a different
road, and under opposite ideas, to a just result, in which the harsh
and austere expression yet pointed to a dark reality, whilst the
beautiful Greek adumbration was, in fact, a veil and a disguise. The
corruptions and the other "dishonors" of the grave, and whatsoever
composes the sting of death in the Christian view, is traced up to sin
as its ultimate cause. Hence, besides the expression of Christian
humility, in thus nakedly exhibiting the wrecks and ruins made by sin,
there is also a latent profession indicated of Christian hope. For the
Christian contemplates steadfastly, though with trembling awe, the
lowest point of his descent; since, for him, that point, the last of
his fall, is also the first of his reäscent, and serves, besides, as an
exponent of its infinity; the infinite depth becoming, in the rebound,
a measure of the infinite reäscent. Whereas, on the contrary, with the
gloomy uncertainties of a Pagan on the question of his final
restoration, and also (which must not be overlooked) with his utter
perplexity as to the nature of his restoration, if any were by accident
in reserve, whether in a condition tending downwards or upwards, it was
the natural resource to consult the general feeling of anxiety and
distrust, by throwing a thick curtain and a veil of beauty over the
whole too painful subject. To place the horrors in high relief, could
here have answered no purpose but that of wanton cruelty; whereas, with
the Christian hopes, the very saddest memorials of the havocs made by
death are antagonist prefigurations of great victories in the rear.

These speculations, at that time, I pursued earnestly; and I then
believed myself, as I yet do, to have ascertained the two great and
opposite laws under which the Grecian and the English tragedy has each
separately developed itself. Whether wrong or right in that belief,
sure I am that those in Germany who have treated the case of classical
and romantic are not entitled to credit for any discovery at all. The
Schlegels, who were the hollowest of men, the windiest and wordiest (at
least, Frederic was so), pointed to the distinction; barely indicated
it; and that was already some service done, because a presumption arose
that the antique and the modern literatures, having clearly some
essential differences, might, perhaps, rest on foundations originally
distinct, and obey different laws. And hence it occurred that many
disputes, as about the unities, etc., might originate in a confusion of
these laws. This checks the presumption of the shallow criticism, and
points to deeper investigations. Beyond this, neither the German nor
the French disputers on the subject have talked to any profitable

I have mentioned Paley as accidentally connected with my _début_
in literary conversation; and I have taken occasion to say how much I
admired his style and its unstudied graces, how profoundly I despised
his philosophy. I shall here say a word or two more on that subject. As
respects his style, though secretly despising the opinion avowed by my
tutor (which was, however, a natural opinion for a stiff lover of the
artificial and the pompous), I would just as unwillingly be supposed to
adopt the extravagant opinions, in the other extreme, of Dr. Parr and
Mr. Coleridge. These two gentlemen, who privately hated Paley, and,
perhaps, traduced him, have hung like bees over one particular
paragraph in his Evidences, as though it were a flower transplanted
from Hymettus. Dr. Parr pronounced it the finest sentence in the
English language. It is a period (that is, a cluster of sentences)
moderately well, but not _too_ well constructed, as the German
nurses are accustomed to say. Its felicity depends on a trick easily
imitated--on a balance happily placed (namely, "_in which the wisest
of mankind would rejoice to find an answer to their doubts, and rest to
their inquiries_"). As a _bravura_, or _tour de force_, in
the dazzling fence of rhetoric, it is surpassed by many hundreds of
passages which might be produced from rhetoricians; or, to confine
myself to Paley's contemporaries, it is very far surpassed by a
particular passage in Burke's letter upon the Duke of Bedford's base
attack upon him in the House of Lords; which passage I shall elsewhere
produce, because I happen to know, on the authority of Burke's
executors, that Burke himself considered it the finest period which he
had ever written. At present, I will only make one remark, namely, that
it is always injudicious, in the highest degree, to cite for admiration
that which is not a _representative_ specimen of the author's
manner. In reading Lucian, I once stumbled on a passage of German
pathos, and of German effect. Would it have been wise, or would it have
been intellectually just, to quote this as the text of an eulogium on
Lucian? What false criticism it would have suggested to every reader!
what false anticipations! To quote a formal and periodic pile of
sentences, was to give the feeling that Paley was what the regular
rhetorical artists designate as a periodic writer, when, in fact, no
one conceivable character of style more pointedly contradicted the true
description of his merits.

But, leaving the style of Paley, I must confess that I agree with Mr.
Bulwer (_England and the English_) in thinking it shocking and
almost damnatory to an English university, the great well-heads of
creeds, moral and evangelical, that authors such in respect of doctrine
as Paley and Locke should hold that high and influential station as
teachers, or rather oracles of truth, which has been conceded to them.
As to Locke, I, when a boy, had made a discovery of one blunder full of
laughter and of fun, which, had it been published and explained in
Locke's lifetime, would have tainted his whole philosophy with
suspicion. It relates to the Aristotelian doctrine of syllogism, which
Locke undertook to ridicule. Now, a flaw, a hideous flaw, in the
_soi-disant_ detecter of flaws, a ridicule in the exposer of the
ridiculous--_that_ is fatal; and I am surprised that Lee, who
wrote a folio against Locke in his lifetime, and other examiners,
should have failed in detecting this. I shall expose it elsewhere; and,
perhaps, one or two other exposures of the same kind will give an
impetus to the descent of this falling philosophy. With respect to
Paley, and the naked _prudentialism_ of his system, it is true
that in a longish note Paley disclaims that consequence. But to this we
may reply, with Cicero, _Non quoero quid neget Epicurus, sed quid
congruenter neget_. Meantime, waiving all this as too notorious, and
too frequently denounced, I wish to recur to this trite subject, by way
of stating an objection made to the Paleyan morality in my seventeenth
year, and which I have never since seen reason to withdraw. It is
this:--I affirm that the whole work, from first to last, proceeds upon
that sort of error which the logicians call _ignoratio elenchi_,
that is, ignorance of the very question concerned--of the point at
issue. For, mark, in the very vestibule of ethics, two questions
arise--two different and disconnected questions, A and B; and Paley has
answered the wrong one. Thinking that he was answering A, and meaning
to answer A, he has, in fact, answered B. One question arises thus:
Justice is a virtue; temperance is a virtue; and so forth. Now, what is
the common principle which ranks these several species under the same
genus? What, in the language of logicians, is the common differential
principle which determines these various aspects of moral obligation to
a common genius? Another question, and a more interesting question to
men in general, is this,--What is the motive to virtue? By what
impulse, law, or motive, am I impelled to be virtuous rather than
vicious? Whence is the motive derived which should impel me to one line
of conduct in preference to the other? This, which is a practical
question, and, therefore, more interesting than the other, which is a
pure question of speculation, was that which Paley believed himself to
be answering. And his answer was,--That utility, a perception of the
resulting benefit, was the true determining motive. Meantime, it was
objected that often the most obvious results from a virtuous action
were far otherwise than beneficial. Upon which, Paley, in the long note
referred to above, distinguished thus: That whereas actions have many
results, some proximate, some remote, just as a stone thrown into the
water produces many concentric circles, be it known that he, Dr. Paley,
in what he says of utility, contemplates only the final result, the
very outermost circle; inasmuch as he acknowledges a possibility that
the first, second, third, including the penultimate circle, may all
happen to clash with utility; but then, says he, the outermost circle
of all will never fail to coincide with the absolute maximum of
utility. Hence, in the first place, it appears that you cannot apply
this test of utility in a practical sense; you cannot say, This is
useful, _ergo_, it is virtuous; but, in the inverse order, you
must say, This is virtuous, _ergo_, it is useful. You do not rely
on its usefulness to satisfy yourself of its being virtuous; but, on
the contrary, you rely on its virtuousness, previously ascertained, in
order to satisfy yourself of its usefulness. And thus the whole
practical value of this test disappears, though in that view it was
first introduced; and a vicious circle arises in the argument; as you
must have ascertained the virtuousness of an act, in order to apply the
test of its being virtuous. But, _secondly_, it now comes out that
Paley was answering a very different question from that which he
supposed himself answering. Not any practical question as to the motive
or impelling force in being virtuous, rather than vicious,--that is, to
the _sanctions_ of virtue,--but a purely speculative question, as
to the issue of virtue, or the common _vinculum_ amongst the
several modes or species of virtue (justice, temperance, etc.)--this
was the real question which he was answering. I have often remarked
that the largest and most subtle source of error in philosophic
speculations has been the confounding of the two great principles so
much insisted on by the Leibnitzians, namely, the _ratio
cognoscendi_ and the _ratio essendi_. Paley believed himself to
be assigning--it was his full purpose to assign--the _ratio
cognoscendi_; but, instead of that, unconsciously and surreptitiously,
he has actually assigned the _ratio essendi_; and, after all, a false
and imaginary _ratio essendi_.


It is remarkable--and, without a previous explanation, it might seem
paradoxical to say it--that oftentimes under a continual accession of
light important subjects grow more and more enigmatical. In times when
nothing was explained, the student, torpid as his teacher, saw nothing
which called for explanation--all appeared one monotonous blank. But no
sooner had an early twilight begun to solicit the creative faculties of
the eye, than many dusky objects, with outlines imperfectly defined,
began to converge the eye, and to strengthen the nascent interest of
the spectator. It is true that light, in its final plenitude, is
calculated to disperse all darkness. But this effect belongs to its
consummation. In its earlier and _struggling_ states, light does
but reveal darkness. It makes the darkness palpable and "visible." Of
which we may see a sensible illustration in a gloomy glass-house, where
the sullen lustre from the furnace does but mass and accumulate the
thick darkness in the rear upon which the moving figures are relieved.
Or we may see an intellectual illustration in the mind of the savage,
on whose blank surface there exists no doubt or perplexity at all, none
of the pains connected with ignorance; he is conscious of no darkness,
simply because for _him_ there exists no visual ray of speculation--no
vestige of prelusive light.

Similar, and continually more similar, has been the condition of
ancient history. Once yielding a mere barren crop of facts and dates,
slowly it has been kindling of late years into life and deep interest
under superior treatment. And hitherto, as the light has advanced,
_pari passu_ have the masses of darkness strengthened. Every
question solved has been the parent of three new questions unmasked.
And the power of breathing life into dry bones has but seemed to
multiply the skeletons and lifeless remains; for the very natural
reason--that these dry bones formerly (whilst viewed as incapable of
revivification) had seemed less numerous, because everywhere confounded
to the eye with stocks and stones, so long as there was no motive of
hope for marking the distinction between them.

Amongst all the illustrations which might illuminate this truth, none
is so instructive as the large question of PAGAN ORACLES. Every part,
indeed, of the Pagan religion, the course, geographically or
ethnographically, of its traditions, the vast labyrinth of its
mythology, the deductions of its contradictory genealogies, the
disputed meaning of its many secret "mysteries" [_teletai_--
symbolic rites or initiations], all these have been submitted of late
years to the scrutiny of glasses more powerful, applied under more
combined arrangements, and directed according to new principles more
comprehensively framed. We cannot in sincerity affirm--always with
immediate advantage. But even where the individual effort may have been
a failure as regarded the immediate object, rarely, indeed, it has
happened but that much indirect illumination has resulted--which,
afterwards entering into combination with other scattered currents of
light, has issued in discoveries of value; although, perhaps, any one
contribution, taken separately, had been, and would have remained,
inoperative. Much has been accomplished, chiefly of late years; and,
confining our view to ancient history, almost exclusively amongst the
Germans--by the Savignys, the Niebuhrs, the Otfried Muellers. And, if
that _much_ has left still more to do, it has also brought the
means of working upon a scale of far accelerated speed.

The books now existing upon the ancient oracles, above all, upon the
Greek oracles, amount to a small library. The facts have been collected
from all quarters,--examined, sifted, winnowed. Theories have been
raised upon these facts under every angle of aspect; and yet, after
all, we profess ourselves to be dissatisfied. Amongst much that is
sagacious, we feel and we resent with disgust a taint of falsehood
diffused over these recent speculations from vulgar and even
counterfeit incredulity; the one gross vice of German philosophy, not
less determinate or less misleading than that vice which, heretofore,
through many centuries, had impoverished this subject, and had stopped
its discussion under the anile superstition of the ecclesiastical

These fathers, both Greek and Latin, had the ill fortune to be
extravagantly esteemed by the church of Rome; whence, under a natural
reaction, they were systematically depreciated by the great leaders of
the Protestant Reformation. And yet hardly in a corresponding degree.
For there was, after all, even among the reformers, a deep-seated
prejudice in behalf of all that was "primitive" in Christianity; under
which term, by some confusion of ideas, the fathers often benefited.
Primitive Christianity was reasonably venerated; and, on this argument,
that, for the first three centuries, it was necessarily more sincere.
We do not think so much of that sincerity which affronted the fear of
persecution; because, after all, the searching persecutions were rare
and intermitting, and not, perhaps, in any case, so fiery as they have
been represented. We think more of that gentle but insidious
persecution which lay in the solicitations of besieging friends, and
more still of the continual temptations which haunted the irresolute
Christian in the fascinations of the public amusements. The theatre,
the circus, and, far beyond both, the cruel amphitheatre, constituted,
for the ancient world, a passionate enjoyment, that by many authors,
and especially through one period of time, is described as going to the
verge of frenzy. And we, in modern times, are far too little aware in
what degree these great carnivals, together with another attraction of
great cities, the pomps and festivals of the Pagan worship, broke the
monotony of domestic life, which, for the old world, was even more
oppressive than it is for us. In all principal cities, so as to be
within the reach of almost all provincial inhabitants, there was a
hippodrome, often uniting the functions of the circus and the
amphitheatre; and there was a theatre. From all such pleasures the
Christian was sternly excluded by his very profession of faith. From
the festivals of the Pagan religion his exclusion was even more
absolute; against them he was a sworn militant protester from the hour
of his baptism. And when these modes of pleasurable relaxation had been
subtracted from ancient life, what could remain? Even less, perhaps,
than most readers have been led to consider. For the ancients had no
such power of extensive locomotion, of refreshment for their wearied
minds, by travelling and change of scene, as we children of modern
civilization possess. No ships had then been fitted up for passengers,
nor public carriages established, nor roads opened extensively, nor
hotels so much as imagined hypothetically; because the relation of
_xenia_, or the obligation to reciprocal hospitality, and latterly
the Roman relation of patron and client, had stifled the first motions
of enterprise of the ancients; in fact, no man travelled but the
soldier, and the man of political authority. Consequently, in
sacrificing public amusements, the Christians sacrificed _all_
pleasure whatsoever that was not rigorously domestic; whilst in facing
the contingencies of persecutions that might arise under the rapid
succession of changing emperors, they faced a perpetual _anxiety_
more trying to the fortitude than any fixed and measurable evil. Here,
certainly, we have a guarantee for the deep faithfulness of early
Christians, such as never can exist for more mixed bodies of
professors, subject to no searching trials.

Better the primitive Christians were (by no means individually better,
but better on the total body), yet they were not in any intellectual
sense wiser. Unquestionably the elder Christians participated in the
local follies, prejudices, superstitions, of their several provinces
and cities, except where any of these happened to be too conspicuously
at war with the spirit of love or the spirit of purity which exhaled at
every point from the Christian faith; and, in all intellectual
features, as were the Christians generally, such were the fathers.
Amongst the Greek fathers, one might be unusually learned, as Clement
of Alexandria; and another might be reputed unusually eloquent, as
Gregory Nazianzen, or Basil. Amongst the Latin fathers, one might be a
man of admirable genius, as far beyond the poor, vaunted Rousseau in
the impassioned grandeur of his thoughts, as he was in truth and purity
of heart; we speak of St. Augustine (usually called St. Austin), and
many might be distinguished by various literary merits. But could these
advantages anticipate a higher civilization? Most unquestionably some
of the fathers were the _élite_ of their own age, but not in
advance of their age. They, like all their contemporaries, were
besieged by errors, ancient, inveterate, traditional; and accidentally,
from one cause special to themselves, they were not merely liable to
error, but usually prone to error. This cause lay in the _polemic_
form which so often they found a necessity, or a convenience, or a
temptation for assuming, as teachers or defenders of the truth.

He who reveals a body of awful truth to a candid and willing auditory
is content with the grand simplicities of truth in the quality of his
proofs. And truth, where it happens to be of a high order, is generally
its own witness to all who approach it in the spirit of childlike
docility. But far different is the position of that teacher who
addresses an audience composed in various proportions of sceptical
inquirers, obstinate opponents, and malignant scoffers. Less than an
apostle is unequal to the suppression of all human reactions incident
to wounded sensibilities. Scorn is too naturally met by retorted scorn:
malignity in the Pagan, which characterized all the known cases of
signal opposition to Christianity, could not but hurry many good men
into a vindictive pursuit of victory. Generally, where truth is
communicated _polemically_ (this is, not as it exists in its own
inner simplicity, but as it exists in external relation to error), the
temptation is excessive to use those arguments which will tell at the
moment upon the crowd of bystanders, by preference to those which will
approve themselves ultimately to enlightened disciples. Hence it is,
that, like the professional rhetoricians of Athens, not seldom the
Christian fathers, when urgently pressed by an antagonist equally
mendacious and ignorant, could not resist the human instinct for
employing arguments such as would baffle and confound the unprincipled
opponent, rather than such as would satisfy the mature Christian. If a
man denied himself all specious arguments, and all artifices of
dialectic subtlety, he must renounce the hopes of a _present_
triumph; for the light of absolute truth on moral or on spiritual
themes is too dazzling to be sustained by the diseased optics of those
habituated to darkness. And hence we explain not only the many gross
delusions of the fathers, their sophisms, their errors of fact and
chronology, their attempts to build great truths upon fantastic
etymologies, or upon popular conceits in science that have long since
exploded, but also their occasional unchristian tempers. To contend
with an unprincipled and malicious liar, such as Julian the Apostate,
in its original sense the first deliberate _miscreant_, offered a
dreadful snare to any man's charity. And he must be a furious bigot who
will justify the rancorous lampoons of Gregory Nazianzen. Are we, then,
angry on behalf of Julian? So far as _he_ was interested, not for
a moment would we have suspended the descending scourge. Cut him to the
bone, we should have exclaimed at the time! Lay the knout into every
"raw" that can be found! For we are of opinion that Julian's duplicity
is not yet adequately understood. But what was right as regarded the
claims of the criminal, was _not_ right as regarded the duties of
his opponent. Even in this mischievous renegade, trampling with his
orangoutang hoofs the holiest of truths, a Christian bishop ought still
to have respected his sovereign, through the brief period that he
_was_ such, and to have commiserated his benighted brother,
however wilfully astray, and however hatefully seeking to quench that
light for other men, which, for his own misgiving heart, we could
undertake to show that he never _did_ succeed in quenching. We do
not wish to enlarge upon a theme both copious and easy. But here, and
everywhere, speaking of the fathers as a body, we charge them with
anti-christian practices of a two-fold order: sometimes as supporting
their great cause in a spirit alien to its own, retorting in a temper
not less uncharitable than that of their opponents; sometimes, again,
as adopting arguments that are unchristian in their ultimate grounds;
resting upon errors the reputation of errors; upon superstitions the
overthrow of superstitions; and drawing upon the armories of darkness
for weapons that, to be durable, ought to have been of celestial
temper. Alternately, in short, the fathers trespass against those
affections which furnish to Christianity its moving powers, and against
those truths which furnish to Christianity its guiding lights. Indeed,
Milton's memorable attempt to characterize the fathers as a body,
contemptuous as it is, can hardly be challenged as overcharged.

Never in any instance were these aberrations of the fathers more
vividly exemplified than in their theories upon the Pagan Oracles. On
behalf of God, they were determined to be wiser than God; and, in
demonstration of scriptural power, to advance doctrines which the
Scriptures had nowhere warranted. At this point, however, we shall take
a short course; and, to use a vulgar phrase, shall endeavor to "kill
two birds with one stone." It happens that the earliest book in our
modern European literature, which has subsequently obtained a station
of authority on the subject of the ancient Oracles, applied itself
entirely to the erroneous theory of the fathers. This is the celebrated
_Antonii Van Dale, "De Ethnicorum Oraculis Dissertationes_," which
was published at Amsterdam _at least_ as early as the year 1682;
that is, one hundred and sixty years ago. And upon the same subject
there has been no subsequent book which maintains an equal rank. Van
Dale might have treated his theme simply with a view to the
investigation of the truth, as some recent inquirers have preferred
doing; and, in that case, the fathers would have been noticed only as
incidental occasions might bring forward their opinions--true or false.
But to this author the errors of the fathers seemed capital; worthy, in
fact, of forming his _principal_ object; and, knowing their great
authority in the Papal church, he anticipated, in the plan of attaching
his own views to the false views of the fathers, an opening to a double
patronage--that of the Protestants, in the first place, as interested
in all doctrines seeming to be anti-papal; that of the sceptics, in the
second place, as interested in the exposure of whatever had once
commanded, but subsequently lost, the superstitious reverence of
mankind. On this policy, he determined to treat the subject
polemically. He fastened, therefore, upon the fathers with a deadly
_acharnement_, that evidently meant to leave no arrears of work
for any succeeding assailant; and it must be acknowledged that, simply
in relation to this purpose of hostility, his work is triumphant. So
much was not difficult to accomplish; for barely to enunciate the
leading doctrine of the fathers is, in the ear of any chronologist, to
overthrow it. But, though successful enough in its functions of
destruction, on the other hand, as an affirmative or constructive work,
the long treatise of Van Dale is most unsatisfactory. It leaves us with
a hollow sound ringing in the ear, of malicious laughter from gnomes
and imps grinning over the weaknesses of man--his paralytic facility in
believing--his fraudulent villany in abusing this facility--but in no
point accounting for those real effects of diffusive social benefits
from the Oracle machinery, which must arrest the attention of candid
students, amidst some opposite monuments of incorrigible credulity, or
of elaborate imposture.

As a book, however, belonging to that small cycle (not numbering,
perhaps, on _all_ subjects, above three score), which may be said
to have moulded and controlled the public opinion of Europe through the
last five generations, already for itself the work of Van Dale merits a
special attention. It is confessedly the _classical_ book--the
original _fundus_ for the arguments and facts applicable to this
question; and an accident has greatly strengthened its authority.
Fontenelle, the most fashionable of European authors, at the opening of
the eighteenth century, writing in a language at that time even more
predominant than at present, did in effect employ all his advantages to
propagate and popularize the views of Van Dale. Scepticism naturally
courts the patronage of France; and in effect that same remark which a
learned Belgian (Van Brouwer) has found frequent occasion to make upon
single sections of Fontenelle's work, may be fairly extended into a
representative account of the whole--"_L'on trouve les mêmes
arguments chez Fontenelle, mais dégagés des longueurs du savant Van
Dale, et exprimés avec plus d'élégance._" This _rifaccimento_
did not injure the original work in reputation: it caused Van Dale to
be less read, but to be more esteemed; since a man confessedly
distinguished for his powers of composition had not thought it beneath
his ambition to adopt and recompose Van Dale's theory. This important
position of Van Dale with regard to the effectual creed of Europe--so
that, whether he were read directly or were slighted for a more
fashionable expounder, equally in either case it was _his_ doctrines
which prevailed--must always confer a circumstantial value upon the
original dissertations, "_De Ethnicorum Oraculis_."

This original work of Van Dale is a book of considerable extent. But,
in spite of its length, it divides substantially into two great
chapters, and no more, which coincide, in fact, with the two separate
dissertations. The first of these dissertations, occupying one hundred
and eighty-one pages, inquires into the failure and extinction of the
Oracles; when they failed, and under what circumstances. The second of
these dissertations inquires into the machinery and resources of the
Oracles during the time of their prosperity. In the first dissertation,
the object is to expose the folly and gross ignorance of the fathers,
who insisted on representing the history of the case roundly in this
shape--as though all had prospered with the Oracles up to the nativity
of Christ; but that, after his crucifixion, and simultaneously with the
first promulgation of Christianity, all Oracles had suddenly drooped;
or, to tie up their language to the rigor of their theory, had suddenly
expired. All this Van Dale peremptorily denies; and, in these days, it
is scarcely requisite to add, triumphantly denies; the whole hypothesis
of the fathers having literally not a leg to stand upon; and being, in
fact, the most audacious defiance to historical records that, perhaps,
the annals of human folly present.

In the second dissertation, Van Dale combats the other notion of the
fathers--that, during their prosperous ages, the Oracles had moved by
an agency of evil spirits. He, on the contrary, contends that, from the
first hour to the last of their long domination over the minds and
practice of the Pagan world, they had moved by no agencies whatever,
but those of human fraud, intrigue, collusion, applied to human
blindness, credulity, and superstition.

We shall say a word or two upon each question. As to the first, namely,
_when_ it was that the Oracles fell into decay and silence, thanks
to the headlong rashness of the Fathers, Van Dale's assault cannot be
refused or evaded. In reality, the evidence against them is too
flagrant and hyperbolical. If we were to quote from Juvenal--"Delphis
et Oracula cessant," in that case, the fathers challenge it as an
argument on _their_ side, for that Juvenal described a state of
things immediately posterior to Christianity; yet even here the word
_cessant_ points to a distinction of cases which already in itself
is fatal to their doctrine. By _cessant_ Juvenal means evidently
what we, in these days, should mean in saying of a ship in action that
her fire was slackening. This powerful poet, therefore, wiser so far
than the Christian fathers, distinguishes two separate cases: first,
the state of torpor and languishing which might be (and in fact was)
the predicament of many famous Oracles through centuries not fewer than
five, six, or even eight; secondly, the state of absolute dismantling
and utter extinction which, even before his time, had confounded
individual Oracles of the inferior class, not from changes affecting
religion, whether true or false, but from political revolutions. Here,
therefore, lies the first blunder of the fathers, that they confound
with total death the long drooping which befell many great Oracles from
languor in the popular sympathies, under changes hereafter to be
noticed; and, consequently, from revenues and machinery continually
decaying. That the Delphic Oracle itself--of all oracles the most
illustrious--had not expired, but simply slumbered for centuries, the
fathers might have been convinced themselves by innumerable passages in
authors contemporary with themselves; and that it was continually
throwing out fitful gleams of its ancient power, when any very great
man (suppose a Caesar) thought fit to stimulate its latent vitality, is
notorious from such cases as that of Hadrian. He, in his earlier days,
whilst yet only dreaming of the purple, had not found the Oracle
superannuated or palsied. On the contrary, he found it but too clear-
sighted; and it was no contempt in him, but too ghastly a fear and
jealousy, which labored to seal up the grander ministrations of the
Oracle for the future. What the Pythia had foreshown to himself, she
might foreshow to others; and, when tempted by the same princely
bribes, she might authorize and kindle the same aspiring views in other
great officers. Thus, in the new condition of the Roman power, there
was a perpetual peril, lest an oracle, so potent as that of Delphi,
should absolutely create rebellions, by first suggesting hopes to men
in high commands. Even as it was, all treasonable assumptions of the
purple, for many generations, commenced in the hopes inspired by
auguries, prophecies, or sortileges. And had the great Delphic Oracle,
consecrated to men's feelings by hoary superstition, and _privileged
by secrecy_, come forward to countersign such hopes, many more would
have been the wrecks of ambition, and even bloodier would have been the
blood-polluted line of the imperial successions. Prudence, therefore,
it was, and state policy, not the power of Christianity, which gave the
_final_ shock (of the _original_ shock we shall speak elsewhere)
to the grander functions of the Delphic Oracle. But, in the mean
time, the humbler and more domestic offices of this oracle, though
naturally making no noise at a distance, seem long to have survived its
state relations. And, apart from the sort of galvanism notoriously
applied by Hadrian, surely the fathers could not have seen Plutarch's
account of its condition, already a century later than our Saviour's
nativity. The Pythian priestess, as we gather from _him_, had by
that time become a less select and dignified personage; she was no
longer a princess in the land--a change which was proximately due to
the impoverished income of the temple; but she was still in existence;
still held in respect; still trained, though at inferior cost, to her
difficult and showy ministrations. And the whole establishment of the
Delphic god, if necessarily contracted from that scale which had been
suitable when great kings and commonwealths were constant suitors
within the gates of Delphi, still clung (like the Venice of modern
centuries) to her old ancestral honors, and kept up that decent
household of ministers which corresponded to the altered ministrations
of her temple. In fact, the evidences on behalf of Delphi as a princely
house, that had indeed partaken in the decaying fortunes of Greece, but
naturally was all the prouder from the irritating contrast of her great
remembrances, are so plentifully dispersed through books, that the
fathers must have been willingly duped. That in some way they
_were_ duped is too notorious from the facts, and might be suspected
even from their own occasional language; take, as one instance, amongst
a whole _harmony_ of similar expressions, this short passage from
Eusebius--_hoi Hellenes homologentes ekleloipenai auton ta chresteria_:
the Greeks admitting that their Oracles have failed. (There is,
however, a disingenuous vagueness in the very word _ekleloipenai_),
_ed' allote pote ex aionos_--and when? why, at no other crisis through
the total range of their existence--_e kata tes chrones tes euangelikes
didaskalias_--than precisely at the epoch of the evangelical
dispensation, etc. Eusebius was a man of too extensive reading to be
entirely satisfied with the Christian representations upon this point.
And in such indeterminate phrases as _kata tes chrones_ (which might
mean indifferently the entire three centuries then accomplished from
the first promulgation of Christianity, or specifically that narrow
punctual limit of the earliest promulgation), it is easy to trace an
ambidextrous artifice of compromise between what would satisfy his own
brethren, on the one hand, and what, on the other hand, he could hope
to defend against the assaults of learned Pagans.

In particular instances it is but candid to acknowledge that the
fathers may have been misled by the remarkable tendencies to error
amongst the ancients, from their want of public journals, combined with
territorial grandeur of empire. The greatest possible defect of harmony
arises naturally in this way amongst ancient authors, locally remote
from each other; but more especially in the post-christian periods,
when reporting any aspects of change, or any results from a revolution
variable and advancing under the vast varieties of the Roman empire.
Having no newspapers to effect a level amongst the inequalities and
anomalies of their public experience in regard to the Christian
revolution, when collected from innumerable tribes so widely differing
as to civilization, knowledge, superstition, &c.; hence it happened
that one writer could report with truth a change as having occurred
within periods of ten to sixty years, which for some other province
would demand a circuit of six hundred. For example, in Asia Minor, all
the way from the sea coast to the Euphrates, towns were scattered
having a dense population of Jews. Sometimes these were the most
malignant opponents of Christianity; that is, wherever they happened to
rest in the _letter_ of their peculiar religion. But, on the other
hand, where there happened to be a majority (or, if not numerically a
majority, yet influentially an overbalance) in that section of the Jews
who were docile children of their own preparatory faith and discipline,
no bigots, and looking anxiously for the fulfilment of their prophecies
(an expectation at that time generally diffused),--under those
circumstances, the Jews were such ready converts as to account
naturally for sudden local transitions, which in other circumstances or
places might not have been credible.

This single consideration may serve to explain the apparent
contradictions, the irreconcilable discrepancies, between the
statements of contemporary Christian bishops, locally at a vast
distance from each other, or (which is even more important) reporting
from communities occupying different stages of civilization. There was
no harmonizing organ of interpretation, in Christian or in Pagan
newspapers, to bridge over the chasms that divided different provinces.
A devout Jew, already possessed by the purest idea of the Supreme
Being, stood on the very threshold of conversion: he might, by one
hour's conversation with an apostle, be transfigured into an
enlightened Christian; whereas a Pagan could seldom in one generation
pass beyond the infirmity of his novitiate. His heart and affections,
his will and the habits of his understanding, were too deeply diseased
to be suddenly transmuted. And hence arises a phenomenon, which has too
languidly arrested the notice of historians; namely, that already, and
for centuries before the time of Constantine, wherever the Jews had
been thickly sown as colonists, the most potent body of Christian zeal
stood ready to kindle under the first impulse of encouragement from the
state; whilst in the great capitals of Rome and Alexandria, where the
Jews were hated and neutralized politically by Pagan forces, not for a
hundred years later than Constantine durst the whole power of the
government lay hands on the Pagan machinery, except with timid
precautions, and by graduations so remarkably adjusted to the
circumstances, that sometimes they wear the shape of compromises with
idolatry. We must know the ground, the quality of the population,
concerned in any particular report of the fathers, before we can judge
of its probabilities. Under local advantages, insulated cases of
Oracles suddenly silenced, of temples and their idol-worship
overthrown, as by a rupture of new-born zeal, were not less certain to
arise as rare accidents from rare privileges, or from rare coincidences
of unanimity in the leaders of the place, than on the other hand they
were certain _not_ to arise in that unconditional universality
pretended by the fathers. Wheresoever Paganism was interwoven with the
whole moral being of a people, as it was in Egypt, or with the
political tenure and hopes of a people, as it was in Rome, _there_
a long struggle was inevitable before the revolution could be effected.
Briefly, as against the fathers, we find a sufficient refutation in
what _followed_ Christianity. If, at a period five, or even six
hundred years after the birth of Christ, you find people still
consulting the local Oracles of Egypt, in places sheltered from the
point-blank range of the state artillery,--there is an end, once and
forever, to the delusive superstition that, merely by its silent
presence in the world, Christianity must instantaneously come into
fierce activity as a reägency of destruction to all forms of idolatrous
error. That argument is multiplied beyond all power of calculation; and
to have missed it is the most eminent instance of wilful blindness
which the records of human folly can furnish. But there is another
refutation lying in an opposite direction, which presses the fathers
even more urgently in the rear than this presses them in front; any
author posterior to Christianity, who should point to the decay of
Oracles, they would claim on their own side. But what would they have
said to Cicero,--by what resource of despair would they have parried
his authority, when insisting (as many times he does insist), forty and
even fifty years before the birth of Christ, on the languishing
condition of the Delphic Oracle? What evasion could they imagine here?
How could that languor be due to Christianity, which far anticipated
the very birth of Christianity? For, as to Cicero, who did not "far
anticipate the birth of Christianity." we allege _him_ rather
because his work _De Divinatione_ is so readily accessible, and
because his testimony on any subject is so full of weight, than because
other and much older authorities cannot be produced to the same effect.
The Oracles of Greece had lost their vigor and their palmy pride full
two centuries before the Christian era. Historical records show this
_à posteriori_, whatever were the cause; and the cause, which we
will state hereafter, shows it _à priori_, apart from the records.

Surely, therefore, Van Dale needed not to have pressed his victory over
the helpless fathers so unrelentingly, and after the first ten pages by
cases and proofs that are quite needless and _ex abundanti_;
simply the survival of any one distinguished Oracle upwards of four
centuries _after_ Christ--that is sufficient. But if with this
fact we combine the other fact, that all the principal Oracles had
already begun to languish, more than two centuries _before_
Christianity, there can be no opening for a whisper of dissent upon any
real question between Van Dale and his opponents; namely, both as to
the possibility of Christianity coexisting with such forms of error,
and the possibility that oracles should be overthrown by merely Pagan,
or internal changes. The less plausible, however, that we find this
error of the fathers, the more curiosity we naturally feel about the
source of that error; and the more so, because Van Dale never turns his
eyes in that direction.

This source lay (to speak the simple truth) in abject superstition. The
fathers conceived of the enmity between Christianity and Paganism, as
though it resembled that between certain chemical poisons and the
Venetian wine-glass, which (according to the belief [Footnote: Which
belief we can see no reason for rejecting so summarily as is usually
done in modern times. It would be absurd, indeed, to suppose a kind of
glass qualified to expose all poisons indifferently, considering the
vast range of their chemical differences. But, surely, as against that
one poison then familiarly used for domestic murders, a chemical
reagency might have been devised in the quality of the glass. At least,
there is no _prima facie_ absurdity in such a supposition.] of
three centuries back) no sooner received any poisonous fluid, than
immediately it shivered into crystal splinters. They thought to honor
Christianity, by imaging it as some exotic animal of more powerful
breed, such as we English have witnessed in a domestic case, coming
into instant collision with the native race, and exterminating it
everywhere upon the first conflict. In this conceit they substituted a
foul fiction of their own, fashioned on the very model of Pagan
fictions, for the unvarying analogy of the divine procedure.
Christianity, as the last and consummate of revelations, had the high
destination of working out its victory through what was greatest in a
man--through his reason, his will, his affections. But, to satisfy the
fathers, it must operate like a drug--like sympathetic powders--like an
amulet--or like a conjurer's charm. Precisely the monkish effect of a
Bible when hurled at an evil spirit--not the true rational effect of
that profound oracle read, studied, and laid to heart--was that which
the fathers ascribed to the mere proclamation of Christianity, when
first piercing the atmosphere circumjacent to any oracle; and, in fact,
to their gross appreciations, Christian truth was like the scavenger
bird in Eastern climates, or the stork in Holland, which signalizes its
presence by devouring all the native brood of vermin, or nuisances, as
fast as they reproduce themselves under local distemperatures of
climate or soil.

It is interesting to pursue the same ignoble superstition, which, in
fact, under Romish hands, soon crept like a parasitical plant over
Christianity itself, until it had nearly strangled its natural vigor,
back into times far preceding that of the fathers. Spite of all that
could be wrought by Heaven, for the purpose of continually confounding
the local vestiges of popular reverence which might have gathered round
stocks and stones, so obstinate is the hankering after this mode of
superstition in man that his heart returns to it with an elastic recoil
as often as the openings are restored. Agreeably to this infatuation,
the temple of the true God--even its awful _adytum_--the holy of
holies--or the places where the ark of the covenant had rested in its
migrations--all were conceived to have an eternal and a self-
vindicating sanctity. So thought man: but God himself, though to man's
folly pledged to the vindication of his own sanctities, thought far
otherwise; as we know by numerous profanations of all holy places in
Judea, triumphantly carried through, and avenged by no plausible
judgments. To speak only of the latter temple, three men are memorable
as having polluted its holiest recesses: Antiochus Epiphanes, Pompey
about a century later, and Titus pretty nearly by the same exact
interval later than Pompey. Upon which of these three did any judgment
descend? Attempts have been made to impress that coloring of the sequel
in two of these cases, indeed, but without effect upon _any_ man's
mind. Possibly in the case of Antiochus, who seems to have moved under
a burning hatred, not so much of the insurgent Jews as of the true
faith which prompted their resistance, there is some colorable argument
for viewing him in his miserable death as a monument of divine wrath.
But the two others had no such malignant spirit; they were tolerant,
and even merciful; were authorized instruments for executing the
purposes of Providence; and no calamity in the life of either can be
reasonably traced to his dealings with Palestine. Yet, if Christianity
could not brook for an instant the mere coëxistence of a Pagan oracle,
how came it that the Author of Christianity had thus brooked (nay, by
many signs of coöperation, had promoted) that ultimate desecration,
which planted "the abomination of desolation" as a victorious crest of
Paganism upon his own solitary altar? The institution of the Sabbath,
again--what part of the Mosaic economy could it more plausibly have
been expected that God should vindicate by some memorable interference,
since of all the Jewish institutions it was that one which only and
which frequently became the occasion of wholesale butchery to the pious
(however erring) Jews? The scruple of the Jews to fight, or even to
resist an assassin, on the Sabbath, was not the less pious in its
motive because erroneous in principle; yet no miracle interfered to
save them from the consequences of their infatuation. And this seemed
the more remarkable in the case of their war with Antiochus, because
_that_ (if any that history has recorded) was a holy war. But,
after one tragical experience, which cost the lives of a thousand
martyrs, the Maccabees--quite as much on a level with their scrupulous
brethren in piety as they were superior in good sense--began to reflect
that they had no shadow of a warrant from Scripture for counting upon
any miraculous aid; that the whole expectation, from first to last, had
been human and presumptuous; and that the obligation of fighting
valiantly against idolatrous compliances was, at all events, paramount
to the obligation of the Sabbath. In one hour, after unyoking
themselves from this monstrous millstone of their own forging, about
their own necks, the cause rose buoyantly aloft as upon wings of
victory; and, as their very earliest reward--as the first fruits from
thus disabusing their minds of windy presumptions--they found the very
case itself melting away which had furnished the scruple; since their
cowardly enemies, now finding that they would fight on all days alike,
had no longer any motive for attacking them on the Sabbath; besides
that their own astonishing victories henceforward secured to them often
the choice of the day not less than of the ground.

But, without lingering on these outworks of the true religion, namely,
1st, the Temple of Jerusalem; 2dly, the Sabbath,--both of which the
divine wisdom often saw fit to lay prostrate before the presumption of
idolatrous assaults, on principles utterly irreconcilable with the
Oracle doctrine of the fathers,--there is a still more flagrant
argument against the fathers, which it is perfectly confounding to find
both them and their confuter overlooking. It is this. Oracles, take
them at the very worst, were no otherwise hostile to Christianity than
as a branch of Paganism. If, for instance, the Delphic establishment
were hateful (as doubtless it was) to the holy spirit of truth which
burned in the mind of an apostle, _why_ was it hateful? Not
primarily in its character of Oracle, but in its universal character of
Pagan temple; not as an authentic distributor of counsels adapted to
the infinite situations of its clients--often very wise counsels; but
as being ultimately engrafted on the stem of idolatrous religion--as
deriving, in the last resort, their sanctions from Pagan deities, and,
therefore, as sharing _constructively_ in all the pollutions of
that tainted source. Now, therefore, if Christianity, according to the
fancy of the fathers, could not tolerate the co-presence of so much
evil as resided in the Oracle superstition,--that is, in the
derivative, in the secondary, in the not unfrequently neutralized or
even redundantly compensated mode of error,--then, _à fortiori_,
Christianity could not have tolerated for an hour the parent
superstition, the larger evil, the fontal error, which diseased the
very organ of vision--which not merely distorted a few objects on the
road, but spread darkness over the road itself. Yet what is the fact?
So far from any mysterious repulsion _externally_ between
idolatrous errors and Christianity, as though the two schemes of belief
could no more coexist in the same society than two queen-bees in a
hive,--as though elementary nature herself recoiled from the abominable
_concursus_,--do but open a child's epitome of history, and you
find it to have required four entire centuries before the destroyer's
hammer and crowbar began to ring loudly against the temples of
idolatrous worship; and not before five, nay, locally six, or even
seven centuries had elapsed, could the better angel of mankind have
sung gratulations announcing that the great strife was over--that man
was inoculated with the truth; or have adopted the impressive language
of a Latin father, that "the owls were to be heard in _every_
village hooting from the dismantled fanes of heathenism, or the gaunt
wolf disturbing the sleep of peasants as he yelled in winter from the
cold, dilapidated altars." Even this victorious consummation was true
only for the southern world of civilization. The forests of Germany,
though pierced already to the south in the third and fourth centuries
by the torch of missionaries,--though already at that time illuminated
by the immortal Gothic version of the New Testament preceding Ulppilas,
and still surviving,--sheltered through ages in the north and east vast
tribes of idolaters, some awaiting the baptism of Charlemagne in the
eighth century and the ninth, others actually resuming a fierce
countenance of heathenism for the martial zeal of crusading knights in
the thirteenth and fourteenth. The history of Constantine has grossly
misled the world. It was very early in the fourth century (313 A. D.)
that Constantine found himself strong enough to take his _earliest_
steps for raising Christianity to a privileged station; which
station was not merely an effect and monument of its progress,
but a further cause of progress. In this latter light, as a power
advancing and moving, but politically still militant, Christianity
required exactly one other century to carry out and accomplish even its
eastern triumph. Dating from the era of the very inaugurating and
merely local acts of Constantine, we shall be sufficiently accurate in
saying that the corresponding period in the fifth century (namely, from
about 404 to 420 A. D.) first witnessed those uproars of ruin in Egypt
and Alexandria--fire racing along the old carious timbers, battering-
rams thundering against the ancient walls of the most horrid temples--
which rang so searchingly in the ears of Zosimus, extorting, at every
blow, a howl of Pagan sympathy from that ignorant calumniator of
Christianity. So far from the fact being, according to the general
prejudice, as though Constantine had found himself able to destroy
Paganism, and to replace it by Christianity; on the contrary, it was
both because he happened to be far too weak, in fact, for such a mighty
revolution, and because he _knew_ his own weakness, that he fixed
his new capital, as a preliminary caution, upon the Propontis.

There were other motives to this change, and particularly (as we have
attempted to show in a separate dissertation) motives of high political
economy, suggested by the relative conditions of land and agriculture
in Thrace and Asia Minor, by comparison with decaying Italy; but a
paramount motive, we are satisfied, and the earliest motive, was the
incurable Pagan bigotry of Rome. Paganism for Rome, it ought to have
been remembered by historians, was a mere necessity of her Pagan
origin. Paganism was the fatal dowry of Rome from her inauguration; not
only she had once received a retaining fee on behalf of Paganism, in
the mysterious _Ancile_, supposed to have fallen from heaven, but
she actually preserved this bribe amongst her rarest jewels. She
possessed a palladium, such a national amulet or talisman as many
Grecian or Asiatic cities had once possessed--a _fatal_ guarantee
to the prosperity of the state. Even the Sibylline books, whatever
ravages they might be supposed by the intelligent to have sustained in
a lapse of centuries, were popularly believed, in the latest period of
the Western empire, to exist as so many charters of supremacy. Jupiter
himself in Rome had put on a peculiar Roman physiognomy, which
associated him with the destinies of the gigantic state. Above all, the
solemn augury of the twelve vultures, so memorably passed downwards
from the days of Romulus, through generations as yet uncertain of the
event, and, therefore, chronologically incapable of participation in
any fraud--an augury _always_ explained as promising twelve
centuries of supremacy to Rome, from the year 748 or 750 B. C.--
coöperated with the endless other Pagan superstitions in anchoring the
whole Pantheon to the Capitol and Mount Palatine. So long as Rome had a
worldly hope surviving, it was impossible for her to forget the Vestal
Virgins, the College of Augurs, or the indispensable office and the
_indefeasible_ privileges of the _Pontifex Maximus_, which
(though Cardinal Baronius, in his great work, for many years sought to
fight off the evidences for that fact, yet afterwards partially he
confessed his error) actually availed--historically and _medallically_
can be demonstrated to have availed--for the temptation of Christian
Cæsars into collusive adulteries with heathenism. Here, for instance,
came an emperor that timidly recorded his scruples--feebly protested,
but gave way at once as to an ugly necessity. There came another, more
deeply religious, or constitutionally more bold, who fought long and
strenuously against the compromise. "What! should he, the delegate of
God, and the standard-bearer of the true religion, proclaim himself
officially head of the false? No; that was too much for his
conscience." But the fatal meshes of prescription, of superstitions
ancient and gloomy, gathered around him; he heard that he was no
perfect Cæsar without this office, and eventually the very same reason
which had obliged Augustus not to suppress, but himself to assume, the
tribunitian office, namely, that it was a popular mode of leaving
democratic organs untouched, whilst he neutralized their democratic
functions by absorbing them into his own, availed to overthrow all
Christian scruples of conscience, even in the most Christian of the
Cæsars, many years _after_ Constantine. The pious Theodosius found
himself literally compelled to become a Pagan pontiff. A _bon mot_
[Footnote: "A _bon mot_."--This was built on the accident that a
certain _Maximus_ stood in notorious circumstances of rivalship to the
emperor [Theodosius]: and the bitterness of the jest took this turn—
that if the emperor should persist in declining the office of _Pont.
_Maximus_, in that case, "erit Pontifex Maximus;" that is, Maximus (the
secret aspirant) shall be our Pontifex. _So_ the words sounded to those
in the secret [_synetoisi_], whilst to others they seemed to have no
meaning at all.] circulating amongst the people warned him that, if he
left the cycle of imperial powers incomplete, if he suffered the
galvanic battery to remain imperfect in its circuit of links, pretty
soon he would tempt treason to show its head, and would even for the
present find but an imperfect obedience. Reluctantly therefore the
emperor gave way: and perhaps soothed his fretting conscience, by
offering to heaven, as a penitential litany, that same petition which
Naaman the Syrian offered to the prophet Elijah as a reason for a
personal dispensation. Hardly more possible it was that a camel should
go through the eye of a needle, than that a Roman senator should
forswear those inveterate superstitions with which his own system of
aristocracy had been riveted for better and worse. As soon would the
Venetian senator, the gloomy "magnifico" of St. Mark, have consented to
Renounce the annual wedding of his republic with the Adriatic, as the
Roman noble, whether senator, or senator elect, or of senatorial
descent, would have dissevered his own solitary stem from the great
forest of his ancestral order; and this he must have done by doubting
the legend of Jupiter Stator, or by withdrawing his allegiance from
Jupiter Capitolinus. The Roman people universally became agitated
towards the opening of the fifth century after Christ, when their own
twelfth century was drawing near to its completion. Rome had now
reached the very condition of Dr. Faustus--having originally received a
known term of prosperity from some dark power; but at length hearing
the hours, one after the other, tolling solemnly from the church-tower,
as they exhausted the waning minutes of the very final day marked down
in the contract. The more profound was the faith of Rome in the flight
of the twelve vultures, once so glorious, now so sad, an augury, the
deeper was the depression as the last hour drew near that had been so
mysteriously prefigured. The reckoning, indeed, of chronology was
slightly uncertain. The Varronian account varied from others. But these
trivial differences might tell as easily against them as for them, and
did but strengthen the universal agitation. Alaric, in the opening of
the fifth century [about 4l0]--Attila, near the middle [445]--already
seemed prelusive earthquakes running before the final earthquake. And
Christianity, during this era of public alarm, was so far from assuming
a more winning aspect to Roman eyes, as a religion promising to survive
their own, that already, under that character of reversionary triumph,
this gracious religion seemed a public insult, and this meek religion a
perpetual defiance; pretty much as a king sees with scowling eyes, when
revealed to him in some glass of Cornelius Agrippa, the portraits of
that mysterious house which is destined to supplant his own.

Now, from this condition of feeling at Rome, it is apparent not only as
a fact that Constantine did not overthrow Paganism, but as a
possibility that he could not have overthrown it. In the fierce
conflict he would probably have been overthrown himself; and, even for
so much as he _did_ accomplish, it was well that he attempted it
at a distance from Rome. So profoundly, therefore, are the fathers in
error, that instead of that instant victory which they ascribe to
Christianity, even Constantine's revolution was merely local. Nearly
five centuries, in fact, it cost, and not three, to Christianize even
the entire Mediterranean empire of Rome; and the premature effort of
Constantine ought to be regarded as a mere _fluctus decumanus_ in
the continuous advance of the new religion,--one of those ambitious
billows which sometimes run far ahead of their fellows in a tide
steadily gaining ground, but which inevitably recede in the next
moment, marking only the strength of that tendency which sooner or
later is destined to fill the whole capacity of the shore.

To have proved, therefore, if it could have been proved, that
Christianity had been fatal in the way of a magical charm to the
Oracles of the world, would have proved nothing but a perplexing
inconsistency, so long as the fathers were obliged to confess that
Paganism itself, as a gross total, as the parent superstition (sure to
reproduce Oracles faster than they could be extinguished), had been
suffered to exist for many centuries concurrently with Christianity,
and had finally been overthrown by the simple majesty of truth that
courts the light, as matched against falsehood that shuns it.

As applied, therefore, to the first problem in the whole question upon
Oracles,--_When, and under what circumstances, did they cease?_--
the _Dissertatio_ of Van Dale, and the _Histoire des Oracles_
by Fontenelle, are irresistible, though not written in a proper spirit
of gravity, nor making use of that indispensable argument which we have
ourselves derived from the analogy of all scriptural precedents.

But the case is far otherwise as concerns the second problem,--_How,
and by what machinery, did the Oracles, in the days of their
prosperity, conduct their elaborate ministrations?_ To this problem
no justice at all is done by the school of Van Dale. A spirit of
mockery and banter is ill applied to questions that at any time have
been centres of fear, and hope, and mysterious awe, to long trains of
human generations. And the coarse assumption of systematic fraud in the
Oracles is neither satisfactory to the understanding, as failing to
meet many important aspects of the case, nor is it at all countenanced
by the kind of evidences that have been hitherto alleged. The fathers
had taken the course--vulgar and superstitious--of explaining
everything sagacious, everything true, everything that by possibility
could seem to argue prophetic functions in the greater Oracles, as the
product indeed of inspiration, but of inspiration emanating from an
evil spirit. This hypothesis of a diabolic inspiration is rejected by
the school of Van Dale. Both the power of at all looking into the
future, and the fancied source of that power, are dismissed as
contemptible chimeras. Upon the first of these dark pretensions we
shall have occasion to speak at another point. Upon the other we agree
with Van Dale. Yet, even here, the spirit of triumphant ridicule,
applied to questions not wholly within the competence of human
resources, is displeasing in grave discussions: grave they are by
necessity of their relations, howsoever momentarily disfigured by
levity and the unseasonable grimaces of self-sufficient "philosophy."
This temper of mind is already advertised from the first to the
observing reader of Van Dale by the character of his engraved
frontispiece. Men are there exhibited in the act of juggling, and still
more odiously as exulting over their juggleries by gestures of the
basest collusion, such as protruding the tongue, inflating one cheek by
means of the tongue, grinning, and winking obliquely. These vilenesses
are so ignoble, that for his own sake a man of honor (whether as a
writer or a reader) shrinks from dealing with any case to which they do
really adhere; such a case belongs to the province of police courts,
not of literature. But, in the ancient apparatus of the Oracles
although frauds and _espionage_ did certainly form an occasional
resource, the artifices employed were rarely illiberal in their mode,
and always ennobled by their motive. As to the mode, the Oracles had
fortunately no temptation to descend into any tricks that could look
like "thimble-rigging;" and as to the motive, it will be seen that this
could never be dissociated from some regard to public or patriotic
objects in the first place; to which if any secondary interest were
occasionally attached, this could rarely descend so low as even to an
ordinary purpose of gossiping curiosity, but never to a base, mercenary
purpose of fraud. Our views, however, on this phasis of the question,
will speedily speak for themselves.

Meantime, pausing for one moment to glance at the hypothesis of the
fathers, we confess ourselves to be scandalized by its unnecessary
plunge into the ignoble. Many sincere Christian believers have doubted
altogether of any evil spirits, as existences, warranted by Scripture,
that is, as beings whose principle was evil ["evil, be thou my good:"
P. L.]; others, again, believing in the possibility that spiritual
beings had been (in ways unintelligible to us) seduced from their state
of perfection by temptations analogous to those which had seduced man,
acquiesced in the notion of spirits tainted with evil, but not
therefore (any more than man himself) essentially or causelessly
malignant. Now, it is well known, and, amongst others, Eichhorn
_(Einletung in das alte Testament) has noticed the fact, which will
be obvious, on a little reflection, to any even unlearned student of
the Scriptures who can throw his memory back through a real familiarity
with those records, that the Jews derived their obstinate notions of
fiends and demoniacal possessions (as accounting even for bodily
affections) entirely from their Chaldean captivity. Not before that
great event in Jewish history, and, therefore, in consequence of that
event, were the Jews inoculated with this Babylonian, Persian, and
Median superstition. Now, if Eichhorn and others are right, it follows
that the elder Scriptures, as they ascend more and more into the purer
atmosphere of untainted Hebrew creeds, ought to exhibit an increasing
freedom from all these modes of demoniacal agency. And accordingly so
we find it. Messengers of God are often concerned in the early records
of Moses; but it is not until we come down to Post-Mosaical records,
Job, for example (though that book is doubtful as to its chronology),
and the chronicles of the Jewish kings (_Judaic or Israelitish)_,
that we first find any allusion to malignant spirits. As against
Eichhorn, however, though readily conceding that the agency is not
often recognized, we would beg leave to notice, that there is a three-
fold agency of evil, relatively to man, ascribed to certain spirits in
the elder Scriptures, namely: 1, of _misleading_ (as in the case
of the Israelitish king seduced into a fatal battle by a falsehood
originating with a spiritual being); 2, of _temptation_; 3, of
calumnious _accusation_ directed against absent parties. It is not
absolutely an untenable hypothesis, that these functions of malignity
to man, as at first sight they appear, may be in fact reconcilable with
the general functions of a being not malignant, and not evil in any
sense, but simply obedient to superior commands: for none of us
supposes, of course, that a "destroying angel" must be an evil spirit,
though sometimes appearing in a dreadful relation of hostility to
_all_ parties (as in the case of David's punishment). But, waiving
all these speculations, one thing is apparent, that the negative
allowance, the toleration granted to these later Jewish modes of belief
by our Saviour, can no more be urged as arguing any positive sanction
to such existences (to _demons_ in the bad sense), than his
toleration of Jewish errors and conceits in questions of science. Once
for all, it was no purpose of his mission to expose errors in matters
of pure curiosity, and in speculations _not_ moral, but exclusively
intellectual. And, besides the ordinary argument for rejecting
such topics of teaching, as not necessarily belonging to any known
purpose of the Christian revelation (which argument is merely
negative, and still leaves it open to have regarded such communications
as a possible _extra_ condescension, as a _lucro ponatur_,
not absolutely to have been expected, but if granted as all the more
meritorious in Christianity), we privately are aware of an argument,
far more rigorous and coërcive, which will place this question upon
quite another basis. This argument, which, in a proper situation, and
with ampler disposable space, we shall expose in its strength, will
show that it was not that neutral possibility which men have supposed,
for the founder of our faith to have granted light, casually or
indirectly, upon questions of curiosity. One sole revelation was made
by Him, as to the nature of the intercourse and the relations in
another world; but _that_ was for the purpose of forestalling a
vile, unspiritual notion, already current amongst the childish Jews,
and sure to propagate itself even to our own days, unless an utter
_averruncatio_ were applied to it. This was its purpose, and not
any purpose of gratification to unhallowed curiosity; we speak of the
question about the reversionary rights of marriage in a future state.
This memorable case, by the way, sufficiently exposes the gross,
infantine sensualism of the Jewish mind at that period, and throws an
indirect light on their creed as to demons. With this one exception,
standing by itself and self-explained, there never was a gleam of
revelation granted by any authorized prophet to speculative curiosity,
whether pointing to science, or to the mysteries of the spiritual
world. And the true argument on this subject would show that this
abstinence was not accidental; was not merely on a motive of
convenience, as evading any needless extension of labors in teaching,
which is the furthest point attained by any existing argument; but, on
the contrary, that there was an obligation of consistency, stern,
absolute, insurmountable, which made it _essential_ to withhold
such revelations; and that had but one such condescension, even to a
harmless curiosity, been conceded, there would have arisen instantly a
rent--a fracture--a schism--in another vast and collateral purpose of

From all considerations of the Jewish condition at the era of
Christianity, the fathers might have seen the license for doubt as to
the notions of a diabolic inspiration. Why must the prompting spirits,
if really assumed to be the efficient agency behind the Oracles, be
figured as holding any relation at all to moral good or moral evil? Why
not allow of demoniac powers, excelling man in beauty, power,
prescience, but otherwise neutral as to all purposes of man's moral
nature? Or, if revolting angels were assumed, why degrade their agency
in so vulgar and unnecessary a way, by adopting the vilest relation to
man which can be imputed to a demon--his function of secret
_calumnious accusation_; from which idea, lowering the Miltonic
"archangel ruined" into the assessor of thieves, as a private slanderer
(_diabolos_), proceeds, through the intermediate Italian _diavolo_,
our own grotesque vulgarism of the _devil_; [Footnote: But, says an
unlearned man, Christ uses the word _devil_. Not so. The word used is
_diabolos_. Translate v. g. "The accuser and his angels."] an idea
which must ever be injurious, in common with all base conceptions, to a
grand and spiritual religion. If the Oracles _were_ supported by
mysterious agencies of spiritual beings, it was still open to have
distinguished between mere modes of power or of intelligence, and modes
of illimitable evil. The _results_ of the Oracles were beneficent: that
was all which the fathers had any right to know: and their unwarranted
introduction of wicked or rebel angels was as much a surreptitious
fraud upon their audiences, as their neglect to distinguish between the
conditions of an extinct superstition and a superstition dormant or

To leave the fathers, and to state our own views on the final question
argued by Van Dale--"What was the essential machinery by which the
Oracles moved?"--we shall inquire,

1. What was the relation of the Oracles (and we would wish to be
understood as speaking particularly of the Delphic Oracle) to the
credulity of Greece?

2. What was the relation of that same Oracle to the absolute truth?

3. What was its relation to the public welfare of Greece?

Into this trisection we shall decompose the coarse unity of the
question presented by Van Dale and his Vandals, as though the one sole
"issue," that could be sent down for trial before a jury, were the
likelihoods of fraud and gross swindling. It is not with the deceptions
or collusions of the Oracles, as mere matters of fact, that we in this
age are primarily concerned, but with those deceptions as they affected
the contemporary people of Greece. It is important to know whether the
general faith of Greece in the mysterious pretensions of Oracles were
unsettled or disturbed by the several agencies at work that naturally
tended to rouse suspicion; such, for instance, as these four which
follow:--1. Eminent instances of scepticism with regard to the oracular
powers, from time to time circulating through Greece in the shape of
_bon mots_; or, 2, which silently amounted to the same virtual
expression of distrust, Refusals (often more speciously wearing the
name of _neglects_) to consult the proper Oracle on some hazardous
enterprize of general notoriety and interest; 3. Cases of direct
failure in the event, as understood to have been predicted by the
Oracle, not unfrequently accompanied by tragical catastrophes to the
parties misled by this erroneous construction of the Oracle; 4. (which
is, perhaps, the climax of the exposures possible under the
superstitions of Paganism), A public detection of known oracular
temples doing business on a considerable scale, as accomplices with

Modern appraisers of the oracular establishments are too commonly in
all moral senses anachronists. We hear it alleged with some
plausibility against Southey's portrait of Don Roderick, though
otherwise conceived in a spirit proper for bringing out the whole
sentiment of his pathetic situation, that the king is too Protestant,
and too evangelical, after the model of 1800, in his modes of
penitential piety. The poet, in short, reflected back upon one who was
too certain in the eighth century to have been the victim of dark
popish superstitions, his own pure and enlightened faith. But the
anachronistic spirit in which modern sceptics react upon the Pagan
Oracles is not so elevating as the English poet's. Southey reflected
his own superiority upon the Gothic prince of Spain. But the sceptics
reflect their own vulgar habits of mechanic and compendious office
business upon the large institutions of the ancient Oracles. To satisfy
them, the Oracle should resemble a modern coach-office--where
undoubtedly you would suspect fraud, if the question "How far to
Derby?" were answered evasively, or if the grounds of choice between
two roads were expressed enigmatically. But the _to loxon_, or
mysterious indirectness of the Oracle, was calculated far more to
support the imaginative grandeur of the unseen God, and was designed to
do so, than to relieve the individual suitor in a perplexity seldom of
any capital importance. In this way every oracular answer operated upon
the local Grecian neighborhood in which it circulated as one of the
impulses which, from time to time, renewed the sense of a mysterious
involution in the invisible powers, as though they were incapable of
direct correspondence or parallelism with the monotony and slight
compass of human ideas. As the symbolic dancers of the ancients, who
narrated an elaborate story, _Saltando Hecubam_, or _Saltando
Loadamiam_, interwove the passion of the advancing incidents into
the intricacies of the figure--something in the same way, it was
understood by all men, that the Oracle did not so much evade the
difficulty by a dark form of words, as he revealed his own hieroglyphic
nature. All prophets, the true equally with the false, have felt the
instinct for surrounding themselves with the majesty of darkness. And
in a religion like the Pagan, so deplorably meagre and starved as to
most of the draperies connected with the mysterious and sublime, we
must not seek to diminish its already scanty wardrobe. But let us pass
from speculation to illustrative anecdotes. We have imagined several
cases which might seem fitted for giving a shock to the general Pagan
confidence in Oracles. Let us review them.

