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Title: Catholic World, Vol. 17, April, 1873 to September, 1873 - A Monthly Magazine of General Literature and Science
Author: Various
Language: English
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                            CATHOLIC WORLD.


                           MONTHLY MAGAZINE



                              VOL. XVII.

                   APRIL, 1873, TO SEPTEMBER, 1873.

                               NEW YORK:
                           9 Warren Street.



  “Abraham”—“Abron”—“Auburn,” 234

  Abuse of Diplomatic Authority, An, 130

  Antiquities of the Law, 69

  Appeal to Workingmen, 751

  Art, Necessity _versus_, 558

  Art Pilgrimage through Rome, An, 808

  Bolanden’s The Russian Idea, 27, 161

  Bolanden’s The Trowel or the Cross, 308, 473

  Bread-Winner, Woman as a, 223

  Brittany: Its People and its Poems, 252, 537

  Bruté, Memoirs of the Rt. Rev. S. G., 711

  Casgrain’s The Canadian Pioneers, 687

  Casgrain’s Picture of the Rivière Ouelle, 103

  Chapman’s The Evolution of Life, 145

  Charlevoix, Shea’s, 721

  Charities, Public, 1

  Chartres, 834

  Church and State in Germany, 513

  Civilization? What is, 486

  Conciliar Decrees on the Holy Scriptures, 195

  Country Life in England, 319

  Darwinism, More about, 641

  Dick Cranstone, 392

  Diplomatic Authority, An Abuse of, 130

  Domestic Festivities, English, 630

  Dubois’ Madame Agnes, 78, 182, 330, 446, 591, 731

  Early Marriage, 839

  Education, Home, 91

  Empire, The, 606

  England, Country Life in, 319

  English Domestic Festivities, 630

  Erckmann-Chatrian, Mme. Jeannette’s Papers, 566

  Error Rectified, An, 144

  Evening at Chamblay, An, 765

  Evolution of Life, The, 145

  Fiske’s Myths and Myth-Makers, 209

  Fontainebleau, 241, 382

  For Better—For Worse, 257, 408

  Germany, Church and State in, 513

  Grapes and Thorns, 362, 498, 655, 792

  Heaven, 220

  Holy Scriptures, Conciliar Decrees on the, 195

  Home Education, 91

  Indians of Ysléta, The, 422

  Jerome Savonarola, 289, 433, 577

  Jesuits in Paris, The, 701

  John Baptist de Rossi, and his Archæological Works, 272

  Joseph in Egypt, a Type of Christ, 77

  Koche, King of Pitt, 545

  Lace, Something about, 56

  Laughing Dick Cranstone, 392

  Law, Antiquities of the, 69

  Legend of S. Christopher, A, 278

  Legend of S. Martin, A, 137

  Life, The Evolution of, 145

  Madame Agnes, 78, 182, 330, 446, 591, 731

  Madame Jeannette’s Papers, 566

  Marriage, Early, 839

  Memoirs of a Good French Priest, 711

  Middlemarch and Fleurange, 775

  More about Darwinism, 641

  My Cousin’s Introduction, 171

  Myths and Myth-Mongers, 209

  Necessity _versus_ Art, 558

  Palais Royal, The, 113

  Paris, The Jesuits in, 701

  Peace, 157

  People and Poems of Brittany, 252, 537

  Philosophical Terminology, 463

  Picture of the Rivière Ouelle, The, 103

  Poet and Martyr, 40

  Political Principle for the Social Restoration of France, The, 348

  Present Greatness of the Papacy, The, 400

  Public Charities, 1

  Ramière’s The Political Principle of the Social Restoration of France,

  Records of a Ruin, The, 113

  Reminiscence of San Marco, A, 707

  Rome, An Art Pilgrimage through, 808

  Rossi, John Baptist de, and his Archæological Works, 272

  Russian Idea, The, 27, 161

  Sales, S. Francis de, 171

  San Marco: A Reminiscence, 707

  Savonarola, Jerome, 289, 433, 577

  Scholars _en Déshabillé_, 844

  Shakespearian Excursus, A, 234

  Shea’s Charlevoix, 721

  Something about Lace, 56

  Southwell, F. Robert, 40

  Stories of Two Worlds, The, 775

  Terminology, Philosophical, 463

  Travellers and Travelling, 676, 822

  Trowel or the Cross, The, 308, 473

  Unity, 307

  What is Civilization? 486

  Woman as a Bread-Winner, 223

  Workingmen, Appeal to, 751

  Ysléta, The Indians of, 422


  Angel and the Child, The, 570

  Beati qui Lugent, 271

  Christe’s Childhoode, 472

  Dante’s Purgatorio, 24, 158, 304

  Dies Iræ, 221

  Marriage Song, 462

  May Carol, A, 407

  Mother of God, 710

  Music, 807

  Sonnet: The Poetry of the Future, 399

  Sonnet: To the Pillar at S. Paul’s, Rome, 590

  Sonnet: To the Ruins of Emania, 750

  Temple, The, 764

  To a Child, 426

  To a Friend, 497

  To be Forgiven, 821

  To the Sacred Heart, 536

  Virgin Mary, The, to Christ on the Crosse, 39


  Augustine, S., Harmony of the Evangelists, etc., 855

  Augustine, S., On the Trinity, 855

  Alcott’s Aunt Jo’s Scrap-Book, 142

  Amulet, The, 575

  Bagshawe’s Threshold of the Catholic Church, 572

  Bateman’s Ierne of Armorica, 427

  Begin’s La Primauté et l’Infaillibilité des Souveraines Pontifes,
      etc., 576

  Bolanden’s, The Progressionists, and Angela, 281

  Brady’s Irish Reformation, 573

  Brady’s State Papers on the Irish Church, 573

  Brann’s Truth and Error, 142

  Brothers of the Christian Schools during the War, The, 430

  Burke’s Lectures and Sermons, 718

  Caddell’s Wild Times, 284

  Catechism of the Holy Rosary, 428

  Church Defence, 280

  Conscience’s The Amulet, 575

  Conscience’s The Fisherman’s Daughter, 575

  Constance and Marion, 432

  Deaf Mute, The, 288

  Devere’s Modern Magic, 575

  Directorium Sacerdotale, 574

  Doctrine of Hell, 571

  Donnelly’s Out of Sweet Solitude, 720

  Ernscliff Hall, 288

  Elements of Philosophy, 427

  Estcourt’s Anglican Ordinations, 856

  Filiola, 288

  Fisherman’s Daughter, The, 575

  Formby’s Catechism of the Holy Rosary, 428

  Garside’s The Prophet of Carmel, 858

  Gaume’s Sign of the Cross in the XIXth Century, 429

  Gaume’s Suema, 428

  God Our Father, 143

  Greatorex’s Homes of Ober-Ammergau, 288

  Hare’s Memorials of a Quiet Life, 431

  Herbert’s Wilfulness, 285

  Hill’s Elements of Philosophy, 427

  Humphrey’s Mary magnifying God, 428

  Hundred Meditations on the Love of God, A, 574

  Ierne of Armorica, 427

  Illustrated Catholic Sunday-School Library, 430

  Isabelle de Verneuil, 430

  King and the Cloister, The, 430

  Laboulaye’s Poodle Prince, 431

  Landroit’s Sins of the Tongue, 719

  Landroit’s The Valiant Woman, 858

  Life and Letters of a Sister of Charity, 142

  Life of Dorié, 281

  Life of Vénard, 281

  Limerick Veteran, 719

  Lunt’s Old New England Traits, 720

  McGee’s Sketches of Irish Soldiers, 860

  Mary magnifying God, 428

  Marshall’s Church Defence, 280

  Marshall’s My Clerical Friends, 138

  Meditations on the Blessed Virgin, 860

  Meline’s Two Thousand Miles on Horseback, 286

  Meyrick’s Life of S. Walburge, 855

  Mericourt’s Vivia Perpetua, 575

  Money God, The, 282

  Mulloy’s A Visit to Louise Lateau, 574

  Munro’s Lectures on Old Testament History, 858

  Nesbits, The, 283

  Old New England Traits, 720

  Only a Pin, 574

  Out of Sweet Solitude, 720

  Palma’s Particular Examen, 860

  Peter’s Journey, etc., 285

  Potter’s Rupert Aubrey, 859

  Primauté, La, et l’Infaillibilité des Souveraines Pontifes, etc., 576

  Proceedings of the Convention of the Irish Catholic Benevolent Union,

  Progressionists, The, and Angela, 281

  Quinton’s The Money God, 282

  Reverse of the Medal, The, 288

  Sainte-Germaine’s Only a Pin, 574

  Sermons for all the Sundays and Festivals of the Year, 428

  Sign of the Cross in the XIXth Century, 429

  Snell’s Isabelle de Verneuil, 430

  Sœur Eugénie, 142

  Southwell’s Meditations, 574

  Stewart’s Limerick Veteran, 719

  Suema, 428

  Sunday-School Library, 430

  Sweeney’s Sermons, 428

  Taylor’s Lars, 430

  Thebaud’s The Irish Race, 432, 718

  Thompson’s Hawthorndean, 430

  Threshold of the Catholic Church, 572

  Truth and Error, 142

  Two Thousand Miles on Horseback, 286

  Valuy’s Directorium Sacerdotale, 574

  Visit to Louise Lateau, A, 574

  Walworth and Burr, Doctrine of Hell, 571

  Wild Times, 284

  Wilfulness, 285

  Winged Word, A, etc., 572

  Wiseman’s Essays, 431, 575

  Wiseman’s Lectures on the Church, 143



VOL. XVII., No. 97.—APRIL, 1873.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873, by Rev.
I. T. HECKER, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at
Washington, D. C.


MODERN civilization has no higher or more important question to
deal with than that of ameliorating the condition of the poor, the
unfortunate, the ignorant, and the vicious. Governments are and can
be engaged in no more appalling work than that of legislating wisely
in regard to these classes, and in seeing that not only are their
inevitable wants provided for and the public interests protected,
but also that their rights are secured in fact as well as in theory,
and that the instruments employed in these exalted spheres of public
administration are suited to their purpose, and are guarded against
degenerating from means of amelioration into agencies of oppression,
cruelty, and injustice.

There are two chief motives which lead to the care and provision for
the unfortunate members of the social body—charity on the one side,
and philanthropy on the other. Religion inspires every motive for this
great and holy work, and of all the virtues which religion inspires,
charity is the highest, purest, and best. Charity is the love of God,
and of man for God’s sake. That God of charity has revealed to us that,
of faith, hope, and charity, the greatest is charity; that he that
giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord; that he who performs works of
charity to the least of the human race performs them _ipso facto_ to
the Lord, creator and ruler of the universe; and that the eternal doom
of every human being at the last dread day will be decided by this
great test. Christianity itself, like her divine founder, is charity.
The church of God, like her Lord and Spouse, is charity. She is imbued
with and reflects his divine essence, which is charity. Charity arises
from no statute or arbitrary decree, which might or might not be made
according to the option of the legislator; it is the essence and motive
of all good. It exists in the very nature of things. And as the love
of God by man is the first and necessary relation of the creature to
the Creator, and as our fellow-creatures exist from God, and in and
by him, it is only through God and in him that we love them. Thus
charity is no human sentiment or affection, like philanthropy or the
natural love of our neighbor and brother; it is a supernatural virtue,
springing from God, and sustained by his grace. The man who does not
love his neighbor cannot love God, but rejects his love and violates
the first law of his being. Every word and act of our divine Saviour,
while engaged on earth in establishing his church, proves this, if
there be need of external proof. Even after his work on earth was done,
and he had ascended to his Father, he speaks to us through the mouth of
S. Paul: “If I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not
charity, I am become as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. And if
I have prophecy, and know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and have
all faith, so I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am
nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and
should give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me

Philanthropy, on the other hand, is the love of man for the sake of
man; in other words, humanitarianism. It is a human affection springing
from natural motives. To alleviate human sufferings, and promote human
pleasures and enjoyments, are its aims. Its object is the body rather
than the soul, earth rather than heaven, time rather than eternity. Its
motive power is sentiment or feeling rather than reason or religion.
It is a sensitiveness to all human suffering, because suffering or
pain is repulsive to human nature. Philanthropy is a virtue in the
natural order, springing from human motives, and not a supernatural
virtue springing from religious motives and inspired by divine grace.
Philanthropy is good in itself, for our human nature still remains;
nature and grace are not antagonistic, and may co-exist; nature is
dependent on grace to raise it to the supernatural state and transform
it into charity. Charity includes philanthropy, as the greater includes
the lesser. Philanthropy without charity is earthly in its aims,
frequently rash and sometimes unjust in its measures, tyrannical in the
exercise of power, and not unfrequently barren in its results.

Now, the church and the state are the organized representatives of
these two virtues, the divine and the human. The church is a divine
kingdom, and cultivates the divine virtue of charity; the state is a
human kingdom, and cultivates the human virtue of philanthropy. The
church is a supernatural body, and practises the supernatural virtue
of charity; the state exists in the natural order, and practises the
natural sentiment of philanthropy. The church is of heaven, and her
greatest jewel, charity, is of heaven; the state is of earth, and the
greatest of her merits is philanthropy, which is of earthly birth.
The church is eternal, so is charity; the state is temporal, as is
philanthropy. The church is of God, God is charity, so the church is
charity; the state is of man, so is philanthropy. The rewards of the
one are eternal; of the other, temporal. Charity is a Christian virtue,
and can violate no other Christian virtue in adopting her measures;
she cannot make the end justify the means; but philanthropy is a human
virtue, and stops at no means necessary to attain its end. Abuses are
not necessarily the results of philanthropy, for philanthropy, guided
by even human reason, is capable of respecting the rights of God and
men, and, when guided by supernatural grace, is exalted to charity.[2]

What we have chiefly to deal with in this article are institutions of
benevolence, which are either wholly public property, and such as,
though conducted either by private individuals or by incorporated
boards of citizen managers, yet receive large shares of the public
funds for their foundation, buildings, or current support, and thus
become, to that extent, public institutions, and as such liable to be
inquired into and criticised by the state and its citizens who pay the
taxes thus expended.

The state in our times and in almost every country undertakes the
restraint and custody of the persons of idiots, lunatics, drunkards,
and other persons of unsound mind, for their safety; of paupers, for
their maintenance; and of minors, unprovided with natural guardians,
for purposes of their education, reformation, and maintenance. It is
not for us to discuss at length in this article the right of the state
in any country to _educate and reform_ minors, or, in other words,
to assume the place of teacher and priest; for it cannot undertake
to educate without assuming the place of teacher, and still less can
the state undertake the work of reformation without usurping the
sacred functions of the sacerdotal office. Our faith, our reason, and
our convictions teach us that such offices belong not to the state,
but to the church. The state can establish places of restraint and
punishment, and support and maintain them, both for the protection
of the public, for the safety of the individuals themselves, and for
purposes of philanthropy. Having done this, it is the duty of the
state to leave free the consciences of its wards and prisoners, and
to give every facility to the ministers of every church and religious
persuasion to have free and unrestricted access to the children and
prisoners belonging to those respective churches or persuasions. We
claim this for ourselves as Catholics, and we leave the sects, the
Jews, and every other society of religionists to claim the same for
themselves. We are willing to make common cause with them for the
attainment of our rights. That it is a charity for the state, or, more
correctly speaking, a work of humanity, to assume the temporal care
and provision for those unfortunate members of society who, either by
their own fault, by the visitation of Providence, or by misfortune,
are unable to take care of themselves, we are not disposed to deny at
present, though even this belongs primarily to the religious duties
of the individual, and, therefore, comes within the province of the
church; and we know how well the church discharged this duty before
the Reformation, and is doing it now. Yet we do not deny to the sects,
to all men, and to the state, the right to perform good deeds and to
practise the broadest philanthropy. Such at least seems to be one of
the accepted works of government. We therefore accept such institutions
and works as we find them, and we will view them in the same light
in which our fellow-citizens generally regard them. As citizens, as
Americans, we feel the same interest in them, experience the same
pride in them, and, as a question of property and public right, we
hold them as a common heritage, in which we have the same interest and
authority as our fellow-citizens. We are, therefore, equally interested
in their proper management and good government, and we yield to none
in our desire to promote their prosperity and success. There is no
part of public administration more sacred or important, no function
of the state so momentous, no public responsibility so awful, as
this. Accepting them, as we do, as a part of our common property and
united work, we shrink not from any effort for their good government
and success, and, if need be, for their improvement, reformation,
and correction. When properly conducted, we have nothing but praise
for them; and if, on the other hand, they are mismanaged, the funds
extravagantly applied; if they are made the instruments of cruelty,
perversion, or despotism; if in them or any of them religious liberty
is violated, and systems of proselytizing are carried on against
Catholic children, or the children of the sects, or those of the Jewish
Church, we as Catholics and as American citizens will speak out freely
and boldly in denouncing them. We are not disqualified from doing this,
either as citizens or Catholics; not as citizens, because they belong
to us as much as to other citizens; our money is there with that of
others; and the Constitution gives us liberty of speech and of the
press, and guarantees to us “the right to assemble and petition for
the redress of grievances”;[3] not as Catholics, for we have as such
the experience of eighteen hundred years of the most exalted works of
charity; and because we claim for ourselves no special privilege over
others, but are willing to concede to all what we claim for ourselves.
No clamor will deter us from the exercise of this right, or from the
performance of this duty. And whilst we cannot yield our rights to any
one sect of Protestantism, we are equally determined, while respecting
the rights of all Protestants, not to yield our constitutional rights
to all the sects of Protestantism combined under the false and
deceptive name of unsectarianism. We do not believe in _ex-parte_ and
sham investigations of public abuses in respect to public institutions,
and we do not belong to, and are determined not to be deluded by,
whitewashing committees of investigation and amiable grand juries. We
are ever ready to praise, yet we shrink not from administering censure.

The theory upon which governmental institutions are founded, and those
established by private citizens or boards are assisted is, that of
protecting society from a large, idle, ignorant, vicious population,
by providing the means for the temporal relief and social improvement
and correction of these classes, so as to bring them to the age of
self-support in the case of children, to punish criminals, relieve
the poor, and thus gradually return them all to society as sober,
enlightened, honest, industrious, and thrifty citizens. For these
purposes heavy taxes are laid on the citizens, immense piles of
buildings are erected at the public expense, and such institutions are
annually maintained or aided at enormous cost to the people. In our
November, 1872, number, while admitting and praising the philanthropic
motive which sustains these institutions, we regarded them “as really
nuisances of the worst kind, so far as Catholic children are concerned,
on account of their proselytizing character. Moreover,” we said, “in
their actual workings they violate the rights both of parents and
children, and we have evidence that these poor children are actually
sold at the West, both by private sale and by auction. The horrible
abuses existing in some state institutions are partly known to the
public, and we have the means of disclosing even worse things than
those which have recently been exposed in the public papers.” It is
difficult to perceive the success of such institutions as ameliorating
or reformatory agents, for our public press is loaded every day with
evidences of the enormous increase of crime and pauperism, and with
dissertations on the causes of such increase. The public are naturally
slow in believing that such institutions, upon which so much treasure
has been spent, are failures. Such a reflection is an unpalatable one;
it is humiliating to our pride, and damaging to the boasted progress
of the XIXth century. It crushes our self-esteem to know that, of all
places needing correction, our Houses of Correction need correction
most; and that, of all institutions calling for the stern hand of
reform, there are none that need so much reformation as our schools
of reform. A religious paper called _The Christian Union_ has given
strong proof of its dislike to have the public eyes opened to these
unpalatable truths, and we do not think we should have returned so
soon to this subject but for a rather disingenuous article in that
paper, couched in terms not calculated to convince the public that it
derived its name from the practice or spirit of the virtue of Christian
union, which, while challenging us to expose these wrongs and abuses,
declared but too great a willingness to believe “that these charges,
so frequently made in Roman Catholic journals, have already received
thorough investigation and perfect refutation.”

We complain that our Catholic children in institutions which are
supported in whole or in part by public funds—funds, therefore, in
which we have a common property with our fellow-citizens—instead of
being allowed the instruction and practice of their Catholic religion,
are taught Protestantism in its, to us, most offensive form, and are
thus exposed to the almost certain loss of their faith. The facts
upon which we base the charge have never been denied, but, on the
contrary, they are openly admitted and announced. Protestants deny
that they proselytize Catholic children so as to make them members
of any distinctive sect, but they admit that Catholic teaching
and practices are rigidly excluded, and yet that the children are
taught a certain religion. Is it not evident that, if such religious
instruction produces any result, it is to make these children cease
to be Catholics, to become non-Catholics, to take the Bible as their
only rule of faith, to reject the infallible teachings of their own
church, and to accept the teachings of the institutions as all that is
necessary for them to know? This is proselytism of the most offensive
kind; our children are either made _liberal Christians_, or are placed
in circumstances which inevitably lead to their joining one or other of
the distinctive forms of Protestantism or lose all religion whatever.
Wherever a chaplain is employed, he is either a Methodist minister,
such as Rev. Mr. Pierce in the New York House of Refuge, or he is a
Baptist, Episcopalian, or other sectarian minister. In many of these
institutions, the religious instruction is under the direction of a
lay superintendent, as in the Providence School of Reform. And here
we beg to give a piece of testimony showing how incompetent laymen are
for religious instruction in public reformatories. The witness under
examination was at the time one of the trustees of the Providence
Reform School:

 “Q. Have you any knowledge in relation to the distribution of
 religious books among the pupils, and their being taken away?

 “A. I don’t of my own knowledge; I furnished once one book of a
 religious character, and one only; I furnished it to the _officer
 having in charge the devotional exercises_ on the girls’ side; I
 gave that to the officer for his own use; it was given to him in
 consequence of considerable religious feeling that there was existing
 among the girls at the time; the girls were holding among themselves
 what they called prayer-meetings; the _gentleman having in charge the
 devotional exercises said he felt utterly incompetent to conduct the
 devotions in suitable words_,” etc.

Religious liberty is openly and positively denied in the New York House
of Refuge, as will be seen from their own “Report of Special Committee
to the Managers of the House of Refuge,” 1872; from which it appears,
at pp. 21, 22, that the religion of the house consists in “Christian
worship in simple form, and Gospel lessons in Sunday-schools,” and that
the “inmates are brought into the _same_ chapel for public worship,”
and that “the whole regimen of the house,” including of course the
religious part, “is devised and pursued with careful attention to
the _wants of the inmates, but is not submitted to the control of
themselves or their friends_.” As Americans we have been taught from
our infancy that liberty of conscience is the dearest right of the
American citizen. We learned in our college days that even “Congress
shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof”; but we now learn that what the
highest legislative power in the nation, and what no state legislature,
can do, the managers of the New York House of Refuge have done and
are now doing: they have made a law respecting the establishment of a
religion in the House of Refuge, a public institution—a religion which
they have called variously “Christian worship in simple form,” “Gospel
lessons,” “Unsectarianism,” “The Broad Principles of Christianity”—and
have forbidden the free exercise of any other religion. Even if all
Christians were united in this worship and in these principles, have
Jewish citizens no rights under the Constitution? As citizens of the
State of New York, we have learned from the state constitution and
Bill of Rights “that the free exercise and practice of religious
profession and worship without discrimination or preference shall
_for ever be allowed to all mankind_.” Chancellor Kent, in his
_Commentaries on American Law_, says that “_the free exercise_ and
enjoyment of religious profession and worship may be considered as one
of the _absolute rights of individuals_, recognized in our American
constitutions and secured to them by law.”[4] And Story, in his
_Commentaries on the Constitution_, maintains in equally strong terms
“the freedom of public worship according to the dictates of one’s

But we are now told by the Managers of the House of Refuge that
“delinquency has, under the law, worked some forfeiture of rights, and
that neither the delinquents nor their friends for them can justly
claim, while under sentence of the courts, equal freedom with the rest
of the community who have not violated the law.”[6] Such was the
answer given by American citizens, constituting the Board of Managers
of the New York House of Refuge, to the committee of American citizens
sent by the Catholic Union to demand liberty of conscience and freedom
of religious worship for the Catholic children in the Refuge! Either
this answer means that the children in the House of Refuge are not a
portion of _mankind_, or that religious freedom is one of the rights
forfeited by delinquency, or the Board of Managers have proclaimed
themselves guilty of the grossest violation of the rights of man and
of God. We presume these gentlemen will not admit either the first
or the third of these alternatives; indeed, they almost say in terms
that a commitment to the House of Refuge works a forfeiture of that
religious liberty guaranteed to all mankind. We know delinquency under
the law suspends the civil rights of the delinquent while in prison,
such as the right to hold public office or administer a private trust;
but it does not work even a forfeiture of property except in the case
of an outlawry of treason. These are all the forfeitures worked by the
highest crimes known to the law. Religion is not a civil right; no
crime can forfeit it; no power on earth can extinguish it. The greatest
of public malefactors, the murderer and the traitor, enjoy it even on
the scaffold: does the child whose only offence is poverty or vagrancy
forfeit it? In the sacred names of Liberty and Religion, what sort of
_Refuge_ is this to stand on American soil?

The Children’s Aid Society is another New York institution largely
supported by public funds. We learn from its Nineteenth Annual Report,
1871, that one of its objects is to shelter in its lodging-houses the
orphan and the homeless girls and boys, and labor incessantly to give
them the “_foundation ideas of morals and religion_” (p. 5). Alluding
to the _Italian_ School, No. 44 Franklin Street, the report says: “We
have _conquered the prejudices and superstition of ignorance_, and
_converted_ into useful citizens hundreds of this unfortunate class.”
With such a programme of unsectarian conversion, the leading feature
in which is indifferentism in religion, the immediate forerunner of
infidelity and agrarianism, it is no wonder that the report immediately
proceeds: “So much so, indeed, that the Italian government,” that same
godless government which is so ferociously waging war on Catholicity,
“has taken a deep interest in our institution” (p. 28).

It is only necessary to read these reports to be convinced that the
system either leads to materialism, the religion of worldly prosperity
and thrifty citizenship, or to some form of Protestant sectarianism.
The system of “emigration” pursued by such institutions, by which
children are sent out West and placed with anybody and everybody who
will take them, completes the work commenced in the East. On pages
54-56 of the report last quoted is related the case of a youth sent
East, who “cannot speak of his parents with any certainty at all”; it
matters not what religion they were of, the son is now _preparing for
the ministry_ of one of the sects. His letter also recites a similar
case in reference to another boy “who was sent out West.” It is certain
that he is not preparing for the Catholic ministry, for his impressions
of a miracle are thus expressed: “To be taken from the gutters of New
York City and placed in a college is almost a miracle.” The story of
young “Patrick,” p. 59, whose education was obtained at the Preparatory
School at Oberlin and at Cornell University, is significant. On page
60 is told the story of an _Irish_ orphan girl sent to Connecticut, and
placed with “an intelligent Christian woman, who means to do right.”
On page 63 is told the history of a little boy sent to Michigan, who
is well pleased with toys and new clothes, “like all other children;
he has a splendid new suit of clothes just got, and _he attends church
and Sabbath-school_.” A similar case is related at page 65, of a
little girl sent to Ohio, and we shall show below what has become of
little girls sent to that state. These are some of the model cases of
which this unsectarian society makes a boast in its report. It is a
significant fact that, of the 8,835 who came under the influences of
this society in one year, 3,312 were of Irish birth, and it may be
estimated with certainty that a considerable proportion of the other
children of foreign, as well as many of home birth were Catholics.
The number of children born in Ireland who were sent West during the
year was 1,058. This institution received for the furtherance of these
unsectarian objects the sum of $66,922.70 in this year from our public

We have also before us the Twentieth Annual Report of the New York
Juvenile Asylum, 1871, which proves the proselytizing character of
this public-pap-fed unsectarian institution. “The children that are
entrusted to us are at the _most susceptible period of life_,” etc.,
“when their destiny for time, if not _for eternity_, may be fixed” (p.
9). “They must be drilled into systematic habits of life in eating,
sleeping, play, study, work, and _worship_” (p. 10). To “attend church”
(p. 21), and “the evening worship,” and religious services generally,
are frequently recurring duties of the children. In this institution
the children of foreign birth during the year were 3,648, and of these
1,981 were born in Ireland. Of course we cannot say how many of the
children of home birth were the children of Irish and Catholic parents.
We have, alas! but too much certainty that a large proportion of the
children are Catholic. We casually met recently with an interesting
proof of this in _Scribner’s Magazine_, November, 1870, in an account
given by a visitor to the Juvenile Asylum. In the evening the visitor
was invited to see the girls’ dormitory as the girls were going to bed.
She writes: “All the children were saying their prayers. I noticed that
several of them made the sign of the cross as they rose.” Touching
evidence of their traditional faith and parental teaching! a simple
but sublime tribute to holy church! an earnest sign of love and hope
for those sacraments which came to us through the cross, but which,
like that cross itself, were not a part of the religion, worship, and
practice of this unsectarian asylum.

In the list of model examples presented in the report of the Western
agent will be seen the usual proselytizing influence of such
institutions. The cases either show mere material or worldly advantage,
or the embrace of pure sectarianism. On page 50 is related the case
of a little girl, who “scarcely remembers her parents,” of whom it is
related that “she is a member of the Presbyterian Church.” Two other
girls are indentured to members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The
“church and Sunday-school” are prominent features in nearly every case.
The amount received during the year by this _unsectarian_ institution
from our public funds was $62,065.24..

The Five Points House of Industry, which received, from 1858 to
1869, the sum of $30,731.69. from our Board of Education, states
in its charter, among the objects for which it was incorporated,
the following: “III. To imbue the objects of its care with the pure
principles of Christianity, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures,
without bias from the distinctive peculiarities of any individual
sect.” This means that the children belonging to distinctive religious
denominations, instead of being allowed to follow the distinctive
tenets, and practise the worship, in which they were reared, are
deprived of this right, and, as respects the Catholic children, they
are to reject and exclude every tenet and devotion distinctively
Catholic. How far even this profession of unsectarianism is carried
into practice will be discovered from the _Monthly Record_ of the Five
Points House of Industry for April and May, 1870, p. 302, giving an
account of the dedicatory exercises:

 “The services consisted of an opening anthem by the children, followed
 by a prayer by _Rev._ Dr. Paxton, asking a blessing upon the House and
 its objects.

 “This was followed by a hymn; a statement of the affairs of the
 institution, by _Rev._ S. B. Halliday; a recitative by the children;
 a statement as to city missions, by _Rev._ G. J. Mingins; a short
 discourse on the ‘Union of Christian Effort,’ by _Rev._ H. D. Ganse; a
 discourse on the ‘Lights and Shadows of Large Cities,’ by _Rev._ John
 Hall, D.D.; and, finally, a roundelay given by the children.”

How far the pledge given in the charter of this establishment, “without
_bias_ from the distinctive peculiarities of any individual sect,”
is carried out is further seen from the following extract from a
letter addressed by the president to the Rev. John Cotton Smith, a
prominent minister of the Episcopalian sect: “Between your church and
the institution the most kind and harmonious _co-operation_ has ever
existed. They will ever cherish a most pleasing remembrance of the
relations that have subsisted between them.”[7]

We might have alluded to the “Howard Mission and Home for Little
Wanderers,” founded by that arch-proselytizer, the Rev. W. C. Van
Meter, which during seven years _disposed of_ 7,580 “little wanderers”
of this city, in an unsectarian manner; but want of space forbids
our doing so. But the _animus_ pervading this and other unsectarian
institutions is exhibited to us now in the fact, that this reverend
has transferred the field of his labors from the Five Points to the
city of Rome, the centre and headquarters of Catholicity. He has there
established a mission and home for the little Romans. We do not stand
alone in our opinion that such institutions are nuisances for Catholic
children, and we quote the closing words of a letter recently addressed
to the Rev. Mr. Van Meter by the editor of the _Voce della Verita_, at

 “Now, dear sir, excuse me if I remind you, that although a very
 ignorant person, ‘when I was a little boy,’ I also went to school,
 and learned a few things about your country. I remember to have heard
 it said that misery and ignorance abounded there, and that many
 hundreds of thousands of your compatriots knew of no other God than
 the almighty dollar. Why do you not go back and teach in Nebraska
 or Texas, and leave us alone? You might positively do some good
 there—now you are a—well, let me tell the truth—a _nuisance_. By
 your homeward voyage, you will benefit both your own country and

Another complaint that we make against our semi-governmental charities
relates to the violation of the rights of parents and children, in the
sale of these children at the West. This pernicious practice of exiling
and transporting children from New York to the West is still in full
vigor amongst these institutions. How can we boast of our charities,
when their main feature consists in shifting the burden from our own
shoulders to those of others, and they are strangers? It is in vain
that we claim these children as the wards and _protégés_ of society
and of our city, if we repudiate the duties and responsibilities of
our guardianship. Against this cruelty and injustice we protest in the
names of civilization and Christianity. The institutions whose reports
we have referred to not only admit, but they boast of this outrage upon
the rights of parents and of children. One of them, the Children’s Aid
Society, refers to this branch of operations, “its Emigration System,”
as the “crown” of all its works. The number of children thus exiled
from the state by this society and transported to distant regions,
during the year of the report referred to, was 3,386; the whole number
since 1854 was 25,215. More than half the 3,386 were sent to Ohio, and
to the distant states of Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas,
and Nebraska. Of one little boy thus exiled, who was separated from his
parents at the age of eight years, the Western agent reports: “I think
his mother would scarcely know him.” He reports that the mistress to
whom another was “disposed of” writes of him: “Indeed, I don’t know
what I should do without him, for he saves me a great many steps. I
wish we could find out about his brother and sister, he often cries
about them.”

Exile and transportation of children is also practised by the Five
Points House of Industry. They have obtained extraordinary powers for
this purpose from the Legislature. For while the Commissioners of
Public Charities and Correction, a purely governmental institution,
possess the power of indenturing children to citizens of the state of
New York and adjoining states only, the Five Points House of Industry
has received the power to send them anywhere and everywhere. But the
Commissioners of Public Charities and Correction send the poor children
they get into their power to the most remote states in violation of the
express law of the case. For instead of confining their indentures to
citizens of New York and the adjoining states, as the law directs, they
send them indiscriminately to every state, even the most distant. We
ask those public servants by what fiction of law they make California
and Texas _adjoin_ New York?

The New York Juvenile Asylum has also a “regular agency at Chicago, by
which the work of indenturing children at the West is conducted.”[9]
The total number of children sent West during fifteen years, from 1857
to 1871 inclusive, is 2,206, and the annual average, 147-1/15 (p. 47).

The extent to which this _crowning_ cruelty of our non-sectarian
institutions is carried, is appalling. We have only cited the
cases of the three whose reports happened to be before us. But we
have been informed, unofficially, and we think the statement can
be made good, that there are in the city of New York no less than
twenty-eight _charitable_ institutions engaged in this cruel practice
of transporting our New York children to the West and other remote
parts, and the average number of these little exiles per week is about
two hundred, making about ten thousand every year. What untold abuses
and hardships must result from this barbarous practice! However noble,
generous, and philanthropic may be the motives of the citizen-managers
of these institutions, they cannot attend in person to the details or
even the general management of their work. Not only are their houses in
the city confided to the management of hired and salaried agents and
servants, but the work of transporting children to the West is confided
generally to the same class of agents, and we intend to show how this
_charitable_ function is discharged. They are actuated by no higher
motives than usually actuate their class. The love of God, and of man
for God’s sake, is not the spirit that inspires their labors and guides
their steps. Corruption and infidelity to duty have stalked brazenly
into the public service everywhere; what reason have we for claiming
an exemption in favor of those who find profitable employment in the
administration of public charities?

But, as the _Christian Union_ demands further proof than is accessible
to the public, we will produce some additional evidence, although we
think we have already shown enough to condemn this system; and the tone
of that journal’s article leads us to believe that if an angel from
heaven disclosed to its view the same corruption and oppression which
we see in this branch of public administration, it would still cling to
its idols.

Now we have before us a letter, dated September 23, 1872, addressed by
a clergyman at Tiffin, Ohio, to a clergyman in the East, from which we

 “In answer to your request concerning those children brought on some
 four or five years ago from the East to be disposed of, I might say
 with prudence, that to several counties of Ohio had been brought
 car-loads of children from three years on to twelve and thirteen years
 old, and offered to the _public_ to take one or more; for they who
 offered the children said those who would take them had to pay the
 expenses of bringing them to the place. For some children the man said
 the expense would be fifteen dollars, for others more, others less.
 This is the way the affair was carried on for some time.”

The gentleman to whom the foregoing letter was addressed, and who
sent it to us, gives also his own testimony on this public traffic in
innocent human beings. His letter is dated September 25, 1872, and
reads as follows:

 “At that time,” some four or five years ago, “I was on a trip to
 Tiffin. Delayed for a short time at Clyde, I asked some questions of
 the baggage-master. Three little girls were near him, and I asked him:
 ‘Are these your daughters?’ A. ‘No, I bought them?’ ‘Bought them! how?
 from whom?’ A. ‘Oh! from the ministers. They bring car-loads of these
 little ones every few weeks, and sell them to any one who wants them.
 I gave $10 for this one, $12 for the next, and $15 for the oldest. I
 had not the money, but I borrowed it from the tavern-keeper, and paid
 for the girls. Lately there was another load of them. There was a very
 fine girl. I wanted her. But the minister said, ‘No; I have promised
 her to a rich man in Forrest, who will pay more than you.’ After some
 further conversation of a similar character, the train came in sight,
 and I left. The next day I was speaking of the circumstance at table.
 Rev. Mr.—— remarked that he knew the baggage-master well, and that
 what he said was true. He added, ‘Within the last month there was a
 sale of some thirty of these children in our Court House. One of my
 parishioners, Mr.——, came along as the sale was about over. A little
 boy was standing before the Court House crying; the German asked him,
 ‘What is the matter?’ He said, ‘That man wants to sell me, and no one
 will buy me.’ The boy was bought by the German for $10. I had heard
 such transactions described in one of his lectures by F. Haskins.
 But I scarcely realized how fearful such conduct is until I heard a
 description of these sales from persons who had seen them.”

Such, indeed, is the “crowning” work of some of the charitable
institutions of New York! Is this the fulfilment of the Gospel of
charity, or of the Sermon on the Mount, or of the broad principles of
Christianity? Perhaps, rather, it is the Rev. Mr. Pierce’s _elastic_
system of religion.[10] Compare these humiliating facts with the
self-congratulatory reports on “Emigration” of the Children’s Aid
Society, which in 1871 sent three hundred and seven of these little
wards of the city to the same state of Ohio.[11] At page 10 we read:

 “Every year we expect that the opposition of a very bigoted and
 ignorant class will materially lessen this _the most effective of our
 charitable efforts_. We have surpassed, however, owing to the energy
 of our Western agents, the results of every previous equal period, in
 the labors of the past year.

 “Crowds of poor boys have thronged the office or have come to the
 lodging-houses for a ‘chance to go West’; great numbers of very
 destitute but honest families have appealed to us for this aid, and
 our agents have frequently conveyed parties of a hundred and more.
 The West has received these children _liberally_ as before; and there
 has been less complaint the past year than usual of bad habits and
 perverse tempers. The larger boys are still restless as ever, and
 inclined to change their places where higher inducements are offered.
 But this characteristic they have in common with our whole laboring


 “Emigration.—This department has worked most successfully the past
 year. A larger number has been removed from the city than ever before.”

It would seem, however, that the experience of the New York Juvenile
Asylum, though still persevering in this traffic as a good work, has
not been as satisfactory as that of the Children’s Aid Society. We will
give an extract from the Twentieth Annual Report, showing even from the
mouths of those who practise it as a good work what a crying evil this
is, and confirming the extracts we have given in reference to the sales
of children in Ohio:

 “Removing and replacing children is one of the important functions
 of the agency. Our children are first placed on trial, and in nearly
 every company some have to be replaced over and over again before they
 are permanently settled. But even after indentures have been executed,
 new _developments_ often compel removals. Such are the weaknesses
 of human nature, and such the instability of human affairs, that,
 without provision to meet the exigencies consequent upon them, _cases
 of extreme hardship and inhumanity would be frequent_. They who have
 not had experience in this kind of work are not apt to realize, and it
 is often difficult to persuade them of, _the imperative need of such
 provision_. _Children will not unfrequently get into improper hands in
 spite of every precaution, and in many cases success is more or less
 problematical._ Death of employers also, and change of circumstances,
 are often the occasion of removals. _Not a month goes by that does not
 furnish cases where, but for timely attention, suffering, mischief,
 and irreparable evil would result._ A little familiarity with the
 field work of this agency would convince its most obdurate opponent
 that _to leave children without recourse among strangers in a strange
 land is an unjustifiable procedure_.”

Apart from the inhumanity of this procedure, from its unchristian
character, from its proselytizing effects, we protest against it in the
name of law, of right, and of human liberty. The common law of England
is our heritage, and by that common law “no power on earth, except
the authority of parliament, can send any subject of England out of
the land against his will; no, not even a criminal. The great charter
declares that no freeman shall be banished unless by the judgment of
his peers or by the law of the land; and by the _habeas corpus_ act
it is enacted that no subject of this realm who is an inhabitant
of England, Wales, or Berwick shall be sent into Scotland, Ireland,
Jersey, Guernsey, or other places beyond the seas.”[12] Chancellor
Kent, in his _Commentaries on American Law_ (ii. 34), claims the same
proud privilege as one of the absolute rights of American citizens,
and, while declaring that “no citizen can be sent abroad,” states that
the constitutions of several of the states of our confederacy contain
express provisions forbidding transportation beyond the state.

We come now to the last and not the least painful task, which the
_Christian Union_ insists upon our undertaking; it relates to “the
horrible abuses existing in some of our state institutions.” And
here, as in the preceding remarks, we must confine ourselves to a
portion only of the mass of materials before us, and, in fact, confine
ourselves to a single institution; for, if such things exist in a
single case, this is enough to prove not only the possibility, but also
the probability of the same thing in others, and to dispel the fatal
blindness which can see nothing defective either in their constitution
or management. We must pass over the charges recently preferred against
the New York House of Refuge, relating to improper food, of excessive
labor, of cruel punishments, employment of unfit and incompetent agents
in the management of the institution, and of religious intolerance.
While we think that the evidence produced on the trial of the boy,
Justus Dunn, for killing one of the officers of the Refuge, goes far
to substantiate most of the charges preferred, we have, in common with
the community, but little respect for the whitewashing certificate
given by the grand-jury, who made a flying visit to the institution,
by invitation, on an appointed day. Of course the officers put their
house in order, and failed not to put their best foot foremost, on
this preconcerted occasion. The managers placed no reliance on this
acquittal, for they courted another soon afterwards. The second
investigation by the State Commissioners of Charity was very little
better; it was _ex parte_ on all the charges except that of religious
intolerance, and the Refuge was acquitted on all the charges except
this last.

We must also pass over, for want of space, the revolting case which
occurred at the New York Juvenile Asylum in June last, in which one of
the inmates of the asylum, a colored girl, instead of finding there
an asylum from temptation and seduction, fell a victim to the lust
of one of the officers of the institution, who fled precipitately on
discovery of the fact.[13] We must pass over, for the same reason, the
investigations recently conducted at St. Louis, which are far from
showing a satisfactory result for the management and conduct of public
reformatories. We must confine ourselves now to a single institution—a
case in which the evidence is replete with horrible abuses, cruelties,
improprieties, and wrongs. While we would be sorry to apply the maxim,
_ex uno disce omnes_, we can but regard this case as a general warning
to our people to beware of regarding as good everything in the moral
order that goes under the much-abused name of _reform_.

The Providence School of Reform is an institution supported by funds
received both from the state of Rhode Island and from the city of
Providence. Its object seems to be the temporal, social, and moral
reformation of juvenile delinquents of both sexes. Some time prior to
1869, it had been the subject of the gravest charges and investigation,
which tended to show that, so far from having been in all its
departments and workings a school of reform, it had in some instances
become a school for vice and immorality. The whitewashing process,
that facile and amiable way of avoiding disagreeable complications,
prevented the accomplishment of any change for the better. But in
1869 the charges against the institution took a more definite form,
and were signed and presented by thirty-one citizens of Providence to
the corporate authorities—citizens of the first respectability and
standing. The Board of Aldermen of the city of Providence, headed by
the Mayor, undertook the investigation, and the evidence is contained
in two large volumes in one, extending over eleven hundred and
forty-two pages.[14]

The charges were the most serious ones that could be brought against an
institution, especially against one professing _reform_, and had their
origin with citizens without distinction of creed. Their true character
and extent can only be understood by a perusal of them:

 “First. That vices against chastity, decency, and good morals have
 prevailed in the school, and have been taught and practised by
 teachers as well as by pupils; that these vices have existed both in
 the male and female departments, and that the children usually leave
 the school more corrupt than when they entered it.

 “Second. That teachers have used immodest and disgusting language in
 the presence of children, and have addressed females in an indecent
 manner by referring to their past character, and by calling them vile
 and unbecoming names.

 “Third. That modes of punishment the most cruel and inhuman have been
 used in said school, such as knocking down and kicking the pupils, and
 whipping them when naked, and with a severity not deserved by their

 “Fourth. That young women are said to have been kicked, knocked down,
 dragged about by the hair of the head, and otherwise brutally treated,
 but more especially that all modesty and decency have been outraged
 by stripping them to the waist and lashing them on the naked back;
 taking them from their beds and whipping them in their night-dresses;
 tying their hands and feet and ducking them; and by other forms of
 punishment which no man should ever inflict upon a woman.

 “Fifth. That names of children committed to said school have been
 changed and altered by the officers of the said institution.

 “Sixth. That children have been apprenticed to persons living in
 remote sections of the country, and who have no interest in taking
 proper care of them, and that a needless disregard to the rights and
 feelings of their parents has often been evinced by the officers of
 the school.

 “Seventh. That the goods of said school are reported to have been used
 dishonestly for purposes for which they were not intended, and that
 the state of Rhode Island is said to have been charged with the board
 of children who were living at service and were no expense to said

 “Eighth. That a spirit of proselytism and of religious intolerance
 has prevailed in the school, as is shown in the fact that children of
 different creeds are compelled to attend a form of worship which is
 contrary to the conscientious convictions of a large majority of them;
 which is directly in conflict with the spirit and letter of our state
 constitution, which ensures to the inhabitants thereof the liberty
 of conscience, in the following language: ‘No man shall be compelled
 to frequent or to support any religious worship, place, or ministry
 whatever, except in fulfilment of his own voluntary contract;’ and
 that the children of said school are denied the use of books and all
 religious instruction in the religion of their choice.”

Although there is evidence in the volume of _Investigation_ before us
tending to sustain the “fifth” and “seventh” charges, we yet except
those two charges from our remark, when we say that the other six
charges, constituting the gravamen of the prosecution, are not only
sustained in whole or in part by nearly one hundred witnesses, but,
with all deference to the five aldermen out of ten who found most of
them _not proved_, we think that no unbiassed reader of the heavily
laden and sad volume before us, no true philanthropist, no man of true
charity, can fail to pronounce the word _guilty_ as to all or some
part of every one of the first, second, third, fourth, seventh, and
eighth charges. We are sorry to be forced to the conviction that the
testimony is overwhelming. There are cases of punishment cruel in the
extreme—some have called them inhuman, and even brutal—inflicted on
about sixty boys; and, while nearly every page shows this, we refer
particularly to pages 112, 123, 172, 234, 238, 274, 279, 280, 281, 289,
290, 295, 318, 364, 366, 375, 379, 383, 387, 388, 402, 403, 410, 414,
416, 419, 421, 425, 432, 437, 440, 446. See evidences more particularly
referring to the use of the loaded whip, page 378; the strap, the cat,
the strings, 286, 339; the butt, 492; blood drawn, 364, 485; terrorism,
239, 269, 270, 305, 371, 418, 424, 425, 492; whipping little boys over
the knuckles with a bunch of keys, 146, 147; kicking, 447, 485, 526,
and 323 of vol. ii.; boys struck on the head with a hammer, 331, 379;
profanity and indecency, 280, 302, and page 135 of vol. ii.; Catholic
books taken away from Catholic children, 308, 309, 310; state of Rhode
Island charged with board of children who had been put out of the
institution, 307, which was regarded as “an error of the head and not
of the heart,” 327 of vol. ii.

There are also detailed in the _Investigation_ cases of about thirty
girls punished in a cruel and revolting manner. For girls lashed,
bodies striped and bruised, see pages 18, 19; a girl struck, caught
by the throat, pounded, and dragged by the hair of the head, 23; a
girl struck with fist, and black eye, 55; a girl stripped to the
waist of all her clothes, except undergarment, and whipped with
cat-o’-nine-tails, and body marked, 93; another girl dragged by the
hair, 95; a girl ducked, 102; a girl boxed until her nose bled, and
water dashed on her, 102; a girl chased, kicked, and held under flowing
water, 108; a girl dragged by the hair, kicked, and ducked, 219, 220;
another girl dragged by the hair and kicked, 228; another lashed black
and blue, 229; a girl lashed on the back after she had gone to bed,
338; another girl whipped with the straps, and kicked, 344; another
girl stripped to the waist, leaving only undergarment on, and whipped
with a knotted strap, 360; a girl ducked, 272. A mother is refused
permission to see her child, who was whipped, and refused information
as to whither the child was transported. The mother said: “I will
travel Rhode Island through, and I will travel Connecticut through,
but what I will find her. I have not seen her for the last six or
eight years, and a mother’s nature goes beyond any mortal thing in
this world. A mother wants to see her child. I could not get anything
from them,” 374. Another girl is stripped like the others, and lashed,
marked, and scarred on the back, 395. A witness, at page 396, says:
“I saw—— stripped with her dress down; she was badly bruised on the
shoulder; I did not see any blood, but I saw the bruises were pretty
bad bruises; there were scars clear across her shoulders; you could not
see scarcely a piece of plain flesh on her shoulders.” At page 443, a
former inmate testifies to the treatment received by another inmate: “I
saw him shower her and strike her; he knocked her against the building
with his fist, and the blood ran out of her nose and ears while she
was by the fence, while he stood there punishing her.” At page 454,
we read an extract from the testimony of a Mrs. Bishop: “Q. Were you
ever kicked or beaten in the school by——? A. Yes, sir. I was punished
up-stairs because I could not learn my lesson. I had had no schooling
at that time; I could not do much reading; he punished me up-stairs; I
told him I could not learn it, unless he could let a girl come up and
help me; I was told to kneel down; I looked around, and he kicked me
across the aisle; he pulled me by my dress, and kicked me across the
aisle, and twice across the room; I was put up-stairs before devotions
were to come off; I said I was going to tell my mother; he said I could
not see my folks again if I did tell her; he was going to give me two
hundred dollars if I had not said anything; I was sick after this
kicking; he carried me home himself away from the school; I could not
move nor stir; I could not move one eye; I walked on crutches after it;
it affects me now; affects my gait, so I can’t walk all the time; I
have to hire my work done part the time now; when there comes a storm,
I can’t move, I have to sit still in the house; sometimes I have to
lie in bed, because it affects me so; I was thirteen years old at that
time.” A girl, a new-comer only three days in the school, is ducked,
strapped, and locked up two days for laughing in school, p. 629, and
further ill-treated, 639. Another girl dragged by the hair, pounded,
and dreadfully bruised, 661. Girls ducked and whipped at night, 678.
Girls called names of supreme contempt by teachers in allusion to their
past lives, 684, 737, and 39, 71, 317, of vol. ii. A girl taken up at
night, and whipped in her night-clothes by male officer, 693. A girl
is pulled over the desk by the hair, for not singing, 705. A girl is
imprisoned and fed on bread and water for twenty-three days, 320 of
vol. ii.

For instances of girls whipped on the naked back by men, see pp. 61,
339, 630; girls kicked by men, 318, 328, 345, 348, 354, 360, 631; same
proved by defence, 41 of vol. ii.; girls dragged by the hair by men,
231, 347, 348, 636; girls struck with fist by men, 347, 349; black eye
given, 350; marks on bodies, 360, 367, 395, 719; girls taunted about
their former lives, 86, 96, 100, 397, 687, 737, and 317 of vol. ii.;
terrorism, 269, 270, 305, 371, 424, 425, and 41 of vol. ii.; girls
ducked by men, 92, 94, 97, 102, and 295 of vol. ii.

The first charge, the most serious that could be brought against
a school of _reform_—“crimes against chastity, decency, and good
morals”—is fearfully sustained. One of the employees, a man of years,
who had become notorious for his vulgarity and indecency in both the
male and female departments, to both of which he had access, is caught
_flagrante delicto_. The partner of his sin was one of the female
inmates, who was sent there to be _reformed_, and they were detected
by other female inmates of this school of reform (page 75). And again,
_horribile dictu_, a _teacher_ in the same nursery of _reform_ lived,
“month in and month out,” in criminal conversation with one of the
inmates of the female department (pages 63, 76), and the appalling fact
is again proved by the defence (ii. 322). But, more shocking than all
this, not only were immodest and indecent conversations held by an
employee with the boys and girls, but another fiend in the flesh, an
officer of the Providence School of Reform, introduced among the boys
and taught them habits the most immoral and disgusting, destructive at
once of their souls and bodies, of their manhood, and of their temporal
and eternal happiness. This fact is proved solely by the defence at
page 321 of vol. ii. The offender was dismissed, but the school still
exists! Where are Sodom and Gomorrah?

The evidence for the defence consists chiefly of denials and
_non-mi-ricordos_ by the officers and employees; but some of the
charges are proved by the defence itself, and some of the most damning
evidence against the institution came from this very quarter. The mayor
and one of the aldermen declined to take any part in the decision,
because they were members of the board of trustees. Three other
aldermen refused to sign the decision, and gave decisions of their
own, finding portions of the charges true. Five out of ten of the
judges sign the decision, which, while finding most of the charges _not
proved_, strongly inculpates the institution on several of the charges.
In it is stated that two instances have occurred of offences against
chastity, decency, and good morals, on the part of officers and female
inmates, page 384 of vol. ii.; that knocking down was practised, though
alleged to have been in self-defence; and that boys were whipped on the
bare back, 384 of vol. ii.; that girls have had their dresses loosened
and removed from the upper part of the back and shoulders, leaving only
the undergarment on, and thus punished by the (male) superintendent;
and in a very few cases during the past nine years, when they have, in
violation of the rules of the school, made loud noises and disturbances
in the dormitories at night, they have been punished in their
night-clothes (by a male officer) in the presence of a female officer,
page 385 of vol. ii.; ducking is admitted, page 385.

One of the dissenting aldermen in his decision says: “Being fully
aware that the class of inmates sent to this school require a strong
and efficient discipline, and not feeling competent to say what that
discipline should be, yet I cannot resist the conviction that the
punishments described have a tendency to _degrade rather than to
elevate_, not only the one who receives, but the one who administers
them.” “I therefore feel bound to protest against such punishments,
and earnestly hope that some better mode of discipline will speedily
be adopted by the managers of this institution” (p. 394, vol. ii.).
The superintendent stated on oath that, in case a child sick and _in
extremis_ required a Catholic priest to be sent for, he would first
go and seek the advice of three or four of the trustees before he
would admit, even under such circumstances, a Catholic or any other
clergyman; and on this subject the same alderman remarked: “In my view,
any superintendent of this institution who would hesitate to allow the
consolations of religion to be administered in the form desired by
the child, under such circumstances, should be promptly relieved from
duty,” page 396 of vol. ii. Another alderman says: “I am of opinion
that cruel and unnecessary punishment has been inflicted. I do not
suppose that striking with the clenched fist, kicking, or dragging by
the hair of the head has been common, but I think it has occurred in
some instances,” page 397; and he mentions the case of an “unfortunate
girl who seems to have suffered every form of discipline known to this
school, from being _ducked_ to being ‘pushed under the table with the
foot.’ If it be said she was vile, I would ask how she came to be? She
was but six or seven years of age when she entered this institution.
No one is wholly bad at that tender age. She remained under its care
and influences for _nine years_, and, if she is vicious and dissolute,
why is she so? If, on the other hand, she was insane, is it not painful
to reflect that such punishments were inflicted on an irresponsible
child?” (p. 399.) One of the trustees actually resigned a year before
the investigation, rather than be connected with such scenes; he
started an investigation, but it seems to have done no good; and such
was the condition of things at the time of this first investigation
that the assistant superintendent offered to give one hundred dollars
to a friend to shield him from being called as a witness.

The religious instruction given in this institution is _of course_
unsectarian; everything distinctively Episcopalian is denied to
Episcopalian children, everything distinctively Baptist is denied to
Baptist children, everything distinctively Methodist is denied to
Methodist children, everything distinctly Presbyterian is denied to
Presbyterian children, and everything distinctly Catholic is denied to
Catholic children. Nothing whatever is said tending “to keep children
in the faith to which they belonged when they entered the school.” “Q.
Does not the system of religious instruction tend to bring the children
to that form of religion which gives to each person the private
judgment and interpretation of the Scriptures? A. We hope it tends to
make them better. Q. Does it not tend to have them choose their own
Bible and their own interpretation of it as the source and principle
of religion? A. I should hope that it tends to have them accept the
Bible. Q. Do you teach them the doctrine of the private interpretation
of the Scripture? A. No, sir, not at all. Q. As I understand it, all
the religious instruction they get is simply reading from the Bible,
and no interpretation. They can interpret it just as they please.
A. They can interpret it just as they please. Sometimes one speaker
comes, and sometimes another” (page 234, vol. ii.) ... “Q. Now state
the afternoon services on Sunday? A. One of the trustees (they all
alternate except the mayor) procures a speaker for Sunday afternoon
to address the scholars. Q. Of what class are those speakers—of any
particular or of all classes? A. Since I have been there, I think every
denomination has been represented or been invited to speak? Q. Are
they particularly members of churches, or laymen, lawyers, doctors,
or anybody who will give a moral address to the children? A. I could
not speak with certainty of the professions. We often have clergymen,
perhaps oftener than any other class, but not unfrequently men of other
professions, and many times those following no profession to speak in
connection with others. We often have more than one speaker—sometimes
half a dozen. Q. These are business men of the city? A. Yes, sir. Q. Do
you have lawyers sometimes? A. I think all professions are represented.
Q. Do you have ministers if you can get them? A. Yes, sir.” And yet in
this unsectarianism the most direct sectarianism prevailed. “Q. Do you
know what version of the Bible is used? A. It is the common English
translation. Q. (By the mayor) It is the ordinary Bible, is it not?
A. Yes, sir. (By Mr. Gorman) The _Douay_ is the ordinary one. (By
Mr.——) We call that an _extraordinary_ one” (page 62, vol. ii.).

Now, we have the Bible without comment, but ministers, lawyers,
doctors, and business men are called in every Sunday, sometimes half
a dozen at one time, to give the comments, each according to his own
view. Every religious denomination was invited, but it does not appear
that any Catholic ever accepted the invitation; for, if he accepted, he
would leave his Catholicity outside until he finished his unsectarian
discourse. There may be something in common with all the sects which
sometimes may be called general Protestantism, though they profess to
call it unsectarianism; but one thing we know is common to them all,
and this something is opposition to Catholicity, and the dodge of
unsectarianism is adroitly invented in order to exclude Catholics from
enjoying equal rights with Protestants in matters relating to public
education and public charities. The state must let religion alone, and
unsectarians must desist from their disguised effort to unite church
and state in this country, while it has so strenuously opposed their
union in every Catholic country. They know that Catholics can take no
part in unsectarian teachings, but they would like us to do so, for in
proportion as we did so would we cease to be Catholics. The Catholic
view was so admirably expressed by the late Bishop Fitzpatrick, of
Boston, in his letter in the Eliot School difficulty, that we must give
it to our readers:

 “I. Catholics cannot, under any circumstances, acknowledge, receive,
 and use, as a complete collection and faithful version of the inspired
 books which compose the written Word of God, the English Protestant
 translation of the Bible. Still less can they so acknowledge, accept,
 or use it, when its enforcement as such is coupled expressly with
 the rejection of that version which their own church approves and
 adopts as being correct and authentic; and yet this is required of
 them by law. The law, as administered, holds forth the Protestant
 version to the Catholic child, and says, ‘Receive this as the Bible.’
 The Catholic child answers, ‘I cannot so receive it.’ The law, as
 administered, says you must, or else you must be scourged and finally
 banished from the school.

 “II. The acceptance and recital of the Decalogue, under the form and
 words in which Protestants clothe it, is offensive to the conscience
 and belief of Catholics, inasmuch as that form and those words
 are viewed by them, and have not unfrequently been used by their
 adversaries, as a means of attack upon certain tenets and practices
 which, under the teachings of the church, they hold as true and sacred.

 “III. The chanting of the Lord’s Prayer, of psalms, of hymns
 addressed to God, performed by many persons in unison, being neither
 a scholastic exercise nor a recreation, can only be regarded as an
 act of public worship—indeed, it is professedly intended as such in
 the regulations which govern our public schools. It would seem that
 the principles which guide Protestants and Catholics, in relation
 to communion in public worship, are widely different. Protestants,
 however diverse may be their religious opinions—Trinitarians, who
 assert that Jesus Christ is true God, and Unitarians, who deny he
 is true God—find no difficulty to offer in brotherhood a blended
 and apparently harmonious worship, and in so doing they give and
 receive mutual satisfaction, mutual edification. The Catholic cannot
 act in this manner. He cannot present himself before the Divine
 presence in what would be for him a merely simulated union of prayer
 and adoration. His church expressly forbids him to do so. She
 considers indifference in matters of religion, indifference as to the
 distinction of positive doctrines in faith, as a great evil which
 promiscuous worship would tend to spread more widely and increase.
 Hence the prohibition of such worship; and the Catholic cannot join in
 it without doing violence to his sense of religious duty.”

Non-sectarianism is the plea upon which those public institutions
justify their interference with the religious rights of their inmates.
They argue that, because this system is acceptable to Protestants of
every sect, therefore it must be acceptable to Catholics. Whereas,
on the contrary, what is called unsectarianism is the concentration
of sectarianism. Unsectarianism is made up of all those points upon
which the sects concur, and is therefore pre-eminently sectarian. It
is either that or simple deism; for if you take away the distinctive
tenets of Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, and of all
the distinct sects, there remains nothing but deism. This involves,
and will inevitably lead to, the denial of revelation; and the very
Scriptures themselves, which Protestantism claims as the sole source of
religious teaching, must and will inevitably, if non-sectarianism long
prevails, be cast away. Is the teaching of deism alone inoffensive to
Christians? The teaching of a few points, even if agreed upon by all,
would be, on account of its exclusiveness, as sectarian as any other
religious system—indeed more so; and is subject to an objection not
applicable to the others, in that it conceals its true nature, and
assumes a false name: whereas the Catholic Church and the avowed sects
proclaim their distinctive and exclusive character, and in this at
least are truthful and honest. If religious teaching resolves itself
into latitudinarianism, it then constitutes a new sect in itself. A
perfect neutrality, as long as anything positive is taught, is an
impossibility. This very selection, which makes up this professed
unsectarianism, is an anti-Catholic principle. It proclaims the right
of man to determine all things in religion by his own private judgment,
and in this consists the distinctive feature of Protestantism.

We have thus shown that non-sectarianism, as a system of religious
teaching, is an impossibility. We now propose to show that in our
schools, asylums, reformatories, etc., it is in practice, as well as
in theory, an impossibility. We will show this, too, by Protestant and
unsectarian authority. At p. 264, vol. ii., _Providence Reform School
Investigation_, we read from the testimony of a Protestant Episcopal
trustee, who resigned on account, in part, of this impossibility:

 “Q. Didn’t you know that no sectarian instruction was admitted inside
 that institution? A. I don’t know what you call sectarianism. It is
 pretty hard to say down in that school. We have had everything taught
 and preached there. Q. Was not this an Episcopal book? A. It was a
 book of devotions and prayers—a work by a divine of the English
 Church. It was an Episcopal book. Q. Do you mean to say that a book of
 Episcopal exercises is or is not a sectarian work? A. I am a member of
 the Episcopal Church; we do not call ourselves a sect. Q. Didn’t you
 know at the time you gave this book to the teacher that it was against
 the rules of the school to have the doctrines of the true church given
 out there, or of any church? A. I had never supposed it was against
 the rules of that institution, and I should have been unwilling to
 have sat for one hour as its trustee if I had supposed that I was
 myself forbidden to pray, or to advise others to pray there, through
 Jesus Christ, our Lord; and if the prayers I indicated, marked, and
 numbered in that book are prayers forbidden in the Providence Reform
 School or any other school, I have for the first time to learn what
 is sectarianism. They are prayers which every Christian, whether he
 belongs to any one of the various organizations of Christians in
 this or any other country or not, would, I think, be willing to use
 morning, noon, and night. Q. Didn’t you know that the by-laws place
 religious instruction exclusively under the care of the superintendent
 of the school” [who is a layman]?

The Hon. John C. Spencer, Secretary of State and Superintendent of
Schools in 1840, said in his report to the New York Legislature:
“There must be some degree of religious instruction, and there can be
_none_ without partaking more or less of a _sectarian character_. _The
objection itself proceeds from a sectarian principle_, and assumes the
power to control that which it is neither right nor practicable to
subject to any denomination. Religious doctrines of vital interest will
be inculcated.”

Another who has discussed this question of sectarianism with force and
great plainness of speech is the Rev. Dr. Spear, of Brooklyn, in the
columns of the _Independent_, thus:

 “It is quite true that the Bible, as the foundation of religious
 belief, is not sectarian as between those who adopt it; but it is
 true that King James’ Version of the Holy Scriptures is sectarian as
 to the Catholic, as the Douay is to the Protestant, or as the Baptist
 Version would be to all Protestants but Baptists. It is equally true
 that the New Testament is sectarian as to the Jew, and the whole Bible
 is equally so as to those who reject its authority in any version....
 There is no sense or candor in a mere play on words here. It is not
 decent in a Protestant ecclesiastic, who has no more rights than the
 humblest Jew, virtually to say to the latter: ‘You are nothing but
 a good-for-nothing Jew; you Jews have no claim to be regarded as
 a religious sect, or included in the law of state impartiality as
 between sects which Protestants monopolize for their special benefit.
 Away with your Jewish consciences! You pay your tax bills, and send
 your children to the public schools, and we will attend to their
 _Christian_ education.’ It is not decent to say this to any class of
 citizens who dissent from what is known as Protestant Christianity.
 It is simply a supercilious pomposity of which Protestants ought to
 be ashamed. It may please the bigotry it expresses, but a sensible
 man must either pity or despise it. In the name of justice we protest
 against this summary mode of disposing of the school question in
 respect to any class of American citizens. It is simply an insult.”

Again, Dr. Anderson, President of the Rochester University, one of the
first men in the Baptist Church in these United States, addressing the
Baptist Educational Convention in the city of New York, says:

 “_It is impossible for an earnest teacher to avoid giving out
 constantly religious and moral impulses and thought. He must of
 necessity set forth his notions about God, the soul, conscience, sin,
 the future life, and Divine Revelation._

 “If he promises not to do so, he will fail to keep his word”—these
 are true words—“or his teachings in science, or literature, or
 history will be miserably shallow and inadequate. Our notions of God
 and the moral order form, in spite of ourselves, the base line which
 affects all our movements and constructions of science, literature,
 and history. Inductions in physics, classifications in natural
 history, necessitate a living law eternal in the thought of God.”

These gentlemen speak of religious instruction, only inasmuch as it
is connected with the education of youth, and yet their logical minds
showed them the absurdity of unsectarianism. What, then, could they
have said of visionary men attempting direct teaching of religion
without sectarianism?

The following extract is too pertinent to our subject and too clever
to be omitted, as an illustration of the impossibility of teaching
religion upon the unsectarian system:



  (From the New Orleans Morning Star.)

 We find the following in our San Francisco contemporary, the _Pacific
 Churchman_, taken originally from the _London Church Review_, an organ
 of the Church of England. The editor of the _Churchman_ remarks that
 “with some changes it will equally apply to some of our _un_-sectarian
 schools.” As far as the _Churchman_ goes against _un_-sectarian
 schools in this country, we are with it. This seems to be one scene
 taken from others. Considering that it conveys a good argument for us,
 our readers will excuse the term “Romanism,” thrown in as a reproach.
 We quote:

 The schoolroom of a boarding-school. Time, the hour of religious
 instruction. Bible to be read and explained without inculcating
 the dogmas of any particular denomination. Teacher certificated,
 unsectarian, highly conscientious. Class consisting of children from
 thirteen down to six or seven, and of various grades, from respectable
 poor to gutter children. Schoolroom and teacher span new. Teacher a
 little nervous. Children—some looking curiously about them, some
 disposed to loll and idle, some attentive. Teacher opens the great
 Bible, and begins to read St. Matthew ii., as being a narrative likely
 to interest the auditory, and easy to explain in an undenominational
 sense. First, however, a little preliminary explanation is necessary.

 _Teacher._ You must know, my dear children, that Joseph and Mary
 were two very good people who lived a very great many years ago in a
 country far away from London, and I am going to read to you about them
 and their son (reads slowly verse 1. of the chapter).

 _Ragged Arab_ (not accustomed to observe much ceremony). Please, sir,
 who’s that?

 _Teacher_ (aghast, and wishing to gain time). Whom do you mean, my boy?

 _Arab._ That there Jesus.

 _Teacher_ (aside). [How can this question be answered in an
 undenominational sense? This is the religious difficulty, full blown.
 If I say “a good man,” that will hardly do, for I know several of the
 boys are the children of the church people and Romanists; and if I say
 “the son of God,” that won’t do, for Tommy Markham is a Unitarian, or,
 at any rate, his parents are; besides, such a dogmatic statement is
 sectarian.] (Aloud.) I will explain all about him when I have finished
 the chapter.

 Continues to read. The class listens with various degrees of attention
 until the 11th verse is finished, and then—

 _A Boy._ Please, sir, who’s Mary? The mother of the little baby,
 wasn’t she?

 _Teacher._ Yes; she was his mother.

 _Boy._ Oh! and what does “wusshupped” mean?

 _Teacher._ It means paying great respect, kneeling down and bowing, as
 we should to God.

 _Another Boy_ (better taught than boy No. 1, and jumping at once to a
 sectarian conclusion). Then, that there baby was God, sir?

 _Tommy Markham_ (stoutly). No, that he wasn’t!

 _Teacher._ Silence, boys, the lesson cannot go on if you talk and
 quarrel. (Struck by a bright idea.) You know that a great many people
 believe that he was God; but some do not; but we must not quarrel
 because we do not all think alike.

 _First Boy_ (disagreeably curious). Well, but what do _you_ think,

 [Terrible dilemma! Teacher hesitates. At length, desperately]—

 _I_ think he was God.

 _Boy._ Don’t yer _know_ it?

 _Teacher_ (aside). [Perverse youth. Pest take his questions and him
 too! If I’d known what “unsectarian” teaching involved, I’d sooner
 have swept a crossing. What _will_ the Board say? Why, the very
 essence of our principle is to _know_ nothing and think anything. But
 you can’t make the boys reason.] (Aloud.) My dear boy, it is very
 difficult to say what we know. I can only teach you what I think, and
 teach you how to be good and do what is right, and obey all that God
 tells you to do in this Holy Book.

 _A Boy_ (interrupting, _sans cérémonie_). Did God write that there

 _Teacher._ Yes; and he tells us what we are to do to get to heaven;
 and his son came, as you see, as a little child, and when he grew up,
 he preached and told us how we ought to love one another, and all we
 ought to do to lead a good life.

 _Boy_ (interested). And was he a _very_ good chap?

 _Teacher_ (a little shocked). Yes, of course; you know he
 was—[pauses; his haste had almost betrayed him into a dogmatic
 explanation, and the forbidden word “know” had actually passed his

 _Another Boy_ (with vexatiously retentive memory). You said afore,
 master, that he was God, and the gentlemen wusshupped him—was he
 _reelly_ God?

 _Teacher_ (boldly, taking the bull by the horns). Yes.

 _Boy._ And did God’s mother wusshup him too, master?

 _Teacher._ You must not call her the mother of—[interrupts himself;
 recollects that it is as sectarian to deny to the Blessed Virgin the
 title of Mother of God as to bestow it upon her; continues]: yes, she
 worshipped him too; but I want you to learn about the things that he
 told us to do.

 _Another Boy_ (doggedly). But we wants to know fust who he be, ‘cause
 we ain’t to do jist what a nobody tells us; only, if that there
 gentlemen be God, there’s somethin’ in it, ‘cause I’ve ‘eard parson
 say, at old school, where I was once, that what God said was all right.

 _Teacher_ (aside). [Certainly that poor Arab has got the root of
 denominational education. It is, I begin to think, a failure to
 attempt the teaching of morality without first making manifest what
 that morality is based upon, and the moment you come to _that_ you are
 in for denominationalism at once. (Wipes his brow and continues)—

 Of course, my boy, you must know why it is right to tell the truth and
 do what is right, but then if I tell you God commanded all this and
 read to you what his Son said about it, there is no need for troubling
 so much about—about—

 _Boy_ (interrupting). Oh! but I likes to ax questions, and it ain’t no
 sort of use you telling us it’s wrong to lie—nobody at ‘ome ever told
 me _that_—if yer don’t say who said it, ‘cause I ain’t bound to mind
 what _you_ say, is I?

 [_Teacher_ checks the indignant “Indeed you are” that rises to his
 lips, arrested by the terrible and conscientious thought whether it
 be not a new and strange form of denominationalism for the teacher
 to make his own dictum infallible in matters of morality. Would not
 this be to elevate into a living, personal dogma an unsectarian
 teacher?—a singular clash, surely. Teacher shivers at the bare idea.
 Soliloquizes: How can I meet this knock-down reasoning? These Arabs
 are so rebellious, so perverse; why must they ask so many questions,
 and require to know the why and wherefore of everything? (Glances at
 the clock.) Ah! thank my stars, the time is almost up! but this dodge
 won’t do every time. I’m afraid I shall have to give up the whole
 thing as a bad job.] (Aloud.) We have only five minutes more to-day,
 lads, so you must let me finish the chapter without asking any more

 (Boys relapse into indifferent silence. Curtain falls.)

In conclusion, we insist that the state shall obey its own
constitution, and let religion alone. In purely state institutions,
the consciences must be left free, and no experiments with religion
can be tried. Every child in such institutions must enjoy liberty of
conscience and free access to its own ministers and sacraments.

If any sect undertakes to help the state to do its work, by
establishing reformatories, protectories, and asylums for its own
children, excluding all other religions and the children of other
religions, we shall not object to its receiving a just _per capita_
from the state; and under this system we claim the same and no more for
purely Catholic institutions doing the work of the state in respect to
Catholic children. If, however, sectarian, unsectarian, or non-Catholic
institutions receive support from the state, and receive the children
of the Catholic Church and of other persuasions, they must be conducted
upon the same principle with state institutions, and in them “no law
respecting the establishment of a religion” must be made or enforced,
but the most perfect liberty of conscience must prevail. We ask no
special favors for ourselves or our church; all we claim is perfect
equality before the law and the state, and the full benefit of that
fair play which we extend to others.



 [Still among souls, on the outside of Purgatory, who have delayed
 repentance, Dante, in this Canto, is conducted to those who had
 postponed spiritual duties from having been involved in state affairs.
 The persons introduced are the Emperor Rodolph, first of that Austrian
 house of Hapsburg, Ottocar, King of Bohemia, Philip III. of France,
 Henry of Navarre, Peter III. of Aragon, Charles I. of Naples, Henry
 III. of England, and the Marquis William of Monferrat. To know more
 of these men the curious reader must consult more volumes than we
 have space to mention in this magazine. He may spare much research,
 however, and find the most accessible information by turning to
 the interesting notes which Mr. Longfellow has appended to his

  THREE times and four these greetings, glad and free,
    Had been repeated, when Sordello’s shade
  Drew from embrace, and said: “Now, who are ye?”
    And thereupon my Guide this answer made:
  “Ere to this mountain those just souls, to whom
    Heavenward to climb was given, had guided been,
  My bones Octavian gathered to the tomb.
    Virgil I am, and for none other sin
  But want of faith was I from heaven shut out.”
    Like one who suddenly before him sees
  Something that wakes his wonder, whence, in doubt,
    He says, _It is not_; then believing, _’Tis!_
  Sordello stood, then back to him without
    Lifting his eyelids, turned and clasped his knees.
  “O glory of the Latin race!” he cried,
    “Through whom to such a height our language rose,
  Oh! of my birthplace everlasting pride,
    What merit or grace on me thy sight bestows?
  Tell me, unless to hear thee is denied,
    Com’st thou from hell, or where hast thou repose?”


  He to this answered: “Grace from heaven moved me,
    And leads me still: the circles every one
  Of sorrow’s kingdom have I trod to thee.
    My sight is barred from that supernal Sun,
  Whom I knew late, and thou desir’st to see,
    Not for I did, but for I left undone.
  A place below there is where no groans rise
    From torment, sad alone with want of light,
  Where the lament sounds not like moan, but sighs.
    The little innocents whom Death’s fell bite
  Snatched, ere their sin was purified, are there:
    And there I dwell with guiltless ones that still
  The three most holy virtues did not wear,
    Though all the rest they knew, and did fulfil.
  But if thou knowest, and may’st us apprise,
    Tell us how we most speedily may find
  Where Purgatory’s actual entrance lies.”


    “We have,” he answered, “no set place assigned;
  Around and upward I am free to stray;
    My guidance far as I may go I lend:
  But see how fast already fails the day!
    And in the night none ever can ascend:
  Best, then, we think of some good resting-place.
    Some souls there be, removed here to the right,
  Whom, if thou wilt, I’ll show thee face to face,
    And thou shalt know them not without delight.”
  “How, then,” said Virgil—“should a soul aspire
    To climb by night, would other check be found?
  Or his own weakness hinder his desire?”
    And good Sordello drew along the ground
  His finger, saying: “Look! not even this line
    May’st thou pass over when the sun hath gone:
  Not that aught else, though, would thy power confine,
    Save want of light, from journeying upwards on:
  Darkness makes impotent thy will. By night
    One may go back again, and grope below,
  And, while the horizon shuts the day from sight,
    Wander about the hillside to and fro.”
  My Master then, as ‘twere in wonder, spake:
    “Then lead us thitherward where thou hast said,
  That we in lingering shall such pleasure take.”
    Nor had we forward far advanced our tread,
  When I perceived that on the mountain-side
    A valley opened, just like valleys here.
  “We will go forward,” said our shadowy guide,
    “Where on the slope yon hollow doth appear;
  There let us wait the dawning of the day.”
    ‘Twixt steep and level went a winding path
  Which led us where the vale-side dies away
    Till less than half its height the margin hath.

  Gold and fine silver, ceruse, cochineal,
    India’s rich wood, heaven’s lucid blue serene,[15]
  Or glow that emeralds freshly broke reveal,
    Had all been vanquished by the varied sheen
  Of this bright valley set with shrubs and flowers,
    As less by greater. Nor had Nature there
  Only in painting spent herself, but showers
    Of odors manifold made sweet the air
  With one strange mingling of confused perfume.
    And there new spirits chanting I descried—
  “Salve Regina!”—seated on the bloom
   And verdure sheltered by the dingle side.


  “Ere yon low sun shall nestle in his bed”
    (Began the Mantuan who had brought us here),
  “Desire not down among them to be led;
   You better will observe how they appear,
  Both face and action, from this bank, instead
    Of mixing with them in the dale. That one
  Who sits the highest, looking, ‘mid the throng,
    As though some duty he had left undone,
  Who moves his lips not with the rest in song,
    Was Rodolph, Emperor, he who might have healed
  Those wounds which Italy have so far spent
    That slow relief all other helpers yield.
  The other, that on soothing him seems bent,
    Once ruled the region whence those waters are
  Which Moldau bears to Elbe, and Elbe the sea.
    His name was Ottocar, and better far,
  Yea, in his very swaddling-robe, was he
    Than Vincislaus, his big-bearded son
  Whom luxury and ease have made so gross.
    And he of slender nose, who, with the one
  So bland of aspect, seems in consult close,
    Died flying, and in dust his lilies laid.
  Look! how he beats the breast he cannot calm:
    Mark too his mate there sighing, who hath made
  For his pale cheek a pillow of his palm!
    One is the Father of that pest of France,
  Father-in-law the other: well they know
    His lewd, base life! this misery is the lance
  That to the core cuts either of them so.
    And he so stout of limb, in unison
  Singing with him there of the manly nose,
    Of every virtue put the girdle on;
  And if that youth behind him in repose
    Had after him reigned in his Father’s stead,
  Virtue from vase to vase had been well poured,
    Which of the other heirs may not be said.
  Frederic and James now o’er those kingdoms lord,
    In whom that better heritage lies dead.
  Rarely doth human goodness rise again
    Through the tree’s branches: He hath willed it so
  Who gives this boon of excellence, that men
    Should ask of him who can alone bestow.”

  “Not more these words of mine at Peter glance
    Than him he sings with (of the large nose there)
  Whose death Apulia mourneth, and Provènce,
    So ill the tree doth with its stock compare!
  Even so much more of her good lord his wife
    Constance yet vaunts herself, than Margaret may,
  Or Beatrice. That king of simplest life,
    Harry of England, sitting there survey
  All by himself: his branches are more blest!
    The one who sits there with uplifted gaze
  Among the group, but lower than the rest,
    Is Marquis William, in whose cause the frays
  Of Alexandria have with grief oppressed
    Both Monferrato and the Canavese.”



“We must obey the emperor rather than God.”



THE Baroness Olga von Sempach was respected, wealthy, benevolent, and
therefore loved by the poor. When, in the summer, she visited her
estates in Posen, to breathe for some months the healthy country air,
the poor of that place would exclaim: “Our mother has come again!”

The baroness had, however, seemed lately to be greatly depressed, and
her sad countenance had excited the sympathy of every one.

“Our mother is sick,” said the poor. “Her face is pale, and her kind
eyes look as though she wept often. We will pray for our benefactress,
that God may preserve her to us.”

And in the hours of want and suffering, many hands were raised in
supplication to heaven for their mother Olga; but the eyes of the
noble lady continued to be dim with weeping, and her sorrow seemed to
increase daily.

She was sitting, one morning, in a room of her palace; her hands
were clasped together, and she gazed absently before her, while tear
after tear streamed down her cheeks. Opposite to her on the wall
hung a crucifix, upon which she would often fix her eyes; but her
sufferings seemed to be those of the spirit rather than of the body.
The affliction of soul, as seen in her distressed face, had something
sublime and venerable in it, for it was the grief of a mother.

The sound of approaching footsteps are heard. The baroness made
an effort to conceal her agitation; she wiped away her tears, and
endeavored to receive with a smile the young man, who, upon entering,
saluted her.

“I am rejoiced, dear Edward, that you have come to visit us at our
retired summer-residence,” said she. “The invigorating air of the
country will be of great service to you. Your incessant application to
study is injurious to health, and you must therefore remain with us for
several weeks.”

He hardly seemed to hear her words of welcome, so lost was he in
astonishment at the appearance of his noble hostess.

“I must ask your pardon, gracious lady, for having disturbed your quiet
household last night at such a late hour,” said he; “but the train was
delayed, and I could not find a carriage to bring me here.”

“No formal excuse is necessary, Edward! Have you spoken yet with my

“Only a few words. He is writing to his betrothed.”

These latter words made such an impression upon the baroness that it
seemed as though a sword had pierced her heart. The emotion did not
escape the observation of the young gentleman, and, together with her
sad aspect, convinced him that her son was in some way the cause of her

“O sorrowful mother that I am!” she exclaimed, “to see my Adolph, my
only child, rushing into certain misfortune, perhaps into eternal ruin,
and I unable to help or save him—how it pains and terrifies me!”

Her lips trembled, and she found difficulty in preserving her

“You alarm me, dear baroness! Why should Adolph fall into such deep
misery because of his marriage as you seem to predict? He loves
Alexandra truly and sincerely. He praises her noble qualities, her
magnificent beauty, her accomplishments, and therefore I see every
prospect of a happy life for them both.”

“Alexandra is beautiful, very beautiful!” replied the baroness sadly;
“but this exterior beauty, perishable and worthless as it is, unless
united with nobility of mind as well as virtue, blinds my son.
Alexandra’s personal loveliness prevents him from seeing the ugliness
of her heart, mind, and spirit.”

The young professor seemed really perplexed. He knew that the baroness
was an admirable judge of character, and he loved his friend.

“Adolph wrote to me in his last letter that Alexandra is the daughter
of a Russian nobleman named Rasumowski, who fills the distinguished
position of governor of a province in Poland. I should think that the
daughter of a man to whom the Russian government has confided such a
trust would resemble her father.”

“She is his counterpart,” replied the Baroness von Sempach; “and her
father is the incorporate spirit of the Russian form of government;
he is imperious, proud, tyrannical, and utterly destitute of feeling.
You know the inhumanities practised by Russia upon Catholic Poland. An
endless succession of oppressive laws completely crushed the unhappy
Poles, from whom everything was taken—liberty, religion, property,
and life. In this atmosphere of cruel tyranny and injustice Alexandra
has grown up. From her childhood she has breathed an air which has
stifled all the gentle emotions of the heart. In a word, Alexandra is
a thorough Russian. How, then, can my son, with his respect for the
rights of man, with his enthusiastic love of freedom with his studious
disposition of mind, and his warm heart—how can he be happy in the
possession of such a wife? Never! A terrible awakening, bitter sorrow,
and lasting misfortune will soon poison the life of my child.”

“I believe you, dear madame! Why have you not expressed your fears to

“I have done so often and urgently; but his blind passion for Alexandra
makes him deaf to all my representations.”

“If,” said Edward, after some reflection, “we could only succeed in
letting Adolph have a closer insight into Alexandra’s nature and
spiritual life, I am sure that he would turn with aversion from her.”

“But in this lies the difficulty, dear Edward. The Russians understand
well how to conceal by an artificial gloss of refinement their real
spiritual deformity.”

“Notwithstanding all this, the mask must be torn from the face of the
Russian lady, in order to save Adolph. I know what to do! My plan will
succeed!” exclaimed the professor.

“What do you intend doing, Edward?”

“I will enlighten my friend Adolph in regard to Russian manners. Do not
question me any further, dear madame, but confide in me!” said he, with
a cheerful face. “Wipe away your tears, and have courage, noble mother!”

He bowed and then sought the presence of his host. Adolph, a stately
young man with a kind face and the expressive eyes of his mother, had
just concluded a letter to his betrothed.

“Have you at last finished writing?” asked Edward. “You lovers never
know when to stop. I wonder what you have to say to each other day
after day?”

“A heart that loves is inexhaustible,” replied Adolph. “I could write
ten letters a day, and not say all I wish.”

“I know it,” said Edward, nodding his head.

“What do you know?”

“The readiness of love to make sacrifices,” replied his friend.

Adolph laughed aloud.

“The idea of your understanding what it is to love! When you begin to
love, the world will come to an end!” he exclaimed good-humoredly. “As
the city of Metz has inscribed over her gates, so also can you write
upon your forehead, ‘No one has ever conquered me.’ Although you speak
with great wisdom about many things, you know nothing of love.”

“But I am of the opposite opinion,” said Edward, looking with his
brilliant eyes at the laughing face of his friend. “Your love is about
six months old, but mine has lasted for ten years; it commenced when I
was sixteen. My love has been put to the test, and is still as enduring
as it was in the beginning. Your young love of only six months’
duration must, however, be tried as yet. How will it be when ten years
have passed away, and Alexandra’s beauty has faded? My beloved, on the
contrary, never grows old. She is always young and beautiful, like her
Father, the eternal fountain of all knowledge—like God; for my beloved

“You malicious fellow, to remind me of Alexandra’s future wrinkles! I
do not care, however, for my betrothed is at present the handsomest
girl living.”

“I will not deny the fact,” said Edward. “And if you will introduce
me into the much-to-be-envied atmosphere which the beautiful Russian
breathes, you will oblige me and my beloved very much.”

“I do not understand you!”

“I wish, in other words, to know something of Russian affairs by means
of my own observations,” replied Edward. “I would like to make a study
of her government for the benefit of the Germans.”

“For the benefit of the Germans?”

“Yes, indeed; for it is a well-known fact that the Russian system of
government is to be gradually introduced into the German Empire. A
beginning has already been made by enacting the famous law against the
Jesuits and kindred orders. Alexandra’s father is the highest official
of his district. Through him I could easily obtain a peep into state
matters, if you would recommend me.”

“With the greatest pleasure, my friend!” exclaimed Adolph, springing
from his chair in joyful surprise. “We will go together. I will
introduce you myself to the governor, and, while you labor in the
interest of your ever-youthful beloved, I will devote myself to



Two days later, the friends were sojourning in the Rasumowski palace,
a stately building, formerly the property of a noble Polish family
whose only son now languished in Siberia. When the guests arrived, the
governor was absent, but his daughter received them with the greatest
hospitality. Edward found the youthful Russian lady very beautiful in
appearance, but his keen eyes soon detected beneath the surface of
her charming exterior a spirit of such moral deformity that he became
really alarmed in regard to the fate which threatened his friend if he
persisted in uniting himself to such a being.

“Oh! what joy! What an agreeable surprise!” exclaimed Alexandra.
“It is, in truth, an imperial joy! And papa also will be imperially
delighted to see you and your friend.”

“Is your father absent, Alexandra?” asked Adolph.

“Only for a few hours. He is with a distinguished gentleman from
Berlin. I expect him any moment, and his surprise will be really

The professor seemed astonished at her language. He availed himself of
the first suitable opportunity to satisfy his desire for knowledge.

“Pardon me, mademoiselle; you use the word imperial in a manner which
is incomprehensible to me—you speak of a really imperial joy, of a
truly imperial surprise. Will you permit me to ask you why you make use
of this peculiar expression?”

“If you had ever travelled through the holy Russian Empire,” she
replied, with a haughty look, “you would know that we use the word
imperial in the same sense as you in Germany say divine. Are you amazed
at that?”

“Indeed, mademoiselle,” answered the professor calmly, “I never
imagined that the words imperial and divine could be synonymous, for
the reason that there is an infinite difference between the emperor and

“That is your view of the subject, but we think differently in our holy
empire,” replied the arrogant beauty. “In Russia, the emperor is the
most exalted of beings; he is the autocrat of all Russia, and upon his
dominions the sun never sets. If we wish to express the highest degree
of joy, of surprise, of pleasure, or of beauty”—and she threw her head
proudly back—“then we say an imperial joy, an imperial pleasure, an
imperial beauty!”

“I am greatly indebted to you for this interesting explanation,” said
the professor, bowing low.

At this moment, the sound of an approaching carriage was heard.

“They have arrived!” said Alexandra. “What a pity that our
distinguished visitor from Berlin makes it necessary for papa to absent
himself so often!”

“Your company, dear Alexandra, is a charming substitute for your
father’s absence,” said Adolph von Sempach.

Two loud male voices in animated conversation resounded through the
corridor. Alexandra ran to open the door of the salon.

“Papa, who do you think is here? You will be delighted.”

“Who is it? Can it be Prince von Bismarck?” replied a rough voice, and
the governor entered the room. He was an elegantly dressed gentleman,
of stout appearance, and wore a light mustache; but his rubicund
countenance, which plainly betokened an unrestrained appetite, was
almost repulsive, on account of the cruel look in his eyes. The visitor
from Berlin followed him; he was a tall, broad-shouldered man, with a
bald head, sharp eyes, a heavy mustache, which overshadowed an ugly
mouth, and with features not less disagreeable than were those of the

“Oh, Baron von Sempach? Is it possible!” exclaimed the governor,
pressing the hand of his future son-in-law. “It is really imperial!”

“My friend Edward Beck, Professor of History,” said Adolph, introducing
his travelling companion.

The untitled name seemed to displease the Russian, for he looked almost
with contempt at the stranger, and returned his bow with a scarcely
perceptible nod of the head. Von Sempach noticed this reception of his
friend, and, although very angry, hastened to pacify the ill-humor of
his proud host.

“I must inform you, governor,” said he, in a whisper, “that my friend
Edward Beck occupies a distinguished social position; and not only
that—he is the owner of vast estates, and the possessor of two
millions of guilders.”

“I feel highly honored at your presence in my house, Herr Beck,” said
the now polite Russian. “Allow me to introduce to you my esteemed
guest, Herr Schulze, of Berlin.”

The tall Prussian made a desperate effort to smile, and to force his
rigid, military figure to return the professor’s bow.

“The visit of my friend to your country has, at the same time, a
scientific object in view,” said Adolph. “He desires to learn something
of Russian affairs by personal observation. You will therefore oblige
me very much, Governor Rasumowski, if by means of your high official
position you consent to further his wishes in this respect.”

“What a happy coincidence!” replied the governor, with a significant
glance at the gentleman from Berlin. “Herr Schulze has come for the
same purpose. He also seeks to inform himself in regard to the glorious
administration of state and social affairs in our holy empire; but of
course with a different motive from that of Herr Beck, whose researches
are of a purely historical nature.”

“The knowledge of which I am in pursuit is for practical ends,” said
Herr Schulze, assuming a learned air. “I wish to examine and see if the
admirably constructed machinery of the Russian government cannot be
introduced with advantage into the new German Empire.”

“I am rejoiced to hear you speak as you do,” replied Beck; “for your
opinion in regard to the policy now in force throughout the new German
Empire corresponds with mine. Since the last Diet, it has become
evident to me that in future Germany must be governed as Russia now
is. The map of Europe,” he added, with a meaning smile intended for
Rasumowski, “would then not only have a Russian Poland, but also a
German Russia.”

“Rejoice at such a beneficial change, gentlemen!” exclaimed the
governor. “All nations can learn from and profit by the example of
our holy Russian Empire. In no country upon earth is there a stronger
government, and nowhere has the absurd idea of liberty taken less root,
than in the immense territory of the czar. Of course, in Germany,
some little concessions must be made at first, until an iron-bound
constitution, like that of Russia, can be formed—above all, the
inferior German princes must be set aside.”

“The beginning has been already made; it is only necessary to continue
our efforts,” replied the Berlin gentleman.

“See with what regularity everything proceeds with us,” asserted
Rasumowski. “All the wheels of state are controlled by the will of one
man, of our gracious sovereign, the emperor”—and he made a reverence
before the marble statue of the czar. “Whoever does not obey the will
of the sovereign will be surely crushed into atoms.”

A servant announced dinner. The party entered the dining-room, where
a magnificent banquet was served. The whole attention of Adolph was
absorbed by Alexandra, and Edward saw with deep regret his burning
passion for a creature who was unworthy of his noble-minded friend.

“As I said before, gentlemen, with us everything moves with
regularity,” said Rasumowski. “We do not permit the least
contradiction. The word liberty has no meaning with us; for
unconditional obedience is with us the fundamental law of the empire,
and whoever does not wish to obey must go to Siberia.”

“As far as I can understand, there does not exist in Russia any
fundamental law of state,” said Beck. “Or am I wrong?”

“No; you are right. We know nothing about it. The sovereign law is the
will of the emperor. Nothing but what the emperor commands has legal
power. The meeting of Deputies, Chambers, and of Diets is unheard of in
Russia. The almighty will of the czar answers instead of it. All laws
and decrees, no matter how long they have existed, can be abolished
by the emperor with one stroke of the pen. To him, as the sovereign,
everything belongs: the country and the people, the peasants and the
nobility, the church and the state. In fact, it can be said that the
only fundamental law of state in the holy Russian Empire is absolute
obedience to the will of the czar.”

“Excellent!” said Schulze. “If we had only made the same progress in
our new German Empire!”

“It is to be questioned whether this manner of government can be
introduced into Germany,” replied Beck. “There the people have a will
which makes itself heard in the Chambers.”

“Bah! of what account are the Diet and the Chambers?” exclaimed Schulze
contemptuously. “Acknowledge candidly, Herr Beck, what a miserable
_rôle_ our Chambers have recently played. Is not the will of the
chancellor the only law? Is not everything possible to the diplomatic
wisdom of Bismarck? Do the Deputies, Chambers, or Diet dare to
contradict the all-powerful minister? No! They only make such laws as
are pleasing to their master. Therefore I am right when I say that the
people no longer have a voice in the new German Empire. Wait a little
while, and the antiquated folly of Chambers and Diets will be also

“Your view is not entirely correct,” said Adolph von Sempach. “A strong
party in the Diet is opposed to the designs of Bismarck.”

“Yes, the ultramontanes!” answered Schulze. “But we are prepared for
them; we will conquer this rebellious set, so hostile to the empire!”
he exclaimed, with an angry flash of his eyes. “The ultramontanes in
Germany form only a rapidly disappearing minority, and this rabble, so
dangerous to the state, will soon be exterminated. Liberalism reigns
supreme in the new German Empire; Bismarck depends upon its support.
Every right-thinking man will see that in a well-organized state but
one will must be paramount, and not two or even three wills. The
emperor alone must rule. Therefore away with the will of the people,
away with the will of the church! The form of the Russian government
alone is sound; for here the emperor is the head of the state and of
the church. The civil officers rule according to the command of the
emperor—in a word, everything is done, as the governor has correctly
remarked, with regularity. And whoever does not obey will be sent to
the mines of Siberia.”

Von Sempach, whose countenance gave evidence of his disapproval, wished
to reply, but, at a sign from his friend, he remained silent.

“Yes, indeed, Siberia is a splendid place!” exulted the Russian. “The
new German Empire must also have a Siberia, to which her rebellious
subjects can be sent.”

“If German affairs continue to shape themselves so closely after the
example of Russia, we will undoubtedly have a Siberia very soon,” said
the professor, with an ambiguous smile.

“Without Siberia, what would we have done with the unruly Poles?”
exclaimed the charming daughter of the governor. “There in the mines,
in want and misery, the wretches can do penance for their presumption,
and repent for having disobeyed the Emperor of Russia.”

At hearing her remarks, all color forsook Adolph’s face; he looked
with amazement at his beautiful betrothed. Beck, however, noticed with
secret delight the impression she had made upon his friend.

“I am really anxious to learn,” said he, “how the people of the holy
Russian Empire live, and if they are so supremely happy.”

“You shall have proofs of it this afternoon,” said the governor. “We
will drive in half an hour to a village in the vicinity of the city.
The village is inhabited by Roman Catholics; but even there you will
find that the will of the emperor is respected.”

All now rose from the table; the guests retired to their rooms; but
Adolph, who seemed greatly depressed, sought the society of his friend.

“How do you like Alexandra?”

“She is, in truth, imperially beautiful,” answered Beck.

“But you heard her cruel remarks about the poor Poles?”

“Yes, I heard what she said, and am not astonished that a Russian lady,
whose father is governor, should think as he does; it is very natural,”
replied the professor.

Adolph appeared to be overwhelmed with sadness.

“Will you not go with us on our tour of inspection?” asked Edward.

“After such a painful exhibition of Alexandra’s sentiments, I need
something to distract my thoughts.”

“Have you noticed that the bust and portrait of the emperor, seated
on his throne, is to be seen in every corridor, chamber, and salon of
the palace?” remarked Edward. “He is like an idol in the house, before
which even the lovely head of Alexandra bows in reverence. This fact is
of the highest interest to me. Man must have a god, a sovereign being,
to serve. In Russia, the emperor is this sovereign; and Almighty God
in heaven is, as the Russians imagine, the vassal of the emperor; for
bishops, priests, and popes can only teach and preach that which the
imperial sovereign commands and permits. And such a sovereign is to sit
upon the throne of the new German Empire! A glorious prospect for us!”

“Ridiculous nonsense!” exclaimed the young nobleman. “The German nation
would never submit to such a yoke of tyranny. Germans will never become

“Do not be too confident, Von Sempach! A keen observer has said that
the Germans are a most servile people.”

“But they never will be the slaves of a Russian czar,” replied Von
Sempach. “The German people, two years ago, gave ample proofs of what
they can do. Like our imaginary Michael,[16] who for a long time
allowed himself to be kicked about and abused, but who suddenly shook
off his lethargy, and fought like a lion, so will it be with Germany,
which seems to have fallen into a state of good-humored torpor, during
which cunning men have taken advantage of her apparent indifference to
deprive her gradually of her ancient privileges; but let the Germans
once feel the weight of Russian despotism, and you will see with what
fury they will break loose the chains that bind them.”

Ten minutes later, the carriage of the governor rolled through
the streets of the city. He had given orders to be driven over a
well-paved public road to a neighboring village. At a short distance
from the carriage followed four Cossacks, mounted on small horses from
Tartary. One of them carried in the belt of his sabre a very peculiar
instrument. Attached to a strong wooden handle were nailed seven straps
of leather, which terminated in hard knots. It was commonly called “the
pleti,” and was, by the command of the Emperor Nicholas, used as a
substitute for the notorious knout.

Just as the village became visible behind the rows of trees that
bordered the public road, the governor commanded the driver to stop. In
looking from the window, he had observed, upon a lately cleared space,
a collection of wooden huts which were situated a short distance from
the road.

“What is the meaning of this? Who has dared to build these huts?” he
exclaimed, in amazement.

“They look very much like our barracks in Berlin,” said Schulze. “Some
poor wretches built huts outside of the city because they could not
earn enough to pay house-rent. The fact of their being permitted to
remain so near Berlin is a disgrace to the intelligence of the capital
of the new empire. It will be quite difficult to remove them.”

“I shall not tolerate such things in my district,” said the Russian

The carriage proceeded on its way, and stopped before a handsome house,
the residence of the mayor, who was the only person in the village who
belonged to the Russian state Church. This man had very small eyes and
an immense mustache; and it was evident, from the odor of his breath,
that he had been imbibing freely. When summoned before the governor, he
assumed a most abject appearance, and his form seemed really to shrink
while in the presence of the powerful official.

“What huts are those outside of the village?” said Rasumowski,
addressing him roughly.

“To reply, with your honor’s permission, they are the dwellings of
some poor people who have settled there. They are very orderly, pay
their taxes punctually, and support themselves by mending kettles, by
grinding scissors, by making rat and mouse traps, and such means.”

“Who gave them permission to settle there?”

“The parish, your honor. The ground upon which the huts stand belongs
to the parish.”

“Listen, and obey my orders!” said the governor. “These huts must be
taken down without delay; for the emperor has not given this ground to
peasants, that they may propagate like vermin. If the rabble cannot
rent houses in the village, then they must go further, perhaps to
Siberia, where there is plenty of work in the mines.”

The mayor of the village bowed most obsequiously.

Beck watched his friend Adolph, who seemed greatly revolted at the
inhuman command.

Herr Schulze, of Berlin, on the contrary, looked as though he had heard
something that would prove of incalculable benefit to mankind.

“On what text did the Catholic pastor preach last Sunday?” asked the

“With the permission of your honor, his sermon was on redemption
through Jesus Christ.”

“Did he make no mention of the emperor?”

“No, your honor.”

“Did he say nothing about the obedience due the emperor?”

“No, your honor.”

“Go at once, and bring the priest before me!”

“I beg pardon, your honor, but he has gone to visit a sick person at
some distance.”

“Then send him to me in the city. To-morrow, at nine in the morning, he
must appear before me, and bring his sermon with him!”

The mayor made an humble obeisance.

“Did the priest presume to say anything about the Pope?”

“No, your honor; since the Roman Catholic priests who preached about
the Pope were sent to Siberia, nothing is said about him.”

“With regard to other matters, how are things progressing in the

“Admirably, your honor! After the twenty Catholic families were sent
to Siberia, all the inhabitants are willing to die in obedience to our
good emperor. The people are all satisfied; no one wishes to go into

“In how many villages of Germany,” said the governor to his guests,
“can you find the people so contented and ready to give their lives
in obedience to our good emperor? The form of government in the holy
Russian Empire works miracles. Now, gentlemen, follow me to the
schoolhouse, so that you may see how Russia educates her subjects.”

They left the mayor’s residence, and crossed the street to the

“I must tell you in advance,” observed Rasumowski, “that in Russia we
do not cultivate a fancy for popular education. Our peasants are only
entitled to be taught three things: to obey, to work, and to pay taxes.
In this consists their knowledge; it is the axis around which revolves
our national education.”

He opened the school door. About one hundred children, dirty and poorly
clad, sat upon the benches. The schoolmaster, who had already espied
the arrival of the governor, bowed in fear and trembling.

“How is it with the children of the emperor, teacher? Do you fulfil
your duty in obedience to my orders?”

“I endeavor to do so, your honor.”

“I shall convince myself, and ask some questions from the catechism of
our state religion,” said the governor.

He called up several children, and began to question them, which
questions were as remarkable and as interesting to the professor as
were the answers.

“Who is your sovereign lord?”

“The good emperor of holy Russia.”

“What do you owe to the emperor?”

“Unconditional obedience, love, and payment of taxes.”

“In what does the happiness of a Russian consist?”

“In being a brave soldier of the good emperor.”

“Where does the soul of man go after death?”

“To heaven or to hell.”

“What soul goes to heaven?”

“That soul which always obeys the good emperor and owes no taxes.”

“What soul goes to hell?”

“That soul which was disobedient to the emperor.”

The governor turned towards his guests.

“You have already commenced a system of compulsory education in
Germany,” said he; “but when you succeed in establishing a state
church, and have a catechism of state religion, then will the new
German Empire, like our czar, be able to educate subjects who must obey
him blindly.”

He now turned again to the children.

“Is there a pope in Rome?”

The child who was questioned looked at the teacher, who had become as
pale as death.

“Answer me! Is there a pope in Rome?” repeated the governor.

“No; there is only one emperor, who is at the same time the pope of all
the Russians,” replied the child.

“Schoolmaster, I am satisfied with you,” said Rasumowski approvingly.

“You know that the only things which every good Russian must do is
to work diligently, to pay taxes punctually, and to blindly obey the
emperor. These three things you must impress upon the minds of the

The governor was about to leave the schoolroom, when he suddenly
stopped, and his face became crimson with anger. He had espied the
portrait of the emperor, which hung in a gilt frame on the wall.
The glass that covered it was broken, and it was soiled with a few

“Schoolmaster, what is this?” exclaimed the governor furiously.

“Pardon, your honor!” implored the trembling teacher. “A wicked boy
threw his inkstand at the picture.”

“And you, miserable wretch that you are, left it thus disfigured upon
the wall! Follow me!”

The governor, with his guests and the teacher, left the room, and
entered an office where the mayor held his sessions.

“Schoolmaster!” began the governor, “you deserve to be sent to Siberia,
for you Roman Catholics are only fit for the mines. You refuse blind
obedience, and deny the right of the emperor to command in church
affairs; you are constantly rebelling against the empire, and all of
you should, therefore, be sent into exile. For your insolence, however,
in leaving the portrait of our holy emperor in this neglected state,
you will receive ten blows with the pleti.”

He stepped forward to the window, and summoned the Cossack who carried
the instrument of torture.

“Corporal, give ten heavy strokes with the pleti on this teacher’s

The Cossack seized a bench, and motioned the teacher to stretch himself
upon it.

Von Sempach and Beck, finding it impossible to conceal their
indignation, left the room. In going down-stairs, they heard the
whizzing sound of the lash and the screams of the poor teacher.

“I shall lose my senses,” said Adolph, while waiting at the threshold.
“My God! has Alexandra grown up amid such scenes?”

The professor was delighted to hear this remark.

“It is, indeed, a very demoralizing atmosphere for a woman to breathe,”
said he.

“Can it be that Alexandra has escaped the contaminating influence of
Russian customs? Has _she_ also lost all feeling and the delicacy of
her sex? We must find out, if possible.”

Rasumowski and Schulze approached.

“Ah! gentlemen,” exclaimed the governor laughingly, “the singing of
the pleti caused you to leave! Well, we Russians accustom ourselves to
such things. When, with other practical institutions, the pleti is also
introduced into the new German Empire, then you will learn to think it
as useful an instrument as is the whip in the hands of the cartman.”

“Who drive oxen and donkeys,” added the professor.

“Our new German Empire has already introduced a punishment for the
soldiers, which causes as much pain as the pleti,” said Adolph von
Sempach. “I have read repeatedly in the newspapers that soldiers, while
upon drill, have fallen fainting to the ground. The reason was their
being compelled to carry heavy stones in their knapsacks, until their
strength gave way.”

“It is a Russian invention that you have borrowed from us; we have long
practised it,” asserted Rasumowski.

“And I suppose we have also adopted your severe system of military
arrest, which Count von Moltke justifies by ingeniously remarking that
even in time of peace the soldier owes his health to his country.”

“Yes, it is true we keep up the same strict discipline,” exclaimed the
Russian; “but Moltke should have said that the soldier owes his health
and life to the _emperor_, and not to the _country_. Words are useless;
acts are what we insist upon.”

When leaving the house, there were a number of men, women, and children
outside who awaited the governor. At seeing him, they all fell upon
their knees, and lifted up their hands in supplication.

“Pardon! Mercy! Humanity!” were heard in confused accents.

“Keep quiet!” commanded Rasumowski. “Schulze, what does this mean?”

“Your honor, these are the poor people who live in the huts. They ask
you, for God’s sake, not to destroy their only place of shelter.”

“Asking me to do a thing for God’s sake!” exclaimed the governor
harshly. “If they had asked me to do so for the emperor’s sake, I would
perhaps have granted their request. Begone! Away with you! My orders
are to be obeyed!”

The people, however, did not rise, but burst forth into fresh
lamentations and tears.

“Your honor,” said an old man, “graciously listen to us, as the good
emperor would do, who always wishes to help his people. We built those
huts by permission of the parish, and we strive to make a living in an
honest way. We pay the taxes, and are not in debt to the emperor. If
your honor destroys our huts, whither shall we poor people go? Must we
live with the foxes and wolves in the forests? Is this the will of the

“The emperor desires his subjects to live in comfortable houses, for
which reason the huts must be removed,” answered Rasumowski.

“Your honor, we have no means to build comfortable houses,” replied the
old man. “Look at the little children; they will die if the orders of
your honor are executed.”

“I will hear no more: it is the emperor’s will!” exclaimed the governor.

The words “It is the emperor’s will” had the most disheartening effect
upon the poor people. The haggard, wretchedly-clad assemblage gave way
to despair, but a low murmur was all that was heard.

Rasumowski looked triumphantly at his guests, as if he had said in so
many words: “You see what the will of the emperor can do!”

But the professor was not to be deceived. The suppressed wrath plainly
visible in the faces of the men did not escape him.

A young man rose humbly from his knees, and looked with strangely
glittering eyes upon the governor.

“It is not true!—the emperor does not, cannot wish us to suffer!” he

Rasumowski looked with astonishment at the bold youth.

“How do you know that it is not the will of the emperor?” he asked.

“The emperor is human, but what you command is inhuman!” answered the
intrepid peasant.

The Russian governor absolutely trembled with anger.

“Fifteen lashes with the pleti—give it to him soundly!” he cried, and
walked towards the carriage, which drove slowly through the village.

Adolph von Sempach sat depressed and silent. What he had seen and
heard did not tend to elevate the character of the beautiful Alexandra
in his estimation, as her remarks concerning the cruelties upon the
unfortunate Poles seemed to prove that she had inherited the barbarous
disposition of her father.

“Do you hear the screams of the insolent fellow?” said the governor.
“The pleti is unfortunately a poor affair—it has not sufficient
swing and force. The old knout was much better; for it was made of
strong leather straps, intertwined with wire. The Emperor Nicholas I.
introduced this new knout, however—and whatever the czar does, is well
done; but if I were consulted, I would bring the old knout again into

“I fear, governor,” said Beck “that even the new knout or the pleti
would meet with invincible opposition in Germany.”

“You are mistaken,” answered the Russian. “The Germans can also be
subdued—the German neck must bow to him who has the power. Now,
gentlemen, I will show you some evidences of the industry of our
farmers,” he continued, when the carriage had left the village. “Look
at our abundant crops! The German farmer can hardly excel the Russian.
You find everywhere signs of prudent husbandry as well as of diligence
and perseverance.”

Herr Schulze gave a token of assent, the professor knew nothing about
agriculture, and Von Sempach preserved a gloomy silence.

“Do you see that village?” said Rasumowski, pointing in a certain
direction. “All the inhabitants are Roman Catholics, with the
exception of the mayor, of course; but for ten years they have been
without a priest, without divine service, without a church.”

“I think I see a church,” remarked Beck.

“Yes, the church is there, but it has been closed for ten years. The
former Roman Catholic pastor, who persisted in preaching upon the
dignity of man, the liberty of the children of God, and even of the
pope and other dangerous things, was transported to Siberia, and the
church was closed by my command.”

“I admire your eminently practical method,” observed the guest from
Berlin. “We would not dare as yet to do such a thing in the new German

“But it will be done in good time,” replied the Russian.

The carriage, in returning, had by this time reached the outskirts of
the city.

“Ah!” exclaimed Herr Schulze in joyful surprise, “the huts have already
disappeared. I shall write at once to my friends in Berlin, and apprise
them of the expeditious manner in which the Russian government acts.”



  What mist hath dimd that glorious face? what seas of griefe my sun
      doth tosse?
  The golden raies of heauenly grace lies now eclipsèd on the crosse.

  Iesus! my loue, my Sonne, my God, behold Thy mother washt in teares:
  Thy bloudie woundes be made a rod to chasten these my latter yeares.

  You cruell Iewes, come worke your ire, vpon this worthlesse flesh of
  And kindle not eternall fire, by wounding Him which is diuine.

  Thou messenger that didst impart His first descent into my wombe,
  Come help me now to cleaue my heart, that there I may my Sonne

  You angels all, that present were, to shew His birth with harmonie;
  Why are you not now readie here, to make a mourning symphony?

  The cause I know, you waile alone and shed your teares in secresie,
  Lest I should mouèd be to mone, by force of heauie companie.

  But waile my soul, thy comfort dies, my wofull wombe, lament thy
  My heart giue teares unto my eies, let Sorrow string my heauy lute.




  “Hoist up sail while gale doth last,
    Tide and wind stay no man’s pleasure:
  Seek not time when time is past,
    Sober speed is wisdom’s leisure.
  After-wits are dearly bought,
  Let thy fore-wit guide thy thought.”

  “Time wears all his locks before,
    Take thou hold upon his forehead;
  When he flies, he turns no more,
    And behind his scalp is naked.
  Works adjourn’d have many stays;
  Long demurs breed new delays.”

  —_Robert Southwell, 1593._[18]

CONCERNING the writer of these beautiful lines, the English historian,
Stow, makes the following brief mention in his _Chronicle_: “February
20, 1594-5.—Southwell, a Jesuit, that long time had lain prisoner in
the Tower of London, was arraigned at the King’s Bench bar. He was
condemned, and on the next morning drawn from Newgate to Tyburn, and
there hanged, bowelled, and quartered.” From this account we are unable
to discover that the man whose judicial murder Stow thus records was
put to death for any offence but that of being a JESUIT,
and of having “long time lain in prison in the Tower of London.”
And yet, in thus stating the case, Stow tells the simple truth; for
Southwell was guilty of no more serious crime than his sacerdotal
character, and of suffering the imprisonment and tortures inflicted
upon him in consequence thereof. For three years previous to his
death he had been in prison and in the Tower, had lain in noisome
and filthy dungeons, and been subjected many times to torture and
the rack. From the high social position of his family, the fame of
his literary accomplishments, his admirable and saintly bearing as a
missionary priest in England, for six long years carrying his life
in his hand while ministering to a scattered flock, obliged to move
from place to place in disguise as though he were a malefactor, and
finally, from the wonderful fortitude and constancy with which he was
said to have suffered torture, his case was very generally known in
London, and deeply commiserated even by many Protestants. So deep and
widespread, indeed, was this sympathy that, when it was determined by
the officers of the crown to try and condemn him on one and the same
day, and execute him the next morning, they withheld from the public
all announcement of his execution, meanwhile giving notice of the
hanging of a famous highwayman in another place in order to draw off
the concourse of spectators. But it availed not, for there were many
who kept so close a watch upon the movements at Newgate, to which
prison he had been removed a few days before his trial, that, when
Southwell was brought out to be drawn on a sled or hurdle to the place
of execution at Tyburn, he was followed by great numbers of people, and
among them many persons of distinction, who witnessed the carrying out
of his dreadful sentence, which was that he should be “hung, bowelled,
and quartered.”

That our readers may understand that our qualification of Southwell’s
execution as a judicial murder is not the result of mere personal
sympathy or of religious prejudice, we will here record the judgment
of several Protestant authorities, who speak out concerning it in a
manner not to be misunderstood. In the valuable _Cyclopædia of English
Literature_, by Chambers, we read concerning Southwell that, after
having ministered secretly but zealously to the scattered adherents
of his creed, “without, as far as is known, doing anything to disturb
the peace of society, he was apprehended and committed to a dungeon
in the Tower, so noisome and filthy that, when he was brought out
for examination, his clothes were covered with vermin. Upon this his
father, a man of good family, presented a petition to Queen Elizabeth,
begging that, if his son had committed anything for which, by the
laws, he had deserved death, he might suffer death; if not, as he was
a gentleman, he begged her majesty would be pleased to order him to
be treated as a gentleman. Southwell after this was somewhat better
lodged, but an imprisonment of three years, with ten inflictions of the
rack, wore out his patience, and he entreated to be brought to trial.
Cecil is said to have made the brutal remark that, ‘if he was in so
much haste to be hanged, he should quickly have his desire.’ Being at
the trial found guilty, upon his own confession, of being a Romish
priest, he was condemned to death, and executed at Tyburn accordingly,
with all the horrible circumstances dictated by the old treason laws of
England. Throughout all these scenes he behaved with a mild fortitude
which nothing but a highly regulated mind and satisfied conscience
could have prompted.”

Cleveland (_Compendium of English Literature_, p. 88), after stating
the circumstances of Southwell’s imprisonment, trial, and execution,
remarks: “The whole proceeding should cover the authors of it with
everlasting infamy. It is a foul stain upon the garments of the maiden
queen that she can never wipe off. There was not a particle of evidence
at his trial that this pious and accomplished poet meditated any evil
designs against the government. He did what he had a perfect right to
do; ay, what it was his duty to do, if he conscientiously thought he
was right—endeavor to make converts to his faith, so far as he could
without interfering with the right of others. If there be anything to
be execrated, it is persecution for opinion’s sake.”

Allibone, in his _Dictionary of English Literature_, says that
Southwell, “to the disgrace of the English government, suffered as a
martyr at Tyburn, February 21, 1595, after three years’ imprisonment
in the Tower, during which it is asserted he was ten times subjected
to the torture. He was a good poet, a good prose writer, and a better
Christian than his brutal persecutors.”

Old Fuller, in his _Worthies of England_, as might be expected, views
Southwell with a stern English Protestant eye, and thus dismisses
him: “Robert Southwell was born in this county (Norfolk), as Pitsons
affirmeth, who, although often mistaken in his locality, may be
believed herein, as professing himself familiarly acquainted with him
at Rome. But the matter is not much where he was born, seeing, though
cried up by men of his own profession for his many books in verse and
prose, he was reputed a dangerous enemy by the state, for which he was
imprisoned and executed March the 3d, 1595” (vol. iii. p. 187).

Robert Southwell was the third son of Richard Southwell, Esq., of
Horsham, St. Faith’s, Norfolk. The curious in genealogy, while
investigating family lines associated with the Southwell pedigree,
have found connected with it, in degrees more or less near, the names
of Paston, Sidney, Howard, Newton, and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Of his
early years there is but slight record, save that, when still very
young, he was sent to Douai to be educated. From Douai he passed to
Paris and thence to Rome, where, in 1578, before he had yet reached
the age of seventeen, he was received into the order of the Society of
Jesus. On completion of his novitiate and termination of the courses
of philosophy and theology, he was made prefect of studies of the
English College at Rome. Ordained priest in 1584, and, as appears
from his letter addressed, February 20, 1585, to the general of the
order, seeking the “perilous” errand wherein his future martyrdom seems
rather to have been anticipated than merely referred to as a simple
possibility,[19] he left Rome on the 8th of May, 1586, a missionary to
his native land, or, in other words, took up his line of march for the
scaffold and for heaven. We have, naturally enough, but scant record
of the young priest’s journey to and arrival in England; for, as the
mere landing in England by a Catholic priest was then a penal offence
punishable with death, Southwell’s return to his native country was
surrounded as much as possible by secrecy. Although yearning to visit
his home and embrace his family, he carefully abstained from going near
them—of doing that which, in his quaint phrase of the day, “maketh my
presence perilous.” But he was aware that his father was in danger of
losing, if he had not already lost, his faith; and these fears were
almost confirmed by the facts that he had formed a marriage with a lady
of the court, and that his wealth gave him entrance to court circles
which were necessarily violently Protestant. Deeply solicitous for his
father’s spiritual condition, he therefore addressed him a letter of
admonition and advice, not less remarkable for its tone of affection
than for its energy and eloquence. We cite it in another place.


At a time when, as Mr. Grosart says, “it was a crime to be a Catholic:
it was proof of high treason to be a priest: it was to invite ‘hunting’
as of a wild beast to be a Jesuit,” we cannot reasonably look for many
recorded traces of Father Southwell’s presence and journeyings to and
fro while in England. He could only move in disguise or under the
darkness of night; he was liable to be thrown into prison anywhere on
the merest suspicion of any irresponsible accuser. The few Catholics
who were ready to give him shelter and hospitality did so with the
halter around their necks; for confiscation and death were the penalty,
as they well knew, for “harboring” a priest. It is nevertheless certain
that his refuge in London was the mansion of the Countess of Arundel,
whose husband, Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel, was imprisoned in the
Tower, and died there, the noblest victim to the jealous and suspicious
tyranny of Elizabeth, _non sine veneni suspicione_, as his epitaph
still testifies.

Hundreds of Southwell’s letters to his superiors still exist, but they
are all from necessity written in such general terms and in so guarded
a manner as to afford but little historical information. Here is one
of them, as given by Bishop Challoner in his _Memoirs of Missionary

1. “As yet we are alive and well, being unworthy, it seems, of prisons.
We have oftener sent, than received, letters from your parts, tho’ they
are not sent without difficulty; and some, we know, have been lost.”

2. “The condition of Catholic recusants here is the same as usual,
deplorable and full of fears and dangers, more especially since our
adversaries have look’d for wars. As many of ours as are in chains
rejoice and are comforted in their prisons; and they that are at
liberty set not their heart upon it, nor expect it to be of long
continuance. All by the great goodness and mercy of God arm themselves
to suffer anything that can come, how hard soever it may be, as it
shall please our Lord; for whose greater glory, and the salvation of
their souls, they are more concerned than for any temporal losses.”