The first is the case of any memorable scepticism published in a
pointed or witty form; as Demosthenes avowed his suspicions "that the
Oracle was _Philippizing_." This was about 344 years B.C. Exactly
one hundred years earlier, in the 444th year B.C., or the _locus_
of Pericles, Herodotus (then forty years old) is universally supposed
to have read, which for _him_ was publishing, his history. In this
work two insinuations of the same kind occur: during the invasion of
Darius the Mede (about 490 B.C.) the Oracle was charged with
_Medizing_; and in the previous period of Pisistratus (about 555
B.C.) the Oracle had been almost convicted of _Alcmœonidizing_.
The Oracle concerned was the same,--namely, the Delphic,--in all three
cases. In the case of Darius, fear was the ruling passion; in the
earlier case, a near self-interest, but not in a base sense selfish.
The Alemœonidae, an Athenian house hostile to Pisistratus, being
exceedingly rich, had engaged to rebuild the ruined temple of the
Oracle; and had fulfilled their promise with a munificence outrunning
the letter of their professions, particularly with regard to the
quality of marble used in facing or "veneering" the front elevation.
Now, these sententious and rather witty expressions gave wings and
buoyancy to the public suspicions, so as to make them fly from one end
of Greece to the other; and they continued in lively remembrance for
centuries. Our answer we reserve until we have illustrated the other

In the second case, namely, that of sceptical slights shown to the
Oracle, there are some memorable precedents on record. Everybody knows
the ridiculous stratagem of Crœsus, the Lydian king, for trying the
powers of the Oracle, by a monstrous culinary arrangement of pots and
pans, known (as he fancied) only to himself. Generally the course of
the Delphic Oracle under similar insults was--warmly to resent them.
But Crœsus, as a king, a foreigner, and a suitor of unexampled
munificence, was privileged, especially because the ministers of the
Delphic temple had doubtless found it easy to extract the secret by
bribery from some one of the royal mission. A case, however, much more
interesting, because arising between two leading states of Greece, and
in the century subsequent to the ruder age of Crœsus (who was about
coeval with Pisistratus, 555 B. C.), is reported by Xenophon of the
Lacedæmonians and Thebans. They concluded a treaty of peace without any
communication, not so much as a civil notification to the Oracle; _to
men Teo ouden ekoinosanto, hopis hæ eirpnp genoito_--to the god (the
Delphic god) they made no communication at all as to the terms of the
peace; _outoi de ebeleuonto_, but they personally pursued their
negotiations in private. That this was a very extraordinary reach of
presumption, is evident from the care of Xenophon in bringing it before
his readers; it is probable, indeed, that neither of the high
contracting parties had really acted in a spirit of religious
indifference, though it is remarkable of the Spartans, that of all
Greek tribes they were the most facile and numerous delinquents under
all varieties of foreign temptations to revolt from their hereditary
allegiance--a fact which measures the degree of unnatural constraint
and tension which the Spartan usages involved; but in this case we
rather account for the public outrage to religion and universal usage,
by a strong political jealousy lest the provisions of the treaty should
transpire prematurely amongst states adjacent to Bœotia.

Whatever, meantime, were the secret motive to this policy, it did not
fail to shock all Greece profoundly. And, in a slighter degree, the
same effect upon public feeling followed the act of Agesipolis, who,
after obtaining an answer from the Oracle of Delphi, carried forward
his suit to the more awfully ancient Oracle of Dodona; by way of
trying, as he alleged, "whether the child agreed with its papa." These
open expressions of distrust were generally condemned; and the
irresistible proof that they were, lies in the fact that they led to no
imitations. Even in a case mentioned by Herodotus, when a man had the
audacity to found a colony without seeking an oracular sanction, no
precedent was established; though the journey to Delphi must often have
been peculiarly inconvenient to the founders of colonies moving
westwards from Greece; and the expenses of such a journey, with the
subsequent offerings, could not but prove unseasonable at the moment
when every drachma was most urgently needed. Charity begins at home,
was a thought quite as likely to press upon a Pagan conscience, in
those circumstances, as upon our modern Christian consciences under
heavy taxation; yet, for all that, such was the regard to a pious
inauguration of all colonial enterprises, that no one provision or
pledge of prosperity was held equally indispensable by all parties to
such hazardous speculations. The merest worldly foresight, indeed, to
the most irreligious leader, would suggest this sanction as a
necessity, under the following reason:--colonies the most enviably
prosperous upon the whole, have yet had many hardships to contend with
in their noviciate of the first five years; were it only from the
summer failure of water under circumstances of local ignorance, or from
the casual failure of crops under imperfect arrangements of culture.
Now, the one great qualification for wrestling strenuously with such
difficult contingencies in solitary situations, is the spirit of
cheerful hope; but, when any room had been left for apprehending a
supernatural curse resting upon their efforts--equally in the most
thoughtfully pious man and the most crazily superstitious--all spirit
of hope would be blighted at once; and the religious neglect would,
even in a common human way, become its own certain executor, through
mere depression of spirits and misgiving of expectations. Well,
therefore, might Cicero in a tone of defiance demand, "Quam vero Græcia
coloniam misit in Ætoliam, Ioniam, Asiam, Siciliam, Italiam, sine
Pythio (the Delphic), aut Dodonseo, aut Hammonis oraculo?" An oracular
sanction must be had, and from a leading oracle--the three mentioned by
Cicero were the greatest; [Footnote: To which at one time must be
added, as of equal rank, the Oracle of the Branchides, in Asia Minor.
But this had been destroyed by the Persians, in retaliation of the
Athenian outrages at Sardis.] and, if a minor oracle could have
satisfied the inaugurating necessities of a regular colony, we may be
sure that the Dorian states of the Peloponnesus, who had twenty-five
decent oracles at home (that is, within the peninsula), would not so
constantly have carried their money to Delphi. Nay, it is certain that
even where the colonial counsels of the greater oracles seemed
extravagant, though a large discretion was allowed to remonstrance, and
even to very homely expostulations, still, in the last resort, no
doubts were felt that the oracle must be right. Brouwer, the Belgic
scholar, who has so recently and so temperately treated these subjects
(Histoire de la Civilisation Morale et Religieuse chez les Grecs: 6
tomes: Groningue--1840), alleges a case (which, however, we do not
remember to have met) where the client ventured to object:--"_Mon roi
Apollon, je crois que tu es fou._" But cases are obvious which look
this way, though not going so far as to charge lunacy upon the lord of
prophetic vision. Battus, who was destined to be the eldest father of
Cyrene, so memorable as the first ground of Greek intercourse with the
African shore of the Mediterranean, never consulted the Delphic Oracle
in reference to his eyes, which happened to be diseased, but that he
was admonished to prepare for colonizing Libya.--"Grant me patience,"
would Battus reply; "here am I getting into years, and never do I
consult the Oracle about my precious sight, but you, King Phœbus, begin
your old yarn about Cyrene. Confound Cyrene! Nobody knows where it is.
But, if you are serious, speak to my son--he's a likely young man, and
worth a hundred of old rotten hulks, like myself." Battus was provoked
in good earnest; and it is well known that the whole scheme went to
sleep for several years, until King Phoebus sent in a gentle refresher
to Battus and his islanders, in the shape of failing crops, pestilence,
and his ordinary chastisements. The people were roused--the colony was
founded--and, after utter failure, was again re-founded, and the
results justified the Oracle. But, in all such cases, and where the
remonstrances were least respectful, or where the resistance of
_inertia_ was longest, we differ altogether from M. Brouwer in his
belief, that the suitors fancied Apollo to have gone distracted. If
they ever said so, this must have been merely by way of putting the
Oracle on its mettle, and calling forth some _plainer_--not any
essentially different--answer from the enigmatic god; for there it was
that the doubts of the clients settled, and on that it was the
practical demurs hinged. Not because even Battus, vexed as he was about
his precious eyesight, distrusted the Oracle, but because he felt sure
that the Oracle had not spoken out freely; therefore, had he and many
others in similar circumstances presumed to delay. A second edition was
what they waited for, corrected and _enlarged_. We have a memorable
instance of this policy in the Athenian envoys, who, upon receiving a
most ominous doom, but obscurely expressed, from the Delphic Oracle,
which politely concluded by saying, "And so get out, you vagabonds,
from my temple--don't cumber my decks any longer;" were advised to
answer sturdily--"No!--we shall _not_ get out--we mean to sit here
forever, until you think proper to give us a more reasonable reply."
Upon which spirited rejoinder, the Pythia saw the policy of revising
her truly brutal rescript as it had stood originally.

The necessity, indeed, was strong for not acquiescing in the Oracle,
until it had become clearer by revision or by casual illustrations, as
will be seen even under our next head. This head concerns the case of
those who found themselves deceived by the _event_ of any oracular
prediction. As usual, there is a Spartan case of this nature. Cleomenes
complained bitterly that the Oracle of Delphi had deluded him by
holding out as a possibility, and under given conditions as a
certainty, that he should possess himself of Argos. But the Oracle was
justified: there was an inconsiderable place outside the walls of Argos
which bore the same name. Most readers will remember the case of
Cambyses, who had been assured by a legion of oracles that he should
die at Ecbatana. Suffering, therefore, in Syria from a scratch
inflicted upon his thigh by his own sabre, whilst angrily sabring a
ridiculous quadruped whom the Egyptian priests had put forward as a
god, he felt quite at his ease so long as he remembered his vast
distance from the mighty capital of Media, to the eastward of the
Tigris. The scratch, however, inflamed, for his intemperance had
saturated his system with combustible matter; the inflammation spread;
the pulse ran high: and he began to feel twinges of alarm. At length
mortification commenced: but still he trusted to the old prophecy about
Ecbatana, when suddenly a horrid discovery was made--that the very
Syrian village at his own head-quarters was known by the pompous name
of Ecbatana. Josephus tells a similar story of some man contemporary
with Herod the Great. And we must all remember that case in Shakspeare,
where the first king of the _red_ rose, Henry IV., had long
fancied his destiny to be that he should meet his death in Jerusalem;
which naturally did not quicken his zeal for becoming a crusader. "All
time enough," doubtless he used to say; "no hurry at all, gentlemen!"
But at length, finding himself pronounced by the doctor ripe for dying,
it became a question whether the prophet were a false prophet, or the
doctor a false doctor. However, in such a case, it is something to have
a collision of opinions--a prophet against a doctor. But, behold, it
soon transpired that there was no collision at all. It was the
Jerusalem chamber, occupied by the king as a bed-room, to which the
prophet had alluded. Upon which his majesty reconciled himself at once
to the ugly necessity at hand

  "In that Jerusalem shall Harry die."

The last case--that of oracular establishments turning out to be
accomplices of thieves--is one which occurred in Egypt on a scale of
some extent; and is noticed by Herodotus. This degradation argued great
poverty in the particular temples: and it is not at all improbable
that, amongst a hundred Grecian Oracles, some, under a similar
temptation, would fall into a similar disgrace. But now, as regards
even this lowest extremity of infamy, much more as regards the
qualified sort of disrepute attending the three minor cases, one single
distinction puts all to rights. The Greeks never confounded the temple,
and household of officers attached to the temple service, with the dark
functions of the presiding god. In Delphi, besides the Pythia and
priests, with their train of subordinate ministers directly billeted on
the temple, there were two orders of men outside, Delphic citizens, one
styled _Arizeis_, the other styled _Hosioi_,--a sort of honorary
members, whose duty was probably _inter alia_, to attach themselves
to persons of corresponding rank in the retinues of the envoys
or consulting clients, and doubtless to collect from them, in
convivial moments, all the secrets or general information which the
temple required for satisfactory answers. If they personally went too
far in their intrigues or stratagems of decoy, the disgrace no more
recoiled on the god, than, in modern times, the vices or crimes of a
priest can affect the pure religion at whose altars he officiates.

Meantime, through these outside ministers--though unaffected by their
follies or errors as trepanners--the Oracle of Delphi drew that vast
and comprehensive information, from every local nook or recess of
Greece, which made it in the end a blessing to the land. The great
error is, to suppose the majority of cases laid before the Delphic
Oracle strictly questions for _prophetic_ functions. Ninety-nine
in a hundred respected marriages, state-treaties, sales, purchases,
founding of towns or colonies, &c., which demanded no faculty whatever
of divination, but the nobler faculty (though unpresumptuous) of
sagacity, that calculates the natural consequences of human acts,
cooperating with elaborate investigation of the local circumstances.
If, in any paper on the general civilization of Greece (that great
mother of civilization for all the world), we should ever attempt to
trace this element of Oracles, it will not be difficult to prove that
Delphi discharged the office of a central _bureau d'administration_,
a general depot of political information, an organ of universal
combination for the counsels of the whole Grecian race. And that which
caused the declension of the Oracles was the loss of political
independence and autonomy. After Alexander, still more after the Roman
conquest, each separate state, having no powers and no motive for
asking counsel on state measures, naturally confined itself more and
more to its humbler local interests of police, or even at last to its
family arrangements.



It is falsely charged upon itself by this age, in its character of
_censor morum_, that effeminacy in a practical sense lies either
amongst its full-blown faults, or amongst its lurking tendencies. A
rich, a polished, a refined age, may, by mere necessity of inference,
be presumed to be a luxurious one; and the usual principle, by which
moves the whole trivial philosophy which speculates upon the character
of a particular age or a particular nation, is first of all to adopt
some one central idea of its characteristics, and then without further
effort to pursue its integration; that is, having assumed (or, suppose
even having demonstrated) the existence of some great influential
quality in excess sufficient to overthrow the apparent equilibrium
demanded by the common standards of a just national character, the
speculator then proceeds, as in a matter of acknowledged right, to push
this predominant quality into all its consequences, and all its closest
affinities. To give one illustration of such a case, now perhaps
beginning to be forgotten: Somewhere about the year 1755, the once
celebrated Dr. Brown, after other little attempts in literature and
paradox, took up the conceit that England was ruined at her heart's
core by excess of luxury and sensual self-indulgence. He had persuaded
himself that the ancient activities and energies of the country were
sapped by long habits of indolence, and by a morbid plethora of
enjoyment in every class. Courage, and the old fiery spirit of the
people, had gone to wreck with the physical qualities which had
sustained them. Even the faults of the public mind had given way under
its new complexion of character; ambition and civil dissension were
extinct. It was questionable whether a good hearty assault and battery,
or a respectable knock-down blow, had been dealt by any man in London
for one or two generations. The doctor carried his reveries so far,
that he even satisfied himself and one or two friends (probably by
looking into the parks at hours propitious to his hypothesis) that
horses were seldom or ever used for riding; that, in fact, this
accomplishment was too boisterous or too perilous for the gentle
propensities of modern Britons; and that, by the best accounts, few men
of rank or fashion were now seen on horseback. This pleasant collection
of dreams did Doctor Brown solemnly propound to the English public, in
two octavo volumes, under the title of "An Estimate of the Manners and
Principles of the Times;" and the report of many who lived in those
days assures us that for a brief period the book had a prodigious run.
In some respects the doctor's conceits might seem too startling and
extravagant; but, to balance _that_, every nation has some pleasure
in being heartily abused by one of its own number; and the English
nation has always had a special delight in being alarmed, and in
being clearly convinced that it is and ought to be on the brink of
ruin. With such advantages in the worthy doctor's favor, he might have
kept the field until some newer extravaganza had made his own obsolete,
had not one ugly turn in political affairs given so smashing a
refutation to his practical conclusions, and called forth so sudden a
rebound of public feeling in the very opposite direction, that a bomb-
shell descending right through the whole impression of his book could
not more summarily have laid a chancery "injunction" upon its further
sale. This arose under the brilliant administration of the first Mr.
Pitt: England was suddenly victorious in three quarters of the globe;
land and sea echoed to the voice of her triumphs; and the poor Doctor
Brown, in the midst of all this hubbub, cut his own throat with his own
razor. Whether this dismal catastrophe were exactly due to his
mortification as a baffled visionary, whose favorite conceit had
suddenly exploded like a rocket into smoke and stench, is more than we
know. But, at all events, the sole memorial of his hypothesis which now
reminds the English reader that it ever existed is one solitary notice
of good-humored satire pointed at it by Cowper. [Footnote: "The
Inestimable Estimate of Brown."] And the possibility of such exceeding
folly in a man otherwise of good sense and judgment, not depraved by
any brain-fever or enthusiastic infatuation, is to be found in the
vicious process of reasoning applied to such estimates; the doctor,
having taken up one novel idea of the national character, proceeded
afterwards by no tentative inquiries, or comparison with actual facts
and phenomena of daily experience, but resolutely developed out of his
one idea all that it appeared analytically to involve; and postulated
audaciously as a solemn fact whatsoever could be exhibited in any
possible connection with his one central principle, whether in the way
of consequence or of affinity.

Pretty much upon this unhappy Brunonian mode of deducing our national
character, it is a very plausible speculation, which has been and will
again be chanted, that we, being a luxurious nation, must by force of
good logical dependency be liable to many derivative taints and
infirmities which ought of necessity to besiege the blood of nations in
that predicament. All enterprise and spirit of adventure, all heroism
and courting of danger for its own attractions, ought naturally to
languish in a generation enervated by early habits of personal
indulgence. Doubtless they _ought; a priori_, it seems strictly
demonstrable that such consequences should follow. Upon the purest
forms of inference in _Barbara_ or _Celarent_, it can be shown
satisfactorily that from all our tainted classes, _a fortiori_
then from our most tainted classes--our men of fashion and of
opulent fortunes--no description of animal can possibly arise but
poltroons and _fainéans_. In fact, pretty generally, under the
known circumstances of our modern English education and of our social
habits, we ought, in obedience to all the _precognita_ of our
position, to show ourselves rank cowards; yet, in spite of so much
excellent logic, the facts are otherwise. No age has shown in its young
patricians a more heroic disdain of sedentary ease; none in a martial
support of liberty or national independence has so gayly volunteered
upon services the most desperate, or shrunk less from martyrdom on the
field of battle, whenever there was hope to invite their disinterested
exertions, or grandeur enough in the cause to sustain them. Which of us
forgets the gallant Mellish, the frank and the generous, who reconciled
himself so gayly to the loss of a splendid fortune, and from the very
bosom of luxury suddenly precipitated himself upon the hardships of
Peninsular warfare? Which of us forgets the adventurous Lee of Lime,
whom a princely estate could not detain in early youth from courting
perils in Nubia and Abyssinia, nor (immediately upon his return) from
almost wooing death as a volunteer aide-de-camp to the Duke of
Wellington at Waterloo? So again of Colonel Evans, who, after losing a
fine estate long held out to his hopes, five times over put himself at
the head of _forlorn hopes_. Such cases are memorable, and were
conspicuous at the time, from the lustre of wealth and high connections
which surrounded the parties; but many thousand others, in which the
sacrifices of personal ease were less noticeable from their narrower
scale of splendor, had equal merit for the cheerfulness with which
those sacrifices were made. [Footnote: History of the Greek Revolution,
by Thomas Gordon.] Here, again, in the person of the author before us,
we have another instance of noble and disinterested heroism, which,
from the magnitude of the sacrifices that it involved, must place him
in the same class as the Mellishes and the Lees. This gallant Scotsman,
who was born in 1788, or 1789, lost his father in early life.
Inheriting from him a good estate in Aberdeenshire, and one more
considerable in Jamaica, he found himself, at the close of a long
minority, in the possession of a commanding fortune. Under the vigilant
care of a sagacious mother, Mr. Gordon received the very amplest
advantages of a finished education, studying first at the University of
Aberdeen, and afterwards for two years at Oxford; whilst he had
previously enjoyed as a boy the benefits of a private tutor from
Oxford. Whatever might be the immediate result from this careful
tuition, Mr. Gordon has since completed his own education in the most
comprehensive manner, and has carried his accomplishments as a linguist
to a point of rare excellence. Sweden and Portugal excepted, we
understand that he has personally visited every country in Europe. He
has travelled also in Asiatic Turkey, in Persia, and in Barbary. From
this personal residence in foreign countries, we understand that Mr.
Gordon has obtained an absolute mastery over certain modern languages,
especially the French, the Italian, the modern Greek, and the
Turkish.[Footnote: Mr. Gordon is privately known to be the translator
of the work written by a Turkish minister, "_Tchebi Effendi_"
published in the Appendix to Wilkinson's Wallachia, and frequently
referred to by the _Quarterly Review_ in its notices of Oriental
affairs.] Not content, however, with this extensive education in a
literary sense, Mr. Gordon thought proper to prepare himself for the
part which he meditated in public life, by a second, or military
education, in two separate services;--first, in the British, where he
served in the Greys, and in the forty-third regiment; and subsequently,
during the campaign of 1813, as a captain on the Russian staff.

Thus brilliantly accomplished for conferring lustre and benefit upon
any cause which he might adopt amongst the many revolutionary movements
then continually emerging in Southern Europe, he finally carried the
whole weight of his great talents, prudence, and energy, together with
the unlimited command of his purse, to the service of Greece in her
heroic struggle with the Sultan. At what point his services and his
countenance were appreciated by the ruling persons in Greece, will be
best collected from the accompanying letter, translated from the
original, in modern Greek, addressed to him by the provisional
government of Greece, in 1822. It will be seen that this official
document notices with great sorrow Mr. Gordon's absence from Greece,
and with some surprise, as a fact at that time unexplained and
mysterious; but the simple explanation of this mystery was, that Mr.
Gordon had been brought to the very brink of the grave by a contagious
fever, at Tripolizza, and that his native air was found essential to
his restoration. Subsequently, however, he returned, and rendered the
most powerful services to Greece, until the war was brought to a close,
as much almost by Turkish exhaustion, as by the armed interference of
the three great conquerors of Navarino.

"The government of Greece to the SIGNOR GORDON, a man worthy of all
admiration, and a friend of the Grecians, health and prosperity.

"It was not possible, most excellent sir, nor was it a thing endurable
to the descendants of the Grecians, that they should be deprived any
longer of those imprescriptible rights which belong to the inheritance
of their birth--rights which a barbarian of a foreign soil, an anti-
christian tyrant, issuing from the depths of Asia, seized upon with a
robber's hand, and, lawlessly trampling under foot, administered up to
this time the affairs of Greece, after his own lust and will. Needs it
was that we, sooner or later, shattering this iron and heavy sceptre,
should recover, at the price of life itself (if _that_ were found
necessary), our patrimonial heritage, that thus our people might again
be gathered to the family of free and self-legislating states. Moving,
then, under such impulses, the people of Greece advanced with one
heart, and perfect unanimity of council, against an oppressive
despotism, putting their hands to an enterprise beset with
difficulties, and hard indeed to be achieved, yet, in our present
circumstances, if any one thing in this life, most indispensable. This,
then, is the second year which we are passing since we have begun to
move in this glorious contest, once again struggling, to all
appearance, upon unequal terms, but grasping our enterprise with the
right hand and the left, and with all our might stretching forward to
the objects before us.

"It was the hope of Greece that, in these seasons of emergency, she
would not fail of help and earnest resort of friends from the Christian
nations throughout Europe. For it was agreeable neither to humanity nor
to piety, that the rights of nations, liable to no grudges of malice or
scruples of jealousy, should be surreptitiously and wickedly filched
away, or mocked with outrage and insult; but that they should be
settled firmly on those foundations which Nature herself has furnished
in abundance to the condition of man in society. However, so it was,
that Greece, cherishing these most reasonable expectations, met with
most unmerited disappointments.

"But you, noble and generous Englishman, no sooner heard the trumpet of
popular rights echoing melodiously from the summits of Taygetus, of
Ida, of Pindus, and of Olympus, than, turning with listening ears to
the sound, and immediately renouncing the delights of country, of
family ties, and (what is above all) of domestic luxury and ease, and
the happiness of your own fireside, you hurried to our assistance. But
suddenly, and in contradiction to the universal hope of Greece, by
leaving us, you have thrown us all into great perplexity and amazement,
and that at a crisis when some were applying their minds to military
pursuits, some to the establishment of a civil administration, others
to other objects, but all alike were hurrying and exerting themselves
wherever circumstances seemed to invite them.

"Meantime, the government of Greece having heard many idle rumors and
unauthorized tales disseminated, but such as seemed neither in
correspondence with their opinion of your own native nobility from rank
and family, nor with what was due to the newly-instituted
administration, have slighted and turned a deaf ear to them all, coming
to this resolution--that, in absenting yourself from Greece, you are
doubtless obeying some strong necessity; for that it is not possible
nor credible of a man such as you displayed yourself to be whilst
living amongst us, that he should mean to insult the wretched--least of
all, to insult the unhappy and much-suffering people of Greece. Under
these circumstances, both the deliberative and the executive bodies of
the Grecian government, assembling separately, have come to a
resolution, without one dissentient voice, to invite you back to
Greece, in order that you may again take a share in the Grecian
contest--a contest in itself glorious, and not alien from your
character and pursuits. For the liberty of any one nation cannot be a
matter altogether indifferent to the rest, but naturally it is a common
and diffusive interest; and nothing can be more reasonable than that
the Englishman and the Grecian, in such a cause, should make themselves
yoke-fellows, and should participate as brothers in so holy a struggle.
Therefore, the Grecian government hastens, by this present
distinguished expression of its regard, to invite you to the soil of
Greece, a soil united by such tender memorials with yourself; confident
that you, preferring glorious poverty and the hard living of Greece to
the luxury and indolence of an obscure seclusion, will hasten your
return to Greece, agreeably to your native character, restoring to us
our valued English connection. Farewell!

"The Vice-president of the Executive,


"The Chief-Secretary, Minister of Foreign Relations, NEGENZZ."

Since then, having in 1817 connected himself in marriage with a
beautiful young lady of Armenian Greek extraction, and having purchased
land and built a house in Argos, Mr. Gordon may be considered in some
sense as a Grecian citizen. Services in the field having now for some
years been no longer called for, he has exchanged his patriotic sword
for a patriotic pen--judging rightly that in no way so effectually can
Greece be served at this time with Western Europe, as by recording
faithfully the course of her revolution, tracing the difficulties which
lay or which arose in her path, the heroism with which she surmounted
them, and the multiplied errors by which she raised up others to
herself. Mr. Gordon, of forty authors who have partially treated this
theme, is the first who can be considered either impartial or
comprehensive; and upon his authority, not seldom using his words, we
shall now present to our readers the first continuous abstract of this
most interesting and romantic war:

GREECE, in the largest extent of that term, having once belonged to the
Byzantine empire, is included, by the misconception of hasty readers,
in the great wreck of 1453. They take it for granted that, concurrently
with Constantinople, and the districts adjacent, these provinces passed
at that disastrous era into the hands of the Turkish conqueror; but
this is an error. Parts of Greece, previously to that era, had been
dismembered from the Eastern empire;--other parts did not, until long
_after_ it, share a common fate with the metropolis. Venice had a
deep interest in the Morea; _in_ that, and _for_ that, she fought with
various success for generations; and it was not until the year 1717,
nearly three centuries from the establishment of the crescent in
Europe, that "the banner of St. Mark, driven finally from the Morea and
the Archipelago," was henceforth exiled (as respected Greece) to the
Ionian Islands.

In these contests, though Greece was the prize at issue, the children
of Greece had no natural interest, whether the cross prevailed or the
crescent; the same, for all substantial results, was the fate which
awaited themselves. The Moslem might be the more intolerant by his
maxims, and he might be harsher in his professions; but a slave is not
the less a slave, though his master should happen to hold the same
creed with himself; and towards a member of the Greek church one who
looked westward to Rome for his religion was likely to be little less
of a bigot than one who looked to Mecca. So that we are not surprised
to find a Venetian rule of policy recommending, for the daily allowance
of these Grecian slaves, "a _little_ bread, and a liberal application
of the cudgel"! Whichever yoke were established was sure to be hated;
and, therefore, it was fortunate for the honor of the Christian name,
that from the year 1717 the fears and the enmity of the Greeks were to
be henceforward pointed exclusively towards _Mahometan_ tyrants.

To be hated, however, sufficiently for resistance, a yoke must have
been long and continuously felt. Fifty years might be necessary to
season the Greeks with a knowledge of Turkish oppression; and less than
two generations could hardly be supposed to have manured the whole
territory with an adequate sense of the wrongs they were enduring, and
the withering effects of such wrongs on the sources of public
prosperity. Hatred, besides, without hope, is no root out of which an
effective resistance can be expected to grow; and fifty years almost
had elapsed before a great power had arisen in Europe, having in any
capital circumstance a joint interest with Greece, or specially
authorized, by visible right and power, to interfere as her protector.
The semi-Asiatic power of Russia, from the era of the Czar Peter the
Great, had arisen above the horizon with the sudden sweep and splendor
of a meteor. The arch described by her ascent was as vast in compass as
it was rapid; and, in all history, no political growth, not that of our
own Indian empire, had travelled by accelerations of speed so
terrifically marked. Not that even Russia could have really grown in
strength according to the _apparent_ scale of her progress. The
strength was doubtless there, or much of it, before Peter and
Catherine; but it was latent: there had been no such sudden growth as
people fancied; but there had been a sudden evolution. Infinite
resources had been silently accumulating from century to century; but,
before the Czar Peter, no mind had come across them of power sufficient
to reveal their situation, or to organize them for practical effects.
In some nations, the manifestations of power are coincident with its
growth; in others, from vicious institutions, a vast crystallization
goes on for ages blindly and in silence, which the lamp of some
meteoric mind is required to light up into brilliant display. Thus it
had been in Russia; and hence, to the abused judgment of all
Christendom, she had seemed to leap like Pallas from the brain of
Jupiter--gorgeously endowed, and in panoply of civil array, for all
purposes of national grandeur, at the _fiat_ of one coarse
barbarian. As the metropolitan home of the Greek church, she could not
disown a maternal interest in the humblest of the Grecian tribes,
holding the same faith with herself, and celebrating their worship by
the same rites. This interest she could, at length, venture to express
in a tone of sufficient emphasis; and Greece became aware that she
could, about the very time when Turkish oppression had begun to unite
its victims in aspirations for redemption, and had turned their eyes
abroad in search of some great standard under whose shadow they could
flock for momentary protection, or for future hope. What cabals were
reared upon this condition of things by Russia, and what premature
dreams of independence were encouraged throughout Greece in the reign
of Catherine II., may be seen amply developed, in the once celebrated
work of Mr. William Eton.

Another great circumstance of hope for Greece, coinciding with the dawn
of her own earliest impetus in this direction, and travelling _puri
passu_ almost with the growth of her mightiest friend, was the
advancing decay of her oppressor. The wane of the Turkish crescent had
seemed to be in some secret connection of fatal sympathy with the
growth of the Russian cross. Perhaps the reader will thank us for
rehearsing the main steps by which the Ottoman power had flowed and
ebbed. The foundations of this empire were laid in the thirteenth
century, by Ortogrul, the chief of a Turkoman tribe, residing in tents
not far from Dorylæum, in Phrygia (a name so memorable in the early
crusades), about the time when Jenghiz had overthrown the Seljukian
dynasty. His son Osman first assumed the title of Sultan; and, in 1300,
having reduced the city of Prusa, in Bithynia, he made it the capital
of his dominions. The Sultans who succeeded him for some generations,
all men of vigor, and availing themselves not less of the decrepitude
which had by that time begun to palsy the Byzantine sceptre, than of
the martial and religious fanaticism which distinguished their own
followers, crossed the Hellespont, conquering Thrace and the countries
up to the Danube. In 1453, the most eminent of these Sultans, Mahomet
II., by storming Constantinople, put an end to the Roman empire; and
before his death he placed the Ottoman power in Europe pretty nearly on
that basis to which it had again fallen back by 1821. The long interval
of time between these two dates involved a memorable flux and reflux of
power, and an oscillation between two extremes of panic-striking
grandeur, in the ascending scale (insomuch that the Turkish Sultan was
supposed to be charged in the Apocalypse with the dissolution of the
Christian thrones), and in the descending scale of paralytic dotage
tempting its own instant ruin. In speculating on the causes of the
extraordinary terror which the Turks once inspired, it is amusing, and
illustrative of the revolutions worked by time, to find it imputed, in
the first place, to superior discipline; for, if their discipline was
imperfect, they had, however, a _standing_ army of Janissaries,
whilst the whole of Christian Europe was accustomed to fight merely
summer campaigns with hasty and untrained levies; a second cause lay in
their superior finances, for the Porte had a regular revenue, when the
other powers of Europe relied upon the bounty of their vassals and
clergy; and, thirdly, which is the most surprising feature of the whole
statement, the Turks were so far ahead of others in the race of
improvement, that to them belongs the credit of having first adopted
the extensive use of gunpowder, and of having first brought battering-
trains against fortified places. To his artillery and his musketry it
was that Selim the Ferocious (grandson of that Sultan who took
Constantinople) was indebted for his victories in Syria and Egypt.
Under Solyman the Magnificent (the well-known contemporary of the
Emperor Charles Y.) the crescent is supposed to have attained its
utmost altitude; and already for fifty years the causes had been in
silent progress which were to throw the preponderance into the
Christian scale. In the reign of his son, Selim the Second, this crisis
was already passed; and the battle of Lepanto, in 1571, which crippled
the Turkish navy in a degree never wholly recovered, gave the first
overt signal to Europe of a turn in the course of their prosperity.
Still, as this blow did not equally affect the principal arm of their
military service, and as the strength of the German empire was too much
distracted by Christian rivalship, the _prestige_ of the Turkish
name continued almost unbroken until their bloody overthrow in 1664, at
St. Gothard, by the imperial General Montecuculi. In 1673 they received
another memorable defeat from Sobieski, on which occasion they lost
twenty-five thousand men. In what degree, however, the Turkish Samson
had been shorn of his original strength, was not yet made known to
Europe by any adequate expression, before the great catastrophe of
1683. In that year, at the instigation of the haughty vizier, Kara
Mustafa, the Turks had undertaken the siege of Vienna; and great was
the alarm of the Christian world. But, on the 12th of September, their
army of one hundred and fifty thousand men was totally dispersed by
seventy thousand Poles and Germans, under John Sobieski--"He conquering
_through_ God, and God by him." [Footnote: See the sublime Sonnet
of Chiabrora on this subject, as translated by Mr. Wordsworth.] Then
followed the treaty of Carlovitz, which stripped the Porte of Hungary,
the Ukraine, and other places; and "henceforth" says Mr. Gordon,
"Europe ceased to dread the Turks; and began even to look upon their
existence as a necessary element of the balance of power among its
states." Spite of their losses, however, during the first half of the
eighteenth century, the Turks still maintained a respectable attitude
against Christendom. But the wars of the Empress Catherine II., and the
French invasion of Egypt, demonstrated that either their native vigor
was exhausted and superannuated, or, at least, that the institutions
were superannuated by which their resources had been so long
administered. Accordingly, at the commencement of the present century,
the Sultan Selim II. endeavored to reform the military discipline; but
in the first collision with the prejudices of his people, and the
interest of the Janissaries, he perished by sedition. Mustafa, who
succeeded to the throne, in a few months met the same fate. But then
(1808) succeeded a prince formed by nature for such struggles,--cool,
vigorous, cruel, and intrepid. This was Mahmoud the Second. He
perfectly understood the crisis, and determined to pursue the plans of
his uncle Selim, even at the hazard of the same fate. Why was it that
Turkish soldiers had been made ridiculous in arms, as often as they had
met with French troops, who yet were so far from being the best in
Christendom, that Egypt herself, and the beaten Turks, had seen
_them_ in turn uniformly routed by the British? Physically, the
Turks were equal, at the very least, to the French. In what lay their
inferiority? Simply in discipline, and in their artillery. And so long
as their constitution and discipline continued what they had been,
suited (that is) to centuries long past and gone, and to a condition of
Christendom obsolete for ages, so long it seemed inevitable that the
same disasters should follow the Turkish banners. And to this point,
accordingly, the Sultan determined to address his earliest reforms. But
caution was necessary; he waited and watched. He seized all
opportunities of profiting by the calamities or the embarrassments of
his potent neighbors. He put down all open revolt. He sapped the
authority of all the great families in Asia Minor, whose hereditary
influence could be a counterpoise to his own. Mecca and Medina, the
holy cities of his religion, he brought again within the pale of his
dominions. He augmented and fostered, as a counterbalancing force to
the Janissaries, the corps of the Topjees or artillery-men. He amassed
preparatory treasures. And, up to the year 1820, "his government," says
Mr. Gordon, "was highly unpopular; but it was strong, stern, and
uniform; and he had certainly removed many impediments to the execution
of his ulterior projects."

Such was the situation of Turkey at the moment when her Grecian vassal
prepared to trample on her yoke. In her European territories she
reckoned, at the utmost, eight millions of subjects. But these, besides
being more or less in a semi-barbarous condition, and scattered over a
very wide surface of country, were so much divided by origin, by
language, and religion, that, without the support of her Asiatic arm,
she could not, according to the general opinion, have stood at all. The
rapidity of her descent, it is true, had been arrested by the energy of
her Sultans during the first twenty years of the nineteenth century.
But for the last thirty of the eighteenth she had made a headlong
progress downwards. So utterly, also, were the tables turned, that,
whereas in the fifteenth century her chief superiority over Christendom
had been in the three points of artillery, discipline, and fixed
revenue, precisely in these three she had sunk into utter
insignificance, whilst all Christendom had been continually improving.
Selim and Mahmoud indeed had made effectual reforms in the corps of
gunners, as we have said, and had raised it to the amount of sixty
thousand men; so that at present they have respectable field-artillery,
whereas previously they had only heavy battering-trains. But the
defects in discipline cannot be remedied, so long as the want of a
settled revenue obliges the Sultan to rely upon hurried levies from the
provincial militias of police. Turkey, however, might be looked upon as
still formidable for internal purposes, in the haughty and fanatical
character of her Moslem subjects. And we may add, as a concluding
circumstance of some interest, in this sketch of her modern condition,
that pretty nearly the same European territories as were assigned to
the eastern Roman empire at the time of its separation from the
western, [Footnote: "The vitals of the monarchy lay within that vast
triangle circumscribed by the Danube, the Save, the Adriatic, Euxine,
and Egean Seas, whose altitude may be computed at five hundred, and the
length of its base at seven hundred geographical miles."--GORDON. ]
were included within the frontier line of Turkey, on the first of
January, 1821.

Precisely in this year commenced the Grecian revolution. Concurrently
with the decay of her oppressor the Sultan, had been the prodigious
growth of her patron the Czar. In what degree she looked up to that
throne, and the intrigues which had been pursued with a view to that
connection, may be seen (as we have already noticed) in Eton's Turkey--
a book which attracted a great deal of notice about thirty years ago.
Meantime, besides this secret reliance on Russian countenance or aid,
Greece had since that era received great encouragement to revolt from
the successful experiment in that direction made by the Turkish
province of Servia. In 1800, Czerni George came forward as the asserter
of Servian independence, and drove the Ottomans out of that province.
_Personally_ he was not finally successful. But his example
outlived him; and, after fifteen years' struggle, Servia (says Mr.
Gordon) offered "the unwonted spectacle of a brave and armed Christian
nation living under its own laws in the heart of Turkey," and retaining
no memorial of its former servitude, but the payment of a slender and
precarious tribute to the Sultan, with a _verbal_ profession of
allegiance to his sceptre. Appearances were thus saved to the pride of
the haughty Moslem by barren concessions which cost no real sacrifice
to the substantially victorious Servian.

Examples, however, are thrown away upon a people utterly degraded by
long oppression. And the Greeks were pretty nearly in that condition.
"It would, no doubt," says Mr. Gordon, "be possible to cite a more
_cruel_ oppression than that of the Turks towards their Christian
subjects, but none _so fitted to break men's spirit_." The Greeks,
in fact (under which name are to be understood, not only those who
speak Greek, but the Christian Albanians of Roumelia and the Morea,
speaking a different language, but united with the Greeks in spiritual
obedience to the same church), were, in the emphatic phrase of Mr.
Gordon, "the slaves of slaves:" that is to say, not only were they
liable to the universal tyranny of the despotic Divan, but "throughout
the empire they were in the habitual intercourse of life subjected to
vexations, affronts, and exactions, from Mahometans of every rank.
Spoiled of their goods, insulted in their religion and domestic honor,
they could rarely obtain justice. The slightest flash of courageous
resentment brought down swift destruction on their heads; and cringing
humility alone enabled them to live in ease, or even in safety."
Stooping under this iron yoke of humiliation, we have reason to wonder
that the Greeks preserved sufficient nobility of mind to raise so much
as their wishes in the direction of independence. In a condition of
abasement, from which a simple act of apostasy was at once sufficient
to raise them to honor and wealth, "and from the meanest serfs gathered
them to the caste of oppressors," we ought not to wonder that some of
the Greeks should be mean, perfidious, and dissembling, but rather that
any (as Mr. Gordon says) "had courage to adhere to their religion, and
to eat the bread of affliction." But noble aspirations are fortunately
indestructible in human nature. And in Greece the lamp of independence
of spirit had been partially kept alive by the existence of a native
militia, to whom the Ottoman government, out of mere necessity, had
committed the local defence. These were called _Armatoles_ (or
Gendarmerie); their available strength was reckoned by Pouqueville (for
the year 1814) at ten thousand men; and, as they were a very effectual
little host for maintaining, from age to age, the "true faith militant"
of Greece, namely, that a temporary and a disturbed occupation of the
best lands in the country did not constitute an absolute conquest on
the part of the Moslems, most of whom flocked for security with their
families into the stronger towns; and, as their own martial appearance,
with arms in their hands, lent a very plausible countenance to their
insinuations that they, the Christian Armatoles, were the true _bona
fide_ governors and possessors of the land under a Moslem Suzerain;
and, as the general spirit of hatred to Turkish insolence was not
merely maintained in their own local stations, [Footnote: Originally,
it seems, there were fourteen companies (or _capitanerias_)
settled by imperial diplomas in the mountains of Olympus, Othryx,
Pindus, and Œta; and distinct appropriations were made by the Divan for
their support. _Within_ the Morea, the institution of the
Armatoles was never tolerated; but there the same spirit was kept alive
by tribes, such as the Mainatts, whose insurmountable advantages of
natural position enabled them eternally to baffle the most powerful
enemy.] but also propagated thence with activity to every part of
Greece;--it may be interesting to hear Mr. Gordon's account of their
peculiar composition and habits.

"The Turks," says he, "from the epoch of Mahommed the Second, did not
(unless in Thessaly) generally settle there. Beyond Mount Œta, although
they seized the best lands, the Mussulman inhabitants were chiefly
composed of the garrisons of towns with their families. Finding it
impossible to keep in subjection with a small force so many rugged
cantons, peopled by a poor and hardy race, and to hold in check the
robbers of Albania, the Sultans embraced the same policy which has
induced them to court the Greek hierarchy, and respect ecclesiastical
property,--by enlisting in their service the armed bands that they
could not destroy. When wronged or insulted, these Armatoles threw off
their allegiance, infested the roads, and pillaged the country; while
such of the peasants as were driven to despair by acts of oppression
joined their standard; the term Armatole was then exchanged for that of
Klefthis [_Kleptæs_] or Thief, a profession esteemed highly
honorable, when it was exercised sword in hand at the expense of the
Moslems. [Footnote: And apparently, we may add, when exercised at the
expense of whomsoever at sea. The old Grecian instinct, which
Thucydides states so frankly, under which all seafarers were dedicated
to spoil as people who courted attack, seems never to have been fully
rooted out from the little creeks and naval fastnesses of the Morea,
and of some of the Egean islands. Not, perhaps, the mere spirit of
wrong and aggression, but some old traditionary conceits and maxims,
brought on the great crisis of piracy, which fell under no less terrors
than of the triple thunders of the great allies.] Even in their
quietest mood, these soldiers curbed Turkish tyranny; for, the captains
and Christian primates of districts understanding each other, the
former, by giving to some of their men a hint to desert and turn
Klefts, could easily circumvent Mahometans who came on a mission
disagreeable to the latter. The habits and manners of the Armatoles,
living among forests and in mountain passes, were necessarily rude and
simple: their magnificence consisted in adorning with silver their
guns, pistols, and daggers; their amusements, in shooting at a mark,
dancing, and singing the exploits of the most celebrated chiefs.
Extraordinary activity, and endurance of hardships and fatigue, made
them formidable light troops in their native fastnesses; wrapped in
shaggy cloaks, they slept on the ground, defying the elements; and the
pure mountain air gave them robust health. Such were the warriors that,
in the very worst times, kept alive a remnant of Grecian spirit."

But all these facts of history, or institutions of policy, nay, even
the more violent appeals to the national pride in such memorable
transactions as the expatriation of the illustrious Suliotes (as also
of some eminent predatory chieftains from the Morea), were, after all,
no more than indirect excitements of the insurrectionary spirit. If it
were possible that any adequate occasion should arise for combining the
Greeks in one great movement of resistance, such continued irritations
must have the highest value, as keeping alive the national spirit,
which must finally be relied on to improve it and to turn it to
account; but it was not to be expected that any such local irritations
could ever of themselves avail to create an occasion of sufficient
magnitude for imposing silence on petty dissensions, and for organizing
into any unity of effort a country so splintered and naturally cut into
independent chambers as that of Greece. That task, transcending the
strength (as might seem) of any real agencies or powers then existing
in Greece, was assumed by a mysterious, [Footnote: Epirus and
Acarnania, etc., to the north-west; Roumelia, Thebes, Attica, to the
east; the Morea, or Peloponnesus, to the south-west; and the islands so
widely dispersed in the Egean, had from position a separate interest
over and above their common interest as members of a Christian
confederacy. And in the absence of some great representative society,
there was no voice commanding enough to merge the local interest in the
universal one of Greece. The original (or _Philomuse_ society),
which adopted literature for its ostensible object, as a mask to its
political designs, expired at Munich in 1807; but not before it had
founded a successor more directly political. Hence arose a confusion,
under which many of the crowned heads in Europe were judged
uncharitably as dissemblers or as traitors to their engagements. They
had subscribed to the first society; but they reasonably held that this
did not pledge them to another, which, though inheriting the secret
purposes of the first, no longer masked or disavowed them.] and, in
some sense, a fictitious society of corresponding members, styling
itself the _Hetæria_. A more astonishing case of mighty effects
prepared and carried on to their accomplishment by small means,
magnifying their own extent through great zeal and infinite
concealment, and artifices the most subtle, is not to be found in
history. The _secret tribunal_ of the middle ages is not to be
compared with it for the depth and expansion of its combinations, or
for the impenetrability of its masque. Nor is there in the whole annals
of man a manoeuvre so admirable as that, by which this society,
silently effecting its own transfiguration, and recasting as in a
crucible its own form, organs, and most essential functions, contrived,
by mere force of seasonable silence, or by the very pomp of mystery, to
carry over from the first or innoxious model of the Hetæria, to its new
organization, all those weighty names of kings or princes who would not
have given their sanction to any association having political objects,
however artfully veiled. The early history of the Hetæria is shrouded
in the same mystery as the whole course of its political movements.
Some suppose that Alexander Maurocordato, ex-Hospodar of Wallachia,
during his long exile in Russia, founded it for the promotion of
education, about the beginning of the present century. Others ascribe
it originally to Riga. At all events, its purposes were purely
intellectual in its earliest form. In 1815, in consequence chiefly of
the disappointment which the Greeks met with in their dearest hopes
from the Congress of Vienna, the Hetæria first assumed a political
character under the secret influence of Count Capodistria, of Corfu,
who, having entered the Russian service as mere private secretary to
Admiral Tchitchagoff, in 1812, had, in a space of three years,
insinuated himself into the favor of the Czar, so far as to have become
his private secretary, and a cabinet minister of Russia. He, however,
still masked his final objects under plans of literature and scientific
improvement. In deep shades he organized a vast apparatus of agents and
apostles; and then retired behind the curtain to watch or to direct the
working of his blind machine. It is an evidence of some latent nobility
in the Greek character, in the midst of that levity with which all
Europe taxes it, that never, except once, were the secrets of the
society betrayed; nor was there the least ground for jealousy offered
either to the stupid Moslems, in the very centre of whom, and round
about them, the conspiracy was daily advancing, or even to the rigorous
police of Moscow, where the Hetæria had its head-quarters. In the
single instance of treachery which occurred, it happened that the
Zantiote, who made the discovery to Ali Pacha on a motion of revenge,
was himself too slenderly and too vaguely acquainted with the final
purposes of the Hetæria for effectual mischief, having been fortunately
admitted only to its lowest degree of initiation; so that all passed
off without injury to the cause, or even personally to any of its
supporters. There were, in fact, five degrees in the Hetæria. A
candidate of the lowest class (styled _Adelphoi_, or brothers),
after a minute examination of his past life and connections, and after
taking a dreadful oath, under impressive circumstances, to be faithful
in all respects to the society and his afflicted country, and even to
assassinate his nearest and dearest relation, if detected in treachery,
was instructed only in the general fact that a design was on foot to
ameliorate the condition of Greece. The next degree of _Systimenoi_,
or bachelors, who were selected with more anxious discrimination,
were informed that this design was to move towards its object
_by means of a revolution_. The third class, called _Priests
of Eleusis_, were chosen from the aristocracy; and to them it
was made known that _this revolution was near at hand_; and,
also, that there were in the society higher ranks than their own.
The fourth class was that of the _prelates_; and to this order,
which never exceeded the number of one hundred and sixteen, and
comprehended the leading men of the nation, the most unreserved
information was given upon all the secrets of the Hetæria; after which
they were severally appointed to a particular district, as
superintendent of its interests, and as manager of the whole
correspondence on its concerns with the Grand Arch. This, the crowning
order and key-stone of the society, was reputed to comprehend sixteen
"mysterious and illustrious names," amongst which were obscurely
whispered those of the Czar, the Crown Prince of Bavaria and of
Wurtemburg, of the Hospodar of Wallachia, of Count Capodistria, and
some others. The orders of the Grand Arch were written in cipher, and
bore a seal having in sixteen compartments the same number of initial
letters. The revenue which it commanded must have been considerable;
for the lowest member, on his noviciate, was expected to give at least
fifty piastres (at this time about two pounds sterling); and those of
the higher degrees gave from three hundred to one thousand each. The
members communicated with each other, in mixed society, by masonic

It cannot be denied that a secret society, with the grand and almost
awful purposes of the Hetæria, spite of some taint which it had
received in its early stages from the spirit of German mummery, is
fitted to fill the imagination, and to command homage from the coldest.
Whispers circulating from mouth to mouth of some vast conspiracy mining
subterraneously beneath the very feet of their accursed oppressors;
whispers of a great deliverer at hand, whose mysterious _Labarum_,
or mighty banner of the Cross, was already dimly descried through
northern mists, and whose eagles were already scenting the carnage and
"savor of death" from innumerable hosts of Moslems; whispers of a
revolution which was again to call, as with the trumpet of
resurrection, from the grave, the land of Timoleon and Epaminondas;
such were the preludings, low and deep, to the tempestuous overture of
revolt and patriotic battle which now ran through every nook of Greece,
and caused every ear to tingle.

The knowledge that this mighty cause must be sowed in dishonor,--
propagated, that is, in respect to the knowledge of its plans, by
redoubled cringings to their brutal masters, in order to shield it from
suspicion,--but that it would probably be reaped in honor; the belief
that the poor Grecian, so abject and trampled under foot, would soon
reappear amongst the nations who had a name, in something of his
original beauty and power; these dim but elevating perceptions, and
these anticipations, gave to every man the sense of an ennobling secret
confided to his individual honor, and, at the same time, thrilled his
heart with sympathetic joy, from approaching glories that were to prove
a personal inheritance to his children. Over all Greece a sense of
power, dim and vast, brooded for years; and a mighty phantom, under the
mysterious name of _Arch_, in whose cloudy equipage were descried,
gleaming at intervals, the crowns and sceptres of great potentates,
sustained, whilst it agitated their hearts. _London_ was one of
the secret watchwords in their impenetrable cipher; _Moscow_ was a
countersign; Bavaria and Austria bore mysterious parts in the drama;
and, though no sound was heard, nor voice given to the powers that were
working, yet, as if by mere force of secret sympathy, all mankind who
were worthy to participate in the enterprise seemed to be linked in
brotherhood with Greece. These notions were, much of them, mere
phantasms and delusions; but they were delusions of mighty efficacy for
arming the hearts of this oppressed country against the terrors that
must be faced; and for the whole of them Greece was indebted to the
Hetæria, and to its organized agency of apostles (as they were
technically called), who compassed land and sea as pioneers for the
coming crusade. [Footnote: Considering how very much the contest did
finally assume a religious character (even Franks being attached, not
as friends of Greece, but simply as Christians), one cannot but wonder
that this romantic term has not been applied to the Greek war in
Western Europe.]

By 1820 Greece was thoroughly inoculated with the spirit of resistance;
all things were ready, so far, perhaps, as it was possible that they
should ever be made ready under the eyes and scimitars of the enemy.
Now came the question of time,--_when_ was the revolt to begin?
Some contend, says Mr. Gordon, that the Hetæria should have waited for
a century, by which time they suppose that the growth of means in favor
of Greece would have concurred with a more than corresponding decay in
her enemy. But, to say nothing of the extreme uncertainty which attends
such remote speculation, and the utter impossibility of training men
with no personal hopes to labor for the benefit of distant generations,
there was one political argument against that course, which Mr. Gordon
justly considers unanswerable. It is this: Turkey in Europe has been
long tottering on its basis. Now, were the attempt delayed until Russia
had displaced her and occupied her seat, Greece would then have
received her liberty as a boon from the conqueror; and the construction
would have been that she held it by sufferance, and under a Russian
warrant. This argument is conclusive. But others there were who fancied
that 1825 was the year at which all the preparations for a successful
revolt could have been matured. Probably some gain in such a case would
have been balanced against some loss. But it is not necessary to
discuss that question. Accident, it was clear, might bring on the first
hostile movement at any hour, when the _minds_ of all men were
prepared, let the means in other respects be as deficient as they
might. Already, in 1820, circumstances made it evident that the
outbreak of the insurrection could not long be delayed. And,
accordingly, in the following year all Greece was in flames.

This affair of 1820 has a separate interest of its own, connected with
the character of the very celebrated person to whom it chiefly relates;
but we notice it chiefly as the real occasion, the momentary spark,
which, alighting upon the combustibles, by this time accumulated
everywhere in Greece, caused a general explosion of the long-hoarded
insurrectionary fury. Ali Pacha, the far-famed vizier of Yannina, had
long been hated profoundly by the Sultan, who in the same proportion
loved and admired his treasures. However, he was persuaded to wait for
his death, which could not (as it seemed) be far distant, rather than
risk anything upon the chances of war. And in this prudent resolution
he would have persevered, but for an affront which he could not
overlook. An Albanian, named Ismael Pasho Bey, once a member of Ali's
household, had incurred his master's deadly hatred; and, flying from
his wrath to various places under various disguises, had at length
taken refuge in Constantinople, and there sharpened the malice of Ali
by attaching himself to his enemies. Ali was still further provoked by
finding that Ismael had won the Sultan's favor, and obtained an
appointment in the palace. Mastered by his fury, Ali hired assassins to
shoot his enemy in the very midst of Constantinople, and under the very
eyes of imperial protection. The assassins failed, having only wounded
him; they were arrested, and disclosed the name of their employer.

Here was an insult which could not be forgiven: Ali Pacha was declared
a rebel and a traitor; and solemnly excommunicated by the head of the
Mussulman law. The Pachas of Europe received orders to march against
him; and a squadron was fitted out to attack him by sea.

In March, 1820, Ali became acquainted with these strong measures; which
at first he endeavored to parry by artifice and bribery. But, finding
_that_ mode of proceeding absolutely without hope, he took the
bold resolution of throwing himself, in utter defiance, upon the native
energies of his own ferocious heart. Having, however, but small
reliance on his Mahometan troops in a crisis of this magnitude, he
applied for Christian succors, and set himself to _court_ the
Christians generally. As a first step, he restored the Armatoles--that
very body whose suppression had been so favorite a measure of his
policy, and pursued so long, so earnestly, and so injuriously to his
credit amongst the Christian part of the population. It happened, at
the first opening of the campaign, that the Christians were equally
courted by the Sultan's generalissimo, Solyman, the Pacha of Thessaly.
For this, however, that Pacha was removed and decapitated; and a new
leader was now appointed in the person of that very enemy, Ismael
Pasho, whose attempted murder had brought the present storm upon Ali.
Ismael was raised to the rank of Serasker (or generalissimo), and was
also made Pacha of Yannina and Del vino. Three other armies, besides a
fleet under the Captain Bey, advanced upon Ali's territories
simultaneously from different quarters. But at that time, in defiance
of these formidable and overwhelming preparations, bets were strongly
in Ali's favor amongst all who were acquainted with his resources: for
he had vast treasures, fortresses of great strength, inexhaustible
supplies of artillery and ammunition, a country almost inaccessible,
and fifteen thousand light troops, whom Mr. Gordon, upon personal
knowledge, pronounces "excellent."

Scarcely had the war commenced, when Ali was abandoned by almost the
whole of his partisans, in mere hatred of his execrable cruelty and
tyrannical government. To Ali, however, this defection brought no
despondency; and with unabated courage he prepared to defend himself to
the last, in three castles, with a garrison of three thousand men. That
he might do so with entire effect, he began by destroying his own
capital of Yannina, lest it should afford shelter to the enemy. Still
his situation would have been most critical, but for the state of
affairs in the enemy's camp. The Serasker was attended by more than
twenty other Pashas. But they were all at enmity with each other. One
of them, and the bravest, was even poisoned by the Serasker. Provisions
were running short, in consequence of their own dissensions. Winter was
fast approaching; the cannonading had produced no conspicuous effect;
and the soldiers were disbanding. In this situation, the Sultan's
lieutenants again saw the necessity of courting aid from the Christian
population of the country. Ali, on his part, never scrupled to bid
against them at any price; and at length, irritated by the ill-usage of
the Turks on their first entrance, and disgusted with the obvious
insincerity of their reluctant and momentary kindness, some of the
bravest Christian tribes (especially the celebrated Suliotes) consented
to take Ali's bribes, forgot his past outrages and unnumbered
perfidies, and, reading his sincerity in the extremity of his peril,
these bravest of the brave ranged themselves amongst the Sultan's
enemies. During the winter they gained some splendid successes; other
alienated friends came back to Ali; and even some Mahometan Beys were
persuaded to take up arms in his behalf. Upon the whole, the Turkish
Divan was very seriously alarmed; and so much so, that it superseded
the Serasker Ismael, replacing him with the famous Kourshid Pacha, at
that time viceroy of the Morea. And so ended the year 1820.

This state of affairs could not escape the attention of the vigilant
Hetæria. Here was Ali Pacha, hitherto regarded as an insurmountable
obstacle in their path, absolutely compelled by circumstances to be
their warmest friend. The Turks again, whom no circumstances could
entirely disarm, were yet crippled for the time, and their whole
attention preoccupied by another enemy, most alarming to their policy,
and most tempting to their cupidity. Such an opportunity it seemed
unpardonable to neglect. Accordingly, it was resolved to begin the
insurrection. At its head was placed Prince Alexander Ypsilanti, a son
of that Hospodar of Wallachia whose deposition by the Porte had
produced the Russian war of 1806. This prince's qualifications
consisted in his high birth, in his connection with Russia (for he had
risen to the rank of major-general in that service), and, finally (if
such things can deserve a mention), in an agreeable person and manners.
For all other and higher qualifications he was wholly below the
situation and the urgency of the crisis. His first error was in the
choice of his ground. For some reasons, which are not sufficiently
explained,--possibly on account of his family connection with those
provinces,--he chose to open the war in Moldavia and Wallachia. This
resolution he took in spite of every warning, and the most intelligent
expositions of the absolute necessity that, to be at all effectual, the
first stand should be made in Greece. He thought otherwise; and,
managing the campaign after his own ideas, he speedily involved himself
in quarrels, and his army, through the perfidy of a considerable
officer, in ruinous embarrassments. This unhappy campaign is
circumstantially narrated by Mr. Gordon in his first book; but, as it
never crossed the Danube, and had no connection with Greece except by
its purposes, we shall simply rehearse the great outline of its course.
The signal for insurrection was given in January, 1821; and Prince
Ypsilanti took the field, by crossing the Pruth in March. Early in
April he received a communication from the Emperor of Russia, which at
once prostrated his hopes before an enemy was seen. He was formally
disavowed by that prince, erased from his army-list, and severely
reproached for his "_folly and ingratitude_," in letters from two
members of the Russian cabinet; and on the 9th of April this fact was
publicly notified in Yassy, the capital of Moldavia, by the Russian
consul-general. His army at this time consisted of three thousand men,
which, however, was afterwards reinforced, but with no gunpowder except
what was casually intercepted, and no lead except some that had been
stripped from the roof of an ancient cathedral. On the 12th of May the
Pacha of Ibrail opened the campaign. A few days after, the Turkish
troops began to appear in considerable force; and on the 8th of June an
alarm was suddenly given "that the white turbans were upon them." In
the engagement which followed, the insurgent army gave way; and, though
their loss was much smaller than that of the Turks, yet, from the many
blunders committed, the consequences were disastrous; and, had the
Turks pursued, there would on that day have been an end of the
insurrection. But far worse and more decisive was the subsequent
disaster of the 17th. Ypsilanti had been again reinforced; and his
advanced guard had surprised a Turkish detachment of cavalry in such a
situation that their escape seemed impossible. Yet all was ruined by
one officer of rank, who got drunk, and advanced with an air of
bravado--followed, on a principle of honor, by a sacred battalion
[_hieros lochos_], composed of five hundred Greek volunteers, of
birth and education, the very _élite_ of the insurgent infantry.
The Turks gave themselves up for lost; but, happening to observe that
this drunkard seemed unsupported by other parts of the army, they
suddenly mounted, came down upon the noble young volunteers before they
could even form in square; and nearly the whole, disdaining to fly,
were cut to pieces on the ground. An officer of rank, and a brave man,
appalled by this hideous disaster, the affair of a few moments, rode up
to the spot, and did all he could to repair it. But the cowardly
drunkard had fled at the first onset, with all his Arnauts; panic
spread rapidly; and the whole force of five thousand men fled before
eight hundred Turks, leaving four hundred men dead on the field, of
whom three hundred and fifty belonged to the sacred battalion.

The Turks, occupied with gathering a trophy of heads, neglected to
pursue. But the work was done. The defeated advance fell back upon the
main body; and that same night the whole army, panic-struck, ashamed,
and bewildered, commenced a precipitate retreat. From this moment
Prince Ypsilanti thought only of saving himself. This purpose he
effected in a few days, by retreating into Austria, from which
territory he issued his final order of the day, taxing his army, in
violent and unmeasured terms, with cowardice and disobedience. This was
in a limited sense true; many distinctions, however, were called for in
mere justice; and the capital defects, after all, were in himself. His
plan was originally bad; and, had it been better, he was quite unequal
to the execution of it. The results were unfortunate to all concerned
in it. Ypsilanti himself was arrested by Austria, and thrown into the
unwholesome prison of Mongatz, where, after languishing for six years,
he perished miserably. Some of the subordinate officers prolonged the
struggle in a guerilla style for some little time; but all were finally
suppressed. Many were put to death; many escaped into neutral ground;
and it is gratifying to add, that of two traitors amongst the higher
officers, one was detected and despatched in a summary way of vengeance
by his own associates; the other, for some unexplained reason, was
beheaded by his Turkish friends at the very moment when he had put
himself into their power, in fearless obedience to their own summons to
_come and receive his well-merited reward_, and under an express
assurance from the Pacha of Silistria that he was impatiently waiting
to invest him with a pelisse of honor. Such faith is kept with
traitors; such faith be ever kept with the betrayers of nations and
their holiest hopes! Though in this instance the particular motives of
the Porte are still buried in mystery.

Thus terminated the first rash enterprise, which resulted from the too
tempting invitation held out in the rebellion then agitating Epirus,
locking up, as it did, and neutralizing, so large a part of the
disposable Turkish forces. To this we return. Kourshid Pacha quitted
the Morea with a large body of troops, in the first days of January,
1821, and took the command of the army already before Yannina. But,
with all his great numerical superiority to the enemy with whom he
contended, and now enjoying undisturbed union in his own camp, he found
it impossible to make his advances rapidly. Though in hostility to the
Porte, and though now connected with Christian allies, Ali Pacha was
yet nominally a Mahometan. Hence it had been found impossible as yet to
give any color of an anti-Christian character to the war; and the
native Mahometan chieftains had therefore no scruple in coalescing with
the Christians of Epirus, and making joint cause with Ali. Gradually,
from the inevitable vexations incident to the march and residence of a
large army, the whole population became hostile to Kourshid; and their
remembrance of Ali's former oppressions, if not effaced, was yet
suspended in the presence of a nuisance so immediate and so generally
diffused; and most of the Epirots turned their arms against the Porte.
The same feelings which governed _them_ soon spread to the provinces
of Etolia and Acarnania; or rather, perhaps, being previously ripe
for revolt, these provinces resolved to avail themselves of the
same occasion. Missolonghi now became the centre of rebellion; and
Kourshid's difficulties were daily augmenting. In July of this year
(1821) these various insurgents, actively cooperating, defeated the
Serasker in several actions, and compelled a Pacha to lay down his arms
on the road between Yannina and Souli. It was even proposed by the
gallant partisan, Mark Bozzaris, that all should unite to hem in the
Serasker; but a wound, received in a skirmish, defeated this plan. In
September following, however, the same Mark intercepted and routed
Hassan Pacha in a defile on his march to Yannina; and in general the
Turks were defeated everywhere except at the headquarters of the
Serasker, and with losses in men enormously disproportioned to the
occasions. This arose partly from the necessity under which they lay of
attacking expert musketeers under cover of breastworks, and partly from
their own precipitance and determination to carry everything by summary
force; "whereas," says Mr. Gordon, "a little patience would surely have
caused them to succeed, and at least saved them much dishonor, and
thousands of lives thrown away in mere wantonness." But, in spite of
all blunders, and every sort of failure elsewhere, the Serasker was
still advancing slowly towards his main objects--the reduction of Ali
Pacha. And by the end of October, on getting possession of an important
part of Ali's works, he announced to the Sultan that he should soon be
able to send him the traitor's head, for that he was already reduced to
six hundred men. A little before this, however, the celebrated
Maurocordato, with other persons of influence, had arrived at
Missolonghi with the view of cementing a general union of Christian and
Mahometan forces against the Turks. In this he was so far successful,
that in November a combined attack was made upon Ismael, the old enemy
of Ali, and three other Pachas, shut up in the town of Arta. This
attack succeeded partially; but it was attempted at a moment
dramatically critical, and with an effect ruinous to the whole
campaign, as well as that particular attack. The assailing party, about
thirty-four hundred men, were composed in the proportion of two
Christians to one Mahometan. They had captured one half of the town;
and, Mark Bozzaris having set this on fire to prevent plundering, the
four Pachas were on the point of retreating under cover of the smoke.
At that moment arrived a Mahometan of note, instigated by Kourshid, who
was able to persuade those of his own faith that the Christians were
not fighting with any sincere views of advantage to Ali, but with
ulterior purposes hostile to Mahometanism itself. On this, the
Christian division of the army found themselves obliged to retire
without noise, in order to escape their own allies, now suddenly united
with the four Pachas. Nor, perhaps, would even this have been effected,
but for the precaution of Mark Bozzaris in taking hostages from two
leading Mahometans. Thus failed the last diversion in favor of Ali
Pacha, who was henceforward left to his own immediate resources. All
the Mahometan tribes now ranged themselves on the side of Kourshid; and
the winter of 1821-2 passed away without further disturbance in Epirus.