3. “A little while ago, they apprehended two priests, who have suffered
such cruel usages in the prison of Bridewell as can scarce be believed.
What was given them to eat was so little in quantity, and, withal,
so filthy and nauseous, that the very sight was enough to turn their
stomachs. The labors to which they obliged them were continual and
immoderate, and no less in sickness than in health; for, with hard
blows and stripes, they forced them to accomplish their task how weak
soever they were. Their beds were dirty straw, and their prison most
filthy. Some are there hung up for whole days by the hands, in such a
manner that they can but just touch the ground with the tips of their
toes. This purgatory we are looking for every hour, in which Topcliffe
and Young, the two executioners of the Catholics, exercise all kinds of
torments. But come what pleaseth God, we hope we shall be able to bear
all in him that strengthens us. I most humbly recommend myself to the
holy sacrifices of your reverence and of all our friends. (January 15,


In a work[20] published so lately as 1871, we catch a few fugitive
glances of Father Robert Southwell. Father Gerard spoke of him at the
time (1585) as “excelling in the art of helping and gaining souls,
being at once prudent, pious, meek, and exceedingly winning.”

A descent was made by the pursuivants upon a house in the country,
where the two fathers happened to be together, and but for the devotion
of the domestics the two missionaries would have been captured. They
escaped, however, and journeyed away together. The peculiar danger
they were then subjected to was that arising from intercourse with the
gentry. Father Gerard tells of a gentleman who violently suspected
him, and adds: “After a day or so he quite abandoned all mistrust, as
I spoke of hunting and falconry with all the details that none but
a practised person could command.” He concludes: “For many make sad
blunders in attempting this, as Father Southwell, who was afterwards
my companion in many journeys, was wont to complain. He frequently
got me to instruct him in the technical terms of sport, and used to
complain of his bad memory for such things; for on many occasions when
he fell in with Protestant gentlemen he found it necessary to speak of
these matters, which are the sole topics of their conversations, save
when they talk obscenity or break out into blasphemies and abuse of the
saints or the Catholic faith.”

With danger of possible arrest at every house and on every road,
followed by swift and barbarous execution, Father Southwell for six
long years carried his life in his hand.


“Granted,” says his Protestant biographer (Grosart, xlix.), “that
in our Southwell’s years 1588 is included, and that the shadow of
the coming of the Armada lay across England from the very moment of
his arrival; granted that, in the teeth of their instructions, there
were priests and members of the Society of Jesus who deemed they did
God service by ‘plotting’ for the restoration of the old ‘faith and
worship’ after a worldly sort; granted that politically and civilly
the nation was, in a sense, in the throes of since-achieved liberties;
granted that _Mary_, all too sadly, even tremendously, earned her
epithet of ‘Bloody’; granted that the very mysticism, not to say
mystery, of the ‘higher’ sovereignty claimed for him who wore the
tiara, acted as darkness does with sounds the most innocent; granted
nearly all that Protestantism claims in its apology as defence—it
must be regarded as a stigma on the statesmanship and a stain on the
Christianity of the reformed Church of England, as well as a sorrow
to all right-minded and right-hearted, that the ‘convictions’ of
those who could not in conscience ‘change’ at the bidding of Henry
VIII., Elizabeth, or James were not respected; that ‘opinion,’ or,
if you will, ‘error,’ was put down (or attempted to be put down) by
force, and that the headsman’s axe and hangman’s rope were the only
instrumentalities thought of. The State Trials remain to bring a blush
to every lover of his country for the brutal and ‘hard’ mockery of
justice in the higher courts of law whenever a priest was concerned—as
later with the Puritans and Nonconformists.”


With malignant pursuit that never slackened, and that old peril of
S. Paul, “false brethren,” Southwell’s arrest was, of course, a mere
question of time. His day came at last, after six years of labor and
danger in the field. The circumstances are as follows, from Turnbull,
verified by other authorities. There was resident at Uxenden, near
Harrow on the Hill, in Middlesex, a Catholic family by the name of
Bellamy, occasionally visited by Southwell for the purpose of religious
instruction. One of the daughters, Ann, had in her early youth
exhibited marks of the most vivid and unshakable piety; but having
been committed to the gatehouse of Westminster, her faith gradually
departed, and along with it her virtue: for, having formed an intrigue
with the keeper of the prison, she subsequently married him, and by
this step forfeited all claim which she had by law or favor upon her
father. In order, therefore, to obtain some fortune, she resolved to
take advantage of the act of 27 Elizabeth, which made the harboring
of a priest treason, with confiscation of the offender’s goods.
Accordingly she sent a messenger to Southwell, urging him to meet her
on a certain day and hour at her father’s house; whither he, either
in ignorance of what had happened, or under the impression that she
sought his spiritual assistance through motives of penitence, went at
the appointed time. In the meanwhile, having apprised her husband of
this, as also the place of concealment in her father’s house and the
mode of access, he conveyed the information to Topcliffe, an implacable
persecutor and denouncer of the Catholics, who, with a band of his
satellites, surrounded the premises, broke open the house, arrested
his reverence, and carried him off in open day, exposed to the gaze
of the populace. Topcliffe carried Southwell to his own (Topcliffe’s)
dwelling, and there, in the course of ten weeks, tortured him with
such pitiless severity that the unhappy victim, complaining of it to
his judges, declared that death would have been preferable. A letter,
qualified by Grosart as “fawning, cruel, and abominable,” written by
this human bloodhound, Topcliffe, and addressed to no less a personage
than Queen Elizabeth, reports the capture and torture of Southwell, and
states, with details, how he proposes further to torture him.

The letter is dated Westminster, June 22, 1592, and advises the queen:
“I have him here within my strong chamber in Westminster churchyard
(_i.e._ the gatehouse). I have made him assured for starting or
hurting of himself by putting upon his arms a pair of;[21] and so to
keep him either from view or conference with any but Nicolas, the
underkeeper of the gatehouse.... Upon this present taking of him it is
good forthwith to enforce him to answer truly and directly; and so to
prove his answers true in haste, to the end that such as he be deeply
concerned in his treachery may not have time to start, or make shift
to use any means in common prisons; either to stand upon or against
the wall will give warning. _But if your highness’ pleasure be to know
anything in his heart, to stand against the wall, his feet standing
upon the ground, and his hands put as high as he can reach against the
wall_ (like a trick at Tremshemarn), will enforce him to tell all;
and the truth proven by the sequel....[22] It may please your majesty
to consider, I never did take so weighty a man, if he be rightly

The reader will here readily recognize a partial description of one
of the modes of torture then most common in use throughout the reign
of Elizabeth. It seems that it _was_ “her highness’ pleasure” to know
something that was in this poor martyr’s heart, for Southwell was
afterwards again repeatedly tortured. The intimate personal relations
existing between the virgin queen and this man Topcliffe, whose very
name was a stench in the nostrils of Protestants of respectable
behavior, were maintained long after the Southwell capture, as we learn
from the best authority. The cruelty of Elizabeth was only surpassed
by her mendacity, as her mendacity was only exceeded by her mean
parsimony, and when she travelled or made progress from one country to
another it was always at the expense of her good and loyal subjects.
Eventually the announcement of a visit from their good queen, received
outwardly with such declarations as might naturally follow the promise
of the call of a special envoy from heaven, was in reality looked upon
as the coming of a terrible calamity. It was at that time considered at
the English court—where, as we all know, all the civil and religious
virtues had taken refuge—an excellent jest to so direct the course
of the queen’s progress as to make her visits fall at the residences
of well-known Catholic gentlemen. It is only necessary to say that
the anniversary of all such events yet lives in the traditions of the
descendants of such families as that of a day of horror. The royal
retinue treated the house like a captured place, and it was well for
the proprietor if confiscation or death, or both, were not the sole
reward of his generous hospitality.

Mr. Topcliffe gives us valuable information on this point. On the
30th of August, 1578, he writes to the Earl of Shrewsbury: “The next
good news (not in account the highest), her majesty hath served God
with great zeal and comfortable examples; for by her council the two
notorious papists, young Rookwood (the master of Ewston Hall, where
her majesty did lie upon Sunday now a fortnight), and one Downs, a
gentleman, were both committed, the one to the town prison at Norwich,
the other to the county prison there, for obstinate papistry; and seven
more gentlemen of worship were committed to several houses in Norwich
as prisoners; two of the Lovells, another Downs, one Benings, one
Parry, and two others.... Her majesty, by some means I know not, was
lodged at his (Rookwood’s) house, Ewston, far unmeet for her highness,
but fitter for the blackguard; nevertheless her excellent majesty
gave to Rookwood ordinary thanks for his bad house, and her fair
hand to kiss; after which it was braved at. But my lord chamberlain,
nobly and gravely understanding that Rookwood was excommunicated for
papistry, called him before him, demanded of him how he durst presume
to attempt her real presence, he, unfit to accompany any Christian
person; forthwith said he was fitter for a pair of stocks; commanded
him out of the court, and yet to attend her council’s pleasure; and
at Norwich he was committed,”[24] etc. etc. In the beginning of the
letter Topcliffe “joys at her majesty’s gracious favor and affiance in
your lordship—next some comfort I received of her for myself that must
ever lie nearest my own heart.” Tender Topcliffe! But we must have “no
scandal about Queen Elizabeth,” and our most delicate susceptibilities
for the fair fame of the royal virgin may be quieted by the certainty
that the comfort nearest the human bloodhound’s “own heart” was
something substantial—a country house, an estate, or the like.

Lodge says that this Topcliffe was respectably connected, but that
he could only find that he was distinguished as a most implacable
persecutor of Roman Catholics. In a letter of Sir Anthony Standen, in
which he praises the agreeable manners of the Earl of Essex, he writes:
“Contrary to our _Topcliffian_ customs, he hath won more with words
than others could do with racks.” From another letter of the period
it appears that _Topcliffzare_ in the quaint language of the court
signified to hunt a recusant.

But to return to Southwell. Transferred to a dungeon in the Tower,
“so noisome and filthy that, when he was brought out at the end of
the month, his clothes were covered with vermin,” his father wrote
to her majesty Queen Elizabeth the letter we have already mentioned.
This petition was to some extent regarded. A better lodging was allowed
him, and leave accorded his father to supply him with “cloaths and
other necessaries”; and amongst the rest, with books which he asked
for, which were only the Holy Bible and the works of S. Bernard. “The
selection of books,” says Mr. Grosart, “_the_ book of books, and the
father of the fathers, for a poet is very noteworthy; and through all
his weary imprisonment ‘spiritual things,’ not civil or earthly, were
his theme when he discoursed to his sister Mary (Mrs. Bannister) or
others permitted occasionally to visit him.”


We adopt mainly the relation of Southwell’s trial and execution as it
is given by Bishop Challoner, supported by a Latin MS. preserved in the
archives of the English College of S. Omer’s:

“After Father Southwell had been kept close prisoner for three years
in the Tower, he sent an epistle to Cecil, Lord Treasurer, humbly
entreating his lordship that he might either be brought upon his trial
to answer for himself, or at least that his friends might have leave
to come and see him. The treasurer answered that, if he was in so much
haste to be hanged, he should quickly have his desire. Shortly after
this orders were given that he should be removed from the Tower to
Newgate, where he was put down into the dungeon called _Limbo_, and
there kept for three days.

“On the 22d of February, without any previous warning to prepare
for his trial, he was taken out of his dark lodging and hurried to
Westminster, to hold up his hand there at the bar. The first news of
this step towards his martyrdom filled his heart with a joy which he
could not conceal. The judges before whom he was to appear were Lord
Chief-Justice Popham, Justice Owen, Baron Evans, and Sergeant Daniel.
As soon as Father Southwell was brought in, the lord chief-justice made
a long and vehement speech against the Jesuits and seminary priests,
as the authors and contrivers of all the plots and treasons which, he
pretended, had been hatched during that reign. Then was read the bill
of indictment against Father Southwell, drawn up by Cook, the queen’s


It would be well to remark here that Protestants nowadays frequently
contend that the missionary priests judicially murdered during the
reign of Elizabeth were not executed on account of their religion,
but because they were stirrers up of sedition and traitors, and were
in every case so proven to be upon their respective trials. The good
people who set up such pretext are sadly in ignorance of the history of
that dark period. So far from asserting the slightest pretence of guilt
on the part of such acts accused of as commonly constitute sedition and
high treason, the statute of Elizabeth under which they were sent to
the gallows only made it necessary to show that they were Englishmen
and Catholic priests, and were arrested in England. The statute, in
fact, enacted substantially that, “if any Jesuit, seminary priest, or
deacon, or religious or ecclesiastical person whatever, born within
the realm, shall come into, be, or remain in any part of this realm,
every such offence shall be taken and adjudged to be high treason.”
The indictment against Southwell was “drawn up by Cook, the queen’s
solicitor,” says the S. Omer MS. Now, “Cook, the queen’s solicitor”
here referred to was no less a personage than the great Coke. Here is
the indictment presented by him in Southwell’s case, from which it will
be seen that the prisoner was charged only with the crimes of, _first_,
being a priest of English birth; _second_, of having remained in the
county of Middlesex:

 “The jury present, on the part of our sovereign lady the queen, that
 Robert Southwell, late of London, clerk, born within this kingdom
 of England; to wit, since the feast of S. John the Baptist, in the
 first year of the reign of her majesty, and before the first day of
 May, in the thirty-second year of the reign of our lady the queen
 aforesaid, made and ordained priest by authority derived and pretended
 from the See of Rome; not having the fear of God before his eyes, and
 slighting the laws and statutes of this realm of England, without any
 regard to the penalty therein contained, on the 20th day of June, the
 thirty-fourth year of the reign of our lady the queen, at Uxenden, in
 the county of Middlesex, traitorously, and as a false traitor to our
 lady the queen, was and remained, contrary to the form of the statute
 in such case set forth and provided, and contrary to the peace of our
 said lady the queen, her crown, and dignities.”

The grand jury having found the bill, Father Southwell was ordered to
come up to the bar. He readily obeyed, and, bowing down his head, made
a low reverence to his judges; then modestly held up his hand according
to custom, and, being asked whether he was guilty or not guilty, he
answered, “I confess that I was born in England, a subject to the
queen’s majesty, and that, by authority derived from God, I have been
promoted to the sacred order of priesthood in the Roman Church, for
which I return most hearty thanks to his divine Majesty. I confess,
also, that I was at Uxenden, in Middlesex, at that time, when, being
sent for thither by trick and deceit, I fell into your hands, as is
well known; but that I never entertained any designs or plots against
the queen or kingdom, I call God to witness, the revenger of perjury;
neither had I any other design in returning home to my native country
than to administer the sacraments according to the rite of the Catholic
Church to such as desired them.”

Here the judge interrupted him, and told him that he was to let all
that alone, and plead directly guilty or not guilty. Upon which he
said, _he was not guilty of any treason whatsoever_. And being asked by
what he would be tried, he said, “By God and by you.” The judge told
him he was to answer, “By God and his country,” which, at first, he
refused, alleging that the laws of his country were disagreeable to the
law of God, and that he was unwilling these poor harmless men of the
jury, whom they obliged to represent the country, should have any share
in their guilt, or any hand in his death. “But,” said he, “if through
your iniquity it must be so, and I cannot help it, be it as you will; I
am ready to be judged by God and my country.” When the twelve were to
be sworn, he challenged none of them, saying that they were all equally
strangers to him, and therefore charity did not allow him to except
against any one of them more than another.

After Coke had presented the case to the jury, they went aside to
consult about the verdict, and in a short time brought him in guilty.
He was asked if he had anything more to say for himself why sentence
should not be pronounced against him? He said: “Nothing; but from my
heart I beg of Almighty God to forgive all who have been any ways
accessory to my death.” The judge having pronounced sentence according
to the usual form, Father Southwell made a very low bow, returning him
most hearty thanks as for an unspeakable favor. The judge offered him
the help of a minister to prepare him to die. Father Southwell desired
he would not trouble him upon that head; that the grace of God would
be more than sufficient for him. And so, being sent back to Newgate
through the streets, lined with people, he discovered, all the way, the
overflowing joy of his heart in his eyes, in his whole countenance, and
in every gesture and motion of his body. He was again put down into
limbo, at his return to Newgate, where he spent the following night,
the last of his life, in prayer, full of the thoughts of the journey he
was to take the next day, through the gate of martyrdom, into a happy
eternity; to enjoy for ever the sovereign object of his love.

We have seen by what device and with what ill success the officials
directing the execution sought, on the next morning, to draw away the
crowd from Tyburn where Father Southwell was to be “hung, bowelled, and


The modern reader generally, and very naturally, supposes that this
sentence, horrible as it is in its simplest form, would be carried
out as stated, that is to say, that, when the condemned man was hung
until dead, his body was then butchered as described. This probably was
the intention of the law, and the latter two of the three incidents
of the executions were intended more as indignities to the remains
of a criminal supposed to be guilty of the greatest of human crimes
than as any part of the means of procuring death. But under the
reign of Elizabeth the cruelty and bestiality of the mode in which
the horrible sentence was carried out had reached its height. As a
general thing, the victim was butchered alive. According to the whim
or the bloodthirstiness of the executioner, the condemned man was
allowed to hang a short time, or he was scarcely swung off before he
was cut down and the hangman was—as he is described in a well-known
phrase—“grabbling among his entrails.” Sometimes the executioner would
spring upon the body as it was swung off, and plunge his knife into the
victim before they reached the ground in their fall together. When a
young priest named Edward Genings was executed, in 1591, the butchery
was superintended by Topcliffe, who adjured the victim to submit and
recant and he should be pardoned. His reply was: “I know not in what I
have offended my dear anointed princess; if I had, I would willingly
ask forgiveness. If she be offended with me because I am a priest,
and because I profess my faith and will not turn minister against my
conscience, I shall be, I trust, excused and innocent before God. I
must obey God, saith S. Peter, rather than men.” At this Topcliffe was
enraged, and bade the hangman turn the ladder; scarcely giving him time
to say a _Pater Noster_. Cut down by his order before he was dead, the
butchery began, and, the hangman’s hand being already on his heart,
Genings was heard to say, “Sancte Gregori, ora pro me!”—which the
hangman hearing, he swore, “_Zounds, see, his heart is in my hand_, and
yet Gregory is in his mouth! O egregious papist!”[25]

We return to Father Southwell, who was drawn on a hurdle or sled from
Newgate to Tyburn, and resume the account of the S. Omer’s MS.: “When
he was come to the place, getting up into the cart, he made the sign of
the cross in the best manner that he could, his hands being pinion’d,
and began to speak to the people those words of the apostle (Rom. xiv),
‘Whether we live, we live to the Lord, or whether we die, we die to the
Lord; therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.’ Here
the sheriff would have interrupted him, but he begged leave that he
might go on, assuring him that he would utter nothing that should give
offence. Then he spoke as follows: ‘I am come to this place to finish
my course, and to pass out of this miserable life; and I beg of my Lord
Jesus Christ, in whose most precious Passion and Blood I place my hope
of salvation, that he would have mercy on my soul. I confess I am a
Catholic priest of the Holy Roman Church, and a religious man of the
Society of Jesus; on which account I owe eternal thanks and praises to
my God and Saviour.’ Here he was interrupted by a minister telling him
that, if he understood what he had said in the sense of the Council of
Trent, it was damnable doctrine. But the minister was silenc’d by the
standers-by, and Mr. Southwell went on, saying: ‘Sir, I beg of you not
to be troublesome to me for this short time that I have to live: I am a
Catholic, and in whatever manner you may please to interpret my words,
I hope for my salvation by the merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ; and as
to the queen, I never attempted, nor contrived, or imagined any evil
against her, but have always prayed for her to Our Lord, and for this
short time of my life still pray, that, in his infinite mercy, he would
be pleased to give her all such gifts and graces which he sees, in his
divine wisdom, to be most expedient for the welfare both of her soul
and body, in this life and in the next. I recommend in like manner, to
the same mercy of God, my poor country, and I implore the divine bounty
to favor it with his light and the knowledge of his truth, to the
greater advancement of the salvation of souls, and the eternal glory of
his divine Majesty. In fine, I beg of the almighty and everlasting God,
that this my death may be for my own and for my country’s good, and the
comfort of the Catholics my brethren.’

“Having finished these words, and looking for the cart to be
immediately drove away, he again blessed himself, and, with his eyes
raised to heaven, repeated with great calmness of mind and countenance,
‘Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit,’ with other short
ejaculations, till the cart was drawn off. The unskilful hangman had
not applied the noose of the rope to the proper place, so that he
several times made the sign of the cross whilst he was hanging, and was
some time before he was strangled, which some perceiving, drew him by
the legs to put an end to his pain, and when the executioner was for
cutting the rope before he was dead, the gentlemen and people that were
present cried out three several times, ‘Hold, hold!’ for the behavior
of the servant of God was so edifying in these his last moments, that
even the Protestants who were present at the execution were much
affected with the sight.” After he was dead he was cut down and the
remainder of the sentence carried out. Turnbull relates that “Lord
Mountjoy (Charles Blount), who happened to be present, was so struck by
the martyr’s constancy that he exclaimed, ‘May my soul be with this
man’s!’ and he assisted in restraining those who would have cut the
rope while he was still in life.”

Father Southwell’s reverend and Protestant biographer declares, in
concluding his relation of the execution: “I must regard our worthy as
a ‘martyr’ in the deepest and grandest sense—a good man, and full of
the Holy Ghost. I should blush for my Protestantism if I did not hold
in honor, yea reverence, his stainless and beautiful memory.

  ‘Through this desert, day by day,
  Wandered not his steps astray,
  Treading still the royal way.’

  —_Paradisus Animæ._

“So perished Father Southwell, at thirty-three years of age, and so,
unhappily, have perished many of the wise and virtuous of the earth.
Conscious of suffering in the supposed best of causes, he seems to have
met death without terror—to have received the crown of martyrdom not
only with resignation, but with joy.”[26]

It is matter of regret that there exists no authentic portrait of
Southwell. His biographer is of opinion that a genuine likeness of him
would have shown an intellectual, etherealized face, and fancies that
he might have sat for the portrait of the Prior in _The Lady of Garaye_:

  “Tender his words, and eloquently wise;
  Mild the pure fervor of his watchful eyes;
  Meek with serenity and constant prayer,
  The luminous forehead, high and broad and bare.
  The thin mouth, though not passionless, yet still
  With a sweet calm that speaks an angel’s will.
  Resolving service to his God’s behest,
  And ever musing how to serve _him_ best,
  Not old, nor young; with manhood’s gentlest grace,
  Pale to transparency the pensive face,
  Pale not with sickness but with studious thought,
  The body tasked, the fine mind overwrought;
  With something faint and fragile in the whole,
  As though ‘twere but a lamp to hold a soul.”


And here, first, a few words on the prose writings of Southwell. We
have already referred to the remarkable letter of admonition by him
addressed to his father. It is a severe test to put the prose of any
cultivated language to that of comparison with the productions of the
same tongue nearly three centuries later. And yet this letter will
support such comparison surprisingly well both as to substance and
style. The reader will bear in mind the peculiar circumstances under
which Southwell addressed this


 “I am not of so unnatural a kind, of so wild an education, or so
 unchristian a spirit, as not to remember the root out of which I have
 branched, or to forget my secondary maker and author of my being. It
 is not the carelessness of a cold affection, nor the want of a due and
 reverent respect, that has made me such a stranger to my native home,
 and so backward in defraying the debt of a thankful mind, but only
 the iniquity of these days that maketh my presence perilous, and the
 discharge of my duties an occasion of danger. I was loath to enforce
 an unwilling courtesy upon any, or by seeming officious to become
 offensive; deeming it better to let time digest the fear that my
 return into the realm had bred in my kindred than abruptly to intrude
 myself, and to purchase their danger, whose good-will I so highly
 esteem. I never doubted but what the belief, which to all my friends
 by descent and pedigree is, in a manner, hereditary, framed in them a
 right persuasion of my present calling, not suffering them to measure
 their censures of me by the ugly terms and odious epithets wherewith
 heresy hath sought to discredit my functions, but rather by the
 reverence of so worthy a sacrament and the sacred usages of all former
 ages. Yet, because I might easily perceive by apparent conjectures
 that many were more willing to hear of me than from me, and readier
 to praise than to use my endeavors, I have hitherto bridled my desire
 to see them by the care and jealousy of their safety; and banished
 myself from the scene of my cradle in my own country. I have lived
 like a foreigner, finding among strangers that which, in my nearest
 blood, I presumed not to seek.”

Then, regretting that he has been barred from affording to his dearest
friends that which hath been eagerly sought and beneficially attained
by mere strangers, he exclaims passionately:

 “Who hath more interest in the grape than he who planted the vine?
 Who more right to the crop than he who sowed the corn? or where can
 the child owe so great service as to him to whom he is indebted for
 his very life and being? With young Tobias I have travelled far, and
 brought home a freight of spiritual sustenance to enrich you, and
 medicinable receipts against your ghostly maladies. I have with Esau,
 after long toil in pursuing a long and painful chase, returned with
 the full prey you were wont to love, desiring thereby to ensure your
 blessing. I have, in this general famine of all true and Christian
 food, with Joseph prepared abundance of the mead of angels for the
 repast of your soul. And now my desire is that my drugs may cure you,
 my prey delight you, and my provisions feed you, by whom I have been
 cured, enlightened, and fed myself; that your courtesies may, in part,
 be counterveiled, and my duty, in some sort, performed.

 “Despise not, good sire, the youth of your son, neither deem your
 God measureth his endowments by number of years. Hoary senses are
 often couched under youthful locks, and some are riper in the spring
 than others in the autumn of their age. God chose not Esau himself,
 nor his eldest son, but young David, to conquer Goliath and to rule
 his people; not the most aged person, but David, the most innocent
 youth, delivered Susannah from the iniquity of the judges. Christ,
 at twelve years of age, was found in the temple questioning with
 the greatest doctors. A true Elias can conceive that a little cloud
 may cast a large and abundant shower; and the Scripture teacheth us
 that God unveileth to little ones that which he concealeth from the
 wisest sages. His truth is not abashed by the minority of the speaker;
 for out of the mouths of infants and sucklings he can perfect his
 praises.... The full of your spring-tide is now fallen, and the stream
 of your life waneth to a low ebb; your tired bark beginneth to leak,
 and _grateth oft upon the gravel of the grave_; therefore it is high
 time for you to strike sail and put into harbor, lest, remaining in
 the scope of the winds and waves of this wicked time, some unexpected
 gust should dash you upon the rock of eternal ruin.”

The entire letter is given in both Walter and Turnbull’s _Memoirs of
Southwell_, and has been extravagantly praised as being the composition
of Sir Walter Raleigh, among whose _Remains_ it is frequently
reprinted. Mr. Grosart, a Protestant clergyman, says of it: “I know
nothing comparable with the mingled affection and prophetlike fidelity,
the wise instruction, correction, reproof, the full rich scripturalness
and quaint applications, the devoutness, the insistence, the pathos of
this letter.” The edition of Sir Walter Raleigh’s _Remains_, published
in London in 1675, was the subject of an article in the _Retrospective
Review_ for 1820, in which the reviewer remarks: “‘The Dutiful Advice
of a Loving Son to his Aged Father’ is supposed to be a libel on
Sir Walter, written by his enemies. It will be seen, however, that
it bears a strong resemblance to his style, although the metaphor
is more profuse and ornamental, and seems to be rather engrafted on
his thoughts than to spring up with them. That this piece should be
dictated by personal hostility is strange. It contains exhortations
that might with the greatest propriety be directed to any man.

“It is possible that it might be written by another in imitation of
Sir Walter Raleigh’s ‘Advice to his Son’; _yet if he was an enemy, he
was of a most uncommon description_. As the advice, however, is worth
quoting for its own merit, and is written with great force and beauty,
we shall give our readers an opportunity of judging for themselves.”

This letter is Southwell’s earliest dated prose, and was followed by a
variety of treatises, epistles, and pamphlets, printed on the “private
press” at his own house in London. Besides these, there remain several
English and a large number of Latin prose writings still in manuscript.
“Mary Magdalene’s Funerall Teares,” although prose in form, is in fact
far more fervid and impassioned than the greater part of his poetry.


To the readers of poetry for its merely sensuous qualities of flowing
measure, attractive imagery, and brilliant description, the poems
of Southwell possess but few attractions. Their subjects are all
religious, or, at least, serious; and, in reading him, we must totally
forget the traditional pagan poet pictured to us as crowned with
flowers, and holding in hand an overflowing anacreontic cup. Serious,
indeed, his poems might well be, for they were all composed during
the intervals of thirteen bodily rackings in a gloomy prison that
opened only upon the scaffold. And yet we look in vain among them
for expressions of the reproaches or repining such a fate might well
engender, and we search with but scant result for record or trace
of his own sufferings in the lines traced with fingers yet bent and
smarting with the rack. The vanity of all earthly things, the trials
of life, the folly and wickedness of the world, the uncertainty of
life, and the consolations and glories of religion, are the constantly
returning subjects of his productions, and, however treated, they
always reflect the benignity and elevation of the poet’s character.

Certain it is that Southwell was largely read by the generation that
immediately succeeded him. Many years ago, Ellis[27] said: “The
very few copies of his works which are now known to exist are the
remnant of at least seventeen different editions, of which eleven
were printed between 1593 and 1600”; and at a later period, Drake, in
his _Shakespeare and his Times_, says:[28] “Both the poetry and the
prose of Southwell possess the most decided merit; the former, which
is almost entirely restricted to moral and religious subjects, flows
in a vein of great harmony, perspicuity, and elegance, and breathes
a fascination resulting from the subject and the pathetic mode of
treating it which fixes and deeply interests the reader.”

A valuable tribute of admiration to Southwell’s poetic talent is that
of Ben Jonson, who said: “that Southwell was hanged; yet so he (Jonson)
had written that piece of his, ‘The Burning Babe,’ he would have been
content to destroy many of his.”[29] Our readers, we are sure, will
thank us for giving it here, although we strongly suspect that Mr.
Grosart will not approve of its modern orthography.

  As I in hoary winter’s night stood shivering in the snow,
  Surprised I was with sudden heat, which made my heart to glow;
  And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
  A pretty Babe all burning bright did in the air appear,
  Who, scorched with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed,
  As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears
      were fed;
  Alas! quoth he, but newly born, in fiery heats I frye,
  Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I!
  My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
  Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scornes;
  The fuel Justice layeth on, and Mercy blows the coals,
  The metal in this furnace wrought are men’s defiled souls,
  For which, as now, on fire I am, to work them to their good,
  So will I melt into a bath to washe them in my blood:
  With this he vanished out of sight, and swiftly shrunk away,
  And straight I called unto mind that it was Christmas day.

Our limits will permit but slight citation from the body of
Southwell’s poetry. He is most widely known by his chief poem
“S. Peter’s Complaint,” consisting of one hundred and thirty-six
stanzas (six-line). But his most attractive pieces are his shorter
poems—“Times go by Turns,” “Content and Rich,”[30] “Life is but
Loss,” “Look Home,” “Love’s servile Lot,” and the whole series on our
Saviour and his Mother; and, making some allowance for the enthusiasm
of our editor, no true lover of poetry who reads these productions of
Southwell will seriously dissent from Mr. Grosart’s estimate of them.
“The hastiest reader will come on ‘thinking’ and ‘feeling’ that are
as musical as Apollo’s lute, and as fresh as a spring budding spray;
and the wording of all (excepting over-alliteration and inversion
occasionally), is throughout of the ‘pure well of English undefiled.’
When you take some of the Myrtæ and Mæoniæ pieces, and read and re-read
them, you are struck with their condensation, their concinnity, their
polish, their _élan_, their memorableness. Holiness is in them not as
scent on love-locks, but as fragrance in the great Gardener’s flowers
of fragrance. His tears are pure and white as the ‘dew of the morning.’
His smiles—for he has humor, even wit, that must have lurked in the
burdened eyes and corners o’ mouth—are sunny as sunshine. As a whole,
his poetry is healthy and strong, and, I think, has been more potential
in our literature than appears on the surface. I do not think it would
be hard to show that others of whom more is heard drew light from him,
as well early as more recent, from Burns to Thomas Hood. For example,
limiting as to the latter, I believe every reader who will compare the
two deliberately will see in the ‘Vale of Tears’ the source of the
latter’s immortal ‘Haunted House’—dim, faint, weak beside it, as the
earth-hid bulb compared with the lovely blossom of hyacinth or tulip or
lily, nevertheless really carrying in it the original of the mightier

Our warmest tribute of praise can render but scant justice to the
intelligence, the industry, the erudition, the keen poetic sense, and
the enthusiasm which the editor of the volume before us has devoted to
what has evidently been to him a labor of love. Mr. Grosart is well
known in the literary world as the editor of Crashawe and of Vaughan,
as also of the forthcoming editions of Marvell, Donne, and Sidney.
His laboriously corrected version of our martyr-poet’s legacy has, it
may be said, restored Southwell to us, so obscured had he become by
mistakes, misprints, and false readings. Indeed Mr. Grosart’s somewhat
jealous love of his subject betrays him into apparently harsh judgment
on the efforts of others, when, for instance, he declares himself
“vexed by the travesties on editing and mere carelessness of Walter
earlier (1817) and Turnbull later (1856) in their so-called editions of
the poems of Father Southwell,” adding: “Turnbull said contemptuously,
‘I refrain from criticism on Mr. Walter’s text’—severe but not
undeserved, only his own is scarcely one whit better, and in places

There is one passage at the close of Mr. Grosart’s interesting
preface which has a special interest for us as Americans. We mean his
reference to the verdict pronounced on Father Southwell’s poetry by
Prof. James Russell Lowell in his charming book _My Study Windows_.
“It seems to me,” says Mr. Grosart, “harsh to brutality on the man
(meet follower of him ‘the first true gentleman that ever breathed’);
while on the poetry it rests on self-evidently the most superficial
acquaintance and the hastiest generalization. To pronounce ‘S.
Peter’s Complaint’ a ‘drawl’ of thirty pages of ‘maudlin repentance,
in which the distinctions between the north and northeast sides of
a (_sic_) sentimentality are worthy of Duns Scotus,’ shows about as
much knowledge—that is, ignorance—of the poem as of the schoolman,
and as another remark does of S. Peter; for, with admitted tedium, S.
Peter’s complaint sounds depths of penitence and remorse, and utters
out emotion that flames into passion very unforgettably, while there
are felicities of metaphor, daintinesses of word-painting, brilliancies
of inner-portraiture, scarcely to be matched in contemporary verse. The
‘paraphrase’ of David (to wit, ‘David’s Peccavi’) is a single short
piece, and the ‘punning’ conceit, ‘fears are my feres,’ is common to
some of England’s finest wits, and in the meaning of ‘fere’ not at all
to be pronounced against. If we on this side of the Atlantic valued
less the opinion of such a unique genius as Prof. Lowell’s, if we did
not take him to our innermost love, we should less grieve over such
a vulgar affront offered to a venerable name as his whole paragraph
to Southwell. I shall indulge the hope of our edition reaching the
‘Study,’ and persuading to a real ‘study’ of these poems, and, if so, I
do not despair of a voluntary reversal of the first judgment.”


pronounced Southwell to be the Goldsmith of our early poets; and
‘Content and Rich,’ and, ‘Dyer’s phansie turned to a Sinner’s
Complaint’ warrant the great praise. But beneath the manner recalling
Goldsmith, there is a purity and richness of thought, a naturalness, a
fineness of expression, a harmony of versification, and occasionally a
tide-flow of high-toned feeling, not to be met with in him.

“Nor will Prof. Lowell deem his (I fear) hasty (mis)judgment’s
reconsideration too much to count on, after the present Archbishop of
Dublin’s well-weighed words in his notes to his _Household Book of
English Poetry_ (1868):

 “‘Hallam thinks that Southwell has been of late praised at least as
 much as he deserves. This may be so; yet, taking into account the
 finished beauty of such poems as this (“Lewd Love is Loss”) and No.
 2 (“Times go by Turns”) of this collection, poems which, as far as
 they go, leave nothing to be desired, he has scarcely been praised
 more than he deserves. How in earlier times he was rated, the fact
 that there were twenty-four editions of his poems will sufficiently
 testify; though probably the creed be professed, and the death which
 he died, may have had something to do with this. Robert Southwell
 was a seminary priest, and was executed at Tyburn in the reign of
 Queen Elizabeth, in conformity with a law, which even the persistent
 plottings of too many of these at once against the life of the
 sovereign and the life of the state must altogether fail to justify or
 excuse’ (pp. 391-392).

“To Archbishop Trench’s I add, as equally weighty and worthy, the
fine and finely sympathetic yet discriminative judgment of Dr. George
Macdonald in _Antiphon_ as follows:

 “‘I proceed to call up one WHO WAS A POET INDEED, although
 little known as such, being a Roman Catholic, a Jesuit even, and
 therefore, in Elizabeth’s reign, a traitor and subject to the
 penalties according (accruing)? Robert Southwell, thirteen times most
 cruelly tortured, could “not be induced to confess anything, not even
 the color of the horse whereon he rode on a certain day, lest from
 such indication his adversaries might conjecture in what house, or in
 company of what Catholics, he that day was,’ etc.

“I believe, then,” concludes Dr. Grosart, “I shall not appeal in vain
to Prof. Lowell to give a few hours behind his ‘Study Windows’ to a
reperusal of some of the poems of Southwell named by us and these
sufficiently qualified critics.”


THERE is probably no article, not a necessity, which has employed so
many heads and hands, and been the subject of such varied interests,
as lace. The making of it has given employment to countless nunneries,
where the ladies, working first and most heartily for the church, have
also taught this art to their pupils as an accomplishment or a means of
support. It was, indeed, so peculiarly the province of the religious
that, long after it was done in the world, it still bore the name of

In those old days when railroads were not, and when swamps and forests
covered tracts of land now thick with villages and cities, country
ladies made fine needle-work their chief occupation; and it was the
custom in feudal times for the squires’ daughters to spend some time
in the castle, in attendance on the _châtelaine_, where they learned
to embroider and make lace. It was then a woman’s only resource, and
was held in high esteem. In the cloisters of Westminster Abbey, one
Catherine Sloper was laid to rest, in 1620, with the inscription on her
tombstone that she was “exquisite at her needle.”

Millions of poor women, and even men and children, have earned their
bread by this delicate labor; women of intelligence and fair estate
have devoted their lives to it; and noble and regal ladies have been
proud to excel in the art.

It is related that when Cardinals Wolsey and Campeggio went down to
the palace at Bridewell to seek an interview with the repudiated wife
of Henry VIII., they found her seated among her ladies embroidering,
and she came to meet them with a skein of red silk around her neck. In
those days they wrought and made lace with colored silk. We can imagine
how the bright floss must have trembled over the tumultuous beatings of
that wronged heart during the cruel interview that followed.

But the work of Catherine of Aragon was not for vanity’s sake, nor even
to pass the heavy hours. In her native Spain the rarest laces were made
for the church, and not only nuns, but ladies of the world, wove pious
thoughts in with that fairy web. Perhaps nowhere else, save in Rome,
was the church lace so rich as in Spain. Images of favorite saints and
Madonnas had wardrobes of regal magnificence, changed every day, and
the altars and vestments were no less regally adorned.

Beckford writes that, in 1787, the Marchioness of Cogalhudo, wife of
the eldest son of the semi-regal race of Medina Cœli, was appointed
Mistress of the Robes to Our Lady of La Solidad, in Madrid, and that
the office was much coveted.

It is supposed that the peasantry of Bedfordshire, in England, first
learned lace-making through the charity of Queen Catherine. While at
Ampthill, it is recorded that, when not at her devotions, she, with
her ladies, “wrought a needle-work costly and artificially, which she
intended for the honor of God to bestow on some of the churches.”

The country people had the greatest love and respect for the disgraced
queen; and, till lately, the lace-makers held “Cattern’s Day,” the 25th
of November, as the holiday of their craft, “in memory of good Queen
Catherine, who, when trade was dull, burnt all her laces, and ordered
new to be made. The ladies of the court followed her example, and
the fabric once more revived.” Lace was and is considered a suitable
present from a king to a pontiff. These earlier gifts were, it is true,
sometimes of gold and silver lace wrought with precious stones, but
they were scarcely more costly than the later white-thread points. In
the Exhibition of 1859 was shown a dress valued at 200,000 francs, the
most costly work ever executed at Alençon. This Napoleon III. purchased
for the empress, who, it is said, presented it to his Holiness the Pope
as a trimming for his rochet. Also, so early as the XIIIth century, the
English cut-work was so fine that, according to Matthew Paris, Pope
Innocent IV. sent official letters to some of the Cistercian abbots
of England to procure a certain quantity of those vestments for his
own use. His Holiness had seen and admired the orfrays of the English

The finest specimens extant of this old English work (_opus
Anglicanum_) are the cope and maniple of S. Cuthbert, taken from his
coffin many years ago in the cathedral of Durham, and now preserved in
the chapter library of that city. One who has seen them declares them
beautiful beyond description.

This work seems to have been at first used only for ecclesiastical
purposes, and the making of it to have been a secret preserved in the

Nor have the clergy been merely the wearers of lace. We hear of monks
being praised for their skill in “imbrothering”; and S. Dunstan himself
did not disdain to design patterns for church lace. Pattern-books for
these needle-laces were made by monks as well as laymen, and plates
in them represent men seated at the embroidering frame. Some of these
old pattern books of the XVIth century are preserved in the library
of S. Geneviève at Paris, inherited from the monastery of that name.
These books are prized and sought for as some of the earliest specimens
of block-printing. But few remain, and doubtless their high price
prevented them from being made in great numbers. Their place was taken
by samplers, into which were copied the patterns desired. From these
old lace-samplers come the later alphabetical samplers, which many now
living will remember to have made in their youth.

Large quantities of rich old lace were lost in the last century, when
the French Revolution brought in gauzes and blondes, and fashion tossed
aside as worthless these exquisite products of the needle. In Italy,
where the custom was to preserve old family lace, less was destroyed;
but in England it was handed over to servants or farm people, or stowed
away in attics, and afterwards burned. Some ladies gave point-laces
which now they could not afford to buy, to their children to dress
their dolls with. Sometimes it was thrown away as old rags.

In the church, however, fashion had no power, and old lace has been
usually preserved. Some collections are exceedingly valuable. Notable
among these is that of the Rohan family, who gave princes-archbishops
to Strasbourg. Baroness de Oberkirck, in _Memoirs of the Court of Louis
XVI._, writes: “We met the cardinal coming out of his chapel dressed
in a soutane of scarlet moire and rochet of inestimable value. When,
on great occasions, he officiates at Versailles, he wears an alb of
old lace of needlepoint of such beauty that his assistants were almost
afraid to touch it. His arms and device are worked in a medallion above
the large flowers.” This alb is estimated at 100,000 livres.

It is impossible to exaggerate the extent to which lace was used prior
to the French Revolution, or the immense extravagance of the sums
spent on it. Everybody wore it, even servants emulating their masters
and mistresses. It trimmed everything, from the towering Fontanges,
which rose like a steeple from ladies’ heads, to the boot-tops and
shoe-rosettes of men. Men wore lace ruffles not only at the wrist,
but at the knee, lace ruffs, cravats, collars, and garters; and bed
furniture was made of lace, or trimmed with it, costly as it was. A
pair of ruffles would amount to 4,000 livres, a lady’s cap to 1,200
livres. We read that Mme. du Barry gave 487 francs for lace enough to
trim a pillow-case, and 77 livres for a pair of ruffles. Lace fans were
made in 1668, and lace-trimmed bouquet-holders are not a new fancy.
When the Doge of Venice made his annual visit to the convent _Delle
Vergini_, the lady abbess used to meet him in the parlor, surrounded by
her novices, and present him a nosegay in a gold handle trimmed with
the richest lace that could be found in Venice.

Voltaire says that the mysterious Iron Mask was passionately fond of
fine linen and rich lace.

So extravagant had the use of this luxury become that in England
there was an outcry against it, and the Puritans laid great stress on
discarding vanity in clothing.

We have a little scene illustrative, between the Princess Mary and
Lady Jane Grey. The princess had given the maiden some gorgeous
dresses trimmed with lace. “What shall I do with it?” asks Lady Jane.
“Gentlewoman, wear it,” was the reply, a little vexed, may be. “Nay,”
says Lady Jane, “that were a shame to follow my Lady Mary against God’s
will, and leave my Lady Elizabeth, which followeth God’s will.”

“My Lady Elizabeth,” however, set aside her scruples before long, and,
when queen, did not hesitate to adorn herself as bravely as she might,
though she had no mind her fashions should be copied by the vulgar; for
we read that, when the London Apprentices adopted white stitching and
guards as ornaments for their collars, Queen Elizabeth forbade it, and
ordered that the first transgressor should be publicly whipped in the
hall of his company.

There is another incident, which, as one of the sex in whom vanity is
supposed to be prominent, we take special pleasure in relating.

The Puritan nobles had not in dress conformed to Puritan rules as
strictly as some desired, the foreign ambassadors dressing as richly as
ever. When, therefore, the Spanish envoy accredited to the Protectorate
of Cromwell arrived and was about to have an audience, Harrison begged
Lord Warwick and Colonel Hutchinson to set an example by not wearing
either gold or silver lace. These gentlemen did not disapprove of rich
clothing, but, rather than give offence, they and their associates
appeared the next day in plain black suits. But, to their astonishment,
Harrison entered dressed in a scarlet coat so covered with lace and
_clinquant_ as to hide the material of which it was made. Whereupon
Mrs. Hutchinson remarks that Harrison’s “godly speeches were only
made that he might appear braver above the rest in the eyes of the

Lace has frequently employed the thoughts of law-makers, and in 1698
was the subject of a legislative duel between England and Flanders.
There was already in England an act prohibiting the importation of
bone-lace (_i.e._ bobbin-lace), loom-lace, cut-work, and needle-work
point; but this proving ineffectual, since everybody smuggled, another
act was passed setting a penalty of twenty shillings a yard and
forfeiture. We regret to learn that forfeiture meant, in some cases at
least, burning, and that large quantities of the finest Flanders lace
were seized and actually burned. It reminds one of the burning of Don
Quixote’s library of chivalric records.

Flanders, however, with its nunneries full of lace-makers, and its
thousands of people depending on the trade, had no mind to be thus
crippled without retaliation. An act was immediately passed prohibiting
the importation of English wool; whereupon the wool-staplers echoed
with addition the groans of the lace-makers, and England was forced to
repeal the act so far as the Low Countries were concerned.

As we have said, everybody in England smuggled lace in those days.
Smuggling seems indeed to be everywhere looked on as the least shameful
of law-breaking. But never, perhaps, were officers of the customs as
incorruptible as these. Suspicious persons were searched, no matter
what their rank, and no person living within miles of a seaport dared
to wear a bit of foreign lace unless they could prove that it had been
honestly obtained. Many were the devices by which men and women sought
to elude the customs. When a deceased clergyman of the English Church
was conveyed home from the Low Countries for burial, it was found that
only his head, hands, and feet were in the coffin—the body had been
replaced by Flanders lace of immense value. Years after, when the
body of his Grace the Duke of Devonshire, who had died in France, was
brought over, the custom-house officers not only searched the coffin,
but poked the corpse with a stick to make sure that it was a body.
The High Sheriff of Westminster was more fortunate, for he succeeded
in smuggling £6,000 worth of lace in the coffin that brought over from
Calais the body of Bishop Atterbury.

In the present century, Lady Ellenborough, wife of the lord
chief-justice, was stopped near Dover, and a large quantity of valuable
lace found secreted in the lining of her carriage.

At one period, much lace was smuggled into France from Belgium by means
of dogs trained for the purpose. A dog was caressed and petted at home,
then, after a while, sent across the frontier, where he was tied up,
starved, and ill-treated. The skin of a larger dog was then fitted to
his body, the intervening space filled with lace, and the poor animal
was released. Of course he made haste to scamper back to his former

_A propos_ of the customs, there is a story in which George III.
had an active part, and displayed his determination to protect home

On the marriage of his sister, Princess Augusta, to the Duke of
Brunswick, the king ordered that all stuffs and laces worn should be of
English manufacture. The nobility, intent on outshining each other on
this grand occasion, took but little notice of the command. We may well
believe that the rooms of the court milliner were gorgeous with these
preparations; that there was unusual hurry and flurry lest everything
should not be done in time; and that high-born and beautiful ladies
were constantly besieging the doors, bringing additions to the stock.
Fancy, then, the consternation of the expectant and excited dames,
when, only three days before the wedding, the customs made a descent on
this costly finery, and carried off in one fell swoop the silver, the
gold, and the laces! There was not only the loss of these dear gewgaws
to mourn, but a new toilet to be prepared in three days!

The camp, too, as well as the church and the court, has cherished lace,
and the warriors of those days did not fight less gallantly because
they went into battle elegantly arrayed. Lace ruffles at the wrist did
not weaken the sword or sabre stroke, nor laces on the neck and bosom
make faint the heart beneath. Possibly they helped to a nobler courtesy
and a braver death; for slovenly dress tends to make slovenly manners,
and slovenly manners often lead to careless morals.

A graceful fashion called the Steinkerk had a martial origin, and was
named from the battle so-called, wherein Marshal Luxembourg won the day
against William of Orange. On that day, the young princes of the blood
were suddenly and unexpectedly called into battle. Hastily knotting
about their necks the laced cravats then in fashion, and usually tied
with great nicety, they rushed into action, and won the fight.

In honor of that event, both ladies and gentlemen wore their cravats
and scarfs loosely twisted and knotted, the ends sometimes tucked
through the button-hole, sometimes confined by a large oval-shaped
brooch; and Steinkerks became the rage.

But evidence enough, perhaps, has been brought to prove that lace is
not an entirely trivial subject of discourse. We may, however, add that
Dr. Johnson condescended to define net lace in his most Johnsonian
manner. It is, he says, “anything reticulated or decussated, with
interstices between the intersections.” After that, ladies may wear
their ruffles not only with pleasure, but with respect; for if he was
so learned in defining plain net, what unimaginable erudition would
have entered his definition of Honiton guipure, or the points of
Alençon, Brussels, or Venice!

Spiders were probably the first creatures that made lace, though the
trees held a delicate white network under the green of their leaves.
After the spiders came the human race, following closely. Old Egyptian
pictures and sculptures show us women engaged in twisting threads;
and the Scriptures are full of allusions to “fine twined linen” and
needle-work. Almost as soon as garments were worn they began to be
adorned at the edges; and among savages, to whom garments were of
slight consequence, tattooing was practised, which is the same idea in
a different form.

The Israelites probably learned from the Egyptians, and from them the
art travelled westward. One theory is that Europe learned it from the
Saracens. It matters but little to us which is the real version. It
is most likely that all the children of Adam and Eve had some fancy
of this sort which reached greater perfection in the more cultivated
tribes and nations, and was by them taught to the others. The waved
or serrated edges of leaves would suggest such adornments to them, or
the fur hanging over the edge of the rude skins they wore. The very
waves of the sea, that curled over in snowy spray at their tips, had a
suggestion of lace and ornamental bordering; and the clouds of sunrise
and sunset were fringed with crimson and gold by the sun. Flower petals
were finished with a variegated edge, and it was not enough that birds
had wings, but they must be ornamented.

When embroidery at length became an art, the Phrygian women excelled
all others. Presently close embroidery became open-worked or
cut-worked, and out of cut-work grew lace.

This cut-work was made in various ways. In one kind, a network of
thread was made on a frame, and under this was gummed a piece of fine
cloth. Then those parts which were to remain thick were sewed round on
to the cloth; and afterward the superfluous cloth was cut away.

Another kind was made entirely of thread, which was arranged on a frame
in lines diverging from the centre like a spider’s web, and worked
across and over with other threads, forming geometrical patterns.
Later, a fabric still more like our modern lace was made. A groundwork
was netted by making one stitch at the beginning, and increasing a
stitch on each side till the requisite size was obtained. On this
ground was worked the pattern, sometimes darned in with counted
stitches, sometimes cut out of linen, and _appliqué_. Still another
kind was drawn-work, threads being drawn from linen or muslin, and the
thinned cloth worked into lace. Specimens still exist of a six-sided
lace net made in this way, with sprigs worked over it.

The earlier rich laces were not made of white thread. Gold, silver,
and silk were used. The Italians, who claim to have invented point
lace, were the great makers of gold lace. Cyprus stretched gold into
a wire, and wove it. From Cyprus the art reached Genoa, Venice, and
Milan; and gradually all Europe learned to make gold lace. In England,
the complaint was raised that the gold of the realm was sensibly
diminishing in this way, and in 1635 an act was passed prohibiting the
melting down of bullion to make gold or silver “purl.” And not only
in Western and Southern Europe was this luxury fashionable. A piece
of gold lace was found in a Scandinavian barrow opened in the XVIIIth
century. Perhaps the lace was made by some captive woman stolen by
the vikings, a later Proserpine ravished from the South, who wove the
web with her pale fingers as she sat in that frozen Hades, while her
piratical blue-eyed Pluto looked on marvelling, and waiting to catch a
smile from her relenting eyes. Gold lace was sold by weight.

Some of the most magnificent old points of Venice were made of silk,
the natural cream-color. The rose Venice point—_Gros point de Venice,
Punto a rilievo_—was the richest and most complicated of all points.
It was worked of silk, on a parchment pattern, the flowers connected by
_brides_. The outlines of these flowers were in relief, cotton being
placed inside to raise them, and countless beautiful stitches were
introduced. Sometimes they were in double, sometimes in triple, relief,
and each flower and leaf was edged with fine regular pearls. This
point was highly prized for albs, _collerettes_, _berthes_, and costly

Another kind of Venice lace—knotted point—had a charmingly
romantic origin. A young girl in one of the islands of the Lagune, a
lace-worker, was betrothed to a young sailor, who brought her home from
the Southern seas a bunch of pretty coralline called mermaid’s lace.
Moved partly by love for the giver, and partly by admiration for the
graceful nature of the seaweed, with its small white knots united by
a _bride_, the girl tried to imitate it with her needle, and, after
several unsuccessful efforts, produced a delicate guipure, which soon
was admired all over Europe.

We must not, in this connection, forget that handkerchief given by
Othello to Desdemona, the loss of which cost her so dear. It was
wrought, he tells her, by an Egyptian sibyl, who

  “In her prophetic fury sewed the work.”

And he declares that

  “The worms were hallowed that did breed the silk.”

The flat points of Venice were no less exquisite than the raised, the
patterns sometimes being human figures, animals, cupids, and flowers.

In the XVIth century, Barbara Uttmann invented pillow-net, a great
advance in the making of lace. This lady’s father had moved from
Nuremberg to the Hartz Mountains, to superintend mines there, and there
the daughter married a rich master-miner, Christopher Uttmann, and
lived with him in his castle of Annaberg. Seeing the mountain girls
weave nets for the miners to wear over their hair, her inventive mind
suggested a new and easier way of making fine netting. Her repeated
failures we know not of, but we know of her success. In 1561 she set up
a workshop in her own name, and this branch of industry spread so that
soon 30,000 persons were employed, with a revenue of 1,000,000 thalers.
In 1575, the inventress died and was laid to rest in the churchyard of
Annaberg, where her tombstone records that she was the “benefactress of
the Hartz Mountains.”

Honor to Barbara Uttmann!

Pillow-lace, as most people know, is made on a round or oval board
stuffed so as to form a cushion. On this is fixed a stiff piece of
parchment with the pattern pricked on it. The threads are wound on
bobbins about the size of a pencil, with a groove at the neck. As many
of the threads as will start well together are tied at the ends in a
knot, and the knot fastened with a pin at the edge of the pattern;
then another bunch, and so on, till the number required by the lace is
completed. The lace is formed by crossing or intertwining these bobbins.

Hand-made lace is of two kinds, point and pillow. Point means a
needle-work lace made on a parchment pattern, also a particular kind
of stitch. The word is sometimes incorrectly applied; as, _point de
Malines_, _point de Valenciennes_, both these laces being made on a

Lace consists of two parts, the ground and the flower pattern or gimp.

The plain ground is called in French _entoilage_, on account of its
containing the ornament, which is called _toilé_, from the texture
resembling linen, or being made of that material or of muslin.

The honeycomb network or ground—in French, _fond_, _champ_,
_réseau_—is of various kinds: wire ground, Brussels ground, _trolly_
ground, etc. Double ground is so called because twice the number of
threads are required to make it.

Some laces, points and guipures, are not worked upon a ground, the
flowers being connected by irregular threads worked over with _point
noué_ (button-hole stitch), sometimes with pearl loops (_picot_).
Such are the points of Venice and Spain and most of the guipures. To
these uniting-threads lace-makers in Italy give the name of “legs,” in
England “pearl ties,” in France “brides.”

The flower is made either together with the ground, as in Valenciennes
and Mechlin, or separately, and then either worked in or sewn on

The open-work stitches in the patterns are called “modes,” “jours,” or

The early name of lace in England and France was _passement_, so
called because the threads were passed by each other in the making.
The learned derive lace from _lacina_, a Latin word signifying the hem
or fringe of a garment. _Dentelle_ comes from the little toothed edge
with which lace was finished after awhile. At first, it was _passement
dentelé_, finally _dentelle_.

The meaning of guipure is hard to connect with the present use of the
word, which is very loose and undefined. It was originally made of silk
twisted round a little strip of thin parchment or vellum; and silk
twisted round a thick thread or cord was called guipure, hence the name.

The modern Honiton is called guipure, also Maltese lace and its
Buckingham imitations. The Italians called the old raised points of
Venice and Spain guipures. It is hard to know what claim any of these
have to the name.

A fine silk guipure is made in the harems of Turkey, of which specimens
were shown in the International Exhibition. This _point de Turquie_ is
but little known, and is costly. It mostly represents black, white, or
mixed colors, fruit, flowers, or foliage.

The lace once made in Malta was a coarse kind of Mechlin or
Valenciennes of one arabesque pattern; but since 1833, when an English
lady induced a Maltese woman named Ciglia to copy in white an old Greek
coverlet, the Ciglia family commenced the manufacture of black and
white Maltese guipure, till then unknown in the island.

It is the fineness of the thread which renders the real Brussels
ground, _vrai réseau_, so costly. The finest is spun in dark
underground rooms; for contact with the dry air causes the thread to
break. The spinner works by feeling rather than sight, though a dark
paper is placed to throw the thread out, and a single ray of light is
admitted to fall on the work. She examines every inch drawn from her
distaff, and, when any inequality occurs, stops her wheel to repair the

The _réseau_ is made in three different ways: by hand, on the pillow,
and more lately by machinery—the last a Brussels-net made of Scotch
cotton. The needle ground costs three times as much as the pillow; but
it is stronger and easier to repair, the pillow ground always showing
the join.

There are two kinds of flowers: those made with the needle, _point à
l’aiguille_, and those on the pillow, _point plat_. The best flowers
are made in Brussels itself, where they excel in the relief (_point

Each part of Brussels lace is made by a different hand. One makes the
_vrai réseau_; another, the footing; a third, the point flowers; a
fourth works the open _jours_; a fifth unites the different sections of
the ground together; a sixth makes the _plat_ flowers; a seventh sews
the flowers upon the ground.

The pattern is designed by the head of the fabric, who, having cut the
parchment into pieces, hands it out ready pricked. In the modern lace,
the work of the needle and pillow are combined.

Mechlin lace, sometimes called _broderie de Malines_ is a pillow lace
made all in one piece, its distinguishing feature being a broad, flat
thread which forms the flower. It is very light and transparent, and
answers very well as a summer lace. It is said that Napoleon I. admired
this lace, and that, when he first saw the light Gothic tracery of the
cathedral spire at Antwerp, he exclaimed: “_C’est comme de la dentelle
de Malines._”

Valenciennes is also a pillow lace, but the ground and gimp, or flower,
are all made of the same thread.

The _vrai Valenciennes_, as it was at first named, that made in the
city itself, was made in the XVth century, of a three-thread twisted
flax, and reached its climax about the middle of the XVIIIth century,
when there were from 3,000 to 4,000 lace-makers in the city alone.
Then fashion began to prefer the lighter and cheaper fabrics of
Arras, Lille, and Brussels, till in 1790 the number of lace-workers
had diminished to 250. Napoleon I. tried unsuccessfully to revive
the manufacture, and in 1851 only two lace-makers remained, both
over eighty years of age. This _vrai Valenciennes_ which, from its
durability, was called _les eternelles Valenciennes_, could not, it
was asserted, be made outside the walls of the city. It was claimed
that, if a piece of lace were begun at Valenciennes and finished
outside of the walls, that part not made in the city would be visibly
less beautiful than the other, though continued by the same hand, with
the same thread, upon the same pillow. This was attributed to some
peculiarity of the atmosphere. That lace, therefore, which was made in
the neighborhood of the city was called _bâtarde_ and _gausse_.

The makers of this lace worked in underground cellars from four in the
morning till eight at night. Young girls were the chief workers, great
delicacy of touch being required, any other kind of work spoiling the
hand for this. Many of the women, we are told, became blind before
reaching the age of thirty. So great was the labor of making this lace
that, while the Lille workers could produce from three to five ells per
day, those of Valenciennes could not finish more than an inch and a
half in that time. Some took a year to make twenty-four inches, and it
took ten months, working fifteen hours a day, to finish a pair of men’s

It was considered a recommendation to have a piece of lace made all by
one hand.