Meantime, during the absence of Kourshid Pacha from the Morea, the
opportunity had not been lost for raising the insurrection in that
important part of Greece. Kourshid had marched early in January, 1821;
and already in February symptoms of the coming troubles appeared at
Patrass, "the most flourishing and populous city of the Peloponnesus,
the emporium of its trade, and residence of the foreign consuls and
merchants." Its population was about eighteen thousand, of which number
two thirds were Christian. In March, when rumors had arrived of the
insurrection beyond the Danube, under Alexander Ypsilanti, the
fermentation became universal; and the Turks of Patrass hastily
prepared for defence. By the twenty-fifth, the Greeks had purchased all
the powder and lead which could be had; and about the second of April
they raised the standard of the Cross. Two days after this, fighting
began at Patrass. The town having been set on fire, "the Turkish castle
threw shot and shells at random; the two parties fought amongst the
ruins, and massacred each other without mercy; the only prisoners that
were spared owed their lives to fanaticism; some Christian youths being
circumcised by the Mollahs, and some Turkish boys baptized by the

"While the commencement of the war," says Mr. Gordon, "was thus
signalized by the ruin of a flourishing city, the insurrection gained
ground with wonderful rapidity; and from mountain to mountain, and
village to village, propagated itself to the furthest corner of the
Peloponnesus. Everywhere the peasants flew to arms; and those Turks who
resided in the open country or unfortified towns were either cut to
pieces, or forced to fly into strongholds." On the second of April, the
flag of independence was hoisted in Achaia. On the ninth, a Grecian
senate met at Calamata, in Messenia, having for its president
Mavromichalis, Prince or Bey of Maina, a rugged territory in the
ancient Sparta, famous for its hardy race of robbers and pirates.
[Footnote: These Mainates have been supposed to be of Sclavonian
origin; but Mr. Gordon, upon the authority of the Emperor Constantine
Porphyrogenitos, asserts that they are of pure Laconian blood, and
became Christians in the reign of that emperor's grandfather, Basil the
Macedonian. They are, and over have been, robbers by profession;
robbers by land, pirates by sea; for which last branch of their mixed
occupation they enjoy singular advantages in their position at the
point of junction between the Ionian and Egean seas. To illustrate
their condition of perpetual warfare, Mr. Gordon mentions that there
were very lately individuals who had lived for twenty years in towers,
not daring to stir out lest their neighbors should shoot them. They
were supplied with bread and cartridges by their wives; for the persons
of women are sacred in Maina. Two other good features in their
character are their hospitality and their indisposition to bloodshed.
They are in fact _gentle thieves_--the Robin Hoods of Greece.]

On the sixth of April, the insurrection had spread to the narrow
territory of Megaris, situated to the north of the isthmus. The
Albanian population of this country, amounting to about ten thousand,
and employed by the Porte to guard the defiles of the entrance into
Peloponnesus, raised the standard of revolt, and marched to invest the
Acrocorinthus. In the Messenian territory, the Bishop of Modon, having
made his guard of Janissaries drunk, cut the whole of them to pieces;
and then encamping on the heights of Navarin, his lordship blockaded
that fortress. The abruptness of these movements, and their almost
simultaneous origin at distances so considerable, sufficiently prove
how ripe the Greeks were for this revolt as respected temper; and in
other modes of preparation they never _could_ have been ripe
whilst overlooked by Turkish masters. That haughty race now retreated
from all parts of the Morea, within the ramparts of Tripolizza.

In the first action which occurred, the Arcadian Greeks did not behave
well; they fled at the very sound of the Moslem tread. Colocotroni
commanded; and he rallied them again; but again they deserted him at
the sight of their oppressors; "and I," said Colocotroni afterwards,
when relating the circumstances of this early affair, "having with me
only ten companions including my horse, sat down in a bush and wept."

Meantime, affairs went ill at Patrass. Yussuf Pacha, having been
detached from Epirus to Eubœa by the Scrasker, heard on his route of
the insurrection in Peloponnesus. Upon which, altering his course, he
sailed to Patrass, and reached it on the fifteenth of April. This was
Palm Sunday, and it dawned upon the Greeks with evil omens. First came
a smart shock of earthquake; next a cannonade announcing the approach
of the Pacha; and, lastly, an Ottoman brig of war, which saluted the
fort and cast anchor before the town.

The immediate consequences were disastrous. The Greeks retreated; and
the Pacha detached Kihaya-Bey, a Tartar officer of distinguished
energy, with near three thousand men, to the most important points of
the revolt. On the fifth of May, the Tartar reached Corinth, but found
the siege already raised. Thence he marched to Argos, sending before
him a requisition for bread. He was answered by the men of Argos that
they had no bread, but only powder and ball at his service. This
threat, however, proved a gasconade; the Kihaya advanced in three
columns; cavalry on each wing, and infantry in the centre; on which,
after a single discharge, the Argives fled. [Footnote: It has a sublime
effect in the record of this action to hear that the Argives were drawn
up behind a wall originally raised as a defence _against the deluge
of Inachus_.] Their general, fighting bravely, was killed, together
with seven hundred others, and fifteen hundred women captured. The
Turks, having sacked and burned Argos, then laid siege to a monastery,
which surrendered upon terms; and it is honorable to the memory of this
Tartar general, that, according to the testimony of Mr. Gordon, at a
time when the war was managed with merciless fury and continual
perfidies on both sides, he observed the terms with rigorous fidelity,
treated all his captives with the utmost humanity, and even liberated
the women.

Thus far the tide had turned against the Greeks; but now came a
decisive reaction in their favor; and, as if forever to proclaim the
folly of despair, just at the very crisis when it was least to have
been expected, the Kihaya was at this point joined by the Turks of
Tripolizza, and was now reputed to be fourteen thousand strong. This
proved to be an exaggeration; but the subsequent battle is the more
honorable to those who believed it. At a council of war, in the Greek
camp, the prevailing opinion was that an action could not prudently be
risked. One man thought otherwise; this was Anagnostoras; he, by urging
the desolations which would follow a retreat, brought over the rest to
his opinion; and it was resolved to take up a position at Valtezza, a
village three hours' march from Tripolizza. Thither, on the twenty-
seventh of May, the Kihaya arrived with five thousand men, in three
columns, having left Tripolizza at dawn; and immediately raised
redoubts opposite to those of the Greeks, and placed three heavy pieces
of cannon in battery. He hoped to storm the position; but, if he should
fail, he had a reason for still anticipating a victory, and _that_
was the situation of the fountains, which must soon have drawn the
Greeks out of their position, as they had water only for twenty-four
hours' consumption.

The battle commenced: and the first failure of the Kihaya was in the
cannonade; for his balls, passing over the Greeks, fell amongst a corps
of his own troops. These now made three assaults; but were repulsed in
all. Both sides kept up a fire till night; and each expected that his
enemy would retire in the darkness. The twenty-eighth, however, found
the two armies still in the same positions. The battle was renewed for
five hours; and then the Kihaya, finding his troops fatigued, and that
his retreat was likely to be intercepted by Nikitas (a brave partisan
officer bred to arms in the service of England), who was coming up by
forced marches from Argos with eight hundred men, gave the signal for
retreat. This soon became a total rout; the Kihaya lost his horse; and
the Greeks, besides taking two pieces of cannon, raised a trophy of
four hundred Moslem heads.

Such was the battle of Yaltezza, the inaugural performance of the
insurrection; and we have told it thus circumstantially, because Mr.
Gordon characterizes it as "remarkable for the moral effect it
produced;" and he does not scruple to add, that it "certainly decided
the campaign in Peloponnesus, _and perhaps even the fate of the

Three days after, that is, on the last day of May, 1821, followed the
victory of Doliana, in which the Kihaya, anxious to recover his lost
ground, was encountered by Nikitas. The circumstances were peculiarly
brilliant. For the Turkish general had between two and three thousand
men, besides artillery; whereas Nikitas at first sustained the attack
in thirteen barricaded houses, with no more than ninety-six soldiers,
and thirty armed peasants. After a resistance of eleven hours, he was
supported by seven hundred men; and in the end he defeated the Kihaya
with a very considerable loss.

These actions raised the enthusiasm of the Morea to a high point; and
in the mean time other parts of Greece had joined in the revolt. In the
first week of April an insurrection burst out in the eastern provinces
of Greece, Attica, Boeotia, and Phocis. The insurgents first appeared
near Livadia, one of the best cities in northern Greece. On the
thirteenth, they occupied Thebes without opposition. Immediately after,
Odysseus propagated the revolt in Phocis, where he had formerly
commanded as a lieutenant of Ali Pacha's. Next arose the Albanian
peasantry of Attica, gathering in armed bodies to the west of Athens.
Towards the end of April, the Turks, who composed one fifth of the
Athenian population (then rated at ten thousand), became greatly
agitated; and twice proposed a massacre of the Christians. This was
resisted by the humane Khadi; and the Turks, contenting themselves with
pillaging absent proprietors, began to lay up stores in the Acropolis.
With ultra Turkish stupidity, however, out of pure laziness, at this
critical moment, they confided the night duty on the ramparts of the
city to Greeks. The consequence may be supposed. On the eighth of May,
the Ottoman standard had been raised and blessed by an Tman. On the
following night, a rapid discharge of musketry, and the shouts of
_Christ has risen! Liberty! Liberty!_ proclaimed the capture of
Athens. Nearly two thousand peasants, generally armed with clubs, had
scaled the walls and forced the gates. The prisoners taken were treated
with humanity. But, unfortunately, this current of Christian sentiment
was immediately arrested by the conduct of the Turks in the Acropolis,
in killing nine hostages, and throwing over the walls some naked and
headless bodies.

The insurrection next spread to Thessaly; and at last even to
Macedonia, from the premature and atrocious violence of the Pacha of
Salonika. Apprehending a revolt, he himself drew it on, by cutting off
the heads of the Christian merchants and clergy (simply as a measure of
precaution), and enforcing his measures on the peasantry by military
execution. Unfortunately, from its extensive plains, this country is
peculiarly favorable to the evolutions of the Turkish cavalry; the
insurgents were, therefore, defeated in several actions; and ultimately
took refuge in great numbers amongst the convents on Mount Athos, which
also were driven into revolt by the severity of the Pacha. Here the
fugitives were safe from the sabres of their merciless pursuers; but,
unless succored by sea, ran a great risk of perishing by famine. But a
more important accession to the cause of independence, within one month
from its first outbreak in the Morea, occurred in the Islands of the
Archipelago. The three principal of these in modern times, are Hydra,
Spezzia, and Psarra. [Footnote: Their insignificance in ancient times
is proclaimed by the obscurity of their ancient names--Aperopia,
Tiparenus, and Psyra.] They had been colonized in the preceding
century, by some poor families from Peloponnesus and Ionia. At that
time they had gained a scanty subsistence as fishermen. Gradually they
became merchants and seamen. Being the best sailors in the Sultan's
dominions, they had obtained some valuable privileges, amongst which
was that of exemption from Turkish magistrates; so that, if they could
not boast of _autonomy_, they had at least the advantage of
executing the bad laws of Turkish imposition by chiefs of their own
blood. And they had the further advantage of paying but a moderate
tribute to the Sultan. So favored, their commerce had flourished beyond
all precedent. And latterly, when the vast extension of European
warfare had created first-rate markets for grain, selecting, of course,
those which were highest at the moment, they sometimes doubled their
capitals in two voyages; and seven or eight such trips in a year were
not an unusual instance of good fortune. What had been the result, may
be collected from the following description, which Mr. Gordon gives us,
of Hydra: "Built on a sterile rock, which does not offer, at any
season, the least trace of vegetation, it is one of the best cities in
the Levant, and _infinitely superior to any other in Greece_; the
houses are all constructed of white stone; and those of the
aristocracy--erected at an immense expense, floored with costly
marbles, and splendidly furnished--_might pass for palaces even in
the capitals of Italy_. Before the revolution, poverty was unknown;
all classes being comfortably lodged, clothed, and fed. Its inhabitants
at this epoch exceeded twenty thousand, of whom four thousand were
able-bodied seamen."

The other islands were, with few exceptions, arid rocks; and most of
them had the inestimable advantage of being unplagued with a Turkish
population. Enjoying that precious immunity, it may be wondered why
they should have entered into the revolt. But for this there were two
great reasons: they were ardent Christians in the first place, and
disinterested haters of Mahometanism on its own merits; secondly, as
the most powerful [Footnote: Mr. Gordon says that "they could, without
difficulty, fit out a hundred sail of ships, brigs, and schooners,
armed with from twelve to twenty-four guns each, and manned by seven
thousand stout and able sailors." Pouqueville ascribes to them, in
1813, a force considerably greater. But the peace of Paris (one year
after Pouqueville's estimates) naturally reduced their power, as their
extraordinary gains were altogether dependent on war and naval
blockades.] nautical confederacy in the Levant, they anticipated a
large booty from captures at sea. In that expectation, at first, they
were not disappointed. But it was a source of wealth soon exhausted;
for, naturally, as soon as their ravages became known, the Mussulmans
ceased to navigate. Spezzia was the first to hoist the independent
flag; this was on the ninth of April, 1821. Psarra immediately followed
her example. Hydra hesitated, and at first even declined to do so; but,
at last, on the 28th of April, this island also issued a manifesto of
adherence to the patriotic cause. On the third of May, a squadron of
eleven Hydriot and seven Spezzia vessels sailed from Hydra, having on
the mainmast "an address to the people of the Egean sea, inviting them
to rally round the national standard: an address that was received with
enthusiasm in every quarter of the Archipelago where the Turks were not
numerous enough to restrain popular feeling."

"The success of the Greek marine in this first expedition," says Mr.
Gordon, "was not confined to merely spreading the insurrection
throughout the Archipelago: a swarm of swift armed ships swept the sea
from the Hellespont to the waters of Crete and Cyprus; captured every
Ottoman trader they met with, and put to the sword, or flung overboard,
the Mahometan crews and passengers; for the contest already assumed a
character of terrible ferocity. It would be vain to deny that they were
guilty of shocking barbarities; at the little island of Castel Rosso,
on the Karamanian shore, they butchered, in cold blood, several
beautiful Turkish females; and a great number of defenceless pilgrims
(mostly old men), who, returning from Mecca, fell into their power, off
Cyprus, were slain without mercy, because they would not renounce their
faith." Many such cases of hideous barbarity had already occurred, and
did afterwards occur, on the mainland. But this is the eternal law and
providential retribution of oppression. The tyrant teaches to his slave
the crimes and the cruelties which he inflicts; blood will have blood;
and the ferocious oppressor is involved in the natural reaction of his
own wickedness, by the frenzied retaliation of the oppressed. Now was
indeed beheld the realization of the sublime imprecation in Shakspeare:
"one spirit of the first-born Cain" did indeed reign in the hearts of
men; and now, if ever upon this earth, it seemed likely, from the
dreadful _acharnement_ which marked the war on both sides,--the
_acharnement_ of long-hoarded vengeance and maddening remembrances
in the Grecian, of towering disdain in the alarmed oppressor,--that, in
very simplicity of truth, "_Darkness would be the burier of the

Such was the opening scene in the astonishing drama of the Greek
insurrection, which, through all its stages, was destined to move by
fire and blood, and beyond any war in human annals to command the
interest of mankind through their sterner affections. We have said that
it was eminently a romantic war; but not in the meaning with which we
apply that epithet to the semi-fabulous wars of Charlemagne and his
Paladins, or even to the Crusaders. Here are no memorable contests of
generosity; no triumphs glorified by mercy; no sacrifices of interest
the most basely selfish to martial honor; no ear on either side for the
pleadings of desolate affliction; no voice in any quarter of commanding
justice; no acknowledgment of a common nature between the belligerents;
nor sense of a participation in the same human infirmities, dangers, or
necessities. To the fugitive from the field of battle there was
scarcely a retreat; to the prisoner there was absolutely no hope. Stern
retribution, and the very rapture of vengeance, were the passions which
presided on the one side; on the other, fanaticism and the cruelty of
fear and hatred, maddened by old hereditary scorn. Wherever the war
raged there followed upon the face of the land one blank Aceldama. A
desert tracked the steps of the armies, and a desert in which was no
oasis; and the very atmosphere in which men lived and breathed was a
chaos of murderous passions. Still it is true that the war was a great
romance. For it was filled with change, and with elastic rebound from
what seemed final extinction; with the spirit of adventure carried to
the utmost limits of heroism; with self-devotion on the sublimest
scale, and the very frenzy of patriotic martyrdom; with resurrection of
everlasting hope upon ground seven times blasted by the blighting
presence of the enemy; and with flowers radiant in promise springing
forever from under the very tread of the accursed Moslem.

NOTE.--We have thought that we should do an acceptable service to the
reader by presenting him with a sketch of the Suliotes, and the most
memorable points in their history. We have derived it (as to the facts)
from a little work originally composed by an Albanian in modern Greek,
and printed at Venice in 1815. This work was immediately translated
into Italian, by Gherardini, an Italian officer of Milan; and, ten
years ago, with some few omissions, it was reproduced in an English
version; but in this country it seems never to have attracted public
notice, and is probably now forgotten.

With respect to the name of Suli, the Suliotes themselves trace it to
an accident:--"Some old men," says the Albanian author, reciting his
own personal investigations amongst the oldest of the Suliotes,
"replied that they did not remember having any information from their
ancestors concerning the first inhabitants of Suli, except this only:
that some goat and swine herds used to lead their flocks to graze on
the mountains where Suli and Ghiafa now stand; that these mountains
were not only steep and almost inaccessible, but clothed with thickets
of wood, and infested by wild boars; that these herdsmen, being
oppressed by the tyranny of the Turks of a village called to this day
Gardichi, took the resolution of flying for a distance of six hours'
journey to this sylvan and inaccessible position, of sharing in common
the few animals which they had, and of suffering voluntarily every
physical privation, rather than submit to the slightest wrong from
their foreign tyrants. This resolution, they added, must be presumed to
have been executed with success; because we find that, in the lapse of
five or six years, these original occupants of the fastness were joined
by thirty other families. Somewhere about that time it was that they
began to awaken the jealousy of the Turks; and a certain Turk, named
Suli, went in high scorn and defiance, with many other associates, to
expel them from this strong position; but our stout forefathers met
them with arms in their hands. Suli, the leader and inciter of the
Turks, was killed outright upon the ground; and, on the very spot where
he fell, at this day stands the centre of our modern Suli, which took
its name, therefore, from that same slaughtered Turk, who was the first
insolent and malicious enemy with whom our country in its days of
infancy had to contend for its existence."

Such is the most plausible account which can now be obtained of the
_incunabula_ of this most indomitable little community, and of the
circumstances under which it acquired its since illustrious name. It
was, perhaps, natural that a little town, in the centre of insolent and
bitter enemies, should assume a name which would long convey to their
whole neighborhood a stinging lesson of mortification, and of
prudential warning against similar molestations. As to the
_chronology_ of this little state, the Albanian author assures us,
upon the testimony of the same old Suliotes, that "seventy years
before" there were barely one hundred men fit for the active duties of
war, which, in ordinary states of society, would imply a total
population of four hundred souls. That may be taken, therefore, as the
extreme limit of the Suliote population at a period of seventy years
antecedently to the date of tke conversation on which he founds his
information. But, as he has unfortunately omitted to fix the exact era
of these conversations, the whole value of his accuracy is neutralized
by his own carelessness. However, it is probable, from the internal
evidence of his book, which brings down affairs below the year 1812,
that his information was collected somewhere about 1810. We must carry
back the epoch, therefore, at which Suli had risen to a population of
four hundred, pretty nearly to the year 1740; and since, by the same
traditionary evidence, Suli had then accomplished an independent
existence through a space of eighty years, we have reason to conclude
that the very first gatherings of poor Christian herdsmen to this
sylvan sanctuary, when stung to madness by Turkish insolence and
persecution, would take place about the era of the Restoration (of our
Charles II.), that is, in 1660.

In more modern times, the Suliotes had expanded into four separate
little towns, peopled by five hundred and sixty families, from which
they were able to draw one thousand first-rate soldiers. But, by a very
politic arrangement, they had colonized with sixty-six other families
seven neighboring towns, over which, from situation, they had long been
able to exercise a military preponderance. The benefits were
incalculable which they obtained by this connection. At the first alarm
of war the fighting men retreated with no incumbrances but their arms,
ammunition, and a few days' provision, into the four towns of Suli
proper, which all lay within that ring fence of impregnable position
from which no armies could ever dislodge them; meantime, they secretly
drew supplies from the seven associate towns, which were better
situated than themselves for agriculture, and which (apparently taking
no part in the war) pursued their ordinary labors unmolested. Their
tactics were simple, but judicious; if they saw a body of five or six
thousand advancing against their position, knowing that it was idle for
them to meet such a force in the open field, they contented themselves
with detaching one hundred and fifty or two hundred men to skirmish on
their flanks, and to harass them according to the advantages of the
ground; but if they saw no more than five hundred or one thousand in
the hostile column, they then issued in equal or superior numbers, in
the certainty of beating them, striking an effectual panic into their
hearts, and also of profiting largely by plunder and by ransom.

In so small and select a community, where so much must continually
depend upon individual qualities and personal heroism, it may readily
be supposed that the women would play an important part; in fact, "the
women carry arms and fight bravely. When the men go to war, the women
bring them food and provisions; when they see their strength declining
in combat, they run to their assistance, and fight along with them;
but, if by any chance their husbands behave with cowardice, they snatch
their arms from them, and abuse them, calling them mean, and unworthy
of having a wife." Upon these feelings there has even been built a law
in Suli, which must deeply interest the pride of women in the martial
honor of their husbands; agreeably to this law, any woman whose husband
has distinguished himself in battle, upon going to a fountain to draw
water, has the liberty to drive away another woman whose husband is
tainted with the reproach of cowardice; and all who succeed her, "from
dawn to dewy eve," unless under the ban of the same withering stigma,
have the same privilege of taunting her with her husband's baseness,
and of stepping between her or her cattle until their own wants are
fully supplied.

This social consideration of the female sex, in right of their
husbands' military honors, is made available for no trifling purposes;
on one occasion it proved the absolute salvation of the tribe. In one
of the most desperate assaults made by Ali Pacha upon Suli, when that
tyrant was himself present at the head of eight thousand picked men,
animated with the promise of five hundred piastres a man, to as many as
should enter Suli, after ten hours' fighting under an enfeebling sun,
and many of the Suliote muskets being rendered useless by continual
discharges, a large body of the enemy had actually succeeded in
occupying the sacred interior of Suli itself. At that critical moment,
when Ali was in the very paroxysms of frantic exultation, the Suliote
women, seeing that the general fate hinged upon the next five minutes,
turned upon the Turks _en masse_, and with such a rapture of
sudden fury, that the conquering army was instantly broken--thrown into
panic, pursued; and, in that state of ruinous disorder, was met and
flanked by the men, who were now recovering from their defeat. The
consequences, from the nature of the ground, were fatal to the Turkish
army and enterprise; the whole camp equipage was captured; none saved
their lives but by throwing away their arms; one third of the Turks
(one half by some accounts) perished on the retreat; the rest returned
at intervals as an unarmed mob; and the bloody, perfidious Pacha
himself saved his life only by killing two horses in his haste. So
total was the rout, and so bitter the mortification of Ali, who had
seen a small band of heroic women snatch the long-sought prize out of
his very grasp, that for some weeks he shut himself up in his palace at
Yannina, would receive no visits, and issued a proclamation imposing
instant death upon any man detected in looking out at a window or other
aperture--as being _presumably_ engaged in noticing the various
expressions of his defeat which were continually returning to Yannina.

The wars, in which the adventurous courage of the Suliotes (together
with their menacing position) could not fail to involve them, were in
all eleven. The first eight of these occurred in times before the
French Revolution, and with Pachas who have left no memorials behind
them of the terrific energy or hellish perfidy which marked the
character of Ali Pacha. These Pachas, who brought armies at the lowest
of five thousand, and at the most of twelve thousand men, were
uniformly beaten; and apparently were content to be beaten. Sometimes a
Pacha was even made prisoner; but, as the simple [Footnote: On the same
occasion the Pacha's son, and sixty officers of the rank of _Aga_,
were also made prisoners by a truly rustic mode of assault. The Turks
had shut themselves up in a church; into this, by night, the Suliotes
threw a number of hives, full of bees, whose insufferable stings soon
brought the haughty Moslems into the proper surrendering mood. The
whole body were afterwards ransomed for so trifling a sum as one
thousand sequins.] Suliotes little understood the art of improving
advantages, the ransom was sure to be proportioned to the value of the
said Pacha's sword-arm in battle, rather than to his rank and ability
to pay; so that the terms of liberation were made ludicrously easy to
the Turkish chiefs.

These eight wars naturally had no other ultimate effect than to extend
the military power, experience, and renown, of the Suliotes. But their
ninth war placed them in collision with a new and far more perilous
enemy than any they had yet tried; above all, he was so obstinate and
unrelenting an enemy, that, excepting the all-conquering mace of death,
it was certain that no obstacles born of man ever availed to turn him
aside from an object once resolved on. The reader will understand, of
course, that this enemy was Ali Pacha. Their ninth war was with him;
and he, like all before him, was beaten; but _not_ like all before
him did Ali sit down in resignation under his defeat. His hatred was
now become fiendish; no other prosperity or success had any grace in
his eyes, so long as Suli stood, by which he had been overthrown,
trampled on, and signally humbled. Life itself was odious to him, if he
must continue to witness the triumphant existence of the abhorred
little mountain village which had wrung laughter at his expense from
every nook of Epirus. _Delenda est Carthago! Suli must be
exterminated!_ became, therefore, from this time, the master
watchword of his secret policy. And on the 1st of June, in the year
1792, he commenced his second war against the Suliotes, at the head of
twenty-two thousand men. This was the second war of Suli with Ali
Pacha; but it was the tenth war on their annals; and, as far as their
own exertions were concerned, it had the same result as all the rest.
But, about the sixth year of the war, in an indirect way, Ali made one
step towards his final purpose, which first manifested its disastrous
tendency in the new circumstances which succeeding years brought
forward. In 1797 the French made a lodgment in Corfu; and, agreeably to
their general spirit of intrigue, they had made advances to Ali Pacha,
and to all other independent powers in or about Epirus. Amongst other
states, in an evil hour for that ill-fated city, they wormed themselves
into an alliance with Prevesa; and in the following year their own
quarrel with Ali Pacha gave that crafty robber a pretence, which he had
long courted in vain, for attacking the place with his overwhelming
cavalry, before they could agree upon the mode of defence, and long
before _any_ mode could have been tolerably matured. The result
was one universal massacre, which raged for three days, and involved
every living Prevesan, excepting some few who had wisely made their
escape in time, and excepting those who were reserved to be tortured
for Ali's special gratification, or to be sold for slaves in the
shambles. This dreadful catastrophe, which in a few hours rooted from
the earth an old and flourishing community, was due in about equal
degrees to the fatal intriguing of the interloping French, and to the
rankest treachery in a quarter where it could least have been held
possible; namely, in a Suliote, and a very distinguished Suliote,
Captain George Botzari; but the miserable man yielded up his honor and
his patriotism to Ali's bribe of one hundred purses (perhaps at that
time equal to twenty-five hundred pounds sterling). The way in which
this catastrophe operated upon Ali's final views was obvious to
everybody in that neighborhood. Parga, on the sea-coast, was an
indispensable ally to Suli; now, Prevesa stood in the same relation to
Parga, as an almost indispensable ally, that Parga occupied towards

This shocking tragedy had been perpetrated in the October of 1798; and,
in less than two years from that date, namely, on the 2d of June, 1800,
commenced the eleventh war of the Suliotes; being their third with Ali,
and the last which, from their own guileless simplicity, meeting with
the craft of the most perfidious amongst princes, they were ever
destined to wage. For two years, that is, until the middle of 1802, the
war, as managed by the Suliotes, rather resembles a romance, or some
legend of the acts of Paladins, than any grave chapter in modern
history. Amongst the earliest victims it is satisfactory to mention the
traitor, George Botzari, who, being in the power of the Pacha, was
absolutely compelled to march with about two hundred of his kinsmen,
whom he had seduced from Suli, against his own countrymen, under whose
avenging swords the majority of them fell, whilst the arch-traitor
himself soon died of grief and mortification. After this, Ali himself
led a great and well-appointed army in various lines of assault against
Suli. But so furious was the reception given to the Turks, so deadly
and so uniform their defeat, that panic seized on the whole army, who
declared unanimously to Ali that they would no more attempt to contend
with the Suliotes--"Who," said they, "neither sit nor sleep, but are
born only for the destruction of men." Ali was actually obliged to
submit to this strange resolution of his army; but, by way of
compromise, he built a chain of forts pretty nearly encircling Suli;
and simply exacted of his troops that, being forever released from the
dangers of the open field, they should henceforward shut themselves up
in these forts, and constitute themselves a permanent blockading force
for the purpose of bridling the marauding excursions of the Suliotes.
It was hoped that, from the close succession of these forts, the
Suliotes would find it impossible to slip between the cross fires of
the Turkish musketry; and that, being thus absolutely cut off from
their common resources of plunder, they must at length be reduced by
mere starvation. That termination of the contest was in fact repeatedly
within a trifle of being accomplished; the poor Suliotes were reduced
to a diet of acorns; and even of this food had so slender a quantity
that many died, and the rest wore the appearance of blackened
skeletons. All this misery, however, had no effect to abate one jot of
their zeal and their undying hatred to the perfidious enemy who was
bending every sinew to their destruction. It is melancholy to record
that such perfect heroes, from whom force the most disproportioned, nor
misery the most absolute, had ever wrung the slightest concession or
advantage, were at length entrapped by the craft of their enemy; and by
their own foolish confidence in the oaths of one who had never been
known to keep any engagement which he had a momentary interest in
breaking. Ali contrived first of all to trepan the matchless leader of
the Suliotes, Captain Foto Giavella, who was a hero after the most
exquisite model of ancient Greece, Epaminondas, or Timoleon, and whose
counsels were uniformly wise and honest. After that loss, all harmony
of plan went to wreck amongst the Suliotes; and at length, about the
middle of December, 1803, this immortal little independent state of
Suli solemnly renounced by treaty to Ali Pacha its sacred territory,
its thrice famous little towns, and those unconquerable positions among
the crests of wooded inaccessible mountains which had baffled all the
armies of the crescent, led by the most eminent of the Ottoman Pachas,
and not seldom amounting to twenty, twenty-five, and in one instance
even to more than thirty thousand men. The articles of a treaty, which
on one side there never was an intention of executing, are scarcely
worth repeating; the amount was--that the Suliotes had perfect liberty
to go whither they chose, retaining the whole of their arms and
property, and with a title to payment in cash for every sort of warlike
store which could not be carried off. In excuse for the poor Suliotes
in trusting to treaties of any kind with an enemy whom no oaths could
bind for an hour, it is but fair to mention that they were now
absolutely without supplies either of ammunition or provisions; and
that, for seven days, they had suffered under a total deprivation of
water, the sources of which were now in the hands of the enemy, and
turned into new channels. The winding up of the memorable tale is soon
told:--the main body of the fighting Suliotes, agreeably to the
treaty, immediately took the route to Parga, where they were sure of a
hospitable reception, that city having all along made common cause with
Suli against their common enemy, Ali. The son of Ali, who had concluded
the treaty, and who inherited all his father's treachery, as fast as
possible despatched four thousand Turks in pursuit, with orders to
massacre the whole. But in this instance, through the gallant
assistance of the Parghiotes, and the energetic haste of the Suliotes,
the accursed wretch was disappointed of his prey. As to all the other
detachments of the Suliotes, who were scattered at different points,
and were necessarily thrown everywhere upon their own resources without
warning or preparation of any kind,--they, by the terms of the treaty,
had liberty to go away or to reside peaceably in any part of Ali's
dominions. But as these were mere windy words, it being well understood
that Ali's fixed intention was to cut every throat among the Suliotes,
whether of man, woman, or child,--nay, as he thought himself dismally
ill-used by every hour's delay which interfered with the execution of
that purpose,--what rational plan awaited the choice of the poor
Suliotes, finding themselves in the centre of a whole hostile nation,
and their own slender divisions cut off from communication with each
other? What could people so circumstanced propose to themselves as a
suitable resolution for their situation? Hope there was none; sublime
despair was all that their case allowed; and, considering the
unrivalled splendors of their past history for more than one hundred
and sixty years, perhaps most readers would reply, in the famous words
of Corneille--_Qu'ils mourussent_. That was their own reply to the
question now so imperatively forced upon them; and die they all did. It
is an argument of some great original nobility in the minds of these
poor people, that none disgraced themselves by useless submissions, and
that all alike, women as well as men, devoted themselves in the "high
Roman fashion" to the now expiring cause of their country. The first
case which occurred exhibits the very perfection of _nonchalance_
in circumstances the most appalling. Samuel, a Suliote monk, of
somewhat mixed and capricious character, and at times even liable to
much suspicion amongst his countrymen, but of great name, and of
unquestionable merit in his military character, was in the act of
delivering over to authorized Turkish agents a small outpost, which had
greatly annoyed the forces of Ali, together with such military stores
as it still contained. By the treaty, Samuel was perfectly free, and
under the solemn protection of Ali; but the Turks, with the utter
shamelessness to which they had been brought by daily familiarity with
treachery the most barefaced, were openly descanting to Samuel upon the
unheard-of tortures which must be looked for at the hands of Ali, by a
soldier who had given so much trouble to that Pacha as himself. Samuel
listened coolly; he was then seated on a chest of gunpowder, and powder
was scattered about in all directions. He watched in a careless way
until he observed that all the Turks, exulting in their own damnable
perfidies, were assembled under the roof of the building. He then
coolly took the burning snuff of a candle, and threw it into a heap of
combustibles, still keeping his seat upon the chest of powder. It is
unnecessary to add that the little fort, and all whom it contained,
were blown to atoms. And with respect to Samuel in particular, no
fragment of his skeleton could ever be discovered. [Footnote: The
deposition of two Suliote sentinels at the door, and of a third person
who escaped with a dreadful scorching, sufficiently established the
facts; otherwise the whole would have been ascribed to the treachery of
Ali or his son.] After this followed as many separate tragedies as
there were separate parties of Suliotes; when all hope and all retreat
were clearly cut off, then the women led the great scene of self-
immolation, by throwing their children headlong from the summit of
precipices; which done, they and their husbands, their fathers and
their sons, hand in hand, ran up to the brink of the declivity, and
followed those whom they had sent before. In other situations, where
there was a possibility of fighting with effect, they made a long and
bloody resistance, until the Turkish cavalry, finding an opening for
their operations, made all further union impossible; upon which they
all plunged into the nearest river, without distinction of age or sex,
and were swallowed up by the merciful waters. Thus, in a few days, from
the signing of that treaty, which nominally secured to them peaceable
possession of their property, and paternal treatment from the
perfidious Pacha, none remained to claim his promises or to experience
his abominable cruelties. In their native mountains of Epirus, the name
of Suliote was now blotted from the books of life, and was heard no
more in those wild sylvan haunts, where once it had filled every echo
with the breath of panic to the quailing hearts of the Moslems. In the
most "palmy" days of Suli, she never had counted more than twenty-five
hundred fighting men; and of these no considerable body escaped,
excepting the corps who hastily fought their way to Parga. From that
city they gradually transported themselves to Corfu, then occupied by
the Russians. Into the service of the Russian Czar, as the sole means
left to a perishing corps of soldiers for earning daily bread, they
naturally entered; and when Corfu afterwards passed from Russian to
English masters, it was equally inevitable that for the same urgent
purposes they should enter the military service of England. In that
service they received the usual honorable treatment, and such attention
as circumstances would allow to their national habits and prejudices.
They were placed also, we believe, under the popular command of Sir R.
Church, who, though unfortunate as a supreme leader, made himself
beloved in a lower station by all the foreigners under his authority.
These Suliotes have since then returned to Epirus and to Greece, the
peace of 1815 having, perhaps, dissolved their connection with England,
and they were even persuaded to enter the service of their arch-enemy,
Ali Pacha. Since his death, their diminished numbers, and the altered
circumstances of their situation, should naturally have led to the
extinction of their political importance. Yet we find them in 1832
still attracting (or rather concentrating) the wrath of the Turkish
Sultan, made the object of a separate war, and valued (as in all former
cases) on the footing of a distinct and independent nation. On the
winding up of this war, we find part of them at least an object of
indulgent solicitude to the British government, and under their
protection transferred to Cephalonia. Yet again, others of their scanty
clan meet us at different points of the war in Greece; especially at
the first decisive action with Ibrahim, when, in the rescue of Costa
Botzaris, every Suliote of his blood perished on the spot; and again,
in the fatal battle of Athens (May 6, 1827), Mr. Gordon assures us that
"almost all the Suliotes were exterminated." We understand him to speak
not generally of the Suliotes, as of the total clan who bear that name,
but of those only who happened to be present at that dire catastrophe.
Still, even with this limitation, such a long succession of heavy
losses descending upon a people who never numbered above twenty-five
hundred fighting men, and who had passed through the furnace, seven
times heated, of Ali Pacha's wrath, and suffered those many and dismal
tragedies which we have just recorded, cannot but have brought them
latterly to the brink of utter extinction.







The winter of 1633 had set in with unusual severity throughout Suabia
and Bavaria, though as yet scarcely advanced beyond the first week of
November. It was, in fact, at the point when our tale commences, the
eighth of that month, or, in our modern computation, the eighteenth;
long after which date it had been customary of late years, under any
ordinary state of the weather, to extend the course of military
operations, and without much decline of vigor. Latterly, indeed, it had
become apparent that entire winter campaigns, without either formal
suspensions of hostilities, or even partial relaxations, had entered
professedly as a point of policy into the system of warfare which now
swept over Germany in full career, threatening soon to convert its vast
central provinces--so recently blooming Edens of peace and expanding
prosperity--into a howling wilderness; and which had already converted
immense tracts into one universal aceldama, or human shambles, reviving
to the recollection at every step the extent of past happiness in the
endless memorials of its destruction. This innovation upon the old
practice of war had been introduced by the Swedish armies, whose
northern habits and training had fortunately prepared them to receive a
German winter as a very beneficial exchange; whilst upon the less hardy
soldiers from Italy, Spain, and the Southern France, to whom the harsh
transition from their own sunny skies had made the very same climate a
severe trial of constitution, this change of policy pressed with a
hardship that sometimes [Footnote: Of which there is more than one
remarkable instance, to the great dishonor of the French arms, in the
records of _her_ share in the Thirty Years' War.] crippled their

It was a change, however, not so long settled as to resist the
extraordinary circumstances of the weather. So fierce had been the cold
for the last fortnight, and so premature, that a pretty confident
anticipation had arisen, in all quarters throughout the poor exhausted
land, of a general armistice. And as this, once established, would
offer a ready opening to some measure of permanent pacification, it
could not be surprising that the natural hopefulness of the human
heart, long oppressed by gloomy prospects, should open with unusual
readiness to the first colorable dawn of happier times. In fact, the
reaction in the public spirits was sudden and universal. It happened
also that the particular occasion of this change of prospect brought
with it a separate pleasure on its own account. Winter, which by its
peculiar severity had created the apparent necessity for an armistice,
brought many household pleasures in its train--associated immemorially
with that season in all northern climates. The cold, which had casually
opened a path to more distant hopes, was also for the present moment a
screen between themselves and the enemy's sword. And thus it happened
that the same season, which held out a not improbable picture of final
restoration, however remote, to public happiness, promised them a
certain foretaste of this blessing in the immediate security of their

But in the ancient city of Klosterheim it might have been imagined that
nobody participated in these feelings. A stir and agitation amongst the
citizens had been conspicuous for some days; and on the morning of the
eighth, spite of the intense cold, persons of every rank were seen
crowding from an early hour to the city walls, and returning homewards
at intervals, with anxious and dissatisfied looks. Groups of both sexes
were collected at every corner of the wider streets, keenly debating,
or angrily protesting; at one time denouncing vengeance to some great
enemy; at another, passionately lamenting some past or half-forgotten
calamity, recalled to their thoughts whilst anticipating a similar
catastrophe for the present day.

Above all, the great square, upon which the ancient castellated palace
or _schloss_ opened by one of its fronts, as well as a principal
convent of the city, was the resort of many turbulent spirits. Most of
these were young men, and amongst them many students of the university:
for the war, which had thinned or totally dispersed some of the
greatest universities in Germany, under the particular circumstances of
its situation, had greatly increased that of Klosterheim. Judging by
the tone which prevailed, and the random expressions which fell upon
the ear at intervals, a stranger might conjecture that it was no empty
lamentation over impending evils which occupied this crowd, but some
serious preparation for meeting or redressing them. An officer of some
distinction had been for some time observing them from the antique
portals of the palace. It was probable, however, that little more than
their gestures had reached him; for at length he moved nearer, and
gradually insinuated himself into the thickest part of the mob, with
the air of one who took no further concern in their proceedings than
that of simple curiosity. But his martial air and his dress allowed him
no means of covering his purpose. With more warning and leisure to
arrange his precautions, he might have passed as an indifferent
spectator; as it was, his jewel-hilted sabre, the massy gold chain,
depending in front from a costly button and loop which secured it half
way down his back, and his broad crimson scarf, embroidered in a style
of peculiar splendor, announced him as a favored officer of the
Landgrave, whose ambitious pretensions, and tyrannical mode of
supporting them, were just now the objects of general abhorrence in
Klosterheim. His own appearance did not belie the service which he had
adopted. He was a man of stout person, somewhat elegantly formed, in
age about three or four and thirty, though perhaps a year or two of his
apparent age might be charged upon the bronzing effects of sun and
wind. In bearing and carriage he announced to every eye the mixed
carelessness and self-possession of a military training; and as his
features were regular, and remarkably intelligent, he would have been
pronounced, on the whole, a man of winning exterior, were it not for
the repulsive effect of his eye, in which there was a sinister
expression of treachery, and at times a ferocious one of cruelty.

Placed upon their guard by his costume, and the severity of his
countenance, those of the lower rank were silent as he moved along, or
lowered their voices into whispers and inaudible murmurs. Amongst the
students, however, whenever they happened to muster strongly, were many
fiery young men, who disdained to temper the expression of their
feelings, or to moderate their tone. A large group of these at one
corner of the square drew attention upon themselves, as well by the
conspicuous station which they occupied upon the steps of a church
portico, as by the loudness of their voices. Towards them the officer
directed his steps; and probably no lover of _scenes_ would have
had very long to wait for some explosion between parties both equally
ready to take offence, and careless of giving it; but at that moment,
from an opposite angle of the square, was seen approaching a young man
in plain clothes, who drew off the universal regard of the mob upon
himself, and by the uproar of welcome which saluted him occasioned all
other sounds to be stifled. "Long life to our noble leader!"--"Welcome
to the good Max!" resounded through the square. "Hail to our noble
brother!" was the acclamation of the students. And everybody hastened
forward to meet him with an impetuosity which for the moment drew off
all attention from the officer: he was left standing by himself on the
steps of the church, looking down upon this scene of joyous welcome--
the sole spectator who neither fully understood its meaning, nor shared
in its feelings.

The stranger, who wore in part the antique costume of the university of
Klosterheim, except where he still retained underneath a travelling
dress, stained with recent marks of the roads and the weather, advanced
amongst his friends with an air at once frank, kind, and dignified. He
replied to their greetings in the language of cheerfulness; but his
features expressed anxiety, and his manner was hurried. Whether he had
not observed the officer overlooking them, or thought that the
importance of the communications which he had to make transcended all
common restraints of caution, there was little time to judge; so it
was, at any rate, that, without lowering his voice, he entered abruptly
upon his business.

"Friends! I have seen the accursed Holkerstein; I have penetrated
within his fortress. With my own eyes I have viewed and numbered his
vile assassins. They are in strength triple the utmost amount of our
friends. Without help from us, our kinsmen are lost. Scarce one of us
but will lose a dear friend before three nights are over, should
Klosterheim not resolutely do her duty."

"She shall, she shall!" exclaimed a multitude of voices.

"Then, friends, it must be speedily; never was there more call for
sudden resolution. Perhaps, before to-morrow's sun shall set, the sword
of this detested robber will be at their throats. For he has some
intelligence (whence I know not, nor how much) of their approach.
Neither think that Holkerstein is a man acquainted with any touch of
mercy or relenting. Where no ransom is to be had, he is in those
circumstances that he will and must deliver himself from the burden of
prisoners by a general massacre. Infants even will not be spared."

Many women had by this time flocked to the outer ring of the listening
audience. And, perhaps, for _their_ ears in particular it was that
the young stranger urged these last circumstances; adding,

"Will you look down tamely from your city walls upon such another
massacre of the innocents as we have once before witnessed?"

"Cursed be Holkerstein!" said a multitude of voices.

"And cursed be those that openly or secretly support him!" added one of
the students, looking earnestly at the officer.

"Amen!" said the officer, in a solemn tone, and looking round him with
the aspect of one who will not suppose himself to have been included in
the suspicion.

"And, friends, remember this," pursued the popular favorite; "whilst
you are discharging the first duties of Christians and brave men to
those who are now throwing themselves upon the hospitality of your
city, you will also be acquitting yourselves of a great debt to the

"Softly, young gentleman, softly," interrupted the officer; "his serene
highness, my liege lord and yours, governs here, and the emperor has no
part in our allegiance. For debts, what the city owes to the emperor
she will pay. But men and horses, I take it--"

"Are precisely the coin which the time demands; these will best please
the emperor, and, perhaps, will suit the circumstances of the city.
But, leaving the emperor's rights as a question for lawyers, you, sir,
are a soldier,--I question not, a brave one,--will you advise his
highness the Landgrave to look down from the castle windows upon a vile
marauder, stripping or murdering the innocent people who are throwing
themselves upon the hospitality of this ancient city?"

"Ay, sir, that will I, be you well assured--the Landgrave is my

"Since when? Since Thursday week, I think; for so long it is since your
_tertia_ [Footnote: An old Walloon designation for a battalion.]
first entered Klosterheim. But in that as you will, and if it be a
point of honor with you gentlemen Walloons to look on whilst women and
children are butchered. For such a purpose no man is _my_ sovereign;
and as to the Landgrave in particular--"

"Nor ours, nor ours!" shouted a tumult of voices, which drowned the
young student's words about the Landgrave, though apparently part of
them reached the officer. He looked round in quest of some military
comrades who might support him in the _voye du fait_, to which, at
this point, his passion prompted him. But, seeing none, he exclaimed,
"Citizens, press not this matter too far--and you, young man,
especially, forbear,--you tread upon the brink of treason!"

A shout of derision threw back his words.

"Of treason, I say," he repeated, furiously; "and such wild behavior it
is (and I say it with pain) that perhaps even now is driving his
highness to place your city under martial law."

"Martial law! did you hear that?" ran along from mouth to mouth.

"Martial law, gentlemen, I say; how will you relish the little articles
of that code? The provost marshal makes short leave-takings. Two fathom
of rope, and any of these pleasant old balconies which I see around me
(pointing, as he spoke, to the antique galleries of wood which ran
round the middle stories in the Convent of St. Peter), with a
confessor, or none, as the provost's breakfast may chance to allow,
have cut short, to my knowledge, the freaks of many a better fellow
than any I now see before me."

Saying this, he bowed with a mock solemnity all round to the crowd,
which, by this time, had increased in number and violence. Those who
were in the outermost circles, and beyond the distinct hearing of what
he said, had been discussing with heat the alarming confirmation of
their fears in respect to Holkerstein, or listening to the impassioned
narrative of a woman, who had already seen one of her sons butchered by
this ruffian's people under the walls of the city, and was now
anticipating the same fate for her last surviving son and daughter, in
case they should happen to be amongst the party now expected from
Vienna. She had just recited the tragical circumstances of her son's
death, and had worked powerfully upon the sympathizing passions of the
crowd, when, suddenly, at a moment so unseasonable for the officer,
some imperfect repetition of his words about the provost martial and
the rope passed rapidly from mouth to mouth. It was said that he had
threatened every man with instant death at the drum-head, who should
but speculate on assisting his friends outside, under the heaviest
extremities of danger or of outrage. The sarcastic bow and the inflamed
countenance of the officer were seen by glimpses further than his words
extended. Kindling eyes and lifted arms of many amongst the mob, and
chiefly of those on the outside, who had heard his words the most
imperfectly, proclaimed to such as knew Klosterheim and its temper at
this moment the danger in which he stood. Maximilian, the young
student, generously forgot his indignation in concern for his immediate
safety. Seizing him by the hand, he exclaimed,

"Sir, but a moment ago you warned me that I stood on the brink of
treason: look to your own safety at present; for the eyes of some whom
I see yonder are dangerous."

"Young gentleman," the other replied, contemptuously, "I presume that
you are a student; let me counsel you to go back to your books. There
you will be in your element. For myself, I am familiar with faces as
angry as these--and hands something more formidable. Believe me, I see
nobody here," and he affected to speak with imperturbable coolness, but
his voice became tremulous with passion, "whom I can even esteem worthy
of a soldier's consideration."

"And yet, Colonel von Aremberg, there is at least one man here who has
had the honor of commanding men as elevated as yourself." Saying which,
he hastily drew from his bosom, where it hung suspended from his neck,
a large flat tablet of remarkably beautiful onyx, on one side of which
was sculptured a very striking face; but on the other, which he
presented to the gaze of the colonel, was a fine representation of an
eagle grovelling on the dust, and beginning to expand its wings--with
the single word _Resurgam_ by way of motto.

Never was revulsion of feeling so rapidly expressed on any man's
countenance. The colonel looked but once; he caught the image of the
bird trailing its pinions in the dust, he heard the word
_Resurgam_ audibly pronounced; his color fled, his lips grew livid
with passion; and, furiously unsheathing his sword, he sprung, with
headlong forgetfulness of time and place, upon his calm antagonist.
With the advantage of perfect self-possession, Maximilian found it easy
to parry the tempestuous blows of the colonel; and he would, perhaps,
have found it easy to disarm him. But at this moment the crowd, who had
been with great difficulty repressed by the more thoughtful amongst the
students, burst through all restraints. In the violent outrage offered
to their champion and leader, they saw naturally a full confirmation of
the worst impressions they had received as to the colonel's temper and
intention. A number of them rushed forward to execute a summary
vengeance; and the foremost amongst these, a mechanic of Klosterheim,
distinguished for his herculean strength, with one blow stretched Von
Aremberg on the ground. A savage yell announced the dreadful fate which
impended over the fallen officer. And, spite of the generous exertions
made for his protection by Maximilian and his brother students, it is
probable that at that moment no human interposition could have availed
to turn aside the awakened appetite for vengeance, and that he must
have perished, but for the accident which at that particular instant of
time occurred to draw off the attention of the mob.

A signal gun from a watch-tower, which always in those unhappy times
announced the approach of strangers, had been fired about ten minutes
before; but, in the turbulent uproar of the crowd, it had passed
unnoticed. Hence it was, that, without previous warning to the mob
assembled at this point, a mounted courier now sprung into the square
at full gallop on his road to the palace, and was suddenly pulled up by
the dense masses of human beings.

"News, news!" exclaimed Maximilian; "tidings of our dear friends from
Vienna! "This he said with the generous purpose of diverting the
infuriated mob from the unfortunate Von Aremberg, though himself
apprehending that the courier had arrived from another quarter. His
plan succeeded: the mob rushed after the horseman, all but two or three
of the most sanguinary, who, being now separated from all assistance,
were easily drawn off from their prey. The opportunity was eagerly used
to carry off the colonel, stunned and bleeding, within the gates of a
Franciscan convent. He was consigned to the medical care of the holy
fathers; and Maximilian, with his companions, then hurried away to the
chancery of the palace, whither the courier had proceeded with his

These were interesting in the highest degree. It had been doubted by
many, and by others a pretended doubt had been raised to serve the
Landgrave's purpose, whether the great cavalcade from Vienna would be
likely to reach the entrance of the forest for a week or more. Certain
news had now arrived, and was published before it could be stifled,
that they and all their baggage, after a prosperous journey so far,
would be assembled at that point on this very evening. The courier had
left the advanced guard about noonday, with an escort of four hundred
of the Black Yagers from the Imperial Guard, and two hundred of
Papenheim's Dragoons, at Waldenhausen, on the very brink of the forest.
The main body and rear were expected to reach the same point in four or
five hours; and the whole party would then fortify their encampment as
much as possible against the night attack which they had too much
reason to apprehend.

This was news which, in bringing a respite of forty-eight hours,
brought relief to some who had feared that even this very night might
present them with the spectacle of their beloved friends engaged in a
bloody struggle at the very gates of Klosterheim; for it was the fixed
resolution of the Landgrave to suffer no diminution of his own military
strength, or of the means for recruiting it hereafter. Men, horses,
arms, all alike were rigorously laid under embargo by the existing
government of the city; and such was the military power at its
disposal, reckoning not merely the numerical strength in troops, but
also the power of sweeping the main streets of the town, and several of
the principal roads outside, that it was become a matter of serious
doubt whether the unanimous insurrection of the populace had a chance
for making head against the government. But others found not even a
momentary comfort in this account. They considered that, perhaps,
Waldenhausen might be the very ground selected for the murderous
attack. There was here a solitary post-house, but no town, or even
village. The forest at this point was just thirty-four miles broad; and
if the bloodiest butchery should be going on under cover of night, no
rumor of it could be borne across the forest in time to alarm the many
anxious friends who would this night be lying awake in Klosterheim.

A slight circumstance served to barb and point the public distress,
which otherwise seemed previously to have reached its utmost height.
The courier had brought a large budget of letters to private
individuals throughout Klosterheim; many of these were written by
children unacquainted with the dreadful catastrophe which threatened
them. Most of them had been long separated, by the fury of the war,
from their parents. They had assembled, from many different quarters,
at Vienna, in order to join what might be called, in Oriental phrase,
_the caravan_. Their parents had also, in many instances, from
places equally dispersed, assembled at Klosterheim; and, after great
revolutions of fortune, they were now going once more to rejoin each
other. Their letters expressed the feelings of hope and affectionate
pleasure suitable to the occasion. They retraced the perils they had
passed during the twenty-six days of their journey,--the great towns,
heaths, and forests, they had traversed since leaving the gates of
Vienna; and expressed, in the innocent terms of childhood, the pleasure
they felt in having come within two stages of the gates of Klosterheim.
"In the forest," said they, "there will be no more dangers to pass; no
soldiers; nothing worse than wild deer."

Letters written in these terms, contrasted with the mournful realities
of the case, sharpened the anguish of fear and suspense throughout the
whole city; and Maximilian with his friends, unable to bear the loud
expression of the public feelings, separated themselves from the
tumultuous crowds, and adjourning to the seclusion of their college
rooms, determined to consult, whilst it was yet not too late, whether,
in their hopeless situation for openly resisting the Landgrave without
causing as much slaughter as they sought to prevent, it might not yet
be possible for them to do something in the way of resistance to the
bloody purposes of Holkerstein.


The travelling party, for whom much anxiety was felt in Klosterheim,
had this evening reached Waldenhausen without loss or any violent
alarm; and, indeed, considering the length of their journey, and the
distracted state of the empire, they had hitherto travelled in
remarkable security. It was now nearly a month since they had taken
their departure from Vienna, at which point considerable numbers had
assembled from the adjacent country to take the benefit of their
convoy. Some of these they had dropped at different turns in their
route, but many more had joined them as they advanced; for in every
considerable city they found large accumulations of strangers, driven
in for momentary shelter from the storm of war as it spread over one
district after another; and many of these were eager to try the chances
of a change, or, upon more considerate grounds, preferred the
protection of a place situated like Klosterheim, in a nook as yet
unvisited by the scourge of military execution. Hence it happened, that
from a party of seven hundred and fifty, with an escort of four hundred
yagers, which was the amount of their numbers on passing through the
gates of Vienna, they had gradually swelled into a train of sixteen
hundred, including two companies of dragoons, who had joined them by
the emperor's orders at one of the fortified posts.

It was felt, as a circumstance of noticeable singularity, by most of
the party, that, after traversing a large part of Germany without
encountering any very imminent peril, they should be first summoned to
unusual vigilance, and all the most jealous precautions of fear, at the
very termination of their journey. In all parts of their route they had
met with columns of troops pursuing their march, and now and then with
roving bands of deserters, who were formidable to the unprotected
traveller. Some they had overawed by their display of military
strength; from others, in the imperial service, they had received
cheerful assistance; and any Swedish corps, which rumor had presented
as formidable by their numbers, they had, with some exertion of
forethought and contrivance, constantly evaded, either by a little
detour, or by a temporary halt in some place of strength. But now it
was universally known that they were probably waylaid by a desperate
and remorseless freebooter, who, as he put his own trust exclusively in
the sword, allowed nobody to hope for any other shape of deliverance.

Holkerstein, the military robber, was one of the many monstrous growths
which had arisen upon the ruins of social order in this long and
unhappy war. Drawing to himself all the malcontents of his own
neighborhood, and as many deserters from the regular armies in the
centre of Germany as he could tempt to his service by the license of
unlimited pillage, he had rapidly created a respectable force; had
possessed himself of various castles in Wirtemberg, within fifty or
sixty miles of Klosterheim; had attacked and defeated many parties of
regular troops sent out to reduce him; and, by great activity and local
knowledge, had raised himself to so much consideration, that the terror
of his name had spread even to Vienna, and the escort of yagers had
been granted by the imperial government as much on his account as for
any more general reason. A lady, who was in some way related to the
emperor's family, and, by those who were in the secret, was reputed to
be the emperor's natural daughter, accompanied the travelling party,
with a suite of female attendants. To this lady, who was known by the
name of the Countess Paulina, the rest of the company held themselves
indebted for their escort; and hence, as much as for her rank, she was
treated with ceremonious respect throughout the journey.

The Lady Paulina travelled with, her suite in coaches, drawn by the
most powerful artillery horses that could be furnished at the various
military posts. [Footnote: Coaches were common in Germany at this time
amongst people of rank. At the reinstatement of the Dukes of
Mecklenburg, by Gustavus Adolphus, though without much notice, more
than four-score of coaches were assembled.] On this day she had been in
the rear; and having been delayed by an accident, she was waited for
with some impatience by the rest of the party, the latest of whom had
reached Waldenhausen early in the afternoon. It was sunset before her
train of coaches arrived; and, as the danger from Holkerstein commenced
about this point, they were immediately applied to the purpose of
strengthening their encampment against a night attack, by chaining
them, together with all the baggage-carts, in a triple line, across the
different avenues which seemed most exposed to a charge of cavalry.
Many other preparations were made; the yagers and dragoons made
arrangements for mounting with ease on the first alarm; strong outposts
were established; sentinels posted all round the encampment, who were
duly relieved every hour, in consideration of the extreme cold; and,
upon the whole, as many veteran officers were amongst them, the great
body of the travellers were now able to apply themselves to the task of
preparing their evening refreshments with some degree of comfort; for
the elder part of the company saw that every precaution had been taken,
and the younger were not aware of any extraordinary danger.

Waldenhausen had formerly been a considerable village. At present there
was no more than one house, surrounded, however, by such a large
establishment of barns, stables, and other outhouses, that, at a little
distance, it wore the appearance of a tolerable hamlet. Most of the
outhouses, in their upper stories, were filled with hay or straw; and
there the women and children prepared their couches for the night, as
the warmest resorts in so severe a season. The house was furnished in
the plainest style of a farmer's; but in other respects it was of a
superior order, being roomy and extensive. The best apartment had been
reserved for the Lady Paulina and her attendants; one for the officers
of most distinction in the escort or amongst the travellers; the rest
had been left to the use of the travellers indiscriminately.

In passing through the hall of entrance, Paulina had noticed a man of
striking and _farouche_ appearance,--hair black and matted, eyes
keen and wild, and beaming with malicious cunning, who surveyed her as
she passed with a mixed look of insolence and curiosity, that
involuntarily made her shrink. He had been half reclining carelessly
against the wall, when she first entered, but rose upright with a
sudden motion as she passed him--not probably from any sentiment of
respect, but under the first powerful impression of surprise on seeing
a young woman of peculiarly splendid figure and impressive beauty,
under circumstances so little according with what might be supposed her
natural pretensions. The dignity of her deportment, and the numbers of
her attendants, sufficiently proclaimed the luxurious accommodations
which her habits might have taught her to expect; and she was now
entering a dwelling which of late years had received few strangers of
her sex, and probably none but those of the lowest rank.

"Know your distance, fellow!" exclaimed one of the waiting-women,
angrily, noticing his rude gaze and the effect upon her mistress.

"Good faith, madam, I would that the distance between us were more; it
was no prayers of mine, I promise you, that brought upon me a troop of
horses to Waldenhausen, enough in one twelve hours to eat me out a
margrave's ransom. Light thanks I reckon on from yagers; and the
payments of dragoons will pass current for as little in the forest, as
a lady's frown in Waldenhausen."

"Churl!" said an officer of dragoons, "how know you that our payments
are light? The emperor takes nothing without payment; surely not from
such as you. But _à propos_ of ransoms, what now might be Holkerstein's
ransom for a farmer's barns stuffed with a three years' crop?"

"How mean you by that, captain? The crop's my own, and never was in
worse hands than my own. God send it no worse luck to-day!"

"Come, come, sir, you understand me better than that; nothing at
Waldenhausen, I take it, is yours or any man's, unless by license from
Holkerstein. And when I see so many goodly barns and garners, with
their jolly charges of hay and corn, that would feed one of
Holkerstein's garrisons through two sieges, I know what to think of him
who has saved them scot-free. He that serves a robber must do it on a
robber's terms. To such bargains there goes but one word, and that is
the robber's. But, come, man, I am not thy judge. Only I would have my
soldiers on their guard at one of Holkerstein's outposts. And thee,
farmer, I would have to remember that an emperor's grace may yet stand
thee instead, when a robber is past helping thee to a rope."

The soldiers laughed, but took their officer's hint to watch the
motions of a man, whose immunity from spoil, in circumstances so
tempting to a military robber's cupidity, certainly argued some
collusion with Holkerstein.

The Lady Paulina had passed on during this dialogue into an inner room,
hoping to have found the quiet and the warmth which were now become so
needful to her repose. But the antique stove was too much out of repair
to be used with benefit; the wood-work was decayed, and admitted
currents of cold air; and, above all, from the slightness of the
partitions, the noise and tumult in a house occupied by soldiers and
travellers proved so incessant, that, after taking refreshments with
her attendants, she resolved to adjourn for the night to her coach;
which afforded much superior resources, both in warmth and in freedom
from noise.

The carriage of the countess was one of those which had been posted at
an angle of the encampment, and on that side terminated the line of
defences; for a deep mass of wood, which commenced where the carriages
ceased, seemed to present a natural protection on that side against the
approach of cavalry; in reality, from the quantity of tangled roots,
and the inequalities of the ground, it appeared difficult for a single
horseman to advance even a few yards without falling. And upon this
side it had been judged sufficient to post a single sentinel.

Assured by the many precautions adopted, and by the cheerful language
of the officer on guard, who attended her to the carriage door,
Paulina, with one attendant, took her seat in the coach, where she had
the means of fencing herself sufficiently from the cold by the weighty
robes of minever and ermine which her ample wardrobe afforded; and the
large dimensions of the coach enabled her to turn it to the use of a
sofa or couch.

Youth and health sleep well; and with all the means and appliances of
the Lady Paulina, wearied besides as she had been with the fatigue of a
day's march, performed over roads almost impassable from roughness,
there was little reason to think that she would miss the benefit of her
natural advantages. Yet sleep failed to come, or came only by fugitive
snatches, which presented her with tumultuous dreams,--sometimes of the
emperor's court in Vienna, sometimes of the vast succession of troubled
scenes and fierce faces that had passed before her since she had
quitted that city. At one moment she beheld the travelling equipages
and far-stretching array of her own party, with their military escort
filing off by torchlight under the gateway of ancient cities; at
another, the ruined villages, with their dismantled cottages,--doors
and windows torn off, walls scorched with fire, and a few gaunt dogs,
with a wolf-like ferocity in their bloodshot eyes, prowling about the
ruins,--objects that had really so often afflicted her heart. Waking
from those distressing spectacles, she would fall into a fitful doze,
which presented her with remembrances still more alarming: bands of
fierce deserters, that eyed her travelling party with a savage rapacity
which did not confess any powerful sense of inferiority; and in the
very fields which they had once cultivated, now silent and tranquil
from utter desolation, the mouldering bodies of the unoffending
peasants, left un-honored with the rites of sepulture, in many places
from the mere extermination of the whole rural population of their
neighborhood. To these succeeded a wild chaos of figures, in which the
dress and tawny features of Bohemian gypsies conspicuously prevailed,
just as she had seen them of late making war on all parties alike; and,
in the person of their leader, her fancy suddenly restored to her a
vivid resemblance of their suspicious host at their present quarters,
and of the malicious gaze with which he had disconcerted her.

A sudden movement of the carriage awakened her, and, by the light of a
lamp suspended from a projecting bough of a tree, she beheld, on
looking out, the sallow countenance of the very man whose image had so
recently infested her dreams. The light being considerably nearer to
him than to herself, she could see without being distinctly seen; and,
having already heard the very strong presumptions against this man's
honesty which had been urged by the officer, and without reply from the
suspected party, she now determined to watch him.


The night was pitch dark, and Paulina felt a momentary terror creep
over her as she looked into the massy blackness of the dark alleys
which ran up into the woods, forced into deeper shade under the glare
of the lamps from the encampment. She now reflected with some alarm
that the forest commenced at this point, stretching away (as she had
been told) in some directions upwards of fifty miles; and that, if the
post occupied by their encampment should be inaccessible on this side
to cavalry, it might, however, happen that persons with the worst
designs could easily penetrate on foot from the concealments of the
forest; in which case she herself, and the splendid booty of her
carriage, might be the first and easiest prey. Even at this moment, the
very worst of those atrocious wretches whom the times had produced
might be lurking in concealment, with their eyes fastened upon the weak
or exposed parts of the encampment, and waiting until midnight should
have buried the majority of their wearied party into the profoundest
repose, in order then to make a combined and murderous attack. Under
the advantages of sudden surprise and darkness, together with the
knowledge which they would not fail to possess of every road and by-
path in the woods, it could scarcely be doubted that they might strike
a very effectual blow at the Vienna caravan, which had else so nearly
completed their journey without loss or memorable privations;--and the
knowledge which Holkerstein possessed of the short limits within which
his opportunities were now circumscribed would doubtless prompt him to
some bold and energetic effort.

Thoughts unwelcome as these Paulina found leisure to pursue; for the
ruffian landlord had disappeared almost at the same moment when she
first caught a glimpse of him. In the deep silence which succeeded, she
could not wean herself from the painful fascination of imagining the
very worst possibilities to which their present situation was liable.
She imaged to herself the horrors of a _camisade_, as she had
often heard it described; she saw, in apprehension, the savage band of
confederate butchers, issuing from the profound solitudes of the
forest, in white shirts drawn over their armor; she seemed to read the
murderous features, lighted up by the gleam of lamps--the stealthy
step, and the sudden gleam of sabres; then the yell of assault, the
scream of agony, the camp floating with blood; the fury, the vengeance,
the pursuit;--all these circumstances of scenes at that time too
familiar to Germany passed rapidly before her mind.

But after some time, as the tranquillity continued, her nervous
irritation gave way to less agitating but profound sensibilities.
Whither was her lover withdrawn from her knowledge? and why? and for
how long a time? What an age it seemed since she had last seen him at
Vienna! That the service upon which he was employed would prove
honorable, she felt assured. But was it dangerous? Alas! in Germany
there was none otherwise. Would it soon restore him to her society? And
why had he been of late so unaccountably silent? Or again, _had_
he been silent? Perhaps his letters had been intercepted,--nothing, in
fact, was more common at that time. The rarity was, if by any accident
a letter reached its destination. From one of the worst solicitudes
incident to such a situation Paulina was, however, delivered by her own
nobility of mind, which raised her above the meanness of jealousy.
Whatsoever might have happened, or into whatever situations her lover
might have been thrown, she felt no fear that the fidelity of his
attachment could have wandered or faltered for a moment; that worst of
pangs the Lady Paulina was raised above, equally by her just confidence
in herself and in her lover. But yet, though faithful to her, might he
not be ill? Might he not be languishing in some one of the many
distresses incident to war? Might he not even have perished?

That fear threw her back upon the calamities and horrors of war; and
insensibly her thoughts wandered round to the point from which they had
started, of her own immediate situation. Again she searched with
penetrating eyes the black avenues of the wood, as they lay forced
almost into strong relief and palpable substance by the glare of the
lamps. Again she fancied to herself the murderous hearts and glaring
eyes which even now might be shrouded by the silent masses of forest
which stretched before her,--when suddenly a single light shot its rays
from what appeared to be a considerable distance in one of the avenues.
Paulina's heart beat fast at this alarming spectacle. Immediately
after, the light was shaded, or in some way disappeared. But this gave
the more reason for terror. It was now clear that human beings were
moving in the woods. No public road lay in that direction; nor, in so
unpopulous a region, could it be imagined that travellers were likely
at that time to be abroad. From their own encampment nobody could have
any motive for straying to a distance on so severe a night, and at a
time when he would reasonably draw upon himself the danger of being
shot by the night-guard.

This last consideration reminded Paulina suddenly, as of a very
singular circumstance, that the appearance of the light had been
followed by no challenge from the sentinel. And then first she
remembered that for some time she had ceased to hear the sentinel's
step, or the rattle of his bandoleers. Hastily looking along the path,
she discovered too certainly that the single sentinel posted on that
side of their encampment was absent from his station. It might have
been supposed that he had fallen asleep from the severity of the cold;
but in that case the lantern which he carried attached to his breast
would have continued to burn; whereas all traces of light had vanished
from the path which he perambulated. The error was now apparent to
Paulina, both in having appointed no more than one sentinel to this
quarter, and also in the selection of his beat. There had been frequent
instances throughout this war in which by means of a net, such as that
carried by the Roman _retiarius_ in the contests of the gladiators,
and dexterously applied by two persons from behind, a sentinel
had been suddenly muffled, gagged, and carried off, without much
difficulty. For such a purpose it was clear that the present
sentinel's range, lying by the margin of a wood from which his minutest
movements could be watched at leisure by those who lay in utter
darkness themselves, afforded every possible facility. Paulina scarcely
doubted that he had been indeed carried off, in some such way, and not
impossibly almost whilst she was looking on.

She would now have called aloud, and have alarmed the camp; but at the
very moment when she let down the glass the savage landlord reappeared,
and, menacing her with a pistol, awed her into silence. He bore upon
his head a moderate-sized trunk, or portmanteau, which appeared, by the
imperfect light, to be that in which some despatches had been lodged
from the imperial government to different persons in Klosterheim. This
had been cut from one of the carriages in her suite; and her anxiety
was great on recollecting that, from some words of the emperor's, she
had reason to believe one, at least, of the letters which it conveyed
to be in some important degree connected with the interests of her
lover. Satisfied, however, that he would not find it possible to
abscond with so burdensome an article in any direction that could save
him from instant pursuit and arrest, she continued to watch for the
moment when she might safely raise the alarm. But great was her
consternation when she saw a dark figure steal from a thicket, receive
the trunk from the other, and instantly retreat into the deepest
recesses of the forest.

Her fears now gave way to the imminence of so important a loss; and she
endeavored hastily to open the window of the opposite door. But this
had been so effectually barricaded against the cold, that she failed in
her purpose, and, immediately turning back to the other side, she
called, loudly,--"Guard! guard!" The press of carriages, however, at
this point, so far deadened her voice, that it was some time before the
alarm reached the other side of the encampment distinctly enough to
direct their motions to her summons. Half a dozen yagers and an officer
at length presented themselves; but the landlord had disappeared, she
knew not in what direction. Upon explaining the circumstances of the
robbery, however, the officer caused his men to light a number of
torches, and advance into the wood. But the ground was so impracticable
in most places, from tangled roots and gnarled stumps of trees, that it
was with difficulty they could keep their footing. They were also
embarrassed by the crossing shadows From the innumerable boughs above
them; and a situation of greater perplexity for effective pursuit it
was scarcely possible to imagine. Everywhere they saw alleys, arched
high overhead, and resembling the aisles of a cathedral, as much in
form as in the perfect darkness which reigned in both at this solemn
hour of midnight, stretching away apparently without end, but more and
more obscure, until impenetrable blackness terminated the long vista.
Now and then a dusky figure was seen to cross at some distance; but
these were probably deer; and when loudly challenged by the yagers, no
sound replied but the vast echoes of the forest. Between these
interminable alleys, which radiated as from a centre at this point,
there were generally thickets interposed. Sometimes the wood was more
open, and clear of all undergrowth--shrubs, thorns, or brambles--for a
considerable distance, so that a single file of horsemen might have
penetrated for perhaps half a mile; but belts of thicket continually
checked their progress, and obliged them to seek their way back to some
one of the long vistas which traversed the woods between the frontiers
of Suabia and Bavaria.

In this perplexity of paths, the officer halted his party to consider
of his further course. At this moment one of the yagers protested that
he had seen a man's hat and face rise above a thicket of bushes,
apparently not more than a hundred and fifty yards from their own
position. Upon that the party were ordered to advance a little, and to
throw in a volley, as nearly as could be judged, into the very spot
pointed out by the soldier. It seemed that he had not been mistaken;
for a loud laugh of derision rose immediately a little to the left of
the bushes. The laughter swelled upon the silence of the night, and in
the next moment was taken up by another on the right, which again was
echoed by a third on the rear. Peal after peal of tumultuous and
scornful laughter resounded from the remoter solitudes of the forest;
and the officer stood aghast to hear this proclamation of defiance from
a multitude of enemies, where he had anticipated no more than the very
party engaged in the robbery.

To advance in pursuit seemed now both useless and dangerous. The
laughter had probably been designed expressly to distract his choice of
road at a time when the darkness and intricacies of the ground had
already made it sufficiently indeterminate. In which direction, out of
so many whence he had heard the sounds, a pursuit could be instituted
with any chance of being effectual, seemed now as hopeless a subject of
deliberation as it was possible to imagine. Still, as he had been made
aware of the great importance attached to the trunk, which might very
probably contain despatches interesting to the welfare of Klosterheim,
and the whole surrounding territory, he felt grieved to retire without
some further attempt for its recovery. And he stood for a few moments
irresolutely debating with himself, or listening to the opinions of his

His irresolution was very abruptly terminated. All at once, upon the
main road from Klosterheim, at an angle about half a mile ahead where
it first wheeled into sight from Waldenhausen, a heavy thundering trot
was heard ringing from the frozen road, as of a regular body of cavalry
advancing rapidly upon their encampment. There was no time to be lost;
the officer instantly withdrew his yagers from the wood, posted a
strong guard at the wood side, sounded the alarm throughout the camp,
agreeably to the system of signals previously concerted, mounted about
thirty men, whose horses and themselves were kept in perfect equipment
during each of the night-watches, and then advancing to the head of the
barriers, prepared to receive the party of strangers in whatever
character they should happen to present themselves.

All this had been done with so much promptitude and decision, that, on
reaching the barriers, the officer found the strangers not yet come up.
In fact, they had halted at a strong outpost about a quarter of a mile
in advance of Waldenhausen; and though one or two patrollers came
dropping in from by-roads on the forest-heath, who reported them as
enemies, from the indistinct view they had caught of their equipments,
it had already become doubtful from their movements whether they would
really prove so.

Two of their party were now descried upon the road, and nearly close up
with the gates of Waldenhausen; they were accompanied by several of the
guard from the outpost; and, immediately on being hailed, they
exclaimed, "Friends, and from Klosterheim!"

He who spoke was a young cavalier, magnificent alike in his person,
dress, and style of his appointments. He was superbly mounted, wore the
decorations of a major-general in the imperial service, and scarcely
needed the explanations which he gave to exonerate himself from the
suspicion of being a leader of robbers under Holkerstein. Fortunately
enough, also, at a period when officers of the most distinguished merit
were too often unfaithful to their engagements, or passed with so much
levity from service to service as to justify an indiscriminate jealousy
of all who were not in the public eye, it happened that the officer of
the watch, formerly, when mounting guard at the imperial palace, had
been familiar with the personal appearance of the cavalier, and could
speak of his own knowledge to the favor which he had enjoyed at the
emperor's court. After short explanations, therefore, he was admitted,
and thankfully welcomed in the camp; and the officer of the guard
departed to receive with honor the generous volunteers at the outpost.

Meantime, the alarm, which was general throughout the camp, had
assembled all the women to one quarter, where a circle of carriages had
been formed for their protection. In their centre, distinguished by her
height and beauty, stood the Lady Paulina, dispensing assistance from
her wardrobe to any who were suffering from cold under this sudden
summons to night air, and animating others, who were more than usually
depressed, by the aids of consolation and of cheerful prospects. She
had just turned her face away from the passage by which this little
sanctuary communicated with the rest of the camp, and was in the act of
giving directions to one of her attendants, when suddenly a well-known
voice fell upon her ear. It was the voice of the stranger cavalier,
whose natural gallantry had prompted him immediately to relieve the
alarm, which, unavoidably, he had himself created; in a few words, he
was explaining to the assembled females of the camp in what character,
and with how many companions, he had come. But a shriek from Paulina
interrupted him. Involuntarily she held out her open arms, and
involuntarily she exclaimed, "Dearest Maximilian!" On his part, the
young cavalier, for a moment or two at first, was almost deprived of
speech by astonishment and excess of pleasure. Bounding forward, hardly
conscious of those who surrounded them, with a rapture of faithful love
he caught the noble young beauty into his arms,--a movement to which,
in the frank innocence of her heart, she made no resistance; folded her
to his bosom, and impressed a fervent kiss upon her lips; whilst the
only words that came to his own were, "Beloved Paulina! 0, most beloved
lady! what chance has brought you hither?"


In those days of tragical confusion, and of sudden catastrophe, alike
for better or for worse,--when the rendings asunder of domestic
charities were often without an hour's warning, when reunions were as
dramatic and as unexpected as any which are exhibited on the stage, and
too often separations were eternal,--the circumstances of the times
concurred with the spirit of manners to sanction a tone of frank
expression to the stronger passions, which the reserve of modern habits
would not entirely license. And hence, not less than from the noble
ingenuousness of their natures, the martial young cavalier, and the
superb young beauty of the imperial house, on recovering themselves
from their first transports, found no motives to any feeling of false
shame, either in their own consciousness, or in the reproving looks of
any who stood around them. On the contrary, as the grown-up spectators
were almost exclusively female, to whom the evidences of faithful love
are never other than a serious subject, or naturally associated with
the ludicrous, many of them expressed their sympathy with the scene
before them by tears, and all of them in some way or other. Even in
this age of more fastidious manners, it is probable that the tender
interchanges of affection between a young couple rejoining each other
after deep calamities, and standing on the brink of fresh, perhaps
endless separations, would meet with something of the same indulgence
from the least interested witnesses.

Hence the news was diffused through the camp with general satisfaction,
that a noble and accomplished cavalier, the favored lover of their
beloved young mistress, had joined them from Klosterheim, with a chosen
band of volunteers, upon whose fidelity in action they might entirely
depend. Some vague account floated about, at the same time, of the
marauding attack upon the Lady Paulina's carriage. But naturally
enough, from the confusion and hurry incident to a nocturnal
disturbance, the circumstances were mixed up with the arrival of
Maximilian, in a way which ascribed to him the merit of having repelled
an attack, which might else have proved fatal to the lady of his heart.
And this romantic interposition of Providence on a young lady's behalf,
through the agency of her lover, unexpected on her part, and
unconscious on his, proved so equally gratifying to the passion for the
marvellous and the interest in youthful love, that no other or truer
version of the case could ever obtain a popular acceptance in the camp,
or afterwards in Klosterheim. And had it been the express purpose of
Maximilian to found a belief, for his own future benefit, of a
providential sanction vouchsafed to his connection with the Lady
Paulina, he could not, by the best-arranged contrivances, have more
fully attained that end.

It was yet short of midnight by more than an hour; and therefore, on
the suggestion of Maximilian, who reported the roads across the forest
perfectly quiet, and alleged some arguments for quieting the general
apprehension for this night, the travellers and troops retired to rest,
as the best means of preparing them to face the trials of the two next
days. It was judged requisite, however, to strengthen the night-guard
very considerably, and to relieve it at least every two hours. That the
poor sentinel on the forest side of the encampment had been in some
mysterious way trepanned upon his post, was now too clearly
ascertained, for he was missing; and the character of the man, no less
than the absence of all intelligible temptation to such an act, forbade
the suspicion of his having deserted. On this quarter, therefore, a
file of select marksmen were stationed, with directions instantly to
pick off every moving figure that showed itself within their range. Of
these men Maximilian himself took the command; and by this means he
obtained the opportunity, so enviable to one long separated from his
mistress, of occasionally conversing with her, and of watching over her
safety. In one point he showed a distinguished control over his
inclinations; for, much as he had to tell her, and ardently as he
longed for communicating with her on various subjects of common
interest, he would not suffer her to keep the window down for more than
a minute or two in so dreadful a state of the atmosphere. She, on her
part, exacted a promise from him that he would leave his station at
three o'clock in the morning. Meantime, as on the one hand she felt
touched by this proof of her lover's solicitude for her safety, so, on
the other, she was less anxious on his account, from the knowledge she
had of his long habituation to the hardships of a camp, with which,
indeed, he had been familiar from his childish days. Thus debarred from
conversing with her lover, and at the same time feeling the most
absolute confidence in his protection, she soon fell placidly asleep.
The foremost subject of her anxiety and sorrow was now removed; her
lover had been restored to her hopes; and her dreams were no longer
haunted with horrors. Yet, at the same time, the turbulence of joy and
of hope fulfilled unexpectedly had substituted its own disturbances;
and her sleep was often interrupted. But, as often as that happened,
she had the delightful pleasure of seeing her lover's figure, with its
martial equipments, and the drooping plumes of his yager barrette, as
he took his station at her carriage, traced out on the ground in the
bright glare of the flambeaux. She awoke, therefore, continually to the
sense of restored happiness; and at length fell finally asleep, to wake
no more until the morning trumpet, at the break of day, proclaimed the
approaching preparations for the general movement of the camp.

Snow had fallen in the night. Towards four o'clock in the morning,
amongst those who held that watch there had been a strong apprehension
that it would fall heavily. But that state of the atmosphere had passed
off; and it had not in fact fallen sufficiently to abate the cold, or
much to retard their march. According to the usual custom of the camp,
a general breakfast was prepared, at which all, without distinction,
messed together--a sufficient homage being expressed to superior rank
by resigning the upper part of every table to those who had any
distinguished pretensions of that kind. On this occasion Paulina had
the gratification of seeing the public respect offered in the most
marked manner to her lover. He had retired about daybreak to take an
hour's repose,--for she found, from her attendants, with mingled
vexation and pleasure, that he had not fulfilled his promise of
retiring at an earlier hour, in consequence of some renewed appearances
of a suspicious kind in the woods. In his absence, she heard a
resolution proposed and carried, amongst the whole body of veteran
officers attached to the party, that the chief military command should
be transferred to Maximilian, not merely as a distinguished favorite of
the emperor, but also, and much more, as one of the most brilliant
cavalry officers in the imperial service. This resolution was
communicated to him on his taking the place reserved for him, at the
head of the principal breakfast-table; and Paulina thought that he had
never appeared more interesting, or truly worthy of admiration, than
under that exhibition of courtesy and modest dignity with which he
first earnestly declined the honor in favor of older officers, and then
finally complied with what he found to be the sincere wish of the
company, by frankly accepting it. Paulina had grown up amongst military
men, and had been early trained to a sympathy with military merit,--the
very court of the emperor had something of the complexion of a camp,--
and the object of her own youthful choice was elevated in her eyes, if
it were at all possible that he should be so, by this ratification of
his claims on the part of those whom she looked up to as the most
competent judges.

Before nine o'clock the van of the party was in motion; then, with a
short interval, came all the carriages of every description, and the
Papenheim dragoons as a rear-guard. About eleven the sun began to burst
out, and illuminated, with the cheerful crimson of a frosty morning,
those horizontal draperies of mist which had previously stifled his
beams. The extremity of the cold was a good deal abated by this time,
and Paulina, alighting from her carriage, mounted a led horse, which
gave her the opportunity, so much wished for by them both, of
conversing freely with Maximilian. For a long time the interest and
animation of their reciprocal communications, and the magnitude of the
events since they had parted, affecting either or both of them
directly, or in the persons of their friends, had the natural effect of
banishing any dejection which nearer and more pressing concerns would
else have called forth. But, in the midst of this factitious animation,
and the happiness which otherwise so undisguisedly possessed Maximilian
at their unexpected reunion, it shocked Paulina to observe in her lover
a degree of gravity almost amounting to sadness, which argued in a
soldier of his gallantry some overpowering sense of danger. In fact,
upon being pressed to say the worst, Maximilian frankly avowed that he
was ill at ease with regard to their prospects when the hour of trial
should arrive; and that hour he had no hope of evading. Holkerstein, he
well knew, had been continually receiving reports of their condition,
as they reached their nightly stations, for the last three days. Spies
had been round about them, and even in the midst of them, throughout
the darkness of the last night. Spies were keeping pace with them as
they advanced. The certainty of being attacked was therefore pretty
nearly absolute. Then, as to their means of defence, and the relations
of strength between the parties, in numbers it was not impossible that
Holkerstein might triple themselves. The elite of their own men might
be superior to most of his, though counting amongst their number many
deserters from veteran regiments; but the horses of their own party
were in general poor and out of condition,--and of the whole train,
whom Maximilian had inspected at starting, not two hundred could be
pronounced fit for making or sustaining a charge. It was true that by
mounting some of their picked troopers upon the superior horses of the
most distinguished amongst the travellers, who had willingly consented
to an arrangement of this nature for the general benefit, some partial
remedy had been applied to their weakness in that one particular. But
there were others in which Holkerstein had even greater advantages;
more especially, the equipments of his partisans were entirely new,
having been plundered from an ill-guarded armory near Munich, or from
convoys which he had attacked. "Who would be a gentleman," says an old
proverb, "let him storm a town;" and the gay appearance of this
robber's companions threw a light upon its meaning. The ruffian
companions of this marauder were, besides, animated by hopes such as no
regular commander in an honorable service could find the means of
holding out. And, finally, they were familiar with all the forest roads
and innumerable bypaths, on which it was that the best points lay for
surprising an enemy, or for a retreat; whilst, in their own case,
encumbered with the protection of a large body of travellers and
helpless people, whom, under any circumstances, it was hazardous to
leave, they were tied up to the most slavish dependency upon the
weakness of their companions; and had it not in their power either to
evade the most evident advantages on the side of the enemy, or to
pursue such as they might be fortunate enough to create for themselves.

"But, after all." said Maximilian, assuming a tone of gayety, upon
finding that the candor of his explanations had depressed his fair
companion, "the saying of an old Swedish [Footnote: It was the Swedish
General Kniphausen, a favorite of Gustavus, to whom this maxim is
ascribed.] enemy of mine is worth remembering in such cases,--that,
nine times out of ten, a drachm of good luck is worth an ounce of good
contrivance,--and were it not, dearest Paulina, that you are with us, I
would think the risk not heavy. Perhaps, by to-morrow's sunset, we
shall all look back from our pleasant seats in the warm refectories of
Klosterheim, with something of scorn, upon our present apprehensions.--
And see! at this very moment the turn of the road has brought us in
view of our port, though distant from us, according to the windings of
the forest, something more than twenty miles. That range of hills,
which you observe ahead, but a little inclined to the left, overhangs
Klosterheim; and, with the sun in a more favorable quarter, you might
even at this point descry the pinnacles of the citadel, or the loftiest
of the convent towers. Half an hour will bring us to the close of our
day's march."

In reality, a few minutes sufficed to bring them within view of the
chateau where their quarters had been prepared for this night. This was
a great hunting establishment, kept up at vast expense by the two last
and present Landgraves of X----. Many interesting anecdotes were
connected with the history of this building; and the beauty of the
forest scenery was conspicuous even in winter, enlivened as the endless
woods continued to be by the scarlet berries of mountain-ash, or the
dark verdure of the holly and the ilex. Under her present frame of
pensive feeling, the quiet lawns and long-withdrawing glades of these
vast woods had a touching effect upon the feelings of Paulina; their
deep silence, and the tranquillity which reigned amongst them,
contrasting in her remembrance with the hideous scenes of carnage and
desolation through which her path had too often lain. With these
predisposing influences to aid him, Maximilian found it easy to draw
off her attention from the dangers which pressed upon their situation.
Her sympathies were so quick with those whom she loved, that she
readily adopted their apparent hopes or their fears; and so entire was
her confidence in the superior judgment and the perfect gallantry of
her lover, that her countenance reflected immediately the prevailing
expression of his.

Under these impressions Maximilian suffered her to remain. It seemed
cruel to disturb her with the truth. He was sensible that continued
anxiety, and dreadful or afflicting spectacles, had with her, as with
most persons of her sex in Germany at that time, unless protected by
singular insensibility, somewhat impaired the firm tone of her mind. He
was determined, therefore, to consult her comfort, by disguising or
palliating their true situation. But, for his own part, he could not
hide from his conviction the extremity of their danger; nor could he,
when recurring to the precious interests at stake upon the issue of
that and the next day's trials, face with any firmness the afflicting
results to which they tended, under the known barbarity and ruffian
character of their unprincipled enemy.


The chateau of Falkenberg, which the travellers reached with the
decline of light, had the usual dependences of offices and gardens,
which may be supposed essential to a prince's hunting establishment in
that period. It stood at a distance of eighteen miles from Klosterheim,
and presented the sole _oasis_ of culture and artificial beauty
throughout the vast extent of those wild tracts of sylvan ground.

The great central pile of the building was dismantled of furniture; but
the travellers carried with them, as was usual in the heat of war, all
the means of fencing against the cold, and giving even a luxurious
equipment to their dormitories. In so large a party, the deficiencies
of one were compensated by the redundant contributions of another. And
so long as they were not under the old Roman interdict, excluding them
from seeking fire and water of those on whom their day's journey had
thrown them, their own travelling stores enabled them to accommodate
themselves to all other privations. On this occasion, however, they
found more than they had expected; for there was at Falkenberg a store
of all the game in season, constantly kept up for the use of the
Landgrave's household, and the more favored monasteries at Klosterheim.
The small establishment of keepers, foresters, and other servants, who
occupied the chateau, had received no orders to refuse the hospitality
usually practised in the Landgrave's name; or thought proper to
dissemble them in their present circumstances of inability to resist.
And having from necessity permitted so much, they were led by a sense
of their master's honor, or their own sympathy with the condition of so
many women and children, to do more. Rations of game were distributed
liberally to all the messes; wine was not refused by the old
_kellermeister_, who rightly considered that some thanks, and
smiles of courteous acknowledgment, might be a better payment than the
hard knocks with which military paymasters were sometimes apt to settle
their accounts. And, upon the whole, it was agreed that no such evening
of comfort, and even luxurious enjoyment, had been spent since their
departure from Vienna.

One wing of the chateau was magnificently furnished. This, which of
itself was tolerably extensive, had been resigned to the use of
Paulina, Maximilian, and others of the military gentlemen, whose
manners and deportment seemed to entitle them to superior attentions.
Here, amongst many marks of refinement and intellectual culture, there
was a library and a gallery of portraits. In the library some of the
officers had detected sufficient evidences of the Swedish alliances
clandestinely maintained by the Landgrave; numbers of rare books,
bearing the arms of different imperial cities, which, in the several
campaigns of Gustavus, had been appropriated as they fell in his hands,
by way of fair reprisals for the robbery of the whole Palatine library
at Heidelberg, had been since transferred (as it thus appeared) to the
Landgrave, by purchase or as presents; and on either footing argued a
correspondence with the emperor's enemies, which hitherto he had
strenuously disavowed. The picture-gallery, it was very probable, had
been collected in the same manner. It contained little else than
portraits, but these were truly admirable and interesting, being all
recent works from the pencil of Vandyke, and composing a series of
heads and features the most remarkable for station in the one sex, or
for beauty in the other, which that age presented. Amongst them were
nearly all the imperial leaders of distinction, and many of the
Swedish. Maximilian and his brother officers took the liveliest
pleasure in perambulating this gallery with Paulina, and reviewing with
her these fine historical memorials. Out of their joint recollections,
or the facts of their personal experience, they were able to supply any
defective links in that commentary which her own knowledge of the
imperial court would have enabled her in so many instances to furnish
upon this martial register of the age.

The wars of the Netherlands had transplanted to Germany that stock upon
which the camps of the Thirty Years' War were originally raised.
Accordingly, a smaller gallery, at right angles with the great one,
presented a series of portraits from the old Spanish leaders and
Walloon partisans. From Egmont and Horn, the Duke of Alva and Parma,
down to Spinola, the last of that distinguished school of soldiers, no
man of eminence was omitted. Even the worthless and insolent Earl of
Leicester, with his gallant nephew,--that _ultimus Romanorum_ in
the rolls of chivalry,--were not excluded, though it was pretty evident
that a Catholic zeal had presided in forming the collection. For,
together with the Prince of Orange, and _Henri Quatre_, were to be
seen their vile assassins--portrayed with a lavish ostentation of
ornament, and enshrined in a frame so gorgeous as raised them in some
degree to the rank of consecrated martyrs.

From these past generations of eminent persons, who retained only a
traditional or legendary importance in the eyes of most who were now
reviewing them, all turned back with delight to the active spirits of
their own day, many of them yet living, and as warm with life and
heroic aspirations as their inimitable portraits had represented them.
Here was Tilly, the "little corporal" now recently stretched in a
soldier's grave, with his wily and inflexible features. Over against
him was his great enemy, who had first taught him the hard lesson of
retreating, Gustavus Adolphus, with his colossal bust, and "atlantean
shoulders, fit to bear the weight of mightiest monarchies." He also had
perished, and too probably by the double crime of assassination and
private treason; but the public glory of his short career was
proclaimed in the ungenerous exultations of Catholic Rome from Vienna
to Madrid, and the individual heroism in the lamentations of soldiers
under every banner which now floated in Europe. Beyond him ran the long
line of imperial generals,--from Wallenstein, the magnificent and the
imaginative, with Hamlet's infirmity of purpose, De Mercy, etc., down
to the heroes of partisan warfare, Holk, the Butlers, and the noble
Papenheim, or nobler Piccolomini. Below them were ranged Gustavus Horn,
Banier, the Prince of Saxe-Weimar, the Rhinegrave, and many other
Protestant commanders, whose names and military merits were familiar to
Paulina, though she now beheld their features for the first time.
Maximilian was here the best interpreter that she could possibly have
met with. For he had not only seen the greater part of them on the
field of battle, but, as a favorite and confidential officer of the
emperor's, had personally been concerned in diplomatic transactions
with the most distinguished amongst them.

Midnight insensibly surprised them whilst pursuing the many interesting
historical remembrances which the portraits called up. Most of the
company, upon this warning of the advanced hour, began to drop off;
some to rest, and some upon the summons of the military duty which
awaited them in their turn. In this way, Maximilian and Paulina were
gradually left alone, and now at length found a time which had not
before offered for communicating freely all that pressed upon their
hearts. Maximilian, on his part, going back to the period of their last
sudden separation, explained his own sudden disappearance from Vienna.
At a moment's warning, he had been sent off with sealed orders from the
emperor, to be first opened in Klosterheim: the mission upon which he
had been despatched was of consequence to the imperial interests, and
through his majesty's favor would eventually prove so to his own. Thus
it was that he had been peremptorily cut off from all opportunity of
communicating to herself the purpose and direction of his journey
previously to his departure from Vienna; and if his majesty had not
taken that care upon himself, but had contented himself, in the most
general terms, with assuring Paulina that Maximilian was absent on a
private mission, doubtless his intention had been the kind one of
procuring her a more signal surprise of pleasure upon his own sudden
return. Unfortunately, however, that return had become impossible:
things had latterly taken a turn which embarrassed himself, and
continued to require his presence. These perplexities had been for some
time known to the emperor; and, upon reflection, he doubted not that
her own journey, undertaken before his majesty could be aware of the
dangers which would beset its latter end, must in some way be connected
with the remedy which the emperor designed for this difficult affair.
But doubtless she herself was the bearer of sufficient explanations
from the imperial ministers on that head. Finally, whilst assuring her
that his own letters to herself had been as frequent as in any former
absence, Maximilian confessed that he did not feel greatly astonished
at the fact of none at all having reached her, when he recollected that
to the usual adverse accidents of war, daily intercepting all
messengers not powerfully escorted, were to be added, in this case, the
express efforts of private malignity in command of all the forest

This explanation recalled Paulina to a very painful sense of the
critical importance which might be attached to the papers which she had
lost. As yet, she had found no special opportunity, or, believing it of
less importance, had neglected it, for communicating more than the
general fact of a robbery. She now related the case more
circumstantially; and both were struck with it, as at this moment a
very heavy misfortune. Not only might her own perilous journey, and the
whole purposes of the emperor embarked upon it, be thus rendered
abortive; but their common enemies would by this time be possessed of
the whole information which had been so critically lost to their own
party, and perhaps would have it in their power to make use of
themselves as instruments for defeating their own most important hopes.

Maximilian sighed as he reflected on the probability that a far shorter
and bloodier event might defeat every earthly hope, within the next
twenty-four hours. But he dissembled his feelings; recovered even a
tone of gayety; and, begging of Paulina to dismiss this vexatious
incident from her thoughts, as a matter that after all would probably
be remedied by their first communication with the emperor, and before
any evil had resulted from it, he accompanied her to the entrance of
her own suite of chambers, and then returned to seek a few hours'
repose for himself on one of the sofas he had observed in one of the
small ante-rooms attached to the library.

The particular room which he selected for his purpose, on account of
its small size, and its warm appearance in other respects, was
furnished under foot with layers of heavy Turkey carpets, one laid upon
another (according to a fashion then prevalent in Germany), and on the
walls with tapestry. In this mode of hanging rooms, though sometimes
heavy and sombre, there was a warmth sensible and apparent, as well as
real, which peculiarly fitted it for winter apartments, and a massy
splendor which accorded with the style of dress and furniture in that
gorgeous age. One real disadvantage, however, it had as often employed;
it gave a ready concealment to intruders with evil intentions; and
under the protecting screen of tapestry many a secret had been
discovered, many robberies facilitated, and some celebrated murderers
had been sheltered with circumstances of mystery that forever baffled

Maximilian smiled as the sight of the hangings, with their rich colors
glowing in the fire-light, brought back to his remembrance one of those
tales which in the preceding winter had made a great noise in Vienna.
With a soldier's carelessness, he thought lightly of all dangers that
could arise within four walls; and having extinguished the lights which
burned upon a table, and unbuckled his sabre, he threw himself upon a
sofa which he drew near to the fire; and then enveloping himself in a
large horseman's cloak, he courted the approach of sleep. The fatigues
of the day, and of the preceding night, had made this in some measure
needful to him. But weariness is not always the best preface to repose;
and the irritation of many busy anxieties continued for some time to
keep him in a most uneasy state of vigilance. As he lay, he could see
on one side the fantastic figures in the fire composed of wood and
turf; on the other side, looking to the tapestry, he saw the wild
forms, and the _mêlée_, little less fantastic, of human and brute
features in a chase--a boar-chase in front, and a stag-chase on his
left hand. These, as they rose fitfully in bright masses of color and
of savage expression under the lambent flashing of the fire, continued
to excite his irritable state of feeling; and it was not for some time
that he felt this uneasy condition give way to exhaustion. He was at
length on the very point of falling asleep, or perhaps had already
fallen into its very lightest and earliest stage, when the echo of a
distant door awoke him. He had some slight impression that a noise in
his own room had concurred with the other and more distant one to awake
him. But, after raising himself for a moment on his elbow and
listening, he again resigned himself to sleep.

Again, however, and probably before he had slept a minute, he was
roused by a double disturbance. A low rustling was heard in some part
of the room, and a heavy foot upon a neighboring staircase. Housed, at
length, to the prudence of paying some attention to sounds so stealthy,
in a situation beset with dangers, he rose and threw open the door. A
corridor, which ran round the head of the staircase, was lit up with a
brilliant light; and he could command from this station one flight of
the stairs. On these he saw nothing; all was now wrapt in a soft
effulgence of light, and in absolute silence. No sound recurring after
a minute's attention, and indisposed by weariness to any stricter
examination, where all examination from one so little acquainted with
the localities might prove unavailing, he returned to his own room;
but, before again lying down, he judged it prudent to probe the
concealments of the tapestry by carrying his sabre round, and
everywhere pressing the hangings to the wall. In this trial he met with
no resistance at any point; and willingly believing that he had been
deceived, or that his ear had exaggerated some trivial sound, in a
state of imperfect slumber, he again laid down and addressed himself to
sleep. Still there were remembrances which occurred at this moment to
disturb him. The readiness with which they had been received at the
chateau was in itself suspicious. He remembered the obstinate haunting
of their camp on the preceding night, and the robbery conducted with so
much knowledge of circumstances. Jonas Melk, the brutal landlord of
Waldenhausen, a man known to him by repute (though not personally), as
one of the vilest agents employed by the Landgrave, had been actively
engaged in his master's service at their preceding stage. He was
probably one of those who haunted the wood through the night. And he
had been repeatedly informed through the course of the day that this
man in particular, whose features were noticed by the yagers, on
occasion of their officer's reproach to him, had been seen at intervals
in company with others, keeping a road parallel to their own, and
steadily watching their order of advance.

These recollections, now laid together, impressed him with some
uneasiness. But overpowering weariness gave him a strong interest in
dismissing them. And a soldier, with the images of fifty combats fresh
in his mind, does not willingly admit the idea of danger from a single
arm, and in a situation of household security. Pshaw! he exclaimed,
with some disdain, as these martial remembrances rose up before him,
especially as the silence had now continued undisturbed for a quarter
of an hour. In five minutes more he had fallen profoundly asleep; and,
in less than one half-hour, as he afterwards judged, he was suddenly
awakened by a dagger at his throat.

At one bound he sprung upon his feet. The cloak, in which he had been
enveloped, caught upon some of the buckles or ornamented work of his
appointments, and for a moment embarrassed his motions. There was no
light, except what came from the sullen and intermitting gleams of the
fire. But even this was sufficient to show him the dusky outline of two
figures. With the foremost he grappled, and, raising him in his arms,
threw him powerfully upon the floor, with a force that left him stunned
and helpless. The other had endeavored to pinion his arms from behind;
for the body-armor, which Maximilian had not laid aside for the night,
under the many anticipations of service which their situation
suggested, proved a sufficient protection against the blows of the
assassin's poniard. Impatient of the darkness and uncertainty,
Maximilian rushed to the door and flung it violently open. The assassin
still clung to his arms, conscious that if he once forfeited his hold
until he had secured a retreat, he should be taken at disadvantage. But
Maximilian, now drawing a petronel which hung at his belt, cocked it as
rapidly as his embarrassed motions allowed him. The assassin faltered,
conscious that a moment's relaxation of grasp would enable his
antagonist to turn the muzzle over his shoulder. Maximilian, on the
other hand, now perfectly awake, and with the benefit of that self-
possession which the other so entirely wanted, felt the nervous tremor
in the villain's hands; and, profiting by this moment of indecision,
made a desperate effort, released one arm, which he used with so much
effect as immediately to liberate the other, and then intercepting the
passage to the stairs, wheeled round upon his murderous enemy, and,
presenting the petronel to his breast, bade him surrender his arms if
he hoped for quarter.

The man was an athletic, and, obviously, a most powerful ruffian. On
his face he carried more than one large glazed cicatrix, that assisted
the savage expression of malignity impressed by nature upon his
features. And his matted black hair, with its elf locks, completed the
picturesque effect of a face that proclaimed, in every lineament, a
reckless abandonment to cruelty and ferocious passions. Maximilian
himself, familiar as he was with the faces of military butchers in the
dreadful hours of sack and carnage, recoiled for one instant from this
hideous ruffian, who had not even the palliations of youth in his
favor, for he seemed fifty at the least. All this had passed in an
instant of time; and now, as he recovered himself from his momentary
shock at so hateful an expression of evil passions, great was
Maximilian's astonishment to perceive his antagonist apparently
speechless, and struggling with some over-mastering sense of horror,
that convulsed his features, and for a moment glazed his eye.

Maximilian looked around for the object of his alarm; but in vain. In
reality it was himself, in connection with some too dreadful
remembrances, now suddenly awakened, that had thus overpowered the
man's nerves. The brilliant light of a large chandelier, which overhung
the staircase, fell strongly upon Maximilian's features; and the
excitement of the moment gave to them the benefit of their fullest
expression. Prostrate on the ground, and abandoning his dagger without
an effort at retaining it, the man gazed, as if under a rattlesnake's
fascination, at the young soldier before him. Suddenly he recovered his
voice; and, with a piercing cry of unaffected terror, exclaimed, "Save
me, save me, blessed Virgin! Prince, noble prince, forgive me! Will the
grave not hold its own? Jesu Maria! who could have believed it?"

"Listen, fellow!" interrupted Maximilian. "What prince is it you speak
of? For whom do you take me? speak truly, and abuse riot my

"Ha! and his own voice too! and here on this spot! God is just! Yet do
thou, good patron, holy St. Ermengarde, deliver me from the avenger!"

"Man, you rave! Stand up, recover yourself, and answer me to what I
shall ask thee: speak truly, and thou shalt have thy life. Whose gold
was it that armed thy hand against one who had injured neither thee nor

But he spoke to one who could no longer hear. The man grovelled on the
ground, and hid his face from a being, whom, in some incomprehensible
way, he regarded as an apparition from the other world.

Multitudes of persons had by this time streamed in, summoned by the
noise of the struggle from all parts of the chateau. Some fancied that,
in the frenzied assassin on the ground, whose panic too manifestly
attested itself as genuine, they recognized one of those who had so
obstinately dogged them by side-paths in the forest. Whoever he were,
and upon whatever mission employed, he was past all rational
examination; at the aspect of Maximilian, he relapsed into convulsive
horrors, which soon became too fit for medical treatment to allow of
any useful judicial inquiry; and for the present he was consigned to
the safe-keeping of the provost-martial.

His companion, meantime, had profited by his opportunity, and the
general confusion, to effect his escape. Nor was this difficult.
Perhaps, in the consternation of the first moment, and the exclusive
attention that settled upon the party in the corridor, he might even
have mixed in the crowd. But this was not necessary. For, on raising
the tapestry, a door was discovered which opened into a private
passage, having a general communication with the rest of the rooms on
that floor. Steps were now taken, by sentries disposed through the
interior of the mansion, at proper points, to secure themselves from
the enemies who lurked within, whom hitherto they had too much
neglected for the avowed and more military assailants who menaced them
from without. Security was thus restored. But a deep impression
accompanied the party to their couches of the profound political
motives, or (in the absence of those) of the rancorous personal
malignity, which could prompt such obstinate persecution; by modes,
also, and by hands, which encountered so many chances of failing; and
which, even in the event of the very completest success for the
present, could not be expected, under the eyes of so many witnesses, to
escape a final exposure. Some enemy, of unusual ferocity, was too
obviously working in the dark, and by agencies as mysterious as his own

Meantime, in the city of Klosterheim, the general interest in the
fortunes of the approaching travellers had suffered no abatement, and
some circumstances had occurred to increase the popular irritation. It
was known that Maximilian had escaped with a strong party of friends
from the city; but how, or by whose connivance, could in no way be
discovered. This had drawn upon all persons who were known as active
partisans against the Landgrave, or liable to suspicion as friends of
Maximilian, a vexatious persecution from the military police of the
town. Some had been arrested; many called upon to give security for
their future behavior; and all had been threatened or treated with
harshness. Hence, as well as from previous irritation and alarm on
account of the party from Vienna, the whole town was in a state of
extreme agitation.

Klosterheim, in the main features of its political distractions,
reflected, almost as in a representative picture, the condition of many
another German city. At that period, by very ancient ties of reciprocal
service, strengthened by treaties, by religious faith, and by personal
attachment to individuals of the imperial house, this ancient and
sequestered city was inalienably bound to the interests of the emperor.
Both the city and the university were Catholic. Princes of the imperial
family, and Papal commissioners, who had secret motives for not
appearing at Vienna, had more than once found a hospitable reception
within the walls. And, amongst many acts of grace by which the emperors
had acknowledged these services and marks of attachment, one of them
had advanced a very large sum of money to the city chest for an
indefinite time; receiving in return, as the warmest testimony of
confidential gratitude which the city could bestow, that _jus liberi
ingressus_ which entitled the emperor's armies to a free passage at
all times, and, in case of extremity, to the right of keeping the city
gates and maintaining a garrison in the citadel. Unfortunately,
Klosterheim was not _sui juris_, or on the roll of free cities of
the empire, but of the nature of an appanage in the family of the
Landgrave of X----; and this circumstance had produced a double
perplexity in the politics of the city; for the late Landgrave, who had
been assassinated in a very mysterious manner upon a hunting party,
benefited to the fullest extent both by the political and religious
bias of the city--being a personal friend of the emperor's, a Catholic,
amiable in his deportment, and generally beloved by his subjects. But
the prince who had succeeded him in the Landgraviate, as the next heir,
was everywhere odious for the harshness of his government, no less than
for the gloomy austerity of his character; and to Klosterheim in
particular, which had been pronounced by some of the first
jurisprudents a female appanage, he presented himself under the
additional disadvantages of a very suspicious title, and a Swedish bias
too notorious to be disguised. At a time when the religious and
political attachments of Europe were brought into collisions so
strange, that the foremost auxiliary of the Protestant interest in
Germany was really the most distinguished cardinal in the church of
Rome, it did not appear inconsistent with this strong leaning to the
King of Sweden that the Landgrave was privately known to be a Catholic
bigot, who practised the severest penances, and, tyrant as he showed
himself to all others, grovelled himself as an abject devotee at the
feet of a haughty confessor. Amongst the populace of Klosterheim this
feature of his character, confronted with the daily proofs of his
entire vassalage to the Swedish interest, passed for the purest
hypocrisy; and he had credit for no religion at all with the world at
large. But the fact was otherwise. Conscious from the first that he
held even the Landgraviate by a slender title (for he was no more than
cousin once removed to his immediate predecessor), and that his
pretensions upon Klosterheim had separate and peculiar defects,--
sinking of course with the failure of his claim as Landgrave, but not,
therefore, prospering with its success,--he was aware that none but the
most powerful arm could keep his princely cap upon his head. The
competitors for any part of his possessions, one and all, had thrown
themselves upon the emperor's protection. This, if no other reason,
would have thrown him into the arms of Gustavus Adolphus; and with
this, as it happened, other reasons of local importance had then and
since cooperated. Time, as it advanced, brought increase of weight to
all these motives. Rumors of a dark and ominous tendency, arising no
one knew whence, nor by whom encouraged, pointed injuriously to the
past history of the Landgrave, and to some dreadful exposures which
were hanging over his head. A lady, at present in obscurity, was
alluded to as the agent of redress to others, through her own heavy
wrongs; and these rumors were the more acceptable to the people of
Klosterheim, because they connected the impending punishment of the
hated Landgrave with the restoration of the imperial connection; for,
it was still insinuated, under every version of these mysterious
reports, that the emperor was the ultimate supporter, in the last
resort, of the lurking claims now on the point of coming forward to
challenge public attention. Under these alarming notices, and fully
aware that sooner or later he must be thrown into collision with the
imperial court, the Landgrave had now for some time made up his mind to
found a merit with the Swedish chancellor and general officers, by
precipitating an uncompromising rupture with his Catholic enemies, and
thus to extract the grace of a voluntary act from what, in fact, he
knew to be sooner or later inevitable.

Such was the positive and relative aspect of the several interests
which were now struggling in Klosterheim. Desperate measures were
contemplated by both parties; and, as opportunities should arise, and
proper means should develop themselves, more than one party might be
said to stand on the brink of great explosions. Conspiracies were
moving in darkness, both in the council of the burghers and of the
university. Imperfect notices of their schemes, and sometimes delusive
or misleading notices, had reached the Landgrave. The city, the
university, and the numerous convents, were crowded to excess with
refugees. Malcontents of every denomination and every shade,--
emissaries of all the factions which then agitated Germany; reformado
soldiers, laid aside by their original employers, under new
arrangements, or from private jealousies of new commanders; great
persons with special reasons for courting a temporary seclusion, and
preserving a strict incognito; misers, who fled with their hoards of
gold and jewels to the city of refuge; desolate ladies, from the
surrounding provinces, in search of protection for themselves, or for
the honor of their daughters; and (not least distinguished among the
many classes of fugitives) prophets and enthusiasts of every
description, whom the magnitude of the political events, and their
religious origin, so naturally called forth in swarms; these, and many
more, in connection with their attendants, troops, students, and the
terrified peasantry, from a circle of forty miles radius around the
city as a centre, had swelled the city of Klosterheim, from a total of
about seventeen, to six or seven and thirty thousand. War, with a
slight reserve for the late robberies of Holkerstein, had as yet spared
this favored nook of Germany. The great storm had whistled and raved
around them; but hitherto none had penetrated the sylvan sanctuary
which on every side invested this privileged city. The ground seemed
charmed by some secret spells, and consecrated from intrusion. For the
great tempest had often swept directly upon them, and yet still had
wheeled off, summoned away by some momentary call, to some remoter
attraction. But now at length all things portended that, if the war
should revive in strength after this brief suspension, it would fall
with accumulated weight upon this yet unravaged district.

This was the anticipation which had governed the Landgrave's policy in
so sternly and barbarously interfering with the generous purposes of
the Klosterheimers, for carrying over a safe-conduct to their friends
and visitors, when standing on the margin of the forest. The robber
Holkerstein, if not expressly countenanced by the Swedes, and secretly
nursed up to his present strength by Richelieu, was at any rate
embarked upon a system of aggression which would probably terminate in
connecting him with one or other of those authentic powers. In any
case, he stood committed to a course of continued offence upon the
imperial interests; since in that quarter his injuries and insults were
already past forgiveness. The interest of Holkerstein, then, ran in the
same channel with that of the Landgrave. It was impolitic to weaken
him. It was doubly impolitic to weaken him by a measure which must also
weaken the Landgrave; for any deduction from his own military force, or
from the means of recruiting it, was in that proportion a voluntary
sacrifice of the weight he should obtain with the Swedes on making the
junction, which he now firmly counted on, with their forces. But a
result which he still more dreaded from the cooperation of the
Klosterheimers with the caravan from Vienna, was the probable overthrow
of that supremacy in the city, which even now was so nicely balanced in
his favor that a slight reinforcement to the other side would turn the
scale against him.

In all these calculations of policy, and the cruel measures by which he
supported them, he was guided by the counsels of Luigi Adorni, a subtle
Italian, whom he had elevated from the post of a private secretary to
that of sole minister for the conduct of state affairs. This man, who
covered a temperament of terrific violence with a masque of Venetian
dissimulation and the most icy reserve, met with no opposition, unless
it were occasionally from Father Anselm, the confessor. He delighted in
the refinements of intrigue, and in the most tortuous labyrinths of
political manœuvring, purely for their own sakes; and sometimes
defeated his own purposes by mere superfluity of diplomatic subtlety;
which hardly, however, won a momentary concern from him, in the
pleasure he experienced at having found an undeniable occasion for
equal subtlety in unweaving his own webs of deception. He had been
confounded by the evasion of Maximilian and his friends from the orders
of the Landgrave; and the whole energy of his nature was bent to the
discovery of the secret avenues which had opened the means to this

There were, in those days, as is well known to German antiquaries, few
castles or fortresses of much importance in Germany, which did not
communicate by subterraneous passages with the exterior country. In
many instances these passages were of surprising extent, first emerging
to the light in some secluded spot among rocks or woods, at the
distance of two, three, or even four miles. There were cases even in
which they were carried below the beds of rivers as broad and deep as
the Rhine, the Elbe, or the Danube. Sometimes there were several of
such communications on different faces of the fortress; and sometimes
each of these branched, at some distance from the building, into
separate arms, opening at intervals widely apart. And the uses of such
secret communications with the world outside, and beyond a besieging
enemy, in a land like Germany, with its prodigious subdivision of
independent states and free cities, were far greater than they could
have been in any one great continuous principality.

In many fortified places these passages had existed from the middle
ages. In Klosterheim they had possibly as early an origin: but by this
period it is very probable that the gradual accumulation of rubbish,
through a course of centuries, would have unfitted them for use, had
not the Peasants' War, in the time of Luther's reformation, little more
than one hundred years before, given occasion for their use and repair.
At that time Klosterheim had stood a siege, which, from the defect of
artillery, was at no time formidable in a military sense; but as a
blockade, formed suddenly when the citizens were slenderly furnished
with provisions, it would certainly have succeeded, and delivered up
the vast wealth of the convents as a spoil to the peasantry, had it not
been for one in particular of these subterraneous passages, which,
opening on the opposite side of the little river Iltiss, in a thick
_boccage_, where the enemy had established no posts, furnished the
means of introducing a continual supply of fresh provisions, to the
great triumph of the garrison, and the utter dismay of the
superstitious peasants, who looked upon the mysterious supply as a
providential bounty to a consecrated cause.

So memorable a benefit had given to this one passage a publicity and an
historical importance which made all its circumstances, and amongst
those its internal mouth, familiar even to children. But this was
evidently _not_ the avenue by which Maximilian had escaped into
the forest. For it opened externally on the wrong side of the river,
whilst everybody knew that its domestic opening was in one of the
chapels of the _schloss_; and another circumstance, equally
decisive, was, that a long flight of stairs, by which it descended
below the bed of the river, made it impassable to horses.

Every attempt, however, failed to trace out the mode of egress for the
present. By his spies Adorni doubted not to find it soon; and, in the
mean time, that as much as possible the attention of the public might
be abstracted from the travellers and their concerns, a public
proclamation was issued, forbidding all resort of crowds to the walls.
These were everywhere dispersed on the ninth; and for that day were
partially obeyed. But there was little chance that, with any fresh
excitement to the popular interest, they would continue to command


The morning of the tenth at length arrived--that day on which the
expected travellers from Vienna, and all whom they had collected on
their progress, ardently looked to rejoin their long-separated friends
in Klosterheim, and by those friends were not less ardently looked for.
On each side there were the same violent yearnings, on each side the
same dismal arid overpowering fears. Each party arose with palpitating
hearts: the one looked out from Falkenberg with longing eyes, to
discover the towers of Klosterheim; the other, from the upper windows
or roofs of Klosterheim, seemed as if they could consume the distance
between themselves and Falkenberg. But a little tract of forest ground
was interposed between friends and friends, parents and children,
lovers and their beloved. Not more than eighteen miles of shadowy
woods, of lawns, and sylvan glades, divided hearts that would either
have encountered death, or many deaths, for the other. These were
regions of natural peace and tranquillity, that in any ordinary times
should have been peopled by no worse inhabitants than the timid hare
scudding homewards to its form, or the wild deer sweeping by with
thunder to their distant lairs. But now from every glen or thicket
armed marauders might be ready to start. Every gleam of sunshine in
some seasons was reflected from the glittering arms of parties
threading the intricacies of the thickets; and the sudden alarum of the
trumpet rang oftentimes in the nights, and awoke the echoes that for
centuries had been undisturbed, except by the hunter's horn, in the
most sequestered haunts of these vast woods.

Towards noon it became known, by signals that had been previously
concerted between Maximilian and his college friends, that the party
were advanced upon their road from Falkenberg, and, therefore, must of
necessity on this day abide the final trial. As this news was dispersed
abroad, the public anxiety rose to so feverish a point, that crowds
rushed from every quarter to the walls, and it was not judged prudent
to measure the civic strength against their enthusiasm. For an hour or
two the nature of the ground and the woods forbade any view of the
advancing party: but at length, some time before the light failed, the
head of the column, and soon after the entire body, was descried
surmounting a little hill, not more than eight miles distant. The black
mass presented by mounted travellers and baggage-wagons was visible to
piercing eyes; and the dullest could distinguish the glancing of arms,
which at times flashed upwards from the more open parts of the forest.

Thus far, then, their friends had made their way without injury; and
this point was judged to be within nine miles' distance. But in thirty
or forty minutes, when they had come nearer by a mile and a half, the
scene had somewhat changed. A heathy tract of ground, perhaps two miles
in length, opened in the centre of the thickest woods, and formed a
little island of clear ground, where all beside was tangled and crowded
with impediments. Just as the travelling party began to deploy out of
the woods upon this area at its further extremity, a considerable body
of mounted troops emerged from the forest, which had hitherto concealed
them, at the point nearest to Klosterheim. They made way rapidly; and
in less than half a minute it became evident, by the motions of the
opposite party, that they had been descried, and that hasty
preparations were making for receiving them. A dusky mass, probably the
black yagers, galloped up rapidly to the front and formed; after which
it seemed to some eyes that the whole party again advanced, but still
more slowly than before.

Every heart upon the walls of Klosterheim palpitated with emotion, as
the two parties neared each other. Many almost feared to draw their
breath, many writhed their persons in the anguish of rueful
expectation, as they saw the moment approach when the two parties would
shock together. At length it came; and, to the astonishment of the
spectators, not more, perhaps, than of the travellers themselves, the
whole cavalcade of strangers swept by, without halting for so much as a
passing salute or exchange of news.

The first cloud, then, which had menaced their friends, was passed off
as suddenly as it had gathered. But this, by some people, was thought
to bear no favorable construction. To ride past a band of travellers
from remote parts on such uncourteous terms argued no friendly spirit;
and many motives might be imagined perfectly consistent with hostile
intentions for passing the travellers unassailed, and thus gaining the
means of coming at any time upon their rear. Prudent persons shook
their heads, and the issue of an affair anticipated with so much
anxiety certainly did not diminish it.

It was now four o'clock: in an hour or less it would be dark; and,
considering the peculiar difficulties of the ground on nearing the
town, and the increasing exhaustion of the horses, it was not judged
possible that a party of travellers, so unequal in their equipments,
and amongst whom the weakest was now become a law for the motion of the
quickest, could reach the gates of Klosterheim before nine o'clock.

Soon after this, and just before the daylight faded, the travellers
reached the nearer end of the heath, and again entered the woods. The
cold and the darkness were now becoming greater at every instant, and
it might have been expected that the great mass of the spectators would
leave their station; but such was the intensity of the public interest,
that few quitted the walls except for the purpose of reinforcing their
ability to stay and watch the progress of their friends. This could be
done with even greater effect as the darkness deepened, for every
second horseman carried a torch; and, as much perhaps by way of signal
to their friends in Klosterheim, as for their own convenience,
prodigious flambeaux were borne aloft on halberds. These rose to a
height which surmounted all the lower bushes, and were visible in all
parts of the woods,--even the smaller lights, in the leafless state of
the trees at this season of the year, could be generally traced without
difficulty; and composing a brilliant chain of glittering points, as it
curved and humored the road amongst the labyrinths of the forest, would
have produced a singularly striking effect to eyes at leisure to enjoy

In this way, for about three hours, the travellers continued to advance
unmolested, and to be traced by their friends in Klosterheim. It was
now considerably after seven o'clock, and perhaps an hour, or, at most,
an hour and a half, would bring them to the city gates. All hearts
began to beat high with expectation, and hopes were loudly and
confidently expressed through every part of the crowd that the danger
might now be considered as past. Suddenly, as if expressly to rebuke
the too presumptuous confidence of those who were thus thoughtlessly
sanguine, the blare of a trumpet was heard from a different quarter of
the forest, and about two miles to the right of the city. Every eye was
fastened eagerly upon the spot from which the notes issued. Probably
the signal had proceeded from a small party in advance of a greater;
for in the same direction, but at a much greater distance, perhaps not
less than three miles in the rear of the trumpet, a very large body of
horse was now descried coming on at a great pace upon the line already
indicated by the trumpet. The extent of the column might be estimated
by the long array of torches, which were carried apparently by every
fourth or fifth man; and that they were horsemen was manifest from the
very rapid pace at which they advanced.

At this spectacle, a cry of consternation ran along the whole walls of
Klosterheim. Here, then, at last, were coming the spoilers and butchers
of their friends; for the road upon which they were advancing issued at
right angles into that upon which the travellers, apparently unwarned
of their danger, were moving. The hideous scene of carnage would
possibly pass immediately below their own eyes; for the point of
junction between the two roads was directly commanded by the eye from
the city walls; and, upon computing the apparent proportions of speed
between the two parties, it seemed likely enough that upon this very
ground, the best fitted of any that could have been selected, in a
scenical sense, as a stage for bringing a spectacle below the eyes of
Klosterheim, the most agitating of spectacles would be exhibited,--
friends and kinsmen engaged in mortal struggle with remorseless
freebooters, under circumstances which denied to themselves any chance
of offering assistance.

Exactly at this point of time arose a dense mist, which wrapped the
whole forest in darkness, and withdrew from the eyes of the agitated
Klosterheimers friends and foes alike. They continued, however, to
occupy the walls, endeavoring to penetrate the veil which now concealed
the fortunes of their travelling friends, by mere energy and intensity
of attention. The mist, meantime, did not disperse, but rather
continued to deepen; the two parties, however, gradually drew so much
nearer, that some judgment could be at length formed of their motions
and position, merely by the ear. From the stationary character of the
sounds, and the continued recurrence of charges and retreats sounded
upon the trumpet, it became evident that the travellers and the enemy
had at length met, and too probable that they were engaged in a
sanguinary combat. Anxiety had now reached its utmost height; and some
were obliged to leave the walls, or were carried away by their friends,
under the effects of overwrought sensibility.

Ten o'clock had now struck, and for some time the sounds had been
growing sensibly weaker; and at last it was manifest that the two
parties had separated, and that one, at least, was moving off from the
scene of action; and, as the sounds grew feebler and feebler, there
could be no doubt that it was the enemy, who was drawing off into the
distance from the field of battle.

The enemy! ay, but how? Under what circumstances? As victor? Perhaps
even as the captor of their friends! Or, if not, and he were really
retreating as a fugitive and beaten foe, with what hideous sacrifices
on the part of their friends might not that result have been purchased?

Long and dreary was the interval before these questions could be
answered. Full three hours had elapsed since the last sound of a
trumpet had been heard; it was now one o'clock, and as yet no trace of
the travellers had been discovered in any quarter. The most hopeful
began to despond; and general lamentations prevailed throughout

Suddenly, however, a dull sound arose within a quarter of a mile from
the city gate, as of some feeble attempt to blow a blast upon a
trumpet. In five minutes more a louder blast was sounded close to the
gate. Questions were joyfully put, and as joyfully answered. The usual
precautions were rapidly gone through; and the officer of the watch
being speedily satisfied as to the safety of the measure, the gates
were thrown open, and the unfortunate travellers, exhausted by fatigue,
hardships, and suffering of every description, were at length admitted
into the bosom of a friendly town.

The spectacle was hideous which the long cavalcade exhibited as it
wound up the steep streets which led to the market-place. Wagons
fractured and splintered in every direction, upon which were stretched
numbers of gallant soldiers, with wounds hastily dressed, from which
the blood had poured in streams upon their gay habiliments; horses,
whose limbs had been mangled by the sabre; and coaches, or caleches,
loaded with burthens of dead and dying; these were amongst the objects
which occupied the van in the line of march, as the travellers defiled
through Klosterheim. The vast variety of faces, dresses, implements of
war, or ensigns of rank, thrown together in the confusion of night and
retreat, illuminated at intervals by bright streams of light from
torches or candles in the streets, or at the windows of the houses,
composed a picture which resembled the chaos of a dream, rather than
any ordinary spectacle of human life.