This old Valenciennes was far superior to any now made under that name.
The _réseau_ was fine and compact, the flowers resembling cambric
in their texture. The fault of the lace was its color, never a pure
white, but, being so long under the hand in a damp atmosphere, of a
reddish cast. In 1840, an old lady, Mlle. Ursule, gathered the few
old lace-makers left in the city, and made the last piece of _vrai
Valenciennes_ of any importance which has been made in the city. It was
a head-dress, and was presented by the city to the Duchesse de Nemours.

In the palmy days of Valenciennes, mothers used to hand these laces
down to their children as scarcely less valuable than jewels. Even
peasant women would lay by their earnings for a year to purchase a
piece of _vrai Valenciennes_ for a head-dress.

One of the finest specimens of this old lace known is a lace-bordered
alb belonging to the Convent of the Visitation, at Le Puy, in Auvergne.
The lace is in three breadths, twenty-eight inches wide, entirely of
thread, and very fine, though thick. The ground is a clear _réseau_,
the pattern solid, of flowers and scrolls.

There is a story of Le Puy that in 1640 a sumptuary edict was issued by
the seneschal, forbidding all persons, without regard to age, sex, or
rank, to wear lace of any kind. Lace-making being the chief employment
of the women of this province, great distress resulted from the edict.
In this time of trial, the beggared people found a comforter in the
Jesuit F. Régis. He not only consoled them, but he proved the sincerity
of his sympathy by acts. He went to Toulouse, and obtained a revocation
of the edict; and at his suggestion the Jesuits opened to the Auvergne
laces a market in the New World.

This good friend to the poor is now S. Francis Régis, and is venerated
in Auvergne as the patron saint of the lace-makers.

The finest and most elaborate Valenciennes is now made at Ypres, in
Flanders. Instead of the close _réseau_ of the old lace, it has a clear
wire ground, which throws the figure out well. On a piece of this Ypres
lace not two inches wide, from 200 to 300 bobbins are employed, and for
larger widths as many as 800 or more are used on the same pillow. There
are now in Flanders 400 lace-schools, of which 157 are the property of
religious communities.

We may say here that lace-makers now use Scotch cotton chiefly, instead
of linen, finding it cheaper, more elastic, and brilliant. Only
Alençon, some choice pieces of Brussels, and the finer qualities of
Mechlin are now made of flax. The difference can scarcely be perceived
by the eye, and both wash equally well, but the cotton grows yellow
with age, while linen retains its whiteness.

Alençon, the only French lace now made on a pillow, was first made in
France by an Italian worker, who, finding herself unable to teach the
Alençon women the true Venetian stitch, struck out a new path, and,
by assigning to each one a different part of the work, as Brussels
did afterward, succeeded in producing the most elaborate point ever
made. Early specimens show rich scroll-work connected by _brides_. One
piece has portraits of Louis XVI. and Maria Theresa, with the crown
and cipher, all entwined with flowers. The patterns were not at first
beautiful, scarcely at all imitating nature; but their work was perfect.

Point Alençon is made entirely by the hand, on a parchment pattern, in
small pieces afterwards united by invisible thread. This art of “fine
joining” was formerly a secret confined to France and Belgium, but is
now known in England and Ireland.

Each part of this work is given to a different person, who is trained
from childhood to that specialty. The number formerly required was
eighteen, but is now twelve.

The design, engraved on copper, is printed off in divisions upon
pieces of parchment ten inches long, each piece numbered in order.
This parchment, which is green, is pricked with the pattern, and
sewed to a piece of very coarse linen folded double. The outline of
the pattern is then made by guiding two flat threads around the edge
with the left thumb, and fixing them by minute stitches passed with
another thread and needle through the holes in the parchment. The work
is then handed over to another to make the ground, either _bride_ or
_réseau_. The _réseau_ is worked back and forward from the footing, or
sewing-on-edge, to the _picot_, or lower pearled edge. The flowers are
worked with a fine needle and long thread, in button-hole stitch, from
left to right, the thread turned back when the end of the flower is
reached, and worked over in the next row, making thus a strong fabric.
Then come the open-work fillings and other operations, after which
the lace is taken from the parchment by passing a sharp razor between
the two folds of linen. The head of the fabric then joins the parts
together. When finished, a steel instrument is passed into each flower
to polish it.

The manufacture of Alençon was nearly extinct when Napoleon I. restored
its prosperity. Among the orders executed for the emperor on his
marriage with Marie Louise was a bed furniture of great richness.
Tester, coverlet, curtains, and pillow-cases were all of the finest
_Alençon à bride_. Again the manufacture languished, though efforts
were made to revive it, and, in 1840, two hundred aged women—all who
were left of the workers—were gathered. But the old point had been
made by an hereditary set of workers, and the lace-makers they were
obliged to call to their help from other districts could not learn
their stitches, consequently changes crept in. But the manufacture
was revived, and some fine specimens were shown in the Exhibition of
1851, among them a flounce valued at 22,000 francs, which had taken
thirty-six women eighteen months to complete. This appeared afterwards
in the Empress Eugénie’s _corbeille de mariage_.

Alençon was chiefly used in the magnificent _layette_ prepared for the
prince imperial. The cradle-curtains were Mechlin, the coverlet of
Alençon lined with satin. The christening robe, mantle, and head-dress
were also of Alençon, and Alençon covered the three _corbeille_ bearing
the imperial arms and cipher, and trimmed the twelve dozen embroidered
frocks and the aprons of the imperial nurses.

Remembering all the magnificence which clustered around the birth of
this infant, who had

  “Queens at his cradle, proud and ministrant,”

one thinks with sadness of that exiled boy who now, weeping bitterly
the loss of a tender father, beholds receding from his gaze, like a
splendid dream, that throne he once seemed born to fill. Nowhere on the
face of the earth is one who has possessed so much and lost so much as
that boy; and nowhere are a mother and son around whom cling such a
romantic interest and sympathy.

The specimens of Alençon in the Exhibition of 1862 maintained the
reputation of the ancient fabric. _Bride_ is but little made now, and
is merely twisted threads, far inferior to the clear hexagon of the
last century. This hexagon was a _bride_ worked around with _point

Of late, the reapplication of Alençon flowers has been successfully
practised by the peasant lace-workers in the neighborhood of Ostend,
who sew them to a fine Valenciennes ground.

The Chantilly lace, which owed its foundation to Catherine de Rohan,
Duchesse de Longueville, has always been rather an object of luxury
than of commercial value. Being considered a royal fabric, and its
production for the nobility alone, the lace-workers became the victims
of revolutionary fury in ‘93, and all perished on the scaffold with
their patrons. The manufacture was, however, revived, and prospered
greatly during the First Empire. The white blonde was the rage in Paris
in 1805. The black was especially admired in Spain and her American
colonies. No other manufactories produced such beautiful scarfs,
mantillas, and other large pieces. Calvados and Bayeux make a similar
lace, but not so well. The real Chantilly has a very fine _réseau_,
and the workmanship of the flowers is close, giving the lace great
firmness. The so-called Chantilly shawls in the Exhibition of 1862 were
made at Bayeux. Chantilly produces only the extra fine shawls, dresses,
and scarfs.

Honiton owes its reputation to its sprigs. Like the Brussels, they
are made separately. At first they were worked in with the pillow,
afterwards _appliqué_, or sewed on a ground of plain pillow-net. This
net was very beautiful, but very expensive. It was made of the finest
thread procured from Antwerp, the market price of which, in 1790, was
£70 per pound. Ninety-five guineas have been paid a pound for this
thread, and, in time of war, one hundred guineas. The price of the
lace was costly in proportion, the manner of fixing it peculiar. The
lace ground was spread out on the counter, and the worker herself
desired to cover it with shillings. The number of shillings that found
a place on her work was the price of it. A Honiton veil often cost a
hundred guineas. But the invention of machine-net changed all that, and
destroyed not only the occupation of the makers of hand-net, but was
the cause of the lace falling into disrepute.

Desirous to revive the work, Queen Adelaide ordered a dress of
Honiton sprigs, on a ground of Brussels-net, the flowers to be copied
from nature. The skirt of this dress was encircled with a wreath of
elegantly designed sprigs, the initials of the flowers forming her
majesty’s name: Amaranth, Daphne, Eglantine, Lilac, Auricula, Ivy,
Dahlia, Eglantine.

Queen Victoria’s wedding lace was made at Honiton, difficulty being
found in obtaining workers enough, the manufacture had been so little
patronized. The dress, which cost 1,000 pounds, was entirely of Honiton
sprigs connected on a pillow. The patterns were destroyed as soon as
the lace was made. Several of the princesses have had their bridal
dresses of Honiton.

The application of Honiton sprigs upon bobbin-net has of late almost
entirely given place to guipure. The sprigs are sewed on a piece of
blue paper, and then united by the pillow, by cut-works, or purlings,
or else joined with the needle, button-hole stitch being the best of
all, or by purling which is made by the yard. But Honiton has fallen in
public esteem by neglecting the pattern of its lace, which does not
well imitate nature.

A new branch of industry has lately risen there—that of restoring or
remaking old lace.

When old lace revived, it became a mania. The literary ladies were the
first to take this fever in England. Sidney, Lady Morgan, and Lady
Stepney made collections, and the Countess of Blessington left at her
death several large chests full of fine antique lace.

In Paris, the celebrated dressmaker, Madame Camille, was the first one
to bring old laces into fashion.

Much lace is taken from old tombs, cleansed, and sold, usually after
having been made over. All over Europe it was the custom to bury the
dead in lace-trimmed garments, and in some cases these burial toilets
were of immense value. In Bretagne, the bride, after her marriage, laid
aside her veil and dress, and never wore it again till it was put on
after she was dead. Many of these old tombs have been rifled, and the
contents sold to dealers.

In Ireland, lace-making was at one time quite successful. Swift, in the
last century, urged the protection of home manufactures of all kinds,
and the Dublin Society, composed of a band of patriots organized in
1749, encouraged the making of lace, and passed strong resolutions
against the wearing of foreign lace. Lady Arabella Demy, who died in
1792, a daughter of the Earl of Kerry, was especially active in the
work, and good imitations of Brussels and Ypres lace were made. In
1829, the manufacture of Limerick lace was established. This is tambour
work on Nottingham-net. But the emigration of girls to America, and the
effort of the manufacturers to produce a cheap article, thus bringing
it into disrepute, have prevented this lace from attaining success.

For half a century, machine-lace has been striving to imitate hand-made
lace, and in some instances with such success that the difference
can scarcely be perceived. In 1760 a kind of looped lace was made in
England on the stocking-frame, and the fabric has been constantly
improving. But hand-made lace still maintains its supremacy, and is
growing in favor, and old laces are more highly prized even than
old jewels, since the former cannot be imitated, or can scarcely be
imitated; the latter may be. There is a delicacy and finish in needle
and pillow laces which the machine can never give; besides that,
the constant tendency of machine-work, when once it has attained
excellence, is to deteriorate.

We are glad of this revival of lace-making; for in no other way can the
luxury of the rich in dress so well benefit women and children among
the poor. Most working-women have to work too hard, and they have to
leave their homes to earn money. But lace-making accords admirably with
feminine taste and feminine delicacy of organization, and it can be
done at any time, and at home, and of every quality. It is refining,
too. One can scarcely imagine a very coarse person making a very
beautiful lace. It teaches the worker to observe nature and art, in the
selection and working of patterns, and it stimulates inventiveness,
if there be any. And more than that, by the multitudinous ticking of
these little bobbins, and the myriad points of these shining needles,
thousands of that tortured and terrible class called “the poor” might
be able to keep at bay not only the wolf of hunger, but the lion of


[WE have received this article from a very distinguished and learned
member of the New York bar, with an accompanying letter, in which he
writes, among other things, as follows:

“Confined as I am by my infirmities to my house, and wearying of the
sameness of the life I have to lead, I sometimes vary my occupation by
delving into the ‘Antiquities of the Law.’

“I have lately come across an old law book published in 1711, which
has been several years in my library, but entirely lost sight of by me
until recently.

“From that I have been compiling some articles for one of our law
journals, and began the accompanying article for the same publication.

“While writing it, it occurred to me that it might be more useful,
if not more interesting, to the readers of such a journal as your
CATHOLIC WORLD than to those of a mere law journal; and as I
abhor religious intolerance in all forms, and see so much of it in this
country, I concluded to send it to you, thinking perhaps you may deem
it advisable to use it.”]

ABJURATION.—The statute 35 _Eliz. cap._ 2 was made wholly
against Popish Recusants convict above 16 Years of Age, enjoining them
not to remove above 5 Miles from their Habitation: if they do, and not
being covert (married?), nor having Land to the Value of 20 Marks _per
Annum_ or Goods worth £40, they must abjure the Kingdom. _Hale’s Pl.
Cr._ 228.

“Likewise upon Persons who absent themselves from Church without just
Cause, and refusing to conform within 3 Months after conviction.” _35
Eliz. cap. 1._

ARMOUR.—(Recusancy was denying the Supremacy of the Queen
and adhering to the Pope as Supreme Head of the Church.) “The Armour
of Recusants convict shall be taken from them by Warrant from Four
Justices of Peace.”

“If they conceal their Arms or give any Disturbance in the Delivery,
one Justice may commit them for 3 months without Bail.” _3 Jac. cap. 5._

BAIL: When allowed or denied.—A Minister “depraving” the
Common Prayer-Book, as fixed by Statute, was liable, for first offence,
to commitment for 6 months; for second offence, for a year; and for
third offence, for life.

“Being present at any other Form: First Offence, Commitment for 6
Months; Second Offence, 12 Months; Third Offence, for Life.”

Recusants. “Suspected to be a Jesuit, Seminary, or Priest, and being
examined refuseth to answer, may be committed till he answer directly.”

“Impugning the Queen’s Authority in Ecclesiastical causes; perswading
others to it or from coming to church; meeting at Conventicles, under
Colour of Religion, or perswading others to meet there, commitment
till they conform and make an open Submission and Declaration of their

“Absenting from Church on Sunday, and no Distress to be had, Commitment
till Forfeiture is paid.”

“Above the Age of 16, and absenting for a Month: Forfeiture 20_s._ per
Month, or be committed till paid.” _23 Eliz. cap. 1._

Keeping a School Master or “any other Servant in the House, and not
coming to Church for a Month, the Master of such House forfeits £10
_per_ Month.”

BLASPHEMY.—By Statute 9 and 10 _Will._, “Any Person bred
in or professing the Christian Religion, and who shall, by Writing,
Printing, Teaching, or advised Speaking deny any one of the Persons in
the Trinity; or assert that there are more Gods than one; or deny the
Christian Religion to be true, or the Holy Scriptures to be of Divine
Authority, shall be disabled to have any office,” and “if convicted
a second time, he shall be disabled to sue in any court, or to be a
Guardian or Executor or Administrator, and be incapable of any Legacy
or Gift, or of any office, and shall be committed for Three Years
without Bail.”

CHURCH WARDENS.—“By Common Law they are a corporation to take
care of the Goods of the Church.”

“An Attorney cannot be made a Church Warden.” _2 Roll. Abr. 272._

“He is to see that the Parishioners come to Church every Sunday and
Holiday, and to present the Names of such who are absent to the
Ordinary, or to levy 12d. for every offence, _per Stat. 5_ and _6 Ed.,
1 Eliz. cap. 1_.”

“Arresting a Minister going to or returning from Church may be punished
by Indictment or bound to Good Behaviour. The Offence is the same
if a Layman be arrested. Quarreling in Church or Church Yard, if a
Layman may be suspended _ab ingressio Ecclesiæ_; if a Clergyman, _ab
officio_. But if a Weapon be drawn with intent to strike, the Party may
be convicted, etc., and Judgment to lose one of his Ears by cutting it
off, and if no Ears, to be marked in the Cheek with the Letter F.” _5_
and _6 Ed. VI. cap. 4_.

_Seats in Churches._ “The Ordinary may place and displace whom he
thinks fit.”

“A Man may have a Seat in a Church appendant to his House, and may
prescribe for it, etc. But one cannot prescribe to a Seat in the _Body
of the Church_ generally.” _Roll. Abr., 2 Pars. 288._

“The case is the same in an _Isle of a Church_.” _2 Cro. 367._

“_Presentments_” are to be made by the Church Wardens, usually twice a
year, but cannot be compelled oftener than once a year, except at the
Visitation of the Bishop.

The Articles commonly exhibited to them to make their Presentments may
be reduced thus, viz.:

_To Things which concern_ the Church, the Parson, the Parishioners.

_And First, to those Things which concern the Church; as_,

Alms, whether a Box for that Purpose; Assessments, whether made for
repairs; Bells and Bell Ropes, if in Repair; Bible, whether in Folio;
Canons, whether a Book thereof; Carpet; Chest, with three Locks; Church
and Chancel in Repair; Creed in fair Letters; Cups and Covers for
Bread, etc.; Cushion for Pulpit; Desk for Reader; Lord’s Prayer in fair
Letters; Marriage, a Table of Degrees; Monuments safely kept; Parsonage
House in Repair; Church Yard well Fenced; Commandments in Fair Letters;
Common Prayer-Book; Communion Table; Flaggon; Font; Grave Stones well
kept; Queen’s Arms, set up; Register Book in Parchment; Supplies,
whether any; Table-cloth; Tombs well kept.

2. _Those Things which concern the Parson_:

Articles 39, if read twice a Year; Baptizing with Godfathers; Canons,
if read once a Year; Catechising Children; Common Prayer, if read,
etc.; Dead, if he bury them; Doctrine, if he preach good; Gown, if he
preach in it; _Homilies_, if read or he preach; _January_ 30th, if
observed; May 29th, if observed; Marrying privately; _November_ 5th,
if observed; Preaching every _Sunday_; Peace Maker; Perambulation;
Sacrament, if celebrated; Sedition, if vented; Sick, if visited; Sober
Life; Surplice, if wear it.

3. _Those Things which concern Parishioners_:

Adulterers, if any; Alms Houses, if abused; Ale Houses, and in Divine
Service; Answering, according to Rubrick; Baptism, neglected by
Parents; Blasphemers; Church, resorting to it; Dead, if brought to be
buried; Drunkards, if any; Fornicators, if any; Legacies, if any given
to pious Uses; Marrying within prohibited Degrees; Marrying without
Banns, Licence, or at unlawful hours; Sacraments received 3 times in a
year of all above 16, whereof Easter to be one time; School, if abused;
Seats, if Parishioners are placed in them without contention; Standing
up; _Sundays_, working therein; Swearers, if any; Women, if come to be

“A Warrant against one for not coming to Church.

“To the Constable, etc.: “Sussex, ss. Whereas Oath hath been made
before me That J. O. of, etc., did not upon the Lord’s Day last past
resort to any Church, Chapel, or other usual Place appointed by Common
Prayers, and there hear Divine Service according to the Form of the
Statute in that case made and provided.

“These are therefore to require you, etc., to bring the said J. O.
before me to answer the Premises. Given, etc.”

“Any Man may build a Church or Chappel, but the Law takes no Notice of
it as such till it is consecrated, and therefore, whether Church or
Chappel, it must be tried by the Certificate of the Bishop.”

CLERGY AND BENEFIT OF CLERGY.—“Before the 20 _Ed. I._, the
Clergy paid no Tenths to the King for their Ecclesiastical Livings, but
to the Pope; but in that King’s reign, their Livings were valued all
over England, and the Tenths paid to the King; and by the Statute 26
_Hen. VIII. cap._ 3, they were annexed to the Crown forever.”

Many of their privileges were “confirmed by _Magna Carta_, viz., _Quod
Ecclesia sit libera_.”

“As to the Benefit of Clergy, it was introduced by the Canon Law,
Exempting their persons from any Temporal Jurisdiction. ‘Tis a
Privilege on purpose to save the Life of a Criminal in certain cases,
if he was a man of learning, as accounted in those Days, for as such he
might be useful to the Publick.—At first it was extended to any person
who could read, he declaring that he had vowed or was resolved to
enter into Orders, and the Reading was to show he was qualified.—But
afterwards the reading without a Vow to enter into Orders was held
good, and now ‘tis become a legal conveyance of Mercy to both Clergy
and Laity.”

“But tho’ the Ordinary usually tenders the Book, the Court are the
proper Judges of the Criminal’s Reading: Therefore, where the Ordinary
answer _Quod legit_, the Court judged otherwise, fined the Ordinary,
and hanged the Person.”

“Now, if a Man cannot read where Clergy is allowable, and ‘tis recorded
by the Court _Quod non legit_: if the Offender be reprieved, the Book
may be tendered to him again because ‘tis _in favorem vitæ_, for which
Reason he may have it under the Gallows.” _Dyer_, 205 _b_.

“In those days, an offender might have his Clergy even for Murder
_toties quoties_, but this was restrained by the statute of 4 _Hen.
VII. cap._ 13, that he should have it but once. And for the better
Observance of that Law, it was then provided That the Criminal should
be marked upon the Brawn of the Left Thumb, that he might be known
again upon a second Offence”—“which was not intended as any Part of
the Judgment”—“It was only a Mark set upon the Offender that he might
not have his Clergy a second Time.”

By the Common Law, “all Offenders, except in Treason against the Person
of the Queen,” should have the Benefit of Clergy “and _toties quoties_;
but by statute of 25 _Ed. III. cap._ 4, it was prohibited in Treasons;
and by that of 4 _Hen. VII._ it is restrained to one Time, so that
now (_i.e._ in 1711) there are but very few cases wherein the Common
Law denies Clergy, but in many ‘tis taken away by several acts of

Among those from whom it was thus taken away, were Popish Recusants by
act of 35 _Eliz. cap._ 1 and 2, and those who receive Priests being
natives of England, and ordained by the See of Rome by act of 27 _Eliz.
cap._ 2.

“In Anno 2 _Ed. VI._, the Reformers, intending to bring the Worship
of God under set forms, compiled a Book of Common Prayer, which was
established by Act of Parliament in that year.”

“But because several things were contained in that Book which showed
a compliancy to the superstitious Humours of those times, and some
Exceptions being made to it by precise Men at Home and by JOHN
CALVIN abroad, therefore two years afterwards it was reviewed, in
which _Martin Bucer_[31] was consulted and some Alterations were made,
which consisted in adding some Things and leaving out others, as in the
former Edition:

              { A general Confession
              { of sins to the daily service.
              { A general Absolution
              { to the truly Penitent.
              { The Communion to
              { begin with reading the
  The         { Commandments, the
  Additions   { People kneeling.
  were, viz.: {
              { And a Rubrick Concerning
              { the Posture of
              { kneeling, which was
              { afterwards ordered to be
              { left out by the statute of
              { the 1 _Eliz._, but is now
              { again explained as in 2
              { _Ed. VI._

              { The use of Oil in Confirmation
              { and Extream
              { Unction. Prayers for
              { Souls departed.
  Left out:   {
              { And what tended to a
              { Belief of the Corporeal
              { Presence in the Consecration
              { of the Eucharist.”

“Afterwards, _Anno_ 5 _Ed. VI._, a Bill was brought into the House of
Lords to enjoin Conformity to this new Book with these Alterations, by
which all People were to come to those Common Prayers under pain of
Church Censure, which Bill passed into a Law, _Anno_ 5 and 6 _Ed. VI._;
but not being observed during the reign of Queen Mary, it was again
reviewed by a Committee of Learned Men (naming them), and appointed to
be used by every Minister, _Anno_ 1 _Eliz._, with some Additions, which
were then made, viz.:

“Certain Lessons for Every Sunday in the Year, some Alterations in
the Liturgy, Two Sentences added in the Delivery of the Sacrament,
intimating to the Communicants that Christ is not Corporeally present
in the Elements, etc. The Form of making Bishops, Priests, and Deacons
was likewise added.”

“Upon these and other Statutes several Things are to be considered:

1. The Punishment of a Minister for refusing to use or depraving the
Book of Common Prayer.

2. The Punishment of any other Person depraving it, and of such who
shall hear or be present at any other form.

3. Who are bound to use it.

4. Who must provide it.”

The Punishment of the Minister was for 1st offence, loss of a year’s
Livings and six Months’ imprisonment; 2d offence, Deprivation and
Imprisonment for a Year; 3d offence, Imprisonment for Life and

Any other Person, for 1st Offence, six months’ Imprisonment; 2d
Offence, twelve months; and 3d Offence, for Life. 5 and 6 _Ed. VI.
cap._ 1.

“No Form of Prayer should be used in any Public Place other than
according to the said Book.”

By Statute 3 _Jac. cap._ 4, Constables “must once a Year present to the
Quarter Sessions those who absent themselves for the space of a Month
from Church”; and he must levy certain forfeitures on those who keep
or resort to Bowling, Dancing, Ringing, or any sport whatever on the
Sabbath; and on a Butcher who shall kill or sell Flesh on that day.

RECUSANTS “are those who refuse or deny Supremacy to the Queen
by adhering to the Pope as Supreme Head of the Church.”

“_Anno_ 24 _Hen. VIII. cap._ 12, Parliament prohibited _Appeals_ to
_Rome_, etc.”

25 _Hen. VIII._ “The King appointed that _Convocations_ should be
assembled by his Writ, and that no _Canons_ or _Constitutions_ should
be contrary to his Prerogative or the Laws of the Land.”

“In the same Year an Act passed to restrain the Payment of _First
Fruits_ to the Court of _Rome_.”

“In the next Year, 26 _Hen. VIII._, An Act passed by which the First
Fruits of all Spiritual Livings were given to the King.”

In the same Year, “an Act passed, prohibiting _Investitures_ of
Archbishops or Bishops by the Pope; but that in a Vacancy the King
should send his _Letters-missive_ to a Prior or Convent, Dean or
Chapter, to choose another.”

“Likewise, in the same Year, all _Licenses_ and _Dispensations_ from
the Court of Rome were prohibited, and that all _Religious Houses_
should be under the _Visitation of the King_.”

And by an Act passed the same Year (viz., 1534), The King was “declared
to be _Supream Head of the Church_.”

“But he did not exercise any act of that Power till a year afterwards,
by appointing Sir Thomas _Cromwell_ to be his Vicar General in
Ecclesiastical Matters, and Visitor of all the _Monasteries_ and other
Privileged Places in the Kingdom.”

In 27 _Hen. VIII._ (1536) “all the _lesser Monasteries_, under the
number of _twelve Persons_, and whose Revenues were not of the Value of
£200 _per annum_, were given to the King, his Heirs and Successors; and
a Court was erected on purpose for collecting the Revenues belonging to
these Monasteries, which was called _The Court of Augmentation of the
King’s Revenue_, who had full power to dispose of those Lands for the
Service of the King.”

The officers of this Court had, among its other duties, that of
inquiring “into the Number of _Religious_ in the House, and what Lives
they led; how many would go into other Religious Houses, and how many
into the _World_, as they called it.”

The whole of the goods thus confiscated were valued at £100,000, and
the rents of these small Monasteries came to £32,000 _per annum_.

“This occasioned great Discontents amongst the people,” to appease
which the King sold some of the Lands “to the Gentry” at low Rates,
“obliging them to keep up Hospitality.”

“This pleased both them and the ordinary Sort of People for a little
time; and, to satisfy others,” the King “continued or gave back
thirty-one Houses. But these, about two Years afterwards, fell under
the Common Fate of the great Monasteries, and were all suppressed with

“But notwithstanding he gave back some of these Houses, yet the People
were still discontented, and openly rebelled in _Lincolnshire_, which
was quieted by a Pardon: There was another Rebellion in _Yorkshire_ and
the Northern Counties, which ended also in a Pardon, only some of the
chief of the Rebels were executed for this last Rebellion.”

Most of the Monasteries, “seeing their Dissolution drawing near,
made voluntary Surrenders of their Houses in the 29th _year of Hen.
VIII._, in Hopes by this means to obtain Favor of the King; and after
the Rebellion, the rest of the Abbots, both great and small, did
the like; for some of them had encouraged the Rebels, others were
convicted by the Visitors of great Disorders, and most of them had
secured all the Plate, Jewels and Furniture belonging to their Houses,
to make Provision for them and Relations and then surrendered their

“Afterwards, _Anno_ 31 _Hen. VIII._, a Bill was brought into the House
of Peers to confirm these surrenders. There were 18 Abbots[32] present
at the first Reading, 20 at the second, and 17 at the third. It soon
passed the Commons and the Royal Assent; and by this Act all the
Houses, etc., were confirmed to the King.”

“‘Tis true, the Hospitallers, Colleges and Chanteries, etc., were not
yet dissolved.... These had large endowments to support themselves and
to entertain Pilgrims,” etc.

“But notwithstanding the King was declared to be the Supreme Head
of the Church, yet these Hospitallers would not submit,” etc., “and
therefore, Anno 32 _Hen. VIII. cap._ 24, The Parliament gave their
lands to the King and dissolved their Corporation.”

“The Colleges and Chanteries still remained; but the Doctrine of
Purgatory being then grown out of Belief[33] and some of those
Fraternities having resigned in the same manner as the Monasteries,
the Endowments of the rest were then thought to be for no purpose, and
therefore, _Anno_ 37 _Hen. VIII._, all these Colleges, Free Chapels,
Chanteries, etc., were given to the King by Act of Parliament.”

“Thus in the Compass of a few years, the Power and Authority of the See
of _Rome_ was suppressed in this Kingdom. And because frequent Attempts
have been made to revive it, therefore, in succeeding Times, several
Laws have been made to keep them in subjection.”

Among those were the following: Recusant Convict above 16 must go
to his place of Abode and not remove 5 miles without license or
otherwise abjure the Realm. Not departing within the time limited by
the Justices, or returning without license from the Queen, was felony
without Benefit of Clergy. 35 _Eliz. cap._ 2.

“To absolve or to be absolved by Bulls from the Bishop of Rome was High
Treason.” 13 _Eliz. cap._ 2.

“Bringing an _Agnus Dei_ hither, or offering it to any Person to be
used, both he and the Receiver incurs a _Premunire_.[34] 13 _Eliz.
cap._ 2. All Armour shall be taken from Recusants by order of four
Justices.” 7 _Jac. cap._ 6.

Bringing over Beads or offering them to any person, both he and the
Receiver incur a Premunire. 13 _Eliz. cap._ 2.

“Two Justices may search Houses for Books and Relicks, and burn them.”
3 _Jac. cap._ 5.

“Every Popish Recusant must be buried in Church or Church yard
according to the Ecclesiastical Laws, or his Executor or Administrator
forfeits £20.” 3 _Jac. cap._ 5.

“Children of Recusants must be baptized by a lawful Minister, or the
Parent forfeits £100.” 3 _Jac. cap._ 5.

“Popish Recusant, if he sue any person, the Defendant may plead it in

He “shall not be Executor, Administrator, or Guardian.” 3 _Jac. cap._ 5.

A married woman, a Popish Recusant convict, “not conforming within 3
months after conviction, may be committed by two Justices until she
conform, unless her Husband will pay to the King 10 shillings per month
or a third part of his Lands.” 7 _Jac. cap._ 6.

“Popish Recusant marrying otherwise than according to the Forms of the
Church of England shall forfeit £100. If a woman, not have her Dower or
Jointure or Widow’s Estate.” 3 _Jac. cap._ 5.

“Saying Mass forfeits 200 marks, hearing it 100 Marks.”

“Jesuits, Seminary Priests, etc., and other Ecclesiastical Persons
born within the Queen’s Dominions, coming in or remaining in the said
Dominions, is guilty of Treason.” 27 _Eliz. cap._ 2.

“Any knowing a Jesuit or Priest to be here and not within 12 days
afterwards discovering him to a Justice of Peace shall be committed and
fined.” 27 _Eliz. cap._ 2.

“Per Stat. 3 _Jac. cap._ 4, to move any one to promise Obedience to the
See of Rome or other Prince is High Treason in the Mover and he that
promiseth Obedience.”

“Recusant Convict must not practice the Art of Apothecary, Civil Law,
Common Law, Physick, or be an officer in any Court or amongst Soldiers,
or in a Castle, Fortress or Ship.” 3 _Jac. cap._ 5.

“Sending Persons beyond Sea to be instructed in Popish Religion
forfeits £100, and the Persons sent are incapable to take any
Inheritance.” 1 _Jac. cap._ 4.

“Children shall not be sent beyond Sea without License from the Queen
or six of her Privy Council, whereof the Principal Secretary of State
to be one.”

“Notwithstanding all these Laws, the Parliament (11 and 12 _Will._) was
of Opinion that Popery increased, and therefore to prevent its growth
a Law was made That if any person should take one or more _Popish
Bishop_, _Jesuit_ or _Priest_, and prosecute him till he is convicted
of _saying Mass_ or exercising any other part of the Office or Function
of a _Popish Bishop_ or _Priest_,” he shall have a reward of £100.

“If any Popish Bishop, Priest or Jesuit, shall be convicted of saying
Mass, etc., or any Papist shall Keep School, etc., he shall be adjudged
to perpetual Imprisonment in such place where the Queen by Advice of
her Council shall think fit.”

“Every Papist, after the 10th of April, 1700, is made incapable of
purchasing Lands, etc., either in his own Name or the name of other
Person, to his use.”

THE SABBATH.—“Shoemaker putting Boots or Shoes to sale
forfeits 3_s._ 4_d._ and the goods.” 1 _Jac. I. cap._ 11.

“Carriers, Drivers, Waggoners, travelling on that day forfeit 20_s._” 3
_Car. I. cap._ 1.

“Butchers killing or selling, or causing to be killed or sold or privy
or consenting to kill or sell Meat on that day, forfeit 6_s._ 8_d._” 3
_Car. I. cap._ 1.

By 29 _Car. II. cap._ 7 “Public and private Duties of Piety are
enjoined, all worldly business is prohibited, and all above the Age of
14 forfeit 5_s._”

“Drovers or their servants coming to their Inns on that day forfeit

“If the Offender is not able to pay the Forfeiture, he shall be put in
the Stocks for two Hours.”

“Meeting together out of their own Parish for any Sports or Pastimes,
forfeit 3_s._ 4_d._” 1 _Car. I. cap._ 1.

SACRAMENT.—“Depraving or doing any Thing in contempt of the
Sacrament must be committed.” 1 _Ed. VI. cap._ 1, 1 _Eliz._ 2, 3 _Jac._

SCHOOLMASTER.—“Not coming to church or not allowed by the
Bishop of the Diocese, forever disabled to teach Youth, and shall be
committed for a year without bail.” 23 _Eliz. cap._ 1.

TYTHES.—“A canon was made _Anno_ 1585 for payment of Tythes
as founded on the Law of God and the ancient Custom of the Church.”

“When Glanville wrote (about 1660), a Freeholder was allowed to make a
Will, so as he gave the best Thing he had to the _Lord Paramount_, and
the next best to the _Church_.”

“They are said to be Ecclesiastical Inheritances collateral to the
Estate of the Land, out of which they arise, and are of their own
Nature due only to Spiritual Persons.”

Certain Lands were, however, exempt. “Most orders of Monks were first
exempted; but in time this was restrained to three orders—Cistertians,
Hospitallers, Templars.”

DISSENTERS.—After the various laws against “Popish
Recusants,” as they were called, had had the effect of rendering
somewhat firm the establishment of the English Protestant Church, and
about the time of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, a new trouble arose
from those who dissented from that church, in its forms and in some of
its principles, and government then began to interfere with them.

In the 1st Year of the reign of William and Mary these “Dissenters”
were exempted from the statutes of 1 _Eliz. cap._ 2, 23 _Eliz. cap._
1, 3 _Jac. cap._ 4, above mentioned. “But they must not assemble in
Places with Doors locked, barred, or bolted, nor until the place is
certified to the Bishop of the Diocese or to the Arch Deacon or to the
Justices at the Quarter Sessions, and registered there and they have a
certificate thereof.”

Their Preachers must declare their Approbation, and subscribe the
“Articles of Religion,” except the 20th, 34th, 35th, and 36th articles,
and must take the oaths and subscribe the Declaration prescribed Dy
certain statutes, and that at the Quarter Sessions where they live.

So that, from the reign of Elizabeth, through the reign of James
I., and until the the troubles which ended in the civil war and the
Protectorate of Cromwell, Dissenters were subject to many of the
restrictions which had been imposed on the Roman Catholics; and even
when those troubles finally ended in the flight of James II., and the
elevation of William and Mary to the throne, freedom of religion was
not allowed to the Dissenters, but they were permitted to enjoy their
dissent from the forms and ceremonies of the Church of England only by
declaring their assent to many of its most important tenets of faith or

The oaths of allegiance and supremacy enjoined by the statutes of _1
Eliz._ and _3 Jac._ were abrogated by the Statute of _1 Will., and Mar.
cap. 8_, and the following substituted:

“I, A. B., do sincerely promise and swear that I will be faithful and
bear true allegiance,” etc.

“I, A. B., do swear that I do from my Heart abhor, detest and abjure
as Impious and Heretical, that damnable Doctrine and Position that
Princes excommunicated or deprived by the Pope or any authority of the
See of Rome may be deposed by their subjects or any other whatsoever;
and I do declare that no Foreign Prince, Person, Prelate, State or
Potentate, hath or ought to have any Jurisdiction, Power, Superiority,
Pre-eminence or Authority, Ecclesiastical or Spiritual, within the
Realm. So help me God.”


LOOK down, O Lord, holy Father, from thy sanctuary, and from thy high
and heavenly dwelling, and behold this all-holy Victim, which thy great
High-priest, thy holy Child Jesus, offers thee for the sins of his
brethren; and have mercy on the multitude of our iniquities. Lo! the
voice of the blood of Jesus our Brother cries to thee from the cross.
For what is it, O Lord, that hangs on the cross? Hangs, I say; for past
things are as present with thee. Own it, O Father! It is the coat of
thy Joseph, thy Son; an evil wild beast hath devoured him, and hath
trampled on his garment in its fury, spoiling all the beauty of this
his remanent corpse, and, lo! five mournful gaping wounds are left in
it. This is the garment which thy innocent holy Child Jesus, for the
sins of his brethren, has left in the hands of the Egyptian harlot,
thinking the loss of his robe a better thing than the loss of purity;
and choosing rather to be despoiled of his coat of flesh and go down to
the prison of death than to yield to the voice of the seductress for
all the glory of the world.—_S. Anselm._





ABOUT twenty years ago, I lived in a town in France which I may be
allowed to call Philopolis. It need not be sought on the map: it will
not be found there, at least under the name I think it proper to call
it by, in order to avoid all appearance of indiscretion. The story I am
about to relate is really a true one.

I had just finished my school-days, and, having carefully thought over
the different professions which seemed to accord with my tastes, I
felt—and it may be imagined how bitterly—that not one of them was
within my means. To embrace any of them would have required a larger
sum than I had the least hope of. Under such unfavorable circumstances,
I became a tutor in a Lycée.

God preserve my very enemies, if I have any, from so trying an
occupation! At the end of three months, worn out with my labors, and
overwhelmed with humiliations and sadness, I had fallen into such a
state of discouragement, not to say of despair, that I regarded myself
as the most unfortunate of men.

To those who wish to be distinguished from the crowd, there is
something peculiarly attractive in looking upon themselves as more
unhappy than common mortals. I gave myself up to this notion, at first
through vanity. But this kind of superiority is by no means cheering, I
assure you, so I soon sought consolation. Thank God, I had not far to
go. My old friend, Mme. Agnes, was at hand. I sought refuge with her. I
speak as if she were advanced in years, but it must be acknowledged she
would have seemed a mere child to Methuselah. She was thirty-six years
of age; but I was only eighteen, and thought her old.

Mme. Agnes lived on a broad and pleasant quay that gently sloped
towards a noble river. Not fifty steps from the house rolled the swift
current of the Loire. Beyond was an extensive plain from which rose
innumerable spires.

When I arrived, I found my friend in her usual seat near the window.
She was in a large arm-chair, with a table before her, on which were
all the materials necessary for a painter of miniatures. Mme. Agnes was
renowned in Philopolis as an artist. Her uncommon talent enabled her to
support her mother and young sister in a comfortable manner. Alas! poor
lady, she had been a paralytic for ten years.

According to her custom, she laid aside her work when I entered, and
welcomed me with a smile. But this expression of pleasure gave place to
one of motherly anxiety when she observed the sad face I wore.

“What is the matter, my poor child?” said she. “You have grown
frightfully thin.”

“I cannot say I am ill,” I replied, “but I am down-hearted, and have
so much reason to be, that things cannot continue long in this way: I
should die.”

Thus saying, I leaned my head against Mme. Agnes’ chair, like a great
child as I was, and cried heartily. I had so long restrained my

Mme. Agnes softly placed her hand on my head, and consoled me with a
kindness truly maternal. When my explosion of grief had passed away,
she made me give her an account of my troubles. I told her, perhaps for
the tenth time, what an inclination I had for a literary life, only
I was absolutely too poor to embrace it. I added that my duties as a
tutor were repugnant; the pupils were insolent and unfeeling; in short,
I concealed nothing that afflicted me. At length I ended with these

“You now see, Mme. Agnes, that I could not be more wretched than I am.
This must end. Give me, I beg, some of the good advice I have so many
times received from you. Tell me what I must do.”

“Have patience, my child, and wait till God makes the way smoother.”

“Wait! when one suffers as I do?... When I abhor my position?... When
I feel how happy I could be elsewhere!... Ah! Mme. Agnes, if you knew
what I have to endure—if you only comprehended my complete despair!”

“Poor child, your trials are bitter, I acknowledge; but you are young,
capable, and industrious, and will get a better position by-and-by.”

“To be forced to endure it only a year would be beyond my strength.
Neither my disposition, nor tastes, nor health could stand what I have
to bear.”

“How many others are in a similar position, but without even the hope
you have of soon exchanging an employment without results—detestable,
if you like—for one more congenial! The task they are pursuing must be
that of their whole lives. They know it, and resign themselves to it.
You, who have only to bear your trials for a certain time, must imitate
their example. Come, come, my friend, every one has his cross here
below. Let us bear ours cheerfully, and it will soon seem light.”

These consoling words were uttered in a sympathetic tone, as if they
came from the heart. I was touched. I began to look at Mme. Agnes
more attentively than ever before, and the thought occurred to me
like a revelation: “How much this woman must have suffered, and how
instructive would be the account of her life!”

“Mme. Agnes,” said I, “your advice is excellent, but example would
produce a still greater impression on me. I beg you to relate the
history of your life. You have evidently gone through much suffering,
and with great patience, I am confident. I will endeavor to conform to
your example.”

“You require a sad task of me,” she replied; “but no matter, I will
gratify you. My story—and who of us has not one?—will prove useful
to you, I think. But you must not be so ready to declare me a saint.
I never was one, as you will soon see. Yes, I have suffered, as you
suppose—greatly suffered, and have learned that the best means of
mitigating our sufferings is to submit to God’s will, and to cherish
it. The lesson to be derived from my history will be of use to you, I
trust, and therefore I yield to your request.

“One word more before commencing. I would observe that the account of
my own life is closely interwoven with the lives of several persons
whom you will not reproach me for making you acquainted with. By
a concurrence of circumstances which would appear to me almost
inexplicable did I not behold the hand of God therein, my life for
many years was identified, so to speak, with theirs. I witnessed the
struggles these loved ones had to make; I shared their very thoughts;
I sympathized in their sorrows, as they in mine; and I also had the
happiness of participating in their joys.

“When, therefore, I invoke these remembrances you wish me to recall, I
find all along the pathway of my life these friends now gone. I could
not relate my own history without relating theirs. But everything
encourages me to go on. The task is pleasant. It is sweet to speak of
those we have loved! The faithful picture I am going to draw of their
lives will be as full of instruction to you, my friend, as that of my



To begin: my father, a worthy man and a sincere Christian, was a _Chef
de Division_ at the Préfecture. A sudden illness bereft me of his care
when I was barely fifteen years old. My mother, my young sister, and
myself were left in quite limited circumstances, being wholly dependent
on the rent of this small house, which had belonged to the family many
years. Some time after, a pension of five hundred francs was added to
our income by the government which my father had faithfully served.
Our position was very sad, and the more so because, during my father’s
life, we had everything in abundance. But our misfortunes offered us
a thousand inducements to draw nearer to God. It is only ill-balanced
souls—at once proud and weak—that disregard him who chastises them.
Poor souls! they are doubly to be pitied, for they suffer and do not
have recourse to him who alone can console them! As for us, God granted
us the grace to recognize his agency. He sustained us, and we humbly
submitted to his divine decrees. Misfortune only rendered us the more

I had had a special taste for painting from my childhood, but still
lacked proficiency, notwithstanding the lessons I had taken. I now set
to work with ardor, though I had no master. At the end of a year I
had made so much progress that an old teacher of mine, the principal
of a boarding-school—an excellent person, who took an interest in
our affairs—received me as teacher of drawing in her establishment.
She also made me give English lessons to beginners. This additional
resource restored ease in a measure to our household. Nevertheless, we
were obliged to practise the strictest economy. To enable us to get on
swimmingly, as my mother said with a smile, we at last resolved to rent
the spacious ready-furnished apartments on the ground floor. The first
story was occupied by a lodger, who was, at the same time, a friend of
ours. As for us, we lived in the second story.

Things went on thus for some years. I was nearly twenty, when one day a
young man, whom neither my mother nor myself knew, called to say he had
heard our furnished rooms were vacant, and that he would like to occupy
them. My mother was greatly pleased with his frank, open manner. She
is very social, you know, and made the stranger sit down. They entered
into conversation, and I sat listening to them.

“Am I mistaken, monsieur?” said my mother, after a while; “it seems as
if I have already met you somewhere.”

“Yes, madame,” replied the young man, “I have had the honor of seeing
you more than once.”

“But where?”

“At M. Comte, the apothecary’s. I was the head clerk there.”

“That is it!... I remember now.... And you have left him?”

“Under the most singular circumstances. It seems I am a writer without
being aware of it.”

“How so?”

“You know the Philopolis _Catholic Journal_?”

“Certainly: an excellent paper. It is a great pity it is not so
successful as it deserves to be. But between us, it is partly its
own fault: it lacks interest and ability. It has only one able
contributor—Victor Barnier, but he does not write often enough.”

“The poor fellow cannot help it. His duties at the apothecary’s shop
have naturally superseded his taste for journalism.” ...

“What! are you Victor Barnier?”

“Yes, madame.”

“Ah! well, young man, you do not lack talent.”

“Others have said the same, madame. I hope you are not all mistaken,
especially for the sake of the _Catholic Journal_, of which I have
been appointed the principal editor. I refused the post at first,
the responsibility seemed so great. They insisted. The position
surpassed my wishes. Without any one’s knowing it, I had for many
years ardently longed to be a writer. But like so many others, the
limited circumstances of my family prevented it. Now, thanks to this
unexpected offer, the opportunity of following my natural inclinations
is so tempting that I cannot resist it. My good mother tells me it is a
perilous career, and that I shall meet with more trouble than success.
No matter! I am so fond of literary pursuits that, were they to afford
me only one day of happiness in my life, I should still cling to them.
And then, I say it without boasting, I love above all things the cause
I am to defend, and hope through divine assistance to become its able
champion. I have, therefore, left M. Comte’s, though not without some
regret. I enter upon my duties to-morrow, and—am in want of lodgings.”

“Oh! well, that is all settled. You shall come here and be well taken
care of.”

After this, Victor left us. I have only given you the substance of the
conversation in which I more than once took part. I must confess Victor
won my esteem and good-will at this first interview. He merited them.
He was at once an excellent and a talented man—that was to be seen at
the first glance. The better he was known, the more evident it became
that his outward appearance, pleasing as it was, was not deceptive.
He was then twenty-five years old, but, though young, he had had many
trials, I assure you—trials similar to yours, my young friend, but
much more severe.



The following day Victor took up his abode with us. Before a fortnight
had elapsed, my mother was enchanted with her new lodger. She sounded
his praises from morning till night. This may perhaps astonish you,
but you must know that she and I were always in the habit of telling
each other our very thoughts. This reciprocal confidence was so perfect
that it might be truly said we concealed nothing from each other.

And I must confess Victor showed himself every day more worthy of my
mother’s admiration. He was the most modest, amiable, industrious, and
orderly of young men—a genuine model for Christian men of letters. He
rose every morning at an early hour, and worked in his room till about
eight o’clock. Then, unless his occupations were too pressing, he heard
Mass at a neighboring church. After that, he went to the _Journal_
office, where he remained till noon; then he returned to breakfast. He
left again at one, came back at three, worked till dinnertime, then
studied till ten at night, and often later.

“Why do you work so hard?” said my mother to him one day. “The life
of a journalist, according to you, is that of a galley-slave. I never
should have thought an editor had so hard a time. You have all the four
large pages of the _Journal_ to write yourself, then, M. Victor?”

“By no means, dear madame. I write the leading article every day, and
in a short time, too, for I have the peculiarity of not writing well
when I write slowly. This done, I look over the other articles for the
paper. As I am responsible for them, I do not accept them till they are
carefully examined. This is my whole task—apparently an easy one, but
tedious and difficult in reality.”

“Yes; I see you have a great deal to do at the office; but why do you
continue to work at home?”

“Two motives oblige me to study—to increase my knowledge, and prevent
ennui. Having risen from a mere apothecary’s clerk to be the chief
editor of an important journal, I have to apply myself to keep apace
with my new profession. A journalist must be imprudent or dishonest who
discusses any subject on which he has not sufficient information. And
think of the multitude of questions connected with politics, political
economy, legislation, literature, and religion itself which I have in
turn to treat of! In the Paris newspapers, each editor writes on the
subjects he understands the best. The work is thus divided, to the
great advantage of the paper and its editors. Here, I alone am often
responsible for everything. Nevertheless, the care of my health, as
well as my indolence, would induce me to rest a few hours a day; but
where shall I pass them?—At the café? I go there sometimes to extend
my knowledge of human nature; but one cannot go there much without
being in danger of contracting injurious habits.—With my friends? I
have none, and am in no hurry to make any. The choice of a friend is
such a serious thing! One cannot be too cautious about it.”

“Come and see us,” said my mother, with her habitual cordiality. “When
you have nowhere else to go, and your mind is weary, come up and pass
an hour in the evening with your neighbors.”

Victor came, at first occasionally, then every day. Only a few weeks
elapsed before I felt that I loved him. His companionship was so
delightful; he had so much delicacy in little things; he was so frank,
so devoted to all that is beautiful and good! Did he love me in return?
No one could have told, for he was as timid as a young girl.

But this timidity was surmounted when my feast-day arrived. He came in
blushing with extreme embarrassment—poor dear friend! I can still see
him—holding a bouquet in his left hand, which he concealed behind him,
while with the other he presented my mother with an open paper. She
took it, glanced at it, and, after reading a few words, said:

“But this is not addressed to me. Here, Agnes, these stanzas are for
you, my child! And I see a bouquet!”

Victor presented it to me in an agitated manner. I myself was so
confused that I longed to run away to hide my embarrassment. I
concealed it as well as I could behind the sheet on which the stanzas
were written, and read them in a low tone. They gracefully thanked
my mother for all her kindness to him, and ended with some wishes
for me—wishes that were ardent and touching. In a tremulous tone I
expressed my gratitude with a sincerity which was quite natural. Our
embarrassment was not of long continuance. It soon passed off, and we
spent the evening in delightful conversation. One would have thought we
had always lived together, and formed but one family.

The next morning, when I returned from giving my lessons, what was my
astonishment to find Victor with my mother!

“Here she is to decide the question,” exclaimed the latter joyfully.
“M. Victor loves you, and wishes to know if you will be his wife.”

“Mother,” I replied, “must I be separated from you?”

“Less than ever,” cried Victor.

My delightful dream was realized! I was to be united to the man I loved
with all my heart—whom I esteemed without any alloy! And this without
being obliged to separate from her of whom I was the sole reliance.

I extended my hand to Victor, and threw myself into my mother’s arms,
thanking her as well as I could, but in accents broken by tears....

A month after, we were married, and happy—as happy, I believe, as
people can be here below.



Thenceforth began a life so sweet that I am unable to describe it.
Victor and I lived in the most delightful harmony. Our love for each
other increased daily. We had but one heart and one soul. Our very
tastes accorded.

Oh! how charming and happy is the wedded life of two Christian souls!
What mutual sympathy! How they divine each other’s thoughts! How
readily they make the concessions at times so necessary, for the best
matched people in this world do not always agree! A life more simple
than ours cannot be imagined, and yet it was so sweet!

I worked beside Victor in the morning and during a part of the
afternoon, looking at him from time to time, saying a few words, or
listening as he read what he had just composed. He said he first tried
the effect of his writings on me. How happy I was when he thus gave me
the first taste of one of his spirited articles, in which he defended
his principles with an ardor of conviction and a vigor of style which
impressed even those who were sceptical.

Before dinner we went to walk together. I persuaded Victor to devote
a part of each day to physical exercise as well as mental repose. Our
conversation always gave a fresh charm to these walks. And yet we did
not talk much, but we infused our whole souls into a word or two, or a
smile. How often I dreamed of heaven during those delicious hours! It
is thus, I said to myself, the angels above hold communion with each
other. They have no need of words to make themselves understood.

Among the pleasant features of that period, I must not forget that
of Victor’s success. Before he was appointed editor, the poor paper
vegetated. There were but few subscribers. No one spoke of the obscure
sheet which timidly defended sound principles and true doctrines.
What a sad figure it made in the presence of its contemporary, _The
Independent_—a shameless, arrogant journal which boasted of despising
all religious belief, and scoffed at the honest people foolish enough
to read it!

Victor had scarcely been chief editor of this despised paper three
months before there was a decided change. Every day added to the list
of subscribers. The _Catholic Journal_ was spoken of on all sides.
The sceptical, even, discussed it. As to _The Independent_, it was
forced to descend into the arena. In spite of itself, it had to engage
in conflict against an adversary as skilled in irony as in logic. I
acknowledge I was proud of Victor’s success, and, what was more, it
made me happy. For a long time, young as I was, I had groaned at seeing
Catholic interests so poorly defended. They were now as ably sustained
as I could wish, and by the man whom I loved. All my wishes were

Nevertheless, there is no perfect happiness in this world. Even those
blissful years were not exempt from sorrow. God granted me twice, with
an interval of two years, the long-wished-for joy of being a mother,
but each time Providence only allowed its continuance a few months.
My first child, a boy, died at the end of six months. The second, a
daughter, was taken from me before it was a year old. You are young, my
friend and cannot understand how afflicting such losses are. A mother’s
heart, I assure you, is broken when she sees her child taken from her,
however young it may be. My husband himself was greatly distressed when
our little boy was carried off after an illness of only a few hours.
But his grief was still more profound when our little girl died. Dear
child! though only nine months old, her face was full of intelligence,
her eyes were expressive, and she had a wonderful way of making herself
understood. She passed quietly away, softly moaning, and gazing at us
with affection. Her father held her in his arms the whole time of her
long agony. It seemed as if he thus hoped to retain her. She, too,
was sad, I am sure. She seemed to know we were in grief, and to leave
us with regret. Her sweet face only resumed its joyful expression
after her soul had taken flight for heaven; then a celestial happiness
beamed from her features consecrated by death. Victor stood gazing at
her a long time as she lay on the bed with a crucifix in her innocent
hands. His lips murmured a prayer in a low tone. It seemed to me he
was addressing our angel child—begging her to pray that God would
speedily call him to dwell for ever with her in his blissful presence.
The thought made me shudder. It seemed as if I had at that moment an
interior revelation. I knew that was Victor’s prayer, and I had a
presentiment it would be heard.

From that day, though we had a thousand reasons to consider ourselves
happy, we were no longer light-hearted as we once had been. There
was a something that weighed on our minds and kept us anxious, and
empoisoned all our joys. Life seemed unsatisfactory, and we drew nearer
to God. We were constantly speaking of him and the angel who had flown
from us, and we often approached the sacraments together. It was thus
that God was secretly preparing Victor to return to him, and me to
endure so terrible a blow.



No man was ever more fond of domestic life than Victor. The happiest
hours of the day were those we all spent together—he, my mother, my
young sister, and myself—occupied in some useful work, but often
stopping to exchange a few words. It was with regret Victor sometimes
left us at such hours to mingle with the world. He refused all
invitations to dinners, soirées, and balls as often as possible, but
he could not always do so. He had taken the first place—a place quite
exceptional—in local journalism, and it was impossible for him to
decline all the advances made him. Besides, he wished, as was natural
to one of his profession, to ascertain for himself public opinion on
the question of the day. I cannot tell you how dull the evenings seemed
when he was away, or how anxious I was till he returned. There was
something dreadful about his profession. In vain he resolved to avoid
personalities; they were often discovered when none had been intended.
If he was fortunately able to keep within the limits he had marked out
for himself, and confined himself to the defence of justice, morality,
and religion, he found these three great causes had furious opponents.
Whoever defended them incurred the ardent ill-will of the enemies of
all good. This is what happened to Victor. Their secret hatred burst
forth on an occasion of but little importance.

A renowned preacher of the South, worthy in every respect of his
reputation, came to preach at the cathedral during Advent. This man,
as eloquent as he was good, attacked the vices of the day with all the
ardor of an apostle. Many of the young men of the place who went to
hear him were infuriated at the boldness of his zeal. Some supposed
themselves to be meant in the portraits he drew of vicious men in
a manner so forcible and with such striking imagery as to make his
hearers tremble. At the close of one of these sermons, there was some
disturbance in the body of the church. Threats were uttered aloud, and
women treated with insult. Victor, indignant at such conduct, had the
courage to rebuke the corrupt young men of the place. Never had he
been more happily inspired, and never had he produced such an effect.
The article was everywhere read. It gave offence, and we awaited the

The next day Victor received an invitation to a large ball given by a
wealthy banker. The invitation surprised him, for he knew the banker
was a liberal with but little sympathy for the priesthood and its
defenders. I begged Victor to decline the invitation politely. I feared
it was only a pretext to offer him some affront. He gently reassured me
by saying that, though M. Beauvais was a liberal, he had the reputation
of being an honorable man. “I am glad,” added he, “to become acquainted
with those who frequent the banker’s salon. I shall probably find more
than one Christian among them,” as, in fact, often happened.

When the night came, Victor went away, leaving me quite uneasy, in
spite of all his efforts to reassure me. I made him promise to return
at an early hour. I was beginning to be anxious towards eleven, when
all at once there was a sound of hasty footsteps. I sprang to the
door—I opened it—it was he. As soon as he entered the room, I noticed
he was extremely pale. He vainly endeavored to appear calm, but could
not conceal the agitation that overpowered him.

“Victor,” I cried, “something has happened!”

“Yes, but not much. Somebody tried to frighten me.”

“Are you wounded?”

“No, they did not wish to take my life.”

“I conjure you to tell me frankly what has happened.”

“Well, here are the facts: I had left M. Beauvais’ house, where I was
politely received, and had gone two streets, when I observed three men
walking swiftly after me on the Place. They seemed well dressed, which
removed my suspicions. I turned into the little Rue St. Augustine. It
is dimly lighted in the evening and almost always deserted.”

“How imprudent!”

“That is true. I did wrong. I had scarcely gone a hundred yards, before
the three men overtook me.”

“‘Stop!’ exclaimed one of them. I stopped to ascertain what they
wished. The same voice continued in these terms: ‘How much do those
_calotins_ give you to defend them?’

“‘I have only one word to say in reply to your insulting question—I
defend my own principles, above all because I cherish them in the
depths of my soul.’ So saying, I sought to keep on my way.

“One of them detained me. ‘Before going any further,’ said he who
seemed to be the spokesman, ‘swear never to abuse the young men of this
town again!’

“‘I attack no one individually,’ I replied. ‘Am I forbidden to defend
my own cause because it is not yours?—But this is no time or place for
such an interview. It should be at my office and by daylight. Come to
see me to-morrow, and I will answer your questions.’

“The three men were so wrapped up in their bernouses and large
comforters that I could not tell who they were. I thought it time to
disengage myself from the grasp of the one that held me. I made a
violent effort. In the struggle, my cloak fell off. As I stooped to
pick it up, I received several blows. I then called for assistance.
Several windows in the neighborhood opened. The three cowards
disappeared. As you see, I am neither killed nor wounded. On the whole,
no great harm has been done.”

My whole frame trembled during this account. When it was ended, I
became somewhat calmer, and, passionately throwing my arms around
Victor, I begged him to promise me solemnly never to go out again in
the evening. He did so willingly.



The next morning Victor told me he did not feel any effect from what
had occurred. He therefore went to the office as usual, and wrote a
spirited article, in which he made known and energetically stigmatized
the base proceedings of those who had attacked him. The article
attracted particular attention, and gave us the pleasant satisfaction
of realizing to what a degree Victor had won the good-will of upright
men. On all sides they came that very day to express their indignation
at the violence used against him....

We should neither overestimate nor decry human nature. There are
certainly a multitude of base men with low natures and vile instincts.
But even among those who are the farthest from the truth there are some
souls that have preserved a certain uprightness and hearts of a certain
elevation for whom we cannot help feeling mingled admiration and pity.