In the market-place the whole party were gradually assembled, and there
it was intended that they should receive the billets for their several
quarters. But such was the pressure of friends and relatives gathering
from all directions, to salute and welcome the objects of their
affectionate anxiety, or to inquire after their fate; so tumultuous was
the conflict of grief and joy (and not seldom in the very same group),
that for a long time no authority could control the violence of public
feeling, or enforce the arrangements which had been adopted for the
night. Nor was it even easy to learn, where the questions were put by
so many voices at once, what had been the history of the night. It was
at length, however, collected, that they had been met and attacked with
great fury by Holkerstein, or a party acting under one of his
lieutenants. Their own march had been so warily conducted after
nightfall, that this attack did not find them unprepared. A barrier of
coaches and wagons had been speedily formed in such an arrangement as
to cripple the enemy's movements, and to neutralize great part of his
superiority in the quality of his horses. The engagement, however, had
been severe; and the enemy's attack, though many times baffled, had
been as often renewed, until, at length, the young general Maximilian,
seeing that the affair tended to no apparent termination, that the
bloodshed was great, and that the horses were beginning to knock up
under the fatigue of such severe service, had brought up the very
_elite_ of his reserve, placed himself at their head, and, making
a dash expressly at their leader, had the good fortune to cut him down.
The desperateness of the charge, added to the loss of their leader, had
intimidated the enemy, who now began to draw off, as from an enterprise
which was likely to cost them more blood than a final success could
have rewarded. Unfortunately, however, Maximilian, disabled by a severe
wound, and entangled by his horse amongst the enemy, had been carried
off a prisoner. In the course of the battle all their torches had been
extinguished; and this circumstance, as much as the roughness of the
road, the ruinous condition of their carriages and appointments, and
their own exhaustion, had occasioned their long delay in reaching
Klosterheim, after the battle was at an end. Signals they had not
ventured to make; for they were naturally afraid of drawing upon their
track any fresh party of marauders, by so open a warning of their
course as the sound of a trumpet.

These explanations were rapidly dispersed through Klosterheim; party
after party drew off to their quarters; and at length the agitated city
was once again restored to peace. The Lady Paulina had been amongst the
first to retire. She was met by the lady abbess of a principal convent
in Klosterheim, to whose care she had been recommended by the emperor.
The Landgrave also had furnished her with a guard of honor; but all
expressions of respect, or even of kindness, seemed thrown away upon
her, so wholly was she absorbed in grief for the capture of Maximilian,
and in gloomy anticipations of his impending fate.


The city of Klosterheim was now abandoned to itself, and strictly shut
up within its own walls. All roaming beyond those limits was now indeed
forbidden even more effectually by the sword of the enemy than by the
edicts of the Landgrave. War was manifestly gathering in its
neighborhood. Little towns and castles within a range of seventy miles,
on almost every side, were now daily occupied by imperial or Swedish
troops. Not a week passed without some news of fresh military
accessions, or of skirmishes between parties of hostile foragers.
Through the whole adjacent country, spite of the severe weather, bodies
of armed men were weaving to and fro, fast as a weaver's shuttle. The
forest rang with alarums, and sometimes, under gleams of sunshine, the
leafless woods seemed on fire with the restless splendor of spear and
sword, morion and breast-plate, or the glittering equipments of the
imperial cavalry. Couriers, or Bohemian gypsies, which latter were a
class of people at this time employed by all sides as spies or
messengers, continually stole in with secret despatches to the
Landgrave, or (under the color of bringing public news, and the reports
of military movements) to execute some private mission for rich
employers in town; sometimes making even this clandestine business but
a cover to other purposes, too nearly connected with treason, or
reputed treason, to admit of any but oral communication.

What were the ulterior views in this large accumulation of military
force, no man pretended to know. A great battle, for various reasons,
was not expected. But changes were so sudden, and the counsels of each
day so often depended on the accidents of the morning, that an entire
campaign might easily be brought on, or the whole burthen of war for
years to come might be transferred to this quarter of the land, without
causing any very great surprise. Meantime, enough was done already to
give a full foretaste of war and its miseries to this sequestered nook,
so long unvisited by that hideous scourge.

In the forest, where the inhabitants were none, excepting those who
lived upon the borders, and small establishments of the Landgrave's
servants at different points, for executing the duties of the forest or
the chase, this change expressed itself chiefly by the tumultuous
uproar of the wild deer, upon whom a murderous war was kept up by
parties detached daily from remote and opposite quarters, to collect
provisions for the half-starving garrisons, so recently, and with so
little previous preparation, multiplied on the forest skirts. For,
though the country had been yet unexhausted by war, too large a
proportion of the tracts adjacent to the garrisons were in a wild,
sylvan condition to afford any continued supplies to so large and
sudden an increase of the population; more especially as, under the
rumors of this change, every walled town in a compass of a hundred
miles, many of them capable of resisting a sudden _coup-de-main_,
and resolutely closing their gates upon either party, had already
possessed themselves by purchase of all the surplus supplies which the
country yielded. In such a state of things, the wild deer became an
object of valuable consideration to all parties, and a murderous war
was made upon them from every side of the forest. From the city walls
they were seen in sweeping droves, flying before the Swedish cavalry
for a course of ten, fifteen, or even thirty miles, until headed and
compelled to turn by another party breaking suddenly from a covert,
where they had been waiting their approach. Sometimes it would happen
that this second party proved to be a body of imperialists, who were
carried by the ardor of the chase into the very centre of their enemies
before either was aware of any hostile approach. Then, according to
circumstances, came sudden flight or tumultuary skirmish; the woods
rang with the hasty summons of the trumpet; the deer reeled off aslant
from the furious shock, and, benefiting for the moment by those fierce
hostilities, originally the cause of their persecution, fled far away
from the scene of strife; and not unfrequently came thundering beneath
the city walls, and reporting to the spectators above, by their
agitation and affrighted eyes, those tumultuous disturbances in some
remoter part of the forest, which had already reached them in an
imperfect way, by the interrupted and recurring echoes of the points of
war--charges or retreats--sounded upon the trumpet.

But, whilst on the outside of her walls Klosterheim beheld even this
unpopulous region all alive with military license and outrage, she
suffered no violence from either party herself. This immunity she owed
to her peculiar political situation. The emperor had motives for
conciliating the city; the Swedes, for conciliating the Landgrave;
indeed, they were supposed to have made a secret alliance with him, for
purposes known only to the contracting parties. And the difference
between the two patrons was simply this: that the emperor was sincere,
and, if not disinterested, had an interest concurring with that of
Klosterheim in the paternal protection which he offered; whereas the
Swedes, in this, as in all their arrangements, regarding Germany as a
foreign country, looked only to the final advantages of Sweden, or its
German dependences, and to the weight which such alliances would
procure them in a general pacification. And hence, in the war which
both combined to make upon the forest, the one party professed to
commit spoil upon the Landgrave, as distinguished from the city; whilst
the Swedish allies of that prince prosecuted their ravages in the
Landgrave's name, as essential to the support of his cause.

For the present, however, the Swedes were the preponderant party in the
neighborhood; they had fortified the chateau of Falkenberg, and made it
a very strong military post; at the same time, however, sending in to
Klosterheim whatsoever was valuable amongst the furniture of that
establishment, with a care which of itself proclaimed the footing upon
which they were anxious to stand with the Landgrave.

Encouraged by the vicinity of his military friends, that prince now
began to take a harsher tone in Klosterheim. The minor princes of
Germany at that day were all tyrants in virtue of their privileges; and
if in some rarer cases they exercised these privileges in a forbearing
spirit, their subjects were well aware that they were indebted for this
extraordinary indulgence to the temper and gracious nature of the
individual, not to the firm protection of the laws. But the most
reasonable and mildest of the German princes had been little taught at
that day to brook opposition. And the Landgrave was by nature, and the
gloominess of his constitutional temperament, of all men the last to
learn that lesson readily. He had already met with just sufficient
opposition from the civic body and the university interest to excite
his passion for revenge. Ample indemnification he determined upon for
his wounded pride; and he believed that the time and circumstances were
now matured for favoring his most vindictive schemes. The Swedes were
at hand, and a slight struggle with the citizens would remove all
obstacles to their admission into the garrison; though, for some
private reasons, he wished to abstain from this extremity, if it should
prove possible. Maximilian also was absent, and might never return. The
rumor was even that he was killed; and though the caution of Adorni and
the Landgrave led them to a hesitating reliance upon what might be a
political fabrication of the opposite party, yet at all events he was
detained from Klosterheim by some pressing necessity; and the period of
his absence, whether long or short, the Landgrave resolved to improve
in such a way as should make his return unavailing.

Of Maximilian the Landgrave had no personal knowledge; he had not so
much as seen him. But by his spies and intelligencers he was well aware
that he had been the chief combiner and animater of the imperial party
against himself in the university, and by his presence had given life
and confidence to that party in the city which did not expressly
acknowledge him as their head. He was aware of the favor which
Maximilian enjoyed with the emperor, and knew in general, from public
report, the brilliancy of those military services on which it had been
built. That he was likely to prove a formidable opponent, had he
continued in Klosterheim, the Landgrave knew too well; and upon the
advantage over him which he had now gained, though otherwise it should
prove only a temporary one, he determined to found a permanent obstacle
to the emperor's views. As a preliminary step, he prepared to crush all
opposition in Klosterheim; a purpose which was equally important to his
vengeance and his policy.

This system he opened with a series of tyrannical regulations, some of
which gave the more offence that they seemed wholly capricious and
insulting. The students were confined to their college bounds, except
at stated intervals; were subject to a military muster, or calling over
of names, every evening; were required to receive sentinels within the
extensive courts of their own college, and at length a small court of
guard; with numerous other occasional marks, as opportunities offered,
of princely discountenance and anger.

In the university, at that time, from local causes, many young men of
rank and family were collected. Those even who had taken no previous
part in the cause of the Klosterheimers were now roused to a sense of
personal indignity. And as soon as the light was departed, a large body
of them collected at the rooms of Count St. Aldenheim, whose rank
promised a suitable countenance to their purpose, whilst his youth
seemed a pledge for the requisite activity.

The count was a younger brother of the Palsgrave of Birkenfeld, and
maintained a sumptuous establishment in Klosterheim. Whilst the state
of the forest had allowed of hunting, hawking, or other amusements, no
man had exhibited so fine a stud of horses. No man had so large a train
of servants; no man entertained his friends with such magnificent
hospitalities. His generosity, his splendor, his fine person, and the
courtesy with which he relieved the humblest people from the oppression
of his rank, had given him a popularity amongst the students. His
courage had been tried in battle: but, after all, it was doubted
whether he were not of too luxurious a turn to undertake any cause
which called for much exertion; for the death of a rich abbess, who had
left the whole of an immense fortune to the count, as her favorite
nephew, had given him another motive for cultivating peaceful pursuits,
to which few men were, constitutionally, better disposed.

It was the time of day when the count was sure to be found at home with
a joyous party of friends. Magnificent chandeliers shed light upon a
table furnished with every description of costly wines produced in
Europe. According to the custom of the times, these were drunk in cups
of silver or gold; and an opportunity was thus gained, which St.
Aldenheim had not lost, of making a magnificent display of luxury
without ostentation. The ruby wine glittered in the jewelled goblet
which the count had raised to his lips, at the very moment when the
students entered.

"Welcome, friends," said the Count St. Aldenheim, putting down his cup,
"welcome always; but never more than at this hour, when wine and good
fellowship teach us to know the value of our youth."

"Thanks, count, from all of us. But the fellowship we seek at present
must be of another temper; our errand is of business."

"Then, friends, it shall rest until to-morrow. Not for the Papacy, to
which my good aunt would have raised a ladder for me of three steps,--
Abbot, Bishop, Cardinal,--would I renounce the Tokay of to-night for
the business of to-morrow. Come, gentlemen, let us drink my aunt's

"Memory, you would say, count."

"Memory, most learned friend,--you are right. Ah! gentlemen, she was a
woman worthy to be had in remembrance: for she invented a capital
plaster for gunshot wounds; and a jollier old fellow over a bottle of
Tokay there is not at this day in Suabia, or in the Swedish camp. And
that reminds me to ask, gentlemen, have any of you heard that Gustavus
Horn is expected at Falkenberg? Such news is astir; and be sure of
this--that, in such a case, we have cracked crowns to look for. I know
the man. And many a hard night's watching he has cost me; for which, if
you please, gentlemen, we will drink his health."

"But our business, dear count--"

"Shall wait, please God, until to-morrow; for this is the time when man
and beast repose."

"And truly, count, we are like--as you take things--to be numbered with
the last. Fie, Count St. Aldenheim! are you the man that would have us
suffer those things tamely which the Landgrave has begun?"

"And what now hath his serenity been doing? Doth he meditate to abolish
Burgundy? If so, my faith! but we are, as you observe, little above the
brutes. Or, peradventure, will he forbid laughing,--his highness being
little that way given himself?"

"Count St. Aldenheim! it pleases you to jest. But we are assured that
you know as well as we, and relish no better, the insults which the
Landgrave is heaping upon us all. For example, the sentinel at your own
door--doubtless you marked him? How liked you him?--"

"Methought he looked cold and blue. So I sent him a goblet of

"You did? and the little court of guard--you have seen _that?_ and
Colonel von Aremberg, how think you of him?"

"Why surely now he's a handsome man: pity he wears so fiery a scarf!
Shall we drink his health, gentlemen?"

"Health to the great fiend first!"

"As you please, gentlemen: it is for you to regulate the precedency.
But at least,

  Here's to my aunt--the jolly old sinner,
  That fasted each day, from breakfast to dinner!
  Saw any man yet such an orthodox fellow,
  In the morning when sober, in the evening when mellow?
        Saw any man yet," etc.

"Count, farewell!" interrupted the leader of the party; and all turned
round indignantly to leave the room.

"Farewell, gentlemen, as you positively will not drink my aunt's
health; though, after all, she was a worthy fellow; and her plaster for
gunshot wounds--"

But with that word the door closed upon the count's farewell words.
Suddenly taking up a hat which lay upon the ground, he exclaimed, "Ah!
behold! one of my friends has left his hat. Truly he may chance to want
it on a frosty night." And, so saying, he hastily rushed after the
party, whom he found already on the steps of the portico. Seizing the
hand of the leader, he whispered,

"Friend! do you know me so little as to apprehend my jesting in a
serious sense? Know that two of those whom you saw on my right hand are
spies of the Landgrave. Their visit to me, I question not, was
purposely made to catch some such discoveries as you, my friends, would
too surely have thrown in their way, but for my determined rattling. At
this time, I must not stay. Come again after midnight--farewell."

And then, in a voice to reach his guests within, he shouted,
"Gentlemen, my aunt, the abbot of Ingelheim,--abbess, I would say,--
held that her spurs were for her heels, and her beaver for her head.
Whereupon, baron, I return you your hat."

Meantime, the two insidious intelligencers of the Landgrave returned to
the palace with discoveries, not so ample as they were on the point of
surprising, but sufficient to earn thanks for themselves, and to guide
the counsels of their master.


That same night a full meeting of the most distinguished students was
assembled at the mansion of Count St. Aldenheim. Much stormy discussion
arose upon two points. First, upon the particular means by which they
were to pursue an end upon which all were unanimous. Upon that,
however, they were able for the present to arrive at a preliminary
arrangement with sufficient harmony. This was to repair in a body, with
Count St. Aldenheim at their head, to the castle, and there to demand
an audience of the Landgrave, at which a strong remonstrance was to be
laid before his highness, and their determination avowed to repel the
indignities thrust upon them, with their united forces. On the second
they were more at variance. It happened that many of the persons
present, and amongst them Count St. Aldenheim, were friends of
Maximilian. A few, on the other hand, there were, who, either from
jealousy of his distinguished merit, hated him; or, as good citizens of
Klosterheim, and connected by old family ties with the interests of
that town, were disposed to charge Maximilian with ambitious views of
private aggrandizement, at the expense of the city, grounded upon the
emperor's favor, or upon a supposed marriage with some lady of the
imperial house. For the story of Paulina's and Maximilian's mutual
attachment had transpired through many of the travellers; but with some
circumstances of fiction. In defending Maximilian upon those charges,
his friends had betrayed a natural warmth at the injustice offered to
his character; and the liveliness of the dispute on this point had
nearly ended in a way fatal to their unanimity on the immediate
question at issue. Good sense, however, and indignation at the
Landgrave, finally brought them round again to their first resolution;
and they separated with the unanimous intention of meeting at noon on
the following day, for the purpose of carrying it into effect.

But their unanimity on this point was of little avail; for at an early
hour on the following morning every one of those who had been present
at the meeting was arrested by a file of soldiers, on a charge of
conspiracy, and marched off to one of the city prisons. The Count St.
Aldenheim was himself the sole exception; and this was a distinction
odious to his generous nature, as it drew upon him a cloud of
suspicion. He was sensible that he would be supposed to owe his
privilege to some discovery or act of treachery, more or less, by which
he had merited the favor of the Landgrave. The fact was, that in the
indulgence shown to the count no motive had influenced the Landgrave
but a politic consideration of the great favor and influence which the
count's brother, the Palsgrave, at this moment enjoyed in the camp of
his own Swedish allies. On this principle of policy, the Landgrave
contented himself with placing St. Aldenheim under a slight military
confinement to his own house, under the guard of a few sentinels posted
in his hall.

For _him_, therefore, under the powerful protection which he
enjoyed elsewhere, there was no great anxiety entertained. But for the
rest, many of whom had no friends, or friends who did them the ill
service of enemies, being in fact regarded as enemies by the Landgrave
and his council, serious fears were entertained by the whole city.
Their situation was evidently critical. The Landgrave had them in his
power. He was notoriously a man of gloomy and malignant passions; had
been educated, as all European princes then were, in the notions of a
plenary and despotic right over the lives of his subjects, in any case
where they lifted their presumptuous thoughts to the height of
controlling the sovereign; and, even in circumstances which to his own
judgment might seem to confer much less discretionary power over the
rights of prisoners, he had been suspected of directing the course of
law and of punishment into channels that would not brook the public
knowledge. Darker dealings were imputed to him in the popular opinion.
Gloomy suspicions were muttered at the fireside, which no man dared
openly to avow; and in the present instance the conduct of the
Landgrave was every way fitted to fall in with the worst of the public
fears. At one time he talked of bringing his prisoners to a trial; at
another, he countermanded the preparations which he had made with that
view. Sometimes he spoke of banishing them in a body; and again he
avowed his intention to deal with their crime as treason. The result of
this moody and capricious tyranny was to inspire the most vague and
gloomy apprehensions into the minds of the prisoners, and to keep their
friends, with the whole city of Klosterheim, in a feverish state of

This state of things lasted for nearly three weeks; but at length a
morning of unexpected pleasure dawned upon the city. The prisoners were
in one night all released. In half an hour the news ran over the town
and the university; multitudes hastened to the college, anxious to
congratulate the prisoners on their deliverance from the double
afflictions of a dungeon and of continual insecurity. Mere curiosity
also prompted some, who took but little interest in the prisoners or
their cause, to inquire into the circumstances of so abrupt and
unexpected an act of grace. One principal court in the college was
filled with those who had come upon this errand of friendly interest or
curiosity. Nothing was to be seen but earnest and delighted faces,
offering or acknowledging congratulation; nothing to be heard but the
language of joy and pleasure--friendly or affectionate, according to
the sex or relation of the speaker. Some were talking of procuring
passports for leaving the town; some anticipating that this course
would not be left to their own choice, but imposed, as the price of his
clemency, by the Landgrave. All, in short, was hubbub and joyous
uproar, when suddenly a file of the city guard, commanded by an
officer, made their way rudely and violently through the crowd,
advancing evidently to the spot where the liberated prisoners were
collected in a group. At that moment the Count St. Aldenheim was
offering his congratulations. The friends to whom he spoke were too
confident in his honor and integrity to have felt even one moment's
misgiving upon the true causes which had sheltered him from the
Landgrave's wrath, and had thus given him a privilege so invidious in
the eyes of those who knew him not, and on that account so hateful in
his own. They knew his unimpeachable fidelity to the cause and
themselves, and were anxiously expressing their sense of it by the
warmth of their salutations at the very moment when the city guard
appeared. The count, on his part, was gayly reminding them to come that
evening and fulfil their engagement to drink his aunt of jovial memory
in her own Johannisberg, when the guard, shouldering aside the crowd,
advanced, and, surrounding the group of students, in an instant laid
the hands of summary arrest each upon the gentleman who stood next him.
The petty officer who commanded made a grasp at one of the most
distinguished in dress, and seized rudely upon the gold chain depending
from his neck. St. Aldenheim, who happened at the moment to be in
conversation with this individual, stung with a sudden indignation at
the ruffian eagerness of the men in thus abusing the privileges of
their office, and unable to control the generous ardor of his nature,
met this brutal outrage with a sudden blow at the officer's face,
levelled with so true an aim, that it stretched him at his length upon
the ground. No terrors of impending vengeance, had they been a thousand
times stronger than they were, could at this moment have availed to
stifle the cry of triumphant pleasure--long, loud, and unfaltering--
which indignant sympathy with the oppressed extorted from the crowd.
The pain and humiliation of the blow, exalted into a maddening
intensity by this popular shout of exultation, quickened the officer's
rage into an apparent frenzy. With white lips, and half suffocated with
the sudden revulsion of passion, natural enough to one who had never
before encountered even a momentary overture at opposition to the
authority with which he was armed, and for the first time in his life
found his own brutalities thrown back resolutely in his teeth, the man
rose, and, by signs rather than the inarticulate sounds which he meant
for words, pointed the violence of his party upon the Count St.
Aldenheim. With halberds bristling around him, the gallant young
nobleman was loudly summoned to surrender; but he protested
indignantly, drawing his sword and placing himself in an attitude of
defence, that he would die a thousand deaths sooner than surrender the
sword of his father, the Palsgrave, a prince of the empire, of
unspotted honor, and most ancient descent, into the hands of a jailer.

"Jailer!" exclaimed the officer, almost howling with passion.

"Why, then, captain of jailers, lieutenant, anspessade, or what you
will. What else than a jailer is he that sits watch upon the prison-
doors of honorable cavaliers?" Another shout of triumph applauded St.
Aldenheim; for the men who discharged the duties of the city guard at
that day, or "petty guard," as it was termed, corresponding in many of
their functions to the modern police, were viewed with contempt by all
parties; and most of all by the military, though in some respects
assimilated to them by discipline and costume. They were industriously
stigmatized as jailers; for which there was the more ground, as their
duties did in reality associate them pretty often with the jailer; and
in other respects they were a dissolute and ferocious body of men,
gathered not out of the citizens, but many foreign deserters, or
wretched runagates from the jail, or from the justice of the provost-
marshal in some distant camp. Not a man, probably, but was liable to be
reclaimed, in some or other quarter of Germany, as a capital
delinquent. Sometimes, even, they were actually detected, claimed, and
given up to the pursuit of justice, when it happened that the subjects
of their criminal acts were weighty enough to sustain an energetic
inquiry. Hence their reputation became worse than scandalous: the
mingled infamy of their calling, and the houseless condition of
wretchedness which had made it worth their acceptance, combined to
overwhelm them with public scorn; and this public abhorrence, which at
any rate awaited them, mere desperation led them too often to
countenance and justify by their conduct.

"Captain of jailers! do your worst, I say," again ejaculated St.
Aldenheim. Spite of his blinding passion, the officer hesitated to
precipitate himself into a personal struggle with the count, and thus,
perhaps, afford his antagonist an occasion for a further triumph. But
loudly and fiercely he urged on his followers to attack him. These
again, not partaking in the personal wrath of their leader, even whilst
pressing more and more closely upon St. Aldenheim, and calling upon him
to surrender, scrupled to inflict a wound, or too marked an outrage,
upon a cavalier whose rank was known to the whole city, and of late
most advantageously known for his own interests, by the conspicuous
immunity which it had procured him from the Landgrave. In vain did the
commanding officer insist, in vain did the count defy; menaces from
neither side availed to urge the guard into any outrage upon the person
of one who might have it in his power to retaliate so severely upon
themselves. They continued obstinately at a stand, simply preventing
his escape, when suddenly the tread of horses' feet arose upon the ear,
and through a long vista were discovered a body of cavalry from the
castle coming up at a charging pace to the main entrance of the
college. Without pulling up on the outside, as hitherto they had always
done, they expressed sufficiently the altered tone of the Landgrave's
feelings towards the old chartered interests of Klosterheim, by
plunging through the great archway of the college-gates; and then
making way at the same furious pace through the assembled crowds, who
broke rapidly away to the right and to the left, they reined up
directly abreast of the city guard and their prisoners.

"Colonel von Aremberg!" said St. Aldenheim, "I perceive your errand. To
a soldier I surrender myself; to this tyrant of dungeons, who has
betrayed more men, and cheated more gibbets of their due, than ever he
said _aves_, I will never lend an ear, though he should bear the
orders of every Landgrave in Germany."

"You do well," replied the colonel; "but for this man, count, he bears
no orders from any Landgrave, nor will ever again bear orders from the
Landgrave of X----. Gentlemen, you are all my prisoners; and you will
accompany me to the castle. Count St. Aldenheim, I am sorry that there
is no longer an exemption for yourself. Please to advance. If it will
be any gratification to you, these men" (pointing to the city guard)
"are prisoners also."

Here was a revolution of fortune that confounded everybody. The
detested guardians of the city jail were themselves to tenant it; or,
by a worse fate still, were to be consigned unpitied, and their case
unjudged, to the dark and pestilent dungeons which lay below the
Landgrave's castle. A few scattered cries of triumph were heard from
the crowd; but they were drowned in a tumult of conflicting feelings.
As human creatures, fallen under the displeasure of a despot with a
judicial power of torture to enforce his investigations, even
_they_ claimed some compassion. But there arose, to call off
attention from these less dignified objects of the public interest, a
long train of gallant cavaliers, restored so capriciously to liberty,
in order, as it seemed, to give the greater poignancy and bitterness to
the instant renewal of their captivity. This was the very frenzy of
despotism in its very moodiest state of excitement. Many began to think
the Landgrave mad. If so, what a dreadful fate might be anticipated for
the sons or representatives of so many noble families, gallant soldiers
the greater part of them, with a nobleman of princely blood at their
head, lying under the displeasure of a gloomy and infuriated tyrant,
with unlimited means of executing the bloodiest suggestions of his
vengeance. Then, in what way had the guardians of the jails come to be
connected with any even imaginary offence? Supposing the Landgrave
insane, his agents were not so; Colonel von Aremberg was a man of
shrewd and penetrating understanding; and this officer had clearly
spoken in the tone of one who, whilst announcing the sentence of
another, sympathizes entirely with the justice and necessity of its

Something dropped from the miserable leader of the city guard, in his
first confusion and attempt at self-defence, which rather increased
than explained the mystery. "The Masque! the Masque !" This was the
word which fell at intervals upon the ear of the listening crowd, as he
sometimes directed his words in the way of apology and deprecation to
Colonel von Aremberg, who did not vouchsafe to listen, or of occasional
explanation and discussion, as it was partly kept up between himself
and one of his nearest partners in the imputed transgression. Two or
three there might be seen in the crowd, whose looks avowed some nearer
acquaintance with this mysterious allusion than it would have been safe
to acknowledge. But, for the great body of spectators who accompanied
the prisoners and their escort to the gates of the castle, it was
pretty evident by their inquiring looks, and the fixed expression of
wonder upon their features, that the whole affair, and its
circumstances, were to them equally a subject of mystery for what was
past, and of blind terror for what was to come.


The cavalcade, with its charge of prisoners, and its attendant train of
spectators, halted at the gates of the _schloss_. This vast and
antique pile had now come to be surveyed with dismal and revolting
feelings, as the abode of a sanguinary despot. The dungeons and
labyrinths of its tortuous passages, its gloomy halls of audience, with
the vast corridors which surmounted the innumerable flights of stairs--
some noble, spacious, and in the Venetian taste, capable of admitting
the march of an army--some spiral, steep, and so unusually narrow as to
exclude two persons walking abreast; these, together with the numerous
chapels erected in it to different saints by devotees, male or female,
in the families of forgotten Landgraves through four centuries back;
and, finally, the tribunals, or _gericht-kammern_, for dispensing
justice, criminal or civil, to the city and territorial dependencies of
Klosterheim; all united to compose a body of impressive images,
hallowed by great historical remembrances, or traditional stories, that
from infancy to age dwelt upon the feelings of the Klosterheimers.
Terror and superstitious dread predominated undoubtedly in the total
impression; but the gentle virtues exhibited by a series of princes,
who had made this their favorite residence, naturally enough terminated
in mellowing the sternness of such associations into a religious awe,
not without its own peculiar attractions. But, at present, under the
harsh and repulsive character of the reigning prince, everything took a
new color from his un-genial habits. The superstitious legend, which
had so immemorially peopled the _schloss_ with spectral
apparitions, now revived in its earliest strength. Never was Germany
more dedicated to superstition in every shape than at this period. The
wild, tumultuous times, and the slight tenure upon which all men held
their lives, naturally threw their thoughts much upon the other world;
and communications with that, or its burthen of secrets, by every
variety of agencies, ghosts, divination, natural magic, palmistry, or
astrology, found in every city of the land more encouragement than

It cannot, therefore, be surprising that the well-known apparition of
the White Lady (a legend which affected Klosterheim through the
fortunes of its Landgraves, no less than several other princely houses
of Germany, descended from the same original stock) should about this
time have been seen in the dusk of the evening at some of the upper
windows in the castle, and once in a lofty gallery of the great chapel
during the vesper service. This lady, generally known by the name of
the White Lady Agnes, or Lady Agnes of Weissemburg, is supposed to have
lived in the thirteenth or fourteenth century, and from that time, even
to our own days, the current belief is, that on the eve of any great
crisis of good or evil fortune impending over the three or four
illustrious houses of Germany which trace their origin from her, she
makes her appearance in some conspicuous apartment, great baronial hall
or chapel, of their several palaces, sweeping along in white robes, and
a voluminous train. Her appearance of late in the _schloss_ of
Klosterheim, confidently believed by the great body of the people, was
hailed with secret pleasure, as forerunning some great change in the
Landgrave's family,--which was but another name for better days to
themselves, whilst of necessity it menaced some great evil to the
prince himself. Hope, therefore, was predominant in their prospects,
and in the supernatural intimations of coming changes;--yet awe and
deep religious feeling mingled with their hope. Of chastisement
approaching to the Landgrave they felt assured. Some dim religious
judgment, like that which brooded over the house of Œdipus, was now at
hand,--that was the universal impression. His gloomy asceticism of life
seemed to argue secret crimes: these were to be brought to light; for
these, and for his recent tyranny, prosperous as it had seemed for a
moment, chastisements were now impending; and something of the awe
which belonged to a prince so marked out for doom and fatal catastrophe
seemed to attach itself to his mansion, more especially as it was there
only that the signs and portents of the coming woe had revealed
themselves in the apparition of the White Lady.

Under this superstitious impression, many of the spectators paused at
the entrance of the castle, and lingered in the portal, though
presuming that the chamber of justice, according to the frank old usage
of Germany, was still open to all comers. Of this notion they were
speedily disabused by the sudden retreat of the few who had penetrated
into the first ante-chamber. These persons were harshly repelled in a
contumelious manner, and read to the astonished citizens another lesson
upon the new arts of darkness and concealment with which the Landgrave
found it necessary to accompany his new acts of tyranny.

Von Aremberg and his prisoners, thus left alone in one of the ante-
chambers, waited no long time before they were summoned to the presence
of the Landgrave.

After pacing along a number of corridors, all carpeted so as to return
no sound to their footsteps, they arrived in a little hall, from which
a door suddenly opened, upon a noiseless signal exchanged with an usher
outside, and displayed before them a long gallery, with a table and a
few seats arranged at the further end. Two gentlemen were seated at the
table, anxiously examining papers; in one of whom it was easy to
recognize the wily glance of the Italian minister; the other was the

This prince was now on the verge of fifty, strikingly handsome in his
features, and of imposing presence, from the union of a fine person
with manners unusually dignified. No man understood better the art of
restraining his least governable impulses of anger or malignity within
the decorums of his rank. And even his worst passions, throwing a
gloomy rather than terrific air upon his features, served less to alarm
and revolt, than to impress the sense of secret distrust. Of late,
indeed, from the too evident indications of the public hatred, his
sallies of passion had become wilder and more ferocious, and his self-
command less habitually conspicuous. But, in general, a gravity of
insidious courtesy disguised from all but penetrating eyes the
treacherous purpose of his heart.

The Landgrave bowed to the Count St. Aldenheim, and, pointing to a
chair, begged him to understand that he wished to do nothing
inconsistent with his regard for the Palsgrave his brother; and would
be content with his parole of honor to pursue no further any conspiracy
against himself, in which he might too thoughtlessly have engaged, and
with his retirement from the city of Klosterheim.

The Count St. Aldenheim replied that he and all the other cavaliers
present, according to his belief, stood upon the same footing: that
they had harbored no thought of conspiracy, unless that name could
attach to a purpose of open expostulation with his highness on the
outraged privileges of their corporation as a university; that he
wished not for any distinction of treatment in a case when all were
equal offenders, or none at all; and, finally, that he believed the
sentence of exile from Klosterheim would be cheerfully accepted by all
or most of those present.

Adorni, the minister, shook his head, and glanced significantly at the
Landgrave, during this answer. The Landgrave coldly replied that if he
could suppose the count to speak sincerely, it was evident that he was
little aware to what length his companions, or some of them, had pushed
their plots. "Here are the proofs!" and he pointed to the papers.

"And now, gentlemen," said he, turning to the students, "I marvel that
you, being cavaliers of family, and doubtless holding yourselves men of
honor, should beguile these poor knaves into certain ruin, whilst
yourselves could reap nothing but a brief mockery of the authority
which you could not hope to evade."

Thus called upon, the students and the city guard told their tale; in
which no contradictions could be detected. The city prison was not
particularly well secured against attacks from without. To prevent,
therefore, any sudden attempt at a rescue, the guard kept watch by
turns. One man watched two hours, traversing the different passages of
the prison; and was then relieved. At three o'clock on the preceding
night, pacing a winding lobby, brightly illuminated, the man who kept
that watch was suddenly met by a person wearing a masque, and armed at
all points. His surprise and consternation were great, and the more so
as the steps of The Masque were soundless, though the floor was a stone
one. The guard, but slightly prepared to meet an attack, would,
however, have resisted or raised an alarm; but The Masque, instantly
levelling a pistol at his head with one hand, with the other had thrown
open the door of an empty cell, indicating to the man by signs that he
must enter it. With this intimation he had necessarily complied; and
The Masque had immediately turned the key upon him. Of what followed he
knew nothing until aroused by his comrades setting him at liberty,
after some time had been wasted in searching for him.

The students had a pretty uniform tale to report. A Masque, armed cap-
a-pie, as described by the guard, had visited each of their cells in
succession; had instructed them by signs to dress, and then, pointing
to the door, by a series of directions all communicated in the same
dumb show, had assembled them together, thrown open the prison door,
and, pointing to their college, had motioned them thither. This motion
they had seen no cause to disobey, presuming their dismissal to be
according to the mode which best pleased his highness; and not ill-
pleased at finding so peaceful a termination to a summons which at
first, from its mysterious shape and the solemn hour of night, they had
understood as tending to some more formidable issue.

It was observed that neither the Landgrave nor his minister treated
this report of so strange a transaction with the scorn which had been
anticipated. Both listened attentively, and made minute inquiries as to
every circumstance of the dress and appointments of the mysterious
Masque. What was his height? By what road, or in what direction, had he
disappeared? These questions answered, his highness and his minister
consulted a few minutes together; and then, turning to Von Aremberg,
bade him for the present dismiss the prisoners to their homes; an act
of grace which seemed likely to do him service at the present crisis;
but at the same time to take sufficient security for their
reappearance. This done, the whole body were liberated.


All Klosterheim was confounded by the story of the mysterious Masque.
For the story had been rapidly dispersed; and on the same day it was
made known in another shape. A notice was affixed to the walls of
several public places in these words:

"Landgrave, beware! henceforth not you, but I, govern in Klosterheim.

(Signed) THE MASQUE."

And this was no empty threat. Very soon it became apparent that some
mysterious agency was really at work to counteract the Landgrave's
designs. Sentinels were carried off from solitary posts. Guards, even
of a dozen men, were silently trepanned from their stations. By and by,
other attacks were made, even more alarming, upon domestic security.
Was there a burgomaster amongst the citizens who had made himself
conspicuously a tool of the Landgrave, or had opposed the imperial
interest? He was carried off in the night-time from his house, and
probably from the city. At first this was an easy task. Nobody
apprehending any special danger to himself, no special preparations
were made to meet it. But as it soon became apparent in what cause The
Masque was moving, every person who knew himself obnoxious to attack,
took means to face it. Guards were multiplied; arms were repaired in
every house; alarm-bells were hung. For a time the danger seemed to
diminish. The attacks were no longer so frequent. Still, wherever they
were attempted, they succeeded just as before. It seemed, in fact, that
all the precautions taken had no other effect than to warn The Masque
of his own danger, and to place him more vigilantly on his guard. Aware
of new defences raising, it seemed that he waited to see the course
they would take; once master of that, he was ready (as it appeared) to
contend with them as successfully as before.

Nothing could exceed the consternation of the city. Those even who did
not fall within the apparent rule which governed the attacks of The
Masque felt a sense of indefinite terror hanging over them. Sleep was
no longer safe; the seclusion of a man's private hearth, the secrecy of
bed-rooms, was no longer a protection. Locks gave way, bars fell, doors
flew open, as if by magic, before him. Arms seemed useless. In some
instances a party of as many as ten or a dozen persons had been removed
without rousing disturbance in the neighborhood. Nor was this the only
circumstance of mystery. Whither he could remove his victims was even
more incomprehensible than the means by which he succeeded. All was
darkness and fear; and the whole city was agitated with panic.

It began now to be suggested that a nightly guard should be
established, having fixed stations or points of rendezvous, and at
intervals parading the streets. This was cheerfully assented to; for,
after the first week of the mysterious attacks, it began to be observed
that the imperial party were attacked indiscriminately with the
Swedish. Many students publicly declared that they had been dogged
through a street or two by an armed Masque; others had been suddenly
confronted by him in unfrequented parts of the city, in the dead of
night, and were on the point of being attacked, when some alarm, or the
approach of distant footsteps, had caused him to disappear. The
students, indeed, more particularly, seemed objects of attack; and as
they were pretty generally attached to the imperial interest, the
motives of The Masque were no longer judged to be political. Hence it
happened that the students came forward in a body, and volunteered as
members of the nightly guard. Being young, military for the most part
in their habits, and trained to support the hardships of night-
watching, they seemed peculiarly fitted for the service; and, as the
case was no longer of a nature to awaken the suspicions of the
Landgrave, they were generally accepted and enrolled; and with the more
readiness, as the known friends of that prince came forward at the same

A night-watch was thus established, which promised security to the
city, and a respite from their mysterious alarms. It was distributed
into eight or ten divisions, posted at different points, whilst a
central one traversed the whole city at stated periods, and overlooked
the local stations. Such an arrangement was wholly unknown at that time
in every part of Germany, and was hailed with general applause.

To the astonishment, however, of everybody, it proved wholly
ineffectual. Houses were entered as before; the college chambers proved
no sanctuary; indeed, they were attacked with a peculiar obstinacy,
which was understood to express a spirit of retaliation for the
alacrity of the students in combining--for the public protection.
People were carried off as before. And continual notices affixed to the
gates of the college, the convents, or the _schloss_, with the
signature of _The Masque_, announced to the public his determination
to persist, and his contempt of the measures organized against him.

The alarm of the citizens now became greater than ever. The danger was
one which courage could not face, nor prudence make provision for, nor
wiliness evade. All alike, who had once been marked out for attack,
sooner or later fell victims to the obstinacy of this mysterious foe.
To have received even an individual warning, availed them not at all.
Sometimes it happened that, having received notice of suspicious
circumstances indicating that The Masque had turned his attention upon
themselves, they would assemble round their dwellings, or in their very
chambers, a band of armed men sufficient to set the danger at defiance.
But no sooner had they relaxed in these costly and troublesome
arrangements, no sooner was the sense of peril lulled, and an opening
made for their unrelenting enemy, than he glided in with his customary
success; and in a morning or two after, it was announced to the city
that they also were numbered with his victims.

Even yet it seemed that something remained in reserve to augment the
terrors of the citizens, and push them to excess. Hitherto there had
been no reason to think that any murderous violence had occurred in the
mysterious rencontres between The Masque and his victims. But of late,
in those houses, or college chambers, from which the occupiers had
disappeared, traces of bloodshed were apparent in some instances, and
of ferocious conflict in others. Sometimes a profusion of hair was
scattered on the ground; sometimes fragments of dress, or splinters of
weapons. Everything marked that on both sides, as this mysterious
agency advanced, the passions increased in intensity; determination and
murderous malignity on the one side, and the fury of resistance on the

At length the last consummation was given to the public panic; for, as
if expressly to put an end to all doubts upon the spirit in which he
conducted his warfare, in one house, where the bloodshed had been so
great as to argue some considerable loss of life, a notice was left
behind in the following terms: "Thus it is that I punish resistance;
mercy to a cheerful submission; but henceforth death to the obstinate!

What was to be done? Some counselled a public deprecation of his wrath,
addressed to The Masque. But this, had it even offered any chance of
succeeding, seemed too abject an act of abasement to become a large
city. Under any circumstances, it was too humiliating a confession
that, in a struggle with one man (for no more had avowedly appeared
upon the scene), they were left defeated and at his mercy. A second
party counselled a treaty; would it not be possible to learn the
ultimate objects of The Masque; and, if such as seemed capable of being
entertained with honor, to concede to him his demands, in exchange for
security to the city, and immunity from future molestation? It was true
that no man knew where to seek him: personally he was hidden from their
reach; but everybody knew how to find him: he was amongst them; in
their very centre; and whatever they might address to him in a public
notice would be sure of speedily reaching his eye.

After some deliberation, a summons was addressed to The Masque, and
exposed on the college gates, demanding of him a declaration of his
purposes, and the price which he expected for suspending them. The next
day an answer appeared in the same situation, avowing the intention of
The Masque to come forward with ample explanation of his motives at a
proper crisis, till which, "more blood must flow in Klosterheim."


Meantime the Landgrave was himself perplexed and alarmed. Hitherto he
had believed himself possessed of all the intrigues, plots, or
conspiracies, which threatened his influence in the city. Among the
students and among the citizens he had many spies, who communicated to
him whatsoever they could learn, which was sometimes more than the
truth, and sometimes a good deal less. But now he was met by a terrific
antagonist, who moved in darkness, careless of his power, inaccessible
to his threats, and apparently as reckless as himself of the quality of
his means.

Adorni, with all his Venetian subtlety, was now as much at fault as
everybody else. In vain had they deliberated together, day after day,
upon his probable purposes; in vain had they schemed to intercept his
person, or offered high rewards for tracing his retreats. Snares had
been laid for him in vain; every wile had proved abortive, every plot
had been counterplotted. And both involuntarily confessed that they had
now met with their master.

Vexed and confounded, fears for the future struggling with
mortification for the past, the Landgrave was sitting, late at night,
in the long gallery where he usually held his councils. He was
reflecting with anxiety on the peculiarly unpropitious moment at which
his new enemy had come upon the stage; the very crisis of the struggle
between the Swedish and imperial interest in Klosterheim, which would
ultimately determine his own place and value in the estimate of his new
allies. He was not of a character to be easily duped by mystery. Yet he
could not but acknowledge to himself that there was something
calculated to impress awe, and the sort of fear which is connected with
the supernatural, in the sudden appearances, and vanishings as sudden,
of The Masque. He came, no one could guess whence; retreated, no one
could guess whither; was intercepted, and yet eluded arrest; and if
half the stories in circulation could be credited, seemed inaudible in
his steps, at pleasure to make himself invisible and impalpable to the
very hands stretched out to detain him. Much of this, no doubt, was
wilful exaggeration, or the fictions of fears self-deluded. But enough
remained, after every allowance, to justify an extraordinary interest
in so singular a being; and the Landgrave could not avoid wishing that
chance might offer an opportunity to himself of observing him.

Profound silence had for some time reigned throughout the castle. A
clock which stood in the room broke it for a moment by striking the
quarters; and, raising his eyes, the Landgrave perceived that it was
past two. He rose to retire for the night, and stood for a moment
musing with one hand resting upon the table. A momentary feeling of awe
came across him, as his eyes travelled through the gloom at the lower
end of the room, on the sudden thought, that a being so mysterious, and
capable of piercing through so many impediments to the interior of
every mansion in Klosterheim, was doubtless likely enough to visit the
castle; nay, it would be no ways improbable that he should penetrate to
this very room. What bars had yet been found sufficient to repel him?
And who could pretend to calculate the hour of his visit? This night
even might be the time which he would select. Thinking thus, the
Landgrave was suddenly aware of a dusky figure entering the room by a
door at the lower end. The room had the length and general proportions
of a gallery, and the further end was so remote from the candles which
stood on the Landgrave's table, that the deep gloom was but slightly
penetrated by their rays. Light, however, there was, sufficient to
display the outline of a figure slowly and inaudibly advancing up the
room. It could not be said that the figure advanced stealthily; on the
contrary, its motion, carriage, and bearing, were in the highest degree
dignified and solemn. But the feeling of a stealthy purpose was
suggested by the perfect silence of its tread. The motion of a shadow
could not be more noiseless. And this circumstance confirmed the
Landgrave's first impression, that now he was on the point of
accomplishing his recent wish, and meeting that mysterious being who
was the object of so much awe, and the author of so far-spread a panic.

He was right; it was indeed The Masque, armed cap-a-pie as usual. He
advanced with an equable and determined step in the direction of the
Landgrave. Whether he saw his highness, who stood a little in the shade
of a large cabinet, could not be known; the Landgrave doubted not that
he did. He was a prince of firm nerves by constitution, and of great
intrepidity; yet, as one who shared in the superstitions of his age, he
could not be expected entirely to suppress an emotion of indefinite
apprehension as he now beheld the solemn approach of a being, who, by
some unaccountable means, had trepanned so many different individuals
from so many different houses, most of them prepared for self-defence,
and fenced in by the protection of stone walls, locks, and bars.

The Landgrave, however, lost none of his presence of mind; and, in the
midst of his discomposure, as his eye fell upon the habiliments of this
mysterious person, and the arms and military accoutrements which he
bore, naturally his thoughts settled upon the more earthly means of
annoyance which this martial apparition carried about him. The
Landgrave was himself unarmed; he had no arms even within reach, nor
was it possible for him in his present situation very speedily to
summon assistance. With these thoughts passing rapidly through his
mind, and sensible that, in any view of his nature and powers, the
being now in his presence was a very formidable antagonist, the
Landgrave could not but feel relieved from a burden of anxious tremors,
when he saw The Masque suddenly turn towards a door which opened about
half-way up the room, and led into a picture-gallery at right angles
with the room in which they both were.

Into the picture-gallery The Masque passed at the same solemn pace,
without apparently looking at the Landgrave. This movement seemed to
argue, either that he purposely declined an interview with the
prince,--and _that_ might argue fear,--or that he had not been aware of
his presence. Either supposition, as implying something of human
infirmity, seemed incompatible with supernatural faculties. Partly upon
this consideration, and partly, perhaps, because he suddenly
recollected that the road taken by The Masque would lead him directly
past the apartments of the old seneschal, where assistance might be
summoned, the Landgrave found his spirits at this moment revive. The
consciousness of rank and birth also came to his aid, and that sort of
disdain of the aggressor, which possesses every man, brave or cowardly
alike, within the walls of his own dwelling. Unarmed as he was, he
determined to pursue, and perhaps to speak.

The restraints of high breeding, and the ceremonious decorum of his
rank, involuntarily checked the Landgrave from pursuing with a hurried
pace. He advanced with his habitual gravity of step, so that The Masque
was half-way down the gallery before the prince entered it. This
gallery, furnished on each side with pictures, of which some were
portraits, was of great length. The Masque and the prince continued to
advance, preserving a pretty equal distance. It did not appear by any
sign or gesture that The Masque was aware of the Landgrave's pursuit.
Suddenly, however, he paused, drew his sword, halted; the Landgrave
also halted; then, turning half round, and waving with his hand to the
prince so as to solicit his attention, slowly The Masque elevated the
point of his sword to the level of a picture--it was the portrait of a
young cavalier in a hunting-dress, blooming with youth and youthful
energy. The Landgrave turned pale, trembled, and was ruefully agitated.
The Masque kept his sword in its position for half a minute; then
dropping it, shook his head, and raised his hand with a peculiar
solemnity of expression. The Landgrave recovered himself, his features
swelled with passion, he quickened his step, and again followed in

The Masque, however, had by this time turned out of the gallery into a
passage, which, after a single curve, terminated in the private room of
the seneschal. Believing that his ignorance of the localities was thus
leading him on to certain capture, the Landgrave pursued more
leisurely. The passage was dimly lighted; every image floated in a
cloudy obscurity; and, upon reaching the curve, it seemed to the
Landgrave that The Masque was just on the point of entering the
seneschal's room. No other door was heard to open; and he felt assured
that he had seen the lofty figure of The Masque gliding into that
apartment. He again quickened his steps; a light burned within, the
door stood ajar; quietly the prince pushed it open, and entered with
the fullest assurance that he should here at length overtake the object
of his pursuit.

Great was his consternation upon finding in a room, which presented no
outlet, not a living creature except the elderly seneschal, who lay
quietly sleeping in his arm-chair. The first impulse of the prince was
to awaken him roughly, that he might summon aid and cooperate in the
search. One glance at a paper upon the table arrested his hand. He saw
a name written there, interesting to his fears beyond all others in the
world. His eye was riveted as by fascination to the paper. He read one
instant. That satisfied him that the old seneschal must be overcome by
no counterfeit slumbers, when he could thus surrender a secret of
capital importance to the gaze of that eye from which, above all
others, he must desire to screen it. One moment he deliberated with
himself; the old man stirred, and muttered in his dreams; the Landgrave
seized the paper, and stood irresolute for an instant whether to await
his wakening, and authoritatively to claim what so nearly concerned his
own interest, or to retreat with it from the room before the old man
should be aware of the prince's visit, or his own loss.

But the seneschal, wearied perhaps with some unusual exertion, had but
moved in his chair; again he composed himself to deep slumber, made
deeper by the warmth of a hot fire. The raving of the wind, as it
whistled round this angle of the _schloss_, drowned all sounds
that could have disturbed him. The Landgrave secreted the paper; nor
did any sense of his rank and character interpose to check him in an
act so unworthy of an honorable cavalier. Whatever crimes he had
hitherto committed or authorized, this was, perhaps, the first instance
in which he had offended by an instance of petty knavery. He retired
with the stealthy pace of a robber, anxious to evade detection, and
stole back to his own apartments with an overpowering interest in the
discovery he had made so accidentally, and with an anxiety to
investigate it further, which absorbed for the time all other cares,
and banished from his thoughts even The Masque himself, whose sudden
appearance and retreat had, in fact, thrown into his hands the secret
which now so exclusively disturbed him.


Meantime, The Masque continued to harass the Landgrave, to baffle many
of his wiles, and to neutralize his most politic schemes. In one of the
many placards which he affixed to the castle gates, he described the
Landgrave as ruling in Klosterheim by day, and himself by night.
Sarcasms such as these, together with the practical insults which The
Masque continually offered to the Landgrave, by foiling his avowed
designs, embittered the prince's existence. The injury done to his
political schemes of ambition at this particular crisis was
irreparable. One after one, all the agents and tools by whom he could
hope to work upon the counsels of the Klosterheim authorities had been
removed. Losing _their_ influence, he had lost every prop of his
own. Nor was this all; he was reproached by the general voice of the
city as the original cause of a calamity which he had since shown
himself impotent to redress. He it was, and his cause, which had drawn
upon the people so fatally trepanned the hostility of the mysterious
Masque. But for his highness, all the burgomasters, captains, city-
officers, &c., would now be sleeping in their beds; whereas, the best
late which could be surmised for the most of them was, that they were
sleeping in dungeons; some, perhaps, in their graves. And thus the
Landgrave's cause not merely lost its most efficient partisans, but,
through their loss, determined the wavering against him, alienated the
few who remained of his own faction, and gave strength and
encouragement to the general dissatisfaction which had so long

Thus it happened that the conspirators, or suspected conspirators,
could not be brought to trial, or to punishment without a trial. Any
spark of fresh irritation falling upon the present combustible temper
of the populace, would not fail to produce an explosion. Fresh
conspirators, and real ones, were thus encouraged to arise. The
university, the city, teemed with plots. The government of the prince
was exhausted with the growing labor of tracing and counteracting them.
And, by little and little, matters came into such a condition, that the
control of the city, though still continuing in the Landgrave's hands,
was maintained by mere martial force, and at the very point of the
sword. And, in no long time, it was feared, that with so general a
principle of hatred to combine the populace, and so large a body of
military students to head them, the balance of power, already
approaching to an equipoise, would be turned against the Landgrave's
government. And, in the best event, his highness could now look for
nothing from their love. All might be reckoned for lost that could not
be extorted by force.

This state of things had been brought about by the dreadful Masque,
seconded, no doubt, by those whom he had emboldened and aroused within;
and, as the climax and crowning injury of the whole, every day unfolded
more and more the vast importance which Klosterheim would soon possess
as the centre and key of the movements to be anticipated in the coming
campaign. An electoral cap would perhaps reward the services of the
Landgrave in the general pacification, if he could present himself at
the German Diet as the possessor _de facto_ of Klosterheim and her
territorial dependences, and with some imperfect possession _de
jure_; still more, if he could plead the merit of having brought
over this state, so important from local situation, as a willing ally
to the Swedish interest. But to this a free vote of the city was an
essential preliminary; and from that, through the machinations of The
Masque, he was now further than ever.

The temper of the prince began to give way under these accumulated
provocations. An enemy forever aiming his blows with the deadliest
effect; forever stabbing in the dark, yet charmed and consecrated from
all retaliation; always met with, never to be found! The Landgrave
ground his teeth, clenched his fists, with spasms of fury. lie
quarrelled with his ministers; swore at the officers; cursed the
sentinels; and the story went through Klosterheim that he had kicked

Certain it was, under whatever stimulus, that Adorni put forth much
more zeal at last for the apprehension of The Masque. Come what would,
he publicly avowed that six days more should not elapse without the
arrest of this "ruler of Klosterheim by night." He had a scheme for the
purpose, a plot baited for snaring him; and he pledged his reputation
as a minister and an intriguer upon its entire success.

On the following day, invitations were issued by Adorni, in his
highness' name, to a masqued ball on that day week. The fashion of
masqued entertainments had been recently introduced from Italy into
this sequestered nook of Germany; and here, as there, it had been
abused to purposes of criminal intrigue.

Spite of the extreme unpopularity of the Landgrave with the low and
middle classes of the city, among the highest his little court still
continued to furnish a central resort to the rank and high blood
converged in such unusual proportion within the walls of Klosterheim.
The _schloss_ was still looked to as the standard and final court
of appeal in all matters of taste, elegance, and high breeding. Hence
it naturally happened that everybody with any claims to such an honor
was anxious to receive a ticket of admission;--it became the test for
ascertaining a person's pretensions to mix in the first circles of
society; and with this extraordinary zeal for obtaining an admission
naturally increased the minister's rigor and fastidiousness in pressing
the usual investigation of the claimant's qualifications. Much offence
was given on both sides, and many sneers hazarded at the minister
himself, whose pretensions were supposed to be of the lowest
description. But the result was, that exactly twelve hundred cards were
issued; these were regularly numbered, and below the device, engraved
upon the card, was impressed a seal, bearing the arms and motto of the
Landgraves of X.

Every precaution was taken for carrying into effect the scheme, with
all its details, as concerted by Adorni; and the third day of the
following week was announced as the day of the expected _fête_.


The morning of the important day at length arrived, and all Klosterheim
was filled with expectation. Even those who were not amongst the
invited shared in the anxiety; for a great scene was looked for, and
perhaps some tragical explosion. The undertaking of Adorni was known;
it had been published abroad that he was solemnly pledged to effect the
arrest of The Masque; and by many it was believed that he would so far
succeed, at the least, as to bring on a public collision with that
extraordinary personage. As to the issue most people were doubtful, The
Masque having hitherto so uniformly defeated the best-laid schemes for
his apprehension. But it was hardly questioned that the public
challenge offered to him by Adorni would succeed in bringing him before
the public eye. This challenge had taken the shape of a public notice,
posted up in the places where The Masque had usually affixed his own;
and it was to the following effect: "That the noble strangers now in
Klosterheim, and others invited to the Landgrave's _fête_, who might
otherwise feel anxiety in presenting themselves at the _schloss_, from
an apprehension of meeting with the criminal disturber of the public
peace, known by the appellation of The Masque, were requested by
authority to lay aside all apprehensions of that nature, as the most
energetic measures had been adopted to prevent or chastise upon the
spot any such insufferable intrusion; and for The Masque himself, if he
presumed to disturb the company by his presence, he would be seized
where he stood, and, without further inquiry, committed to the provost-
marshal for instant execution;--on which account, all persons were
warned carefully to forbear from intrusions of simple curiosity, since
in the hurry of the moment it might be difficult to make the requisite

It was anticipated that this insulting notice would not long go without
an answer from The Masque. Accordingly, on the following morning, a
placard, equally conspicuous, was posted up in the same public places,
side by side with that to which it replied. It was couched in the
following terms: "That he who ruled by night in Klosterheim could not
suppose himself to be excluded from a nocturnal _fete_ given by
any person in that city. That he must be allowed to believe himself
invited by the prince, and would certainly have the honor to accept his
highness' obliging summons. With regard to the low personalities
addressed to himself, that he could not descend to notice anything of
that nature, coming from a man so abject as Adorni, until he should
first have cleared himself from the imputation of having been a tailor
in Venice at the time of the Spanish conspiracy in 1618, and banished
from that city, not for any suspicions that could have settled upon him
and his eight journeymen as making up one conspirator, but on account
of some professional tricks in making a doublet for the Doge. For the
rest, he repeated that he would not fail to meet the Landgrave and his
honorable company."

All Klosterheim laughed at this public mortification offered to
Adorni's pride; for that minister had incurred the public dislike as a
foreigner, and their hatred on the score of private character. Adorni
himself foamed at the mouth with rage, impotent for the present, but
which he prepared to give deadly effect to at the proper time. But,
whilst it laughed, Klosterheim also trembled. Some persons, indeed,
were of opinion that the answer of The Masque was a mere sportive
effusion of malice or pleasantry from the students, who had suffered so
much by his annoyances. But the majority, amongst whom was Adorni
himself, thought otherwise. Apart even from the reply, or the insult
which had provoked it, the general impression was, that The Masque
would not have failed in attending a festival, which, by the very
costume which it imposed, offered so favorable a cloak to his own
mysterious purposes. In this persuasion, Adorni took all the
precautions which personal vengeance and Venetian subtlety could
suggest, for availing himself of the single opportunity that would,
perhaps, ever be allowed him for entrapping this public enemy, who had
now become a private one to himself.

These various incidents had furnished abundant matter for conversation
in Klosterheim, and had carried the public expectation to the highest
pitch of anxiety, some time before the great evening arrived. Leisure
had been allowed for fear, and every possible anticipation of the
wildest character, to unfold themselves. Hope, even, amongst many, was
a predominant sensation. Ladies were preparing for hysterics.
Cavaliers, besides the swords which they wore as regular articles of
dress, were providing themselves with stilettoes against any sudden
rencontre hand to hand, or any unexpected surprise. Armorers and
furbishers of weapons were as much in request as the more appropriate
artists who minister to such festal occasions. These again were
summoned to give their professional aid and attendance to an extent so
much out of proportion to their numbers and their natural power of
exertion, that they were harassed beyond all physical capacity of
endurance, and found their ingenuity more heavily taxed to find
personal substitutes amongst the trades most closely connected with
their own, than in any of the contrivances which more properly fell
within the business of their own art. Tailors, horse-milliners,
shoemakers, friseurs, drapers, mercers, tradesmen of every description,
and servants of every class and denomination, were summoned to a
sleepless activity--each in his several vocation, or in some which he
undertook by proxy. Artificers who had escaped on political motives
from Nuremburg and other imperial cities, or from the sack of
Magdeburg, now showed their ingenuity, and their readiness to earn the
bread of industry; and if Klosterheim resembled a hive in the close-
packed condition of its inhabitants, it was now seen that the
resemblance held good hardly less in the industry which, upon a
sufficient excitement, it was able to develop. But, in the midst of all
this stir, din, and unprecedented activity, whatever occupation each
man found for his thoughts or for his hands in his separate
employments, all hearts were mastered by one domineering interest--the
approaching collision of the Landgrave, before his assembled court,
with the mysterious agent who had so long troubled his repose.


The day at length arrived; the guards were posted in unusual strength;
the pages of honor, and servants in their state-dresses, were drawn up
in long and gorgeous files along the sides of the vast Gothic halls,
which ran in continued succession from the front of the _schloss_
to the more modern saloons in the rear; bands of military music,
collected from amongst the foreign prisoners of various nations at
Vienna, were stationed in their national costume--Italian, Hungarian,
Turkish, or Croatian--in the lofty galleries or corridors which ran
round the halls; and the deep thunders of the kettle-drums, relieved by
cymbals and wind-instruments, began to fill the mazes of the palace as
early as seven o'clock in the evening; for at that hour, according to
the custom then established in Germany, such entertainments commenced.
Repeated volleys from long lines of musketeers, drawn up in the square,
and at the other entrances of the palace, with the deep roar of
artillery, announced the arrival of the more distinguished visitors;
amongst whom it was rumored that several officers in supreme command
from the Swedish camp, already collected in the neighborhood, were this
night coming _incognito_--availing themselves of their masques to
visit the Landgrave, and improve the terms of their alliance, whilst
they declined the risk which they might have brought on themselves by
too open a visit, in their own avowed characters and persons, to a town
so unsettled in its state of feeling, and so friendly to the emperor,
as Klosterheim had notoriously become.

From seven to nine o'clock, in one unbroken line of succession,
gorgeous parties streamed along through the halls, a distance of full
half a quarter of a mile, until they were checked by the barriers
erected at the entrance to the first of the entertaining rooms, as the
station for examining the tickets of admission. This duty was fulfilled
in a way which, though really rigorous in the extreme, gave no
inhospitable annoyance to the visitors; the barriers themselves
concealed their jealous purpose of hostility, and in a manner disavowed
the secret awe and mysterious terror which brooded over the evening, by
the beauty of their external appearance. They presented a triple line
of gilt lattice-work, rising to a great altitude, and connected with
the fretted roof by pendent draperies of the most magnificent velvet,
intermingled with banners and heraldic trophies suspended from the
ceiling, and at intervals slowly agitated in the currents which now and
then swept these aerial heights. In the centre of the lattice opened a
single gate, on each side of which were stationed a couple of sentinels
armed to the teeth; and this arrangement was repeated three times, so
rigorous was the vigilance employed. At the second of the gates, where
the bearer of a forged ticket would have found himself in a sort of
trap, with absolutely no possibility of escape, every individual of
each successive party presented his card of admission, and, fortunately
for the convenience of the company, in consequence of the particular
precaution used, one moment's inspection sufficed. The cards had been
issued to the parties invited not very long before the time of
assembling; consequently, as each was sealed with a private seal of the
Landgrave's, sculptured elaborately with his armorial bearings, forgery
would have been next to impossible.

These arrangements, however, were made rather to relieve the company
from the too powerful terrors which haunted them, and to possess them
from the first with a sense of security, than for the satisfaction of
the Landgrave or his minister. They were sensible that The Masque had
it in his power to command an access from the interior--and this it
seemed next to impossible altogether to prevent; nor was _that_
indeed the wish of Adorni, but rather to facilitate his admission, and
afterwards, when satisfied of his actual presence, to bar up all
possibility of retreat. Accordingly, the interior arrangements, though
perfectly prepared, and ready to close up at the word of command, were
for the present but negligently enforced.

Thus stood matters at nine o'clock, by which time upwards of a thousand
persons had assembled; and in ten minutes more an officer reported that
the whole twelve hundred were present, without one defaulter.

The Landgrave had not yet appeared, his minister having received the
company; nor was he expected to appear for an hour--in reality, he was
occupied in political discussion with some of the illustrious
_incognitos_. But this did not interfere with the progress of the
festival; and at this moment nothing could be more impressive than the
far-stretching splendors of the spectacle.

In one immense saloon, twelve hundred cavaliers and ladies, attired in
the unrivalled pomp of that age, were arranging themselves for one of
the magnificent Hungarian dances, which the emperor's court at Vienna
had transplanted to the camp of Wallenstein, and thence to all the
great houses of Germany. Bevies of noble women, in every variety of
fanciful costume, but in each considerable group presenting deep masses
of black or purple velvet, on which, with the most striking advantage
of radiant relief, lay the costly pearl ornaments, or the sumptuous
jewels, so generally significant in those times of high ancestral
pretensions, intermingled with the drooping plumes of martial
cavaliers, who presented almost universally the soldierly air of
frankness which belongs to active service, mixed with the Castilian
_grandezza_ that still breathed through the camps of Germany,
emanating originally from the magnificent courts of Brussels, of
Madrid, and of Vienna, and propagated to this age by the links of
Tilly, the Bavarian commander, and Wallenstein, the more than princely
commander for the emperor. Figures and habiliments so commanding were
of themselves enough to fill the eye and occupy the imagination; but,
beyond all this, feelings of awe and mystery, under more shapes than
one, brooded over the whole scene, and diffused a tone of suspense and
intense excitement throughout the vast assembly. It was known that
illustrious strangers were present _incognito_. There now began to
be some reason for anticipating a great battle in the neighborhood. The
men were now present, perhaps, the very hands were now visibly
displayed for the coming dance, which in a few days, or even hours (so
rapid were the movements at this period), were to wield the truncheon
that might lay the Catholic empire prostrate, or might mould the
destiny of Europe for centuries. Even this feeling gave way to one
still more enveloped in shades--The Masque! Would he keep his promise,
and appear? might he not be there already? might he not even now be
moving amongst them? may he not, even at this very moment, thought each
person, secretly be near me--or even touching myself--or haunting my
own steps?

Yet again thought most people (for at that time hardly anybody affected
to be incredulous in matters allied to the supernatural), was this
mysterious being liable to touch? Was he not of some impassive nature,
inaudible, invisible, impalpable? Many of his escapes, if truly
reported, seemed to argue as much. If, then, connected with the
spiritual world, was it with the good or the evil in that inscrutable
region? But, then, the bloodshed, the torn dresses, the marks of deadly
struggle, which remained behind in some of those cases where mysterious
disappearances had occurred,--these seemed undeniable arguments of
murder, foul and treacherous murder. Every attempt, in short, to
penetrate the mystery of this being's nature, proved as abortive as the
attempts to intercept his person; and all efforts at applying a
solution to the difficulties of the case made the mystery even more

These thoughts, however, generally as they pervaded the company, would
have given way, for a time at least, to the excitement of the scene;
for a sudden clapping of hands from some officers of the household, to
enforce attention, and as a signal to the orchestra in one of the
galleries, at this moment proclaimed that the dances were on the point
of commencing in another half-minute, when suddenly a shriek from a
female, and then a loud, tumultuous cry from a multitude of voices,
announced some fearful catastrophe; and in the next moment a shout of
"Murder!" froze the blood of the timid amongst the company.


So vast was the saloon, that it had been impossible, through the maze
of figures, the confusion of colors, and the mingling of a thousand
voices, that anything should be perceived distinctly at the lower end
of all that was now passing at the upper. Still, so awful is the
mystery of life, and so hideous and accursed in man's imagination is
every secret extinction of toat consecrated lamp, that no news thrills
so deeply, or travels so rapidly. Hardly could it be seen in what
direction, or through whose communication, yet in less than a minute a
movement of sympathizing horror, and uplifted hands, announced that the
dreadful news had reached them. A murder, it was said, had been
committed in the palace. Ladies began to faint; others hastened away in
search of friends; others to learn the news more accurately; and some
of the gentlemen, who thought themselves sufficiently privileged by
rank, hurried off with a stream of agitated inquirers to the interior
of the castle, in search of the scene itself. A few only passed the
guard in the first moments of confusion, and penetrated, with the
agitated Adorni, through the long and winding passages, into the very
scene of the murder. A rumor had prevailed for a moment that the
Landgrave was himself the victim; and as the road by which the agitated
household conducted them took a direction towards his highness' suite
of rooms, at first Adorni had feared that result. Recovering his self-
possession, however, at length, he learned that it was the poor old
seneschal upon whom the blow had fallen. And he pressed on with more
coolness to the dreadful spectacle.

The poor old man was stretched at his length on the floor. It did not
seem that he had struggled with the murderer. Indeed, from some
appearances, it seemed probable that he had been attacked whilst
sleeping; and though he had received three wounds, it was pronounced by
a surgeon that one of them (and _that_, from circumstances, the
first) had been sufficient to extinguish life. He was discovered by his
daughter, a woman who held some respectable place amongst the servants
of the castle; and every presumption concurred in fixing the time of
the dreadful scene to about one hour before.

"Such, gentlemen, are the acts of this atrocious monster, this Masque,
who has so long been the scourge of Klosterheim," said Adorni to the
strangers who had accompanied him, as they turned away on their return
to the company; "but this very night, I trust, will put a bridle in his

"God grant it may be so!" said some. But others thought the whole case
too mysterious for conjectures, and too solemn to be decided by
presumptions. And in the midst of agitated discussions on the scene
they had just witnessed, as well as the whole history of The Masque,
the party returned to the saloon.

Under ordinary circumstances, this dreadful event would have damped the
spirits of the company; as it was, it did but deepen the gloomy
excitement which already had possession of all present, and raise a
more intense expectation of the visit so publicly announced by The
Masque. It seemed as though he had perpetrated this recent murder
merely by way of reviving the impression of his own dreadful character
in Klosterheim, which might have decayed a little of late, in all its
original strength and freshness of novelty; or, as though he wished to
send immediately before him an act of atrocity that should form an
appropriate herald or harbinger of his own entrance upon the scene.

Dreadful, however, as this deed of darkness was, it seemed of too
domestic a nature to exercise any continued influence upon so
distinguished an assembly, so numerous, so splendid, and brought
together at so distinguished a summons. Again, therefore, the masques
prepared to mingle in the dance; again the signal was given; again the
obedient orchestra preluded to the coming strains. In a moment more,
the full tide of harmony swept along. The vast saloon, and its echoing
roof, rang with the storm of music. The masques, with their floating
plumes and jewelled caps, glided through the fine mazes of the
Hungarian dances. All was one magnificent and tempestuous confusion,
overflowing with the luxury of sound and sight, when suddenly, about
midnight, a trumpet sounded, the Landgrave entered, and all was hushed.
The glittering crowd arranged themselves in a half-circle at the upper
end of the room; his highness went rapidly round, saluting the company,
and receiving their homage in return. A signal was again made; the
music and the dancing were resumed; and such was the animation and the
turbulent delight amongst the gayer part of the company, from the
commingling of youthful blood with wine, lights, music, and festal
conversation, that, with many, all thoughts of the dreadful Masque, who
"reigned by night in Klosterheim," had faded before the exhilaration of
the moment. Midnight had come; the dreadful apparition had not yet
entered; young ladies began timidly to jest upon the subject, though as
yet but faintly, and in a tone somewhat serious for a jest; and young
cavaliers, who, to do them justice, had derived most part of their
terrors from the superstitious view of the case, protested to their
partners that if The Masque, on making his appearance, should conduct
himself in a manner unbecoming a cavalier, or offensive to the ladies
present, they should feel it their duty to chastise him; "though," said
they, "with respect to old Adorni, should The Masque think proper to
teach him better manners, or even to cane him, we shall not find it
necessary to interfere."

Several of the very young ladies protested that, of all things, they
should like to see a battle between old Adorni and The Masque, "such a
love of a quiz that old Adorni is!" whilst others debated whether The
Masque would turn out a young man or an old one; and a few elderly
maidens mooted the point whether he were likely to be a "single"
gentleman, or burdened with a "wife and family." These and similar
discussions were increasing in vivacity, and kindling more and more
gayety of repartee, when suddenly, with the effect of a funeral knell
upon their mirth, a whisper began to circulate that _there was one
Masque too many in company_. Persons had been stationed by Adorni in
different galleries, with instructions to note accurately the dress of
every person in the company; to watch the motions of every one who gave
the slightest cause for suspicion, by standing aloof from the rest of
the assembly, or by any other peculiarity of manner; but, above all, to
count the numbers of the total assembly. This last injunction was more
easily obeyed than at first sight seemed possible. At this time the
Hungarian dances, which required a certain number of partners to
execute the movements of the figure, were of themselves a sufficient
register of the precise amount of persons engaged in them. And, as
these dances continued for a long time undisturbed, this calculation
once made, left no further computation necessary, than simply to take
the account of all who stood otherwise engaged. This list, being much
the smaller one, was soon made; and the reports of several different
observers, stationed in different galleries, and checked by each other,
all tallied in reporting a total of just _twelve hundred and one
persons_, after every allowance was made for the known members of
the Landgrave's suite, who were all unmasqued.

This report was announced with considerable trepidation, in a very
audible whisper, to Adorni and the Landgrave. The buzz of agitation
attracted instant attention; the whisper was loud enough to catch the
ears of several; the news went rapidly kindling through the room that
the company was too many by one: all the ladies trembled, their knees
shook, their voices failed, they stopped in the very middle of
questions, answers halted for their conclusion, and were never more
remembered by either party; the very music began to falter, the lights
seemed to wane and sicken; for the fact was new too evident that The
Masque had kept his appointment, and was at this moment in the room "to
meet the Landgrave and his honorable company."

Adorni and the Landgrave now walked apart from the rest of the
household, and were obviously consulting together on the next step to
be taken, or on the proper moment for executing one which had already
been decided on. Some crisis seemed approaching, and the knees of many
ladies knocked together, as they anticipated some cruel or bloody act
of vengeance. "O poor Masque!" sighed a young lady, in her tender-
hearted concern for one who seemed now at the mercy of his enemies: "do
you think, sir," addressing her partner, "they will cut him to
pieces?"--"O, that wicked old Adorni!" exclaimed another; "I know he
will stick the poor Masque on one side and somebody else will stick him
on the other; I know he will, because The Masque called him a tailor;
do you think he _was_ a tailor sir?"--"Why, really, madam, he
walks like a tailor; but, then he must be a very bad one, considering
how ill his own clothes are made; and _that_, you know, is next
door to being none at all. But, see, his highness is going to stop the

In fact, at that moment the Landgrave made a signal to the orchestra:
the music ceased abruptly; and his highness, advancing to the company,
who stood eagerly awaiting his words, said: "Illustrious and noble
friends! for a very urgent and special cause I will request of you all
to take your seats."

The company obeyed, every one sought the chair next to him, or, if a
lady, accepted that which was offered by the cavalier at her side. The
standers continually diminished. Two hundred were left, one hundred and
fifty, eighty, sixty, twenty, till at last they were reduced to two,--
both gentlemen, who had been attending upon ladies. They were suddenly
aware of their own situation. One chair only remained out of twelve
hundred. Eager to exonerate himself from suspicion, each sprang
furiously to this seat; each attained it at the same moment, and each
possessed himself of part at the same instant. As they happened to be
two elderly, corpulent men, the younger cavaliers, under all the
restraints of the moment, the panic of the company, and the Landgraves
presence, could not forbear laughing; and the more spirited amongst the
young ladies caught the infection.

His highness was little in a temper to brook this levity, and hastened
to relieve the joint occupants of the chair from the ridicule of their
situation. "Enough!" he exclaimed, "enough! All my friends are
requested to resume the situation most agreeable to them; my purpose is
answered." The prince was himself standing with all his household, and,
as a point of respect, all the company rose. ("_As you were_,"
whispered the young soldiers to their fair companions.)

Adorni now came forward. "It is known," said he, "by trials more than
sufficient, that some intruder, with the worst intentions, has crept
into this honorable company. The ladies present will therefore have the
goodness to retire apart to the lower end of the saloon, whilst the
noble cavaliers will present themselves in succession to six officers
of his highness' household, to whom they will privately communicate
their names and quality."

This arrangement was complied with,--not, however, without the exchange
of a few flying jests on the part of the younger cavaliers and their
fair partners, as they separated for the purpose. The cavaliers, who
were rather more than five hundred in number, went up as they were
summoned by the number marked upon their cards of admission, and,
privately communicating with some one of the officers appointed, were
soon told off, and filed away to the right of the Landgrave, waiting
for the signal which should give them permission to rejoin their

All had been now told off, within a score. These were clustered
together in a group; and in that group undoubtedly was The Masque.
Every eye was converged upon this small knot of cavaliers; each of the
spectators, according to his fancy, selected the one who came nearest
in dress, or in personal appearance, to his preconceptions of that
mysterious agent. Not a word was uttered, not a whisper; hardly a robe
was heard to rustle, or a feather to wave.

The twenty were rapidly reduced to twelve, these to six, the six to
four--three--two; the tale of the invited was complete, and one man
remained behind. That was, past doubting, The Masque!


"There stands he that governs Klosterheim by night!" thought every
cavalier, as he endeavored to pierce the gloomy being's concealment
with penetrating eyes, or, by scrutiny ten times repeated, to unmasque
the dismal secrets which lurked beneath his disguise. "There stands the
gloomy murderer!" thought another. "There stands the poor detected
criminal," thought the pitying young ladies, "who in the next moment
must lay bare his breast to the Landgrave's musketeers."

The figure, meantime, stood tranquil and collected, apparently not in
the least disturbed by the consciousness of his situation, or the
breathless suspense of more than a thousand spectators of rank and
eminent station, all bending their looks upon himself. He had been
leaning against a marble column, as if wrapped up in revery, and
careless of everything about him. But when the dead silence announced
that the ceremony was closed, that he only remained to answer for
himself, and upon palpable proof--evidence not to be gainsayed--
incapable of answering satisfactorily; when, in fact, it was beyond
dispute that here was at length revealed, in bodily presence, before
the eyes of those whom he had so long haunted with terrors, The Masque
of Klosterheim,--it was naturally expected that now, at least, he would
show alarm and trepidation; that he would prepare for defence, or
address himself to instant flight.

Far otherwise! Cooler than any one person beside in the saloon, he
stood, like the marble column against which he had been reclining,
upright, massy, and imperturbable. He was enveloped in a voluminous
mantle, which, at this moment, with a leisurely motion, he suffered to
fall at his feet, and displayed a figure in which the grace of an
Antinous met with the columnar strength of a Grecian Hercules,--
presenting, in its _tout ensemble_, the majestic proportions of a
Jupiter. He stood--a breathing statue of gladiatorial beauty, towering
above all who were near him, and eclipsing the noblest specimens of the
human form which the martial assembly presented. A buzz of admiration
arose, which in the following moment was suspended by the dubious
recollections investing his past appearances, and the terror which
waited even on his present movements. He was armed to the teeth; and he
was obviously preparing to move.

Not a word had yet been spoken; so tumultuous was the succession of
surprises, so mixed and conflicting the feelings, so intense the
anxiety. The arrangement of the groups was this: At the lower half of
the room, but starting forward in attitudes of admiration or suspense,
were the ladies of Klosterheim. At the upper end, in the centre, one
hand raised to bespeak attention, was The Masque of Klosterheim. To his
left, and a little behind him, with a subtle Venetian countenance, one
hand waving back a half file of musketeers, and the other raised as if
to arrest the arm of The Masque, was the wily minister Adorni, creeping
nearer and nearer with a stealthy stride. To his right was the great
body of Klosterheim cavaliers, a score of students and young officers
pressing forward to the front; but in advance of the whole, the
Landgrave of X----, haughty, lowering, and throwing out looks of
defiance. These were the positions and attitudes in which the first
discovery of The Masque had surprised them; and these they still
retained. Less dignified spectators were looking downwards from the

"Surrender!" was the first word by which silence was broken; it came
from the Landgrave.

"Or die!" exclaimed Adorni.

"He dies in any case," rejoined the prince.

The Masque still raised his hand with the action of one who bespeaks
attention. Adorni he deigned not to notice. Slightly inclining his head
to the Landgrave, in a tone to which it might be the headdress of
elaborate steel work that gave a sepulchral tone, he replied:

"The Masque, who rules in Klosterheim by night, surrenders not. He can
die. But first he will complete the ceremony of the night; he will
reveal himself."

"That is superfluous," exclaimed Adorni; "we need no further
revelations. Seize him, and lead him out to death!"

"Dog of an Italian!" replied The Masque, drawing a dag [Footnote:
_Dag_, a sort of pistol or carbine.] from his belt, "die first
yourself!" And so saying, he slowly turned and levelled the barrel at
Adorni, who fled with two bounds to the soldiers in the rear. Then,
withdrawing the weapon hastily, he added, in a tone of cool contempt,
"Or bridle that coward's tongue."

But this was not the minister's intention. "Seize him!" he cried again
impetuously to the soldiers, laying his hand on the arm of the
foremost, and pointing them forward to their prey.

"No!" said the Landgrave, with a commanding voice; "halt! I bid you."
Something there was in the tone, or it might be that there was
something in his private recollections, or something in the general
mystery, which promised a discovery that he feared to lose by the too
precipitate vengeance of the Italian. "What is it, mysterious being,
that you would reveal? Or who is it that you now believe interested in
your revelations?"

"Yourself.--Prince, it would seem that you have me at your mercy:
wherefore, then, the coward haste of this Venetian hound? I am one; you
are many. Lead me, then, out; shoot me. But no: freely I entered this
hall; freely I will leave it. If I must die, I will die as a soldier.
Such I am; and neither runagate from a foreign land, nor "--turning to
Adorni-"a base mechanic."

"But a murderer!" shrieked Adorni: "but a murderer; and with hands yet
reeking from innocent blood!"

"Blood, Adorni, that I will yet avenge.--Prince, you demand the nature
of my revelations. I will reveal my name, my quality, and my mission."

"And to whom?"

"To yourself, and none beside. And, as a pledge for the sincerity of my
discoveries, I will first of all communicate a dreadful secret, known,
as you fondly believe, to none but your highness. Prince, dare you
receive my revelations?"

Speaking thus, The Masque took one step to the rear, turning his back
upon the room, and by a gesture signified his wish that the Landgrave
should accompany him. But at this motion ten or a dozen of the foremost
among the young cavaliers started forward in advance of the Landgrave,
in part forming a half-circle about his person, and in part commanding
the open doorway.

"He is armed!" they exclaimed; "and trebly armed: will your highness
approach him too nearly?"

"I fear him not," said the Landgrave, with something of a contemptuous

"Wherefore should you fear me?" retorted The Masque, with a manner so
tranquil and serene as involuntarily to disarm suspicion. "Were it
possible that I should seek the life of any man here in particular, in
that case (pointing to the fire-arms in his belt), why should I need to
come nearer? Were it possible that any should find in my conduct here a
motive to a personal vengeance upon myself, which of you is not near
enough? Has your highness the courage to trample on such terrors?"

Thus challenged, as it were, to a trial of his courage before the
assembled rank of Klosterheim, the Landgrave waved off all who would
have stepped forward officiously to his support. If he felt any
tremors, he was now sensible that pride and princely honor called upon
him to dissemble them. And, probably, that sort of tremors which he
felt in reality did not point in a direction to which physical support,
such as was now tendered, could have been available. He hesitated no
longer, but strode forward to meet The Masque. His highness and The
Masque met near the archway of the door, in the very centre of the

With a thrilling tone, deep, piercing, full of alarm, The Masque began

"To win your confidence, forever to establish credit with your
highness, I will first of all reveal the name of that murderer who this
night dared to pollute your palace with an old man's blood. Prince,
bend your ear a little this way."

With a shudder, and a visible effort of self-command, the Landgrave
inclined his ear to The Masque, who added,--

"Your highness will be shocked to hear it:" then, in a lower tone, "Who
could have believed it?--It was----." All was pronounced clearly and
strongly, except the last word--the name of the murderer; _that_ was
made audible only to the Landgrave's ear.

Sudden and tremendous was the effect upon the prince: he reeled a few
paces off; put his hand to the hilt of his sword; smote his forehead;
threw frenzied looks upon The Masque,--now half imploring, now dark
with vindictive wrath. Then succeeded a pause of profoundest silence,
during which all the twelve hundred visitors, whom he had himself
assembled as if expressly to make them witnesses of this extraordinary
scene, and of the power with which a stranger could shake him to and
fro in a tempestuous strife of passions, were looking and hearkening
with senses on the stretch to pierce the veil of silence and of
distance. At last the Landgrave mastered his emotion sufficiently to
say, "Well, sir, what next?"

"Next comes a revelation of another kind; and I warn you, sir, that it
will not be less trying to the nerves. For this first I needed your
ear; now I shall need your eyes. Think again, prince, whether you will
stand the trial."

"Pshaw! sir, you trifle with me; again I tell you--" But here the
Landgrave spoke with an affectation of composure, and with an effort
that did not escape notice;--"again I tell you that I fear you not. Go

"Then come forward a little, please your highness, to the light of this
lamp." So saying, with a step or two in advance, he drew the prince
under the powerful glare of a lamp suspended near the great archway of
entrance from the interior of the palace. Both were now standing with
their faces entirely averted from the spectators. Still more
effectually, however, to screen himself from any of those groups on the
left, whose advanced position gave them somewhat more the advantage of
an oblique aspect, The Masque, at this moment, suddenly drew up, with
his left hand, a short Spanish mantle which depended from his
shoulders, and now gave him the benefit of a lateral screen. Then, so
far as the company behind them could guess at his act, unlocking with
his right hand and raising the masque which shrouded his mysterious
features, he shouted aloud, in a voice that rang clear through every
corner of the vast saloon, "Landgrave, for crimes yet unrevealed, I
summon you, in twenty days, before a tribunal where there is no shield
but innocence" and at that moment turned his countenance full upon the

With a yell, rather than a human expression of terror, the Landgrave
fell, as if shot by a thunderbolt, stretched at his full length upon
the ground, lifeless apparently, and bereft of consciousness or
sensation. A sympathetic cry of horror arose from the spectators. All
rushed towards The Masque. The young cavaliers, who had first stepped
forward as volunteers in the Landgrave's defence, were foremost, and
interposed between The Masque and the outstretched arms of Adorni, as
if eager to seize him first. In an instant a sudden and dense cloud of
smoke arose, nobody knew whence. Repeated discharges of fire-arms were
heard resounding from the doorway and the passages; these increased the
smoke and the confusion. Trumpets sounded through the corridors. The
whole archway, under which The Masque and the Landgrave had been
standing, became choked up with soldiery, summoned by the furious
alarms that echoed through the palace. All was one uproar and chaos of
masques, plumes, helmets, halberds, trumpets, gleaming sabres, and the
fierce faces of soldiery forcing themselves through the floating
drapery of smoke that now filled the whole upper end of the saloon.
Adorni was seen in the midst, raving fruitlessly. Nobody heard, nobody
listened. Universal panic had seized the household, the soldiery, and
the company. Nobody understood exactly for what purpose the tumult had
commenced--in what direction it tended. Some tragic catastrophe was
reported from mouth to mouth: nobody knew what. Some said the Landgrave
had been assassinated; some, The Masque; some asserted that both had
perished under reciprocal assaults. More believed that The Masque had
proved to be of that supernatural order of beings, with which the
prevailing opinions of Klosterheim had long classed him; and that, upon
raising his disguise, he had revealed to the Landgrave the fleshless
skull of some forgotten tenant of the grave. This indeed seemed to many
the only solution that, whilst it fell in with the prejudices and
superstitions of the age, was of a nature to account for that
tremendous effect which the discovery had produced upon the Landgrave.
But it was one that naturally could be little calculated to calm the
agitations of the public prevailing at this moment. This spread
contagiously. The succession of alarming events,--the murder, the
appearance of The Masque, his subsequent extraordinary behavior, the
overwhelming impression upon the Landgrave, which had formed the
catastrophe of this scenical exhibition,--the consternation of the
great Swedish officers, who were spending the night in Klosterheim, and
reasonably suspected that the tumult might be owing to the sudden
detection of their own _incognito_, and that, in consequence, the
populace of this imperial city were suddenly rising to arms; the
endless distraction and counter-action of so many thousand persons--
visitors, servants, soldiery, household--all hurrying to the same
point, and bringing assistance to a danger of which nobody knew the
origin, nobody the nature, nobody the issue; multitudes commanding
where all obedience was forgotten, all subordination had gone to
wreck;--these circumstances of distraction united to sustain a scene of
absolute frenzy in the castle, which, for more than half an hour, the
dense columns of smoke aggravated alarmingly, by raising, in many
quarters, additional terrors of fire. And when, at last, after infinite
exertions, the soldiery had deployed into the ball-room and the
adjacent apartments of state, and had succeeded, at the point of the
pike, in establishing a safe egress for the twelve hundred visitors, it
was then first ascertained that all traces of The Masque had been lost
in the smoke and subsequent confusion; and that, with his usual good
fortune, he had succeeded in baffling his pursuers.


Meantime the Lady Paulina had spent her time in secret grief,
inconsolable for the supposed tragical fate of Maximilian. It was
believed that he had perished. This opinion had prevailed equally
amongst his friends, and the few enemies whom circumstances had made
him. Supposing even that he had escaped with life from the action, it
seemed inevitable that he should have fallen into the hands of the
bloody Holkerstein; and under circumstances which would point him out
to the vengeance of that cruel ruffian as having been the leader in the
powerful resistance which had robbed him of his prey.

Stung with the sense of her irreparable loss, and the premature grief
which had blighted her early hopes, Paulina sought her refuge in
solitude, and her consolations in religion. In the convent where she
had found a home, the ceremonies of the Roman Catholic service were
maintained with the strictness and the pomp suitable to its ample
endowments. The emperor had himself, as well as several of his
progenitors, been a liberal benefactor to this establishment. And a
lady of his house, therefore, recommended by a special introduction
from the emperor to the attentions of the lady abbess, was sure of
meeting kindness and courtesy in every possible shape which could avail
to mitigate her sorrow. The abbess, though a bigot, was a human being,
with strong human sensibilities; and in both characters she was greatly
pleased with the Lady Paulina. On the one hand, her pride, as the head
of a religious establishment, was flattered by the extreme regularity
of the Lady Paulina in conforming to the ritual of her house; this
example of spiritual obedience and duty seemed peculiarly edifying in a
person of such distinguished rank. On the other hand, her womanly
sensibilities were touched by the spectacle of early and unmerited
sorrow in one so eminent for her personal merits, for her extreme
beauty, and the winning sweetness of her manners. Hence she readily
offered to the young countess all the attentions and marks of sympathy
which her retiring habits permitted, and every species of indulgence
compatible with the spirit of the institution.

The whole convent, nuns as well as strangers, taking their tone from
the abbess, vied with each other in attentions to Paulina. But, whilst
acknowledging their kindness, she continued to shrink from all general
intercourse with the society about her. Her attendance was constant at
the matins and at vespers; not unfrequently even at the midnight
service; but dejection was too rooted in her heart, to allow her any
disposition to enter into the amusements or mixed society which the
convent at that time offered.

Many noble strangers had been allowed to take up their quarters in the
convent. With some of these the abbess was connected by blood; with
others, by ties of ancient friendship. Most of this party composed a
little society apart from the rest, and continued to pursue those
amusements or occupations which properly belonged to their stations and
quality, but by their too worldly nature were calculated to exclude the
religious members of the institution from partaking in them. To this
society Paulina received frequent invitations; which, however, she
declined so uniformly, that at length all efforts ceased to draw her
from the retirement which she so manifestly adhered to from choice. The
motives of her dejection became known throughout the convent, and were
respected; and it was now reported amongst them, from her aversion to
society as well as her increasing devotion, that the Lady Paulina would
soon take the veil.

Amongst the strangers was one, a lady of mature age, with beauty still
powerful enough to fascinate all beholders, who seemed to survey
Paulina with an interest far beyond that of curiosity or simple
admiration. Sorrow might be supposed the common bond which connected
them; for there were rumors amongst the sisterhood of St. Agnes that
this lady had suffered afflictions heavier than fell to an ordinary lot
in the course of the war which now desolated Germany. Her husband (it
was said), of whom no more was known than that he was some officer of
high rank, had perished by the hand of violence; a young daughter, the
only child of two or three who remained to her, had been carried off in
infancy, and no traces remained of her subsequent fate. To these
misfortunes was added the loss of her estates and rank, which, in some
mysterious way, were supposed to be withheld from her by one of those
great oppressors whom war and the policy of great allies had
aggrandized. It was supposed even that for the means of subsistence to
herself, and a few faithful attendants, she was indebted to the
kindness of the lady abbess, with whom she was closely connected by
ancient friendship.

In this tale there were many inaccuracies mixed up with the truth. It
was true that, in some one of the many dire convulsions which had
passed from land to land since the first outbreak of the Bohemian
troubles, in 1618, and which had covered with a veil of political
pretexts so many local acts of private family feud and murderous
treason, this lady had been deprived of her husband by a violent death
under circumstances which still seemed mysterious. But the fate of her
children, if any had survived the calamity which took off her husband,
was unknown to everybody except her confidential protectress, the lady
abbess. By permission of this powerful friend, who had known her from
infancy, and through the whole course of her misfortunes, she was
permitted to take up her abode in the convent, under special
privileges, and was there known by the name of Sister Madeline.

The intercourse of the Sister Madeline with the lady abbess was free
and unreserved. At all hours they entered each other's rooms with the
familiarity of sisters; and it might have been thought that in every
respect they stood upon the equal footing of near relatives, except
that occasionally in the manners of the abbess was traced, or imagined,
a secret air of deference towards the desolate Sister Madeline, which,
as it was not countenanced at all by their present relations to each
other, left people at liberty to build upon it a large superstructure
of romantic conjectures.

Sister Madeline was as regular in her attendance upon prayers as
Paulina. There, if nowhere else, they were sure of meeting; and in no
long time it became evident that the younger lady was an object of
particular interest to the elder. When the sublime fugues of the old
composers for the organ swelled upon the air, and filled the vast
aisles of the chapel with their floating labyrinths of sound, attention
to the offices of the church service being suspended for the time, the
Sister Madeline spent the interval in watching the countenance of
Paulina. Invariably at this period her eyes settled upon the young
countess, and appeared to court some return of attention, by the tender
sympathy which her own features expressed with the grief too legibly
inscribed upon Paulina's. For some time Paulina, absorbed by her own
thoughts, failed to notice this very particular expression of attention
and interest. Accustomed to the gaze of crowds, as well on account of
her beauty as her connection with the imperial house, she found nothing
new or distressing in this attention to herself. After some time,
however, observing herself still haunted by the sister's furtive
glances, she found her own curiosity somewhat awakened in return. The
manners of Sister Madeline were too dignified, and her face expressed
too much of profound feeling, and traces too inextinguishable of the
trials through which she had passed, to allow room for any belief that
she was under the influence of an ordinary curiosity. Paulina was
struck with a confused feeling, that she looked upon features which had
already been familiar to her heart, though disguised in Sister Madeline
by age, by sex, and by the ravages of grief. She had the appearance of
having passed her fiftieth year; but it was probable that, spite of a
brilliant complexion, secret sorrow had worked a natural effect in
giving to her the appearance of age more advanced by seven or eight
years than she had really attained. Time, at all events, if it had
carried off forever her youthful graces, neither had nor seemed likely
to destroy the impression of majestic beauty under eclipse and wane. No
one could fail to read the signs by which the finger of nature
announces a great destiny, and a mind born to command.

Insensibly the two ladies had established a sort of intercourse by
looks; and at length, upon finding that the Sister Madeline mixed no
more than herself in the general society of Klosterheim, Paulina had
resolved to seek the acquaintance of a lady whose deportment announced
that she would prove an interesting acquaintance, whilst her melancholy
story and the expression of her looks were a sort of pledges that she
would be found a sympathizing friend.

She had already taken some steps towards the attainment of her wishes,
when, unexpectedly, on coming out from the vesper service, the Sister
Madeline placed herself by the side of Paulina, and they walked down
one of the long side-aisles together. The saintly memorials about them,
the records of everlasting peace which lay sculptured at their feet,
and the strains which still ascended to heaven from the organ and the
white-robed choir,--all speaking of a rest from trouble so little to be
found on earth, and so powerfully contrasting with the desolations of
poor, harassed Germany,--affected them deeply, and both burst into
tears. At length the elder lady spoke.

"Daughter, you keep your faith piously with him whom you suppose dead."

Paulina started. The other continued--

"Honor to young hearts that are knit together by ties so firm that even
death has no power to dissolve them! Honor to the love which can breed
so deep a sorrow! Yet, even in this world, the good are not
_always_ the unhappy. I doubt not that, even now at vespers, you
forgot not to pray for him that would willingly have died for you."

"0, gracious lady! when--when have I forgot that? What other prayer,
what other image, is ever at my heart?"

"Daughter, I could not doubt it; and Heaven sometimes sends answers to
prayers when they are least expected; and to yours it sends this
through me."

With these words she stretched out a letter to Paulina, who fainted
with sudden surprise and delight, on recognizing the hand of


It was, indeed, the handwriting of her lover; and the first words of
the letter, which bore a recent date, announced his safety and his
recovered health. A rapid sketch of all which had befallen him since
they had last parted informed her that he had been severely wounded in
the action with Holkerstein's people, and probably to that misfortune
had been indebted for his life; since the difficulty of transporting
him on horseback, when unable to sit upright, had compelled the party
charged with his care to leave him for the night at Waldenhausen. From
that place he had been carried off in the night-time to a small
imperial garrison in the neighborhood by the care of two faithful
servants, who had found little difficulty in first intoxicating, and
then overpowering, the small guard judged sufficient for a prisoner so
completely disabled by his wounds. In this garrison he had recovered;
had corresponded with Vienna; had concerted measures with the emperor;
and was now on the point of giving full effect to their plans, at the
moment when certain circumstances should arise to favor the scheme.
What these were, he forbore designedly to say in a letter which ran
some risk of falling into the enemy's hands; but he bade Paulina
speedily to expect a great change for the better, which would put it in
their power to meet without restraint or fear; and concluded by giving
utterance in the fondest terms to a lover's hopes and tenderest

Paulina had scarcely recovered from the tumultuous sensations of
pleasure, and sudden restoration to hope, when she received a shock in
the opposite direction, from a summons to attend the Landgrave. The
language of the message was imperative, and more peremptory than had
ever before been addressed to herself, a lady of the imperial family.
She knew the Landgrave's character and his present position; both these
alarmed her, when connected with the style and language of his summons.
For _that_ announced distinctly enough that his resolution had
been now taken to commit himself to a bold course; no longer to hang
doubtfully between two policies, but openly to throw himself into the
arms of the emperor's enemies. In one view, Paulina found a benefit to
her spirits from this haughtiness of the Landgrave's message. She was
neither proud, nor apt to take offence. On the contrary, she was gentle
and meek; for the impulses of youth and elevated birth had in her been
chastened by her early acquaintance with great national calamities, and
the enlarged sympathy which that had bred with her fellow-creatures of
every rank. But she felt that, in this superfluous expression of
authority, the Landgrave was at the same time infringing the rights of
hospitality, and her own privileges of sex. Indignation at his unmanly
conduct gave her spirits to face him, though she apprehended a scene of
violence, and had the more reason to feel the trepidations of
uncertainty, because she very imperfectly comprehended his purposes as
respected herself.

These were not easily explained. She found the Landgrave pacing the
room with violence. His back was turned towards her as she entered;
but, as the usher announced loudly, on her entrance, "The Countess
Paulina of Hohenhelder," he turned impetuously, and advanced to meet
her. With the Landgrave, however irritated, the first impulse was to
comply with the ceremonious observances that belonged to his rank. He
made a cold obeisance, whilst an attendant placed a seat; and then
motioning to all present to withdraw, began to unfold the causes which
had called for Lady Paulina's presence.

So much art was mingled with so much violence, that for some time
Paulina gathered nothing of his real purposes. Resolved, however, to do
justice to her own insulted dignity, she took the first opening which
offered, to remonstrate with the Landgrave on the needless violence of
his summons. His serene highness wielded the sword in Klosterheim, and
could have no reason for anticipating resistance to his commands.

"The Lady Paulina, then, distinguishes between the power and the right?
I expected as much."

"By no means; she knew nothing of the claimants to either. She was a
stranger, seeking only hospitality in Klosterheim, which apparently was
violated by unprovoked exertions of authority."

"But the laws of hospitality," replied the Landgrave, "press equally on
the guest and the host. Each has his separate duties. And the Lady
Paulina, in the character of guest, violated hers from the moment when
she formed cabals in Klosterheim, and ministered to the fury of

"Your ear, sir, is abused; I have not so much as stepped beyond the
precincts of the convent in which I reside, until this day in paying
obedience to your highness' mandate."

"That may be; and that may argue only the more caution and subtlety.
The personal presence of a lady, so distinguished in her appearance as
the Lady Paulina, at any resort of conspirators or intriguers, would
have published too much the suspicions to which such a countenance
would be liable. But in writing have you dispersed nothing calculated
to alienate the attachment of my subjects?"

The Lady Paulina shook her head; she knew not even in what direction
the Landgrave's suspicions pointed.

"As, for example, this--does the Lady Paulina recognize this particular

Saying this, he drew forth from a portfolio a letter or paper of
instructions, consisting of several sheets, to which a large official
seal was attached. The countess glanced her eye over it attentively; in
one or two places the words _Maximilian_ and _Klosterheim_ attracted
her attention; but she felt satisfied at once that she now saw it for
the first time.

"Of this paper," she said, at length, in a determined tone, "I know
nothing. The handwriting I believe I may have seen before. It resembles
that of one of the emperor's secretaries. Beyond that, I have no means
of even conjecturing its origin."

"Beware, madam, beware how far you commit yourself. Suppose now this
paper were actually brought in one of your ladyship's mails, amongst
your own private property."

"That may very well be," said Lady Paulina, "and yet imply no falsehood
on my part. Falsehood! I disdain such an insinuation; your highness has
been the first person who ever dared to make it." At that moment she
called to mind the robbery of her carriage at Waldenhausen. Coloring
deeply with indignation, she added, "Even in the case, sir, which you
have supposed, as unconscious bearer of this or any other paper, I am
still innocent of the intentions which such an act might argue in some
people. I am as incapable of offending in that way, as I shall always
be of disavowing any of my own acts, according to your ungenerous
insinuation. But now, sir, tell me how far those may be innocent who
have possessed themselves of a paper carried, as your highness alleges,
among my private baggage. Was it for a prince to countenance a robbery
of that nature, or to appropriate its spoils?"

The blood rushed to the Landgrave's temples. "In these times, young
lady, petty rights of individuals give way to state necessities.
Neither are there any such rights of individuals in bar of such an
inquisition. They are forfeited, as I told you before, when the guest
forgets his duties. But (and here he frowned), it seems to me,
countess, that you are now forgetting your situation; not I, remember,
but yourself, are now placed on trial."

"Indeed!" said the countess, "of that I was certainly not aware. Who,
then, is my accuser, who my judge? Or is it in your serene highness
that I see both?"

"Your accuser, Lady Paulina, is the paper I have shown you, a
treasonable paper. Perhaps I have others to bring forward of the same
bearing. Perhaps this is sufficient."

The Lady Paulina grew suddenly sad and thoughtful. Here was a tyrant,
with matter against her, which, even to an unprejudiced judge, might
really wear some face of plausibility. The paper had perhaps really
been one of those plundered from her carriage. It might really contain
matter fitted to excite disaffection against the Landgrave's
government. Her own innocence of all participation in the designs which
it purposed to abet might find no credit; or might avail her not at all
in a situation so far removed from the imperial protection. She had in
fact unadvisedly entered a city, which, at the time of her entrance,
might be looked upon as neutral, but since then had been forced into
the ranks of the emperor's enemies, too abruptly to allow of warning or
retreat. This was her exact situation. She saw her danger; and again
apprehended that, at the very moment of recovering her lover from the
midst of perils besetting _his_ situation, she might lose him by
the perils of her own.

The Landgrave watched the changes of her countenance, and read her

"Yes," he said, at length, "your situation is one of peril. But take
courage. Confess freely, and you have everything to hope for from my

"Such clemency," said a deep voice, from some remote quarter of the
room, "as the wolf shows to the lamb."

Paulina started, and the Landgrave looked angry and perplexed. "Within,
there!" he cried loudly to the attendants in the next room. "I will no
more endure these insults," he exclaimed. "Go instantly, take a file of
soldiers; place them at all the outlets, and search the rooms
adjoining--above, and below. Such mummery is insufferable."

The voice replied again, "Landgrave, you search in vain. Look to
yourself! young Max is upon you!"

"This babbler," said the Landgrave, making an effort to recover his
coolness, "reminds me well; that adventurer, young Maximilian--who is
he? whence comes he? by whom authorized?"

Paulina blushed; but, roused by the Landgrave's contumelious
expressions applied to her lover, she replied, "He is no adventurer;
nor was ever in that class; the emperor's favor is not bestowed upon

"Then, what brings him to Klosterheim? For what is it that he would
trouble the repose of this city?"

Before Paulina could speak in rejoinder, the voice, from a little
further distance, replied, audibly, "For his rights! See that you,
Landgrave, make no resistance."

The prince arose in fury; his eyes flashed fire, he clenched his hands
in impotent determination. The same voice had annoyed him on former
occasions, but never under circumstances which mortified him so deeply.
Ashamed that the youthful countess should be a witness of the insults
put upon him, and seeing that it was in vain to pursue his conversation
with her further in a situation which exposed him to the sarcasms of a
third person, under no restraint of fear or partiality, he adjourned
the further prosecution of his inquiry to another opportunity, and for
the present gave her leave to depart; a license which she gladly
availed herself of, and retired in fear and perplexity.


It was dark as Paulina returned to her convent. Two servants of the
Landgrave's preceded her with torches to the great gates of St. Agnes,
which was at a very short distance. At that point she entered within
the shelter of the convent gates, and the prince's servants left her at
her own request. No person was now within call but a little page of her
own, and perhaps the porter at the convent. But after the first turn in
the garden of St. Agnes, she might almost consider herself as left to
her own guardianship; for the little boy, who followed her, was too
young to afford her any effectual help. She felt sorry, as she surveyed
the long avenue of ancient trees, which was yet to be traversed before
she entered upon the cloisters, that she should have dismissed the
servants of the Landgrave. These gardens were easily scaled from the
outside, and a ready communication existed between the remotest parts
of this very avenue and some of the least reputable parts of
Klosterheim. The city now overflowed with people of every rank; and
amongst them were continually recognized, and occasionally challenged,
some of the vilest deserters from the imperial camps. Wallenstein
himself, and other imperial commanders, but, above all, Holk, had
attracted to their standards the very refuse of the German jails; and,
allowing an unlimited license of plunder during some periods of their
career, had themselves evoked a fiendish spirit of lawless aggression
and spoliation, which afterwards they had found it impossible to
exorcise within its former limits. People were everywhere obliged to be
on their guard, not alone (as heretofore) against the military tyrant
or freebooter, but also against the private servants whom they hired
into their service. For some time back, suspicious persons had been
seen strolling at dusk in the gardens of St. Agnes, or even intruding
into the cloisters. Then the recollection of The Masque, now in the
very height of his mysterious career, flashed upon Paulina's thoughts.
Who knew his motives, or the principle of his mysterious warfare--
which, at any rate, in its mode had latterly been marked by bloodshed?
As these things came rapidly into her mind, she trembled more from fear
than from the wintry wind, which now blew keenly and gustily through
the avenue.

The gardens of St. Agnes were extensive, and Paulina yet wanted two
hundred yards of reaching the cloisters, when she observed a dusky
object stealing along the margin of a little pool, which in parts lay
open to the walk, whilst in others, where the walk receded from the
water, the banks were studded with thickets of tall shrubs. Paulina
stopped and observed the figure, which she was soon satisfied must be
that of a man. At times he rose to his full height; at times he cowered
downwards amongst the bushes. That he was not merely seeking a retreat
became evident from this, that the best road for such a purpose lay
open to him in the opposite direction; that he was watching herself,
also, became probable from the way in which he seemed to regulate his
own motions by hers. At length, whilst Paulina hesitated, in some
perplexity whether to go forward or to retreat towards the porter's
lodge, he suddenly plunged into the thickest belt of shrubs, and left
the road clear. Paulina seized the moment, and, with a palpitating
heart, quickened her steps towards the cloister.

She had cleared about one half of the way without obstruction, when
suddenly a powerful grasp seized her by the shoulder.

"Stop, lady!" said a deep, coarse voice; "stop! I mean no harm. Perhaps
I bring your ladyship what will be welcome news."

"But why here?" exclaimed Paulina; "wherefore do you alarm me thus? 0,
heavens! your eyes are wild and fierce; say, is it money that you

"Perhaps I do. To the like of me, lady, you may be sure that money
never comes amiss; but that is not my errand. Here is what will make
all clear;" and, as he spoke, he thrust his hand into the huge pocket
within the horseman's cloak which enveloped him. Instead of the pistol
or dag, which Paulina anticipated, he drew forth a large packet,
carefully sealed. Paulina felt so much relieved at beholding this
pledge of the man's pacific intentions, that she eagerly pressed her
purse into his hand, and was hastening to leave him, when the man
stopped her to deliver a verbal message from his master, requesting
earnestly that, if she concluded to keep the appointment arranged in
the letter, she would not be a minute later than the time fixed.

"And who," said Paulina, "is your master?"

"Surely, the general, madam--the young General Maximilian. Many a time
and oft have I waited on him when visiting your ladyship at the
Wartebrunn. But here I dare not show my face. Der Henker! if the
Landgrave knew that Michael Klotz was in Klosterheim, I reckon that all
the ladies in St. Agnes could not beg him a reprieve till to-morrow

"Then, villain!" said the foremost of two men, who rushed hastily from
the adjoining shrubs, "be assured that the Landgrave does know it. Let
this be your warrant!" With these words he fired, and, immediately
after, his comrade. Whether the fugitive were wounded could not be
known; for he instantly plunged into the water, and, after two or three
moments, was heard upon the opposite margin. His pursuers seemed to
shrink from this attempt, for they divided and took the opposite
extremities of the pool, from the other bank of which they were soon
heard animating and directing each other through the darkness.

Paulina, confused and agitated, and anxious above all to examine her
letters, took the opportunity of a clear road, and fled in trepidation
to the convent.


The countess had brought home with her a double subject of anxiety. She
knew not to what result the Landgrave's purposes were tending; she
feared, also, from this sudden and new method of communication opened
with herself so soon after his previous letter, that some unexpected
bad fortune might now be threatening her lover. Hastily she tore open
the packet, which manifestly contained something larger than letters.
The first article which presented itself was a nun's veil, exactly on
the pattern of those worn by the nuns of St. Agnes. The accompanying
letter sufficiently explained its purpose.

It was in the handwriting, and bore the signature, of Maximilian. In a
few words he told her that a sudden communication, but from a quarter
entirely to be depended on, had reached him of a great danger impending
over her from the Landgrave; that, in the present submission of
Klosterheim to that prince's will, instant flight presented the sole
means of delivering her; for which purpose he would himself meet her in
disguise on the following morning, as early as four o'clock; or, if
that should prove impossible under the circumstances of the case, would
send a faithful servant; that one or other of them would attend at a
particular station, easily recognized by the description added, in a
ruinous part of the boundary wall, in the rear of the convent garden. A
large travelling cloak would be brought, to draw over the rest of her
dress; but meanwhile, as a means of passing unobserved through the
convent grounds, where the Landgrave's agents were continually watching
her motions, the nun's veil was almost indispensable. The other
circumstances of the journey would be communicated to her upon meeting.
In conclusion, the writer implored Paulina to suffer no scruples of
false delicacy to withhold her from a step which had so suddenly become
necessary to her preservation; and cautioned her particularly against
communicating her intentions to the lady abbess, whose sense of decorum
might lead her to urge advice at this moment inconsistent with her

Again and again did Paulina read this agitating letter; again and again
did she scrutinize the handwriting, apprehensive that she might be
making herself a dupe to some hidden enemy. The handwriting,
undoubtedly, had not all the natural freedom which characterized that
of Maximilian; it was somewhat stiff in its movement, but not more so
than that of his previous letter, in which he had accounted for the
slight change from a wound not perfectly healed in his right hand. In
other respects the letter seemed liable to no just suspicion. The
danger apprehended from the Landgrave tallied with her own knowledge.
The convent grounds were certainly haunted, as the letter alleged, by
the Landgrave's people; of that she had just received a convincing
proof; for, though the two strangers had turned off in pursuit of the
messenger who bore Maximilian's letter, yet doubtless their original
object of attention had been herself; they were then posted to watch
her motions, and they had avowed themselves in effect the Landgrave's
people. That part of the advice, again, which respected the lady
abbess, seemed judicious, on considering the character of that lady,
however much at first sight it might warrant some jealousy of the
writer's purposes to find him warning her against her best friends.
After all, what most disturbed the confidence of Paulina was the
countenance of the man who presented the letter. If this man were to be
the representative of Maximilian on the following morning, she felt,
and was persuaded that she would continue to feel, an invincible
repugnance to commit her safety to any such keeping. Upon the whole,
she resolved to keep the appointment, but to be guided in her further
conduct by circumstances as they should arise at the moment.

That night Paulina's favorite female attendant employed herself in
putting into as small a compass as possible the slender wardrobe which
they would be able to carry with them. The young countess herself spent
the hours in writing to the lady abbess and Sister Madeline,
acquainting them with all the circumstances of her interview with the
Landgrave, the certain grounds she had for apprehending some great
danger in that quarter, and the proposals so unexpectedly made to her
on the part of Maximilian for evading it. To ask that they should feel
no anxiety on her account, in times which made even a successful escape
from danger so very hazardous, she acknowledged would be vain; but, in
judging of the degree of prudence which she had exhibited on this
occasion, she begged them to reflect on the certain dangers which
awaited her from the Landgrave; and finally, in excuse for not having
sought the advice of so dear a friend as the lady abbess, she enclosed
the letter upon which she had acted.

These preparations were completed by midnight, after which Paulina
sought an hour or two of repose. At three o'clock were celebrated the
early matins, attended by the devouter part of the sisterhood, in the
chapel. Paulina and her maid took this opportunity for leaving their
chamber, and slipping unobserved amongst the crowd who were hurrying on
that summons into the cloisters. The organ was pealing solemnly through
the labyrinth of passages which led from the interior of the convent;
and Paulina's eyes were suffused with tears, as the gentler
recollections of her earlier days, and the peace which belongs to those
who have abjured this world and its treacherous promises, arose to her
mind, under the influence of the sublime music, in powerful contrast
with the tempestuous troubles of Germany--now become so comprehensive,
in their desolating sweep, as to involve even herself, and others of
station as elevated.


The convent clock, chiming the quarters, at length announced that they
had reached the appointed hour. Trembling with fear and cold, though
muffled up in furs, Paulina and her attendant, with their nuns' veils
drawn over their head-dress, sallied forth into the garden. All was
profoundly dark, and overspread with the stillness of the grave. The
lights within the chapel threw a rich glow through the painted windows;
and here and there, from a few scattered casements in the vast pile of
St. Agnes, streamed a few weak rays from a taper or a lamp, indicating
the trouble of a sick bed, or the peace of prayer. But these rare
lights did but deepen the massy darkness of all beside; and Paulina,
with her attendant, had much difficulty in making her way to the
appointed station. Having reached the wall, however, they pursued its
windings, certain of meeting no important obstacles, until they
attained a part where their progress was impeded by frequent
dilapidations. Here they halted, and in low tones communicated their
doubts about the precise locality of the station indicated in the
letter, when suddenly a man started up from the ground, and greeted
them with the words "St. Agnes! all is right," which had been
preconcerted as the signal in the letter. This man was courteous and
respectful in his manner of speaking, and had nothing of the ruffian
voice which belonged to the bearer of the letter. In rapid terms he
assured Paulina that "the young general" had not found circumstances
favorable for venturing within the walls, but that he would meet her a
few miles beyond the city gates; and that at present they had no time
to lose. Saying this, he unshaded a dark lantern, which showed them a
ladder of ropes, attached to the summit of a wall, which at this point
was too low to occasion them much uneasiness or difficulty in
ascending. But Paulina insisted previously on hearing something more
circumstantial of the manner and style of their escape from the city
walls, and in what company their journey would be performed. The man
had already done something to conciliate Paulina's confidence by the
propriety of his address, which indicated a superior education, and
habits of intercourse with people of rank. He explained as much of the
plan as seemed necessary for the immediate occasion. A convoy of arms
and military stores was leaving the city for the post at Falkenstein.
Several carriages, containing privileged persons, to whom the Landgrave
or his minister had granted a license, were taking the benefit of an
escort over the forest; and a bribe in the proper quarter had easily
obtained permission, from the officer on duty at the gates, to suffer
an additional carriage to pass as one in a great lady's suite, on the
simple condition that it should contain none but females; as persons of
that sex were liable to no suspicion of being fugitives from the wrath
which was now supposed ready to descend upon the conspirators against
the Landgrave.

This explanation reconciled Paulina to the scheme. She felt cheered by
the prospect of having other ladies to countenance the mode of her
nocturnal journey; and at the worst, hearing this renewed mention of
conspirators and punishment, which easily connected itself with all
that had passed in her interview with the Landgrave, she felt assured,
at any rate, that the dangers she fled from transcended any which she
was likely to incur on her route. Her determination was immediately
taken. She passed over the wall with her attendant; and they found
themselves in a narrow lane, close to the city walls, with none but a
few ruinous outhouses on either side. A low whistle from the man was
soon answered by the rumbling of wheels; and from some distance, as it
seemed, a sort of caleche advanced, drawn by a pair of horses. Paulina
and her attendant stepped hastily in, for at the very moment when the
carriage drew up a signal-gun was heard; which, as their guide assured
them, proclaimed that the escort and the whole train of carriages were
at that moment defiling from the city gate. The driver, obeying the
directions of the other man, drove off as rapidly as the narrow road
and the darkness would allow. A few turns brought them into the great
square in front of the _schloss_; from which a few more open
streets, traversed at full gallop, soon brought them into the rear of
the convoy, which had been unexpectedly embarrassed in its progress to
the gate. From the rear, by dexterous management, they gradually
insinuated themselves into the centre; and, contrary to their
expectations, amongst the press of baggage-wagons, artillery, and
travelling equipages, all tumultuously clamoring to push on, as the
best chance of evading Holkerstein in the forest, their own
unpretending vehicle passed without other notice than a curse from the
officer on duty; which, however, they could not presume to appropriate,
as it might be supposed equitably distributed amongst all who stopped
the road at the moment.

Paulina shuddered as she looked out upon the line of fierce faces,
illuminated by the glare of torches, and mingling with horses' heads,
and the gleam of sabres; all around her, the roar of artillery wheels;
above her head the vast arch of the gates, its broad massy shadows
resting below; and in the vista beyond, which the archway defined, a
mass of blackness, in which she rather imagined than saw the
interminable solitudes of the forest. Soon the gate was closed; their
own carriage passed the tardier parts of the convoy; and, with a dozen
or two of others, surrounded by a squadron of dragoons, headed the
train. Happy beyond measure at the certainty that she had now cleared
the gates of Klosterheim, that she was in the wide, open forest, free
from a detested tyrant, and on the same side of the gates as her lover,
who was doubtless advancing to meet her, she threw herself back in her
carriage, and resigned herself to a slumber, which the anxieties and
watchings of the night had made more than usually welcome.  The city
clocks were now heard in the forest, solemnly knelling out the hour of
four. Hardly, however, had Paulina slept an hour, when she was gently
awaked by her attendant, who had felt it to be her duty to apprise her
lady of the change which had occurred in their situation. They had
stopped, it seemed, to attach a pair of leaders to their wheel-horses,
and were now advancing at a thundering pace, separated from the rest of
the convoy, and surrounded by a small escort of cavalry. The darkness
was still intense; and the lights of Klosterheim, which the frequent
windings of the road brought often into view, were at this moment
conspicuously seen. The castle, from its commanding position, and the
Convent of St. Agnes, were both easily traced out by means of the
lights gleaming from their long ranges of upper windows. A particular
turret, which sprung to an almost aerial altitude above the rest of the
building, in which it was generally reported that the Landgrave slept,
was more distinguishable than any other part of Klosterheim, from one
brilliant lustre which shot its rays through a large oriel window.
There at this moment was sleeping that unhappy prince, tyrannical and
self-tormenting, whose unmanly fears had menaced her own innocence with
so much indefinite danger; whom, in escaping, she knew not if she
_had_ escaped; and whose snares, as a rueful misgiving began to
suggest, were perhaps gathering faster about her, with every echo which
the startled forest returned to the resounding tread of their flying
cavalcade. She leaned back again in the carriage; again she fell
asleep; again she dreamed. But her sleep was un-refreshing; her dreams
were agitated, confused, and haunted by terrific images. And she awoke
repeatedly with her cheerful anticipation continually decaying of
speedily (perhaps ever again) rejoining her gallant Maximilian. There
was indeed yet a possibility that she might be under the superintending
care of her lover. But she secretly felt that she was betrayed. And she
wept when she reflected that her own precipitance had facilitated the
accomplishment of the plot which had perhaps forever ruined her


Meantime, Paulina awoke from the troubled slumbers into which her
fatigues had thrown her, to find herself still flying along as rapidly
as four powerful horses could draw their light burden, and still
escorted by a considerable body of the Landgrave's dragoons. She was
undoubtedly separated from all the rest of the convoy with whom she had
left Klosterheim. It was now apparent, even to her humble attendant,
that they were betrayed; and Paulina reproached herself with having
voluntarily cooperated with her enemy's stratagems. Certainly the
dangers from which she fled were great and imminent; yet still, in
Klosterheim, she derived some protection from the favor of the lady
abbess. That lady had great powers of a legal nature throughout the
city, and still greater influence with a Roman Catholic populace at
this particular period, when their prince had laid himself open to
suspicions of favoring Protestant allies; and Paulina bitterly bewailed
the imprudence which, in removing her from the Convent of St. Agnes,
had removed her from her only friends.

It was about noon when the party halted at a solitary house for rest
and refreshments. Paulina had heard nothing of the route which they had
hitherto taken, nor did she find it easy to collect, from the short and
churlish responses of her escort to the few questions she had yet
ventured to propose, in what direction their future advance would
proceed. A hasty summons bade her alight; and a few steps, under the
guidance of a trooper, brought her into a little gloomy wainscoted
room, where some refreshments had been already spread upon a table.
Adjoining was a small bed-room. And she was desired, with something
more civility than she had yet experienced, to consider both as
allotted for the use of herself and servant during the time of their
stay, which was expected, however, not to exceed the two or three hours
requisite for resting the horses.

But that was an arrangement which depended as much upon others as
themselves. And, in fact, a small party, whom the main body of the
escort had sent on to patrol the roads in advance, soon returned with
the unwelcome news that a formidable corps of imperialists were out
reconnoitring in a direction which might probably lead them across
their own line of march, in the event of their proceeding instantly.
The orders already issued for advance were therefore countermanded; and
a resolution was at length adopted by the leader of the party for
taking up their abode during the night in their present very tolerable

Paulina, wearied and dejected, and recoiling naturally from the
indefinite prospects of danger before her, was not the least rejoiced
at this change in the original plan, by which she benefited at any rate
to the extent of a quiet shelter for one night more,--a blessing which
the next day's adventures might deny her,--and still more by that
postponement of impending evil which is so often welcome to the very
firmest minds, when exhausted by toil and affliction. Having this
certainty, however, of one night's continuance in her present abode,
she requested to have the room made a little more comfortable by the
exhilarating blaze of a fire. For this indulgence there were the
principal requisites in a hearth and spacious chimney. And an aged
crone, probably the sole female servant upon the premises, speedily
presented herself with a plentiful supply of wood, and the two
supporters, or _andirons_ (as they were formerly called), for
raising the billets so as to allow the air to circulate from below.
There was some difficulty at first in kindling the wood; and the old
servant resorted once or twice, after some little apologetic muttering
of doubts with herself, to a closet, containing, as Paulina could
observe, a considerable body of papers.

The fragments which she left remained strewed upon the ground; and
Paulina, taking them up with a careless air, was suddenly transfixed
with astonishment on observing that they were undoubtedly in a
handwriting familiar to her eye--the handwriting of the most
confidential amongst the imperial secretaries. Other recollections now
rapidly associated themselves together, which led her hastily to open
the closet door; and there, as she had already half expected, she saw
the travelling mail stolen from her own carriage, its lock forced, and
the remaining contents (for everything bearing a money value had
probably vanished on its first disappearance) lying in confusion.
Having made this discovery, she hastily closed the door of the closet,
resolved to prosecute her investigations in the night-time; but at
present, when she was liable to continual intrusions, to give no
occasion for those suspicions, which, once aroused, might end in
baffling her design.

Meantime, she occupied herself in conjectures upon the particular
course of accident which could have brought the trunk and papers into
the situation where she had been fortunate enough to find them. And,
with the clue already in her possession, she was not long in making
another discovery. She had previously felt some dim sense of
recognition, as her eyes wandered over the room, but had explained it
away into some resemblance to one or other of the many strange scenes
which she had passed through since leaving Vienna. But now, on
retracing the furniture and aspect of the two rooms, she was struck
with her own inattention, in not having sooner arrived at the discovery
that it was their old quarters of Waldenhausen, the very place in which
the robbery had been effected, where they had again the prospect of
spending the night, and of recovering in part the loss she had

Midnight came, and the Lady Paulina prepared to avail herself of her
opportunities. She drew out the parcel of papers, which was large and
miscellaneous in its contents. By far the greater part, as she was
happy to observe, were mere copies of originals in the chancery at
Vienna; those related to the civic affairs of Klosterheim, and were
probably of a nature not to have been acted upon during the
predominance of the Swedish interest in the counsels and administration
of that city. With the revival of the imperial cause, no doubt these
orders would be repeated, and with the modifications which new
circumstances and the progress of events would then have rendered
expedient. This portion of the papers, therefore, Paulina willingly
restored to their situation in the closet. No evil would arise to any
party from their present detention in a place where they were little
likely to attract notice from anybody but the old lady in her
ministries upon the fire. Suspicion would be also turned aside from
herself in appropriating the few papers which remained. These contained
too frequent mention of a name dear to herself, not to have a
considerable value in her eyes; she was resolved, if possible, to carry
them off by concealing them within her bosom; but, at all events, in
preparation for any misfortune that might ultimately compel her to
resign them, she determined, without loss of time, to make herself
mistress of their contents.

One, and the most important of these documents, was a long and
confidential letter from the emperor to the town council and the chief
heads of conventual houses in Klosterheim. It contained a rapid summary
of the principal events in her lover's life, from his infancy, when
some dreadful domestic tragedy had thrown him upon the emperor's
protection, to his present period of early manhood, when his own sword
and distinguished talents had raised him to a brilliant name and a high
military rank in the imperial service. What were the circumstances of
that tragedy, as a case sufficiently well known to those whom he
addressed, or to be collected from accompanying papers, the emperor did
not say. But he lavished every variety of praise upon Maximilian, with
a liberality that won tears of delight from the solitary young lady, as
she now sat at midnight looking over these gracious testimonies to her
lover's merit. A theme so delightful to Paulina could not be
unseasonable at any time; and never did her thoughts revert to him more
fondly than at this moment, when she so much needed his protecting arm.
Yet the emperor, she was aware, must have some more special motive for
enlarging upon this topic than his general favor to Maximilian. What
this could be, in a case so closely connecting the parties to the
correspondence on both sides with Klosterheim, a little interested her
curiosity. And, on looking more narrowly at the accompanying documents,
in one which had been most pointedly referred to by the emperor she
found some disclosures on the subject of her lover's early misfortunes,
which, whilst they filled her with horror and astonishment, elevated
the natural pretensions of Maximilian in point of birth and descent
more nearly to a level with the splendor of his self-created
distinctions; and thus crowned him, who already lived in her
apprehension as the very model of a hero, with the only advantages that
he had ever been supposed to want--the interest which attaches to
unmerited misfortunes, and the splendor of an illustrious descent.

As she thus sat, absorbed in the story of her lover's early
misfortunes, a murmuring sound of talking attracted her ear, apparently
issuing from the closet. Hastily throwing open the door, she found that
a thin wooden partition, veined with numerous chinks, was the sole
separation between the closet and an adjoining bed-room. The words were
startling, incoherent, and at times raving. Evidently they proceeded
from some patient stretched on a bed of sickness, and dealing with a
sort of horrors in his distempered fancy, worse, it was to be hoped,
than any which the records of his own remembrance could bring before
him. Sometimes he spoke in the character of one who chases a deer in a
forest; sometimes he was close upon the haunches of his game; sometimes
it seemed on the point of escaping him. Then the nature of the game
changed utterly, and became something human; and a companion was
suddenly at his side. With him he quarrelled fiercely about their share
in the pursuit and capture. "O, my lord, you must not deny it. Look,
look! your hands are bloodier than mine. Fie! fie! is there no running
water in the forest?--So young as he is, and so noble!--Stand off! he
will cover us all with his blood!--O, what a groan was that! It will
have broke somebody's heart-strings, I think! It would have broken mine
when I was younger. But these wars make us all cruel. Yet you are worse
than I am."

Then again, after a pause, the patient seemed to start up in bed, and
he cried out, convulsively, "Give me my share, I say. Wherefore must my
share be so small? There he comes past again. Now strike--now, now,
now! Get his head down, my lord.--He's off, by G--! Now, if he gets out
of the forest, two hours will take him to Vienna. And we must go to
Rome: where else could we get absolution? 0, Heavens! the forest is
full of blood; well may our hands be bloody. I see flowers all the way
to Vienna: but there is blood below: 0, what a depth! what a depth!--O!
heart, heart!--See how he starts up from his lair!--O! your highness
has deceived me! There are a thousand upon one man!"