That same evening Victor complained of not being well, but kept
saying it was nothing serious. Without asking his consent, I sent
for a physician, who examined him. Victor was forced to acknowledge
he had been chilled the night before. He was very warm when he left
M. Beauvais’ house, and, to counteract the effect of the keen north
wind, he started off swiftly, and was in a complete perspiration when
overtaken by his assailants. Stopped in the middle of the street, he
was exposed to the cold night air, which was of course injurious. What
was still worse, his cloak fell off, and it was several minutes before
he recovered it.

I was seized with terror at hearing these details. It seemed as if my
poor husband had just pronounced his own death-warrant. At the same
time a horrible feeling sprang up in my heart, such as I had never
experienced before. I was frantic with rage and hatred against those
who were the cause of this fatal chill. I begged, I implored Victor and
the physician to promise to take immediate steps for their discovery,
that no time might be lost in bringing them to justice in order to
receive the penalty they deserved.

“Agnes,” said Victor mildly—“Agnes, your affection for me misleads
you. I no longer recognize my good Agnes.”

But I gave no heed to what he said, and was only diverted from my
hatred by the care I was obliged to bestow on him. In twenty-four
hours my poor husband’s illness had increased to such a degree that
I lost all hope. Poor Victor! he suffered terribly, and I added to
his sufferings instead of alleviating them! I loved him too much, or
rather with too human an affection. I afflicted him with my alternate
outbursts of despair and anger.

“Live without you!” I would exclaim—“that is impossible! Oh! the
monsters who have killed you, if they could only die in your stead! But
they shall be punished and held up to infamy as they deserve! If there
is no one else in the world to ferret them out, I will do it myself!”

These fits of excitement caused Victor so much sorrow that the very
remembrance of them fills me with the keenest remorse—a remorse I have
reason to feel. His confessor, the physician, my mother, and he himself
tried in vain to soothe me. One told me how far from Christian my
conduct was, and another that I deprived my husband of what he needed
the most—repose. I would not listen to them. I was beside myself.

One evening I was sitting alone beside the bed of my poor sick one, and
was abandoning myself anew to my unreasonable anger, when Victor took
my hand in his, and said, in a tone that went to my very heart:

“Agnes, I feel very weak. Perhaps I have not long to live. I beg
you—I conjure you—to spare me the cruel sorrow of having my last
hours embittered by a want of resignation I was far from expecting of
you! Of all my sufferings, this is the greatest—and certainly that to
which I can resign myself the least. What! my dear Agnes, do you, at
the very moment of my leaving you, lay aside the most precious title
you have in my eyes—that of a Christian woman, a woman of piety and
fortitude—which transcends all others?... What! are you unable to
submit to the will of God! Because his designs do not accord with your
views, you dare say that God no longer loves you—that he is cruel!...
My dear, do you set up your judgment against that of God? Do you refuse
him the sacrifice of my life and of your enmity?... Does not my life
belong to him?... And is not your enmity unchristian?... Did they who
have reduced me to this condition intend doing me such an injury?...
I think not. Could they have done me the least harm if God had not
permitted them?... No matter at what moment the fatal blow falls on us,
no matter whence it comes, it only strikes us at the time and in the
manner permitted by God.—Agnes, kneel here beside me, and repeat the
words I am about to utter. Repeat them with your lips and with your
whole heart, whatever it may cost you. It is my wish. It is essential
for your own peace of mind, and also for mine. Agnes, my dear love, we
have prayed a thousand times together and with hearts so truly united!
Now that you see me ill, perhaps dying ... can you refuse me the
supreme joy of once more uniting my soul with yours before God in the
same prayer?” ...

I burst into tears, and obeyed.

“O my God!” he cried, “whatever thou doest is well done. Nothing can
tempt me to doubt thy goodness. Is not thy loving-kindness often the
greatest when it seems disguised the most?... I firmly believe so, and
I forgive all those who have tried to injure me. I pray thee to convert
them. As for me, I beg thee, O my God, to deal with me as thou judgest
most for thy glory and for my good.”

Victor uttered these words with so much fervor and emotion that I was
stirred to the depths of my soul. A complete change took place within
me which I attributed to my dear husband’s prayers. My eyes, hitherto
tearless, now overflowed. My anger all at once disappeared. A profound
sadness alone remained, mingled with resignation....

Victor’s life continued in danger some days longer. Then—oh! what
happiness!—when I had made the sacrifice and bowed submissively to the
divine will, the physician all at once revived my hopes. To comprehend
the joy with which my heart overflowed at hearing that perhaps my
husband might be restored to life, you must, like me, pass through long
hours of bitterness in which you repeat, with your eyes fastened on
your loved one: “A few hours, and I shall behold him no more!”

A week after, Victor was convalescent.



Victor and I then entered upon a singular life of which I think there
are but few instances. I felt from the first that his convalescence
was deceptive, and the physician secretly told him so. We both felt
that God allowed us to pass a few more months together, but no longer.
The disease was checked, but it still hung about my dear one. It
assumed a new form, and changed into a slow malady that was surely
accomplishing its work. As frequently happens in such complaints,
Victor was but partially cured of inflammation of the lungs, and now
became consumptive.

A great poet says that no language, however perfect, can express all
the thoughts, all the emotions, that spring up in the soul.[35] This
is true. I have often felt it, and now realize it more than ever. Ten
months elapsed between Victor’s amelioration and his death—months
memorable for great suffering, but which have left me many delightful,
though melancholy, remembrances. I wish I could impart these
recollections to you. I hardly dare attempt it, so conscious am I of my
inability to do them justice.

How, indeed, could I depict the love, stronger than ever, that bound
me to my husband, spared in so unhoped-for a manner, though but for a
brief period—so brief that I could almost count the hours? How make
you understand how elevated, superhuman, consoling, and yet sorrowful,
were our conversations? How many times Victor said to me: “Agnes, how
merciful the good God is! See, he could have recalled me to himself
at once, but still leaves me with you a few months longer. Oh! how
heartily I desire to profit by this time in order to prepare for death,
though I fear it not! I do not wish to spend one of these last hours
in vain. I wish to do all the good in my power, and love you better
and better as the blessed do in heaven. Oh! how sweet it will be to
enter upon that perfect love above, which we have imagined, and had a
foretaste of, here below—what do I say?—a thousand times sweeter,
more perfect. Its enjoyment will be without any alloy of fear or
sadness, for in loving, we shall have a right to say: ‘It is for ever!’”

But of all the thoughts that occupied Victor’s mind at that period,
that which was most constantly in his heart he expressed in these
simple but significant words: to do all the good possible! Penetrated
with this desire, he resumed his duties at the _Journal_ office as
soon as he was able. His talents had developed under the influence of
suffering. Every one remarked it. But controversy fatigued him, and he
was not able to go out every day. He was, therefore, provided with an
assistant—a young man of ability, to whom he could transfer most of
the labor. He took pleasure in training him for the work, saying to
himself: “He will be my successor. I shall still live in him, and have
some part in the good he will do.”

A part of the day, therefore, remained unoccupied. He employed these
hours in writing a small work—a simple, touching book, which was
published a short time before his death, and is still doing, to my
knowledge, much good among the people.

Training his successor and publishing a useful book were two good acts
he took pleasure in, but, so great was his ardor for benefiting others,
that they did not suffice. He earnestly longed for some new opportunity
of testifying to God how desirous he was of making a holy use of the
last moments of his life. “And yet,” he added, “I acknowledge this
work is perhaps presumptuous. It is asking a special grace from God of
which I am not worthy.” But God granted him this longed-for opportunity
of devoting himself to his glory, and he embraced it with a heroism
that won universal admiration.

Spring returned, and we fell into the habit of going from time to time
to pass a day in the country with Jeanne, my old nurse. Jeanne was one
of those friends of a lower condition whom we often love the most.
There is no jealousy in such a friendship to disturb the complete union
of soul. It is mingled with a sweet sense of protection on one side,
and of gratitude on the other—which is still sweeter.

We went there in the morning, walked around awhile, then breakfasted
and resumed our walk. Jeanne lived at St. Saturnin, six kilomètres
from town. It is a charming place, as you are aware. Near the village
flows a stream bordered by poplars and willows that overshadow the deep
but limpid waters. One morning we were walking in the broad meadow
beneath the shade of these trees, when suddenly we saw a young man on
the opposite shore, not six rods off, throw himself into the stream.
Victor still retained a part of his natural vigor. Before I thought
of preventing him, he sprang forward, and, seeing that the man who
had precipitated himself into the water did not rise to the surface,
jumped into the river, swam around some time, and finally succeeded
in bringing the stranger to shore. I was wild with anxiety and grief.
Without allowing him to stop to attend to the person he had rescued,
I forced him to return to Jeanne’s in order to change his clothing.
He gave orders for some one to hasten to the assistance of the poor
man for whom he had so courageously exposed his life. Several persons
hastily left their work, and in a short time returned with the man who
had tried to drown himself. He was still agitated, but had recovered
the complete use of his faculties. At the sight of my husband in the
garb of a peasant, he at once comprehended to whom he owed his life.
He was seized with a strange tremor; he staggered, and seemed on the
point of fainting. Victor made every effort to bring him to himself,
and at length succeeded. As soon as this young gentleman, who was clad
with uncommon elegance, recovered his strength and self-possession,
he seized my husband’s hand and kissed it with a respect that excited
strange suspicions in my mind. Victor appeared to know him, but I did
not remember ever having seen him before. Why had he thrown himself
into the river? To drown himself, of course.... Why, then, did he
testify so much gratitude and respect for one who had hindered him from
executing his project?...

He requested, in a faint, supplicating tone, to be left alone with
Victor. The rest of us withdrew into the garden. At our return, Victor
whispered to me: “This gentleman is Louis Beauvais, the banker’s oldest
son. He himself will relate his history to you after our return home.”

The carriage was not to come for us till four o’clock. We therefore
passed several hours together at Jeanne’s. Victor devoted himself to
Louis with an attention that touched me inexpressibly. As to Louis, a
son could not have shown more affection to the best of fathers than he
to Victor.

The hour of our departure came at last. We entered the carriage, and
were all three at home in half an hour.



AS the family is the type and basis of society, so does it contain,
as in a microcosm, all the questions, problems, and difficulties that
agitate the larger world. Marriage is first in importance within the
family and in society, as representing the principle of creation;
education comes next, as representing the principle of development.
Given a new and perfect society, made up of individual couples whose
union should be absolutely satisfactory, and whose motives, thoughts,
and actions absolutely irreproachable, how is it to be perpetuated in
this desirable state? If to the perfection of marriage were not added
the consequent perfection of education, the new society, for a moment
raised up above former standards of approximative goodness, would, in
the course of half a generation, be reduced lower than any standard of
Christian times. This is so well understood that education has come to
be the one cry of all parties, representing with some the conscientious
result of their religious belief, with others merely their ambition to
make a stir in the political world. Christians look to it as fitting
men for heaven; statesmen turn to it as fashioning the law-abiding
citizen; atheists see in it the means whereby successfully to blind
mankind, and make them swallow the poison hidden under the appearance
of superficial cleverness; the devil grasps it as a tool, or recoils
from it as from a thunderbolt; but to no thinking being can it be a
matter of indifference.

We do not propose to go into that broader question of public education
which, once within the scope of the law, and face to face with
established national systems, immediately sets both hemispheres in
a ferment; but to discuss that preliminary and more vital training
whose silent power shows itself every day in the homes of thousands,
neutralizing on the one hand good examples and wholesome teaching, and
on the other often redeeming from utter badness its half-corrupted
subject. And first taking the literal meaning of the word education,
_i.e._ to _lead up_, or _out of_ (_e-duco_), we must remark that as
education is coeval with the dawn of reason, so it is also continuous.
It begins in the cradle, and goes on hand in hand with life to the
grave. All experience, good or bad, is education, not only the lessons
taught in school-hours, the lectures given in classes, halls, and
colleges, not alone the books we read and the examinations we undergo,
but, more emphatically, the places we frequent, the people we meet,
the misfortunes we go through, the work we perform. Even prosperity is
education, though seldom in the highest sense, but it is chiefly in the
lower walks of fortune that the more important part of this daily and
hourly education is imparted. For this reason specially, and in view
of the future in which a chance word heard in the street or a stray
visit to some place or person may become of such subtle and paramount
gravity, should home education in the Christian sense of the word be
encouraged to the utmost. More particularly should this be the case in
non-Catholic countries. We have no outward atmosphere of religion to
trust to; no wayside crosses to remind us of the sufferings which our
sins caused our Blessed Saviour; no simple shrines to bid us remember
to pray for our invisible brethren in purgatory; no street processions
to bring vividly before our minds that our King is more than an earthly
lord, and our Mother more than an earthly parent.

We do not breathe Catholicity in our daily life, and there is therefore
the greater need of our drinking it in with our mother’s milk. This
insensible and gradual instilling of religion into our infant minds
is the essence of Christian “home education.” First among all the
influences that go towards it is example. This extends over every
detail of the household, and can be and should be kept in view in the
poorest as well as the most comfortable home. In the latter, certainly,
the duty is more stringent, the incentives to its performance lying
so near at hand that it requires an absolutely guilty carelessness to
neglect them. In the former, though a thousand excuses might be made
for the neglect of this paramount duty, it should still be remembered
that God’s grace is all-powerful, and never fails those who seek to
do his will. Parents sorely tried during a day of toil and anxiety
are often found more loving and forbearing towards their helpless
children than others who, with no trouble on their minds, yet delegate
the “tiresome” office of nurse to a hired attendant; and although it
is certainly to be deplored that in so many cases the children of the
poor should be nothing but little men and women already weighed down
by cares that ought to belong only to a later age, still it may be
questioned whether even this is not a lesser evil in the long run than
that other sort of neglect which makes the children of the rich, for
the most part, only the playthings of their parents.

The poor, on the contrary, though necessity may make their children
drudges, yet have in them early friends, while too often among their
more fortunate neighbors children count only as the ornaments of
the house. So that even out of evil comes good, and God has planted
consolations in the path of his poor which go far to soften the
miseries of their inevitable lot. We say inevitable, not as denying the
immense, unexplored possibilities of alleviating this lot which remain
in the power of future philanthropists, but as believing in our Lord’s
prophecy, “The poor you have _always_ with you,” which blessed promise
we count as a staff vouchsafed in mercy to help us on our way to heaven.

We have said that the duty of good example is incumbent upon every
parent, rich or poor. But not only those broad examples which could
hardly fail to strike even an idiot, such as abstaining from unseemly
brawls, from excesses of language and of self-indulgence—in plain
words, from swearing and drinking—or from manifest dishonesty; there
are subtler things than these, and which produce indeed greater effect
on the child spectator. Gross vice has often that redeeming phase of
being its own antidote by disgusting those who come in daily contact
with it. The principle on which the Spartans educated their children in
temperance by exhibiting before them the drunken helots was (however
cruel its application on the persons of their unhappy prisoners) a
consummate proof of practical wisdom. That which does not carry such an
antidote with it is more to be feared in the education of a child. A
spirit of irritability between husband and wife; a carelessness on the
part of either in entering cordially into the other’s little interests;
an exhibition of temper over absurd trifles or of unamiability in small
questions of self-denial—these tell gravely upon a child’s character.
Observation and criticism are childhood’s natural characteristics,
and very logical and very pitiless are childhood’s judgments. The
old-fashioned code of a “well-behaved” child used to be never to ask
questions; we are not so sure that this code was faultlessly wise. We
suffer perhaps under a somewhat aggravated form of a very dissimilar
one just now, and may be tempted—not unpardonably—to wish for the
peace of the good old times back again. As usual, the middle course is
the most rational as well as beneficial, and if it were in our power to
stop the violent swayings of the social pendulum from one extreme to
the other, we would gladly do our part in the work.

It is therefore in the more unheeded and less abnormal occurrences
of every day that the greatest force of example lies, and that harm
or good may be done beyond recall. Christian gentleness, that daily
unobtrusive charity which in rough homes amply makes up for what
outward refinement may be lacking, and in more prosperous households
alone sets the seal of true worth upon such exterior polish as there
is, is the golden secret of a perfect example. And this spirit should
extend to every domestic relation, covering the whole field of
contingencies which may assume such grave proportions in a child’s
memory. Your deportment to the poor, if you are rich yourself, has
an invaluable force of example; the patience with which you listen
to a tale of distress, the delicate courtesy implied in an attentive
attitude, the gracefulness of your alms, and the wise but gentle
discrimination of your questioning, all have an untold effect upon the
little trotter by your side, hardly old enough to reason however dimly,
but old enough to bear away a nameless impression of the scene. On the
other hand, think of the responsibility incurred by a rude or callous
reception; a sneering or lofty air of caution against what you think
may be an imposture; above all, perhaps, a careless alms given to be
rid of a disagreeable importunity, and a half-expression of relief when
the interruption is happily over! The child at your side bears away
this impression quite as surely, and in after-years uses its imitative
powers quite as skilfully, as if the impression had been one of mercy
and kindness; and a very few scenes of this sort are enough to mould
for a child a certain standard of behavior.

Among the domestic relations, none is more likely to strike a child’s
eye than that between master and servant. Here also dangerous seeds of
future heartlessness may be easily sown by the example of a careless
or haughty parent. Considerate thought for the proper comforts of
those whose toil ensures your leisure is one of the foremost Christian
duties. A child is naturally tyrannical, and this disposition, if
fostered by an injudicious mother, may lead to a shameless persecution
of the very persons to whose care children are most often left. This,
in turn, will encourage tyranny on the nurse’s part, and engender a
system of mutual deceit; the child and the servant trying to circumvent
each other in carrying tales, and then sheltering themselves by lies
from the consequences of having carried them. Now, all this is to the
last degree injurious to the future character of the child; it withers
the principle of honor; it kills all manliness and straightforward
dealing, and sows the seeds of those two inseparable vices, cruelty and
cowardice. In after-life, when the despairing mother sees her darling
sink below himself, and earn the unenviable names of bully and sneak,
can she blame him for shattering the ideal she blindly worshipped in
his person? Not so, for with justice can she look back on her own
folly, and with bitterness cry out, “_It was my fault._”

Very different is the other and the good example shown by so many holy
and conscientious women in their relations with their households.
Considerateness and forbearance in all things are not incompatible with
firmness in some. A sense of your own dignity, were it nothing higher,
will dictate a kind bearing towards those in humbler station; for to
those who never obtrude their superiority a double homage will ever be
accorded. A child can exercise on its attendants some of the noblest
virtues of manhood; the household is a little world, a preparatory
stage on which to rehearse in miniature the opportunities of
after-life. Pleasure given to some, a little gift or a gracious speech
vouchsafed to others; consolation afforded to one in grief, attention
shown to one in sickness; and, above all, a mindfulness of not making
the yoke of servitude too galling by restricting the natural and proper
diversions of those whom God has destined to bear it—such are a few of
the lessons a child should learn, not in words alone, but in the manner
of its parents and the unconscious radiating of an habitual example.

Another class of influences under which a child will necessarily
come is that of social relations. For the most part, children are
made too much of a show. They are taught—or allowed—certain little
mannerisms which, at their age, are called charming, but, if looked
at by the light of common sense, are simply as absurd as they are
forward. Later on, when they begin to use their reason, they are
often listeners to frivolous or scandalous conversations, in which
they pick up, if not a half-knowledge of vice, certainly a whole
love of gossip. Now, all this is deplorable from a Christian point
of view. In a really Christian home—a home such as we aspire to see
at least in every Catholic family—the case would be very different.
Entertainments and fêtes would be judiciously “few and far between,”
and in its mother’s visitors the child would see only fresh objects of
its mother’s charitable tact. If anything against charity were said,
the hostess would gently check the conversation, either by palliating
the fault alluded to, suggesting a better motive than the apparent one
concerning any person implicated, or turning the conversation skilfully
to some less dangerous topic. Those formal visits, made to kill time
or otherwise uselessly, would have no part in her day’s programme, and
with ever charitable but firm demeanor would she effectually check the
frequent demands thus made upon her time by others. The child, quick
of perception, as almost all children are, would be unconsciously
moulded to habits of orderly and discriminating hospitality, and would
soon learn to do something for God in every social pastime which it
legitimately enjoyed.

This brings us to the subject of order, an important virtue in the
Christian home. Education itself, if given in a desultory fashion,
would be next to useless, and some of that strict apportioning of time
which gives to our study hours their wholesome monotony is essential
also for the home training of youth. This may seem at first sight a
very arbitrary decision, but, when we come to look deeper into it, we
find that it has the same relation to the future moral life as the
study of the classics or of mathematics to the intellectual life. A
knowledge of the Greek and Latin poets, orators, and historians has
perhaps very little influence on the practical and ultimate result of
a college education; but the effect of refinement it has on the mind,
and the polished tone it imperceptibly gives to thought, manners, and
conversation, are benefits simply incalculable. So with mathematics. A
boy may not have any aptitude for that science, and may never hope to
become proficient in it; still, the habit of application, the facility
of concentrating and commanding his thoughts, which is the natural
result of the close study demanded by the exact sciences, are things
whose influence on his future career cannot be rated too high. They may
not unlikely ensure temporal success, and, in these days of feverish
competition, this argument should not be overlooked. Still, it is from
a higher motive that we say the same of habits of order in the home.
This regularity, which, no doubt, may be tedious, just as mathematics
may be dry, is not lost on the general impressions of childhood, and,
were it only for its own sake, should be looked upon as a seal of
likeness to the works of God, which cannot fail to hallow the family
circle. We have said that the family is the world in miniature, and
as the principle of order was the presiding attribute in creation, so
ought we in our daily lives to take it as a means of creating more and
more time, more and more opportunities, for the service of God. “Be
perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

In the education given by the constant example of the parents, nothing
is more important than family prayer, or, at least, prayer said at
the mother’s knee. In the most solemn of duties, it is not fitting
that parent and child should be separated. If Jesus has said that
his Father can refuse nothing to “two or three _gathered_ together
in his name,” how much more invincible must be the joint prayer of
those who are linked by such close and sacred ties, those who present
to him a faint shadow of his own humble home at Nazareth! Think you
that Jesus in his kingdom forgets the simple hearth where his Mother
taught him, according to the development of his human nature, those
formulæ of prayer and thanksgiving which he himself, in his divine
nature, had taught to the Jewish lawgivers? Does he forget the rites
of circumcision and presentation, the offerings and ransom paid for
him according to the law, the visit to the temple at Jerusalem? He has
shown us in his obedience to these religious observances his wish that
we should imitate his outward devotion and submission to the church.
Family worship is dear to him in remembrance of his own childhood, and
as it is one of the most solemn, so it is also one of the sweetest
duties of the Christian parent. It tends to give the child a proper
spirit of faith and simple reliance, in that it sees its earthly
parent, to whom it looks up for everything and considers as the final
arbiter of its small world, prostrate before a higher Fatherhood, and
taking towards the divine Omnipotence the very attitude of a submissive
and expectant child.

Next to prayer itself, pious reading cannot fail to demand our
attention as the second great spiritual help in the routine of
home education. This should be simple and well suited to the
understanding of young children, and, above all, should not be a dry
and barren formality, but should be explained and amplified by the
mother’s comments. How, unless questions are freely allowed—nay,
encouraged—can the extent of the impression made by spiritual reading
be measured? Then, what an inexhaustible resource does not this
reading or its equivalent—descriptions by word of mouth—afford to a
thoughtful parent! The beautiful narratives of the Old Testament, the
stories of the four gospels, the many striking incidents in the lives
of the saints, the legends of the faithful middle ages, the histories
of the contemporaneous manifestations of God’s mercy, all offer mines
of wealth to a skilful narrator. If, instead of goblin tales more
fit for the entertainment of rational people than for the staple of
a child’s too credulous meditations, these holy histories became the
nursery rhymes of the future generation, it would be well indeed for
the spiritual advance of our age. If among the romances of mediæval
times more of those were chosen in which religion figures than of those
where fairy and elf appear, it would be a better promise for the future
health, moral and physical, of our people. Who knows how much of that
nervousness which is the characteristic disease of our day is due to
those unwholesome terrors of infancy, those threats of bogy and ogre,
with which children are frightened into silence or lulled into uneasy
sleep! The child who would be, in a manner, the companion of the boy
Jesus, of the child Precursor, the infant Samuel, the Holy Innocents,
the children of whom our Lord said, “Suffer them to come unto me, and
forbid them not,” and of the many boy and girl saints—S. Rose of
Viterbo, S. Aloysius Gonzaga, S. Stanislaus Kostka—would be a far
healthier and more manly subject than the mental companion of deformed
sprites and forest goblins. The young mind is so impressionable that it
is the greatest possible mistake to let its first exercise of reason
spend itself on unrealities; they are apt to take on an influence not
readily shaken off, and to cumber the ground long after room is needed
for more serious growths of thought. This may seem an exceptional mode
of proceeding, perhaps an eccentric one, the contrary having for so
many ages held sway, but we take leave to think that it has reason,
expediency, and religion on its side.

To this great duty of example, which ramifies itself as often as there
are distinct classes of influence, is added the duty of vigilance.
Parents need not only the knowledge of what to impart, but the instinct
of what to shun. As watchers over a citadel, they have to guard against
the masked inroads of the enemy, and carefully to sift their children’s
surroundings, whether social or domestic, lest any taint should lurk
in the association. We have read somewhere in a book of devotion that
those who carry great treasures in a frail vessel naturally take the
greater care as to their gait and speed; they look well to see if the
road is level, or to avoid its irregularities if it is not; they take
heed to keep their eyes and mind intent on what they bear, so as to
bring it safe to its destination. Even so does the mother carry in her
hands the priceless treasure of a human soul, and her solicitude for
its perfect preservation from all taint or attack should be little less
than that of the child’s Guardian Angel himself. If, as we have just
hinted, she should choose with such scrupulous care even the companions
of his fancy, so much the more should this judicious censorship be
extended to the real companions of his studies or recreations. Perhaps
the influence of childish association is even greater than the mother’s
own, and what the latter may have laboriously sown will be uprooted in
a moment by the former. Children’s minds, in indiscriminate contact
with each other, are as powder and spark brought together; if each
had been kept until the right moment, and applied in the right way,
we might have had an illumination; as it is, we have a conflagration.
As childhood merges into youth, the choice of a school brings this
question of companionship into prominence. In a public institution,
it is not possible to admit only children who come, well-taught and
docile-minded, from irreproachable homes; the very aim and end of
the institution would thus be frustrated. Nor is it possible for its
parents, once a child is admitted, to choose absolutely who, among its
many school-fellows, shall be its special friends. Much may be done
in that way by advice, tact, and prayer; still, guidance falls far
short of absolute choice. It is therefore evident that the greater
care should be taken to choose the school which in itself shall have
the greatest influence in moulding the character of its scholars,
and thereby in transforming into fitter companions for the new-comer
those very children who, _nolens volens_, must needs be his everyday
acquaintances. But the influence of home does not cease with the first
day at school. Letters from home, breathing the old atmosphere, will
carry the child back, week by week, to his old associations, be they
good or bad; the holidays will bring him again within the fascination
of the old circle, and occasional visits from the companions of his
early childhood will complete the charm. Thus an infinite amount of
good, or a corresponding amount of harm, may yet be done after the home
education period has, strictly speaking, passed away.

And here is, perhaps, the best place to touch upon the holy influence
which an elder brother or sister may exercise on a younger one. This,
one of the most powerful means of good, is only second to that of the
parents themselves, and may furnish a very beautiful illustration
of true and discerning brotherly love. It is spiritual friendship
engrafted upon the stock of natural affection, itself a noble virtue
and most sweet tie, which has often, even in heathen times, produced
great effects. Under this figure of brotherhood God has typified
his union with creatures; he made himself our Brother through the
incarnation; and everywhere brotherhood is synonymous with the
dearest and purest fellowship. Our brothers and sisters in the flesh,
especially if they are younger than ourselves, are as much our care
and charge as they are of our parents; and of this we have a striking
instance in the very first book of the Pentateuch, and only a few
years after the sinless creation of Adam. Cain’s defiant plea, “Am
I my brother’s keeper?” failed to meet with God’s endorsement, but
brought instead the terrible answer that he should be “a fugitive and
a vagabond upon the earth.” In the daily companionship of brotherhood,
this scene is often re-enacted; souls are slain by their own kindred,
and the world smiles and passes blindly on. But God has set a mark upon
the murderer by which the devils know him and kill him not, because
they know too well whose road he is even now treading, and that in the
last day his mark shall be revealed to all. Here is the dark side of
that continuous education which is as potently at work in dens of shame
and places of pleasant danger as it is in Christian homes and schools.
Here is that nefarious education which neutralizes or obliterates the
happy past, and leads our young men by tortuous paths of gradual vice
to the end of many such deceptive panoramas—the gallows or suicide.

False example, insidious promptings, rash indulgences, intoxicating
freedom, wily friendship—through these and many kindred forms, subtle
may be and proportionately dangerous, the devil, in the person of your
brother or your seeming friend, leads you on till the murder of Abel
is repeated, and the insolent excuse flung back to heaven: “Am I my
brother’s keeper?”

The system of rewards and punishments has much to do with the moral
training of youth. With regard to this, we may startle our readers
by broaching views so different from those time-honored ones that
pretend to find their sanction in the Biblical rule, “Spare the rod,
and spoil the child,” as to seem heretical to good old-fashioned,
jog-trot parents.[36] But what if the Scripture itself were to fail
them? What authority have they for understanding “the rod” in its
literal instead of its figurative sense? The rod was, with the Hebrews,
an emblem of power: witness the miracles of Aaron in Egypt, and the
blossoming of his rod when his supreme authority was called in question
by the rebellion of Core. “The rod” may therefore very plausibly be
taken as meaning parental authority, and the text would thus imply
nothing more than a declaration that the _carelessness_ of the parent
will be responsible for the wrong-headedness of the child. In this
sense we prefer to read this passage, and for this reason: physical
punishments and rewards will be indissolubly associated in a young
child’s mind with his good or bad actions, just as they are coupled
in the memory and instinct of a dog with the various desirable or
undesirable things it has been taught or forbidden to do. This produces
a low and degrading standard by which moral actions are henceforward
measured by the child, and later on will lead to the impression that
the absence of such tangible consequences argues the right to do as
he pleases, irrespective of merely moral restraints; whereas, if
the rewards and punishments meted out to him are of the moral and
intellectual order, his conception of the principle of duty will be
abstract and independent. Childhood has a natural leaning towards
deception; therefore truth should be made not only prominent, but
attractive. To own a fault, and even to confess it unasked, should be
an understood palliation of the fault itself; whereas any attempt at
concealment should be treated as a far graver offence than the action
concealed. In a word, the principle of Christian honor should be the
keynote of home education, and any meanness should be condemned as
the most contemptible of all faults. Sensitive as children are to
the slightest alteration of manner in their regard, they would feel
keenly the silence and avoidance which this plan presupposes in their
parents’ conduct towards them when guilty of a dishonorable action,
and, by associating the idea of _wrong_ with that of _disgrace_, would
very soon be brought to a truer estimate of morals than if wrong with
them was only the synonyme of _pain_. Again, the system of physical
punishment invariably leads to defiance; it stirs up a spirit of
contradiction and sullenness which gradually encrusts the young mind
with the deplorable proof-armor of ultimate indifference. We need give
but one example—a personal one—of the immense superiority of moral
over physical punishment. As a child, we were stubborn and self-willed,
and were frequently treated, not exactly to corporal indignities, but
to threadbare schoolroom devices for overcoming temper. Two or three
times it happened that, these worn-out means proving as inefficient
as “water on a duck’s back,” fatherly authority had to be invoked. It
always took one form—silence. For a week there would be none of the
happy familiarities between father and child, but, instead, a cessation
of the usual pleasant and indulgent intercourse, and now and then a
grave look of displeasure as the culprit would make some spasmodic
and despairing advance. This was the only punishment which made the
slightest impression, and the keen remembrance of it lasts to this
day. Sometimes, when we were older, another variety was tried. Instead
of being, according to the old code, starved on bread and water in a
dark closet, we were seated alone at a table, while the rest of the
family ate together as usual; every dish was ceremoniously brought up
and served at our solitary meal, and every servant in the house was
perfectly aware of the cause; no one spoke or offered us the least
attention beyond the ordinary formalities, and we were treated half
like a distinguished prisoner, half like an excommunicated person. The
result was admirable, prompt in the extreme, and certain to ensure an
unusually long term of subsequent docility.

Rewards are no less important than punishments. Of these, knowledge
and religious opportunities should, in our idea, form the staple.
They are thus invested with a personal interest to the child; they
come before him as things specially concerning his own good behavior
and his parents’ appreciation of it. For instance, the mother reads
him Scripture stories and the legends of the saints; he listens with
absorption, and longs to read the book himself, but the road through
the alphabet and spelling-book is uninviting. Why not teach him through
the book itself? The illuminated capitals will strike him by their
beauty, the pictures will lend force to the difficult words, and help
his memory to connect them with the illustrated subject. Instead of
finding church services an irksome interruption to his games, he might
be made to look upon them as the highest rewards he can obtain. For a
well-learnt lesson in catechism, he might be taught to chant one of
those immortal poems, the Psalms; for proficiency in Bible history,
he might be taken to some of the most picturesque of our solemn
ceremonies, and hear, on the way, of the typical manner in which it
is connected with that history; for an act of childish self-denial,
he might be allowed to serve as acolyte at Mass. Even these rewards,
however, should not be injudiciously multiplied, for familiarity would
beget irreverence,—the worst stumbling-block that could be laid in
a child’s spiritual path. We think that a Christian education in
the early days of childhood could go no further in perfection than
this—the thorough identification of all happiness with religion.

We have yet to speak of a detail in household economy, which, in point
of interest, is one of the foremost. Personal attention to a child is a
part of the mother’s duty of vigilance, and the fashionable custom of
leaving such attention to domestics cannot be reprobated too strongly.
This personal care is, first of all, an instinct of nature which it
must require a very thick coating of frivolity entirely to supersede;
and it is, secondly, a duty of religion from which even great physical
sickness cannot conscientiously release the parent. Numberless evils
flow from a neglect of this imperious duty. The forsaken child will
learn in time to forget its mother, to think of her as a splendid
being very far from him—one not to be annoyed by his cries or made
nervous by his romps, but to be gazed at from afar, like a grand
picture or work of art. Happy child if an affectionate, compassionate
nurse takes the vacant place of his own mother, and makes him familiar
with those sweet, nameless trivialities that make up the world of a
child’s heart; but, even so, how sad the necessity for such comfort!
How much more sad, then, the position of the unloved child, neglected
even by its nurse, or left to the well-meaning but questionable petting
of the other servants! They will not be reticent, though they may be
obsequious, and the future character of their charge will be warped
beyond remedy. Pride, too, will be ridiculously fostered, and will
drive tenderness away; a certain recklessness will be infused into
the child’s habits, and reverence, refinement, sensitiveness, will be
petrified within him. He will feel himself of no value, since no one
cares for him, and, if no happy influence stops his downward course, he
will be a cynic before he is twenty-five.

We have said so much in this strain, and made so much of the gloomy
side of the question, that we feel bound to speak a little more fully
of the model Christian home, not only as it should be, but—thank God
that we can say it!—as it very often is. We know that, according
to Father Faber’s beautiful expression, “God has many Edens in this
world,” and surely among our Christian homes many deserve this name.

There are those in which the father is not absorbed in business and the
mother by fashion, where the servants are happy and attached members of
the family, where daily prayer and cheerful work alternate with each
other in order, where recreation does not degenerate into riot, nor
work conduce to moroseness. Healthy exercise and early hours keep the
doctor from the door, while constant industry repulses the proverbial
visitor who always “finds mischief for idle hands to do.” The father
is the genial companion of his children, and does not lose their
respect by gaining their confidence; the mother is the guardian spirit
of the household, the wise woman of the Proverbs, “whose children
rose up and called her blessed; her husband, and he praised her.”
Towards each other the husband and wife behave as they would before
the angels of God, because they remember that he who scandalizeth “a
little one” is accursed, and that the angel of “the little one,” who
is there continually beside him and in some sort represents him in
heaven, “beholds the face of the Lord.” The children are submissive,
not through fear, but through _reason_ and love; for the acknowledged
superiority of their elders has a rational force with them, and they
think themselves honored in obeying those who are wiser than they. They
have Jesus of Nazareth ever before their eyes—the Boy who, as he grew
in years, “waxed strong in wisdom and grace,” and who, though he was
God, “went down, and was subject to them.”

This life, peaceful, orderly, religious, the life of the cloister
translated into the home, is in itself education. Its holy influence
is not confined to space or time, but will live in the hearts of
the scattered family through youth and manhood to extreme old age.
In fancy, they will be able to reconstruct that home; in spirit, to
revisit it long after its dearest inmates shall have left it for their
heavenly home, long after its material frame shall have passed away to
other, perhaps to careless, hands. In their various resting-places,
whether a new home, the daughter of that shrine, or only a rock just
above the level of the sea of fortune, the hallowed remembrance will
come back to them freighted with hope and strength for the future. Even
in heaven, the Son of God is called Jesus of _Nazareth_, and can _we_
forget the home and the mother that made us what we are?

In all that pertains to this ideal, although man is bound to subserve
it to the utmost, woman is more solemnly pledged to its fulfilment.
Man has the world for his empire: woman has man—during the years of
his pupilage. The mother’s education is the child’s second birth, and
she who, being mother to the body of her child, neglects that more
laborious training which accompanies its moral development, practically
refuses to be the mother of its soul. To a woman failing in her home
duties is attached more reproach than to a neglectful husband and
father, because her office is the more sacred, her position the nearer
to God. It was a woman who was glorified by the most miraculously close
union with God that the universe has ever seen, and by that standard
alone should womanhood and motherhood be judged. If it falls short of a
faint copy of Mary the mother of Jesus, it is condemned, for the state
that has been the most divinely exalted should ever after remain the
most humanly perfect.

The mere temporal importance of home education, though secondary to
its spiritual aspect, cannot be overlooked. Besides the duty of the
angel—training souls for heaven—woman has the duty of the citizen,
_i.e._ training patriots for the state. Without faith there is no love
of country in the highest sense; without discipline, no love of law.
It is woman’s task to mould the men who, in the future, will mould the
nation. High or low it matters not: the mother of the statesman and the
mother of the laborer work alike towards their country’s glory. The
state needs hands as well as heads, and the mason who cuts the common
stones has as much part and should have as much pride in the completed
building as the artist who carves the wonderful pinnacles or fashions
the marvellous capitals.

We have spoken perhaps too exclusively of the duties and circumstances
of the higher classes in this matter of home education. Perhaps it is
not altogether unprovidential that we should have been led to do so;
for of the various divisions of humanity which our Lord in his parable
of the sower represents under the figure of the different accidents
that befell the good seed, we know which is, unhappily, the least
productive. Jesus himself has explained that the thorns which choked
the seed are the “cares, and riches, and pleasures of this life.”
Mark well, the _cares_; not only the riches and pleasures, for those
self-sought and profitless cares have not the blessings on them which
the God-given cares of poverty have. The poor and lowly too often
shame their more fortunate brethren by their greater self-devotion and
generosity. Their homes, so much less prosperous, are yet often so much
more edifying, than ours; and let it be remembered that every act of
theirs has, according to the measure of their inferior opportunities,
double the merit of any similar act of ours. So with the wholesome
reticence which becomes us who have so many opportunities _and neglect
them_: we have preferred to point out the beam that is in our own
eye, rather than pharisaically to expatiate on the mote that is in
our neighbor’s. Yet we would not that any class should deem itself
exempt from the duties of home education—duties which, with the poor,
have all the added merit of absolute heroism. The poor are told, and
doubtless truly, by our teachers and superiors, that their condition
should be dear to them because it was that of our Lord himself; but
we, their brethren and fellow-pilgrims, should labor to supplement
this teaching by making that very condition less irksome to them. Who
can dream of Jesus on earth as _not_ being poor and destitute? But, on
the other hand, who would dare, were he now on earth, to be behindhand
in ministering to his poverty? Now, the alms we _owe_ to his earthly
representatives are twofold, _i.e._ spiritual and temporal. Among the
former, none are so meritorious as good examples. Have we not in these
days a perpetual and most sadly grotesque picture of class aping class,
of tawdriness following close on the heels of fashion, of aspiring
vanity actually crowding out the legitimate needs of the body? If
this system of imitation must be, why not give it a worthy subject to
practise upon?

Reform, to be practical, must begin in the higher strata of society;
for not only to individuals, but also, in a wider sense, to classes,
is the keepership of brotherhood entrusted. We _are_ our “brother’s
keeper,” and our “brother” is the mass of men who look up to us for
guidance. As long as our fathers and husbands care more for their
office than their home, so long will the bulk of the nation be mere
animated machines snatching after precarious wealth; as long as our
wives and mothers care more for the drawing-room than for the nursery
and study, so long will the mass of women be heartless coquettes or
abandoned harlots. We speak strongly, because we feel strongly. This
is an age of initial struggle, which our faith should turn into an
era of better things. If we need any “new departure,” let it be the
departure from frivolity to domesticity, from contemptible weakness
to the manliness of the Gospel. And here let us say one word to the
head of the family, to him without whose example even the mother’s
influence is incomplete. Business is _not_ the whole of life; it is
_not_ even the first earthly good to be sought for. Success often kills
happiness, and its exclusive pursuit always kills peace. The father who
allows business to isolate him from all the tenderer interests of his
home achieves two things: he alienates his children’s affection—after
having very likely worn out his wife’s devotion—and he teaches them
betimes the baneful lesson that before Mammon all other interests
must bow. This false doctrine his children will teach to theirs by an
example equally gloomy with his own, and thus God will be forgotten in
the very gifts which one word of his mouth could turn in a moment to
dust and ashes.

Shall this be so, or will Christian parents take heed to their duty?





READER, have you ever been in the old church of the Rivière Ouelle? In
one of its side-chapels is an _ex-voto_ which was placed there many
long years ago by a stranger who was miraculously preserved from death.
It is a very old picture, full of dust, and of no artistic value,
but it recalls a touching story; I learned it when very young, on my
mother’s knees, and it has remained as fresh and vivid in my memory as
when I first heard it.

It was a cold winter evening, long, long ago. The snow was beating
against the window-sashes, and the icy north wind howled and shrieked
among the naked branches of the great elms in the garden. The whole
family had assembled in the _salon_. Our mother, after playing several
airs on the piano, allowed her fingers to wander restlessly over the
keys—her thoughts were elsewhere. A shade of sadness passed over her
brow. “My dear children,” said she, after a moment’s silence, “see what
a fearful night this is; perhaps many poor people will perish before
morning from cold and hunger. How thankful we ought to be to God for
our good food and warm, comfortable beds! Let us say our rosary for the
poor travellers who may be exposed to such dangers during the night.”
And then she added, “If you say it with devotion, I will tell you all
a beautiful story.” Oh! how we wished that our rosary was finished! At
that age the imagination is so vivid and the soul so impressionable.
Childhood possesses all the charms of the golden dawn of life;
enveloping every object in shade and mystery, it clothes each in a
poetry unknown to any other age.

We gathered around our mother, near the glowing stove, which diffused a
delicious warmth throughout the apartment, and listened in a religious
sort of silence to her sweet and tender voice. I almost think I hear it
now. Listen with me to her story:

Toward the middle of the last century, a missionary, accompanied by
several Indians, ascended the south bank of the St. Lawrence River,
about thirty leagues below Quebec. The missionary was one of those
intrepid pioneers of faith and civilization whose sublime figures are
thrown out from the dark background of the past, surrounded by a halo
of glory and immortality. Nailed on Golgotha during the days of their
bloody pilgrimage, they shine to-day on a new Tabor; and the light
which radiates from their faces illuminates the present and throws
itself far into the future. At their names alone, the people, seized
with wonder and respect, bow low their heads; for these names recall
a courage most superhuman, a faith most admirable, and a devotedness
most sublime. He whom we are following at this moment was one of those
illustrious children of the Society of Jesus, whose entire life was
consecrated to the conversion of the savages of Canada. He was not
very tall, and stooped slightly; his beard, blanched prematurely by
hardships, and his pale and attenuated features, seemed to indicate
a want of strength and endurance for so hard a life; but this frail
body concealed one of those grand souls which draw from the energy of
their will an inexhaustible strength. His large, expansive forehead
suggested a proportionate intellect, and his features wore an
expression of incomparable sweetness and simplicity; the least shade
of a melancholy smile played over his lips—in a word, his whole face
seemed filled with that mysterious glory with which sanctity illumines
her predestined souls.

The leader of the little band was a few steps in advance. He was
an old Indian warrior who a long time before had been converted to
Christianity by this holy missionary, and who from that time became the
faithful companion of all his adventurous wanderings.

The travellers advanced slowly on their _raquettes_[37] over a soft,
thick snow. It was one of those superb December nights whose marvellous
splendor is entirely unknown to the people of the South, with which
the old year embellishes its waning hours to greet the advent of the
new-comer. Innumerable stars poured their light in silver tears over
the blue firmament of heaven—we might say tears of joy which the
glory of the Sun of Justice draws from the eyes of the blessed. The
moon, ascending through the different constellations, amused itself
by contemplating in the snowy mirror its resplendent disk. Toward
the north, luminous shafts radiated from a dark cloud which floated
along the horizon. The aurora borealis announces itself first by pale,
whitish jets of flame which slowly lick the surface of the sky; but
soon the scene grows more animated, the colors deepen, and the light
grows larger, forming an arch around an opaque cloud. It assumes the
most bizarre forms. In turn appear long skeins of white silk, graceful
swan-plumes, or bundles of gold and silver thread; then a troop of
white phantoms in transparent robes execute a fantastic dance. Now it
is a rich satin fan whose summit touches the zenith, and whose edges
are fringed with rose and saffron tints; finally, it is an immense
organ, with pearl and ivory pipes, which only awaits a celestial
musician to intone the sublime hosanna of nature to the Creator. The
strange crackling sound which accompanies this brilliant phenomenon
completes the illusion; for it is strangely like the sighs which escape
from an organ whose pipes are filled with a powerful wind. It is the
prelude of the divine concert which mortal ears are not permitted
to listen to. The scene which presented itself below was not less
fascinating in its savage beauty than that of the sky above.

The cold, dry atmosphere was not agitated by a single breath; nothing
was heard but the dull monotonous roaring of the gigantic river,
sleeping under a coverlet of floating ice, which dotted its dark waters
like the spotted skin of an immense leopard. A light white vapor rose
like the breath from the nostrils of a marine monster. Toward the
north, the blue crests of the Laurentides were clearly defined, from
Cape Tourmente to the mouth of the Saguenay. In a southern direction
the last slopes of the Alleghanies stretched along, covered with
pines, firs, and maples; almost the entire shore was densely wooded,
for at the remote period which we describe those vast clearings along
the banks covered with abundant meadows were not to be seen, nor the
pretty little whitewashed houses grouped in villages along the shore
so coquettishly, a person could easily compare them to bands of swans
sleeping on the river-banks. A sea of forest covered these shores. A
few scattered houses appeared here and there, but this was all.


The travellers advanced in silence toward the middle of the wood,
when suddenly the leader of the party stopped, making at the same
time a sign with his hand for his companions to do likewise. “You are
mistaken, comrade,” said the missionary to him; “the noise that you
have just heard was only a tree split by the frost.”

The Indian turned slowly toward him, an almost imperceptible smile
passing over his face. “My brother,” said he, in a low voice, “if you
saw me take your holy word,[38] and try to read in it, you would laugh
at me. I do not wish to laugh at you, for you are a black-gown; but
I tell you, you do not know the voices of the forest, and the noise
which we have just heard is a human voice. Follow me at a distance,
while I go on to see what is happening yonder.” The travellers walked
on for some time without seeing anything. The father began to think he
had not been deceived, when they came to an opening in the woods, and
saw the Indian stop. What was his astonishment, when, following the
direction in which the savage was looking, he saw at the extreme end of
the opening a very extraordinary light, apparently detached from the
obscurity of the trees. In the midst of this luminous globe appeared
a vague, indistinct form, elevated above the ground. Then another
spectacle that the brilliancy of the strange vision had prevented him
from seeing before, was presented to his gaze.

A young man dressed in military uniform was kneeling at the foot of a
tree. His hands were clasped and his eyes turned towards heaven; he
seemed absorbed in the contemplation of a mysterious and invisible
object. Two corpses, which were easily recognized as an officer and a
soldier from their uniforms, were lying by his side in the snow. The
officer, an elderly man with gray hair, was lying against a maple; in
his hands was a little book, about to slip out of them. His head was
leaning on his right shoulder, and his face had that ashy hue which too
plainly told that death already claimed him. A bluish circle surrounded
his half-closed eyes, and a last tear stood congealed on his livid
cheek. A placid smile was on his face, indicating that a supreme hope,
which faith alone could inspire, had consoled his last moments.[39]

The noise made by the travellers’ feet in the snow caused the young
man, who was still on his knees, to turn suddenly round. “O father! my
father!” cried he, rushing toward the missionary, “it is Providence who
has sent you here to save me. I was about to share the terrible fate of
my unfortunate companions, when—a prodigy!—a miracle!”—suffocated by
his tears and sobs, he could say no more, but, throwing himself into
the arms of the missionary, he pressed him to his heart.

“Calm yourself, my dear son,” said the old man; “for in your feeble
and exhausted state such violent emotion might prove fatal.” Scarcely
had he finished the words, when he felt the young man’s head sink
heavily on his shoulder, and his body become a dead weight—he had

The travellers eagerly bestowed on him every care that his situation
required and that lay in their power. His two friends, alas! were
beyond reach of human succor. The savages dug their graves in the snow,
and the saintly missionary, after reciting some prayers over their
bodies, cut with his knife a large cross in the bark of the maple at
the foot of which they had breathed their last—a simple but sublime
monument of hope and love, destined to guard their earthly remains.


See you yonder, on the slope of the hill, that pretty cottage, so neat
and white, with its little thatched barn, so clearly defined against
the caressing foliage of that beautiful copse of maples? Well, that is
a Canadian home. From its high green pedestal it smiles at the great
rolling river, in whose wave is mirrored its trembling image, and which
so gently comes to expire at its feet; for the happy proprietor of this
pretty dwelling loves his great, beautiful river, and has been careful
to establish his home on its banks. Sometimes, when necessity obliges
him to go away, he is always homesick, because he must listen to its
grand voice, and contemplate its wooded islands and distant shores;
he must caress with his eyes its waters, sometimes calm, sometimes
foaming and turbulent. A stranger who is not familiar with the
_habitant_ of our country, and who imagines that there is an affinity
to his ancestor—the peasant of old France—is much mistaken. More
enlightened, and, above all, more religious, he is far from sharing
his precarious condition. The former is, in comparison, a veritable
prince; perfectly independent on his sixty or eighty arpents of land,
surrounded by a cedar enclosure, he is furnished with everything
necessary for an honest and comfortable subsistence.

Let us now peep under this roof, whose exterior is so attractive.
I should like to sketch it just as I’ve seen it so frequently. On
entering the _tambour_, or passage-way, two pails of fresh water,
standing on a wooden bench, and a tin cup hanging against the wall,
hospitably invite you to quench your thirst. In an inner room the
mother of the family is quietly spinning near the window, while the
soup is boiling on the stove. A calico cape, a blue skirt of domestic
manufacture, a _caline_[40] neatly fixed on her head, completes her
toilet. The baby sleeps in its cradle at her side; from time to time
she smiles at its bright little face, as fresh as a rose, peeping out
from the quilt, whose triangular patches of the brightest colors are
ingeniously distributed over it. In a corner of the room the eldest
daughter sits on a chest, singing merrily, while she works at her loom;
quickly and skilfully the shuttle flies between her hands; she makes
in a day several measures of cloth, which she will use next year to
make into garments. In another corner stands the huge bed, with its
white and blue counterpane, and at its head a crucifix surrounded with
pictures. That little branch of withered fir above the cross is the
blessed palm. Two or three barefooted little urchins are playing on
the floor, harnessing up a dog. The father, bending over the stove,
gravely lights his pipe with a firebrand. He is accoutred in a red
woollen cap, vest and pants of a grayish material, and rough, heavy
boots. After each meal he must “take a smoke” before going out to
plough or to thresh in the barn. There is an air of thrift and comfort
about the house; the voices of the children, the songs of the young
girl, with her spinning-wheel accompaniment, the appearance of health
and happiness written on their faces, tell of the peace and serenity of
their lives.

If ever, in travelling through this country, you are overtaken by a
snowstorm or severe cold, go and knock without fear at the door of
the Canadian cottager, and you will be received with that warmth and
cordiality which their ancestors have transmitted to them as a souvenir
and a relic of the Old Country; for this antique French hospitality,
which can scarcely be found now in certain parts of France, seems to
have taken refuge under the roof of the Canadian _habitant_. With his
language and religion, he has piously preserved many of his old habits
and customs. The traveller who rested under his roof a century ago
would to-day find the same manners and characteristics.

It is in the parish of the Rivière Ouelle, in the bosom of one of these
good Canadian families, that we find again our missionary and his
companions. All the family, eager to hear the extraordinary adventures
of the young officer, had gathered round him. He was a young man, from
twenty to twenty-five years of age, with fine, delicate features;
his dark wavy hair fell over and partially shaded his high forehead,
and his proud glance revealed the loyalty of the French soldier; but
an extreme pallor, consequent on the fatigue and privations he had
undergone, had left a touching and melancholy expression on his face,
while his refined and finished manners told of an equally finished and
careful education.


“More than a month ago,” said the young officer, “I left the country
of the Abnakis, accompanied by my father, a soldier, and an Indian
guide. We were bearing very important dispatches to the governor of
the colony. We travelled along through the forest for several days
without any accident, when, one evening, overcome with fatigue, we lit
a fire and camped for the night near an Indian cemetery. According to
the custom of the savages, every corpse was wrapped in a shroud of
coarse bark, and placed high above the ground on four stakes. Bows
and arrows, tomahawks, and some ears of maize were hung against these
rude graves, and shook and rattled as the wind passed over them. Our
own savage was seated just in front of me, on the half-decayed trunk
of a pine-tree that had fallen to the ground, and seemed half buried
in profound meditation. The fitful flames of the fire threw a weird
light over his gigantic frame. An Indian might readily have compared
him to one of the superb maples of our forest, had he been able at the
same time to have united with it the cunning of the serpent and the
agility of the elk. His height was increased by a quantity of black,
red, and white feathers tied with his hair on the top of his head. His
ferocious features, piercing black eyes, his tomahawk and long knife,
half concealed by the trophy of scalps which hung from his belt, gave
him a wild and sanguinary appearance. The night was dark and bitter
cold. The low and unequal arch formed by the interlacing branches of
the trees, and illuminated by the flickering light of our pine-wood
fire, seemed like a vast cavern, and the old trunks of the rotten
trees, which were buried in the snow, looked like the corpses of giants
strewn around. The birches, covered with their white bark, seemed
like wandering phantoms in the midst of this _débris_, and the dull
rumbling of the distant torrent, and the wind moaning and whistling
through the leafless branches, completed the weird funereal aspect
of the place. Any one slightly superstitious could easily believe he
heard the sighing spirits of the Indian warriors who lay buried so
near us. In spite of myself, a shiver of horror ran through my veins.
Here, in the midst of all this grim rubbish, where every rock and tree
was transformed by the shadows into as many spectres watching his
movements; our audacious savage appeared as grave and tranquil as if he
had been in his own cabin.

“‘Comrade,’ said I to him, ‘do you think we need fear any danger still
from those Iroquois whose trail we discovered yesterday?’

“‘Has my brother already forgotten that we found it again this morning?’

“‘But there were only two,’ said I.

“‘ Yes; but an Iroquois can very quickly communicate with his comrades.’

“‘But these were not on the war-path; they were hunting an elk.’

“‘Yes; but the snow is deep, and they could soon kill him without much
fatigue, and then—’


“‘And then, their hunger once satisfied—’


“‘I say they might, perhaps, amuse themselves by hunting the

“‘But the whites are at peace with the Iroquois.’

“‘The Iroquois never bury but half of the war-hatchet; and, besides,
they have raised the tomahawk against the warriors of my tribe, and if
they discover the track of an Abnakis among yours—’

“‘You think, then, that they might pursue us? Perhaps it would be more
prudent to extinguish our fire.’

“‘Does not my brother hear the howling of the wolves? If he prefers
being devoured by them to receiving the arrow of an Iroquois, he can
extinguish it.’

“The words of our guide were not very reassuring, but I was so overcome
with fatigue that, in spite of the evident danger to which we were
exposed, I fell asleep. But my sleep was filled with the wildest
dreams. The dark shadow of our guide, that I saw as I went to sleep,
seemed to lengthen and rise behind him, black and threatening, like
a spectre. The dead in the cemetery, shaking the snow from their
shrouds of bark, descended from their sepulchres, and bent towards
me. I fancied I heard the gritting of their teeth as the wind rushed
through the trees and the dry branches cracked and snapped. I awoke
with a start. Our guide, leaning against a post of one of the graves,
was still before me, and from his heavy and regular breathing I knew
that he slept profoundly. I fancied I saw just above him, peeping over
the grave against which he was leaning, a dark form and two fixed
and flaming eyes. My imagination is excited by my fantastic dreams,
thought I, and tried to compose myself to sleep again. I remained a
long time with my eyes half shut, in that state of semi-somnolence,
half watching, half sleeping, my stupefied faculties scarcely able to
discern the objects around. And yet the dark shadow seemed to move
slightly, and to lean more and more towards our savage, who was still
in a deep sleep. At that moment the fire suddenly blazed up, and I saw
distinctly the figure of an Indian. He held a long knife between his
teeth, and, with dilated eyes fixed on his enemy, he approached still
nearer to assure himself that he slept. Then a diabolical smile lit up
his face, and, seizing his knife, he brandished it an instant in aiming
a blow at the heart of his victim. The blade flashed in the firelight.
At the same moment a terrible cry rang out, and the two savages rolled
together in the snow. The flash of the steel, in awakening our guide,
had also betrayed his enemy. Thus my horrible nightmare terminated in a
more horrible reality. I had hastily seized my gun, but dared not fire,
lest I should kill or wound our guide. It was a death-fight between
them. The snow, streaked with blood, blew up around them like a cloud
of dust. A hatchet glittered in the air, then a dull, heavy sound,
followed by the cracking of bones. The victory was decided. A gurgling
sound escaped from the victim—it was the death-rattle! Holding in
one hand a bloody scalp, the conqueror, with a smile, raised himself
proudly. At that instant a shot was heard. A ball struck him in the
breast, and our savage, for it was he, fell dead in front of the fire.
Taking aim with my gun, and sending a ball in the direction whence
the shot had come, and where I saw another shadow gliding among the
trees, was for me the work of an instant. The Indian, with a terrible
death-cry, described an arch in the air with his body, and fell dead to
the ground. The tragedy was finished; our savage was avenged, but we
had no longer a guide. I then thought of our conversation that evening,
and how his apprehensions of the two savages whom we had tracked in the
morning had been so fearfully realized.”


“Abandoned, without a guide, in the midst of interminable forests, we
were in a state of extreme perplexity. We hesitated a long time whether
to proceed on our route or retrace our steps. The danger of falling
into the hands of the Iroquois, who infested that part of the country,
decided us to continue our journey.

“The only means left of finding our way was a little compass which my
father had fortunately brought along. Several days later found us still
on our painful march, in the midst of a violent snowstorm. It was a
veritable tempest; the snow fell so thick and fast we could scarcely
see two feet in advance.

“In every direction we heard the trees splitting and falling to the
ground. We were in great danger of being crushed. My father was struck
by a branch, which completely buried him under the snow, and we had
great difficulty in extricating him. When we raised him up, he found
that the chain around his neck which held the compass was broken, and
the compass had disappeared. We searched long and carefully, but in
vain—it could not be found. In falling, my father received a severe
injury on the head. While dressing the wound, which bled freely, I
could not restrain my tears on seeing this old man, with his white
hair, enduring intense suffering with so much fortitude, and displaying
such calmness in the midst of an agony which he tried to conceal from
me by an outward show of confidence. ‘My son,’ said he, when he saw my
tears, ‘remember that you are a soldier. If death comes, it will find
us on the roll of honor. It is well to die a martyr to duty; besides,
nothing happens except by the will of God. Let us submit at once with
courage and resignation to whatever he pleases to send.’

“We marched two days longer in an intense cold, and then my father
could go no further. The cold had poisoned the wound in his head, and
a violent fever came on. To crown our misfortunes, our little store of
matches had become damp, and it was impossible to kindle a fire. Then
all hope abandoned me, and, not having been able to kill any game for
the past day or two, we had been almost entirely without food; then,
in spite of all my warning and advice, the soldier who accompanied us,
exhausted by fatigue and hunger, and utterly discouraged, went to sleep
in the snow, and, when I found him some time after, he was dead—frozen
stiff! Overcome by the most inexpressible grief, I remained on my knees
by the side of my dying father. Several times he besought me to abandon
him, and escape death. When he felt his last hour approaching, he said,
handing me an _Imitation of Christ_ which he held in his hand, ‘My son,
read to me.’ I took the book, and opened it at chance, reading between
my sobs: ‘Make now friends near God, in order that, after leaving this
life, they will receive you in the eternal tabernacles.’[41] ‘Conduct
yourself on earth as a traveller and a stranger who has no interest in
the affairs of the world. Keep your heart free and raised toward God,
because here below you have no substantial dwelling-place. You should
address to heaven every day your prayers, your sighs, and your tears,
in order that, after this life, your soul will be able to pass happily
into the bosom of our Lord.’

“I replaced the book in his hand. A smile of immortal hope passed over
his countenance, for these lines were a _résumé_ of his entire life.
After a moment’s silence, he said: ‘My son, when I shall be no more,
take this little gold cross which hangs around my neck, and which was
given to me by your mother on the day of your birth’—there was a
moment’s silence. A shade of profound sadness passed over his face,
and, taking my two hands in his, he added, ‘Your poor mother!—oh! if
you live to see her again, tell her I died thinking of God and of her.’
Then, making a supreme effort to put aside this painful thought, at
which he feared his courage might fail him, he continued: ‘Always wear
this little cross in remembrance of your father. It will teach you to
be faithful to your God, and to your country. Come nearer, my son, that
I may bless you, for I feel that I am dying.’ And with his faltering
hand he made the sign of the cross on my forehead.”

At these words the young man stopped. Large tears rolled down his
cheeks as he pressed to his lips the little gold cross which hung on
his breast. All around him remained silent, in respect to his noble
grief, but their tears flowed with his. Sorrow is so touching in youth!
We cannot see, without a pang, the bright flowers which adorn it wither
and fade away. The missionary was the first to break the silence. “My
son,” said he, addressing the young man, “your tears are legitimate,
for the cherished being for whom you weep is worthy of them; but do not
weep as those who have no hope. He whom you have lost now enjoys on
high the recompense promised to a life devoted to sacrifice and duty.”

“But, oh! my father, if only you could have been with him to console
his last moments!”

After a pause, he continued: “I pressed my father for the last time
in my arms, and imprinted a last kiss on his pale, cold forehead. I
thought at this moment he was dying. He remained immovable, his eyes
turned towards heaven, when suddenly, as if by inspiration from above,
he said, ‘I wish you to make a vow that, if you succeed in escaping
with your life, you will place a picture in the first church which you
reach on the road.’ I promised to do as he desired. Some moments after,
a few vague and incoherent words escaped his lips, and all was over.”


“How long I remained on my knees beside my father’s corpse I cannot
tell. I was so utterly overwhelmed by grief and sorrow that I was
plunged in a kind of lethargy which rendered my soul insensible to
everything. Death, the loneliness of the forest, terrified me no
longer; for solitude dwelt in my heart, where so short a time before
all was bright and joyous. Dreams, illusions—those flowers of life
that I have seen fall leaf by leaf, to be swept away by the storm;
glory, happiness, the future—those angels of the heart who so lately
entranced my soul with their mysterious music, had all departed,
veiling with their drooping wings their sorrowful faces. All had
gone—all. Nothing remained but a void, a horrible nothingness. But
one feeble star watched yet in the midst of my night. The faint lamp
of the inner sanctuary was not entirely extinguished; there came a ray
from its expiring flame. Remembering the vow that my dying father had
desired me to make, I invoked with a sort of desperation the Blessed
Virgin, Comfortress of the Afflicted; and behold, suddenly—but can
I tell what took place within me? Human words are inadequate to
unveil the mysteries of God. I cannot explain, human ears cannot
comprehend—yes, suddenly, in the midst of my darkness, my soul
trembled, and a something seemed to pass through me like an impetuous
wind, and my soul was carried over the troubled waters; then, rapid as
the lightning that flashes through the storm-cloud, a light appeared
in the darkness, in this chaos—a dazzling, superhuman light—and the
tempest was appeased within me; a wondrous calm had entered my soul,
and the divine light penetrated its most remote recesses and imparted
a delicious tranquillity and peace, but such a peace as surpasses
all comprehension; and through my closed eyelids I saw that a great
light was before me. O my God! dare I tell what happened then? Would
it not be profane to weaken thus the marvels of your power! I felt
that something extraordinary, something supernatural, was taking place
around me, and a mysterious emotion, a holy terror, that every mortal
should feel at the approach of a Divine Being seized me. Like Moses,
my soul said within me, ‘I will go and I will see this grand vision’;
and my eyes opened, and I saw—it was not a dream—it was a reality, a
miracle, from the right hand of the Most High. No; the eye of man has
never seen, nor his ear heard, what was permitted that I should see
and hear then. In the midst of a cloud of dazzling light, the Queen of
heaven appeared, holding in her arms the divine Child. The ineffable
splendor that enveloped her form was so brilliant that in comparison
the sun is only a dim star; but this brilliancy, far from fatiguing
the sight, refreshed it deliciously. Twelve stars formed her crown,
the colors of the rainbow tinged her robes, while under her feet were
clouds which reflected the colors of aurora and the setting sun, and
behind their golden fringing myriads of angels were smiling and singing
hymns which have no echo here below. And what I saw and heard was so
real that all that I had heard and seen heretofore seemed like a vague,
dark dream of night. The divine Virgin looked at me with an immortal
smile, which was reflected no doubt from the lips of her divine Child
on the day of his birth.

“She said to me: ‘Here I am, my son. I come because you called me. The
help that I sent you is very near. Remember, my son—’ But, oh! what
was I going to say! I am only permitted to reveal a few words of this
celestial conversation, which relate to my deliverance. The rest is a
secret between God and myself—sufficient to say these words have fixed
my destiny.

“For a long time she spoke to me, and my soul, ravished, absorbed,
transfigured, listened in unspeakable ecstasy to the divine harmony of
her voice. It will vibrate eternally in my soul, and the torrents of
tears that poured from my eyes were as refreshing as dear to my heart.
At last the mysterious vision gradually vanished. Clouds, figures,
angels, light, all had disappeared, and yet my soul invoked the
celestial vision by ineffable sighs and moans.

“When at last I turned round, the help which had been miraculously
promised to me had arrived. ‘Twas then, reverend father, that I
perceived you near me. You know the rest.”

The next day there was great excitement among the little population
of the neighborhood. The news of the miracle had spread rapidly, and
a pious and devout crowd had gathered in the modest little church
to assist at a solemn Mass celebrated by the holy missionary. More
than one pitying look was turned during the ceremony toward the young
officer, who knelt near the sanctuary, praying with an angelic fervor.

It is said that some time after, in another country, far, far beyond
the sea, a young officer who had miraculously escaped death abandoned a
brilliant future, and consecrated himself to God in a cloister. Was it
he? No one has ever known positively.

If ever you pass by the old church of the Rivière Ouelle, don’t forget
to stop a moment. You will see hanging in one of the side-chapels the
antique _ex-voto_ which recalls the souvenir of this miraculous event.
The picture has no intrinsic value; but it is an old, old relic, that
one loves to see, for it tells a thrilling story. Often travellers who
come from distant lands stop before this dusty old picture, struck by
the strange scene it represents. Oftentimes pious mothers stand before
it with their little ones, and relate to them the wondrous legend; for
the souvenir of this thrilling story is still vivid throughout the


THE Palais Royal derives its chief historical interest from its
association with the memory of Cardinal Richelieu. When it first
attracted his notice by its situation, at once delightful and
convenient, surrounded by richly planted gardens, and close to the
Louvre and the then fashionable thoroughfare of the city, it was the
property and residence of the Marquis d’Estrée. From this nobleman
Richelieu purchased it in 1624. Soon, however, the elegant mansion,
which had been abundantly spacious for the lords of d’Estrée with their
innumerable retainers and long corteges of valets of every degree in
the lengthy domestic hierarchy of those days, became too small for the
growing importance of Louis XIII.’s magnificent minister.

Richelieu fell a conquest to the building and decorating mania
prevalent at that period amongst princes and princely prelates; he
threw down the walls of the Hôtel d’Estrée at the north end, pushed
the house into the gardens, drove the gardens further out into the
open space beyond, and pierced a way through into the street which was
henceforth to be honored by bearing his name. Philippe of Champagne
was invited to paint the ceilings and decorate the walls of the
stupendous eminence whose cipher gleamed over all the doors, sometimes
engrained in gold letters upon marble, sometimes curiously interlaced
with emblematic figures, or emblazoned in the Richelieu arms. When all
was complete, it was necessary to rechristen the dwelling which had
been so enlarged and renovated as to be virtually a new edifice—the
mansion which had been metamorphosed into a palace. After much serious
consultation, and many times changing his mind, Richelieu decided that
it should be called Palais Cardinal. A slab bearing these two words
in large gold letters was accordingly placed over the gates of the
_ci-devant_ Hôtel d’Estrée. The next morning all Paris beheld it, and
burst out laughing. The _beaux-esprits_ of the sarcastic capital, with
Balzac at their head, rushed in a body to the square in front of the
new palace, and woke the echoes of the sleeping aristocratic gardens
with their uproarious mirth; there they stood, armed with grammars,
lexicons of divers tongues, and pens and portfolios, discussing with
much solemnity the two inoffensive nouns on the marble slab; every
now and then a wag from the crowd raising shouts of laughter by some
ludicrous explanation of his own. Presently the gates were swung apart,
and out drove the cardinal, and beheld the spectacle, so eminently
gratifying to his sensitive pride, of “all Paris laughing at him.”

The scoffers gathered round his equipage, books and pen in hand,
imploring him to enlighten their ignorance from the depths of his
unfathomable erudition; how were they to parse the name of his
eminence’s house? _Palais_ and _Cardinal_—it was most perplexing to
their weak intelligence. The conjunction was a turning upside down of
all established rules—a topsy-turvy of principles and of all known

Separately, the two nouns were comprehensible, but joined together,
what were they? Was it, mayhap, Greek or Latin construction, or was it
taken from the legends of old Gaul French, or a specimen of some new
and unknown tongue evolved from the universal genius of the minister?
Richelieu, writhing under the pitiless hilarity of the tormentors,
lent a deaf ear to them, and rode forth in scornful taciturnity;
petitions from imaginary savants, who professed to be laboring in
the mazes of a new grammar, flowed in the following days upon the
unlucky author of the ungrammatical inscription, beseeching him to
let the ignorant world into the secret of its proper parsing; the
enemies of the cardinal, in fact, made capital out of his vanity to
their heart’s content, but Richelieu’s pride was a match for them. The
only answer he condescended to make was to point to the inscription
over the Hôtel Dieu. The precedent was no doubt unanswerable; but
vanity remained, nevertheless, more prominent in the imitation than
either sense or grammar. It held its place, however, in spite of all
attempts to laugh it down. The splendors of the Palais Cardinal have
been enlarged upon in most of the memoirs and chronicles of that time.
Richelieu, while busy making and mending quarrels between the king and
the queen-mother, Marie de Medicis, governing France, and pulling the
strings of all the governments of Europe, found time to devote to his
hobby of enriching and beautifying his palace, overseeing in its most
minute details the architectural part of the work, and directing the
research after objects of art far and near for its adornment. While
he was thus variously occupied, a knot of literary men were in the
habit of meeting quietly once a week close to his palace gates, to
read aloud their own works, and discuss the state of letters, whose
horizon was just then beginning to brighten under the rising sun of
the great Corneille. The meetings were held at the house of one of the
circle; they were quite unostentatious, and aspired to no notoriety
beyond their own circle; the members sought only to encourage each
other by honest criticism, and by the emulation that comes of working
in common towards a common end. Soon, however, these weekly gatherings
became talked about; courtiers heard of them, and begged to be allowed
to assist at them. By-and-by Richelieu came to hear of them; his
curiosity was excited, first from a political point of view—he feared
the so-called _réunions littéraires_ might be a covert for something
more dangerous; he was not slow, however, to find out his mistake,
and to detect in the modest literary club a germ of future greatness;
he expressed his desire that the meetings should be held henceforth
at the Palais Cardinal, and under his immediate auspices. The members
protested; they were not worthy of so distinguished an honor, etc.;
but Richelieu assured them that he saw in their modest labors the
promised fulfilment of his long-cherished desire “to raise the French
language from the ranks of barbarous tongues, and to cleanse it from
the impurities which it had contracted in the mouth of the people
and on the lips of courtiers.” The little band of writers yielded
reluctantly to the pompous summons so flatteringly sent forth against
their independence, and the Académie Française was founded. Louis XIII.
gave it letters-patent, and became its chief patron, while Richelieu
was named President. The number of academicians was limited to forty.
Amongst the great and gifted men who figure at the birth of this modern
Areopagus, destined to be glorified in its after-career by so many
brilliant members, Pierre Corneille stands out conspicuous. The young
poet found in Richelieu a kind and munificent patron, until he had the
ill-luck to wound his vanity in one of its most vulnerable points. Not
content with being a potentate, a warrior, a financier, and innumerable
other things besides, the insatiable cardinal aspired to being a
poet—a disastrous form of ambition which gave a cruel handle to his
enemies, and furnished them with many a shaft of ridicule wherewith
to pierce his thin-skinned susceptibilities. Richelieu, however,
pursued his way in serene self-confidence, despising the ignorance
and jealousy of the vulgar herd, and periodically bringing forth the
offspring of his genius in the shape of plays and poems. One set of
verses with which he was particularly satisfied he handed in MS. to
Corneille, desiring to secure his approval before launching them on
the sea of public criticism, and modestly requesting the young poet
to overlook them and make any alteration that he thought advisable.
Corneille had not graduated long enough in the school of courtiers to
know what this flattering request was worth, so he set about complying
with it conscientiously, pruning and altering with his fine critical
pen as it ran along the course of the ministerial poem. Richelieu’s
amazement on beholding his masterpiece thus audaciously overhauled was
only equalled by his indignation. Corneille, instead of falling on his
knees and crying _peccavi_ when he saw his mistake, proceeded with
infantine _naïveté_ to argue the case with the wrathful poet, and prove
to him that every correction had been called for by some glaring fault.
This did not mend matters. Such insane honesty met with the fate it
deserved—the fate that from time immemorial it has met with in similar
circumstances. The scene between Gil Blas and the bishop was enacted
in the library of the Palais Cardinal between Corneille and Richelieu,
and certainly Gil Bias was not more astonished by the effect of his
candid criticism on the bishop’s long-winded sermon than was the young
academician by the thunderbolt which fell from his patron’s brow on
perusing his MS. revised and corrected. He was dismissed peremptorily,
and withdrew cursing his own stupidity, and vowing that never again
would he be entrapped into the folly of believing in the common sense
of a patron. Shortly after this mishap, while wandering about in
listless pursuit of an object at Rouen, his native place, he fell in
accidentally with a gentleman who had read his first poetic efforts,
and discerned through their faults and trammels the promise of true
genius that lay beneath. “Why do you waste and hamper your talent in
the threadbare conventionalities of French art?” inquired M. de Chalan.
“You want a higher and a wider scope; read Guillen de Castro, and there
you will find a subject worthy of you, and which will bring out your
powers with a fire and force unsuspected by yourself.”

“Unfortunately, I am not acquainted with Spanish,” replied the young

“But I am,” returned M. de Chalan, “and, if you like, I will teach it
to you.”

Corneille, having nothing else to do, accepted the proposal, and to
this chance circumstance the world apparently owes _The Cid_. That
masterly composition came upon the dramatic world of France—hitherto
fed on threadbare conventionalities, as de Chalan had well said—like
a revelation, and raised such a tempest of senseless vituperation and
malignant opposition as has no parallel in the history of literary
cyclones. Richelieu, who was far too good a judge not to see the rare
merits of the poem, had not the magnanimity to proclaim his opinion,
and thus quell the storm, but fell in with the rioters, and was one
of the loudest in crying down the new tragedy. He could not forgive
the young poet who, without his patronage, nay, in spite of his own
disgrace, had succeeded in climbing to the topmost round of the ladder.
Corneille’s star rose steady and clear above the stormy waters, and he
lived to see it shine out in glorious lustre through the clouds of envy
and hostile criticism. His career was one of unparalleled triumph, till
the appearance of his last work, _Pertharite_, written in 1653. It was
played on the boards of the Palais Cardinal theatre, that had echoed to
so many of his previous triumphs, and was received with a coldness that
was equivalent to condemnation. Corneille saw in this isolated defeat
the ruin of his poetic fame; he became possessed by a morbid despair,
flung away his lyre, and gave up the theatre in disgust. During the
interval of depression that followed this fancied humiliation, he
devoted himself to the translation of Thomas à Kempis’ _The Imitation
of Christ_, sacrificing, as he said himself, “his own reputation to the
glory of a sovereign author.”

The Palais Cardinal, during Richelieu’s multifarious reign, was the
theatre of many boisterous scenes, dark intrigues, and events otherwise
important than these literary skirmishes that occasionally engage
the thoughts of ambitious statesmen. Its propinquity to the Louvre
enabled him to keep his lynx eyes on the busy hive of friends, foes,
and tools who gathered round the king; to frustrate the petty plots
of courtiers; and forestall the schemes of faction by his ubiquitous
presence. Nor are comic chapters lacking in the annals of the Palais
Cardinal at this period. One related by the sprightly Duchesse de
Chevreuse, in a letter to Mme. de Motteville, is grotesque enough to
be worth recording, as characteristic of the cardinal and the court.
Richelieu, it was said, had dared to raise his eyes to the queen, then
in the full bloom of her youth and beauty. As might be expected, the
unwarrantable presumption inspired Anne of Austria with no gentler
feeling than contempt, not unmixed with disgust. She gathered up her
purple robes, as she might have done at the touch of a viper, and
shook them, and passed on with a shudder and a shrug. But her volatile
friend, Mme. de Chevreuse, whose _rôle_ was fun at any price, thought
the cardinal’s love too good a joke not to be turned to account. She
proposed playing him a trick which would have the double advantage
of giving herself and her royal mistress an hour’s good fun, and of
making Richelieu, whom she hated with a woman’s inventive hate, appear
thoroughly ridiculous. “Let me tell him from myself,” she entreated,
“that your majesty is only inexorable because you do not believe in
the sincerity of his love; but that, if he can give you proof of it,
you are open to conviction. I will propose that he come here by the
private way, dressed as a harlequin, and dance the saraband before
you one of these evenings, assuring him, if he does this, you will
believe in the reality of his protestations.” Anne was young, her life
had not much sunshine in its splendor, and the demon of frolic which
so madly possessed her friend was not without its power over her.
She consented that the outrageous joke should be played off on her
gloomy swain. The duchess accordingly informed him that the queen was
passionately fond of the saraband, and had often expressed a desire
to see it danced by one whose dignified deportment and elastic figure
were so admirably adapted to bring out the peculiar characteristics
of the spirited and stately dance, and that nothing would gratify and
flatter her more than to see his eminence yield to this fancy. It was
necessary, she added, that he should be dressed as a harlequin, in
order to bring out in all their perfection the picturesque points of
the dance. Richelieu bit at this outlandish bait, and it was agreed
on a given night he would roam to the Louvre, and disport himself in
the aforesaid manner for the edification of the queen, he being alone
in one room, while her majesty looked on at the performance from
behind a screen in an adjoining one; a musician, concealed also from
view, was to accompany the performance on the violin. The duchess,
who had not bargained for her own share in the sport, took care not
to be deprived of it, but stood beside the queen, peeping through
the screen, while the haughty statesman, bedizened in the variegated
costume of harlequin, “with bells on his fingers, and bells on his
toes,” and jingling from his comical fool’s cap, tripped it on the
light fantastic toe. Mme. de Chevreuse describes the scene with the
mischievous glee of a schoolboy: herself and the queen squeezing each
other’s hands, and terrified lest one explosive burst should betray
them and suddenly cut short the performance; the musician convulsed in
another corner, scratching away frantically at his fiddle to drown the
irrepressible laughter of the trio; while Richelieu, the proud, the
grave, the vindictive and all-powerful Richelieu, capered backwards
and forwards on the polished floor, snapping his fingers at each rapid
_pirouette_, stamping his heel and pointing his toe as the figures of
the saraband demanded. The performance over, he donned his cloak, and
made his way back discreetly to the Palais Cardinal. No time was lost
in recapitulating the farce to the court, and the merriment that it
provoked may be readily imagined. But who might laugh with impunity
at Richelieu? The true motive of the unseemly burlesque to which he
had lent himself was soon made known to the hero, and terrible was the
vengeance that awaited its authors. He bided awhile, and then began
that series of calumnies and persecutions that poisoned so many years
of the young queen’s life. Richelieu had insinuated himself into the
confidence of Louis XIII., and his influence over him was boundless.
This tremendous weapon he used against the queen with cruel ingenuity.
He contrived to implicate her in the odious and diabolical conspiracy
of the arch-traitor de Chalais; accused her of having plotted to
dethrone and murder the king, with a view to putting Gaston d’Orléans,
his brother, on the throne, and marrying him. When Louis XIII. brutally
challenged his wife to vindicate herself from the twofold criminal
charge, she replied, with _spirituelle_ disdain: “I had too little
to gain by the exchange.” It is more than probable that Louis never
seriously suspected Anne of Austria of having had any share in the
guilt laid to her charge by Richelieu; but the calumny did its work
efficiently in another way: it cut at the root of her affection for
her husband and of his trust in her—it chilled and alienated them for
years. The Duchesse de Chevreuse, accused, with some show of truth, of
having conspired with Gaston d’Orléans to dethrone the king, was exiled
from France. Richelieu followed up the advantage of his first attack by
accusing the queen of keeping up a correspondence with the enemies of
the state. Anne, too proud to justify herself, imprudently paraded her
contempt for Richelieu’s malevolent intrigues by openly and on every
occasion showing her love for her own family, at that time at war with
France; expressions full of the warmth of natural affection were made
a handle of by her enemies, construed into treason against the king
and the state. The birth of Louis XIV. (1638) brought about a partial
reconciliation between her and the husband who had insulted and treated
her with systematic neglect. But Richelieu’s sway remained unshaken to
the end. It was entirely an intellectual sway; the heart had no share
in it on either side. The minister hated the king, and the king hated
the minister; their natures were essentially antagonistic, and mutual
interest alone held them together. Louis, hearing that he was about to
be freed from the bondage under which he had chafed so long—that the
summons had come for Richelieu—went in haste to the Palais Cardinal to
receive the adieux of the dying minister. The interview between them
was short and utterly devoid of pathos; no shade of tenderness had
entered into the bond that was about to be dissolved. The breaking up
of it was simply a matter of business. The king left the death-chamber
of the man to whom he owed all the glory of his reign, without a tear
in his eye or a passing emotion in his heart, and paced the adjoining
room with a steady step and satisfied air, while a smile, amounting
at intervals to a suppressed laugh, was visible on his features. When
all was over, and the signal came forth that Richelieu was no more, he
exclaimed tranquilly: “_Voilà un grand politique de mort!_”[42] (1642.)
A few months later, he himself had joined the great politician in
another world.

Richelieu, whose more than royal munificence of state had roused the
jealous susceptibilities of the king, atoned for it by bequeathing his
beautiful palace, with its accumulated treasures of art and industry,
to his unthankful master. Anne of Austria inaugurated her reign as
regent by taking up her abode under the roof of the man who had been to
the last day of his life her implacable enemy. Immediately after the
death of Louis XIII., she came to the Palais Cardinal with the little
king and his brother, the Duc d’Anjou. The theatre on which Richelieu
had lavished so much taste and wealth was included in the bequest,
though he had often expressed his intention of presenting it to the
nation, and endowing it for the benefit of rising dramatic artists.

Notwithstanding that Anne of Austria had good reason to execrate the
cardinal for his injustice and malignity to herself personally, she did
full honor to his merits as a statesman; and years after his death,
when at the zenith of her popularity as regent, she said once, looking
up at a portrait of Richelieu which hung in the state-saloon of the
Palais Cardinal: “Were that man alive now, he would be more powerful
than ever.” It was a generous and exhaustive tribute to the memory of
those services which had consolidated the monarchy in France, and made
her own position what it was.

The name of Palais Cardinal, which, despite its equivocal grammar, was
appropriate while Richelieu inhabited it, ceased to be so when it
passed into the possession of the crown. Anne was advised to change it,
but refused to do so, at the solicitation of the Duchesse d’Aiguillon,
who besought her to retain a name which so honorably associated
Richelieu with the glorious reign of Louis XIII. Public opinion,
however, prevailed before long, and the palace was henceforth by common
consent designated as the Palais Royal. With its new name began a new
era in its annals.

Anne has been compared by some of her admirers and biographers to
Blanche of Castille; but, while rendering full justice to the queenly
qualities of the Austro-Spanish regent, we own that the comparison
strikes us as being suggested rather by their circumstances than by
the characters of the two queen-mothers who each played so remarkable
a part in the history of their epochs. Blanche of Castille made it
her first and paramount ambition to render her son worthy of that
imperishable crown which awaited him in the Kingdom that is not of
this world: Anne of Austria aimed at securing for hers the supremacy
of earthly glory—at making him a great and powerful king. In each
case, as it mostly happens, the omnipotent mother’s will worked out
its own ideal. The minority of the future Grand Monarque opened in
troubled times; the elements of the Fronde were fermenting deep down
under the apparently smooth surface, and the _fêtes_, and masquerades,
and merry-making with which the regent celebrated her tardy accession
to sovereign power were soon followed by more exciting events. Mazarin
had succeeded to Richelieu—oily, pliant Mazarin, so zealous in his
endeavors to keep well with all parties; flattering the ambitious
hopes of Gaston d’Orléans, and laying himself out with elaborate zeal
to please the regent and secure her confidence; yielding outwardly,
with alluring grace, to every caprice of her soft despotic sway; and
pulling dexterously the complicated strings of the malcontents, Condé,
and Conti, and Longueville, and many other illustrious personages who
chafed uneasily under the sceptre of the foreigner; benevolent and
outspoken, but irreclaimably despotic. Mazarin, in his desire to please
all parties whom it was of use to propitiate, and make money plentiful
where it was needed for his purposes, had gone on taxing till he raised
the devil in the _then_ much enduring people. Everything was ready for
an outbreak. The _Te Deum_ after the victory of Lens gave the signal
for it. It was a burning day in August, in the year 1648. The city
had turned out to join in the jubilee, and, amidst the inspiriting
chorus of trumpets, and cannons, and bells that sent exulting chimes
from many belfries, such small matters as hunger and empty hearths and
misery in its multiform moods and tenses were forgotten for a moment.
But it needed only a touch to rouse the sleeping furies in the hearts
of the hungry, rejoicing crowd. Broussel was seized by the troops, who
had just played their part in the gay thanksgiving, and carried off
to prison—Broussel, the venerable magistrate, the people’s sturdy
friend; who had fought their battles over and over again against mighty
Mazarin himself; who had stood by them and upheld their rights in the
teeth of the foreign queen and her foreign minister; Broussel, whom
the people called _notre père_—were they going to see him seized by
soldiers, and carried off before their eyes? No; they would stand by
him as he had stood by them. The last notes of the _Te Deum_ were
still ringing over the city, when up leaped the shouts of revolution
and the cry “To arms!” and chased away their holy echoes. The mob
surrounded the carriage in which Broussel was placed, guarded on all
sides by armed men; they were beaten back and trodden down; the people
returned to the charge undaunted, and finally bore down on the Palais
Royal, vociferating unmannerly threats, and demanding Broussel: “Give
us Broussel, or we will burn down your house about you!”—pleasant
sounds for the queen to hear beneath her windows! Anne of Austria
had not foreseen this bursting up of the vulgar depths over which
she had hitherto ridden in safe and scornful unconcern; nor, in all
probability, had Mazarin. He was with the queen in that sumptuous
apartment called the queen’s boudoir, whose one broad window, mounted
in a frame of massive silver wrought like a brooch, looked out upon
the court; the regent paced the room in feverish excitement, her face
flushed, her hands, alternately crossed on her breast with an air of
stern resolve, moving in the animated and expressive play that was
familiar to her; every now and then she would stand in the embrasure
of the rich and cunningly carved window, and cast a glance of mingled
scorn and defiance on the vociferous rabble below. They catch sight
of her, and greet her with ominous signs and gestures. They see in
her cool courage a taunt that rouses them to desperation. All unarmed
as they are, except with stones and sticks and such like unmilitary
weapons, they are ready to give battle to her troops. At this crisis,
when the Fronde was born, a young man named Gondi starts to the
surface, shooting up from the dark horizon like a glittering rocket.
He is endowed with that peculiar kind of alcoholic eloquence which
appears to be in all climes and ages the apanage of demagogues. Gondi
had already made himself conspicuous as a discontented spirit whom it
would be well either to crush or to conciliate; and Mazarin would in
all likelihood have adopted the latter plan but for the fact of his
jealousy having been aroused by the queen’s kindly notice of the young
firebrand; he foresaw a possible rival in Gondi’s ardor and talents,
and forthwith decreed his ruin. Gondi was just now making himself
popular by declaiming on the wrongs of the people, and denouncing the
seizure of Broussel as iniquitous and tyrannical. There was some talk
of sending a despatch to the regent to demand his release; Mazarin
caught at this opportunity of lowering Gondi in the estimation of the
queen by placing him in the position of a leader of the Fronde, so he
sent word to him indirectly to come to the Palais Royal and present
the people’s petition. Gondi, who saw in the mission an occasion
for distinguishing himself with all parties, accepted it. He told
the people that he undertook to ask, and pledged himself to obtain,
the liberation of Broussel within an hour. They followed him with
enthusiastic cheers to the Palais Royal, where he was admitted to the
presence of the queen. She received him with flattering promptitude,
unconscious of the motive of his visit. Anne was in no mood for
compromises or concessions; the rebellious attitude of her subjects had
steeled her heart for the moment against the demands of clemency, and
when Gondi, announcing himself the bearer of the demands of the people,
asked for the liberation of the magistrate, her anger broke out into
violence: “Give up Broussel!” she cried, with a sardonic laugh, “I will
strangle him first with my own hands!” And clenching those beautiful
little hands that have been sung by every poet of her day, she went
close up to Gondi, and shook them in his face. The deputy, confounded,
stood rooted to the spot, and uttered not a word; when Anne, abruptly
turning away, said, with a quiet sarcasm the more chilling from its
sudden contrast with her foregoing vehemence: “Go and rest, Monsieur de
Gondi; you have worked hard.”

He left her presence, and carried his perplexity to Mazarin. But
Mazarin, who had led him into the dilemma of playing false to the
people and vexing the queen, coldly declined interfering, and bowed
the unsuccessful diplomatist out. Gondi, betrayed and baffled, left
the Palais Royal with an oath that the morrow would see him master
of Paris. When a lad of eighteen, he had written an essay on the
_Conjuration de Fiesque_, which drew from Richelieu the remark: “_Voilà
un esprit dangereux._”[43] The day had come when the fiery young
author was to fulfil this sagacious prophecy. The future Cardinal
de Retz had entered the Palais Royal an ambitious courtier: he left
it an infuriated _frondeur_. The next day Paris was bristling with
barricades—its traditional mode of expressing its irritated feelings.

This day, famous as _la journée des barricades_, saw Mathieu Molé
appear in one of the finest attitudes that have marked his noble and
honorable career.

While still young, Molé had risen to the brilliant and perilous
position of _Premier Président du Parlement de Paris_ by the mere
force of talent and rigid integrity of character; he had never courted
the patronage of a minister, nor accepted a favor from one; he had
lent no base compliance to Richelieu’s despotism or to Mazarin’s
more captivating rule; he had remained the staunch friend of the
heterodox Abbé de St. Cyran, holding faster by him in his disgrace and
imprisonment than in the days of his transient popularity, persecuting
Richelieu to obtain his pardon, dodging the inaccessible minister late
and early, waylaying him in all possible and impossible places with the
same persistent cry, “Give me back my friend St. Cyran,” till at last
Richelieu, worn out with his importunity, seized the president by the
arm one day, and said: “This M. Molé is a worthy magistrate, but the
most obstinate pleader in France,” and gave him back his Abbé de St.
Cyran. This was the man who was chosen to head a second embassy from
the people to the Palais Royal. The regent was aware of his coming,
and received him with cold civility; but her high spirit was slightly
subdued since the preceding day; she had passed a sleepless night
waiting for the events of the morrow, and was disposed to admit the
possibility of coming to a compromise with her unruly citizens. Mathieu
Molé was not an orator in the classical sense of the word, but he had
that sort of eloquence that stirs the hearts of men. It achieved a
victory, in the first place, over the angry mob by making them listen
to reason and take a dispassionate view of their position, and now it
gained an equally important one with the regent, inducing her to yield
a reluctant consent to the liberation of Broussel. The barricades
were lowered, and Paris gave a joyous welcome to its friend. But the
blaze thus rashly kindled was not to be so quickly quenched. Anne of
Austria eventually conquered both the Fronde and the less violent but
equally dangerous pretensions of Mazarin, who, succumbing with a fairly
good grace before the indomitable courage and inflexible firmness of
the regent, renounced the ambition of making her his tool, and was
satisfied with being her right hand in governing the state. How high
his ambition soared may be guessed from the following trait. Once, when
conversing with Anne of Austria, emboldened by that gracious _abandon_
of manner which made the haughty Spaniard so charming in her amiable
moods, Mazarin alluded to the boyish passion of the king for his niece,
Marie Mancini, and observed how deeply he would have deplored it had
his majesty, yielding to the infatuation of the hour, committed the
chivalrous folly of marrying her. Anne of Austria drew herself up with
all the pride of her Castilian blood, and answered: “Had my son been
capable of such an unworthiness, I should have placed myself with his
brother at the head of the nation against him and against you.” The
proud daughter of kings, who, by the strength of her solitary will,
could govern a nation and cow the daring leaders of the Fronde, was
in person as tender and delicate as a child; her health was fragile,
and her skin so sensitive that it was difficult to find any cambric
soft enough to clothe without hurting her. Mazarin, alluding once to
this Sybarite delicacy of temperament, declared to the regent that her
purgatory in the next world would be to sleep in Holland sheets. Yet,
when Anne was attacked by the cruel malady which ended her days, no
Roman matron could have endured it with greater fortitude. Her piety,
which had guarded her youth through the alluring temptations of the
court, despite the neglect and rudeness of a morose and heartless
husband, sustained her in the protracted tortures of her last illness.
Shortly before she expired, Louis XIV. was kneeling by the bedside of
his mother, weeping bitterly, and covering her hand with his tears;
she drew it gently away, and, looking for a moment at that hand which
had been her chief woman’s vanity, she murmured: “They are beginning
to swell; it is time to go!” Some historians have flippantly taxed
Anne with having systematically kept her son in the background, and
sacrificed him selfishly to the prolongation of her own power; but
Louis’ passionate grief at her death, and his lifelong gratitude to
the memory of his mother, sufficiently repudiate this charge. Louis
XIV. never resided at the Palais Royal after her death; when necessity
obliged him to remain in Paris, he occupied the Louvre.

The characters and careers of Richelieu and Mazarin furnish one of
those points of comparison which history is so fond of. Richelieu was
undeniably the more brilliant statesman of the two; he was endowed with
greater originality and a larger breadth of view; he left a deeper
impress on his time, and his remote action on France was more enduring;
but if the achievement of peace be more valuable to a people than the
prosecution of war, Mazarin has paramount claims on the gratitude of
his country. The Treaty of Westphalia, and the Peace of the Pyrenees,
are two monuments raised by Mazarin to his own fame that out-top all
the dazzling trophies of his predecessors, and establish a nobler
claim to the admiration of the civilized world than all Richelieu’s
victorious accomplishments in war. Both statesmen were pre-eminently
gifted with that power of reading men which is so serviceable an agent
in the hands of those who are called to govern. It was this electric
instinct which prompted Richelieu to single out Mazarin from the crowd
as the man best fitted to be his successor—a choice which the young
Italian justified by carrying out with unswerving fixity of purpose
the vast unfinished designs of the patron whom death had cut short in
the midst of his work. Mazarin, on the other hand, gave a striking
proof of this same subtle insight when he said of the young king, then
a mere boy in his mother’s leading-strings, and as yet having done
nothing to reveal the future grand monarch: “There is stuff enough in
him to make four kings and one honest man.” Both ministers set their
influence and power above the interest and authority of the sovereign;
but both labored with unflinching steadiness of aim to raise the
monarchy to a height of splendor it had never before reached, and was
not destined long to retain. Both carried their _soutane_ with more
of martial dignity than priestly gravity—that _soutane_ of which
Richelieu boasted: “I mow down everything, I upset everything, and
then I cover it all with my red _soutane_.” Both made it the business
of their lives while at the head of the state to humble Austria and
Spain, and both succeeded. The marriage of Louis XIV. with the Infanta
of Spain was one of Mazarin’s most successful diplomatic acts; he
foresaw in this union the probable succession of the Bourbons to the
crown of Charles Quint. But alongside of his many services to his
country, there is one act of his that goes far to annul them—this
was his introduction of gambling into France. To this deplorable
importation the Abbé St. Pierre traces, not perhaps without a shade
of exaggeration, but with palpable logic, the rapid decadence of the
national morals and character; he says that Mazarin inoculated the
young king with the passion for games of hazard, in order to keep his
mind aloof from things in which it became him better to be interested,
and thereby to prevent his interference in the affairs of state; the
regent, in her turn, became smitten with the novel mania, and would
spend whole nights with her court playing cards. Mazarin himself was
an incorrigible gambler, and often devoted to this passion the hours
he should have given to sleep after his day’s arduous task. He was
looked upon more as a player of doubtful honesty—“_un joueur plus que
suspect_”; but “who allowed others in turn to cheat him, provided they
did it cleverly,” St. Pierre tells us; and he goes on to say: “The
young nobles, first at court, and then all over the country, followed
his example, and took to card-playing; they forsook the athletic
sports and manly amusements which had delighted their fathers, and
gave themselves up to this enervating and ruinous passion; they became
weaker, more ignorant, and less polished; women caught the fever, and
grew to respect themselves less, and to be less respected.” Mazarin’s
avarice was as insatiable as his ambition; he died colossally rich;
but during his last illness, seized with remorse, he made over all his
unjust gains to the king, who, of course, refused to accept them, and
the cardinal then divided his vast wealth between Louis, the queen,
Condé, Turenne, his friend Louis de Haro, and several members of his
own family. He bequeathed a large sum for the foundation of a college,
which he also endowed with his splendid library, recollected after its
dispersion by the Frondeurs at immense trouble and expense. He wished
this college to be called _Collége des quatre nations_, destining it
chiefly for the education of young men belonging to the four provinces
annexed to France during his ministry—Pignerol, Alsace, Roussillon,
and Artois. Le Tellier, who was his executor, punctually obeyed all
his instructions except the last-named. By desire of the king, it
was called Collége Mazarin, which was to become the magnificent
Bibliothèque Royale of to-day.

Henrietta Maria of England occupied the Palais Royal in 1644. The
marriage of her daughter Henrietta to Philip of Orleans, then Duc
d’Anjou, was celebrated here with great pomp, and here the young
princess held a brilliant court for a few years, while her mother dwelt
in the cloistered retreat of Chaillot. The thread of this bright young
life was suddenly snapped asunder. Bossuet’s “O night of horror!” came
like a thunderbolt from a summer sky, scattering the volatile court,
and spreading the news of its loss over the whole of France. Then came
the Regency, which was to add a chapter of such dark and lamentable
notoriety to the history of the Palais Royal. The nephew of Louis
XIV. inherited all the vices and foibles of his race without any of
their redeeming qualities. His selfish, easy-going _bonhomie_ has been
sometimes lauded as clemency; but it may more justly be considered
a combination of weakness and cynical contempt for the claims of
justice. When the enraged populace gathered before his palace, dragging
three naked corpses—the victims of their legitimate but misplaced
anger—along with them, the regent looked out at the tempestuous scene,
and remarked coolly: “The mob are right; the wonder is they bear so
much from us.” And truly it was a wonder; and if the Revolution of
‘93 did not break out under the lawless and exasperating rule of the
Regency, it must only have been because, as St. Simon explained it,
“three things are necessary to make a revolution: leaders, brains,
and funds, none of which were to be found in France at this period.”
The _petits soupers de la Régence_, which have acquired an infamous
celebrity through all the chronicles of the time, can have no place in
our sketch.

The visit of Peter the Great broke in on the luxurious and effeminate
court of the Palais Royal like a Spartan appearing suddenly in the
midst of a banquet of Sybarites. Peter, who had “civilized his people
by cutting their heads off,” set his heart on visiting France during
the preceding reign; but Louis XIV., partly from an insurmountable
antipathy to the semi-barbarous autocrat, partly from political
motives, had signified to his brother of all the Russias that his
absence would be more agreeable than his presence. Peter was compelled,
therefore, to wait until the Grand Monarque had rejoined his ancestors
before gratifying his desire to visit Paris. The regent, far from
making any difficulty about receiving him, made the most sumptuous
preparations for the Northern reformer, and invited him to be his guest
at the Palais Royal. But the hardy Muscovite could not conceal his
contempt for the epicurean habits of his host, and horrified him by
declaring that he never slept on anything softer than a camp-stretcher,
which he carried with him in all his peregrinations, and used on the
field of battle and in his own palace, and which he insisted now on
substituting for the luxurious couch prepared for him. Altogether,
the ways of Peter bewildered the nephew of Louis XIV. He was up with
the birds, and flying over the city to see things and people that
the latter would never have dreamed of calling his attention to. He
expressed a wish to see Mme. de Maintenon, then living in dignified
retreat at St. Cyr. Her Solidity, as Louis XIV. had dubbed her, pleaded
ill-health as an excuse for declining the honor and fatigue of an
official reception. Peter, therefore, set off one morning and scared
the learned and sedate ladies of St. Cyr out of their propriety by
requesting to be shown at once to Mme. de Maintenon’s room. On arriving
there, he entered without knocking, walked straight to the bed, pushed
aside the curtains, and, sitting down beside the astonished lady,
entered brusquely into conversation. The Sorbonne he also honored
with one of these unceremonious visitations; perceiving a statue of
Richelieu in one of the galleries, he rushed up to it, and, clasping
the marble in his arms, exclaimed: “O incomparable man! would that thou
wert still alive, and I would give thee one-half of my empire to teach
me how to govern the other!”

But with all this rough and somewhat ostentatious disregard of
etiquette, Peter had a keen sense of what was due to his imperial
mightiness, and, with the caprice of a despot, could assert it
trenchantly enough when he thought fit. The regent invited a number
of the most illustrious men of the day to meet his eccentric guest
at a banquet at the Palais Royal. As they were about to enter the
dining-room, little Louis XV. stood back to let the czar pass first;
Peter was unwilling to take precedence of the King of France, and
equally reluctant to walk behind a child, so he wittily solved the
difficulty by catching up the small monarch in his arms and carrying
him to his seat.

The regent closed his ignoble life at the Palais Royal in 1723. His
son Louis, Duke of Orleans, succeeded him. This prince brought his
young bride, Jeanne de Bade, there soon after he took possession of his
ancestral home, and lost her after a brief and blissful union. At the
time of her death, Louis XV. was lying mortally sick, it was believed,
at Metz, and thither, in the frenzy of his grief, the bereaved husband
flew, and, going straight to the room of the dying king, demanded
admittance; the attendants expostulated, but Louis pushed them aside,
and kicked in the door to announce his loss to the kinsman who himself
lay battling with death. He survived Jeanne some years, but never
recovered her loss; he led a solitary and desolate life, and gave
himself up to works of benevolence and the study of oriental languages.
He became a perfect adept in the Arabic, Hebrew, and Greek tongues,
and never appeared at court as a widower except when the imperious
etiquette of Versailles occasionally demanded it. He died in 1752. His
son’s reign at the Palais Royal is chiefly remarkable by his having
inoculated his own children with small-pox; the daring experiment,
which was performed by Tronchin, summoned from Geneva for the purpose,
was crowned with success. Paris, transported with joy, made bonfires in
the Place in front of the palace, and for a time the rash and fortunate
father was the hero of toast and song. Another event which signalized
his occupation of Richelieu’s palace was the destruction of the theatre
by fire (1763). The duke rebuilt it on a somewhat larger but infinitely
less gorgeous scale as to decoration. He was an enlightened patron
of art, and especially kind in assisting young men whose talent was
struggling to make head against poverty. He divined the genius of the
young poet Le Fèvre, and encouraged him both by personal notice and by
liberal gifts. He was so pleased with Le Fèvre’s tragedy _Zuma_ that
immediately on its appearance he bestowed a pension of 1,200 crowns
on the poet out of his privy purse; and on the latter’s asking what
services were expected from him in return for this munificence, the
duke answered: “It obliges you to work henceforth more ardently for
your own fame—nothing more.” This prince, though he allowed himself
to be drawn, to a certain extent, into the fashionable follies of
the court, had inherited from his father many sterling and beautiful
qualities. His benevolence was unbounded; but it was only after his
death that his real character was revealed, so carefully did he shun
everything like ostentation in the exercise of his favorite virtue. It
was then discovered that two-thirds of his immense revenue had been
spent upon the poor, in the payment of pensions to artists, men of
letters, widows, etc.; some granted in his own name, others in the name
of one or other of his ancestors. His condescending kindness towards
his dependents endeared him to all who approached him. A chamberlain
coming one day to announce to him the death of a most inefficient
and tiresome valet, who had been twenty years in the duke’s service,
“Poor fellow!” sighed the duke, “for twenty years he served me, and
for twenty years he worried me!” “Why did you keep him, monseigneur?”
inquired a bystander. “Why, he would never have found a place if I had
turned him away,” replied the prince, and then added: “We must see now
that his wife and children are provided for.” Was it not Sophocles who
said, “Only a great soul knows how much glory there is in being kind”?
What a germ of true glory there lies buried in this quiet little trait
of Louis d’Orléans!

The death of this magnificent patron, forbearing master, and generous
father of the poor makes way for another prince of the House of Orleans
who has earned a louder but less enviable notoriety on the world-stage
of history. Almost immediately on his becoming master of the Palais
Royal, the new Duc d’Orléans had the vexation of seeing the theatre so
recently rebuilt by his father burnt down again. Discouraged, no doubt,
by this precedent, he refused to rebuild it at his own expense, and
applied to the city of Paris for the necessary funds; but that body
declined to furnish them. The _Comédie Française_ was consequently
transferred to the Porte St. Martin, where a building was erected in
the space of six weeks by Lenoir. It was not till many years later
that Richelieu’s beautiful temple to dramatic art was rebuilt by a
prince of the House of Orleans, to be henceforth hired out on lease to
enterprising managers.

We are told that in his early youth Joseph Philippe d’Orléans gave
promise of an estimable manhood. How wofully this promise was belied by
his after-life and shameful and tragic death we know. He was born at
St. Cloud in 1747, and married, in 1769, the only daughter of the Duc
de Penthièvre—a creature endowed with every charm of person and mind
to make her at once reverenced and loved. Philippe was tall, slight,
and well proportioned, his features finely cut and lit up with vivacity
and intelligence, his manners gracious and dignified. Such is the
portrait handed down to us of him in those early days before the shadow
of coming infamy had obscured the picture. He fell soon into habits of
unbridled dissipation; but, so long as he confined himself to this,
to mad charioteering pranks on the boulevards, and aerial escapades
in balloons, with boon companions as mad as himself, the people
looked on in contemptuous disapproval. It was necessary, in order to
stimulate this passive feeling to one of direct antagonism, that he
should interfere with the popular pleasure and convenience. This he
did by turning his broad and richly planted garden into a huge shop,
thus depriving the _bourgeois_ and idlers of Paris of their accustomed
resort on the sultry days and long mellow evenings of summer. His royal
highness had contrived very soon to compromise a fortune more than
royal in its extent; and, in order to replenish his coffers, he decided
to cut down his ancestral chestnuts, and build up in their place long
rows of shops, to be hired out at a high rent to tradespeople. The
fashionables and the _bourgeois_, and, more important than all in a
Frenchman’s eyes, the children, were thus driven to promenade under a
stone colonnade, instead of enjoying the green shade of Richelieu’s
groves, where the buzz of a multifarious bazaar had replaced the
cooing of doves and the twitter of singing-birds. By-and-by we see the
thermometer rising from resentful dislike to fierce hatred. Philip
is smitten with Anglomania, and spends his time and, what is of more
consequence to Paris, his money in London. He wears only London-made
coats, drives English horses, hires English grooms, altogether affects
the ways and manners of _outre-mer_, to the great disgust of Versailles
and the boulevards. Wretched Philip! well had it been for him and
for Versailles had he dwelt content in these puerile masquerades and
self-degrading follies! But under the frivolous surface there lay
a substratum of cruel vindictiveness, a bristling self-love, that
was quick to see an affront, and implacable in avenging it. Marie
Antoinette had the dire ill-luck to offend her disreputable cousin of
Orleans. When her brother, the Archduke Maximilian, came to see her
at Versailles, the queen, then in her twentieth year, very naturally
desired to see as much as possible of this dear companion of her
childhood during his short stay; so she dispensed, as far as she could,
with court ceremonial, remaining chiefly in her private apartments with
her brother. It did not probably occur to her that, in omitting to
invite the Duc d’Orléans to share this sisterly intercourse, she was
inflicting a wound that would one day distil its deadly poison upon
herself and those dearest to her. So it was, however. Philip never
forgave what he considered a slight, and bitterly did he make the
thoughtless young queen repent having inflicted it.

The gardens of the Palais Royal, which had given rise to his first
unpopularity, were destined to be the scene of the upheaving of the
revolution. All was ready, only waiting for a bold hand to give a push
to the pendulum and set it going. Camille Desmoulins did it. It was
the 12th of July, 1789. Yesterday the great crisis had been prepared,
and to-day it burst. Necker, the universal genius whose advent to the
ministry was hailed as the panacea for all discords, and difficulties,
and threatened dangers; Necker, the “Achilles of computation,” whose,
vigorous hand and capacious brain were to seize France, tottering on
the brink of some invisible gulf, and steady her; Necker, to whom
the timid, apathetic king, and the proud, valiant queen, had all but
gone on their knees to induce him to come and redeem the treasury by
“swift arithmetic,” and save the government and—yes, even at this
date they must have included it in the salvations to be accomplished
by Necker—the throne; Necker, who had yielded to the royal suppliants
with these words: “I yield in obedience to duty, but with the certainty
that I am doomed”—Necker had been dismissed. On the 11th of July,
Louis XVI. signed the letter imploring the minister to leave the
kingdom “at once and without _éclat_.” When his secretary objected that
Necker’s extraordinary popularity was a strong presumption against his
obeying this last command; that he had only to show himself, and the
people would rise _en masse_ to prevent his flight, Louis replied:
“I know Necker; he will guard us against himself; he will obey me
scrupulously, and fly without _éclat_.” And he was right. The minister
received the letter at three in the afternoon, and quietly put it in
his pocket without communicating its contents even to his wife; he
dined at the usual hour with some friends already invited; nothing in
his appearance or conversation betrayed the slightest emotion during
the repast; on leaving the table, he showed the letter of dismissal
to Mme. Necker, ordered his carriage, and they went out for a drive;
when they were about two hundred yards from the house, he pulled
the check-string, and desired the coachman to drive to the nearest
post-station. It was not till the following morning that his daughter
and his numerous friends knew of his departure. The news electrified
everybody. Camille Desmoulins’ grand opportunity had arrived. He
had already made himself notorious as a leader of malcontents; this
afternoon he was drinking with a certain set of them in a _café_ at
the Palais Royal—of late a favorite rendezvous of patriots of his
type—noisy and blustering, believing in copious libations as the
most efficacious proof of patriotism. Desmoulins, on hearing the
news, rushed out, pistol in hand, and, jumping on an orange-tree tub,
proceeded to harangue the assembled multitude. He was afflicted with a
painful stuttering in his speech, but this impediment appears to have
been no hindrance to the effect of his oratory; on the contrary, it
gave it a more vehement character, impelling him to wild and passionate
gesticulation, by way of helping out his defective utterance. He spoke
with his eyes, his teeth, every member of his body; he would shake
out his hair in lion-like fashion, stamp his feet, toss his arms with
clenched fists above his head to supply the word his tongue refused to
articulate, and the energetic pantomine elicited the sympathy, while
it fired the passions, of his hearers. “Citizens!” he cried, “I come
from Versailles.” (He came from a neighboring _café_, as we have seen,
but what of that?) “Necker is dismissed. This dismissal is the tocsin
of S. Bartholomew for all patriots. Before the sun has gone down, we
shall see the Swiss and German battalions marching from the Champs de
Mars to murder us like dogs. One chance yet remains to us. To arms!
Let us choose a cockade whereby we may know each other.” This exordium
was covered with thundering salvos by the patriots. “What color shall
we choose?” continued the orator. “Speak, patriots! Select your own
flag. Shall it be green, the emblem of hope, or blue—the color of free
America, of liberty, and democracy?” A voice from the patriots cried
out: “Green, the color of hope!” But the choice was negatived by the
voice of popular prejudice. Green, it was said, was unlucky. No; they
would not have green.

A scene of indescribable tumult followed while the momentous question
of the cockade was being canvassed. Finally, by what train of argument
history does not record, blue, white, and red were elected to the honor
of representing the patriots. They happened to be the colors of the
House of Orleans. From the tub which served as a rostrum to the orator
the decree was shouted to the serried ranks around, and all through
the gardens it was borne along the colonnade rapid as lightning,
swelling, as it went, into a deafening peal that soon reverberated
from the boulevards and the thoroughfares of Paris to Versailles. It
is said, we know not whether or not on authentic testimony, that while
this wild uproar, which terminated in the adoption of his House’s
colors by the popular party, was going on under his windows, Philip of
Orleans, henceforth to be known under the title of Egalité, was coolly
looking out at the performance, smoking his cigar, and discussing the
probable effect of it all at Versailles. By the time the whole city
was out-of-doors, it was the hour for the performance to begin in
the Palais Royal theatre, close by the scene of Camille’s rhetorical
triumph; other more interesting pieces, beginning with comedy and
ending with tragedy, were now to be performed; a band of patriots,
with Camille at their head, burst into the theatre, and, rushing on
the stage, summarily reversed the programme of the evening. They flung
tricolor cockades right and left, and called the spectators to arms.
“The audience rose _en masse_” at the appeal, like a true-born Parisian
audience, and, surging from pit and boxes, poured out impetuous and
desperate, it knew not well why, at the bidding of Camille Desmoulins.
He marched off, with the swelling stream behind him, to the studio
of the sculptor Curtius; there the patriots seized a bust of Necker
and Philip of Orleans, and carried them in procession through the
streets. This was Egalité’s official _début_, as a leader of the Red
Revolution. It was at the Palais Royal he was arrested. Here, on the
site of its first eruption, the wild demon which he had, in the measure
of his power, evoked and called up from the smouldering lava depths
to the full activity of its satanic life, and flattered and bowed
down to, was doomed at the appointed hour of retribution to raise its
bloody hand against the regicide, and strike him down. On his way to
the guillotine, the car, whether by accident or design, passed under
Egalité’s old home. He raised his eyes for a moment to the windows,
and, surveying them with an unmoved countenance, turned his glance
calmly again upon the yelling crowd.

While the Terror lasted, the Palais Royal remained untenanted. After
the Restoration it was occupied by Louis Philippe while Duke of
Orleans; when the son of Egalité called himself to the throne of his
nephew, he forsook it for the Tuileries, and during the remainder of
his reign it was open to the public as an historical monument and
museum. On the resurrection of the Empire, the Palais Royal became
the residence of Prince Jerome Bonaparte, only surviving brother of
Napoleon I. When this last venerable twig fell from the old imperial
tree, it continued in the possession of his son, Prince Napoleon.
Hither, in March, 1859, he brought his young bride, the Princess
Clothilde, daughter of Victor Emmanuel, and there he resided until the
memorable summer of 1870, when the disastrous war with Prussia came
like a cyclone, and tore up the old tree by the roots, and sent the
branches flying hither and thither over the astonished face of Europe.

The Commune closes our retrospect of Richelieu’s palace. The Tuileries
and the Palais Royal sent up their petroleum flames together to the
soft summer skies where the bright May sun was shining down, serenely
sad, upon the awful spectacle of Paris on fire—a funeral pile whereon
were consumed, let us hope never again to rise from their ashes, the
Commune itself, and the delusions of the few honest fools, if such
there were, who believed in its insane theories. Surely as they fled,
scared from their old historic haunts by the blaze and stench of the
devilish modern fluid, the ghosts of Richelieu, and Mazarin, and Anne
of Austria, and all that band of majestic figures from the unburied
past, must have laughed a bitter laugh, wherein horror was not without
a note of triumph, as they looked back upon the ghastly scene. “Our
little systems had their day,” the dead legislators may have said,
one to another, as they stood in the lurid light of the conflagration
that illuminated, to the eyes of their disembodied spirit, the
far-stretching vistas of the present and the past; “they were all
faulty, how faulty we know now with unavailing knowledge, but, compared
to this, were they not the Millennium, Eutopia, the ideal of the reign
of justice upon the earth?”


THE tendency, to which we have heretofore alluded, to ostracize
Catholics, and to take it for granted that this is a Protestant
country, to be ruled exclusively by anti-Catholics, has had even a
more dangerous and far-reaching effect beyond our borders, and that,
too, apparently with official sanction. The popular prejudice has not
unnaturally reached and infected the authorities at Washington. We
do not allude especially to the present Administration or Congress,
for the evil is of long standing; but we have no hesitation in saying
that our diplomatic and consular systems as at present conducted are
unjust to a very respectable minority of the American people, and are
likely to mislead and deceive the nations with which we are on terms of
peace and amity. The foreign appointees are, almost without exception,
taken from the ranks of non-Catholics and without regard either to
the feelings of a large class of our own citizens or the wishes of
the people to whom they are sent. The ministers plenipotentiary to
the great powers of Europe have been invariably selected from the
ultra Protestant class like Motley; while the numerous consuls, with a
few honorable exceptions, have been men of the same way of thinking,
according to their limited understanding. When the Holy Father was yet
in possession of his dominions, we used to delight in sending him now
and then a specimen of a genuine Know-Nothing; and when Spain—Catholic
and conservative Spain—began to feel the Gem of the Antilles slipping
from her grasp, we despatched an atheistical _filibustero_, Soulé, to
assure her of our friendship and good-will With Catholic countries
generally we have acted in the same spirit of contradiction, as if our
object were to excite hostility rather than to perpetuate kindness and
harmony, as among them, particularly in South America, each legation
and consulate habitually formed the nucleus of anti-Catholic society.
As long as this blundering—we will not call it by a harsher name—was
confined to our European appointments, it mattered little; for the
relative condition of Catholics and the sects in this country is there
pretty well known, and, the faith of the people being well fixed,
prejudice and bigotry, even when protected by the stars and stripes,
could do little harm.

It is of the character of our representatives in Turkey, Africa, India,
China, and other places _in partibus infidelium_ that we have most
reason to complain. These American envoys and consuls seem to become
volunteer lay evangelizers; and if, like our friends of the Methodist
and Presbyterian missionary societies of this city, they do not succeed
in converting the benighted heathen from the error of their ways, they
endeavor, by the exercise of all their delegated authority, to thwart
and depreciate the labors of those who can—the Catholic missionaries
from other countries. Take, for example, India and China, the great
missionary fields of the world, containing as they do at least one-half
of the whole human race in a comparative state of civilization. The
former being a province of Great Britain, it is natural that sectarian
missions should receive at least a semi-official recognition and
protection from the appointees of the head of the Protestant Church “as
by law established”; but even in this respect the English officials
have been outdone in zeal and officiousness by our own agents in the
Indian Peninsula, as we learn from a late work on that country.[44]
But in China, with its four or five hundred millions of idolaters,
the case is different. There the Catholic priest and the devoted
Sister of Charity, unsupported by the temporal arm, and unawed by
threats, torture, and death, have been most active and most successful
in advancing the standard of the cross and winning souls to Christ.
Their converts are numbered by tens of thousands, and their churches,
schools, and orphanages dot the southern and western coasts; while the
sectarian missionaries, lacking the sustaining power of the state, have
practically done nothing. This has long been a source of much chagrin
to the various dissenting proselytizing societies in England and the
United States, as it also seems to have been the cause of exasperation
to our Minister at Peking, Mr. Frederick F. Low.

That gentleman’s mission to China appears to have embraced but three
objects, if we except his attempt and absurd failure to bring the
Coreans into communication with the outside world. The first of these
was the protection of American Protestant missionaries, and them only;
the second, to convince the Chinese officials that the United States
have nothing to do with Catholics, or, as he is pleased to style them
on all occasions, “Romanists”; and the third, to send home false
despatches and mistranslated documents.

In looking over the foreign correspondence of our government for 1871,
as presented to Congress with the President’s Message,[45] we find
that, in October, 1870, Mr. Low, without any authority whatever from
Washington, ordered a United States war-vessel from Chefoo to Tungchow,
for the sole purpose of returning some Protestant missionaries to
the latter place, who, with their usual regard for the first law of
nature, had fled from it upon the slightest rumor of danger. The
ship was the _Benecia_, and her precious cargo consisted of “the
missionaries (number not stated), their teachers and servants, also
_their children_, amounting to a total of twenty-four persons.” Of
the reverend gentlemen at whose disposal a public vessel had been so
obsequiously placed by the accommodating Mr. Low, Commander Kimberly,
in his report, bluntly says:

 “The missionaries expressed themselves perfectly satisfied with
 everything that had been done in regard to returning them to their
 homes, and wished me to visit the shore and walk about the city with
 the officers of the ship in full uniform, which I declined to do,
 as, after the promises made by the Chinese officials, I considered
 it unnecessary, and the Chinese being perfectly willing and pleased,
 as far as I could judge, that they had returned. From my interview,
 I came to the conclusion that there never existed any real danger at
 Tungchow-foo, but the missionaries were frightened by the threats of
 some Chinese not in authority. Mischievous persons are found in every
 community, and Tungchow-foo is not free from this infliction. The
 massacre of Tientsin capped the climax, and the missionaries left in

The cowardly conduct of the missionaries, who were thus so honorably
reconducted to their homes, is even partially admitted by the minister
in his explanatory despatch, for he says: “In this connection, I desire
to say that I have had no information from the missionaries, except a
short note from one of them saying that they had all reached Tungchow.
Without expressing any opinion as to the real peril they were in, or
whether there was or was not cause for the step they took, I am of the
opinion that their removal and the manner of their return will, on the
whole, result in good.”