In such terms he continued to rave, until Paulina's mind was so much
harassed with the constant succession of dreadful images and frenzied
ejaculations, all making report of a life passed in scenes of horror,
bloodshed, and violence, that at length, for her own relief, she was
obliged to close the door; through which, however, at intervals,
piercing shrieks or half-stifled curses still continued to find their
way. It struck her as a remarkable coincidence, that something like a
slender thread of connection might be found between the dreadful story
narrated in the imperial document, and the delirious ravings of this
poor, wretched creature, to whom accident had made her a neighbor for a
single night.

Early the next morning Paulina and her servant were summoned to resume
their journey; and three hours more of rapid travelling brought them to
the frowning fortress of Lovenstein. Their escort, with any one of whom
they had found but few opportunities of communicating, had shown
themselves throughout gloomy and obstinately silent. They knew not,
therefore, to what distance their journey extended. But, from the
elaborate ceremonies with which they were here received, and the formal
receipt for their persons, which was drawn up and delivered by the
governor to the officer commanding their escort, Paulina judged that
the castle of Lovenstein would prove to be their final destination.


Two days elapsed without any change in Paulina's situation, as she
found it arranged upon her first arrival at Lovenstein. Her rooms were
not incommodious; but the massy barricades at the doors, the grated
windows, and the sentinels who mounted guard upon all the avenues which
led to her apartments, satisfied her sufficiently that she was a

The third morning after her arrival brought her a still more unwelcome
proof of this melancholy truth, in the summons which she received to
attend a court of criminal justice on the succeeding day, connected
with the tenor of its language. Her heart died within her as she found
herself called upon to answer as a delinquent on a charge of
treasonable conspiracy with various members of the university of
Klosterheim, against the sovereign prince, the Landgrave of X----.
Witnesses in exculpation, whom could she produce? Or how defend herself
before a tribunal where all alike--judge, evidence, accuser---were in
effect one and the same malignant enemy? In what way she could have
come to be connected in the Landgrave's mind with a charge of treason
against his princely rights, she found it difficult to explain, unless
the mere fact of having carried the imperial despatches in the trunks
about her carriages were sufficient to implicate her as a secret
emissary or agent concerned in the imperial diplomacy. But she strongly
suspected that some deep misapprehension existed in the Landgrave's
mind; and its origin, she fancied, might be found in the refined
knavery of their ruffian host at Waldenhausen, in making his market of
the papers which he had purloined. Bringing them forward separately and
by piecemeal, he had probably hoped to receive so many separate
rewards. But, as it would often happen that one paper was necessary in
the way of explanation to another, and the whole, perhaps, were almost
essential to the proper understanding of any one, the result would
inevitably be grievously to mislead the Landgrave. Further
communications, indeed, would have tended to disabuse the prince of any
delusions raised in this way. But it was probable, as Paulina had
recently learned in passing through Waldenhausen, that the ruffian's
illness and delirium had put a stop to any further communication of
papers; and thus the misconceptions which he had caused were
perpetuated in the Landgrave's mind.

It was on the third day after Paulina's arrival that she was first
placed before the court. The presiding officer in this tribunal was the
governor of the fortress, a tried soldier, but a ruffian of low habits
and cruel nature. He had risen under the Landgrave's patronage, as an
adventurer of desperate courage, ready for any service, however
disreputable, careless alike of peril or of infamy. In common with many
partisan officers, who had sprung from the ranks in this adventurous
war, seeing on every side and in the highest quarters, princes as well
as supreme commanders, the uttermost contempt of justice and moral
principle, he had fought his way to distinction and fortune, through
every species of ignoble cruelty. He had passed from service to
service, as he saw an opening for his own peculiar interest or merit,
everywhere valued as a soldier of desperate enterprise, everywhere
abhorred as a man.

By birth a Croatian, he had exhibited himself as one of the most savage
leaders of that order of barbarians in the sack of Magdeburgh, where he
served under Tilly; but, latterly, he had taken service again under his
original patron, the Landgrave, who had lured him back to his interest
by the rank of general and the governorship of Lovenstein.

This brutal officer, who had latterly lived in a state of continual
intoxication, was the judge before whom the lovely and innocent Paulina
was now arraigned on a charge affecting her life. In fact, it became
obvious that the process was not designed for any other purpose than to
save appearances, and, if that should seem possible, to extract further
discoveries from the prisoner. The general acted as supreme arbiter in
every question of rights and power that arose to the court in the
administration of their almost unlimited functions. Doubts he allowed
of none; and cut every knot of jurisprudence, whether form or
substance, by his Croatian sabre. Two assessors, however, he willingly
received upon his bench of justice, to relieve him from the fatigue and
difficulty of conducting a perplexed examination.

These assessors were lawyers of a low class, who tempered the exercise
of their official duties with as few scruples of justice, and as little
regard to the restraints of courtesy, as their military principal. The
three judges were almost equally ferocious, and tools equally abject of
the unprincipled sovereign whom they served.

A sovereign, however, he was; and Paulina was well aware that in his
own states he had the power of life and death. She had good reason to
see that her own death was resolved on; still she neglected no means of
honorable self-defence. In a tone of mingled sweetness and dignity she
maintained her innocence of all that was alleged against her; protested
that she was unacquainted with the tenor of any papers which might have
been found in her trunks; and claimed her privilege, as a subject of
the emperor, in bar of all right on the Landgrave's part to call her to
account. These pleas were overruled, and when she further acquainted
the court that she was a near relative of the emperor's, and ventured
to hint at the vengeance with which his imperial majesty would not fail
to visit so bloody a contempt of justice, she was surprised to find
this menace treated with mockery and laughter. In reality, the long
habit of fighting for and against all the princes of Germany had given
to the Croatian general a disregard for any of them, except on the
single consideration of receiving his pay at the moment; and a single
circumstance, unknown to Paulina, in the final determination of the
Landgrave, to earn a merit with his Swedish allies by breaking off all
terms of reserve and compromise with the imperial court, impressed a
savage desperation on the tone of that prince's policy at this
particular time. The Landgrave had resolved to stake his all upon a
single throw. A battle was now expected, which, if favorable to the
Swedes, would lay open the road to Vienna. The Landgrave was prepared
to abide the issue; not, perhaps, wholly uninfluenced to so extreme a
course by the very paper which had been robbed from Paulina. His policy
was known to his agents, and conspicuously influenced their manner of
receiving her menace.

Menaces, they informed her, came with better grace from those who had
the power to enforce them; and, with a brutal scoff, the Croatian bade
her merit their indulgence by frank discoveries and voluntary
confessions. He insisted on knowing the nature of the connection which
the imperial colonel of horse, Maximilian, had maintained with the
students of Klosterheim; and upon other discoveries, with respect to
most of which Paulina was too imperfectly informed herself to be
capable of giving any light. Her earnest declarations to this effect
were treated with disregard. She was dismissed for the present, but
with an intimation that on the morrow she must prepare herself with a
more complying temper, or with a sort of firmness in maintaining her
resolution, which would not, perhaps, long resist those means which the
law had placed at their disposal for dealing with the refractory and


Paulina meditated earnestly upon the import of this parting threat. The
more she considered it, the less could she doubt that these fierce
inquisitors had meant to threaten her with torture. She felt the whole
indignity of such a threat, though she could hardly bring herself to
believe them in earnest.

On the following morning she was summoned early before her judges. They
had not yet assembled; but some of the lower officials were pacing up
and down, exchanging unintelligible jokes, looking sometimes at
herself, sometimes at an iron machine, with a complex arrangement of
wheels and screws. Dark were the suspicions which assaulted Paulina as
this framework or couch of iron first met her eyes; and perhaps some of
the jests circulating amongst the brutal ministers of her brutal judges
would have been intelligible enough, had she condescended to turn her
attention in that direction. Meantime her doubts were otherwise
dispersed. The Croatian officer now entered the room alone, his
assessors having probably declined participation in that part of the
horrid functions which remained under the Landgrave's commission.

This man, presenting a paper with a long list of interrogatories to
Paulina, bade her now rehearse verbally the sum of the answers which
she designed to give. Running rapidly through them, Paulina replied,
with dignity, yet trembling and agitated, that these were questions
which in any sense she could not answer; many of them referring to
points on which she had no knowledge, and none of them being consistent
with the gratitude and friendship so largely due on her side to the
persons implicated in the bearing of these questions.

"Then you refuse?"

"Certainly; there are three questions only which it is in my power to
answer at all--even these imperfectly. Answers such as you expect would
load me with dishonor."

"Then you refuse?"

"For the reasons I have stated, undoubtedly I do."

"Once more--you refuse?"

"I refuse, certainly; but do me the justice to record my reasons."

"Reasons!--ha! ha! they had need to be strong ones if they will hold
out against the arguments of this pretty plaything," laying his hand
upon the machine. "However, the choice is yours, not mine."

So saying, he made a sign to the attendants. One began to move the
machine, and work the screws, or raise the clanking grates and
framework, with a savage din; two others bared their arms. Paulina
looked on motionless with sudden horror, and palpitating with fear.

The Croatian nodded to the men; and then, in a loud, commanding voice,
exclaimed: "The question in the first degree!"

At this moment Paulina recovered her strength, which the first panic
had dispelled. She saw a man approach her with a ferocious grin of
exultation. Another, with the same horrid expression of countenance,
carried a large vase of water.

The whole indignity of the scene flashed full upon her mind. She, a
lady of the imperial house, threatened with torture by the base agent
of a titled ruffian! She, who owed him no duty,--had violated no claim
of hospitality, though in her own person all had been atrociously

Thoughts like these flew rapidly through her brain, when suddenly a
door opened behind her. It was an attendant with some implements for
tightening or relaxing bolts. The bare-armed ruffian at this moment
raised his arm to seize hers. Shrinking from the pollution of his
accursed touch, Paulina turned hastily round, darted through the open
door, and fled, like a dove pursued by vultures, along the passages
which stretched before her. Already she felt their hot breathing upon
her neck, already the foremost had raised his hand to arrest her, when
a sudden turn brought her full upon a band of young women, tending upon
one of superior rank, manifestly their mistress.

"0, madam!" exclaimed Paulina, "save me! save me!" and with these words
fell exhausted at the lady's feet.

This female--young, beautiful, and with a touching pensiveness of
manners--raised her tenderly in her arms, and with a sisterly tone of
affection bade her fear nothing; and the respectful manner in which the
officials retired at her command satisfied Paulina that she stood in
some very near relation to the Landgrave,--in reality, she soon spoke
of him as her father. "Is it possible," thought Paulina to herself,
"that this innocent and lovely child (for she was not more than
seventeen, though with a prematurity of womanly person that raised her
to a level with Paulina's height) should owe the affection of a
daughter to a tyrant so savage as the Landgrave?"

She found, however, that the gentle Princess Adeline owed to her own
childlike simplicity the best gift that one so situated could have
received from the bounty of Heaven. The barbarities exercised by the
Croatian governor she charged entirely upon his own brutal nature; and
so confirmed was she in this view by Paulina's own case, that she now
resolved upon executing a resolution she had long projected. Her
father's confidence was basely abused; this she said, and devoutly
believed. "No part of the truth ever reached him; her own letters
remained disregarded in a way which was irreconcilable with the
testimonies of profound affection to herself, daily showered upon her
by his highness."

In reality, this sole child of the Landgrave was also the one sole
jewel that gave a value in his eyes to his else desolate life.
Everything in and about the castle of Lovenstein was placed under her
absolute control; even the brutal Croatian governor knew that no plea
or extremity of circumstances would atone for one act of disobedience
to her orders; and hence it was that the ministers of this tyrant
retired with so much prompt obedience to her commands.

Experience, however, had taught the princess that, not unfrequently,
orders apparently obeyed were afterwards secretly evaded; and the
disregard paid of late to her letters of complaint satisfied her that
they were stifled and suppressed by the governor. Paulina, therefore,
whom a few hours of unrestrained intercourse had made interesting to
her heart, she would not suffer even to sleep apart from herself. Her
own agitation on the poor prisoner's behalf became greater even than
that of Paulina; and as fresh circumstances of suspicion daily arose in
the savage governor's deportment, she now took in good earnest those
measures for escape to Klosterheim which she had long arranged. In this
purpose she was greatly assisted by the absolute authority which her
father had conceded to her over everything but the mere military
arrangements in the fortress. Under the color of an excursion, such as
she had been daily accustomed to take, she found no difficulty in
placing Paulina, sufficiently disguised, amongst her own servants. At a
proper point of the road, Paulina and a few attendants, with the
princess herself, issued from their coaches, and, bidding them await
their return in half an hour's interval, by that time were far advanced
upon their road to the military post of Falkenberg.


In twenty days the mysterious Masque had summoned the Landgrave "to
answer for crimes unatoned, before a tribunal where no power but that
of innocence could avail him." These days were nearly expired. The
morning of the twentieth had arrived.

There were two interpretations of this summons. By many it was believed
that the tribunal contemplated was that of the emperor; and that, by
some mysterious plot, which could not be more difficult of execution
than others which had actually been accomplished by The Masque, on this
day the Landgrave would be carried off to Vienna. Others, again,
understanding by the tribunal, in the same sense, the imperial chamber
of criminal justice, believed it possible to fulfil the summons in some
way less liable to delay or uncertainty than by a long journey to
Vienna, through a country beset with enemies. But a third party,
differing from both the others, understood by the tribunal where
innocence was the only shield the judgment-seat of heaven; and believed
that on this day justice would be executed on the Landgrave, for crimes
known and unknown, by a public and memorable death. Under any
interpretation, however, nobody amongst the citizens could venture
peremptorily to deny, after the issue of the masqued ball, and of so
many other public denunciations, that The Masque would keep his word to
the letter.

It followed, of necessity, that everybody was on the tiptoe of
suspense, and that the interest hanging upon the issue of this night's
events swallowed up all other anxieties, of whatsoever nature. Even the
battle which was now daily expected between the imperial and Swedish
armies ceased to occupy the hearts and conversation of the citizens.
Domestic and public concerns alike gave way to the coming catastrophe
so solemnly denounced by The Masque.

The Landgrave alone maintained a gloomy reserve, and the expression of
a haughty disdain. He had resolved to meet the summons with the
liveliest expression of defiance, by fixing this evening for a second
masqued ball, upon a greater scale than the first. In doing this he
acted advisedly, and with the counsel of his Swedish allies. They
represented to him that the issue of the approaching battle might be
relied upon as pretty nearly certain; all the indications were indeed
generally thought to promise a decisive turn in their favor; but, in
the worst case, no defeat of the Swedish army in this war had ever been
complete; that the bulk of the retreating army, if the Swedes should be
obliged to retreat, would take the road to Klosterheim, and would
furnish to himself a garrison capable of holding the city for many
months to come (and _that_ would not fail to bring many fresh
chances to all of them), whilst to his new and cordial allies this
course would offer a secure retreat from pursuing enemies, and a
satisfactory proof of his own fidelity. This even in the worst case;
whereas in the better and more probable one, of a victory to the
Swedes, to maintain the city but for a day or two longer against
internal conspirators, and the secret cooperators outside, would be in
effect to ratify any victory which the Swedes might gain by putting
into their hands at a critical moment one of its most splendid trophies
and guarantees.

These counsels fell too much into the Landgrave's own way of thinking
to meet with any demurs from him. It was agreed, therefore, that as
many Swedish troops as could at this important moment be spared should
be introduced into the halls and saloons of the castle, on the eventful
evening, disguised as masquers. These were about four hundred; and
other arrangements were made, equally mysterious, and some of them
known only to the Landgrave.

At seven o'clock, as on the former occasion, the company began to
assemble. The same rooms were thrown open; but, as the party was now
far more numerous, and was made more comprehensive in point of rank, in
order to include all who were involved in the conspiracy which had been
some time maturing in Klosterheim, fresh suites of rooms were judged
necessary, on the pretext of giving fuller effect to the princely
hospitalities of the Landgrave. And, on this occasion, according to an
old privilege conceded in the case of coronations or galas of
magnificence, by the lady abbess of St. Agnes, the partition walls were
removed between the great hall of the _schloss_ and the refectory
of that immense convent; so that the two vast establishments, which on
one side were contiguous to each other, were thus laid into one.

The company had now continued to pour in for two hours. The palace and
the refectory of the convent were now overflowing with lights and
splendid masques; the avenues and corridors rang with music; and,
though every heart was throbbing with fear and suspense, no outward
expression was wanting of joy and festal pleasure. For the present, all
was calm around the slumbering volcano.

Suddenly, the Count St. Aldenheim, who was standing with arms folded,
and surveying the brilliant scene, felt some one touch his hand, in the
way concerted amongst the conspirators as a private signal of
recognition. He turned, and recognized his friend the Baron Adelort,
who saluted him with three emphatic words--"We are betrayed!"--Then,
after a pause, "Follow me."

St. Aldenheim made his way through the glittering crowds, and pressed
after his conductor into one of the most private corridors.

"Fear not," said the other, "that we shall be watched. Vigilance is no
longer necessary to our crafty enemy. He has already triumphed. Every
avenue of escape is barred and secured against us; every outlet of the
palace is occupied by the Landgrave's troops. Not a man of us will
return alive."

"Heaven forbid we should prove ourselves such gulls! You are but
jesting, my friend."

"Would to God I were! my information is but too certain. Something I
have overheard by accident; something has been told me; and something I
have seen. Come you, also, count, and see what I will show you: then
judge for yourself."

So saying, he led St. Aldenheim by a little circuit of passages to a
doorway, through which they passed into a hall of vast proportions; to
judge by the catafalques, and mural monuments, scattered at intervals
along the vast expanse of its walls, this seemed to be the ante-chapel
of St. Agnes. In fact it was so; a few faint lights glimmered through
the gloomy extent of this immense chamber, placed (according to the
Catholic rite) at the shrine of the saint. Feeble as it was, however,
the light was powerful enough to display in the centre a pile of
scaffolding covered with black drapery. Standing at the foot, they
could trace the outlines of a stage at the summit, fenced in with a
railing, a block, and the other apparatus for the solemnity of a public
execution, whilst the saw-dust below their feet ascertained the spot in
which the heads were to fall.

"Shall we ascend and rehearse our parts?" asked the count: "for
methinks everything is prepared, except the headsman and the
spectators. A plague on the inhospitable knave!"

"Yes, St. Aldenheim, all is prepared--even to the sufferers. On that
list you stand foremost. Believe me, I speak with knowledge; no matter
where gained. It is certain."

"Well, _necessitas non habet legem_; and he that dies on Tuesday
will never catch cold on Wednesday. But, still, that comfort is
something of the coldest. Think you that none better could be had?"

"As how?"

"Revenge, _par exemple_; a little revenge. Might one not screw the
neck of this base prince, who abuses the confidence of cavaliers so
perfidiously? To die I care not; but to be caught in a trap, and die
like a rat lured by a bait of toasted cheese--Faugh! my countly blood
rebels against it!"

"Something might surely be done, if we could muster in any strength.
That is, we might die sword in hand; but--"

"Enough! I ask no more. Now let us go. We will separately pace the
rooms, draw together as many of our party as we can single out, and
then proclaim ourselves. Let each answer for one victim. I'll take his
highness for my share."

With this purpose, and thus forewarned of the dreadful fate at hand,
they left the gloomy ante-chapel, traversed the long suite of
entertaining rooms, and collected as many as could easily be detached
from the dances without too much pointing out their own motions to the
attention of all present. The Count St. Aldenheim was seen rapidly
explaining to them the circumstances of their dreadful situation;
whilst hands uplifted, or suddenly applied to the hilt of the sword,
with other gestures of sudden emotion, expressed the different
impressions of rage or fear, which, under each variety of character,
impressed the several hearers. Some of them, however, were too
unguarded in their motions; and the energy of their gesticulations had
now begun to attract the attention of the company.

The Landgrave himself had his eye upon them. But at this moment his
attention was drawn off by an uproar of confusion in an ante-chamber,
which argued some tragical importance in the cause that could prompt so
sudden a disregard for the restraints of time and place.


His highness issued from the room in consternation, followed by many of
the company. In the very centre of the ante-room, booted and spurred,
bearing all the marks of extreme haste, panic, and confusion, stood a
Swedish officer, dealing forth hasty fragments of some heart-shaking
intelligence. "All is lost!" said he; "not a regiment has escaped!"
"And the place?" exclaimed a press of inquirers. "Nordlingen." "And
which way has the Swedish army retreated?" demanded a masque behind

"Retreat!" retorted the officer, "I tell you there is no retreat. All
have perished. The army is no more. Horse, foot, artillery--all is
wrecked, crushed, annihilated. Whatever yet lives is in the power of
the imperialists."

At this moment the Landgrave came up, and in every way strove to check
these too liberal communications. He frowned; the officer saw him not.
He laid his hand on the officer's arm, but all in vain. He spoke, but
the officer knew not, or forgot his rank. Panic and immeasurable sorrow
had crushed his heart; he cared not for restraints; decorum and
ceremony were become idle words. The Swedish army had perished. The
greatest disaster of the whole 'Thirty Years' War had fallen upon his
countrymen. His own eyes had witnessed the tragedy, and he had no power
to check or restrain that which made his heart overflow.

The Landgrave retired. But in half an hour the banquet was announced;
and his highness had so much command over his own feelings that he took
his seat at the table. He seemed tranquil in the midst of general
agitation; for the company were distracted by various passions. Some
exulted in the great victory of the imperialists, and the approaching
liberation of Klosterheim. Some, who were in the secret, anticipated
with horror the coming tragedy of vengeance upon his enemies which the
Landgrave had prepared for this night. Some were filled with suspense
and awe on the probable fulfilment in some way or other, doubtful as to
the mode, but tragic (it was not doubted) for the result, of The
Masque's mysterious denunciation.

      *       *       *       *       *

Under such circumstances of universal agitation and suspense,--for on
one side or other it seemed inevitable that this night must produce a
tragical catastrophe,--it was not extraordinary that silence and
embarrassment should at one moment take possession of the company, and
at another that kind of forced and intermitting gayety which still more
forcibly proclaimed the trepidation which really mastered the spirits
of the assemblage. The banquet was magnificent; but it moved heavily
and in sadness. The music, which broke the silence at intervals, was
animating and triumphant; but it had no power to disperse the gloom
which hung over the evening, and which was gathering strength
conspicuously as the hours advanced to midnight.

As the clock struck eleven, the orchestra had suddenly become silent;
and, as no buzz of conversation succeeded, the anxiety of expectation
became more painfully irritating. The whole vast assemblage was hushed,
gazing at the doors, at each other, or watching, stealthily, the
Landgrave's countenance. Suddenly a sound was heard in an ante-room; a
page entered with a step hurried and discomposed, advanced to the
Landgrave's seat, and, bending downwards, whispered some news or
message to that prince, of which not a syllable could be caught by the
company. Whatever were its import, it could not be collected, from any
very marked change on the features of him to whom it was addressed,
that he participated in the emotions of the messenger, which were
obviously those of grief or panic--perhaps of both united. Some even
fancied that a transient expression of malignant exultation crossed the
Landgrave's countenance at this moment. But, if that were so, it was
banished as suddenly; and, in the next instant, the prince arose with a
leisurely motion; and, with a very successful affectation (if such it
were) of extreme tranquillity, he moved forwards to one of the ante-
rooms, in which, as it now appeared, some person was awaiting his

Who, and on what errand? These were the questions which now racked the
curiosity of those among the company who had least concern in the final
event, and more painfully interested others, whose fate was consciously
dependent upon the accidents which the next hour might happen to bring
up. Silence still continuing to prevail, and, if possible, deeper
silence than before, it was inevitable that all the company, those even
whose honorable temper would least have brooked any settled purpose of
surprising the Landgrave's secrets, should, in some measure, become a
party to what was now passing in the ante-room.

The voice of the Landgrave was heard at times, briefly and somewhat
sternly in reply, but apparently in the tone of one who is thrown upon
the necessity of self-defence. On the other side, the speaker was
earnest, solemn, and (as it seemed) upon an office of menace or
upbraiding. For a time, however, the tones were low and subdued; but,
as the passion of the scene advanced, less restraint was observed on
both sides; and at length many believed that in the stranger's voice
they recognized that of the lady abbess; and it was some corroboration
of this conjecture, that the name of Paulina began now frequently to be
caught, and in connection with ominous words, indicating some dreadful
fate supposed to have befallen her.

A few moments dispersed all doubts. The tones of bitter and angry
reproach rose louder than before; they were, without doubt, those of
the abbess. She charged the blood of Paulina upon the Landgrave's head;
denounced the instant vengeance of the emperor for so great an
atrocity; and, if that could be evaded, bade him expect certain
retribution from Heaven for so wanton and useless an effusion of
innocent blood.

The Landgrave replied in a lower key; and his words were few and rapid.
That they were words of fierce recrimination, was easily collected from
the tone; and in the next minute the parties separated with little
ceremony (as was sufficiently evident) on either side, and with mutual
wrath. The Landgrave reentered the banqueting-room; his features
discomposed and inflated with passion; but such was his self-command,
and so habitual his dissimulation, that, by the time he reached his
seat, all traces of agitation had disappeared; his countenance had
resumed its usual expression of stern serenity, and his manners their
usual air of perfect self-possession.

       *       *       *       *       *

The clock of St. Agnes struck twelve. At that sound the Landgrave rose.
"Friends and illustrious strangers!" said he, "I have caused one seat
to be left empty for that blood-stained Masque, who summoned me to
answer on this night for a crime which he could not name, at a bar
which no man knows. His summons you heard. Its fulfilment is yet to
come. But I suppose few of us are weak enough to expect--"

"That The Masque of Klosterheim will ever break his engagements," said
a deep voice, suddenly interrupting the Landgrave. All eyes were
directed to the sound; and, behold! there stood The Masque, and seated
himself quietly in the chair which had been left vacant for his

"It is well!" said the Landgrave; but the air of vexation and panic
with which he sank back into his seat belied his words. Rising again,
after a pause, with some agitation, he said, "Audacious criminal! since
last we met, I have learned to know you, and to appreciate your
purposes. It is now fit they should be known to Klosterheim. A scene of
justice awaits you at present, which will teach this city to understand
the delusions which could build any part of her hopes upon yourself.
Citizens and friends, not I, but these dark criminals and interlopers
whom you will presently see revealed in their true colors, are
answerable for that interruption to the course of our peaceful
festivities, which will presently be brought before you. Not I, but
they are responsible."

So saying, the Landgrave arose, and the whole of the immense audience,
who now resumed their masques, and prepared to follow whither his
highness should lead. With the haste of one who fears he may be
anticipated in his purpose, and the fury of some bird of prey,
apprehending that his struggling victim may be yet torn from his
talons, the prince hurried onwards to the ante-chapel. Innumerable
torches now illuminated its darkness; in other respects it remained as
St. Aldenheim had left it.

The Swedish masques had many of them withdrawn from the gala on hearing
the dreadful day of Nordlingen. But enough remained, when strengthened
by the body-guard of the Landgrave, to make up a corps of nearly five
hundred men. Under the command of Colonel von Aremberg, part of them
now enclosed the scaffold, and part prepared to seize the persons who
were pointed out to them as conspirators. Amongst these stood foremost
The Masque.

Shaking off those who attempted to lay hands upon him, he strode
disdainfully within the ring; and then, turning to the Landgrave, he

"Prince, for once be generous; accept me as a ransom for the rest."

The Landgrave smiled sarcastically. "That were an unequal bargain,
methinks, to take a part in exchange for the whole."

"The whole? And where is, then, your assurance of the whole?"

"Who should now make it doubtful? There is the block; the headsman is
at hand. What hand can deliver from this extremity even you, Sir

"That which has many times delivered me from a greater. It seems,
prince, that you forget the last days in the history of Klosterheim. He
that rules by night in Klosterheim may well expect a greater favor than
this when he descends to sue for it."

The Landgrave smiled contemptuously. "But, again I ask you, sir, will
you on any terms grant immunity to these young men?"

"You sue as vainly for others as you would do for yourself."

"Then all grace is hopeless?" The Landgrave vouchsafed no answer, but
made signals to Von Aremberg.

"Gentlemen, cavaliers, citizens of Klosterheim, you that are not
involved in the Landgrave's suspicions," said The Masque, appealingly,
"will you not join me in the intercession I offer for these young
friends, who are else to perish unjudged, by blank edict of martial

The citizens of Klosterheim interceded with ineffectual supplication.
"Gentlemen, you waste your breath; they die without reprieve," replied
the Landgrave.

"Will your highness spare none?"

"Not one," he exclaimed, angrily,--"not the youngest amongst them."

"Nor grant a day's respite to him who may appear, on examination, the
least criminal of the whole?"

"A day's respite? No, nor half an hour's. Headsman, be ready. Soldiers,
lay the heads of the prisoners ready for the axe."

"Detested prince, now look to your own!"

With a succession of passions flying over his face,--rage, disdain,
suspicion,--the Landgrave looked round upon The Masque as he uttered
these words, and, with pallid, ghastly consternation, beheld him raise
to his lips a hunting-horn which depended from his neck. He blew a
blast, which was immediately answered from within. Silence as of the
grave ensued. All eyes were turned in the direction of the answer.
Expectation was at its summit; and in less than a minute solemnly
uprose the curtain, which divided the chapel from the ante-chapel,
revealing a scene that smote many hearts with awe, and the consciences
of some with as much horror as if it had really been that final
tribunal which numbers believed The Masque to have denounced.


The great chapel of St. Agnes, the immemorial hall of coronation for
the Landgraves of X----, was capable of containing with ease from seven
to eight thousand spectators. Nearly that number was now collected in
the galleries, which, on the recurrence of that great occasion, or of a
royal marriage, were usually assigned to the spectators. These were all
equipped in burnished arms, the very _élite_ of the imperial army.
Resistance was hopeless; in a single moment the Landgrave saw himself
dispossessed of all his hopes by an overwhelming force; the advanced
guard, in fact, of the victorious imperialists, now fresh from

On the marble area of the chapel, level with their own position, were
arranged "a brilliant staff of officers; and, a little in advance of
them, so as almost to reach the ante-chapel, stood the imperial legate
or ambassador. This nobleman advanced to the crowd of Klosterheimers,
and spoke thus:

"Citizens of Klosterheim, I bring you from the emperor your true and
lawful Landgrave, Maximilian, son of your last beloved prince."

Both chapels resounded with acclamations; and the troops presented

"Show us our prince! let us pay him our homage!" echoed from every

"This is mere treason!" exclaimed the usurper. "The emperor invites
treason against his own throne, who undermines that of other princes.
The late Landgrave had no son; so much is known to you all."

"None that was known to his murderer," replied The Masque, "else had he
met no better fate than his unhappy father."

"Murderer! And what art thou, blood-polluted Masque, with hands yet
reeking from the blood of all who refused to join the conspiracy
against your lawful prince?"

"Citizens of Klosterheim," said the legate, "first let the emperor's
friend be assoiled from all injurious thoughts. Those whom ye believe
to have been removed by murder are here to speak for themselves."

Upon this the whole line of those who had mysteriously disappeared from
Klosterheim presented themselves to the welcome of their astonished

"These," said the legate, "quitted Klosterheim, even by the same secret
passages which enabled us to enter it, and for the self-same purpose,--
to prepare the path for the restoration of the true heir, Maximilian
the Fourth, whom in this noble prince you behold, and whom may God long

Saying this, to the wonder of the whole assembly, he led forward The
Masque, whom nobody had yet suspected for more than an agent of the
true heir.

The Landgrave, meantime, thus suddenly denounced as a tyrant, usurper,
murderer, had stood aloof, and had given but a slight attention to the
latter words of the legate. A race of passions had traversed his
countenance, chasing each other in flying succession. But by a
prodigious effort he recalled himself to the scene before him; and,
striding up to the crowd, of which the legate was the central figure,
he raised his arm with a gesture of indignation, and protested
vehemently that the assassination of Maximilian's father had been
iniquitously charged upon himself.--"And yet," said he, "upon that one
gratuitous assumption have been built all the other foul suspicions
directed against my person."

"Pardon me, sir," replied the legate, "the evidences were such as
satisfied the emperor and his council; and he showed it by the
vigilance with which he watched over the Prince Maximilian, and the
anxiety with which he kept him from approaching your highness, until
his pretensions could be established by arms. But, if more direct
evidence were wanting, since yesterday we have had it in the dying
confession of the very agent employed to strike the fatal blow. That
man died last night, penitent and contrite, having fully unburdened his
conscience, at Waldenhausen. With evidence so overwhelming, the emperor
exacts no further sacrifice from your highness than that of retirement
from public life, to any one of your own castles in your patrimonial
principality of Oberhornstein.--But, now for a more pleasing duty.
Citizens of Klosterheim, welcome your young Landgrave in the emperor's
name: and to-morrow you shall welcome also your future Landgravine, the
lovely Countess Paulina, cousin to the emperor, my master, and cousin
also to your noble young Landgrave."

"No!" exclaimed the malignant usurper, "her you shall never see alive;
for that, be well assured, I have taken care."

"Vile, unworthy prince!" replied Maximilian, his eyes kindling with
passion, "know that your intentions, so worthy of a fiend, towards that
most innocent of ladies, have been confounded and brought to nothing by
your own gentle daughter, worthy of a far nobler father."

"If you speak of my directions for administering the torture,--a matter
in which I presume that I exercised no unusual privilege amongst German
sovereigns,--you are right. But it was not that of which I spoke."

"Of what else, then?--The Lady Paulina has escaped."

"True, to Falkenberg. But, doubtless, young Landgrave, you have heard
of such a thing as the intercepting of a fugitive prisoner; in such a
case, you know the punishment which martial law awards. The governor at
Falkenberg had his orders." These last significant words he uttered in
a tone of peculiar meaning. His eye sparkled with bright gleams of
malice and of savage vengeance, rioting in its completion.

"O, heart--heart!" exclaimed Maximilian, "can this be possible?"

The imperial legate and all present crowded around him to suggest such
consolation as they could. Some offered to ride off express to
Falkenberg; some argued that the Lady Paulina had been seen within the
last hour. But the hellish exulter in ruined happiness destroyed that
hope as soon as it dawned.

"Children!" said he, "foolish children! cherish not such chimeras. Me
you have destroyed, Landgrave, and the prospects of my house. Now
perish yourself.--Look there: is that the form of one who lives and

All present turned to the scaffold, in which direction he pointed, and
now first remarked, covered with a black pall, and brought hither
doubtless to aggravate the pangs of death to Maximilian, what seemed
but too certainly a female corpse. The stature, the fine swell of the
bust, the rich outline of the form, all pointed to the same conclusion;
and, in this recumbent attitude, it seemed but too clearly to present
the magnificent proportions of Paulina.

There was a dead silence. Who could endure to break it? Who make the
effort which was forever to fix the fate of Maximilian?

He himself could not. At last the deposed usurper, craving for the
consummation of his vengeance, himself strode forward; with one savage
grasp he tore away the pall, and below it lay the innocent features,
sleeping in her last tranquil slumber, of his own gentle-minded

       *       *       *       *       *

No heart was found savage enough to exult; the sorrow even of such a
father was sacred. Death, and through his own orders, had struck the
only being whom he had ever loved; and the petrific mace of the fell
destroyer seemed to have smitten his own heart, and withered its hopes

Everybody comprehended the mistake in a moment. Paulina had lingered at
Waldenhausen under the protection of an imperial corps, which she had
met in her flight. The tyrant, who had heard of her escape, but
apprehended no necessity for such a step on the part of his daughter,
had issued sudden orders to the officer commanding the military post at
Falkenberg, to seize and shoot the female prisoner escaping from
confinement, without allowing any explanations whatsoever, on her
arrival at Falkenberg. This precaution he had adopted in part to
intercept any denunciation of the emperor's vengeance which Paulina
might address to the officer. As a rude soldier, accustomed to obey the
letter of his orders, this commandant had executed his commission; and
the gentle Adeline, who had naturally hastened to the protection of her
father's chateau, surrendered her breath meekly and with resignation to
what she believed a simple act of military violence; and this she did
before she could know a syllable of her father's guilt or his fall, and
without any the least reason for supposing him connected with the
occasion of her early death.

At this moment Paulina made her appearance unexpectedly, to reassure
the young Landgrave by her presence, and to weep over her young friend,
whom she had lost almost before she had come to know her. The scaffold,
the corpse, and the other images of sorrow, were then withdrawn; seven
thousand imperial troops presented arms to the youthful Landgrave and
the future Landgravine, the brilliant favorites of the emperor; the
immense area of St. Agnes resounded with the congratulations of
Klosterheim; and as the magnificent cortege moved off to the interior
of the _schloss_, the swell of the coronation anthem rising in
peals upon the ear from the choir of St. Agnes, and from the military
bands of the imperial troops, awoke the promise of happier days, and of
more equitable government, to the long-harassed inhabitants of

       *       *       *       *       *

The Klosterheimers knew enough already, personally or by questions
easily answered in every quarter, to supply any links which were
wanting in the rapid explanations of the legate. Nevertheless, that
nothing might remain liable to misapprehension or cavil, a short
manifesto was this night circulated by the new government, from which
the following facts are abstracted:

The last rightful Landgrave, whilst yet a young man, had been
assassinated in the forest when hunting. A year or two before this
catastrophe he had contracted what, from the circumstances, was
presumed, at the time, to be a _morganatic_ or left-handed
marriage, with a lady of high birth, nearly connected with the imperial
house. The effect of such a marriage went to incapacitate the children
who might be born under it, male or female, from succeeding. On that
account, as well as because current report had represented her as
childless, the widow lady escaped all attempts from the assassin.
Meantime this lady, who was no other than Sister Madeline, had been
thus indebted for her safety to two rumors, which were in fact equally
false. She soon found means of convincing the emperor, who had been the
bosom friend of her princely husband, that her marriage was a perfect
one, and conferred the fullest rights of succession upon her infant son
Maximilian, whom at the earliest age, and with the utmost secrecy, she
had committed to the care of his imperial majesty. This powerful
guardian had in every way watched over the interests of the young
prince. But the Thirty Years' War had thrown all Germany into
distractions, which for a time thwarted the emperor, and favored the
views of the usurper. Latterly, also, another question had arisen on
the city and dependences of Klosterheim, as distinct from the
Landgraviate. These, it was now affirmed, were a female appanage, and
could only pass back to the Landgraves of X---- through a marriage with
the female inheretrix. To reconcile all claims, therefore, on finding
this bar in the way, the emperor had resolved to promote a marriage for
Maximilian with Paulina, who stood equally related to the imperial
house and to that of her lover. In this view he had despatched Paulina
to Klosterheim, with proper documents to support the claims of both
parties. Of these documents she had been robbed at Waldenhausen; and
the very letter which was designed to introduce Maximilian as "the
child and sole representative of the late murdered Landgrave," falling
in this surreptitious way into the usurper's hand, had naturally
misdirected his attacks to the person of Paulina.

For the rest, as regarded the mysterious movements of The Masque, these
were easily explained. Fear, and the exaggerations of fear, had done
one half the work to his hands, by preparing people to fall easy dupes
to the plans laid, and by increasing the romantic wonders of his
achievements. Coöperation, also, on the part of the very students and
others, who stood forward as the night-watch for detecting him, had
served The Masque no less powerfully. The appearances of deadly
struggles had been arranged artificially to countenance the plot and to
aid the terror. Finally, the secret passages which communicated between
the forest and the chapel of St. Agnes (passages of which many were
actually applied to that very use in the Thirty Years' War) had been
unreservedly placed at their disposal by the lady abbess, an early
friend of the unhappy Landgravine, who sympathized deeply with that
lady's unmerited sufferings.

One other explanation followed, communicated in a letter from
Maximilian to the legate; this related to the murder of the old
seneschal,--a matter in which the young prince took some blame to
himself, as having unintentionally drawn upon that excellent servant
his unhappy fate. "The seneschal," said the writer, "was the faithful
friend of my family, and knew the whole course of its misfortunes. He
continued his abode at the _schloss_, to serve my interest; and in
some measure I may fear that I drew upon him his fate. Traversing late
one evening a suite of rooms, which his assistance and my own
mysterious disguise laid open to my passage at all hours, I came
suddenly upon the prince's retirement. He pursued me, but with
hesitation. Some check I gave to his motions by halting before a
portrait of my unhappy father, and emphatically pointing his attention
to it. Conscience, I well knew, would supply a commentary to my act. I
produced the impression which I had anticipated, but not so strongly as
to stop his pursuit. My course necessarily drew him into the
seneschal's room. The old man was sleeping; and this accident threw
into the prince's hands a paper, which, I have reason to think, shed
some considerable light upon my own pretensions, and, in fact, first
made my enemy acquainted with my existence and my claims. Meantime, the
seneschal had secured the prince's vengeance upon himself. He was now
known as a faithful agent in my service. That fact signed his death-
warrant. There is a window in a gallery which commands the interior of
the seneschal's room. On the evening of the last _fête_,
waiting there for an opportunity of speaking securely with this
faithful servant, I heard a deep groan, and then another, and another;
I raised myself, and, with an ejaculation of horror, looked down upon
the murderer, then surveying his victim with hellish triumph. My loud
exclamation drew the murderer's eye upwards: under the pangs of an
agitated conscience, I have reason to think that he took me for my
unhappy father, who perished at my age, and is said to have resembled
me closely. Who that murderer was, I need not say more directly. He
fled with the terror of one who flies from an apparition. Taking a
lesson from this incident, on that same night, by the very same sudden
revelation of what passed, no doubt, for my father's countenance, aided
by my mysterious character, and the proof I had announced to him
immediately before my acquaintance with the secret of the seneschal's
murder, in this and no other way it was that I produced that powerful
impression upon the prince which terminated the festivities of that
evening, and which all Klosterheim witnessed. If not, it is for the
prince to explain in what other way I did or could affect him so

This explanation of the else unaccountable horror manifested by the ex-
Landgrave on the sudden exposure of The Masque's features, received a
remarkable confirmation from the confession of the miserable assassin
at Waldenhausen. This man's illness had been first brought on by the
sudden shock of a situation pretty nearly the same, acting on a
conscience more disturbed, and a more superstitious mind. In the very
act of attempting to assassinate or rob Maximilian, he had been
suddenly dragged by that prince into a dazzling light; and this
settling full upon features which too vividly recalled to the
murderer's recollection the last unhappy Landgrave, at the very same
period of blooming manhood, and in his own favorite hunting palace, not
far from which the murder had been perpetrated, naturally enough had
for a time unsettled the guilty man's understanding, and, terminating
in a nervous fever, had at length produced his penitential death.

A death, happily of the same character, soon overtook the deposed
Landgrave. He was laid by the side of his daughter, whose memory, as
much even as his own penitence, availed to gather round his final
resting-place the forgiving thoughts even of those who had suffered
most from his crimes. Klosterheim in the next age flourished greatly,
being one of those cities which benefited by the peace of Westphalia.
Many changes took place in consequence, greatly affecting the
architectural character of the town and its picturesque antiquities;
but, amidst all revolutions of this nature, the secret passages still
survive, and to this day are shown occasionally to strangers of rank
and consideration, by which, more than by any other of the advantages
at his disposal, The Masque of Klosterheim was enabled to replace
himself in his patrimonial rights, and at the same time to liberate
from a growing oppression his own compatriots and subjects.


The most ancient [Footnote: That is, amongst stories not wearing a
_mythologic_ character, such as those of Prometheus, Hercules, &c.
The era of Troy and its siege is doubtless by some centuries older than
its usual chronologic date of nine centuries before Christ. And
considering the mature age of Eteocles and Polynices, the two sons of
Œdipus, at the period of the "_Seven against Thebes_," which seven
were contemporary with the _fathers_ of the heroes engaged in the
Trojan war, it becomes necessary to add sixty or seventy years to the
Trojan date, in order to obtain that of Œdipus and the Sphinx. Out of
the Hebrew Scriptures, there is nothing purely historic so old as
this.] story in the Pagan records, older by two generations than the
story of Troy, is that of Œdipus and his mysterious fate, which wrapt
in ruin both himself and all his kindred. No story whatever continued
so long to impress the Greek sensibilities with religious awe, or was
felt by the great tragic poets to be so supremely fitted for scenical
representation. In one of its stages, this story is clothed with the
majesty of darkness; in another stage, it is radiant with burning
lights of female love, the most faithful and heroic, offering a
beautiful relief to the preternatural malice dividing the two sons of
Œdipus. This malice was so intense, that when the corpses of both
brothers were burned together on the same funeral pyre (as by one
tradition they were), the flames from each parted asunder, and refused
to mingle. This female love was so intense, that it survived the death
of its object, cared not for human praise or blame, and laughed at the
grave which waited in the rear for itself, yawning visibly for
immediate retribution. There are four separate movements through which
this impassioned tale devolves; all are of commanding interest; and all
wear a character of portentous solemnity, which fits them for
harmonizing with the dusky shadows of that deep antiquity into which
they ascend.

One only feature there is in the story, and this belongs to its second
stage (which is also its sublimest stage), where a pure taste is likely
to pause, and to revolt as from something not perfectly reconciled with
the general depth of the coloring. This lies in the Sphinx's riddle,
which, as hitherto explained, seems to us deplorably below the grandeur
of the occasion. Three thousand years, at the least, have passed away
since that riddle was propounded; and it seems odd enough that the
proper solution should not present itself till November of 1849. That
is true; it seems odd, but still it is possible, that we, in _anno
domini_ 1849, may see further through a mile-stone than Œdipus, the
king, in the year B. c. twelve or thirteen hundred. The long interval
between the enigma and its answer may remind the reader of an old story
in Joe Miller, where a traveller, apparently an inquisitive person, in
passing-through a toll-bar, said to the keeper, "How do you like your
eggs dressed?" Without waiting for the answer, he rode off; but twenty-
five years later, riding through the same bar, kept by the same man,
the traveller looked steadfastly at him, and received the monosyllabic
answer, "_Poached_." A long parenthesis is twenty-five years; and
we, gazing back over a far wider gulf of time, shall endeavor to look
hard at the Sphinx, and to convince that mysterious young lady,--if our
voice can reach her,--that she was too easily satisfied with the answer
given; that the true answer is yet to come; and that, in fact, Œdipus
shouted before he was out of the wood.

But, first of all, let us rehearse the circumstances of this old
Grecian story. For in a popular journal it is always a duty to assume
that perhaps three readers out of four may have had no opportunity, by
the course of their education, for making themselves acquainted with
classical legends. And in this present case, besides the
indispensableness of the story to the proper comprehension of our own
improved answer to the Sphinx, the story has a separate and independent
value of its own; for it illustrates a profound but obscure idea of
Pagan ages, which is connected with the elementary glimpses of man into
the abysses of his higher relations, and lurks mysteriously amongst
what Milton so finely calls "the dark foundations" of our human nature.
This notion it is hard to express in modern phrase, for we have no idea
exactly corresponding to it; but in Latin it was called _piacularity_.
The reader must understand upon our authority, _nostro periculo_, and
in defiance of all the false translations spread through books, that
the ancients (meaning the Greeks and Romans before the time of
Christianity) had no idea, not by the faintest vestige, of what in the
scriptural system is called _sin_. The Latin word _peccatum_, the Greek
word _amartia_, are translated continually by the word _sin_; but
neither one word nor the other has any such meaning in writers
belonging to the pure classical period. When baptized into new meaning
by the adoption of Christianity, these words, in common with many
others, transmigrated into new and philosophic functions. But
originally they tended towards no such acceptations, nor _could_ have
done so; seeing that the ancients had no avenue opened to them through
which the profound idea of _sin_ would have been even dimly
intelligible. Plato, four hundred years before Christ, or Cicero, more
than three hundred years later, was fully equal to the idea of _guilt_
through all its gamut; but no more equal to the idea of _sin_, than a
sagacious hound to the idea of gravitation, or of central forces. It is
the tremendous postulate upon which this idea reposes that constitutes
the initial moment of that revelation which is common to Judaism and to
Christianity. We have no intention of wandering into any discussion
upon this question. It will suffice for the service of the occasion if
we say that guilt, in all its modifications, implies only a defect or a
wound in the individual. Sin, on the other hand, the most mysterious,
and the most sorrowful of all ideas, implies a taint not in the
individual but in the race--_that_ is the distinction; or a taint
in the individual, not through any local disease of his own, but
through a scrofula equally diffused through the infinite family of man.
We are not speaking controversially, either as teachers of theology or
of philosophy; and we are careless of the particular construction by
which the reader interprets to himself this profound idea. What we
affirm is, that this idea was utterly and exquisitely inappreciable by
Pagan Greece and Rome; that various translations from Pindar,
[Footnote: And when we are speaking of this subject, it may be proper
to mention (as the very extreme anachronism which the case admits of)
that Mr. Archdeacon W. has absolutely introduced the idea of sin into
the "Iliad;" and, in a regular octavo volume, has represented it as the
key to the whole movement of the fable. It was once made a reproach to
Southey that his Don Roderick spoke, in his penitential moods, a
language too much resembling that of Methodism; yet, after all, that
prince was a Christian, and a Christian amongst Mussulmans. But what
are we to think of Achilles and Patroclus, when described as being (or
_not_ being) "under convictions of sin"?] from Aristophanes, and
from the Greek tragedians, embodying at intervals this word _sin_,
are more extravagant than would be the word _category_ introduced
into the harangue of an Indian sachem amongst the Cherokees; and
finally that the very nearest approach to the abysmal idea which we
Christians attach to the word sin--(an approach, but to that which
never can be touched--a writing as of palmistry upon each man's hand,
but a writing which "no man can read")--lies in the Pagan idea of
_piacularity_; which is an idea thus far like hereditary sin, that
it expresses an evil to which the party affected has not consciously
concurred; which is thus far _not_ like hereditary sin, that it
expresses an evil personal to the individual, and not extending itself
to the race.

This was the evil exemplified in Œdipus. He was loaded with an
insupportable burthen of pariah participation in pollution and misery,
to which his will had never consented. He seemed to have committed the
most atrocious crimes; he was a murderer, he was a parricide, he was
doubly incestuous, and yet how? In the case where he might be thought a
murderer, he had stood upon his self-defence, not benefiting by any
superior resources, but, on the contrary, fighting as one man against
three, and under the provocation of insufferable insolence. Had he been
a parricide? What matter, as regarded the moral guilt, if his father
(and by the fault of that father) were utterly unknown to him?
Incestuous had he been? but how, if the very oracles of fate, as
expounded by events and by mysterious creatures such as the Sphinx, had
stranded him, like a ship left by the tide, upon this dark unknown
shore of a criminality unsuspected by himself? All these treasons
against the sanctities of nature had Œdipus committed; and yet was this
Œdipus a thoroughly good man, no more dreaming of the horrors in which
he was entangled, than the eye at noonday in midsummer is conscious of
the stars that lie far behind the daylight. Let us review rapidly the
incidents of his life.

Laius, King of Thebes, the descendant of Labdacus, and representing the
illustrious house of the Labdacidae, about the time when his wife,
Jocasta, promised to present him with a child, had learned from various
prophetic voices that this unborn child was destined to be his
murderer. It is singular that in all such cases, which are many, spread
through classical literature, the parties menaced by fate believe the
menace; else why do they seek to evade it? and yet believe it not; else
why do they fancy themselves able to evade it? This fatal child, who
was the Œdipus of tragedy, being at length born, Laius committed the
infant to a slave, with orders to expose it on Mount Cithæron. This was
done; the infant was suspended, by thongs running through the fleshy
parts of his feet, to the branches of a tree, and he was supposed to
have perished by wild beasts. But a shepherd, who found him in this
perishing state, pitied his helplessness, and carried him to his master
and mistress, King and Queen of Corinth, who adopted and educated him
as their own child. That he was _not_ their own child, and that in
fact he was a foundling of unknown parentage, Œdipus was not slow of
finding from the insults of his schoolfellows; and at length, with the
determination of learning his origin and his fate, being now a full-
grown young man, he strode off from Corinth to Delphi. The oracle at
Delphi, being as usual in collusion with his evil destiny, sent him off
to seek his parents at Thebes. On his journey thither, he met, in a
narrow part of the road, a chariot proceeding in the counter direction
from Thebes to Delphi. The charioteer, relying upon the grandeur of his
master, insolently ordered the young stranger to clear the road; upon
which, under the impulse of his youthful blood, Œdipus slew him on the
spot. The haughty grandee who occupied the chariot rose up in fury to
avenge this outrage, fought with the young stranger, and was himself
killed. One attendant upon the chariot remained; but he, warned by the
fate of his master and his fellow-servant, withdrew quietly into the
forest that skirted the road, revealing no word of what had happened,
but reserved, by the dark destiny of Œdipus, to that evil day on which
_his_ evidence, concurring with other circumstantial exposures,
should convict the young Corinthian emigrant of parricide. For the
present, Œdipus viewed himself as no criminal, but much rather as an
injured man, who had simply used his natural powers of self-defence
against an insolent aggressor. This aggressor, as the reader will
suppose, was Laius. The throne therefore was empty, on the arrival of
Œdipus in Thebes; the king's death was known, but not the mode of it;
and that Œdipus was the murderer could not reasonably be suspected
either by the people of Thebes, or by Œdipus himself. The whole affair
would have had no interest for the young stranger; but, through the
accident of a public calamity then desolating the land, a mysterious
monster, called the Sphinx, half woman and half lion, was at that time
on the coast of Boeotia, and levying a daily tribute of human lives
from the Boeotian territory. This tribute, it was understood, would
continue to be levied from the territories attached to Thebes, until a
riddle proposed by the monster should have been satisfactorily solved.
By way of encouragement to all who might feel prompted to undertake so
dangerous an adventure, the authorities of Thebes offered the throne
and the hand of the widowed Jocasta as the prize of success; and
Œdipus, either on public or on selfish motives, entered the lists as a

The riddle proposed by the Sphinx ran in these terms: "What creature is
that which moves on four feet in the morning, on two feet at noonday,
and on three towards the going down of the sun?" Œdipus, after some
consideration, answered that the creature was MAN, who creeps on the
ground with hands and feet when an infant, walks upright in the vigor
of manhood, and leans upon a staff in old age. Immediately the dreadful
Sphinx confessed the truth of his solution by throwing herself headlong
from a point of rock into the sea; her power being overthrown as soon
as her secret had been detected. Thus was the Sphinx destroyed; and,
according to the promise of the proclamation, for this great service to
the state Œdipus was immediately recompensed. He was saluted King of
Thebes, and married to the royal widow Jocasta. In this way it
happened, but without suspicion either in himself or others, pointing
to the truth, that Œdipus had slain his father, had ascended his
father's throne, and had married his own mother.

Through a course of years all these dreadful events lay hushed in
darkness; but at length a pestilence arose, and an embassy was
despatched to Delphi, in order to ascertain the cause of the heavenly
wrath, and the proper means of propitiating that wrath. The embassy
returned to Thebes armed with a knowledge of the fatal secrets
connected with Œdipus, but under some restraints of prudence in making
a publication of what so dreadfully affected the most powerful
personage in the state. Perhaps, in the whole history of human art as
applied to the evolution of a poetic fable, there is nothing more
exquisite than the management of this crisis by Sophocles. A natural
discovery, first of all, connects Œdipus with the death of Laius. That
discovery comes upon him with some surprise, but with no shock of fear
or remorse. That he had killed a man of rank in a sudden quarrel, he
had always known; that this man was now discovered to be Laius, added
nothing to the reasons for regret. The affair remained as it was. It
was simply a case of personal strife on the high road, and one which
had really grown out of aristocratic violence in the adverse party.
Œdipus had asserted his own rights and dignity only as all brave men
would have done in an age that knew nothing of civic police.

It was true that this first discovery--the identification of himself as
the slayer of Laius--drew after it two others, namely, that it was the
throne of his victim on which he had seated himself, and that it was
_his_ widow whom he had married. But these were no offences; and,
on the contrary, they were distinctions won at great risk to himself,
and by a great service to the country. Suddenly, however, the
reappearance and disclosures of the shepherd who had saved his life
during infancy in one moment threw a dazzling but funereal light upon
the previous discoveries that else had seemed so trivial. In an instant
everything was read in another sense. The death of Laius, the marriage
with his widow, the appropriation of his throne, all towered into
colossal crimes, illimitable, and opening no avenues to atonement.
Œdipus, in the agonies of his horror, inflicts blindness upon himself;
Jocasta commits suicide; the two sons fall into fiery feuds for the
assertion of their separate claims on the throne, but previously unite
for the expulsion of Œdipus, as one who had become a curse to Thebes.
And thus the poor, heart-shattered king would have been turned out upon
the public roads, aged, blind, and a helpless vagrant, but for the
sublime piety of his two daughters, but especially of Antigone, the
elder. They share with their unhappy father the hardships and perils of
the road, and do not leave him until the moment of his mysterious
summons to some ineffable death in the woods of Colonus. The expulsion
of Polynices, the younger son, from Thebes; his return with a
confederate band of princes for the recovery of his rights; the death
of the two brothers in single combat; the public prohibition of funeral
rights to Polynices, as one who had levied war against his native land;
and the final reappearance of Antigone, who defies the law, and secures
a grave to her brother at the certain price of a grave to herself--
these are the sequels and arrears of the family overthrow accomplished
through the dark destiny of Œdipus.

And now, having reviewed the incidents of the story, in what respect is
it that we object to the solution of the Sphinx's riddle? We do not
object to it as _a_ solution of the riddle, and the only one
possible at the moment; but what we contend is, that it is not
_the_ solution. All great prophecies, all great mysteries, are
likely to involve double, triple, or even quadruple interpretations--
each rising in dignity, each cryptically involving another. Even
amongst natural agencies, precisely as they rise in grandeur, they
multiply their final purposes. Rivers and seas, for instance, are
useful, not merely as means of separating nations from each other, but
also as means of uniting them; not merely as baths and for all purposes
of washing and cleansing, but also as reservoirs of fish, as high-roads
for the conveyance of commodities, as permanent sources of agricultural
fertility, &c. In like manner, a mystery of any sort, having a public
reference, may be presumed to couch within it a secondary and a
profounder interpretation. The reader may think that the Sphinx ought
to have understood her own riddle best; and that, if _she_ were
satisfied with the answer of Œdipus, it must be impertinent in us at
this time of day to censure it. To censure, indeed, is more than we
propose. The solution of Œdipus was a true one; and it was all that he
_could_ have given in that early period of his life. But, perhaps,
at the moment of his death amongst the gloomy thickets of Attica, he
might have been able to suggest another and a better. If not, then we
have the satisfaction of thinking ourselves somewhat less dense than
Œdipus; for, in our opinion, the full and _final_ answer to the
Sphinx's riddle lay in the word ŒDIPUS. Œdipus himself it was that
fulfilled the conditions of the enigma. He it was, in the most pathetic
sense, that went upon four feet when an infant; for the general
condition of helplessness attached to all mankind in the period of
infancy, and which is expressed symbolically by this image of creeping,
applied to Œdipus in a far more significant manner, as one abandoned by
all his natural protectors, thrown upon the chances of a wilderness,
and upon the mercies of a slave. The allusion to this general
helplessness had, besides, a special propriety in the case of Œdipus,
who drew his very name (_Swollen-foot_) from the injury done to
his infant feet. He, again, it was that, in a more emphatic sense than
usual, asserted that majestic self-sufficientness and independence of
all alien aid, which is typified by the act of walking upright at
noonday upon his own natural basis. Throwing off all the power and
splendor borrowed from his royal protectors at Corinth, trusting
exclusively to his native powers as a man, he had fought his way
through insult to the presence of the dreadful Sphinx; her he had
confounded and vanquished; he had leaped into a throne,--the throne of
him who had insulted him,--without other resources than such as he drew
from himself, and he had, in the same way, obtained a royal bride. With
good right, therefore, he was foreshadowed in the riddle as one who
walked upright by his own masculine vigor, and relied upon no gifts but
those of nature. Lastly, by a sad but a pitying image, Œdipus is
described as supporting himself at nightfall on three feet; for Œdipus
it was that by his cruel sons would have been rejected from Thebes,
with no auxiliary means of motion or support beyond his own languishing
powers: blind and broken-hearted, he must have wandered into snares and
ruin; his own feet must have been supplanted immediately: but then came
to his aid another foot, the holy Antigone. She it was that guided and
cheered him, when all the world had forsaken him; she it was that
already, in the vision of the cruel Sphinx, had been prefigured dimly
as the staff upon which Œdipus should lean, as the _third_ foot
that should support his steps when the deep shadows of his sunset were
gathering and settling about his grave.

In this way we obtain a solution of the Sphinx's riddle more
commensurate and symmetrical with the other features of the story,
which are all clothed with the grandeur of mystery. The Sphinx herself
is a mystery. Whence came her monstrous nature, that so often renewed
its remembrance amongst men of distant lands, in Egyptian or Ethiopian
marble? Whence came her wrath against Thebes? This wrath, how durst it
tower so high as to measure itself against the enmity of a nation? This
wrath, how came it to sink so low as to collapse at the echo of a word
from a friendless stranger? Mysterious again is the blind collusion of
this unhappy stranger with the dark decrees of fate. The very
misfortunes of his infancy had given into his hands one chance more for
escape: these misfortunes had transferred him to Corinth, and staying
_there_ he was safe. But the headstrong haughtiness of youthful
blood causes him to recoil unknowingly upon the one sole spot of all
the earth where the coefficients for ratifying his destruction are
waiting and lying in ambush. Heaven and earth are silent for a
generation; one might fancy that they are _treacherously_ silent,
in order that Œdipus may have time for building up to the clouds the
pyramid of his mysterious offences. His four children, incestuously
born, sons that are his brothers, daughters that are his sisters, have
grown up to be men and women, before the first mutterings are becoming
audible of that great tide slowly coming up from the sea, which is to
sweep away himself and the foundations of his house. Heaven and earth
must now bear joint witness against him. Heaven speaks first: the
pestilence that walketh in darkness is made the earliest minister of
the discovery,--the pestilence it is, scourging the seven-gated Thebes,
as very soon the Sphinx will scourge her, that is appointed to usher
in, like some great ceremonial herald, that sad drama of Nemesis,--that
vast procession of revelation and retribution which the earth, and the
graves of the earth, must finish. Mysterious also is the pomp of ruin
with which this revelation of the past descends upon that ancient house
of Thebes. Like a shell from modern artillery, it leaves no time for
prayer or evasion, but shatters by the same explosion all that stand
within its circle of fury. Every member of that devoted household, as
if they had been sitting--not around a sacred domestic hearth, but
around the crater of some surging volcano--all alike, father and
mother, sons and daughters, are wrapt at once in fiery whirlwinds of
ruin. And, amidst this general agony of destroying wrath, one central
mystery, as a darkness within a darkness, withdraws itself into a
secrecy unapproachable by eyesight, or by filial love, or by guesses of
the brain--and _that_ is the death of Œdipus. _Did_ he die? Even
_that_ is more than we can say. How dreadful does the sound fall
upon the heart of some poor, horror-stricken criminal, pirate or
murderer, that has offended by a mere human offence, when, at
nightfall, tempted by the sweet spectacle of a peaceful hearth, he
creeps stealthily into some village inn, and hopes for one night's
respite from his terror, but suddenly feels the touch, and hears the
voice, of the stern officer, saying, "Sir, you are wanted." Yet that
summons is but too intelligible; it shocks, but it bewilders not; and
the utmost of its malice is bounded by the scaffold. "Deep," says the
unhappy man, "is the downward path of anguish which I am called to
tread; but it has been trodden by others." For Œdipus there was no such
comfort. What language of man or trumpet of angel could decipher the
woe of that unfathomable call, when, from the depth of ancient woods, a
voice that drew like gravitation, that sucked in like a vortex, far off
yet near, in some distant world yet close at hand, cried, "Hark,
Œdipus! King Œdipus! come hither! thou art wanted!" _Wanted!_ for
what? Was it for death? was it for judgment? was it for some wilderness
of pariah eternities? No man ever knew. Chasms opened in the earth;
dark gigantic arms stretched out to receive the king; clouds and vapor
settled over the penal abyss; and of him only, though the neighborhood
of his disappearance was known, no trace or visible record survived--
neither bones, nor grave, nor dust, nor epitaph.

Did the Sphinx follow with her cruel eye this fatal tissue of calamity
to its shadowy crisis at Colonus? As the billows closed over her head,
did she perhaps attempt to sting with her dying words? Did she say, "I,
the daughter of mystery, am _called_; I am _wanted_. But, amidst the
uproar of the sea, and the clangor of sea-birds, high over all I hear
another though a distant summons. I can hear that thou, Œdipus, the son
of mystery, art _called_ from afar: thou also wilt be _wanted_." Did
the wicked Sphinx labor in vain, amidst her parting convulsions, to
breathe this freezing whisper into the heart of him that had overthrown

Who can say? Both of these enemies were pariah mysteries, and may have
faced each other again with blazing malice in some pariah world. But
all things in this dreadful story ought to be harmonized. Already in
itself it is an ennobling and an idealizing of the riddle, that it is
made a double riddle; that it contains an exoteric sense obvious to all
the world, but also an esoteric sense--now suggested conjecturally
after thousands of years--_possibly_ unknown to the Sphinx, and
_certainly_ unknown to Œdipus; that this second riddle is hid
within the first; that the one riddle is the secret commentary upon the
other; and that the earliest is the hieroglyphic of the last. Thus far
as regards the riddle itself; and, as regards Œdipus in particular, it
exalts the mystery around him, that in reading this riddle, and in
tracing the vicissitudes from infancy to old age, attached to the
general destiny of his race, unconsciously he was tracing the dreadful
vicissitudes attached specially and separately to his own.




I have resolved to fling my analysis of Mr. Ricardo's system into the
form of Dialogues. A few words will suffice to determine the principles
of criticism which can fairly be applied to such a form of composition
on such a subject. It cannot reasonably be expected that dialogues on
Political Economy should pretend to the appropriate beauty of dialogues
_as_ dialogues, by throwing any dramatic interest into the parts
sustained by the different speakers, or any characteristic distinctions
into their style. Elegance of this sort, if my time had allowed of it,
or I had been otherwise capable of producing it, would have been here
misplaced. Not that I would say even of Political Economy, in the words
commonly applied to such subjects, that "_Ornari res ipsa negat,
contenta doceri:_" for all things have their peculiar beauty and
sources of ornament--determined by their ultimate ends, and by the
process of the mind in pursuing them. Here, as in the processes of
nature and in mathematical demonstrations, the appropriate elegance is
derived from the simplicity of the means employed, as expressed in the
"Lex Parcimoniæ" ("Frustra fit per plura, quod fieri fas erat per
pauciora"), and other maxims of that sort. This simplicity, however,
must be looked for in the order and relation of the thoughts, and in
the steps through which they are trained to lead into each other,
rather than in any anxious conciseness as to words; which, on the
contrary, I have rather sought to avoid in the earlier Dialogues, in
order that I might keep those distinctions longer before the reader
from which all the rest were to be derived. For he who has fully
mastered the doctrine of Value is already a good political economist.
Now, if any man should object, that in the following dialogues I have
uniformly given the victory to myself, he will make a pleasant logical
blunder: for the true logic of the case is this: Not that it is myself
to whom I give the victory; but that he to whom I give the victory (let
me call him by what name I will) is of necessity myself; since I cannot
be supposed to have put triumphant arguments into any speaker's mouth,
unless they had previously convinced my own understanding. Finally, let
me entreat the reader not to be impatient under the disproportionate
length (as he may fancy it) of the opening discussions on Value: even
for its own sake, the subject is a matter of curious speculation; but
in relation to Political Economy it is all in all; for most of the
errors (and, what is much worse than errors, most of the perplexities)
prevailing in this science take their rise from this source. Mr.
Ricardo is the first writer who has thrown light on the subject; and
even he, in the last edition of his book, still found it a "difficult"
one (see the Advertisement to the Third Edition). What a Ricardo has
found difficult, cannot be adequately discussed in few words; but, if
the reader will once thoroughly master this part of the science, all
the rest will cost him hardly any effort at all.

       *       *       *       *       *



_Phædrus_. This, Philebus, is my friend X. Y. Z., whom I have long
wished to introduce to you; he has some business which calls him into
this quarter of the town for the next fortnight; and during that time
he has promised to dine with me; and we are to discuss together the
modern doctrines of Political Economy; most of which, he tells me, are
due to Mr. Ricardo. Or rather, I should say, that I am to become his
pupil; for I pretend to no regular knowledge of Political Economy,
having picked up what little I possess in a desultory way amongst the
writers of the old school; and, out of that little, X. obligingly tells
me that three fourths are rotten. I am glad, therefore, that you are in
town at this time, and can come and help me to contradict him. Meantime
X. has some right to play the tutor amongst us; for he has been a
regular student of the science: another of his merits is, that he is a
Templar as well as ourselves, and a good deal senior to either of us.

_Philebus_. And for which of his merits is it that you would have
me contradict him?

_Phæd_. O, no matter for his merits, which doubtless are past all
computation, but generally as a point of hospitality. For I am of the
same opinion as M----, a very able friend of mine in Liverpool, who
looks upon it as criminal to concede anything a man says in the process
of a disputation: the nefarious habit of assenting (as he justly says)
being the pest of conversation, by causing it to stagnate. On this
account he often calls aside the talking men of the party before
dinner, and conjures them with a pathetic earnestness not to agree with
him in anything he may advance during the evening; and at his own
table, when it has happened that strangers were present who indulged
too much in the habit of politely assenting to anything which seemed to
demand no particular opposition, I have seen him suddenly pause with
the air of the worst-used man in the world, and exclaim, "Good heavens!
is there to be no end to this? Am I _never_ to be contradicted? I
suppose matters will soon come to that pass that my nearest relations
will be perfidiously agreeing with me; the very wife of my bosom will
refuse to contradict me; and I shall not have a friend left on whom I
can depend for the consolations of opposition."

_Phil_. Well, Phædrus, if X. Y. Z. is so much devoted as you
represent to the doctrines of Mr. Ricardo, I shall perhaps find myself
obliged to indulge your wishes in this point more than my own taste in
conversation would lead me to desire.

_X_. And what, may I ask, is the particular ground of your
opposition to Mr. Ricardo?

_Phæd_. I suppose that, like the man who gave his vote against
Aristides, because it wearied him to hear any man surnamed _the
just_, Philebus is annoyed by finding that so many people look up to
Mr. Ricardo as an oracle.

_Phil_. No: for the very opposite reason; it is because I hear him
generally complained of as obscure, and as ambitiously paradoxical; two
faults which I cannot tolerate: and the extracts from his writings
which I have seen satisfy me that this judgment is a reasonable one.

_Phæd_. In addition to which, Philebus, I now recollect something
which perhaps weighs with you still more, though you have chosen to
suppress it; and _that_ is, that you are a disciple of Mr. Malthus,
every part of whose writings, since the year 1816 (I am assured), have
had one origin--jealousy of Mr. Ricardo, "quem si non aliqua nocuisset,
mortuus esset."

_X_. No, no, Phædrus; we must not go so far as _that_; though
undoubtedly it is true that Mr. Malthus has often conducted his
opposition in a most vexatious and disingenuous manner.

_Phil_. How so? In what instance? In what instance?

_X_. In this, for one. Mr. Malthus, in his "Political Economy"
(1820), repeatedly charged Mr. Ricardo with having confounded the two
notions of "cost" and "value:" I smile, by the way, when I repeat such
a charge, as if it were the office of a Ricardo to confound, or of a
Malthus to distinguish: but

  "Non usque adeo permiscuit imis
  Longus summa dies, ut non--si voce Metelli
  Serventur leges--malint a Cæsare tolli."

[Footnote: For the sake of the unclassical reader, I add a prose
translation:--Not to such an extent has the lapse of time confounded
things highest with things lowest, as that--if the laws can be saved
only by the voice of a Metellus--they would not rather choose to be
abolished by a Cæsar.]

_Phil_. "Imis!" Why, I hope, if Mr. Ricardo may do for the Cæsar
of the case, Mr. Malthus is not therefore to be thought the Metellus.
"Imis," indeed!

_X_. As to _this_, he is: his general merits of good sense and
ingenuity we all acknowledge; but for the office of a distinguisher, or
any other which demands logic in the first place, it is impossible to
conceive any person below him. To go on, however, with my instance:--
this objection of Mr. Malthus' about "cost" and "value" was founded
purely on a very great blunder of his own--so great, that (as I shall
show in its proper place) even Mr. Ricardo did not see the whole extent
of his misconception: thus much, however, was plain, that the meaning
of Mr. Malthus was, that the new doctrine of value allowed for wages,
but did _not_ allow for profits; and thus, according to the
Malthusian terminology, expressed the cost but not the value of a
thing. What was Mr. Ricardo's answer? In the third edition of his book
(p. 46), he told Mr. Malthus that, if the word "cost" were understood
in any sense which _excluded_ profits, then he did not assert the
thing attributed to him; on the other hand, if it were understood in a
sense which _included_ profits, then of course he did assert it;
but, then, in that sense Mr. Malthus himself did not deny it. This
plain answer was published in 1821. Will it be believed that two years
after (namely, in the spring of 1823), Mr. Malthus published a
pamphlet, in which he repeats the same objection over and over again,
without a hint that it had ever met with a conclusive explanation which
it was impossible to misunderstand? Neither must it be alleged that Mr.
Malthus might not have seen this third edition; for it is the very
edition which he constantly quotes in that pamphlet.

_Phæd_. What say you to this, my dear Philebus? You seem to be in

_X_. But an instance of far greater disingenuousness is this: Mr.
Ricardo, after laying down the general law of value, goes on to state
three cases in which that law will be modified; and the extraordinary
sagacity with which he has detected and stated these modifications, and
the startling consequences to which they lead, have combined to make
this one of the most remarkable chapters in his books. Now, it is a
fact, gentlemen, that these very restrictions of his own law--so openly
stated as restrictions by Mr. Ricardo--are brought forward by Mr.
Malthus as so many objections of his own to upset that law. The logic,
as usual, is worthy of notice; for it is as if, in a question about the
force of any projectile, a man should urge the resistance of the air,
not as a limitation of that force, but as a capital objection to it.
What I here insist on, however, is its extreme disingenuousness. But
this is a subject which it is unpleasant to pursue; and the course of
our subject will of itself bring us but too often across the blunders
and misstatements of Mr. Malthus. To recur, therefore, to what you
objected about Mr. Ricardo--that he was said to be paradoxical and
obscure--I presume that you use the word "paradoxical" in the common
and improper sense, as denoting what has a specious air of truth and
subtlety, but is in fact false; whereas I need not tell _you_ that
a paradox is the very opposite of this--meaning in effect what has a
specious air of falsehood, though possibly very true; for a paradox,
you know, is simply that which contradicts the popular opinion--which
in too many cases is the false opinion; and in none more inevitably
than in cases as remote from the popular understanding as all questions
of severe science. However, use the word in what sense you please, Mr.
Ricardo is no ways interested in the charge. Are my doctrines true, are
they demonstrable? is the question for him; if not, let them be
overthrown; if _that_ is beyond any man's power, what matters it
to him that the slumbering intellect of the multitude regards them as
strange? As to obscurity, in general it is of two kinds--one arising
out of the writer's own perplexity of thought; which is a vicious
obscurity; and in this sense the opponents of Mr. Ricardo are the
obscurest of all economists. Another kind--

_Phæd_. Ay, now let us hear what is a virtuous obscurity.

_X_. I do not say, Phædrus, that in any case it can be meritorious
to be obscure; but I say that in many cases it is very natural to be
so, and pardonable in profound thinkers, and in some cases inevitable.
For the other kind of obscurity which I was going to notice is that
which I would denominate elliptical obscurity; arising, I mean, out of
the frequent ellipsis or suppression of some of the links in a long
chain of thought; these are often involuntarily suppressed by profound
thinkers, from the disgust which they naturally feel at overlaying a
subject with superfluous explanations. So far from seeing too dimly, as
in the case of perplexed obscurity, their defect is the very reverse;
they see too clearly; and fancy that others see as clearly as
themselves. Such, without any tincture of confusion, was the obscurity
of Kant (though in him there was also a singular defect of the art of
communicating knowledge, as he was himself aware); such was the
obscurity of Leibnitz (who otherwise was remarkable for his felicity in
explaining himself); such, if any, is the obscurity of Ricardo; though,
for my own part, I must acknowledge that I could never find any; to me
he seems a model of perspicuity. But I believe that the very ground of
his perspicuity to me is the ground of his apparent obscurity to some
others, and _that_ is--his inexorable consistency in the use of
words; and this is one of the cases which I alluded to in speaking of
an "inevitable obscurity;" for, wherever men have been accustomed to
use a word in two senses, and have yet supposed themselves to use it
but in one, a writer, who corrects this lax usage, and forces them to
maintain the unity of the meaning, will always appear obscure; because
he will oblige them to deny or to affirm consequences from which they
were hitherto accustomed to escape under a constant though unconscious
equivocation between the two senses. Thus, for example, Mr. Ricardo
sternly insists on the _true_ sense of the word Value, and (what
is still more unusual to most men) insists on using it but in
_one_ sense; and hence arise consequences which naturally appear
at once obscure and paradoxical to M. Say, to Mr. Malthus, to the
author of an Essay on Value; [Footnote: I forget the exact title; but
it was printed for Hunter, St. Paul's Church-yard.] and to all other
lax thinkers, who easily bend their understandings to the infirmity of
the popular usage. Hence, it is not surprising to find Mr. Malthus
complaining ("Polit. Econ.," p. 214) of "the _unusual_ application
of common terms" as having made Mr. Ricardo's work "difficult to be
understood by many people;" though, in fact, there is nothing at all
unusual in his application of any term whatever, but only in the
steadiness with which he keeps to the same application of it.

_Phil_. These distinctions of yours on the subject of obscurity I
am disposed to think reasonable; and, unless the contrary should appear
in the course of our conversations, I will concede them to be
applicable to the case of Mr. Ricardo; his obscurity may be venial, or
it may be inevitable, or even none at all (if you will have it so). But
I cannot allow of the cases of Kant and Leibnitz as at all relevant to
that before us. For, the obscurity complained of in metaphysics, etc.,
is inherent in the very _objects_ contemplated, and is independent
of the particular mind contemplating, and exists in defiance of the
utmost talents for diffusing light; whereas the objects about which
Political Economy is concerned are acknowledged by all persons to be
clear and simple enough, so that any obscurity which hangs over them,
must arise from imperfections in the art of arranging and conveying
ideas on the part of him who undertakes to teach it.

_X_. This I admit: any obscurity which clouds Political Economy,
unless where it arises from want of sufficient facts, must be
subjective; whereas the main obscurity which besets metaphysics is
objective; and such an obscurity is in the fullest sense inevitable.
But this I did not overlook; for an objective obscurity it is in the
power of any writer to aggravate by his own perplexities; and I alleged
the cases of Kant and Leibnitz no further than as they were said to
have done so; contending that, if Mr. Ricardo were at all liable to the
same charge, he was entitled to the same apology; namely, that he is
never obscure from any confusion of thought, but, on the contrary, from
too keen a perception of the truth, which may have seduced him at times
into too elliptic a development of his opinions, and made him impatient
of the tardy and continuous steps which are best adapted to the
purposes of the teacher. For the fact is, that the _laborers of the
Mine_ (as I am accustomed to call them), or those who dig up the
metal of truth, are seldom fitted to be also _laborers of the
Mint_--that is, to work up the metal for current use. Besides which,
it must not be forgotten that Mr. Ricardo did not propose to deliver an
entire system of Political Economy, but only an investigation of such
doctrines as had happened to be imperfectly or erroneously stated. On
this account, much of his work is polemic; and presumes, therefore, in
the reader an acquaintance with the writers whom he is opposing.
Indeed, in every chapter there is an under reference, not to this or
that author only, but to the whole current of modern opinions on the
subject, which demands a learned reader who is already master of what
is generally received for truth in Political Economy.

_Phil_. Upon this statement it appears at any rate that Mr.
Ricardo's must be a most improper book as an elementary one. But, after
all, you will admit that even amongst Mr. Ricardo's friends there is a
prevailing opinion that he is too subtle (or, as it is usually
expressed, too theoretic) a writer to be safely relied on for the
practical uses of legislation.

_X_. Yes. And, indeed, we are all so deeply indebted to English
wisdom on matters where theories really _are_ dangerous, that we
ought not to wonder or to complain if the jealousy of all which goes
under that name be sometimes extended to cases in which it is idle to
suppose any opposition possible between the _true_ theory and the
practice. However, on the whole question which has been moved in regard
to Mr. Ricardo's obscurity or tendency to paradox or to over refinement
and false subtlety, I am satisfied if I have won you to any provisional
suspension of your prejudices; and will now press it no further--
willingly leaving the matter to be settled by the result of our

_Phæd_. Do so, X.; and especially because my watch informs me that
dinner--an event too awfully practical to allow of any violation from
mere sublunary disputes--will be announced in six minutes; within which
space of time I will trouble you to produce the utmost possible amount
of truth with the least possible proportion of obscurity, whether
"subjective" or "objective," that may be convenient.

_X_. As the time which you allow us is so short, I think that I
cannot better employ it than in reading a short paper which I have
drawn up on the most general distribution of Mr. Ricardo's book;
because this may serve to guide us in the course of our future

Mr. Ricardo's Principles of Political Economy consisted in the second
edition of thirty-one chapters, to which, in the third edition, was
added another, making thirty-two. These thirty-two chapters fall into
the following classification:--Fourteen are on the subject of Taxation,
namely, the eighth to the eighteenth, [Footnote: The eleventh is on
Tithes; and the eighteenth on Poor Rates; but these of course belong to
the subject of Taxation properly defined. The present Lord Chancellor
(late Earl of Eldon) said on some cause which came before him about a
year ago, that Tithes were unjustly called a Tax; meaning only that
Tithes were not any arbitrary imposition of the government, but claimed
by as good a tenure as any other sort of property. In this doctrine no
doubt the Chancellor was perfectly right; and only wrong in supposing
that any denial of that doctrine is implied by the Political Economists
in calling Tithes a Tax; which, on the true definition of a Tax (as I
shall show hereafter), they certainly are.] inclusively, the twenty-
second, twenty-third, and twenty-ninth; and these may be entirely
omitted by the student, and ought at any rate to be omitted on his
first examination of the work. For, though Mr. Ricardo has really been
not the chief so much as the sole author of any important truths on the
subject of Taxation, and though his fourteen chapters on that head are
so many inestimable corollaries from his general doctrines, and could
never have been obtained without them, yet these general doctrines have
no sort of reciprocal dependency upon what concerns Taxation.
Consequently, it will greatly lighten the burden to a student if these
fourteen chapters are sequestered from the rest of the work, and
reserved for a separate and after investigation, which may furnish a
commentary on the first. The chapters on Taxation deducted, there
remain, therefore, seventeen in the second edition, or eighteen in the
third. These contain the general principles, but also something more--
which may furnish matter for a second subtraction. For, in most
speculations of this nature it usually happens that, over and above the
direct positive communication of new truths, a writer finds it
expedient (or, perhaps, necessary in some cases, in order to clear the
ground for himself) to address part of his efforts to the task of
meeting the existing errors; hence arises a division of his work into
the doctrinal or _affirmative_ part, and the polemic [Footnote:
_Polemic_.--There is an occasional tendency in the use and practice
of the English language capriciously to limit the use of certain words.
Thus, for instance, the word _condign_ is used only in connection with
the word _punishment_; the word _implicit_ is used only (unless by
scholars, like Milton) in connection with _faith_, or _confidence_. So
also _putative_ is restricted most absurdly to the one sole word,
_father_, in a question of doubtful affiliation. These and other words,
if unlocked from their absurd imprisonment, would become extensively
useful. We should say, for instance, "condign honors," "condign rewards,"
"condign treatment" (treatment appropriate to the merits)--thus at once
realizing two rational purposes: namely, giving a useful function to a
word, which at present has none; and also providing an intelligible
expression for an idea which otherwise is left without means of
uttering itself, except through a ponderous circumlocution. Precisely
in the same circumstances of idle and absurd sequestration stands the
term _polemic_. At present, according to the popular usage, this
word has some fantastic inalienable connection with controversial
theology. There cannot be a more childish chimera. No doubt there is a
polemic side or aspect of theology; but so there is of _all_
knowledge; so there is of _every_ science. The radical and
characteristic idea concerned in this term _polemic_ is found in
our own parliamentary distinction of _the good speaker_, as
contrasted with _the good debater_. The good speaker is he who
unfolds the whole of a question in its affirmative aspects, who
presents these aspects in their just proportions, and according to
their orderly and symmetrical deductions from each other. But _the
good debater_ is he who faces the negative aspects of the question,
who meets sudden objections, has an answer for any momentary summons of
doubt or difficulty, dissipates seeming inconsistencies, and reconciles
the geometrical smoothness of _a priori_ abstractions with the
coarse angularities of practical experience. The great work of Ricardo
is of necessity, and almost in every page, polemic; whilst very often
the particular objections or difficulties to which it replies are not
indicated at all--being spread through entire systems, and assumed as
_precognita_ that are familiar to the learned student.] or
_negative_ part. In Mr. Ricardo's writings, all parts (as I have
already observed) have a latent polemic reference; but some, however,
are more directly and formally polemic than the rest; and these may be
the more readily detached from the main body of the work, because (like
the chapters on Taxation) they are all corollaries from the general
laws, and in no case introductory to them. Divided on this principle,
the eighteen chapters fall into the following arrangement:

Chap.   Affirmative Chapters.
4.      on Value;

2.      on Rent;

5.      on Wages;
6.      on Profits;
7.      on Foreign Trade;
19.     on Sudden Changes in Trade;
21.     on Accumulation;
25.     on Colonial Trade;
27.     on Currency and Banks;
31.     on Machinery.

Chap.   Negative (or Polemic) Chapters.
20.     on Value and Riches: against Adam Smith, Lord Lauderdale,
        M. Say;
24.     Rent of Land: against Adam Smith;
26.     Gross and Net Revenue: against Adam Smith;
28.     Relations of Gold, Corn, and Labor, under certain
        circumstances: against A. Smith;
32.     Rent: against Mr. Malthus.

Deducting the polemic chapters, there remain thirteen affirmative or
doctrinal chapters; of which one (the twenty-seventh), on Currency,
&c., ought always to be insulated from all other parts of Political
Economy. And thus, out of the whole thirty-two chapters, twelve only
are important to the student on his first examination; and to these I
propose to limit our discussions.

_Phæd_. Be it so, and now let us adjourn to more solemn duties.

       *       *       *       *       *



_Phæd_. To cut the matter short, X. Y. Z., and to begin as near as
possible to the end--is there any one principle in Political Economy
from which all the rest can be deduced? A principle, I mean, which all
others presuppose; but which itself presupposes none.

_X_. There is, Phædrus; such a principle exists in the doctrine of
Value--truly explained. The question from which all Political Economy
will be found to move--the question to which all its difficulties will
be found reducible--is this: _What is the ground of exchangeable
value_? My hat, for example, bears the same value as your umbrella;
double the value of my shoes; four times the value of my gloves; one
twentieth of the value of this watch. Of these several relations of
value, what is the sufficient cause? If they were capricious, no such
science as that of Political Economy could exist; not being capricious,
they must have an assignable cause; this cause--what is it?

_Phæd_. Ay, what is it?

_X_. It is this, Phædrus; and the entire merit of the discovery
belongs to Mr. Ricardo. It is this; and listen with your whole
understanding: _the ground of the value of all things lies in the
quantity_ (but mark well that word "quantity") _of labor which
produces them_. Here is that great principle which is the corner-
stone of all tenable Political Economy; which granted or denied, all
Political Economy stands or falls. Grant me this one principle, with a
few square feet of the sea-shore to draw my diagrams upon, and I will
undertake to deduce every other truth in the science.

_Phæd_. Take it and welcome. It would be impossible for most
people to raise a cabbage out of the sea-shore, though the sand were
manured by principles the noblest. You, therefore, my dear friend, that
promise to raise from it, not a cabbage, but a system of Political
Economy, are doubly entitled to your _modicum_ of sand, and to
your principle beside; which last is, I dare say, a very worthy and
respectable principle, and not at all the worse for being as old as my

_X_. Pardon me, Phædrus; the principle is no older than the first
edition of Mr. Ricardo's book; and when you make me this concession so
readily under the notion that you are conceding nothing more than has
long been established, I fear that you will seek to retract it, as soon
as you are aware of its real import and consequences.

_Phæd_. In most cases, X., I should hesitate to contradict you
peremptorily upon a subject which you have studied so much more closely
than myself; but here I cannot hesitate; for I happen to remember the
very words of Adam Smith, which are--

_X_. Substantially the same, you will say, as those which I have
employed in expressing the great principle of Mr. Ricardo: this is your
meaning, Phædrus; and excuse me for interrupting you; I am anxious to
lose no time; and therefore let me remind you, as soon as possible,
that "the words" of Adam Smith cannot prove any agreement with Mr.
Ricardo, if it appears that those words are used as equivalent and
convertible at pleasure with certain other words not only
irreconcilable with Mr. Ricardo's principle, but expressing the very
doctrine which Mr. Ricardo does, and must in consistency, set himself
to oppose. Mr. Ricardo's doctrine is, that A and B are to each other in
value as the _quantity_ of labor is which produces A to the
quantity which produces B; or, to express it in the very shortest
formula by substituting the term _base_, as synonymous with the
term _producing labor, All things are to each other in value as their
bases are in quantity_. This is the Ricardian law: you allege that
it was already the law of Adam Smith; and in some sense you are right;
for such a law is certain to be found in the "Wealth of Nations." But,
if it is _ex_plicitly affirmed in that work, it is also _im_plicitly
denied: formally asserted, it is virtually withdrawn. For Adam Smith
everywhere uses, as an equivalent formula, that A and B are to each
other in value as the _value_ of the labor which produces A to the
_value_ of the labor which produces B.

_Phæd_. And the formula for Mr. Ricardo's law is, if I understand
you, that A and B are to each other in value not as the _value_,
but as the _quantity_ of the labor which produces A to the
_quantity_ which produces B.

_X_. It is.

_Phæd_. And is it possible that any such mighty magic can lurk in
the simple substitution of _quantity_ for _value_? Surely, X., you are
hair-splitting a little in this instance, and mean to amuse yourself
with my simplicity, by playing off some logical legerdemain upon me
from the "seraphic" or "angelic" doctors.

_X_. The earnestness and good faith of my whole logic and reasoning
will soon become a pledge for me that I am incapable of what you
call hair-splitting; and in this particular instance I might appeal
to Philebus, who will tell you that Mr. Malthus has grounded his entire
opposition to Mr. Ricardo on the very distinction which you are now
treating as aërial. But the fact is, you do not yet perceive to what
extent this distinction goes; you suppose me to be contending for some
minute and subtle shades of difference; so far from _that_, I mean
to affirm that the one law is the direct, formal, and diametrical
negation of the other: I assert in the most peremptory manner that he
who says, "The value of A is to the value of B as the _quantity_
of labor producing A is to the _quantity_ of labor producing B,"
does of necessity deny by implication that the relations of value
between A and B are governed by the _value_ of the labor which
severally produces them.

_Phil_. X. is perfectly right in his distinction. You know, Phædrus, or
you soon will know, that I differ from X. altogether on the choice
between the two laws: he contends that the value of all things is
determined by the _quantity_ of the producing labor; I, on the other
hand, contend that the value of all things is determined by the _value_
of the producing labor. Thus far you will find us irreconcilable in our
difference; but this very difference implies that we are agreed on the
distinction which X. is now urging. In fact, so far are the two
formulae from presenting merely two different expressions of the same
law, that the very best way of expressing negatively Mr. Ricardo's law
(namely, A is to B in value as the _quantities_ of the producing labor)
would be to say, A is _not_ to B in value as the _values_ of the
producing labor.

_Phæd_. Well, gentlemen, I suppose you must be right; I am sure
you are by the logic of kings, and "according to the flesh;" for you
are two to one. Yet, to my poor glimmering understanding, which is all
I have to guide me in such cases, I must acknowledge that the whole
question seems to be a mere dispute about words.

_X_. For once, Phædrus, I am not sorry to hear you using a phrase
which in general is hateful to my ears. "A mere dispute about words" is
a phrase which we hear daily; and why? Is it a case of such daily
occurrence to hear men disputing about mere verbal differences? So far
from it, I can truly say that I never happened to witness such a
dispute in my whole life, either in books or in conversation; and
indeed, considering the small number of absolute synonymes which any
language contains, it is scarcely possible that a dispute on words
should arise which would not also be a dispute about ideas (that is,
about realities). Why, then, is the phrase in every man's mouth, when
the actual occurrence must be so very uncommon? The reason is this,
Phædrus: such a plea is a "sophisma pigri intellectus," which seeks to
escape from the effort of mind necessary for the comprehending and
solving of any difficulty under the colorable pretext that it is a
question about shadows, and not about substances, and one therefore
which it is creditable to a man's good sense to decline; a pleasant
sophism this, which at the same time flatters a man's indolence and his
vanity. For once, however, I repeat that I am not sorry to hear such a
phrase in your mouth, Phædrus: I have heard it from you before; and I
will frankly tell you that you ought to be ashamed of such a plea,
which is becoming to a slothful intellect, but very unbecoming to
yours. On this account, it gives me pleasure that you have at length
urged it in a case where you will be obliged to abandon it. If that
should happen, remember what I have said; and resolve never more to
shrink effeminately from the toil of an intellectual discussion under
any pretence that it is a verbal dispute. In the present case, I shall
drive you out of that conceit in less time than it cost you to bring it
forward. For now, Phædrus, answer me to one or two little questions
which I will put. You fancy that between the expressions "_quantity_ of
producing labor" and "_value_ of producing labor" there is none but a
verbal difference. It follows, therefore, that the same effect ought to
take place whether the value of the producing labor be altered or its

_Phæd_. It does.

_X_. For instance, the production of a hat such as mine has
hitherto cost (we will suppose) four days' labor, at three shillings a
day: now, without any change whatsoever in the _quantity_ of labor
required for its production, let this labor suddenly increase in value
by twenty-five per cent. In this case, four days' labor will produce a
hat as heretofore; but the value of the producing labor being now
raised from three shillings a day to three shillings and nine pence,
the value of the total labor necessary for the production of a hat will
now be raised from twelve shillings to fifteen shillings. Thus far, you
can have nothing to object?

_Phæd_. Nothing at all, X. But what next?

_X_. Next, let us suppose a case in which the labor of producing
hats shall increase, not in value (as in the preceding case), but in
quantity. Labor is still at its old value of three shillings a day;
but, from increased difficulty in any part of the process, five days'
labor are now spent on the production of a hat instead of four. In this
second case, Phædrus, how much will be paid to the laborer?

_Phæd_. Precisely as much as in the first case: that is, fifteen

_X_. True: the laborer on hats receives fifteen shillings in the
second case as well as in the first; but in the first case for four
days' labor, in the second for five: consequently, in the second case,
wages (or the value of labor) have not risen at all, whereas in the
first case wages have risen by twenty-five per cent.

_Phæd_. Doubtless: but what is your inference?

_X_. My inference is as follows: according to yourself and Adam
Smith, and all those who overlook the momentous difference between the
quantity and the value of labor, fancying that these are mere varieties
of expression for the same thing, the price of hats ought, in the two
cases stated, to be equally raised, namely, three shillings in each
case. If, then, it be utterly untrue that the price of hats would be
equally raised in the two cases, it will follow that an alteration in
the value of the producing labor, and an alteration in its quantity,
must terminate in a very different result; and, consequently, the one
alteration cannot be the same as the other, as you insisted.

_Phæd_. Doubtless.

_X_. Now, then, let me tell you, Phædrus, that the price of hats
would _not_ be equally raised in the two cases: in the second
case, the price of a hat will rise by three shillings, in the first
case it will not rise at all.

_Phæd_. How so, X.? How so? Your own statement supposes that the
laborer receives fifteen shillings for four days, instead of twelve
shillings; that is, three shillings more. Now, if the price does not
rise to meet this rise of labor, I demand to know whence the laborer is
to obtain this additional three shillings. If the buyers of hats do not
pay him in the price of hats, I presume that the buyers of shoes will
not pay him. The poor devil must be paid by somebody.

_X_. You are facetious, my friend. The man must be paid, as you
say; but not by the buyers of hats any more than by the buyers of
shoes: for the price of hats cannot possibly rise in such a case, as I
have said before. And, that I may demonstrate this, let us assume that
when the labor spent on a hat cost twelve shillings, the rate of
profits was fifty per cent.; it is of no consequence what rate be fixed
on: assuming this rate, therefore, the price of a hat would, at that
time, be eighteen shillings. Now, when the _quantity_ of labor
rose from four to five days, this fifth day would add three shillings
to the amount of wages; and the price of a hat would rise in
consequence from eighteen shillings to a guinea. On the other hand,
when the _value_ of labor rose from twelve shillings to fifteen
shillings, the price of a hat would not rise by one farthing, but would
still continue at eighteen shillings.

_Phæd_. Again I ask, then, who is to pay the three shillings?

_X_. The three shillings will be paid out of profits.

_Phæd_. What, without reimbursement?

_X_. Assuredly, without a farthing of reimbursement: it is Mr.
Ricardo's doctrine that no variation in either profits or wages can
ever affect the price; if wages rise or fall, the only consequence is,
that profits must fall or rise by the same sum; so again, if profits
rise or fall, wages must fall or rise accordingly.

_Phæd_. You mean, then, to assert that, when the value of the
labor rises (as in the first of your two cases) by three shillings,
this rise must be paid out of the six shillings which had previously
gone to profits.

_X_. I do; and your reason for questioning this opinion is, I am
sure, because you think that no capitalist would consent to have his
profits thus diminished, but would liberate himself from this increased
expense by charging it upon the price. Now, if I prove that he cannot
liberate himself in this way, and that it is a matter of perfect
indifference to him whether the price rises or not, because in either
case he must lose the three shillings, I suppose that I shall have
removed the sole ground you have for opposing me.

_Phæd_. You are right: prove this, X., "et eris mihi magnus

_X_. Tell me, then, Phædrus, when the value of labor rises--in
other words, when wages rise--what is it that causes them to rise?

_Phæd_. Ay, what is it that causes them, as you say? I should be
glad to hear your opinion on that subject.

_X_. My opinion is, that there are only two [Footnote: There is
another case in which wages have a constant tendency to rise--namely,
when the population increases more slowly than the demand for labor.
But this case it is not necessary to introduce into the dialogue:
first, because it is gradual and insensible in its operation; secondly,
because, if it were otherwise, it would not disturb any part of the
argument.] great cases in which wages rise, or seem to rise:

1. When money sinks in value; for then, of course, the laborer must
have more wages nominally, in order to have the same virtually. But
this is obviously nothing more than an apparent rise.

2. When those commodities rise upon which wages are spent. A rise in
port wine, in jewels, or in horses, will not affect wages, because
these commodities are not consumed by the laborer; but a rise in
manufactured goods of certain kinds, upon which perhaps two fifths of
his wages are spent, will tend to raise wages: and a rise in certain
kinds of food, upon which perhaps the other three fifths are spent,
will raise them still more. Now, the first case being only an apparent
rise, this is the only case in which wages can be said really to rise.

_Phæd_. You are wrong, X.; I can tell you of a third case which
occurs to me whilst you are speaking. Suppose that there were a great
deficiency of laborers in any trade,--as in the hatter's trade, for
instance,--that would be a reason why wages should rise in the hatter's

_X_. Doubtless, until the deficiency were supplied, which it soon
would be by the stimulus of higher wages. But this is a case of market
value, when the supply happens to be not on a level with the demand:
now, throughout the present conversation I wish studiously to keep
clear of any reference to market value, and to consider exclusively
that mode of exchangeable value which is usually called natural value--
that is, where value is wholly uninfluenced by any redundancy or
deficiency of the quantity. Waiving this third case, therefore, as not
belonging to the present discussion, there remains only the second; and
I am entitled to say that no cause can really and permanently raise
wages but a rise in the price of those articles on which wages are
spent. In the instance above stated, where the hatter's wages rose from
three shillings to three shillings and nine pence a day, some commodity
must previously have risen on which the hatter spent his wages. Let
this be corn, and let corn constitute one half of the hatter's
expenditure; on which supposition, as his wages rose by twenty-five per
cent., it follows that corn must have risen by fifty per cent. Now,
tell me, Phædrus, will this rise in the value of corn affect the
hatter's wages only, or will it affect wages in general?

_Phæd_. Wages in general, of course: there can be no reason why
hatters should eat more corn than any other men.

_X_. Wages in general, therefore, will rise by twenty-five per
cent. Now, when the wages of the hatter rose in that proportion, you
contended that this rise must be charged upon the price of hats; and
the price of a hat having been previously eighteen shillings, you
insisted that it must now be twenty-one shillings; in which case a rise
in wages of twenty-five per cent, would have raised the price of hats
about sixteen and one half per cent. And, if this were possible, two
great doctrines of Mr. Ricardo would have been overthrown at one blow:
1st, that which maintains that no article can increase in price except
from a previous increase in the quantity of labor necessary to its
production: for here is no increase in the _quantity_ of the
labor, but simply in its value; 2d, that no rise in the value of labor
can ever settle upon price; but that all increase of wages will be paid
out of profits, and all increase of profits out of wages. I shall now,
however, extort a sufficient defence of Mr. Ricardo from your own
concessions. For you acknowledge that the same cause which raises the
wages of the hatter will raise wages universally, and in the same
ratio--that is, by twenty-five per cent. And, if such a rise in wages
could raise the price of hats by sixteen and one half per cent., it
must raise all other commodities whatsoever by sixteen and one half per
cent. Now, tell me, Phædrus, when all commodities without exception are
raised by sixteen arid one half per cent., in what proportion will the
power of money be diminished under every possible application of it?

_Phæd_. Manifestly by sixteen and one half per cent.

_X_. If so, Phædrus, you must now acknowledge that it is a matter
of perfect indifference to the hatter whether the price of hats rise or
not, since he cannot under any circumstances escape the payment of the
three shillings. If the price should _not_ rise (as assuredly it
will not), he pays the three shillings directly; if the price were to
rise by three shillings, this implies of necessity that prices rise
universally  (for it would answer no purpose of your argument to
suppose that hatters escaped an evil which affected all other trades).
Now, if prices rise universally, the hatter undoubtedly escapes the
direct payment of the three shillings, but he pays it indirectly;
inasmuch as one hundred and sixteen pounds and ten shillings is now
become necessary to give him the same command of labor and commodities
which was previously given by one hundred pounds. Have you any answer
to these deductions?

_Phæd_. I must confess I have none.

_X_. If so, and no answer is possible, then I have here given you
a demonstration of Mr. Ricardo's great law: That no product of labor
whatsoever can be affected in value by any variations in the
_value_ of the producing labor. But, if not by variations in its
value, then of necessity by variations in its quantity, for no other
variations are possible.

_Phæd_. But at first sight, you know, variations in the
_value_ of labor appear to affect the value of its product: yet
you have shown that the effect of such variations is defeated, and
rendered nugatory in the end. Now, is it not possible that some such
mode of argument may be applied to the case of variations in the
_quantity_ of labor?

_X_. By no means: the reason why all variations in the _value_
of labor are incapable of transferring themselves to the value
of its product is this: that these variations extend to all kinds
of labor, and therefore to all commodities alike. Now, that which
raises or depresses all things equally leaves their relations to each
other undisturbed. In order to disturb the relations of value between
A, B, and C, I must raise one at the same time that I do _not_
raise another; depress one, and _not_ depress another; raise or
depress them unequally. This is necessarily done by any variations in
the _quantity_ of labor. For example, when more or less labor
became requisite for the production of hats, that variation could not
fail to affect the value of hats, for the variation was confined
exclusively to hats, and arose out of some circumstance peculiar to
hats; and no more labor was on that account requisite for the
production of gloves, or wine, or carriages. Consequently, these and
all other articles remaining unaffected, whilst hats required twenty-
five per cent more labor, the previous relation between hats and all
other commodities was disturbed; that is, a _real_ effect was
produced on the value of hats. Whereas, when hats, without requiring a
greater quantity of labor, were simply produced by labor at a higher
value, this change could not possibly disturb the relation between hats
and any other commodities, because they were all equally affected by
it. If, by some application of any mechanic or chemical discovery to
the process of making candles, the labor of that process were
diminished by one third, the value of candles would fall; for the
relation of candles to all other articles, in which no such abridgment
of labor had been effected, would be immediately altered: two days'
labor would now produce the same quantity of candles as three days'
labor before the discovery. But if, on the other hand, the wages of
three days had simply fallen in value to the wages of two days,--that
is, if the laborer received only six shillings for three days, instead
of nine shillings,--this could not affect the value of candles; for the
fall of wages, extending to all other things whatsoever, would leave
the relations between them all undisturbed; everything else which had
required nine shillings' worth of labor would now require six
shillings' worth; and a pound of candles would exchange for the same
quantity of everything as before. Hence, it appears that no cause can
possibly affect the value of anything--that is, its exchangeable
relation to other things--but an increase or diminution in the quantity
of labor required for its production: and the prices of all things
whatsoever represent the quantity of labor by which they are severally
produced; and the value of A is to the value of B universally as the
quantity of labor which produces A to the quantity of labor which
produces B.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here, then, is the great law of value as first explained by Mr.
Ricardo. Adam Smith uniformly takes it for granted that an alteration
in the quantity of labor, and an alteration in wages (that is, the
value of labor), are the same thing, and will produce the same effects;
and, hence, he never distinguishes the two cases, but everywhere uses
the two expressions as synonymous. If A, which had hitherto required
sixteen shillings' worth of labor for its production, should to-morrow
require only twelve shillings' worth, Adam Smith would have treated it
as a matter of no importance whether this change had arisen from some
discovery in the art of manufacturing A, which reduced the quantity of
labor required from four days to three, or simply from some fall in
wages which reduced the value of a day's labor from four shillings to
three shillings. Yet, in the former case, A would fall considerably in
price as soon as the discovery ceased to be monopolized; whereas, in
the latter case, we have seen that A could not possibly vary in price
by one farthing.

_Phæd_. In what way do you suppose that Adam Smith came to make so
great an oversight, as I now confess it to be?

_X_. Mr. Malthus represents Adam Smith as not having sufficiently
explained himself on the subject. "He does not make it quite clear,"
says Mr. Malthus, "whether he adopts for his principle of value the
quantity of the producing labor or its value." But this is a most
erroneous representation. There is not a chapter in the "Wealth of
Nations" in which it is not made redundantly clear that Adam Smith
adopts both laws as mere varieties of expression for one and the same
law. This being so, how could he possibly make an election between two
things which he constantly confounded and regarded as identical? The
truth is, Adam Smith's attention was never directed to the question: he
suspected no distinction; no man of his day, or before his day, had
ever suspected it; none of the French or Italian writers on Political
Economy had ever suspected it; indeed, none of them have suspected it
to this hour. One single writer before Mr. Ricardo has insisted on the
_quantity_ of labor as the true ground of value; and, what is very
singular, at a period when Political Economy was in the rudest state,
namely, in the early part of Charles II's reign. This writer was Sir
William Petty, a man who would have greatly advanced the science if he
had been properly seconded by his age. In a remarkable passage, too
long for quotation, he has expressed the law of value with a Ricardian
accuracy: but it is scarcely possible that even he was aware of his own
accuracy; for, though he has asserted that the reason why any two
articles exchange for each other (as so much corn of Europe, suppose,
for so much silver of Peru) is because the same quantity of labor has
been employed on their production; and, though he has certainly not
vitiated the purity of this principle by the usual heteronomy (if you
will allow me a learned word),--that is, by the introduction of the
other and opposite law derived from the _value_ of this labor,--
yet, it is probable that in thus abstaining he was guided by mere
accident, and not by any conscious purpose of contradistinguishing the
one law from the other; because, had _that_ been his purpose, he
would hardly have contented himself with forbearing to affirm, but
would formally have denied the false law. For it can never be
sufficiently impressed upon the student's mind, that it brings him not
one step nearer to the truth to say that the value of A is determined
by the quantity of labor which produces it, unless by that proposition
he means that it is _not_ determined by the _value_ of the
labor which produces it.

To return to Adam Smith: not only has he "made it quite clear" that he
confounded the two laws, and had never been summoned to examine whether
they led to different results, but I go further, and will affirm that
if he had been summoned to such an examination, he could not have
pursued it with any success until the discovery of the true law of
Profits. For, in the case of the hats, as before argued, he would have
said, "The wages of the hatter, whether they have been augmented by
increased quantity of labor, or by increased value of labor, must, in
any case, be paid." Now, what is the answer? They must be paid, but
from what fund? Adam Smith knew of no fund, nor could know of any,
until Mr. Ricardo had ascertained the true law of Profits, except
Price: in either case, therefore, as Political Economy then stood, he
was compelled to conclude that the fifteen shillings would be paid out
of the price,--that is, that the whole difference between the twelve
shillings and the fifteen shillings would settle upon the purchaser.
But we now know that this will happen only in the case when the
difference has arisen from increased labor; and that every farthing of
the difference which arises from increased value of labor will be paid
out of another fund, namely, Profits. But this conclusion could not be
arrived at without the new theory of Profits (as will be seen more
fully when we come to that theory); and thus one error was the
necessary parent of another.

Here I will pause, and must beg you to pardon my long speeches in
consideration of the extreme importance of the subject; for everything
in Political Economy depends, as I said before, on the law of value;
and I have not happened to meet with one writer who seemed fully to
understand Mr. Ricardo's law, and still less who seemed to perceive the
immense train of consequences which it involves.

_Phæd_. I now see enough to believe that Mr. Ricardo is right;
and, if so, it is clear that all former writers are wrong. Thus far I
am satisfied with your way of conducting the argument, though some
little confusion still clouds my view. But, with regard to the
consequences you speak of, how do you explain that under so fundamental
an error (as you represent it) many writers, but above all Adam Smith,
should have been able to deduce so large a body of truth, that we
regard him as one of the chief benefactors to the science?

_X_. The fact is, that his good sense interfered everywhere to
temper the extravagant conclusions into which a severe logician could
have driven him. [Footnote: The "Wealth of Nations" has never yet been
ably reviewed, nor satisfactorily edited. The edition of Mr. Buchanan
is unquestionably the best, and displays great knowledge of Political
Economy as it stood before the revolution effected by Mr. Ricardo. But
having the misfortune to appear immediately before that revolution, it
is already to some degree an obsolete book. Even for its own date,
however, it was not good as an edition of Adam Smith, its value lying
chiefly in the body of original disquisitions which composed the fourth
volume; for the notes not only failed to correct the worst errors of
Adam Smith (which, indeed, in many cases is saying no more than that
Mr. Buchanan did not forestall Mr. Ricardo), but were also deficient in
the history of English finance, and generally in the knowledge of
facts. How much reason there is to call for a new edition, with a
commentary adapted to the existing state of the science, will appear on
this consideration: the "Wealth of Nations" is the text-book resorted
to by all students of Political Economy. One main problem of this
science, if not the main problem (as Mr. Ricardo thinks), is to
determine the laws which regulate Rents, Profits, and Wages; but
everybody who is acquainted with the present state of the science must
acknowledge that precisely on these three points it affords "very
little satisfactory information." These last words are the gentle
criticism of Mr. Ricardo: but the truth is, that not only does it
afford very little information on the great heads of Rent, Profits, and
Wages, but (which is much worse) it gives very false and misleading

P. S. _September_ 27, 1854.--It is suggested to me by a friend,
that in this special notice of Mr. Buchanan's edition, I shall be
interpreted as having designed some covert reflection upon the edition
of Adam Smith published by Mr. M'Culloch. My summary answer to any such
insinuation is, that this whole paper was written in the spring of
1824, that is, thirty and a half years ago: at which time, to the best
of my knowledge, Mr. M'Culloch had not so much as meditated any such
edition. Let me add, that if I had seen or fancied any reason for a
criticism unfriendly to Mr. M'Culloch, or to any writer whatever, I
should not have offered it indirectly, but openly, frankly, and in the
spirit of liberal candor due to an honorable contemporary.] At this
very day, a French and an English economist have reared a Babel of far
more elaborate errors on this subject; M. Say, I mean, and Mr. Malthus:
both ingenious writers, both eminently illogical,--especially the
latter, with whose "confusion worse confounded" on the subject of
Value, if reviewed by some unsparing Rhadamanthus of logical justice, I
believe that chaos would appear a model of order and light. Yet the
very want of logic, which has betrayed these two writers into so many
errors, has befriended them in escaping from their consequences; for
they leap with the utmost agility over all obstacles to any conclusions
which their good sense points out to them as just, however much at war
with their own premises. With respect to the confusion which you
complain of as still clinging to the subject, this naturally attends
the first efforts of the mind to disjoin two ideas which have
constantly been regarded as one. But, as we advance in our discussions,
illustration and proof will gradually arise from all quarters, to the
great principle of Mr. Ricardo which we have just been considering;
besides which, this principle is itself so much required for the
illustration and proof of other principles, that the mere practice of
applying it will soon sharpen your eye to a steady familiarity with all
its aspects.

       *       *       *       *       *



_Phil_. X., I see, is not yet come: I hope he does not mean to
break his appointment, for I have a design upon him. I have been
considering his argument against the possibility of any change in price
arising out of a change in the value of labor, and I have detected a
flaw in it which he can never get over. I have him, sir--I have him as
fast as ever spider had a fly.

_Phæd_. Don't think it, my dear friend: you are a dexterous
_retiarius_; but a gladiator who is armed with Ricardian weapons
will cut your net to pieces. He is too strong in his cause, as I am
well satisfied from what passed yesterday. He'll slaughter you,--to use
the racy expression of a friend of mine in describing the redundant
power with which one fancy boxer disposed of another,--he'll slaughter
you "with ease and affluence." But here he comes.--Well, X., you're
just come in time. Philebus says that you are a fly, whilst _he_
is a murderous spider, and that he'll slaughter you with "ease and
affluence;" and, all things considered, I am inclined to think he will.

_Phil_. Phædrus does not report the matter quite accurately;
however, it is true that I believe myself to have detected a fatal
error in your argument of yesterday on the case of the hat; and it is
this: When the value of labor rose by twenty-five per cent., you
contended that this rise would be paid out of profits. Now, up to a
certain limit this may be possible; beyond that it is impossible. For
the price of the hat was supposed to be eighteen shillings: and the
price of the labor being assumed originally at twelve shillings;--
leaving six shillings for profits,--it is very possible that a rise in
wages of no more than three shillings may be paid out of these profits.
But, as this advance in wages increases, it comes nearer and nearer to
that point at which it will be impossible for profits to pay it; since,
let the advance once reach the whole six shillings, and all motive for
producing hats will be extinguished; and let it advance to seven
shillings, there will in that case be no fund at all left out of which
the seventh shilling can be paid, even if the capitalist were disposed
to relinquish all his profits. Now, seriously, you will hardly maintain
that the hat could not rise to the price of nineteen shillings--or of
any higher sum?

_X_. Recollect, Philebus, what it is that I maintain; assuredly
the hat may rise to the price of nineteen shillings, or of any higher
sum, but not as a consequence of the cause you assign. Taking your
case, I _do_ maintain that it is impossible the hat should exceed,
or even reach, eighteen shillings. When I say eighteen shillings,
however, you must recollect that the particular sum of twelve shillings
for labor, and six shillings for profits, were taken only for the sake
of illustration; translating the sense of the proposition into
universal forms, what I assert is, that the rise in the value of the
labor can go no further than the amount of profits will allow it:
profits swallowed up, there will remain no fund out of which an
increase of wages can be paid, and the production of hats will cease.

_Phil_. This is the sense in which I understood you; and in this
sense I wish that you would convince me that the hat could not, under
the circumstances supposed, advance to nineteen shillings or twenty

_X_. Perhaps, in our conversation on _Wages_, you will see
this more irresistibly; you yourself will then shrink from affirming
the possibility of such an advance as from an obvious absurdity;
meantime, here is a short demonstration of it, which I am surprised
that Mr. Ricardo did not use as the strongest and most compendious mode
of establishing his doctrine.

Let it be possible that the hat may advance to nineteen shillings; or,
to express this more generally, from _x_ (or eighteen shillings)--
which it was worth before the rise in wages--to _x_ + _y_;
that is to say, the hat will now be worth _x_ + _y_ quantity
of money--having previously been worth no more than _x_. That is
your meaning?

_Phil_. It is.

_X_. And if in money, of necessity in everything else; because
otherwise, if the hat were worth more money only, but more of nothing
besides, that would simply argue that money had fallen in value; in
which case undoubtedly the hat might rise in any proportion that money
fell; but, then, without gaining any increased value, which is
essential to your argument.

_Phil_. Certainly; if in money, then in everything else.

_X_. Therefore, for instance, in gloves; having previously been
worth four pair of buckskin gloves, the hat will now be worth four pair
+ _y_?

_Phil_. It will.

_X_. But, Philebus, either the rise in wages is universal or it is
not universal. If not universal, it must be a case of accidental rise
from mere scarcity of hands; which is the case of a rise in
_market_ value; and that is not the case of Mr. Ricardo, who is
laying down the laws of _natural_ value. It is, therefore,
universal; but, if universal, the gloves from the same cause will have
risen from the value of _x_ to _x_ + _y_.

Hence, therefore, the price of the hat, estimated in gloves, is =
_x_ + _y_.

And again, the price of the gloves, estimated in hats, is = _x_ +

In other words, H - _y_ = _x_.
                H + _y_ = _x_.
That is to say, H - _y_ = H + _y_.

_Phæd_. Which, I suppose, is an absurdity; and, in fact, it turns
out, Philebus, that he has slaughtered you with "ease and affluence."

_X_. And this absurdity must be eluded by him who undertakes to
show that a rise in the wages of labor can be transferred to the value
of its product.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Et æquiori sane animo feres, cum hic de primis agatur principiis, si
superstitiose omnia examinavi,--viamque quasi palpando singulaque
curiosius contrectando, lente me promovi et testudineo gradu. Video
enim ingenium humanum ita comparatum esse--ut facilius longe quid
_consequens_ sit dispiciat, quam quid in naturà _primo_
verum; nostramque omnium conditionem non multum ab illà Archimedis
abludere--_Aos æe so kai koiso tæn gæn_. Ubi primum figamus pedem,
inveniro multo magis satagimus, quam (ubi inveninius) ulterius
progredi.--_Henricus Morus in Epist. ad Cartesium._]


_Phæd_. In our short conversation of yesterday, X., you parried an
objection brought forward by Philebus in a way which I thought
satisfactory. You reduced him to an absurdity, or what seemed such. In
fact, I did verily believe that you had slaughtered Philebus; and so I
told him. But we have since reconsidered the matter, and have settled
it between ourselves that your answer will not do; that your
"absurdity," in fact, is a very absurd absurdity. Philebus will tell
you why. I, for my part, shall have enough to do to take care of a
little argument of my own, which is designed to meet something that
passed in our first dialogue. Now, my private conviction is, that both
I and Philebus shall be cudgelled; I am satisfied that such will be the
issue of the business. And my reason for thinking so is this,--that I
already see enough to discern a character of boldness and determination
in Mr. Ricardo's doctrines which needs no help from sneaking
equivocations, and this with me is a high presumption that he is in the
right. In whatever rough way his theories are tossed about, they seem
always, like a cat, to light upon their legs. But, notwithstanding
this, as long as there is a possibility that he may be in the wrong, I
shall take it for granted that he is, and do my best to prove him so.

_X_. For which, Phædrus, I shall feel greatly indebted to you. We
are told of Trajan, that, in the camp exercises, he not only tolerated
hard blows, but courted them; "alacer virtute militum, et lætus quoties
aut cassidi suæ aut clypeo gravior ictus incideret. Laudabat quippe
ferientes, hortabaturque ut auderent." When one of our theatres let
down an iron curtain upon the stage as a means of insulating the
audience from any fire amongst the scenery, and sent men to prove the
strength of this curtain by playing upon it with sledge-hammers in the
sight and hearing of the public, who would not have laughed at the
hollowness of the mummery, if the blows had been gentle, considerate,
and forbearing? A "make-believe" blow would have implied a "make-
believe" hammer and a "make-believe" curtain. No!--hammer away, like
Charles Martel; "fillip me with a three-man beetle;" be to me a
_malleus hæreticorum_; come like Spenser's Talus--an iron man with
an iron flail, and thresh out the straw of my logic; rack me; put me to
the question; get me down; jump upon me; kick me; throttle me; put an
end to me in any way you can.

_Phæd_. I will, I will, my dear friend; anything to oblige you;
anything for peace. So now tie yourself to the stake, whilst we bait
you. And you begin, Philebus; unmuzzle.

_Phil_. I shall be brief. The case of the hat is what I stand
upon; and, by the way, I am much obliged to you, X., for having stated
the question in that shape; it has furnished me with a very manageable
formula for recalling the principle at issue. The wages alter from two
different causes--in one case, because there is the same quantity of
labor at a different rate; in another case, because there is a
different quantity at the same rate. In the latter case, it is agreed
that the alteration settles upon price; in the former case you affirm
that it will _not_: I affirm that it will. I bring an argument to
prove it; which argument you attempt to parry by another. But in this
counter argument of yours it strikes me that there lurks a _petitio
principii_. Indeed, I am sure of it. For observe the course of our
reasoning. I charge it upon your doctrine as an absurd consequence--
that, if the increase of wages must be paid out of profits, then this
fund will at length be eaten out; and as soon as it is, there will be
no fund at all for paying any further increase; and the production must
cease. Now, what in effect is your answer? Why, that as soon as profits
are all eaten up, the production _will_ cease. And this you call
reducing me to an absurdity. But where is the absurdity? Your answer
is, in fact, an identical proposition; for, when you say, "_As soon
as_ profits are absorbed," I retort, Ay, no doubt "_as soon_"
as they are; but when will that be? It requires no Ricardo to tell us
that, _when_ profits are absorbed, they will be absorbed; what I
deny is, that they ever _can_ be absorbed. For, as fast as wages
increase, what is to hinder price from increasing _pari passu_? In
which case profits will _never_ be absorbed. It is easy enough to
prove that price will not increase, if you may assume that profits will
not remain stationary. For then you have assumed the whole point in
dispute; and after _that_, of course you have the game in your own
hands; since it is self-evident that if anybody is made up of two parts
P and W, so adjusted that all which is gained by either must be lost by
the other, then _that_ body can never increase.

_Phæd_. Nor decrease.

_Phil_. No, nor decrease. If my head must of necessity lose as
much weight as my trunk gains, and _vice versa_, then it is a
clear case that I shall never be heavier. But why cannot my head remain
stationary, whilst my trunk grows heavier? This is what you had to
prove, and you have not proved it.

_Phæd_. O! it's scandalous to think how he has duped us; his
"_reductio_" turns out to the merest swindling.

_X_. No, Phædrus, I beg your pardon. It is very true I did not
attempt to prove that your head might not remain stationary; I could
not have proved this _directly_, without anticipating a doctrine
out of its place; but I proved it _indirectly_, by showing that,
if it were supposed possible, an absurdity would follow from that
supposition. I said, and I say again, that the doctrine of wages will
show the very supposition itself to be absurd; but, until we come to
that doctrine, I content myself with proving that, let that supposition
seem otherwise ever so reasonable (the supposition, namely, that
profits may be stationary whilst wages are advancing), yet it draws
after it one absurd consequence, namely, that a thing may be bigger
than that to which it is confessedly equal. Look back to the notes of
our conversation, and you will see that this is as I say. You say,
Philebus, that I prove profits in a particular case to be incapable of
remaining stationary, by assuming that price cannot increase; or, if I
am called upon to prove that assumption--namely, that price cannot
increase--I do it only by assuming that profits in that case are
incapable of remaining stationary. But, if I had reasoned thus, I
should not only have been guilty of a _petitio principii_ (as you
alleged), but also of a circle. Here, then, I utterly disclaim and
renounce either assumption: I do not ask you to grant me that price
must continue stationary in the case supposed; I do not ask you to
grant me that profits must recede in the case supposed. On the
contrary, I will not have them granted to me; I insist on your refusing
both of these principles.

_Phil_. Well, I _do_ refuse them.

_Phæd_. So do I. I'll do anything in reason as well as another.
"If one knight give a testril--" [Footnote: Sir Andrew Aguecheek, in
"Twelfth Night."]

_X_. Then let us suppose the mines from which we obtain our silver
to be in England.

_Phæd_. What for? Why am I to suppose this? I don't know but you
have some trap in it.

_X_. No; a Newcastle coal-mine, or a Cornwall tin-mine, will
answer the purpose of my argument just as well. But it is more
convenient to use silver as the illustration; and I suppose it to be in
England simply to avoid intermixing any question about foreign trade.
Now, when the hat sold for eighteen shillings, on Mr. Ricardo's
principle why did it sell for that sum?

_Phil_. I suppose, because the quantity of silver in that sum is
assumed to be the product of four days' labor in a silver-mine.

_X_. Certainly; because it is the product of the same quantity of
labor as that which produced the hat. Calling twenty shillings,
therefore, four ounces of silver, the hat was worth nine tenths of four
ounces. Now, when wages advance from twelve shillings to fourteen
shillings, profits (you allege) will not pay this advance, but price.
On this supposition the price of the hat will now be--what?

_Phil_. Twenty shillings; leaving, as before, six shillings for

_X_. Six shillings upon fourteen shillings are not the same
_rate_ of profit as six shillings upon twelve shillings; but no
matter; it does not affect the argument. The hat is now worth four
entire ounces of silver, having previously been worth four ounces
_minus_ a tenth of four ounces. But the product of four days'
labor in a silver-mine must also advance in value, for the same cause.
Four ounces of silver, which is that product, will now have the same
power or value as 22.22_s_. had before. Consequently the four
ounces of silver, which had previously commanded in exchange a hat and
the ninth of a hat, will now command a hat and two ninths, fractions
neglected. Hence, therefore, a hat will, upon any Anti-Ricardian
theory, manifestly buy four ounces of silver; and yet, at the same
time, it will not buy four ounces by one fifth part of four ounces.
Silver and the denominations of its qualities, being familiar, make it
more convenient to use that metal; but substitute lead, iron, coal, or
anything whatsoever--the argument is the same, being in fact a
universal demonstration that variations in wages cannot produce
corresponding variations in price.

_Phæd_. Say no more, X.; I see that you are right; and it's all
over with our cause; unless I retrieve it. To think that the whole
cause of the Anti-Ricardian economy should devolve upon me! that fate
should ordain me to be the Atlas on whose unworthy shoulders the whole
system is to rest! This being my destiny, I ought to have been built a
little stronger. However, no matter. I heartily pray that I may prove
too strong for you; though, at the same time, I am convinced I shall
not. Remember, therefore, that you have no right to exult if you toss
and gore me, for I tell you beforehand that you will. And, if you do,
that only proves me to be in the right, and a very sagacious person;
since my argument has all the appearance of being irresistible, and yet
such is my discernment that I foresee most acutely that it will turn
out a most absurd one. It is this: your answer to Philebus issues in
this--that a thing A is shown to be at once more valuable and yet not
more valuable than the same thing B. Now, this answer I take by the
horns; it is possible for A to be more and yet not more valuable than
the same thing. For example, my hat shall be more valuable than the
gloves; more valuable, that is, than the gloves were: and yet not more
valuable than the gloves; not more valuable, that is, than the gloves
now are. So of the wages; all things preserve their former relations,
because all are equally raised. This is my little argument. What do you
think of it? Will it do?

_X_. No.

_Phæd_. Why, so I told you.

_X_. I have the pleasure, then, to assure you that you were
perfectly right. It will _not_ do. But I understand you perfectly.
You mean to evade my argument that the increase of wages shall settle
upon profits; according to this argument, it will settle upon price,
and not upon profits; yet again on price in such a way as to escape the
absurdity of two relations of value existing between the very same
things. But, Phædrus, this rise will be a mere metaphysical one, and no
real rise. The hat, you say, has risen; but still it commands no more
of the gloves, because they also have risen. How, then, has either
risen? The rise is purely ideal.

_Phæd_. It is so, X.; but that I did not overlook; for tell me--on
Mr. Ricardo's principle, will not all things double their value
simultaneously, if the quantity of labor spent in producing all should
double simultaneously?

_X_. It will, Phædrus.

_Phæd_. And yet nothing will exchange for more or less than

_X_. True; but the rise is not ideal, for all that, but will
affect everybody. A pound of wheat, which previously bought three
pounds of salt, will still buy three pounds; but, then, the salt-maker
and the wheat-maker will have only one pound of those articles where
before he had two. However, the difference between the two cases cannot
fully be understood, without a previous examination of certain
distinctions, which I will make the subject of our next dialogue; and
the rather, because, apart from our present question, at every step we
should else be embarrassed, as all others have been, by the perplexity
attending these distinctions. Meantime, as an answer to your argument,
the following consideration will be quite sufficient. The case which
your argument respects is that in which wages are supposed to rise?
Why? In consequence of a _real_ rise in corn or something else. As
a means of meeting this rise, wages rise; but the increased value of
wages is only a means to an end, and the laborer cares about the rise
only in that light. The end is--to give him the same quantity of corn,
suppose. That end attained, he cares nothing about the means by which
it is attained. Now, your ideal rise of wages does not attain this end.
The corn has _really_ risen; this is the first step. In
consequence of this, an ideal rise follows in all things, which evades
the absurdities of a real rise--and evades the Ricardian doctrine of
profits; but,