We admit that it is the duty of every envoy, consul, or other foreign
agent of our government to succor and protect our citizens abroad in
all things lawful; but here, in this respect, their duty ends. They
have no shadow of right to employ the public vessels of the country,
paid for by the public at large, and destined for far other purposes,
in any other business, much less for the transportation of runaway
missionaries, “their teachers, servants, and children.” This is not
a Protestant country _de facto_ or _de jure_, and, as far as the
national government is concerned, no religion whatever is recognized.
If it were an equal number of merchants or traders who had fled in
terror from imaginary danger, is it likely that Mr. Low would have
depleted our small squadron in the Chinese seas by putting at their
service, and that of their “teachers, servants, and children,” one of
the best vessels in the fleet? Or does any one suppose that, if those
persons had been Catholic missionaries, he would have been guilty of
a similar abuse of authority? But he apologetically says, “The manner
of their return will, on the whole, result in good.” Just so. Good to
Mr. Low, though we have not yet heard of a vote of thanks having been
presented to him by any of our numerous foreign missionary societies,
or that they have sent on to Washington deputations for his retention
or promotion. That his conduct deserves such commendation from these
bodies no one can doubt who reads further his despatches to the State

In 1858, a treaty was formed between China, on the one part, and the
leading Western powers, on the other, whereby, among other things, it
was stipulated that the Christian converts in the former country should
practise their religion without molestation, and also enjoy certain
immunities; and that in the free or open ports and districts the
ministers of religion should be guaranteed the full exercise of their
functions, etc. In 1870, as previously agreed upon, this treaty came
up for revision, and France, ever foremost in the work of civilization
and conversion, proposed five amendments to the treaty, all relating
directly or indirectly to commerce. The second of these reads as

 “You have expressed a desire to know the demands which I have engaged
 my government to make from the Chinese government when the treaty of
 1858 is revised. I have no objection to satisfy you, for I believe
 that the alterations are indispensable, and I shall be happy to learn
 that the other governments allied with China have decided also to
 demand them.... Second, I demand that we shall have the right to place
 salaried consuls wherever we judge proper, and that those cities where
 consuls reside shall also be opened to foreign trade.”

These demands seemed rational enough, and have since, we understand,
been substantially complied with; but our clear-sighted minister
immediately detected the danger that lurked beneath them, particularly
the one just quoted, and hastened to advise his government not to
second the propositions of the French ambassador. Here is one of his

 “I see so many objections to such a treaty provision, and so many
 chances of its proving a delusion and a snare, that, unless the
 proposition can be more definitely defined, I should not be inclined
 to favor it. If the exact truth could be ascertained, it would be
 found, I expect, that the whole idea of the French _chargé_ in this
 scheme is the better protection of the French missionaries; and were
 it possible to obtain the concession asked for, these additional
 consuls would be, to all intents and purposes, agents of Roman
 Catholic missionaries. Their official positions and influence would be
 used to sustain missionary claims and assumptions, some of which have
 been described in a former despatch. So far as trade is concerned, it
 may well be questioned whether the presence of French consuls in the
 interior would not prove a damage instead of a benefit.”

And this is the representative of a free and commercial people who
desire to be considered Christian! Rather than see Catholic missions
extended, and paganism eradicated from the hearts of millions of
human beings, he would be willing to keep some of the most populous
and fertile portions of the Celestial Empire closed for ever against
civilization and commerce. But let us follow this model minister a
little further.

In February, 1871, the Chinese Foreign Office submitted to the foreign
representatives at the capital, for consideration and approval, the
draft of a minute, and eight rules for the guidance and government
of missionaries in the entire empire. They were drawn up with true
Tartar cunning and ingenuity, and were intended, if adopted, to baffle
the straightforward demands of France. In terms they were plausible
enough, but in reality exceedingly restrictive, and evidently aimed
at the Sisters of Charity, whose schools and orphan asylums were
rapidly increasing, and at those zealous and enterprising missionaries
who, under various disguises, and despite the vigilance of the local
authorities, are in the habit, at imminent personal danger, of
penetrating into the very heart of the country, and preaching the Word
of God where his name has never before been heard. This was a chance
for Mr. Low to exhibit his sectarian bigotry before the mandarins, and
he eagerly availed himself of it. Answering their communication in his
official capacity, and while dissenting generally from their views, he
takes occasion, we think very gratuitously, to say:

 “It is a noticeable fact that, among all the cases cited, there does
 not appear to be one in which Protestant missionaries are charged
 with violating treaty, law, or custom. So far as I can ascertain,
 your complaints are chiefly against the action and attitude of the
 missionaries of the Roman Catholic faith, and, as these are under
 the exclusive protection and control of the government of France, I
 might with great propriety decline to discuss _a matter with which the
 government of the United States has no direct interest or concern_,
 for the reason that none of its citizens are charged with violating
 treaty or local law, and thus causing trouble.”

And again, with equal truthfulness and appositeness, he adds:

 “Whenever cases occur in which the missionaries overstep the bounds
 of decorum, or interfere in matters with which they have no proper
 concern, let each case be reported promptly to the minister of the
 country to which it belongs. Such isolated instances should not
 produce prejudice or engender hatred against those who observe their
 obligations, nor should sweeping complaints be made against all on
 this account. Those from the United States sincerely desire the
 reformation of those whom they teach, and to do this they urge the
 examination of the Holy Scriptures, wherein the great doctrines of the
 present and a future state, and also the resurrection of the soul, are
 set forth, with the obligation of repentance, belief in the Saviour,
 and the duties of man to himself and others. It is owing, in a great
 degree, to the prevalence of a belief in the truth of the Scriptures
 that Western nations have attained their power and prosperity.”

Having thus, as he thought, directed the prejudice and hostility of the
authorities against the Catholics exclusively, and put in a good word
for the evangelizers; and assured them that, as far as the former were
concerned, the United States had no concern whatever, and by inference
that they might maltreat and murder as many of them as they pleased
without let or hindrance from us, Mr. Low next proceeds to mislead his
government in a manner which may be diplomatic, but is certainly far
from honorable.

In transmitting to the Department of State a translation of the rules
alluded to, he remarks:

 “A careful reading of the memorandum clearly proves that the great, if
 not only, cause of complaint against the missionaries comes from the
 action of the Roman Catholic priests and the native Christians of that
 faith; although the rules proposed for the government of missionaries
 apply equally to Protestants and Catholics.”

“A careful reading” of the document as translated under his auspices
would indeed seem to bear out Mr. Low’s views, for it is filled with
complaints and denunciations of “Romanists,” and the derivative
adjective “Romish” is used with a freedom that would delight the heart
of the most virulent _colporteur_. But, unfortunately, there was
another translation of the same document in England, and in it, behold,
all the “Romanists” are turned into “Christians”![46] Even Mr. Davis,
of the State Department, could not help noticing this discrepancy
between the two papers, and in a letter dated Oct. 19, 1871, calls upon
the Peking minister for an explanation, which, of course, was never
given, for the good reason that the deception was intentional. If, as
according to Blackstone, forgery consists in the material alteration
of the body of a written instrument, as well as in the imitation or
alteration of a signature, we fear our respected representative has
been guilty of a very serious legal mistake. The assistant secretary

 “Two versions of these regulations have found their way to the
 Department—the translation enclosed in your No. 56, and a translation
 apparently made from a French version presented to the houses of
 Parliament in Great Britain in June or July last, and printed in
 _British Blue-Book_, entitled “China, No. 3, 1871.” These versions
 differ widely in form and expression, and, to some extent, in sense.

 “The version presented to Parliament has been or will be made the
 subject of instructions by her Majesty’s government to Mr. Wade.
 A copy of these proposed instructions was communicated to this
 Department by her Majesty’s _chargé_ at Washington in August last. A
 copy is herewith enclosed, and also a copy of the version to which
 they relate.

 “The most material variance between the two versions is in the
 designation of the missionaries against whom the Chinese Foreign
 Office complains. Your version limits the complaints to missionaries
 of the Roman Church. The British translation, following the French
 version, represents the complaints against ‘Christians.’ For instance,
 the British version renders the beginning of the first article or
 rule as follows: ‘The Christians, when they found an orphanage, give
 no notice to the authorities, and appear to act with mystery.’ Your
 translation of the same sentence reads: “The establishment of asylums
 for training up children by the Romanists has hitherto not been
 reported to the authorities, and as these institutions are carefully
 kept private,’ etc., etc. From the English version of the accompanying
 note from the Yamên, it is evident that the Chinese Foreign Office
 recognizes that there are in China Christian missionaries of different
 faiths; for they say that ‘the people in general, unaware of the
 difference which exists between Protestantism and Catholicism,
 confound these two religions under this latter denomination.’”

The sectarian views of the minister in Peking were ably seconded by his
subordinate, the consul-general at Shanghai. That official, Mr. G. F.
Seward, under date August 22, 1871, sends to the Assistant-Secretary
of State a cursory review of the general condition of China, and
a detailed account of the horrible massacre of Tientsin, June 21,
1870; with a report of the trial and execution of some of the
miscreants engaged in it. His communication, as might be expected, is,
whenever possible, thoroughly anti-Catholic, filled with innuendos,
insinuations, and even broad statements against the missionaries of
that faith, and the Sisters of Charity; the usual elegant phrases
“Romish” and “Romanist” being used at every opportunity. As a sample of
this _commercial_ agent’s style and skill in the art of hinting a fault
and hesitating dislike, we quote the following passages from his letter:

 “Various allegations have been made against Roman Catholic
 missionaries. It has been alleged that the bishop of one of the
 western provinces resides in a palace which vies with that of the
 viceroy; that he uses a palanquin decorated in a way allowed only to
 the highest officials of the empire; and that his progresses from
 one part of his diocese to another are made in a regal way. It has
 been asserted that the priests claim the right to correspond with the
 officials on terms of equality; that they combine with and arrange
 combinations among their converts to defeat the objects of the
 government; that they claim for their converts various unusual and
 objectionable immunities; that, in fact, they are building up a rule
 within the territorial rule which is very dangerous to the state. One
 who has studied the history of the Roman Church cannot be surprised
 when he hears that China is seriously alarmed; but we can estimate the
 actual danger more perfectly than she. Any exposition of her fears
 which she is likely to make will exhibit many puerilities. Yet we must
 admit that her statesmen would be unwise if they should fail to study
 the problems which the presence of the church presents.”

So much for some of our diplomats in Asia. If they had been sent out
by the Methodist missionary body or any other fanatical society, they
could not have shown more narrow-minded bigotry or less regard for the
advancement of religion and true civilization; but as representatives
of this republic, where all are regarded as equal, and where the
general government is supposed to represent the interests of every
class and creed alike, it is not too much to say that they have been
sadly recreant to the trust reposed in them.

Turning over the pages of this voluminous collection of foreign
correspondence from all parts of the world with the Department of
State, we came upon the following curious despatch. It is dated Mexico,
April 29, 1871, signed by our minister, Mr. Thomas H. Nelson, and
referred to in the index as “The Spread of Protestantism”:

 “The Protestant movement in Mexico has for the past year been making
 considerable progress, chiefly owing to the efforts of the American
 clergyman, Rev. H. Chauncey Reilly, a letter from whom upon this
 subject was forwarded by me, forming an enclosure to my No. 38, of
 August 9, 1869. There are now about fifty congregations or assemblies
 of Mexican Protestants in this city and vicinity, and an equal or
 greater number scattered throughout the country. Most of these
 assemblies still meet in private houses, though in some small places
 of the interior they form a numerical majority, and have, therefore,
 acquired possession of the parish churches. In this city, through the
 efforts and personal liberality of Mr. Reilly, the Protestants have
 acquired two fine churches of those which were secularized and sold by
 the government some years since; one of these is the former convent of
 San Francisco, the most magnificent as well as the first one erected
 in Mexico. It is now being repaired for its new use. The other is the
 commodious church of San José de Garcia, which, having been thoroughly
 repaired, was dedicated to the Protestant service on Sunday, the
 23d instant, in the presence of an immense multitude. Two or three
 Catholic priests of some prominence have, within the past two or three
 months, joined the Protestant communion, and two of them have ventured
 upon the decisive step of matrimony. One of the recent converts,
 Father Manuel Auguas, formerly an eloquent preacher of the Dominican
 Order, has become the pastor of the new church. This event has caused
 a vigorous polemic in the newspapers of this city; the two papers
 considered especially Catholic have been filled with attacks upon the
 new religious movement, while most of the other papers have exhibited
 a commendable spirit of tolerance or even of good-will toward the
 Protestants. I enclose an interesting article upon this subject from
 the _Two Republics_ of to-day, translated from the _Federalista_, and
 written by M. Ignacio M. Altamirano, who is considered as the chief of
 the Mexican literary writers of the present day. Yours, etc.”

This is the entire communication, no other subjects being touched upon;
but the matter seems of so much importance and of so great national
interest as to warrant the sapient Mr. Nelson in making it the basis
of a special official despatch. Is this gentleman the envoy of the
United States, or a commissioner appointed by some Bible or tract
society to report on the “spread of Protestantism” in the neighboring
republic, or does he unite the two characters in his own person? Does
he receive the public money for puffing the Rev. H. Chauncey Reilly,
and transmitting his diatribes and the effusions of a certain M.
Altamirano for preservation in the archives of the nation? If so, it is
time the public should know it. Mr. Nelson’s letter, however, explains
an incident that occurred in Washington a few years since. It was this:
the mission to Mexico was vacant, and it was applied for by a gentleman
every way qualified for the post. He was thoroughly educated, knew
the Spanish language well, and had served with high rank and marked
distinction during the late war. He was appointed by the President,
and his nomination by the Senate was urged by several influential
citizens, including the then Secretary of State, the late Mr. Seward.
The committee of the Senate refused to report his name favorably, and,
in reply to the query of the writer what objection could be urged
against the applicant, a leading senator replied that “he understood
him to be a very violent (meaning practical) Catholic!” The policy of
this gentleman, like that of many others at the national capital, was
not to send a Catholic to a Catholic country, but one who would report
on the “spread of Protestantism,” and doubtless, find materials for his

Nor must we blame the government too severely for their injudicious
sectarian appointments. Its views are but the reflex of popular
opinion, and, as long as we tolerate bigotry and proscription in our
popular elections, we must expect that those who are supposed to
represent us will follow the bad example thus set them. The fault
hitherto has been partly ours, and the remedy is in our own hands. This
remedy consists in discountenancing all subsidized newspaper writers
and demagogues whose abuse and slanders prevent good men from filling
the national and state councils; in trampling under foot all party and
religious prejudices, and invariably voting against those who would
maintain them; and by supporting for offices, both at home and abroad,
only those who will attend to the public business, and let sectarian
missionaries and the “spread of Protestantism” alone.


AFTER many strifes and battles, and after having been for years
Administrator of Thrace, Asia, and Egypt, with Dacia and Macedonia,
to which the dethroned and executed Emperor of the West, Gratian,
had appointed him, Theodosius I., the Roman emperor, returned from
Thessalonica, his former headquarters, to Constantinople.

The day was cold and stormy, and many a one of the emperor’s suite
wrapped his cloak closer around his shivering body, as the snowflakes
fell thicker and faster, covering the road quickly in the white mantle
of winter.

The troop had just entered a small village, when the emperor’s horse
was stopped by a man miserably clad and trembling with cold.

Impatient of the detention, Theodosius pressed his spurs into the sides
of his steed, and flew past the wretched beggar.

But a knight called Martin, from Pannonia, who followed next, halted
and looked pityingly upon the poor trembling form. Willingly would he
have given him money or clothing, but a soldier seldom has much to
give, and, except his hat and coat, the knight possessed nothing. One
moment only he reflected, and the next he drew forth his sword, and cut
in two the large cloak hanging over his shoulders. Handing the one half
to the beggar, and wrapping himself closely in the other, he followed
the emperor with lightning speed, without listening to the words of
blessing which fell from the lips of the mendicant.

After the sun had set, the emperor and his followers took quarters for
the night.

All had gone to rest, and Knight Martin also had laid himself down,
and soon was fast asleep. Shortly, however, he felt as if his eyes
were forced open by a most brilliant and dazzling light. He sat up,
and perceived at his feet a man upon whose head was a crown of thorns.
Shining angels surrounded him, and the mantle which Martin had given to
the beggar hung around his shoulders. Pointing to it, he asked S. Peter
(who stood by his side) in sweet and gentle voice: “Do you see this

“From whom did you receive it?” S. Peter questioned.

“From Martin here,” was the reply, given in a heavenly voice, his
finger pointing at the same time to the astonished soldier. “Rise, my
son,” he then continued—and his angelic smile was ravishing to the
eyes of Martin—“I have chosen thee henceforth to be my servant. Until
now thou hast been a blind heathen: thou shalt now become a shining
light in my army. Put up thy sword; thou shalt be a soldier of God.”
And then Martin knew that it was the Lord himself who spake to him.

An angel kissed the mantle’s border—and Martin awoke.

The morning broke. He rose quickly, and left the place, never resting,
never stopping, until he had reached the portal of a cloister; there he
knocked and entered.

Soon he became famous for his goodness and piety, and, as bishop,
served his Master with spiritual rather than material weapons.


 New York: The Catholic Publication Society. 1873.

We are glad to announce the publication of the American edition of this
work, our previous notice having been based upon the advance sheets of
the English edition.

The Catholic Publication Society has done good service to religion by
its handsome edition of this most important book. It is divided into
four chapters, which treat of “The Vocation of the Clergy,” “The Clergy
at Home,” “The Clergy Abroad,” and “The Clergy and Modern Thought.”
Under these divisions, the distinguished author has grouped together
a most interesting series of facts and arguments which cannot fail to
carry conviction to any honest mind. He deals principally with what may
be called the advanced clergy of the Anglican Church, shows their real
position in the present state of controversy, and the utter absurdity
of their claims. If there is anything properly called ridiculous, it
is the aspect of a small portion of a sect pretending to be that which
every one else in the world denies them to be, and flaunting their
professions to the entire denial of history, tradition, and even common
sense. Our Ritualistic friends have no regard for anything in the past,
present, or future but themselves, and, therefore, they cannot be
reasoned with. Their half-way house may be a stopping-place for a time
for honest hearts, but no sincere mind can rest there, for Almighty
God never leaves the true in mind without the assistance of his grace
or the use of their natural faculties. We commend this book to all in
the Anglican communion who desire to look facts in the face or to save
their souls. And we beg in all charity to tell them that they cannot
save their souls without sacrifice. If they prefer to keep this world,
they will lose the next. There may be in our author’s clear and bright
presentation of truth something that may seem to them harsh or severe.
We can assure them that there is no kinder heart than that of our
distinguished friend, the author; but he has such keen perceptions of
right and wrong that he cannot fail to put, with telling effect, the
absurdity of their religious position. And deny it as they may, and
perhaps will, the whole world appreciates the inconsistency of their
actions with their professions. Kind people pity them, while worldly
people laugh at them.

Beginning with the theory that the _one_ church of God can be divided,
which is a contradiction in terms, they claim to be a _branch_ of
something that confessedly can have no branches. Then, they are not
simply a branch, but a _branch of a branch_. And the branch of which
they form part renounces them, and casts them out, but they will not be
cast out. Their mother, the Church of England, does not know herself as
these her children do. Then, there is one thing they can hang on to the
last, even if everything else fails. They were admitted to apostolical
ordination by _Barlow_, whom they will have a bishop, though there is
no proof whatever that he was one, and while he himself denied the
necessity or the virtue of the sacrament of order. “If schism,” as Dr.
Newman says, “depends on the mere retention of the Episcopal order,
there never was and there never will be a schism,” for bishops are
as likely to be corrupted as priests. But the truth is, nobody ever
pretended to any apostolical succession in the English Church until the
Dissenters became so strong that, out of opposition to them, “a few
Anglican prelates began to talk of pretensions which, during several
generations, they had treated as a jest and a fable.” “According to
Barlow, an English bishop could dispense with orders; and, according
to Cranmer, with grace.” There was no pretence of any doctrine of
priesthood on the part of the _founders_ of the Church of England, and
surely these intelligent men ought to have known what they intended to
do. Hooker is one of their greatest defenders, and he expressly denies
the necessity of Episcopal ordination. “Being about to appear before
God, he sent—not for an Anglican minister—but for his friend Saravia,
and accepted from his unconsecrated hands those quasi-sacramental rites
which, according to Ritualistic views, he had no power to dispense.”
These divines were the faithful interpreters of the mind of their

 “‘It is quite clear,’ observes Bishop Tomline, expounding the 25th
 Article, ‘that the words of the Article do not maintain the necessity
 of episcopal ordination.’ Bishop Hall, again, though he wrote a
 well-known book in defence of episcopacy, gave up the whole question
 when he said: ‘Blessed be God, _there is no difference_, in any
 essential matter, betwixt the Church of England and _her sisters of
 the Reformation_.’ And this was the language even of men who had
 written the most earnest apologies for episcopal government. They
 never attempted to maintain that the apostolical succession was
 necessary to the integrity of a church. Thus Bramhall said, with
 easy composure: ‘The ordination of our first Protestant bishops was
 _legal_,’ _i.e._ it had the royal sanction; ‘and for the _validity_ of
 it, we crave no man’s favor.’ Andrewes is a more important witness.
 Though Ritualists may not approve his subservience to that robust
 theologian, James I., he is still held in honor among them as almost
 a High-Church prelate, and is regarded as the most imposing figure of
 his time. Yet Andrewes, on their own principles, was as flagrant a
 betrayer of the doctrine of the Christian priesthood, if he ever held
 it, as Hooker himself, or even as Barlow or Whittaker. He not only
 gave the Anglican sacrament to a Swiss Protestant, Isaac Casaubon, but
 related afterwards, with impassioned and approving eloquence, that his
 friend died loudly professing with his latest breath the strictest
 tenets of the Calvinists of Geneva.”

There are many other points that will attract the attention of the
reader, and which we cannot speak of in this short notice. The last
chapter, upon “The Clergy and Modern Thought,” is particularly adapted
to the superficial age in which we live, and answers all the objections
which are made by the really shallow thinkers who, according to the
language of the apostle, “professing themselves to be wise, have become

We bespeak for this most interesting and instructive book a large
circulation and many attentive readers, who will unite with us in
thanking the accomplished author for the pleasure and profit they have
received from him. May God grant him yet many years to live in which to
do good with his able pen!

The following letter of the author, correcting a mistake into which he
had fallen, appeared in the London _Tablet_ of February 8:


  “_To the Editor of the Tablet_:

 “SIR: I am assured by friends of Mr. Lecky, the well-known
 author of the histories of _Rationalism in Europe_ and of _European
 Morals_, that I have misunderstood a passage in the latter work, and
 attributed to the distinguished writer sentiments which he disavows.
 Mr. Lecky has displayed in his remarkable writings such unusual
 candor, and even, in spite of much that is painful to a Christian,
 such elevation of thought, that to do him wilful injustice is a fault
 of which no Catholic ought to be capable. I ask your permission,
 therefore, to make the following explanation.

 “The passage which I am said to have misunderstood is this: ‘Had the
 Irish peasants been less chaste, they would have been more prosperous.
 Had that fearful famine, which in the present century desolated
 the land, fallen upon a people who thought more of accumulating
 subsistence than of avoiding sin, multitudes might now be living who
 perished by literal starvation.’ Interpreting these words by the
 light of other statements of the same author, and especially by his
 announcement that ‘_utility_ is perhaps the highest motive to which
 reason can attain,’ they seemed to me, as they seemed to all whom I
 have been able to consult, to bear only one meaning. I was mistaken.
 They really meant, I now learn, ‘that the habit of early marriages in
 a nation is detrimental to its economical prosperity.’ I am further
 reminded that Mr. Lecky has written admirably on the grace of chastity
 which adorns the Irish nation, and could not, therefore, have wished
 to say that sin is a less evil than famine and destitution.

 “I am too familiar with the writings of Mr. Lecky, which I have read
 more than once, and always with extreme interest, not to recognize his
 great moral superiority over the contemporary school of Rationalists.
 The study of his books has even created in me a strong personal
 sympathy for the writer. In quoting him frequently, I think I have
 manifested this feeling. But if I have done him injustice in the case
 referred to, I regret that he did not more carefully guard himself
 from a misapprehension which was purely involuntary, and into which
 others fell who share my admiration of his candor and ability. I have
 only to add that, if the opportunity should occur, I will suppress the
 passage to which Mr. Lecky’s friends have called my attention. Yours


 Archbishop of Westminster. American Edition. Vol. II. New York: The
 Catholic Publication Society. 1873.

This dauntless champion of the faith is once more in the field. In
the present volume, the great Archbishop of England presents himself
in that which is his special character and vocation, to wit, as the
defender of the rights and doctrines maintained and promulgated by
Pius IX. in the face of his enemies and of some timid or misguided
persons among his friends. The sermons are not all new ones, since they
range in time from 1866 to 1872; but as now collected they make a new
whole out of previously separate parts belonging to one great theme,
the rights of the Holy See and the church as opposed to the nefarious
system of modern liberalism. The masterpiece of the volume is, however,
the Introduction, a most able and eloquent analysis and confutation
of the principles of the revolutionary party in Europe which aims at
the overthrow of the Catholic Church and of the Christian religion.
Archbishop Manning has done immense service to religion, and his power
seems to have been continually and steadily increasing since he first
entered the lists as a champion of the true church. Before the Council
of the Vatican, he was one of those who contributed most efficaciously
to the preparation of the greatest event of this age, the definition
of the dogma of Papal Infallibility, by which Gallicanism, the mother
error of that brood of false doctrines condemned in the Syllabus of
1864, was destroyed. During and since the Council he has combated these
errors with equal ability and courage, and seconded the great Pope, who
now fills the place of Christ on the earth, by re-echoing the divine
harmonies of his doctrine through the English-speaking world. It is
most important that all our educated laity should be thoroughly imbued
with this pure and saving doctrine, in which alone is contained, not
only the salvation of the soul, but of sound science, of nations, of
society, and of all human interests. We know of no such thorough and
perfect interpreter of Pius IX., the infallible teacher of the nations,
in the English language, as the Archbishop of Westminster. His writings
are those which ought especially to be circulated and read among the
educated laity, as the exposition of that truth which is the special
antidote to the fatal errors of the times. They are especially suitable
for this purpose, because they are the writings of a bishop; and it
is to the priests of the church, and especially to the chief priests
and pastors, to whom is committed the office not only of teaching the
faithful personally, but of giving to the writings of the subordinate
clergy and of learned laymen the only canonical sanction which they
possess, that the laity are to look for instruction in sound doctrine
under the supreme authority of the Holy See. The private opinions of
a bishop have, indeed, no more weight than is given them by their
argumentative value. This is always very great in the writings of
Archbishop Manning, who is accustomed to sustain his positions by a
very great force of evidence and reasoning. But a still greater merit
of his writings is found in the fact, that he never obtrudes his
private opinions as Catholic doctrine, or goes beyond the mark placed
by the authority of the church or the common teaching of approved
theologians. Not only does he avoid extenuating, but he equally
avoids exaggerating statements respecting Catholic doctrine. And,
moreover, although of uncompromising strictness in his orthodoxy, and
apostolic severity in his language respecting contumacious heretics
and rebels against divine authority, he is considerate and gentle
towards those whose errors may, in charity, be regarded as excusable.
In this respect, his writings are a model for those who undertake the
advocacy of the great Catholic truths which are opposed to the errors
of the day. May God preserve the worthy successor of the great English
cardinal to see the triumph of the church in the land of S. Edward and
S. Thomas of Canterbury!

 LENTEN THOUGHTS: Drawn from the Gospel for Each Day of Lent.
 By the Bishop of Northampton. New York: The Catholic Publication
 Society. 1873.

We recommend this little book to all who wish to spend the season of
Lent in conformity with the spirit and intention of the church. The
style is simple and chaste; the thoughts are elevated and suggestive.
There is, too, an air of serenity and even cheerfulness about the book
which we cannot but consider as in perfect accord with the true nature
of penance as understood by the church:

  “Chords that vibrate sweetest pleasure
  Thrill the deepest notes of woe.”

“When you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad,” says the church to her
children on Ash-Wednesday, re-echoing through the ages the words of her
divine Spouse.

 Year, on the Gospels for the Sundays. From the Italian of Mgr. Scotti,
 Archbishop of Thessalonica. Revised and Edited by the Oblates of S.
 Charles. With a Preface by His Grace the Archbishop of Westminster.
 Vol. I. From the First Sunday in Advent to the Sixth Saturday after
 the Epiphany. London: Burns & Oates. 1872. (New York: Sold by The
 Catholic Publication Society.)

The remaining three volumes of this work, we are told, may be looked
for in the course of the present year. The whole will form a manual of
meditations for priests to which we have seen nothing comparable. That
such a work is needed who will deny? For if any one ought to meditate,
it is a priest; and how few books of meditation in our language are
at all what he wants! Of the present compilation, then, his grace the
Archbishop of Westminster, in his prefatorial letter to his clergy,
says: “In dedicating to you this first part of Scotti’s _Meditations
for the Clergy_, I need only add that it is a book held in high esteem
at Rome. Having found by the experience of many years its singular
excellence, its practical piety, its abundance of Scripture, of the
fathers, and of ecclesiastical writers, I have thought that it would be
an acceptable and valuable addition to your books of devotion.”

After this recommendation, let us simply express a wish that the work
may become known to every priest who speaks the English language.
And again let us thank the good Oblate Fathers for one of the most
estimable services they have ever done for religion.

 from the Latin by M. R. With a Preface by His Grace the Archbishop
 of Westminster. London: Burns & Oates. 1872. (New York: Sold by The
 Catholic Publication Society.)

These meditations differ very much from ordinary compositions with
that name. They are divided into brief sections, a single one of which
will suffice the devout soul for a whole day’s food. There is nothing
stiff and formal, nothing meagre, nothing dry. While, together with
honeyed colloquies—now with ourself, now with God or the saints—there
is a deep philosophy in a very simple guise. We are, therefore, most
grateful for such an addition to our devotional literature.

 THE ‘OLD CATHOLICS’ AT COLOGNE. New York: J. A. McGee. 1873

This clever _jeu d’esprit_ is by the brother of Dr. T. W. M. Marshall,
who was one of the joint authors of the _Comedy of Convocation_. It is
a little coarse in some parts, too much so for our taste, and in this
respect inferior to the famous _Comedy_, which was unexceptionable
in that respect. Nevertheless, it has a great likeness in some of
its salient points to that remarkable piece of logical sarcasm. The
argument is unanswerable, and very cleverly put; and terrible as the
ridicule is which is heaped on the Janus clique, whose final fiasco
was made at Cologne, they deserve it richly; for never was there a more
absurd as well as detestable little generation of vipers among the
whole of the noxious brood of heretics who in various ages have hissed
against the decrees of the Œcumenical Councils. We can assure all
readers that they will be amused and instructed by this brochure.

 SŒUR EUGÉNIE: The Life and Letters of a Sister of Charity.
 Baltimore: J. Murphy & Co. 1873.

The subject of this memoir was a French lady of rank, brought up a
Protestant, but converted in early life to the Catholic faith. It is
an interesting, edifying, and well-written, as well as beautifully
printed, little book, not at all commonplace, but with the freshness of
unusual incidents told in the charming style which belongs to modern
English literature of the best class.

There is something very attractive in the French character when
unperverted by scepticism and frivolity. The energy, zeal, and
enthusiasm they throw into their work for God are very captivating to
colder natures. And the higher one ascends in the social scale, the
more decided, apparently, do these traits become. Whereas, in other
nationalities, prosperity and position frequently have a deleterious
effect; they often bring a Frenchman’s better qualities into higher
relief. In the religious orders, many illustrious examples of this
remark may be found—of men brought up in ease and affluence who have
adopted the mortified life of missionaries, braved every danger, and
courted death itself, if thereby they could win some souls for Christ.
The French nuns and Sisters of Charity have also been preeminent, as
the unwritten history of the late war alone would demonstrate. The
charitable spirit which lies at the foundation of that suavity and
grace too often characterized as surface politeness, peculiarly fits
them for the delicate and trying duties they assume.

In the subject of this memoir we recognize the same winning
characteristics to which we have adverted. Of high birth, she left all
which usually attracts youthful ambition for a life of self-abnegation
and charity. The name Eugénie, already endeared to thoughtful readers
through the _Letters_ and _Journal of Mlle. de Guérin_ (for we learn
to appreciate a character full as much through the productions of the
subject as by the portrayal of others), will receive new lustre from
the memoirs of another saintly wearer. Such a record, though simple, is
full of beauty and edification to those who follow in the same path, as
well as those whose sphere of duty, though lying in the world, is yet
elevated above it.

 TRUTH AND ERROR. By the Rev. H. A. Brann, D.D. New York: D. &
 J. Sadlier & Co. 1873.

This book is of small size, but on an important subject, viz., the
nature and sources of certitude. It is clear, logical, sound, and
written in a good style. As an antidote to the wretched, poisonous
trash sold under the name of philosophy, which is nothing but
methodical scepticism and materialism, this little book must do
good if it is read and understood by those who have need of it. The
unhappy intellectual vagrants of our day are afflicted with the two
great miseries which poor “Jo” complained of: “Not knowing nothink,
and starwation.” Jo often sadly muttered to himself, “I don’t know
_nothink_!” Mr. Bain and all that set are so many Joes, repeating for
ever, “I don’t know nothink, you don’t know nothink, nobody don’t and
nobody can’t know nothink.” The sophist of Königsberg was a Jo of
genius, nothing more. Dr. Brann will give a substantial breakfast to
any one of these hungry Joes who will read his book.

 AUNT JO’S SCRAP-BOOK. Vol. II. Shawl-Straps. By Louisa M.
 Alcott, author of _Little Women_, _An Old-fashioned Girl_, _Little
 Men_, _Hospital Sketches_. Boston: Roberts Brothers. 1872.

This book is written in a light, trifling, flippant style, which may be
very pleasant and appropriate when used to describe certain things, but
when applied indiscriminately to all that one sees abroad, it certainly
is not agreeable, to say the least of it. Neither is it pleasant, in
a book of travels, to find that nothing is considered true, or even
worthy of respect, unless the _author_ believes in it. A Mass at S.
Mark’s, Venice, is described in this way: “The patriarch was a fat
old soul in red silk, even to his shoes and holy pocket-handkerchief;
and the service appeared to consist in six purple priests dressing
and undressing him like an old doll, while a dozen white-gowned boys
droned up in a gold cockloft, and many beggars whined on the floor
below.” A visit to the Carthusian Convent, Pavia, calls forth the
following comment: “A nice way for lazy men to spend their lives, when
there is so much work to be done for the Lord and his poor! Wanted
to shake them all round,” etc. In the description of the inundation
of parts of the city of Rome we read: “Livy indulged the sinful hope
that the pope would get his pontifical petticoats very wet, be a
little drowned and terribly scared by the flood, because he spoiled
the Christmas festivities,” etc. Victor Emmanuel is spoken of as “the
honest man,” with the remark that “that is high praise for a king.”
Such expressions as “sullen old gentleman in the Vatican,” “silly
Madonna,” and others of the same character, enliven the pages in
various places.

We can scarcely believe that this book is from the same pen as _Little
Women_, and we think it would be far better, when one is only willing
to see things through their ignorance and prejudices, not to attempt to
make others see with their eyes.

 GOD OUR FATHER. By a Father of the Society of Jesus, author
 of _The Happiness of Heaven_. Baltimore: John Murphy & Co. 1873.

After reading this little book, we felt an ardent desire to tell
everybody we had found a treasure. Its title, a rather unusual thing
nowadays, is the true exponent of its contents. That God is our
Father—our kind, indulgent, beneficent, merciful, loving Father—it
proves as we have never seen proved before. We do think, if Voltaire
had seen this little treatise, he would not have called God a “tyrant
and the father of tyrants,” and he, Voltaire, would not have been a
fool and the father of a generation of fools. Some Christians other
than Calvinists are accustomed to regard God as a stern judge or an
exacting master, ignoring altogether his parental relationship. This
way of regarding God not unfrequently produces a morbid spirituality,
if not worse. Under its baneful influence, the soul is parched up and
rendered incapable of any other sentiment than that of fear. It is true
that “fear is the beginning of wisdom”; but it is no less true that
“love is the fulfilment of the law” and the sublime summary of the new
dispensation. And who can love a being whom he sees only in the light
of a stern judge, an exacting master? God, as he is represented in this
work, is a being whom you cannot but love. In very truth, the author
himself must love much, or he could never write so eloquently of divine

To all Catholics who look with a filial confidence to God, and love him
as their Father, we recommend this book as a means of strengthening
their confidence and increasing their love. To those Catholics,
happily few, who see in God only a rigid master, we prescribe the
perusal of this work as the best remedy for their dangerous disease.
To our separated brethren, who want to get a Christian idea of our
common Father, we would respectfully suggest the careful study of this
treatise; they will find it sufficiently scriptural and sufficiently
simple for their tastes.

We cannot, perhaps, pay the publishers a higher compliment than by
saying that the setting is in every way worthy of the gem.

 CHURCH. By Cardinal Wiseman. New York: P. O’Shea.

These two volumes belong to the uniform series of Cardinal Wiseman’s
works now being issued by Mr. O’Shea, and, as we understand, are
printed from the same plates as the one-volume edition heretofore
issued by Kelly, Piet & Co.

It is a strong evidence of the permanent interest which attaches
to Catholic doctrine—the faith ever ancient, ever new—that these
lectures are read now with almost equal avidity with that which greeted
their appearance almost forty years ago, while as many weeks suffice to
lay on the shelf the productions of many a popular preacher of the day.

This course constituted the _Lent_ at S. Mary’s, Moorfields, in 1836,
when the Oxford movement had already acquired considerable headway, and
the public mind was alive to the subjects discussed. In view of the
audience which he addressed, they were doubtless prepared with great
care, and may therefore be considered most favorable specimens of the
distinguished author’s style.

One is struck, in looking over Cardinal Wiseman’s works, by the fact of
the singular diversity of his gifts, and his preeminence in the varied
fields of research and discussion—as if he had made each a specialty.
His _Lectures on the Connection of Science and Religion_, delivered the
preceding year, has maintained a position in the front rank of works
devoted to that subject, and may be said to have become obsolete only
in so far as science has presented new phenomena and discoveries for
elucidation; while the present work has remained, to our thinking,
the most exhaustive popular exposition of Catholic doctrine in the
language. His more elaborate historical and critical essays have
attracted marked attention, and been thought worthy of publication in
separate volumes, while his distinctively belles-lettres works have
enjoyed almost universal favor. His _Fabiola_ confessedly stands at the
head of Christian fiction. It is a little remarkable that _The Hidden
Gem_, and one of the most acute critiques of the day upon Shakespeare,
should have been the production of one who it is fair to infer scarcely
ever-witnessed an acted drama.

The same house has brought out in similar style the _Four Lectures on
the Offices and Ceremonies of Holy Week_ by the same author, which we
hope will prove a valuable aid to the intelligent participation in
the devotions of the present season. The interest in the Lectures is
enhanced by the fact that they were delivered at Rome, and relate to
the ceremonies in the Papal chapels.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Catholic Publication Society will publish in a few days, from
advance sheets, a new work by the author of _My Clerical Friends_,
entitled _Church Defence: Report on the Present Dangers of the Church_.


_Card of the Editor of The Catholic World._

AN error in respect to a matter of Catholic faith into which the
author of an article in our last number inadvertently fell, and which
escaped my notice until it was too late to make any earlier correction,
requires me to make the present explanation. I do it for the sake of
the reverend gentleman who first animadverted upon this erroneous
statement, and for others at a distance who are not in a position to
know personally the utter impossibility of any statement bordering on
“Gallicanism” being admitted into THE CATHOLIC WORLD with the
knowledge of the editor. The passage in question is as follows, and is
found on p. 784: “Who can wonder if the Church, in this dire emergency,
_delegates to one man_ the power she can no longer collectively
exercise in peace?” The mistake of the writer, who is a lay Catholic
and not a theologian, is very excusable. The responsibility for the
doctrine of the articles published rests exclusively with me, as the
editor in the absence of the Very Rev. F. Hecker. If any statement
which is contrary to Catholic doctrine or sound theology is allowed
to pass in any article, it is by accident, and any reverend gentleman
or layman who notices anything of the kind will oblige me by sending
a communication to me directly, pointing out the error. Any such
communication will receive due attention from myself or from the
editor-in-chief, when he is in town and able to attend personally to
the duties of his office. In this connection, I take occasion to remark
that another worthy clergyman, entirely unknown to me, who has recently
expressed himself as aggrieved by the remarks of THE CATHOLIC
WORLD upon Italy, has wholly misapprehended their intention.
The articles on this subject which have appeared have been generally
written by myself, or prepared under my direction. I have no hostility
except against the wicked party which tyrannizes over the Catholic
people of Italy, and would with pleasure have admitted the letter of
the Italian missionary, pleading the cause of his country, to the
columns of THE CATHOLIC WORLD. It is the aim of the editors
of THE CATHOLIC WORLD to make it Catholic in its spirit and
tone of charity and courtesy, as well as orthodox in doctrine, and
to remember that it becomes those who profess a special loyalty to
the Holy Father to pay attention to _all_ his admonitions, especially
to that one in which he gave such an emphatic warning against the
violation of charity by those who are very zealous for his authority.




VOL. XVII., No. 98.—MAY, 1873.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873, by Rev.
I. T. HECKER, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at
Washington, D. C.


THE question of the origin of species—the question, namely, whether
the vegetable and animal species now on the earth, and those which from
the study of its strata we know to be extinct, were in the beginning
called into existence by the direct creative _fiat_, and substantially
with the forms they now have; or whether they have been developed
from other and pre-existing beings with forms essentially different
from their own, in obedience to natural law—is one upon which, since
Charles Darwin published the first edition of his book upon the
subject, now about twelve years ago, much has been said. We may add
that the answer given to it by Mr. Darwin has been much misunderstood.
It has been misunderstood in _itself_ by those who would not take the
trouble to inquire in what its precise merits consisted: how much of
certainty, and how much of mere theory, it contained; what facts or
series of facts, if admitted, it was incompetent to throw light upon;
and whether there were any facts, botanical or zoological, in conflict
and irreconcilable with it. It has been misunderstood, too, _in its
bearings on revelation_, and that by two classes of men: on the one
hand, by mere scientists, for the reason that they knew nothing of
theology, and were therefore not in a way to decide whether the Bible
and the theory of development are compatible with each other; and,
on the other, by well-intentioned advocates of Christianity, because
frequently they knew nothing of science in general—little of this
question, and the precise meaning and worth of Darwin’s answer to
it in particular. The former have been at fault in asserting that a
science—theology, Catholic theology, we mean, is a science—of which
they knew nothing did not harmonize with a hypothesis of which they
knew perhaps all that is to be known; the latter, in not acknowledging
distinctly the grain of truth or of certainty contained in the
speculations of Darwin.

The question is an interesting one, and has accordingly called forth
a large literature in England, Germany, France, and Italy. Mr.
Chapman’s book is, we believe, the only one written in this country,
and professedly devoted to the advocacy of the theory that, to use the
author’s own words, “the development of the higher forms of life from
the lower has been brought about by natural selection, and that man has
descended from a lower extinct form of which the gorilla and chimpanzee
are the nearest living representatives”—which is Darwinism pure and
simple, and which ought to be distinguished from the more general
theory of “evolution.” That Mr. Chapman’s book has been published in
America, and that we wish to say a few words on the question which it
treats, and especially on the bearings of that question on revealed
religion, constitute its only claims on our attention; for neither the
style of the writer nor the lucidity of his argument, much less its
originality, entitles it to any particular notice. The work is a mere
compilation, which, however, may be of service to those who desire to
possess in a convenient shape the facts, and to examine the nature of
the reasoning, by which the Darwinian hypothesis is supported.

When we have said this, and that Mr. Chapman devotes a chapter of
his book to the argument from zoology, geology, embryology, etc.,
respectively, in favor of Darwinism; that these arguments are neither
as elegant, scholarly, or cogent as they might be made; that he has
followed the materialists of Germany in their version of the theory,
and further than there is even the shadow of a warrant to follow it, we
have said all that we wish to say about his book, and bestowed upon it
the highest praise it is in our power to bestow consistently with truth.

What our views on the Darwinian theory are will appear in the sequel.
Here we wish simply to say a few words on certain doctrines drawn
from it by Mr. Chapman, or, if not drawn from it, associated with it
both by him and others—doctrines which, in our view, are not part
and parcel of it because mere assumptions in no way countenanced by
facts. Thus, Mr. Chapman desires us expressly to understand that
“natural selection,” the meaning of which we will explain in a
moment, does not imply the existence of a “natural selector”; and
this, without any forced interpretation, may be construed into a
profession of atheism. Now, as we will see a little further on, the
admission of the Darwinian theory does not necessarily lead to any
such conclusion. Again, he informs us, p. 14, that life is only a
“physical phenomenon, and that the nervous system produces ideas and
all the acts of intelligence”—which is rank materialism. That Mr.
Chapman advocates fatalism is no less plain, for he assures us that
morality is necessarily progressive. On the last page of his book, he
defines morals to be “duty to one’s self.” We confess that we do not
understand how he reconciles his assertion that morality is necessarily
progressive with his definition of morals. It seems to us that, if
necessarily moral, men will necessarily do their duty; or rather,
they will have no duty to do, since necessity and duty exclude each
other. According to this theory, there can be no distinction between
good and evil, and all the crimes that are committed are the necessary
consequences of man’s origin. Indeed, the author tells us, p. 180:
“Crimes and outrages are committed even among the most civilized,
simply, in the words of Mr. Spencer, because man ‘partially retains the
characteristics that adapted him for an antecedent state. The respects
in which he is not fitted to society are the respects in which he is
fitted for his original predatory life. His primitive circumstances
required that he should sacrifice the welfare of other beings to his
own; his present circumstances require that he should not do so; and in
as far as his old attribute still clings to him, in so far he is unfit
for the social state. All sins of men against each other, from the
cannibalism of the Carib to the crimes and venalities we see around us,
have their causes comprehended under this generalization.’”

Now, if all this be so, we cannot see why murder, or robbery, or any
other crime, is not perfectly legitimate. If to the exercise of his
“old attributes” in the struggle for existence man owes his “survival”
and his place among the fittest, in any degree, however small; and
if there be nothing in man not produced by natural selection, we
cannot see why he should not even now continue the exercise of these
“attributes”; in other words, we do not see why any propensity,
passion, or inclination originated by the agency of “natural
selection,” to the exclusion of all other agencies, cannot legitimately
be exercised to the full extent to which “natural selection” has
developed it. If man exercises these “attributes” simply in obedience
to a law of nature, we should not if we could, nor could we if we
would, resist them. If, indeed, these views of morality be correct,
then might is right, the Decalogue a code against nature, civilization
an abnormal condition for man, and barbarism his only true state.

So much for the atheism, materialism, and fatalism, we do not say of
Darwin—for we have reason to believe that that gentleman himself is
none of these—but of Mr. Chapman’s version of evolution. There is
one very important point, however, on which Mr. Darwin, the man of
science, and the compiler, Mr. Chapman, are at one—a point of very
great consideration because of its bearings on revelation—the doctrine
that the difference between man and the lower animals is not one of
“kind,” but of “degree.” We do not wish to argue this point here in
full. What we wish to say is that men of the school of Darwin, etc.,
should be the very last persons in the world to make an assertion of
this character, for the reason that they confine our knowledge to
appearances, to phenomena. The question, however, whether man and the
lower animals differ in “kind” or only in “degree” is not a question of
phenomena or appearances: it is a question of _noumena_, of essence, of
reality. We do not grant that even appearances warrant the assertion
that man differs from the lower animals in nothing essential. There
are appearances which forbid any such conclusion. But we maintain
that, whether they so differ or not, Darwin and his school are, by the
principles of their philosophy, estopped from asserting that they do or
do not. They cannot say that the same phenomena imply the same noumena,
the same accidents, the same essence, the same appearances, the same
reality, because, to assert the identity of nature of two things, both
must be known in what constitutes their essence, whereas these men
expressly say that of noumena, reality, or essence nothing can be known.

Mr. Chapman is more a disciple of Haeckel than of Darwin, and follows
that gentleman in all his vagaries—a course well calculated to
increase rather than decrease the amount of prejudice against what
there may be of truth in Darwinism. Among the advocates of this, as of
almost all theories, there are extremists. Our author seems to have
gone to school to all of them, and swallowed all they told him, no
matter how paradoxical, no matter how little proof to substantiate it.
On the other hand, of all that has been said against pure Darwinism,
not a word has been recorded by Mr. Chapman; and of those who, like
Prof. Agassiz, do not agree with Mr. Darwin, or who, like St. George
Mivart, have, as we think, dealt his theory blows from which it will
not recover, he does not make the smallest mention. Yet it cannot be
that Agassiz and Mivart are too small to be noticed by Mr. Chapman.
Agassiz is too venerable a name in science to need any demonstration
that his opinion on scientific matters is entitled to consideration.
Mivart is, we take it, a younger man; yet, if he has not made himself
an abiding reputation by what he has the modesty to call his “little
book,” the _Genesis of Species_, he has made a name which must live, if
Darwin’s, and Lyell’s, and Huxley’s do; since all these men have found
in him a foe worthy of their steel—and the latter of the vials of his

We would not consider this article complete without a condensed history
of the controversy between Mr. Huxley and Mr. Mivart, occasioned by
the publication by the latter of his admirable work, the _Genesis of
Species_. We give it here for this, as well as for the reason that it
will serve as the best general answer it is in our power to give to Mr.
Chapman and other writers of his character.

But first a few remarks on Darwin’s theory. It is only a theory, a mere
hypothesis. Mr. Darwin does not pretend to have proved it himself; nor
does his advocate, Mr. Huxley, who seems to have taken Mr. Darwin and
the Darwinian theory under his special protection, pretend that it is

Bearing in mind that the Darwinian theory is only a hypothesis, we must
estimate its value as we estimate that of other hypotheses, viz., by
its ability to account for all the facts of which it pretends to be the

The Copernican system of astronomy, for instance, is only a hypothesis;
yet, as there is no known astronomical fact absolutely contradictory
to it, we accept it as true. If there were only one fact which it did
not explain and could not explain; above all, if there were one fact
at variance with the hypothesis, the hypothesis must give way, and the
fact stand; for one fact is worth a thousand hypotheses, and one fact
in cases of this kind, as Mr. Huxley says, as good as five hundred.

Are there, then, any facts which the Darwinian theory of development by
natural selection should explain and does not? Mr. Huxley himself says
there is one set of such facts—the facts of hybridism; and, as we will
presently see, there are a great many others.

To St. George Mivart, a scientist, but more than a scientist, a
philosopher in a degree, somewhat of a theologian as well, and
therefore a man of greater intellectual grasp than either Darwin or
Huxley, we are indebted for the fullest presentation of the facts
inexplicable by natural selection that has yet been given to the
reading world. This that gentleman has done in his book before referred
to, _The Genesis of Species_.

One of Mr. Mivart’s great merits is that he accords to Mr. Darwin’s
theory its full meed of praise. He is a scientific man, and as such
a good judge of its merits and demerits, therefore competent to
acknowledge the one and point out the other.

We are not at all prejudiced against Mr. Darwin or his theory. We agree
entirely with Mr. Mivart that it “is perhaps the most interesting
theory, in relation to natural science, which has been promulgated
during the present century.” Before pointing out, however, why it is
the most interesting theory of the kind, let us see in brief what the
Darwinian theory of natural selection is.

In the words of Mr. Mivart it may be stated thus:

1. “Every kind of animal and plant tends to increase in numbers in a
geometrical proportion.

2. “Every kind of animal and plant transmits a general likeness with
individual differences to its offspring.

3. “Every individual may present minute variations of any kind in any

4. “Past time has been practically infinite.

5. “Every individual has to endure a very severe struggle for
existence, owing to the tendency to geometrical increase of all kinds
of animals and plants, while the total animal and vegetable population
(man and his agency excepted) remains almost stationary.

6. “Thus, every variation of a kind tending to save the life of the
individual possessing it, or to enable it more surely to propagate
its kind, will in the long run be preserved, and will transmit its
favorable peculiarity to some of its offspring, which peculiarity will
thus become intensified till it reaches the maximum degree of utility.
On the other hand, individuals presenting unfavorable peculiarities
will be ruthlessly destroyed. The action of this law of ‘natural
selection’ may thus be well represented by the convenient expression,
‘survival of the fittest.’”

Now as to the series of facts which this theory throws light upon. Here
they are as enumerated by Mr. Mivart. It explains:

1. Some singular facts “relating to the geographical distribution of
animals and plants; as, for example, on the resemblance between the
past and present inhabitants of different parts of the earth’s surface.

2. “That often, in adjacent islands, we find animals closely resembling
and appearing to represent each other; while, if certain of these
islands show signs of more ancient separation, the animals inhabiting
them exhibit a corresponding divergence.

3. That “‘rudimentary structures’ also receive an explanation by means
of this theory.

4. “That the singular facts of ‘homology’ are capable of a similar

5. That “that remarkable series of changes which animals undergo before
they attain their adult condition, which is called their process of
development, and during which they more or less closely resemble other
animals during the early stages of the same process, has also great
light thrown on it from the same source.”

6. That “by this theory, and as yet by this alone, can any explanation
be given of that extraordinary phenomenon which is metaphorically
termed ‘mimicry.’”

To explain in detail the exact import of each of these heads would
carry us beyond the limits of a magazine article; and the reader who
wishes for more minute and definite information on them we must refer
to Mivart’s own book, or to Darwin’s _Origin of Species_.

Pass we now to those facts which Darwin’s theory is incompetent to
explain, and to the arguments against it. Mr. Mivart enumerates them

1. “That ‘natural’ selection is incompetent to account for the
incipient stages of useful structures.

2. “That it does not harmonize with the coexistence of closely similar
structures of diverse origin.

3. “That there are grounds for thinking that specific differences may
be developed suddenly instead of gradually.

4. “That the opinion that species have definite though very different
limits to their variability is still tenable.

5. “That certain fossil transitional forms are absent which might have
been expected to be present.

6. “That some facts of geographical distribution supplement other

7. “That the objection drawn from the physiological difference between
‘species’ and ‘races’ still exists unrefuted.”

Our readers will readily understand that, if species, or rather
individual animals, were originated by natural law, and if that law be
“natural selection,” the action of “natural selection” must be able
to explain not only the production of the animal as a whole, but of
its several organs, both when they have reached the point of maximum
utility, and at all stages previous thereto.

Mr. Mivart shows that it does not accomplish this; that it does not
account for “the incipient stages of useful structures, _e. g._ the
heads of flatfishes, the baleen of whales, vertebrate limbs, the
laryngeal structures of the new-born kangaroo, the pedicellariæ of
echinoderms”; and thus he established his first charge on purely
scientific grounds, as a scientist writing for scientists. The other
charges are equally well sustained. It would, however, require the
rewriting of Mr. Mivart’s book to follow him through all his facts and
arguments, and we must beg again to refer the reader who would study
the matter in detail, to the book itself.

Another series of objections brought forward by Mr. Mivart against the
same theory is equally well sustained—objections that go to show that
“it cannot be applied at least to the soul of man,” as Mr. Darwin has
applied it.

Here, again, everyone will see that, if the human soul is not created
by God, it, too, must have been gradually evolved from what, for lack
of a more convenient term, though not without protest, we must call
an animal soul, by the process of natural selection; and therefore
there is nothing in man’s soul which was not in the ape’s—the same
faculties, moral and intellectual, in kind, different only in degree.
This question Mr. Mivart discusses in a separate chapter on “Evolution
and Ethics.”

The result of the discussion he thus sums up:

1. “Natural selection could not have produced, from the sensations of
pleasure and pain experienced in brutes, a higher degree of morality
than was useful; therefore it could have produced any amount of
‘beneficial habits,’ but not an abhorrence of certain acts as impure
and sinful.

2. “It could not have developed that high esteem for acts of care and
tenderness to the aged and infirm which actually exists, but would
rather have perpetuated certain low social conditions which obtain in
some savage localities.

3. “It could not have evolved from ape sensations the noble virtues of
a Marcus Aurelius, or the loving but manly devotion of a S. Louis.

4. “That it alone could not have given rise to the maxim, _Fiat
justitia, ruat cœlum_.

5. “That the interval between material and formal morality is one
altogether beyond its power to traverse.”

Mr. Mivart further shows “that the anticipatory character of moral
principles is a fatal bar to that explanation of their origin which
is offered to us by Mr. Herbert Spencer”; and “that the solution of
that origin proposed recently by Sir John Lubbock is a mere version
of simple utilitarianism, appealing to the pleasure or safety of the
individual, and therefore utterly incapable of solving the riddle it

It is hardly necessary that we should dwell on these points. Our
Christian readers need no demonstration of them. Knowing, on the one
hand, what Christian morality is, and, on the other, what mere animal
behavior, they must know the difference between them, and, knowing this
difference, that by no possibility could the one be developed from the
other, there being no oneness of kind in them.

Just here we would remark that, in addition to his other arguments, Mr.
Mivart might have added that from philology against Darwinism, and with
good effect. There are those who, from that science, argue the other
way. But, in a series of able articles on “Darwinism and the Science
of Language,” the Rev. J. Knabenbauer, S. J., has shown that philology
points to a diversity of origin for man and the lower animals.

He argues that the ultimate elements, the roots of all language, are
expressive of general ideas. Now, general ideas are the products of the
intellectual processes known as abstraction and generalization. Hence,
before the formation of roots, before the beginnings of language, man
was man, since he could abstract and generalize. Hence, also, language
is not a development of animal cries, nor man of the brute, since the
brute can neither abstract nor generalize.

Finally, Mr. Mivart shows in his chapter on “Evolution and Theology”
that evolution and creation by no means exclude one another; and that a
Catholic—Mr. Mivart is a Catholic—may accept the theory of evolution,
ancient writers of authority in the church having “asserted abstract
_principles_ such as can perfectly _harmonize_ with the requirements of
modern science,” and, “as it were, provided for the reception of its
most advanced speculations.”

In support of this view, Mr. Mivart quotes from S. Augustine, S.
Thomas, Cornelius à Lapide, and refers to the Jesuit Suarez, with the
doctrines of all of whom it is perfectly consistent to hold that animal
species were created only potentially, _potentialiter tantum_.

By that we do not mean to insinuate that the naked Darwinian theory is
compatible with Catholic faith; but of this more hereafter.

It was not to be expected that Mr. Mivart, in his criticism on
Darwinism, would meet with no opponents. He must have expected to be
attacked from two quarters, and by two different classes of men: by
those committed to the Darwinian hypothesis, in the first place; and,
again, by those who value that hypothesis less for its scientific merit
than for—as they suppose—its incompatibility with Christian doctrine,
and the service they think it might render in the disintegration of the
Christian societies. Among the latter we are compelled to class Mr.
Huxley, who, if a very good scientist, is, notwithstanding, one of the
most arrogant of men.

He replied to Mr. Mivart, and in his reply does neither more nor less
than constitute himself the infallible teacher of all mankind, the
supreme pontiff of science, empowered to speak with authority on all
matters pertaining to religion and philosophy, as well as to anatomy.
He has the commendable modesty, even, to tell Catholics what they
may believe, and what they must reject. He interprets the Bible for
them, expounds the teachings of the Fathers of the church, comments
on the schoolmen, all for their benefit; in fact, entirely forgets
the good old maxim, “Let the cobbler stick to his last,” and imagines
that, because he has learned a considerable amount about brains and
stomachs—dead brains and stomachs, for the most part—he can legislate
for the Christian world; that anything in heaven or on earth which
he cannot weigh or measure, upon which he cannot bring the knife, or
the blowpipe, or the spectroscope to bear, does not exist, or exist
otherwise than as it takes form in his own by no means humble mind.

In his reply to Mr. Mivart, he virtually passes over all of the latter
gentleman’s scientific objections, and fastens on his assertion that
evolution is at all _compatible_ with Catholic doctrine.

Mr. Mivart had, as we have seen, referred to Suarez, and that, Mr.
Mivart assures us, because, in Mr. Huxley’s words, “the popular repute
of that learned theologian and subtle casuist was not such as to make
his works a likely place of refuge for liberality of thought.”

Of course Mr. Mivart did not intend to represent Suarez or the other
writers we have mentioned above as advocating the very modern doctrine
of evolution, but only abstract principles harmonizing with it; and,
if anything, broader than it, inasmuch as they are broad enough not
only to take in the recent theory of evolution, but any other theory
of development which may be yet advocated; yet Mr. Huxley assumed
that Mr. Mivart meant to convey the impression that F. Suarez was a
Darwinian or a disciple of Herbert Spencer, which he could not well be,
having lived some centuries too early to enjoy any such good-fortune.
Having erected this theory, Mr. Huxley went, in his “More Criticisms on
Darwin,” deliberately to work to demolish it, in doing which he left
his way considerably, raising questions on which Mr. Mivart had said
nothing whatever, and which in the discussion are wholly irrelevant;
as, for instance, the meaning of the word “day” in the first chapter of
Genesis, as advocated by some authorities.

Mr. Mivart retorted through the pages of the _Contemporary Review_, and
demonstrated that Suarez was “an opponent of the theory of a perpetual
direct creation of organisms,” and “that the principles of scholastic
theology are such as _not to exclude_ the theory of development, but
rather to favor it.” He quoted again from Suarez, to show that that
writer, treating of the opinion that individuals of kinds like the
mule, leopard, lynx, etc., must have been created from the beginning,
expressed the view that the contrary seemed to him more probable,
thus asserting _the principle_ that those kinds of animals which are
_potentially_ contained in nature need not be supposed to be directly
and immediately created. More than this, Mr. Mivart shows that the same
authority recognizes the possibility that certain organisms may be
originated directly from the inorganic world by cosmical influences.

Our readers already know what were the views of S. Augustine on this
matter. Mr. Mivart shows that other theologians besides S. Thomas, such
as S. Bonaventure, Albertus Magnus, Denis the Carthusian, Cardinal
Cajetan, Melchior Canus, Bannes, Vincentius Contenson, Macedo and
Cardinal Noris, Tosti, Serri, “and others down to the present day,”
agree with S. Augustine in his views on the question we are considering.

The great result—the only result in which we feel especially
interested—of this controversy was the bringing into clearer light the
fact that the kernel of truth contained in Darwinism or in evolution is
not at variance with revelation, as indeed it cannot be and be true.
This is what Mr. Huxley has done for the church.

Of Mr. Huxley’s treatment of his opponent’s objections on the score of
morality we have nothing to say which would be of the least service to
our readers.

Remains the question: How far may a Catholic accept the special
Darwinian theory or the doctrine of evolution? Mr. Mivart asserts
that a miraculous origin of the body of man is not necessary; that it
might have been evolved from that of some lower being by natural law.
Darwinians and evolutionists generally maintain an analogous origin for
the human soul. Is there anything in this contrary to revelation?

We have not space, if we had the ability, to go into a lengthy
examination of this question. Nor is there any reason that we should.
It has already received the attention of able Catholic writers, and we
can do no better than give the results of their investigation. They
have shown[48] that, with respect to all organisms lower than man, the
doctrine of the fathers is that Catholic faith “does not prevent any
one from holding the opinion that life, both vegetable and animal,
was in the world in germ at its creation, and afterwards developed
by regular process into all the various species now on the earth”;
therefore, that “all living things up to man exclusively were evolved
by natural law out of minute life-germs primarily created, or even out
of inorganic matter,” is an opinion which a Catholic may consistently
hold if he thinks fit so to do.

As to the question of the _body_ of man, the same writers have shown,
and we take it to be the safer opinion—in which, perhaps, we differ
from Mr. Mivart—“that to question the immediate and instantaneous
(or quasi-instantaneous) formation by God of the bodies of Adam and
Eve—the former out of inorganic matter, the latter out of the rib of
Adam—is at least rash, and probably proximate to heresy.”

That the human soul was specially and separately created is an article
of Catholic faith.

There is not a fact in science at variance with these views of the
origin of the body of man and of the human soul. Even Mr. Wallace—to
whom the credit of pointing out the influence of “natural selection”
in modifying organic beings belongs by right of a title not less valid
than that of Mr. Darwin—believes, and he has reason to believe, in the
action of an overruling Intelligence in the production of “the human
form divine”; and that, in view of man’s special attributes, “he is,
indeed, a being apart”—not, therefore, evolved, either as to his body
or his soul, from any inferior organism. When a man like Mr. Wallace
holds such a view, we may rest assured that the facts in the case do
not require any one to hold the contrary. Let us now endeavor to sum up
the results in relation to the Darwinian theory and the bearings thus
far obtained:

1. The tendency of every kind of animal and plant to increase in
geometrical progression, and to transmit a general likeness with
individual differences, as well as to present minute variations
of any kind in any direction, the great length of past time, the
struggle of animals and plants for existence, and the preservation and
intensification of favorable variations, are facts on which the theory
is based.

We accept these facts.

2. We do not accept the theory, because, although it throws light on
some facts, there are others with which it is not compatible; and
because those even on which it does throw light do not require us to
accept it.

3. There is nothing in the Darwinian theory, or in the more general
theory of evolution countenanced by facts bearing on the development of
life, which a Catholic may not accept, if he wishes so to do.

4. The teaching of Darwinism as to the origin of man’s body is probably
next to heretical. At all events, the only safe opinion is that it
was not evolved from the body of a lower being, but was directly and
quasi-instantaneously created by God.

5. Its teaching concerning the origin of the human soul is in direct
and irreconcilable contradiction with an article of Catholic faith.

6. There is—apart from revealed doctrine—an absolute scientific
certainty of the truth of that same doctrine respecting the creation of
the human soul, and the highest probability of the immediate creation
of the human body.

So much for the facts, so much for the theory, so much for its bearings
on revelation.

In all we have said, we do not wish to be understood as advocating
the Darwinian theory, even in so far as it does not conflict with
Catholic faith, nor as committing ourselves to the general doctrine of
evolution. The fact is, we do not care as Catholics to pledge ourselves
hastily to any hypothesis whatever. We know some little of the history
of hypotheses, and we know that it has been a history of failures.

When the Darwinian hypothesis or the theory of evolution shall
have stood the test of years and facts, and the most searching
investigations, let the Catholics who will be then alive accept them.
There is no special reason why we should profess our faith in them. We
do not need them to account for the phenomena about us.

On the other hand, we can readily understand why a certain class of
minds should subscribe to it.

The human mind naturally seeks for an explanation of the origin of
things. Intelligent men know the human race has not always been on
the earth, that the phenomena about us are not eternal, that animal
and vegetable life must have had a beginning here. Catholics know the
same, and knew it before science had demonstrated it or discovered its

Men who wish to get rid of God welcome any hypothesis which seems to
remove him to a greater distance from them, even before that hypothesis
has more in its favor than against a it. Catholics, who believe in God,
have no such anxiety. They are willing to wait, since they have already
an explanation of the origin of things in their belief in God, and in
the teachings of his revelation that he in the beginning created the
heavens and the earth, and all that they contain. The minutiæ, the How
of that creation, they leave it to science to discover. When discovered
and proved, they will accept it. But science can never give them
anything not contained in the first article of the Creed: “I believe
in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.” All it can do
is to explicate and confirm this.

If it be objected that scientists accept the theory, and that we
therefore should, we reply, _mere_ scientists do; and of all men, the
least safe of guides is the mere scientist. No other man is more apt to
become a blind worshipper of the idols of the Cave. He confines himself
within the narrow limits of his laboratory, among instruments of death,
and then would excogitate a solution to the problems of life and of the
universe; as if with bolts and screws he could wring from nature the
secret it will not yield.

Goethe well knew that from such men we need not expect the answer to
the riddle of the universe; that one glance at the world as a whole as
it lies bathed in the sun on a summer’s day tells us more than all the
tomes of philosophers.

  “Ah me! this dungeon still I see,
  This drear, accursed masonry,
  Where even the welcome daylight strains
  But darkly through the painted panes,
  Hemmed in by many a toppling heap
  Of books worm-eaten, gray with dust,
  Which to the vaulted ceiling creep,
  Against the smoky paper thrust,
  With glasses, boxes, round me stocked,
  And instruments together hurled,
  Ancestral lumber stuffed and packed:
  Such is my world: and what a world!
  And do I ask wherefore my heart
  Falters, oppressed with unknown needs?
  With some inexplicable smart
  All movement of my life impedes?
  Alas! in living nature’s stead,
  Where God his human creature set
  In smoke and mould, the fleshless dead
  And bones and beasts surround me yet!”

And although we can see some force in the general theory of evolution,
we cannot accept it till it settles its account with the principle on
which the whole inductive method is raised—the constancy of the laws
of nature.

The theory of evolution strikes, it seems to us, at the very root of
this principle. It proclaims that there is not and has never been any
constancy in nature. It devours all other law, or rather destroys it.
It means simply change. Permanency, constancy, and their synonymes
are opposed to it; and thus the theory of evolution must invalidate
all the sciences which are founded on the assumption that nature is
constant; in other words, that it does not change, does not evolve. The
definition of evolution given by Mr. Spencer makes it simply a change.
True, he states the method or law of that change. But the method is
discovered by induction. Induction is in turn annihilated by evolution.
The fabric as it rises loses its foundation, and floats in the air, a
baseless vision.

But if we are in no haste to yield assent to Darwinism or evolution in
general; as applied to man’s soul by advocates like Spencer or Chapman,
we reject it _in toto_. It is incompetent to account for the facts,
nay, in glaring contradiction to them.

We take our stand against man’s relation to the ape on facts as
undeniable as any the zoologist or anatomist advances in its favor.
These compare man’s body and the ape, and _find_ no very great
superiority of the one over the other as they lie recently dead on the
anatomist’s table. Let the two lie there only a little longer, and none
at all will be discoverable. A little dust which the winds of heaven
will soon scatter to the four points of the compass is all that will be
left of either. Shall we therefore infer their oneness of kind? By no

We know that man is in some respects not unlike the ape in form; but we
know, too, that there are Godlike faculties in man which are not in the
ape. We know this, and we know, moreover, that the philosopher through
whose brain roll vast choruses of thought; who stands on the heights
of Christian philosophy and human speculation, and discourses on death
and immortality; who, from the eminence to which Christianity has
raised him, looks down, not with indifference and not with contempt,
but with deep serenity, on the little loves and little hates of the
world, because conscious of his eternal destiny—we know, we have an
intuition, which we trust more than we trust Darwin and Huxley, that
this philosopher is more than a developed ape.

And when the anatomist tells us there is little anatomical difference
between man and the ape, therefore between man as man and the ape as
ape there is little difference or a difference only of degree, we
reply: Between man and the ape, between a Newton or even a savage and
a monkey, there is, in the intellectual order, a vast difference,
an infinite difference. _This_ we take as the fact, and draw the
conclusion that the amount of anatomical difference between a monkey
and a man is no criterion or measure of the real difference.

We treat the argument from embryology in the same way. Because
at a certain stage in its development the human embryo cannot be
distinguished from that of certain of the lower animals, we are assured
that man differs from these only in degree. We grant the fact, we
reject the inference; and we reason: notwithstanding you can detect
no difference at certain stages between the two, time develops one
so great that the one may become a Shakespeare, the other becomes
only a Shakespeare’s dog. What follows? Simply this: that there is a
something in the human embryo which is not in the other—a something
which the sense cannot detect, but the existence of which the mind
may infer; that there is more of life than the embryologist can find
out by his methods, as there is more of the rose than is found in its
ashes—more of life than we would be apt to see in a dissecting-room or
a charnel-house.

No; whatever force the special Darwinian theory may have to the student
of animal life, to the student of man as an animal, it can have very
little to him who views man in his higher manifestations. Whatever else
it may account for, it never can throw any light on the facts of man’s
moral nature. It never can explain the origin of a being who believes
in purity or pity.

Let the Darwinian, indeed, explain, if he can, how, if man owes
his existence and his development, physical, moral, and mental, to
success in the struggle for existence—in other words, to natural
selection—and this success, in turn, to the exercise of the selfish or
combative faculties, or to both combined—faculties which, according to
this theory, he must have exercised, his present and previous states
taken together, for ages unnumbered—so long, indeed, that they ought
to have grown into uncontrollable instincts—and which are the only
ones he can have exercised from the beginning, to which, therefore, as
the most imperious, all others should be subordinate—let him, we say,
explain who can how this tendency to battle, inherited through infinite
ages, has not taken complete possession of man, nor caused his life to
be a continual strife with his fellows; let him explain how, instead of
all this, there _are_ men who have learned, not to hate, but to love
their enemies, to compassionate the weak, the poor, and the lowly, to
nurse the sick and the dying, to care even for the dead; nay, how it
comes that there are men who are guided by the sublime command: “Love
them that hate you, bless them that curse you, pray for them that
persecute and calumniate you”; or, further yet, how, in spite of the
exercise of the selfish and combative faculties, in the struggle for
existence, the tendency of which must have been to strengthen by use
the organs of destruction, the same organs should gradually disappear,
and that in man not one of them should be left.

Let him explain, again, how out of mere animality, by “natural
selection,” out of the mere brute, in a “struggle for existence,”
beings should come—men to whom this would be a law: Be pure; for “he
that looketh after a woman to lust after her hath already committed
adultery with her in his heart.” There are such men—men to whom this
is a law, and who obey it. Will a Vogt or a Büchner believe it? Will a
Darwin account for it by “natural selection”?

Finally, let him explain how, if man has always been only growing out
of some lower condition, he has yet learned, in a measure, to go beyond
himself, to harbor an ideal which he has never reached, but towards
which he ever strives, inasmuch as he endeavors to fulfil the command
of the Son of God: “Be ye perfect, as my heavenly Father also is


THIS supplication of the Suffering was that also of the Militant
Church, which daily offered it as now with sighs and tears, and, by the
light which this reflection casts on history, we can catch a glimpse
for an instant at the immense multitude of the pacific men who in the
middle ages were existing upon earth; for as many as were joined in
spirit to the church, were united with her in this ardent, insatiable
desire of peace. How do we know that the Catholic Church, which the
holy Fathers call the house of peace, was so profoundly attached to
peace? From a simple review of her liturgy: for in the first place, her
great daily sacrifice itself was nothing else but the mystery of peace,
the pledge of future and eternal, the diffusion of present peace to
man. At this holy and tremendous celebration in which God hath given
peace reconciling the lowest with the highest in himself, the good of
temporal peace was also formally invoked, at the _Gloria_, at the _Te
igitur_, at the spreading of the hands before the consecration, at the
_Libera nos_ at the salutation of the people, at the _Agnus Dei_, at
the three prayers which follow it, and in the prayer for the king; for
as the apostle assigns the reason for the latter, _that we may lead
a secure and peaceable life_, so with that intention the holy church
prays for all rulers, even for such as are transgressors of the divine
law;[49] which intention is formally expressed in her solemn litany,
where she prays that kings and Christian princes may have peace and
true concord, and all the people peace and unity. The innumerable
priests, who celebrated throughout the earth, knew that the inestimable
price of the world, and the great Victim for the salvation of men,
could only be immolated in a spirit of peace, and with a contrite
heart; and that, as Peter of Blois says, it is never lawful to offer it
without that preparation.[50]—DIGBY, _Mores Catholici_.



 In this Canto, Dante introduces the souls of Nino Visconti, judge of
 Gallura in Sardinia; and of Conrad Malaspina, who predicts to the poet
 his banishment.

  ‘Twas now the hour that brings to men at sea,
    Who in the morn have bid sweet friends farewell,
  Fond thoughts and longing back with them to be;
    And thrills the pilgrim with a tender spell
  Of love, if haply, new upon his way,
    He faintly hear a chime from some far bell,
  That seems to mourn the dying of the day;
    When I forbore my listening faculty
  To mark one spirit uprisen amid the band
    Who joined both palms and lifted them on high
  (First having claimed attention with his hand)
    And towards the Orient bent so fixed an eye
  As ‘twere he said, “My God! on thee alone
    My longing rests.” Then from his lips there came
  _Te lucis ante_, so devout of tone,
    So sweet, my mind was ravished by the same
  The others next, full sweetly and devout,
    Fixing their gaze on the supernal wheels,
  Followed him chanting the whole Psalm throughout.

    Now, reader, to the truth my verse conceals
  Make sharp thy vision; subtle is the veil
    So fine ‘twere easily passed through unseen.
  I saw that gentle army, meek and pale,
    Silently gazing upward with a mien
  As of expectancy, and from on high
    Beheld two angels with two swords descend
  Which flamed with fire, but, as I could descry,
    They bare no points, being broken at the end.
  Green robes, in hue more delicate than spring’s
    Tender new leaves, they trailed behind and fanned
  With gentle beating of their verdant wings.
    One, coming near, just over us took stand,
  Down to th’ opponent bank the other sped,
    So that the spirits were between them grouped
  Full well could I discern each flaxen head;
    But in their faces mine eyes’ virtue drooped,
  As ‘twere confounded by excess and dead.
    “From Mary’s bosom they have both come here,”
  Sordello said—“this valley to protect
    Against the serpent that will soon appear:”
  Whence I, unknowing which way to expect
    This object, turned me, almost froze with fear,
  And to those trusty shoulders closely clung.
    Again Sordello: “Go we down and see
  These mighty shades, and let them hear our tongue:
    Thy presence will to them right gracious be.”
  Only three steps I think brought me below
    Where one I noticed solely eyeing me
  As if who I might be he fain would know.
    ‘Twas dusk, yet not so but the dusky air,
  Between his eyes and mine, within the dell,
    Showed what before it did not quite declare.
  Towards me he moved, and I towards him as well:
    Gentle Judge Nino, when I saw thee there
  What joy was mine to find thee not in hell!
    We left unsaid no form of fair salute:
  Then he inquired: “How long since thou didst come
    O’er the far waters to the mountain’s foot?”
  “O but this morn,” said I, “the realms of gloom
    I passed: in the first life I am, but fain
  Would find the next by following on this track.”
    Like to men suddenly amazed, the twain,
  He and Sordello, hearing this, drew back.
    One looked at Virgil, one into the face
  Of a companion sitting there, and cried,
    “Up, Conrad! see what God hath of his grace
  Bestowed,” then turning unto me replied:


    “By that especial reverence, I beseech,
  Which thou ow’st him whose primal way is hid
    So that none sound it, if soe’er thou reach
  The shore beyond the vasty waters, bid
    My child Giovanna for my peace implore
  There where the cry of innocents heaven heeds.
    Her mother I am sure loves me no more
  Since she put off her widow’s paly weeds,
    But in her misery fain would wear this day.
  From her full readily may one be taught
    How soon love’s flame in woman dies away
  If sight or touch full oft relume it not.
    The chanticleer upon Gallura’s shield
  Had graced her sepulchre with fairer show
    Than will that viper, which to battle-field
  Marshals the men of Milan.” With such glow
    He uttered this as in his face revealed
  The heart’s just passion smouldering yet below.
  Still that sole part of heaven I fondly eyed
    Where the stars move, even as a wheel doth move
  More slowly next the axle. Said my Guide:
    “Son, what dost thou so gaze at there above?”
  “Up there! at yon three torches,” I replied,
    “Whose splendor makes this pole here all ablaze.”
  And he to me: “The four clear stars that rose
    This morn before thee have abased their rays,
  And these have mounted in the place of those.”
    While thus he spake, Sordello to his side
  Drew Virgil, and exclaimed: “Behold our Foe!”
    And pointed to the thing which he descried.
  And where that small vale’s barrier sinks most low
    A serpent suddenly was seen to glide,
  Such as gave Eve, perchance, the fruit of woe.
    Through flowers and herbage came that evil streak,
  To lick its back oft turning round its head,
    As with his tongue a beast his fur doth sleek.
  I was not looking, so must leave unsaid
    When first they fluttered, but full well I saw
  Both heavenly falcons had their plumage spread.
    Soon as the serpent felt the withering flaw
  Of those green wings, it vanished, and they sped
    Up to their posts again with even flight.
  The shade who had approached the judge when he
    Accosted him, had never moved his sight
  Through this encounter, looking fixed on me.


  “So may that light,” the spirit began to say,
    “Which leads thee up, find in thine own free will
  Sufficient wax to last thee all the way,
    Even to th’ enamelled summit of the Hill.
  If thou true news of Val di Magra know’st,
    Or of those parts, inform me of the same,
  For I was mighty once upon that coast,
    And Conrad Malaspina was my name.
  Not the old lord, but his descendant, I:
    The love which once I to my kindred bore
  Is here refined.” “O,” thus I made reply,
    “That realm of yours I never travelled o’er;
  But where throughout all Europe is the place
    That knows it not? The honor Fame accords
  Your house illustrates not alone the race,
    But makes the land renowned as are its lords;
  He knows that country who was never there:
    Still the free purse they bear, and still bright swords
  So mount my soul as this to thee I swear!
    Custom and nature privilege them so,
  That, if through guilt the world’s guide lead astray,
    They in the path of right straightforward go
  Sole of all men, and scorn the evil way.”
    To these my words, “Now go,” the spirit said,
  For the sun shall not enter seven times more
    That part of heaven where Aries o’er his bed
  Stretches and spreads his forked feet all four,
    Ere this thy courtesy’s belief shall be
  Nailed in the middle of thy head with nails
    Of greater force than men’s reports to thee
  If, unimpeded, Judgment’s course prevails.






THE following morning, Rasumowski sat with his guests at a sumptuous
breakfast in his elegant summer-house, the roof of which rested upon
beautifully ornamented pillars. Adolph von Sempach appeared very sad;
for he had again received evidences of Alexandra’s indomitable pride
and want of feeling. Beck remarked the disposition of his friend, and
he thought with satisfaction of the deeply afflicted mother in her
lonely palace at Posen.

“Some years ago, the emperor emancipated the serfs—did he act
prudently?” asked the high official of Berlin.

“Whatever the czar does, is well done,” answered the governor; “and
if the future czar again introduces the former system of servitude,
that also will be right. But you must not understand the abolition of
servitude in a literal sense. The serfs; were freed only from servitude
to the nobility; the Russian nobility have lost by it. But both peasant
and noble will always remain slaves of the emperor. Consequently
servitude still exists in Russia, the same kind that you desire to
establish in the new German Empire. Ah! there comes the Roman Catholic
pastor!” exclaimed the governor, his features assuming at once their
accustomed look of ferocity. “Now, gentlemen, see how I shall deal with
this hero of liberty, who preaches rebellion to the people!”

The pastor timidly approached the Russian dignitary, and allowed
himself to be treated in a manner unworthy of his priestly dignity.

But the priest had seen many thousands of his Catholic brethren put
to death and transported to Siberia. He knew that, by a stroke of the
pen, Rasumowski could doom him to the same fate; and to this must
also be added the fact that in Poland Catholic clergyman are educated
by professors appointed by the Russian government. These professors
very naturally train and discipline the seminarians according to the
commands of a government hostile to the Roman Catholic religion. Solid
theological learning and a proper appreciation of the dignity of the
priesthood are not sufficiently esteemed, for which reason we must make
allowances for the cringing deportment of the village pastor.

After having made a low reverence before the governor, the latter
rudely accosted him by saying, “Have you your sermon with you?”

“It is at your service, your honor,” replied the priest, taking with
trembling hands from his pocket a written sheet of paper, which he
handed to the governor.

Rasumowski began to read, while now and then a sign of contempt or a
shade of anger would spread itself over his face.

“By the heavens above me! pastor, this is incredible; in your sermon
there is not one word said about his most high majesty the emperor!
What is the meaning of this? Do you wish to go to Siberia?”

The priest shook like an aspen-leaf.

“Pardon me, your honor, pardon me!” stammered the priest. “I preached,
as your honor may condescend to see, not about the most high emperor,
but concerning Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, who has redeemed
men through his death upon the cross, and has freed them from the
servitude of Satan.”

“Bah!—Saviour of the world—nonsense!” interrupted the governor. “You
must always preach about the most high the emperor. Your remarks about
the Saviour of the world are altogether superfluous. And then,” he
continued, with a threatening frown, “in your sermon you repeatedly
use words not approved of by the government; that is, _freedom_ and
_servitude_. You must never again use such expressions, for, if you
do—remember Siberia!”

“Pardon, your honor! My intention was to show the people that we must
obey God from motives of gratitude.”

“That, again, is nonsense!” exclaimed the governor. “If God wishes the
people to obey him, let him march his soldiers against the disobedient.
Our first duty is to the emperor; this you must preach to your

He rang the bell, which was immediately answered by a Cossack.

“Bring me a sheet of official paper, and the pen and ink!” said
Rasumowski to the servant. “Now, listen, pastor, to what I say! If
you again preach upon _liberty_ or _servitude_, you will be sent to
Siberia; for in the holy Russian Empire there is neither _freedom_ nor
_servitude_; and, in order that you may become a practical preacher,
you must preach for a whole year on nothing else but on the _kindness_,
_mildness_, _glory_, _wisdom_, _power_, and _benevolence_ of the
emperor, but, above all, on the strict obligation of unconditional
obedience due to him. Will you do this?”

“At your honor’s command,” replied the intimidated priest.

Rasumowski wrote upon a sheet of paper which bore the printed
superscription: “Police Notice.” He then read aloud what he had
written: “In this church the only topic to be preached upon for a whole
year is on the high qualities of the emperor, and on the obligations of
his subjects to him.”

He then folded the paper, and gave it to the priest.

“That your congregation may be informed of my command,” said he, “you
must nail this police notice upon the church door. Now go!”

Before the priest had left the garden, the Berlin official burst into
a loud laugh.

“Oh! this is sublime!” he exclaimed. “I must confess that you have
these priests under splendid subjection. The Russian method is
admirable, and must be introduced into the new German Empire.”

“My opinion,” said the professor, in a tone of indescribable sarcasm,
“is that this Russian method is even excelled by the Prussian. The
governor has not forbidden the pastor to preach, he has simply given
him matter for his sermons; but upon the doors of several churches in
certain cities of Prussia _police notices_ are placed, which forbid
preaching altogether; and not only preaching, but even the hearing of
confessions and the celebration of Mass. I think, therefore, that we
have surpassed the Russians.”

“That is so,” replied Herr Schulze; “but the order of which you speak
is unfortunately directed only against the Jesuits.”

“It is all the same,” answered Beck. “Catholic preaching, the holy
Mass, and confession were forbidden. The war of destruction is not made
solely against the Jesuits, but against the church.”

“You are correct, professor!” answered Schulze. “Do you know Dr.
Friedberg, of Leipzig?”

“Not personally,” replied Beck; “but I am familiar with some of his

“Well,” continued Schulze, “Dr. Friedberg is Bismarck’s most faithful
adviser and assistant in the combat against the ultramontanes, who
are so hostile to the empire. Friedberg has lately published a work
in which he expressly says that war is to be made not on the Jesuits
alone, but on the whole Catholic Church, and that this war must be
energetically carried out.”

“Without reference to Dr. Friedberg’s pamphlet,” said Beck, “it is
clearly evident to every man of judgment, that the destruction of
the Catholic Church is the one thing aimed at. It is really amusing
to see how opinions change. Some years ago, the liberal press spoke
of the Catholic religion with the greatest disrespect and contempt.
The Pope was a feeble old man, and Catholicity tottering to its fall;
it was, in fact, not only lifeless, but even unfit to live. To-day,
however, this same liberal press proclaims the very reverse. The Pope
is now so dangerous that Bismarck is already using every effort to
secure at the next election of a pope a man who has what is popularly
called _extended views_, and who will make very little use of the
extraordinary powers of his office. It has become evident to the
liberals that Catholicity is by no means a worn-out, dead thing, but
that it is to be feared and is strong enough even to overthrow the new
German Empire.”

“You make the newspapers of too much consequence,” replied Schulze.
“Our journalists write under great restrictions, of course; but they
are well paid for their work, and cost us a great deal of money.
Bismarck’s organ, _The North-German General Gazette_, alone costs the
empire every year over twenty thousand dollars. Bismarck, nevertheless,
has a very low opinion of newspaper-writers; he calls them, as is
well known, _his swine-herds_. You cannot, however, deny the fact,
professor, that the Catholic Church is hostile to the empire.”

“If you ask me as an historian, Herr Schulze, I must contradict some
of your assertions,” said Beck. “The Catholic Church is a spiritual
power, but is not hostile to the empire, as far as the new empire
aspires after the liberal development of noble ideas. Culture,
freedom, civilization, true humanity, are children of the Catholic
Church. As you know, Herder, our great writer, has said: ‘Without the
Catholic Church, Europe would have become in all probability the prey
of despots, the theatre of perpetual discord and strife, or else a
vast desert.’ If, however, the new German Empire intends to introduce
a Russian form of government, and with it servitude and the knout,
then, of course, the Catholic Church will fearlessly manifest her

The governor and Herr Schulze opened their eyes, and gazed with
astonishment and suspicion upon the daring speaker.

“Do not forget,” remarked Von Sempach, “that my friend speaks only from
a historical standpoint.”

“On the whole you are right, Herr Beck!” exclaimed the governor. “The
Catholic Church confuses the minds of the people by preaching about
_liberty_, _about being the children of God_, about _the dignity of
man_, and all such absurdities. The Pope and his priests make their
people proud, obstinate, and rebellious, and difficult to manage. Mark
my prediction, Herr Schulze: you cannot introduce the Russian form of
government into Germany until Catholicity is exterminated.”

“We will rid ourselves of it,” said Schulze confidently. “The Jesuits
are already expelled, and now we are using stringent measures to
suppress their kith and kin—that is, all the orders and convents—so
that we shall gradually have the Catholic Church under the same
subjection as it is in Russia. And have you noticed, gentlemen, how
quietly all has been effected? The Jesuits were sent away without the
least opposition on the part of the Catholics; the riot at Essen was
only the demonstration of a few workmen.”

“There was, however, great excitement among the liberals,” replied Von
Sempach; “for, when the German religious were innocently proscribed and
forcibly driven from their homes, the national liberals applauded and
cried out ‘Bravo!’”

“If you imagine, Herr Schulze,” said Beck, “that the patient endurance
of Catholics in witnessing the expulsion of their priests is not
dangerous, you deceive yourself. Their manner of combat, however, is a
very singular one. Recourse to arms, or rebellion against authority, is
forbidden them by their religion; but history teaches that the weapons
employed by the Catholic Church have proved most disastrous to all
her enemies. And it is to me as clear as the sun at noon-day that, in
consequence of this persecution of the church, the German Empire will

“You speak in riddles, Herr Beck!” said Schulze. “What do you mean when
you speak of the Catholic manner of combat?”

“That which is, in fact, the very essence of Catholicity,” answered
the professor. “Catholics believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
is the founder of their church; they know that God will never abandon
his church, because he has promised to abide always with her. Since
they are forbidden to conspire and rebel, they have recourse to prayer,
and they pray to Almighty God to keep his word—in my opinion, a very
dangerous mode of combat; for no power, not even that of the new German
Empire, can stand against the Lord. And it is a remarkable truth
that the Catholics, for over 1,800 years, have conquered all their
oppressors. If Bismarck should commence to boil and roast Catholics, as
did Nero and other cruel tyrants who persecuted them for three hundred
years, he would meet with the same fate that befell the pagan emperors
of Rome.”

“What you say, professor, is no doubt incontrovertible, for the facts
are historical,” replied Schulze. “We do not, however, intend, for
the present, to either boil or roast Catholics, and it is not even
necessary to adopt such severe measures. If the liberal government
once gets undisputed control of all the academies and public schools,
Catholicity must naturally die out.”

“Another deception, Herr Schulze,” replied Beck. “The apostate
Emperor Julian, fifteen hundred years ago, adopted this very plan of
exterminating Catholics. He established infidel instead of Christian
schools; but the Emperor Julian perished, together with his empire,
while the Catholic Church still exists, and is the terror of her

“We have heard enough!” exclaimed the governor. “We will not deny the
assertion of our learned friend. The Catholics in the new German Empire
can suffer and pray, and look for assistance from above, until they say
their dying prayer, as they do in Poland.”

From the eyes of the professor there shone a brilliant ray of light.

“You are mistaken, Governor Rasumowski,” said he; “not Catholic Poland,
but the Russian Empire, is saying its dying prayer.”

If lightning had come down from heaven, it would not have made a
greater impression upon the Russian when he heard Beck’s remark.

“You seem astonished, governor,” said the professor. “Are you really
ignorant of what a volcano the Russian Empire is standing upon? I
have made diligent inquiries upon the subject, and know something of
the interior dissensions that prevail in Russia. The present emperor
is also aware of it; for his father, when dying, admonished him,
saying: ‘Soucha (that is, Alexander), take care, lest thou become the
Louis XVI. of Russia!’ Excuse my candor, and permit me to wish you
good-morning, as I intend to accompany my friend to the city.”

The two young men walked through the garden, followed by the angry
looks of the Prussian and the Russian.

Severe weather prevailed for some days. Excursions into the country
were out of the question. Schulze visited the public institutions of
the city, which were managed according to the Russian system.

One day, Von Sempach found the professor busily writing in his room.

“Are you taking notes, Edward?”

“I am collecting important Russian items to send to Bolanden, that he
may use them for the good of the German people, and for the benefit
of other nations, who do not desire to be governed according to the
Russian mode.”

“I protest against it,” replied Von Sempach. “I have no desire to
figure in a novel.”

“Do not excite yourself, my dear Adolph! Bolanden will change our
names, and perhaps call the gentleman from Berlin _Schulze_. How is

The young man sighed heavily, and seemed greatly distressed.

“I wish that I had never known her!” said he; “for I can tell you, in
confidence, that a deformed soul dwells in her beautiful body. Her
pride is insufferable, her want of feeling repulsive; in fact, she is
utterly devoid of those amiable qualities of heart and mind which a
woman must possess in order to make a happy home.”

“She is the child of a Russian governor, who, by means of the pleti and
Siberia, keeps in subjection the serfs of the divine emperor,” replied
Beck. “I told Schulze and the governor my real opinion in regard to
the decayed condition of the empire of the czar, and yet I was very
temperate in my language; I should have added that Almighty God also
is the arbiter of nations, and suffers the continuance of Russian
barbarities only to show how deeply empires can sink, and how wicked
men can become, when an emperor has unlimited command in church and
state. The same result will take place in Germany, if she takes Russia
as her model.”

“I hope you will not use such expressions before Rasumowski,” said
Adolph warningly.

“No; we must not cast the pearls of truth before swine, for they would
perhaps attack us with their Cossacks and the pleti!”

“Why do you jest?” said Adolph. “The discoveries I have made concerning
Alexandra’s real nature have made me very sad. Why must I bind myself
for ever to such a creature?”

“Reason and the desire for true happiness forbid it!” answered the
professor. “You are free, and not a Russian serf. Act like a man;
destroy the magic charm which her fatal beauty has woven around you. My
travelling-bag is ready, let us go back to your dear mother Olga. I am
disgusted with everything in this corrupt, stupid Russian Empire.”

The servant of Von Sempach now announced dinner. As the two friends
entered the dining-room, Schulze, with an air of triumph, held out a

“Herr Beck, you cannot say now that the Germans are unwilling to adopt
the Russian form of government,” he exclaimed. “Here, read _The Cross
Gazette_. You remember what trouble we had with reference to the
village of huts which some miserable and poverty-stricken wretches
had built outside the gates of Berlin. Well, these huts have been all
removed, according to the Russian method.”

“So I understand!” said the professor, who had read the article. “_The
Cross Gazette_ announces that the President of Police, Herr von Madai,
had given orders to several hundred policemen and soldiers to take
down, in the night from Monday to Tuesday, the collection of huts
outside of the Landsberg-gate; the poor settlers, who were roused from
their sleep, were driven away without difficulty, although the men
murmured, and the women and children wept; but there was otherwise no
disturbance or resistance. What a fine contribution to the history of
the new German Empire!” added Beck.

“Is it not also stated,” asked Adolph, whose face was glowing with
indignation, “that the humanity on which they pride themselves held the
torch while the sorrowing women and children were driven from their
wretched homes into the cold, dark night?”

“Why, Von Sempach, do not be so sentimental!” exclaimed the governor.
“Be like a Russian, who wastes very little time or sympathy on such

Dinner was served. Alexandra had never appeared more lovely; her
toilet was exquisite. She had remarked the serious deportment of her
betrothed; for she made use of every species of blandishment in order
to regain possession of his heart.

But something happened which brought matters to a crisis.

The dessert had just been laid, when a servant of the governor handed
him an official paper. He had only read a few lines, when a grim smile
diffused itself over his face.

“I have a surprise for you, gentlemen!” said he. “The nearest Prussian
police-station has had the kindness to deliver up to me the Jesuit F.
Indura, so that I may forward him to his native place, Kosow.”

“A Jesuit? Oh! that’s imperial!” exclaimed Alexandra, filled with
curiosity. “I have heard so much of the Jesuits, and wish to see one.
Papa, will you not have him brought here?”

“If it gives you pleasure, why not? That is, if our honored guests have
no objection.”

“None at all, governor!” replied Adolph von Sempach, with stern
formality. “You alone have to decide.”

“And I think that it is always praiseworthy to be willing to see and
hear a Jesuit,” said Beck.

“Tell the commissioner of police,” commanded Rasumowski, “to bring
before me without delay the Jesuit of Kosow!”

“Oh! that will be interesting!” exclaimed Alexandra. “I am so anxious
to see a man who belongs to that terrible order which has sold itself
to the devil, and labors only in the interest of hell.”

“Do you really believe what you say, mademoiselle?” asked Von Sempach,
in astonishment.

“Certainly! I have often read in the newspapers shocking things about
the Jesuits. They are said to possess in an extraordinary degree the
power of deceiving people, and they owe this spiritual power to Satan,
with whom they are in league.”

“You have derived your information from the Vienna _New Free Press_, is
it not so?”

“It may be, I do not know exactly. The new German Empire, in its fear
of God and love of morality, acts very prudently in expelling these
diabolical Jesuits.”

“But suppose these diabolical Jesuits come to Russia?”

“Oh! we are not afraid of them; we will send them to Siberia!”

“Here comes the Jesuit,” said Rasumowski, when he heard the clattering
sound made by the guards’ sabres.

Deep silence reigned in the dining-room. All sat with their eyes
intently fixed upon the door. In the hall were heard heavy, weary
steps, as though an aged or sick man was moving forward with great
difficulty. Then a hand appeared, grasping the side of the door, and
finally the Jesuit father, a tall, thin man, very much bent, and
leaning on a cane.

“Come in, quick!” cried out Rasumowski roughly.

F. Indura staggered into the room. The door was closed after him.

Those who were present gazed in silence at the suffering priest, who
could hardly stand on his feet, and who leaned exhausted against the
wall. Although still young, the incredible hardships that he had
undergone of fatigue as well as of hunger and thirst seemed to have
entirely destroyed the bodily strength of the Jesuit. His face was
deathly pale, and the hand which held his wide-brimmed hat trembled
from excessive weakness. His black habit was covered with dust, as if
he had been driven like a prisoner on the highway. Upon his breast
there hung an honorable sign of distinction, bestowed by the new German
Empire—the iron cross. After having saluted those present, this victim
of modern humanity and liberal justice silently awaited the command of
the Russian governor.

“Your name is Indura, and you come from Kosow?” commenced the governor.

“Yes, your honor!” answered the priest, in a feeble voice.

“You have been expelled by the Prussian government, and in the holy
Russian Empire you can find an abiding-place, and perhaps secure for
yourself a splendid position, if you will renounce the Society of
Jesus, and embrace the Russian state religion. Are you determined to do
this?” asked the governor.

“No, your honor! I prefer death to apostasy!”

“Well, we will not hang you yet awhile!” brutally exclaimed the
governor. “But we can send you to the mines of Siberia.”

“That will be impossible, sir!” replied the Jesuit, with a faint smile.
“for my strength is too far gone ever to reach Siberia.”

Von Sempach had until now been a quiet spectator of the scene;
alternate feelings of compassion and indignation filled his breast
whenever he looked at the priest. He turned to Alexandra, in whose
impassive features not a vestige of sympathy was visible.

“Mademoiselle,” said he in a subdued voice, “a work of mercy is
necessary in this case. This poor clergyman is dying from exhaustion.
Will you have any objection if I offer him my seat?”

The Russian lady turned fiercely around, like a serpent that had been
trodden upon.

“What do you mean, sir?” she answered, with a proud disdain. “Do you
think that I will grant such a disgraceful request?”

An angry flush overspread the face of the young man; his eyes gleamed
with a new light, and a proud, contemptuous smile wreathed his lips.
Alexandra at this moment had for ever forfeited the love of a heart of
which she was unworthy.

The governor meantime continued his questions.

“As you still wish to remain a Jesuit,” said he, “that is, a man
dangerous to the empire, an enemy of modern civilization, you will be
sent to Siberia!”

“Will your honor not procure me a passport to India?”

“What do you want to do in India?”

“We have missions there,” replied the priest. “As it is my vocation to
work for the salvation of souls, I wish to preach there the doctrine of
Christ according to my humble capacity.”

“I must reflect upon your petition,” replied the governor. “The
government may not wish the Jesuits to continue their activity even in
India. For the present, you must go to prison!”

The priest made a motion to leave, but his strength failed him, and a
cold sweat appeared in large drops upon his forehead. Then Adolph von
Sempach rose.

“Governor Rasumowski,” said he, “I do not believe that I shall appeal
in vain to your feelings as a man. I therefore urgently beseech you to
allow me to offer some refreshment to this exhausted gentleman from
your hospitable table.”

Von Sempach spoke in such an earnest tone of voice that it seemed
impossible to refuse him.

“If you wish to assume the character of the good Samaritan, Von
Sempach, I do not object,” answered the Russian, making a great effort
to conceal his real displeasure.

Adolph approached the weak and feeble priest, and, giving him the
support of his arm, led him to his seat.

“Allow me, reverend sir, to serve you.”

The Jesuit looked at him with gratitude, and Adolph commenced to fill
his plate. The half-starved owner of the iron cross began to eat, and
like a lamp whose dying flame is revived when oil is poured upon it,
so also was it with the proscribed priest, who soon felt the benefit of
Adolph’s tender care.

Alexandra had left the room when she saw that her father would grant
the request of Von Sempach. With an expression of unutterable scorn and
disgust, she gathered up the train of her rich silk dress, and retired
to her own apartment.

“Will the new German Empire send us any more of such guests?” asked the
governor, who was filled with suppressed wrath at seeing a Jesuit at
his table.

“Hardly!” replied Schulze. “The majority of the Jesuits are Germans or
Swiss; there are only a few Poles among them.”

“Are only the foreigners expelled, and not the Germans?” asked the

“No Jesuit, even if he be a German, can remain in the new German
Empire, and discharge any sacerdotal or educational functions,” replied

“It has made a very strange impression upon me,” said the professor,
“to see men condemned and treated like criminals, against whom not the
least fault can be proved. Even the bitterest enemies of the Jesuits
confessed this at the Diet, saying, ‘We find no fault in them!’ An
old proverb asserts that ‘Justice is the foundation of kingdoms.’ The
conduct of Russia against Poland excepted, there is not a similar
example in modern history.”

“Is your remark intended as a reproach, Professor Beck?” asked the

“I refer only to historical facts,” replied the professor. “My personal
opinion has nothing to do with it.”

“And I must openly acknowledge to you my belief that Germany acts
very prudently in imitating the Russian method in treating defiant
Catholics!” retorted the governor.

“Then, we shall have violence done to conscience, and the destruction
of human liberty in the highest sense of the word,” said the
professor. “From this tyranny of conscience would result, as a natural
consequence, a state of slavery and a demoralized condition of affairs.
Religion would cease to ennoble man, because her enemies would
misrepresent her doctrines in such a way that she would cease to be the
revelation of God; she would become a machine of the state, and this
machine would be called a National Church—a hideous thing that would
prove to be the grave of all liberty. Finally, an abyss would open, and
swallow up the whole; for Almighty God will not suffer the wickedness
of man to go beyond a certain length. History records his punishments;
as, for example, the Deluge, the destruction of the kingdoms belonging
to the Babylonians and Persians, the destruction of Jerusalem and of
the Jewish nation.”

Rasumowski was about to answer, when the Jesuit father rose from his

“Sir!” said he to Adolph von Sempach, “you have, in truth, performed a
work of mercy. May the Lord in heaven reward you!”

“He has already done so, your reverence!” replied Von Sempach, with a
look at Alexandra’s vacant seat.

“Accept my grateful thanks, your honor!” said Indura to the Russian.

“That will do!” interrupted the governor. “The commissioner is waiting
for you.”

Adolph left the room with the priest.

“All learned gentlemen do not seem to approve of the war of
extermination against the Catholic Church,” said Schulze, in a
slightly ironical tone.

“At least, not those who have preserved some sense of justice,” replied
Beck. “I cannot understand how so many millions of Catholics can
submit to be insulted and threatened in a way that should excite the
indignation of Christendom.”

“It is all very clear,” explained Schulze. “A national church is to be
established in Germany, just as it is in Russia. Protestantism sees the
necessity of the change, and makes no resistance; but it is not so with

“I agree to the last assertion, Herr Schulze,” said Beck. “From the
very earliest ages there have been cowardly bishops and cowardly
priests; but the Catholic Church has never made concessions in matters
of faith, and will never do so in all time to come.”

“For this very reason she must be exterminated, even if we have to
resort to extreme measures,” answered the great official of Berlin, in
a transport of passion.

“And do you believe in the possibility of extermination?” asked Beck.

“Why not? The educated portion of the world has long since repudiated
all belief in the nursery tales of religion.”

“I most solemnly protest against your remarks,” said the professor.
“Religion is as much a nursery tale as is the existence of God, who
manifests himself in his works; the most wonderful work of whose hands
is the Catholic Church, particularly her miraculous preservation. While
everything else in the course of time falls into decay; while the
proudest nations disappear from the face of the earth, leaving scarce a
trace behind them; while sceptres are constantly passing from the hands
of rulers, the chair of Peter stands immovable. No intelligent man can
refuse to respect and admire the Catholic religion. On the other hand,
I do not deny that liberalism in its spiritually rotten condition,
devoid as it is of every high aspiration, is ripe for the establishment
of a national church, which is to be fashioned after the Russian model.
The new German Emperor-pope will be able, without opposition from the
liberals, to introduce the Russian catechism. Liberalism will not
object to the introduction of the pleti and to a Siberia; for it is
servile, without principle, and utterly demoralized. Those Germans,
however, who have preserved their holy faith, their dignity as men,
and their self-respect, are no slaves, and will never wear the yoke of
Russian servitude.”

“Sir, you insult me!” vociferated the Russian governor.

“In what manner do I insult you?” said Beck. “You yourself maintained a
few days ago that the Russians were all serfs of the czar.”

“Yes, they are; but I will not allow you to speak of it with such
contempt,” responded the irritated dignitary.

“Since we are not as yet serfs in the new German Empire,” said the
professor earnestly, “you will permit a free man to express his views.”

“No, I will not allow you to do so!” cried Rasumowski, with a loud
voice. “If you were not, unfortunately, the friend of my future
son-in-law, I would send you to Siberia as a man dangerous to the

The professor rose.

“Governor!” he exclaimed, in a tone of unmistakable self-restraint,
“your rudeness makes it impossible for me to stay one moment longer
under your roof. The very thought of having received your hospitality
is painful to me.”

At this moment, Adolph von Sempach appeared.

“Governor Rasumowski,” said he, “I have come to say farewell. Your
daughter, whom I have seen, will communicate to you the reasons of my

The Russian, with widely distended eyes, looked with astonishment at
the young nobleman, who bowed and disappeared with his friend the

At the entrance of the palace, the servant of Von Sempach held open the
door of a carriage. The friends entered, and drove to the depot.

“But, Adolph, how do you feel? Tell me what has happened!” asked Beck.

“That which had to be done, unless I chose to make myself unhappy for
my whole life,” replied Von Sempach. “I have broken my engagement with

“I congratulate you from my whole heart!” said Beck, warmly pressing
the hand of his friend.

The next morning, the Baroness Olga welcomed the returned travellers;
and when Adolph related what had happened, joy and happiness
illuminated the face of the good mother, who embraced and kissed her
son. The professor stood smiling at her side.

“You see, most gracious lady,” said he, “that the study of Russian
affairs is very apt to convince every good German of the impossibility
of obtaining real happiness and prosperity from the land of the knout.”

A few days later the poor people exclaimed: “Our mother Olga is well
again; her eyes have lost their sad expression, and the kind smile has
returned to her lips.”


THE only fault we could possibly find with the Gastons was that they
were Roman Catholics.

True, they were our own cousins, quite as well off as ourselves, and as
well educated and respectable as any family in the country; but then,
being Romanists, you know, they associated with such queer people, had
such singular notions, and attended a church filled every Sunday with
families that you and I would never think of speaking to, you know.

Aunt Mildred went to Mass with them one Sabbath, just out of curiosity,
and declared there wasn’t a decent bonnet in the whole congregation
outside of Cousin Mary’s pew; and father, who looked in at the chapel
on Christmas Day, told us he didn’t see a single carriage at the
entrance—nothing but a lot of farmers’ and workingmen’s wagons.

Nevertheless, the Gastons were charming people. Our affection for
them went to the full extent of our cousinly relationship, and I
in particular—by the way, I forgot to introduce myself—George
Willoughby, at your service, just twenty-one—nice age, isn’t it?
Graduated at—but I won’t mention what college in New England, lest
you might expect too much of me. Well, as I was saying—and I in
particular had conceived quite an attachment for my Cousin Richard
Gaston. He was three years my senior, had received his education in
some out-of-the-way Catholic college situated on the top or at the
foot—I really forget which—of some mountain among the Alleghenies. We
had frequently met and exchanged visits during our vacations, and the
only objection I had to Cousin Dick was that on these occasions he made
no end of fun of my Protestant Latin pronunciation, asking me to read a
page of Virgil, and then rolling over in his chair, splitting his sides
with laughter. What he found so comical in my recitation I could not
imagine. I saw nothing in it to laugh at. This was several years ago. I
now know the cause of his mirth.

But even if Dick did make fun of my Latin, and call it barbarous,
he was a good fellow, although I must say that at times he presumed
a little upon his seniority so as to be a trifle mentorish. Indeed,
I loved him as a friend, independently of my affection for him as a
relative. He was considerate, too, and never troubled me with any of
his Romanish notions, except when I sometimes asked him a question
about the church, or touching some point in Catholic history, and
then I generally received more information than I either expected or
desired. One of these occasions I well remember, for the conversation
eventually led to serious results for me. I had gone down to spend a
week with the Gastons. One rainy afternoon—too wet to drive over to
the village, as we had intended—I had just waded through the strange,
eventful story of that gay and festive American citizen, Mr. St. Elmo,
and, as usual when at a loss for something to do, I began to look
around for Dick.

I soon found him in the library, but so entirely engrossed with a book
that he did not notice my entrance.

“What are you reading?” I asked.

“Oh!” said he, “nothing that would interest you.”

“Let me see?” I took the book, and read the title-page: _Introduction
to a Devout Life. From the French of S. Francis of Sales._ “Why, Dick,”
said I, “this is Thursday, not Sunday.”

“What do you mean?”

“Why,” said I, “on Sunday you get out the Bible, or some pious book,
and read a spell—needn’t read very long, you know, about enough to
keep your face straight for the rest of the day. It’s the thing to
do—good young man, and all that sort of thing, you know—_Cela vous
pose_, as the French say; but as to pious reading, except for that or
to fight a rainy Sabbath with—never heard of such a thing. But what’s
your book about? Who is your Sales man? Some old ‘stick-in-the-mud’ of
a stupid hermit, eh?”

“Your phrase is not of the politest,” replied Dick, “but I will answer
your question. S. Francis of Sales was not what you describe, but an
elegant, accomplished gentleman, a graduate of the Sorbonne at Paris,
and of the University of Padua, where, after a brilliant examination,
he took the degree of doctor of laws with great distinction.”

“That might all be,” I answered, for I was determined not to accept
Dick’s saint without a fight, as was indeed my duty, being a staunch
Protestant—a _rôle_ no one need ever have any trouble in filling,
for, as I understand it, you have nothing to do but deny everything
the Romanists assert—“that might all be. I suppose he took refuge in
orders and sanctimony because he had a game-leg, like your Loyola man
there—what do you call him? yes, S. Ignatius—brave fellow, by the
way, and a good soldier—or else he was jilted by some handsome girl.”

“Nothing of the kind. His early years, his youth, his student life, and
his advent in the world were all marked by a modesty, a purity, and a
piety that seemed to be the sure precursor of a saintly life.”

“Oh,” said I, “I have it now. He must have been a hard-featured fellow,
so ugly, most probably, that, piety being his only resource, he became
a regular old square-toes of a monk in advance of the mail.”

My cousin took a new book off the table, and said, “How ugly he was you
shall hear from his Protestant biographer.[51] Listen:

 “‘A commanding stature, a peculiar though unstudied dignity of manner,
 he habitually moved somewhat slowly, as though to check the natural
 impetuosity of a vigorous, healthy frame; regular though marked
 features, to which a singularly sweet smile, large blue eyes, and
 pencilled eyebrows gave great beauty; a complexion of almost feminine
 delicacy, in spite of ceaseless exposure to all weathers. His voice
 was deep and rich in tone; and, according to one who knew him, he was
 in appearance at once so bright and serious that it was impossible to
 conceive a more imposing presence.’”

“That’s all very well,” I answered, determined not to give it up
yet; “but that work of his you were reading, that _Devout life_,
is nothing but a string of prayers anyhow, isn’t it?—a sort of a
down-on-your-marrowbones manual?”

“Quite the reverse, my dear George. When the book was first published,
it was seized upon with avidity, and became immensely popular,
precisely because its author, not content with prescribing rules for
exterior acts of devotion, sought also to lead souls into the interior
life of piety. But judge for yourself. Let me read now a short extract
from the very first chapter, and you will at once see that, in the
opinion of S. Francis of Sales, the mere down-on-your-marrowbones
performance, as you not very elegantly phrase it, will not, of itself,
take you to heaven.”

“Well,” said I, “Dick, this is getting to be rather more than I
bargained for; but I’ll fight it out on this line if it takes me till
tea-time. So go on.” And he read:

 “As Aurelius painted all the faces of his pictures in the air and
 resemblance of the woman he loved, so every one paints devotion
 according to his own passion and fancy. He that is addicted to
 fasting, thinks himself very devout if he fasts, though his heart
 be at the same time filled with rancor; and, scrupling to moisten
 his tongue with wine, or even with water, through sobriety, he
 hesitates not to drink deep of his neighbor’s blood by detraction and
 calumny. _Another considers himself devout because he recites daily
 a multiplicity of prayers_, though immediately afterwards he utters
 disagreeable, arrogant, and injurious words amongst his domestics and
 neighbors. Another cheerfully draws alms out of his purse to relieve
 the poor, but cannot draw meekness out of his heart to forgive his
 enemies. Another readily forgives enemies, but never satisfies his
 creditors but by constraint. These by some are esteemed devout, while,
 in reality, they are by no means so.”

“That’s pretty plain talk,” was my comment—“a good deal plainer than
they give it to us down at our meeting-house. It sets a fellow to
thinking, too.” And here I was about to make a damaging admission,
when I fortunately recollected that I was in line of battle, with my
enemy in front. So I charged again with: “Oh! it’s easy enough to write
or preach the most pious precepts, and, at the same time, not be at
all remarkable for their practice. If your Sales man was such a fine
gentleman as you describe, I strongly suspect that that very fact kept
him pretty closely tied to the world, and that he may have been, after
all, a mere ornamental guide-post to point out to others the road he
had no idea of travelling himself.”

“George, you are incorrigible, and I doubt that you really believe
the half of what you are saying. But I shall not ask you to accept my
opinion of S. Francis of Sales’ personal piety. Here is a Protestant
estimate of it: ‘There is a beauty, a symmetry, an exquisite grace of
holiness, in all that concerns the venerable Bishop of Geneva which
fascinates the imagination and fills the heart. Beauty, harmony,
refinement, simplicity, utter unself-consciousness, love of God and
man, welling up and bursting forth as a clear fountain that never can
be stayed or staunched—such are the images and thoughts that fill the
mind as we dwell upon his memory.’

“It was in 1592,” continued my cousin, “that Francis of Sales returned
to the paternal mansion, after having been for twelve years a scholar
at the universities, and a student of the great world. His father had
ambitious projects for the advancement of his only son. By agreement of
the parents on both sides, he was to marry a rich heiress, the daughter
of the Seigneur de Vegy; and the reigning Duke of Savoy tendered him
the high position of senator; yet, notwithstanding the most energetic
remonstrances and prayers of his father and many friends, he calmly
but resolutely declined both the marriage and the senatorial dignity,
and in 1593 was received in minor orders by the Bishop of Geneva, and
ordained priest in December of the same year.”

“After which,” I interposed, “he, of course, had an easy time of it.”

“Listen, and you shall hear. The duchy of Chablais, adjoining
the Genevese territory, had in previous years been conquered and
occupied by the Bernese, and, as one of the results, Calvinism became
predominant. Restored to the Duke of Savoy in 1593 as the result of
treaties, it was important to provide for the spiritual wants of the
few scattered Catholics who remained. A learned and pious priest
named Bouchut was sent to one of the towns of the Chablais, but was
compelled to leave it, on account of the fierce and hostile attitude
of the inhabitants. It was soon understood that any Catholic priest
who undertook to minister there publicly would do so at his peril.
There was an absolute necessity that some one should go, but the
Bishop of Geneva naturally hesitated to order any of his priests to so
dangerous a mission. He would gladly have sent Francis of Sales, for
he saw that he possessed all the qualities desirable in so critical an
emergency—bravery, firmness, prudence, and gentleness, besides a name
and family position which commanded respect throughout the country.
Sorely embarrassed, the good bishop convened a chapter, and all his
ecclesiastics were summoned to be present. He laid the matter before
them, together with the letters of the reigning duke, spoke plainly of
the difficulties and perils of the mission, and asked their counsel
as to what should be done. As in the case of an overwhelming peril at
sea, or a desperate charge on a fortified place, where the captain
or commander hesitates to order men to certain death, and calls for
volunteers, so the good bishop in this manner really asked, ‘Who will
undertake this dangerous duty?’

“As the head of the chapter, it was for Francis of Sales to speak
first. No one present knew as well as he the most serious dangers of
the proposed mission.

“Amid profound and discouraging silence, he arose, and said,
‘Monseigneur, if you hold me capable of the work, and bid me undertake
it, I am ready’—few words, but to the point. Information of what
had taken place soon reached Château de Sales, and in spite of his
seventy-two years, the father instantly ordered his horse, and rode to
Annecy, where he imploringly remonstrated with his son, and begged him
to withdraw his offer.

“From the son the old man went to the bishop, and protested in tears
against the step about to be taken. ‘I give up,’ he exclaimed, ‘my
firs-tborn, the pride and hope of my life, the stay of my old age, to
the church; I consent to his being a confessor; but I cannot give him
to be a martyr.’ The father’s remonstrance was so powerful, his grief
so violent, that the good bishop was deeply moved, and gave signs of
wavering, when Francis, perceiving it, cried out: ‘Monseigneur, be
firm, I implore you; would you have me prove myself unworthy of the
kingdom of God? I have put my hand to the plough; would you have me
look back, and yield to worldly considerations?’

“But the father held out as well as the son. ‘As to this undertaking,’
he said to Francis, in parting, ‘nothing can ever make me either
sanction or bless it.’ At the last moment, several priests offered
the brave volunteer to accompany him, but he would take no one but
his cousin, the Canon Louis de Sales. It would be a long but most
interesting history to go into the details of the Chablais mission.
Under other circumstances, the people of that province might have run
the risk of being dragooned into Catholicity as they had been into
Protestantism. But the mild counsels of its noble apostle prevailed.
After trials, labors, and dangers most formidable, his holy life
and winning words of peace and reconciliation shamed persecution,
transformed hatred into respect and admiration, and the conversion of
the Chablais was the result of his holy daring. It was during this
period that he even penetrated into the camp of the enemy, going to
Geneva several times to visit Calvin’s successor, Theodore Beza, then
seventy-eight years of age.

“The Apostle of the Chablais, as Francis de Sales was henceforth called
by the reigning duke, was now urged by the aged Bishop of Geneva to
become his coadjutor, and with great difficulty was almost forced
to accept the position. He was soon after sent to Rome, to ask the
good offices of the sovereign pontiff in arranging a serious dispute
between Savoy and France, as to whether Geneva was included in the
provisions of the treaty of Vervins. Having transacted the business
of his mission, he was notified by Clement VIII. to prepare for a
public examination in his presence within a few days. It is related, as
characteristic of his strong sense of justice and independence, that,
with all his reverence for pontifical authority, and his well-known
personal humility, the first impulse of Francis was to resist this
order as an infringement upon his ecclesiastical rights. He laid the
matter before the ambassador of Savoy, who immediately sought an
audience of his holiness. Clement VIII. at once recognized the validity
of the objection, and promised that the case should not be treated as
a precedent. He had heard so much, he said, of the ability and talent
of De Sales, that he was desirous of an opportunity of judging of it
himself, as was also the College of Cardinals. The order, it was then
agreed, should stand, and the examination go on. The only preparation
of Francis for this formidable trial was—prayer. Indeed, there was no
time for any other, for there were but three days between the order and
the ordeal.

“Among the cardinals before whom he appeared were Baronius, Federigo
Borromeo, Borghese, and, among their assistants, the great Bellarmine.
Added to these was a crowd of archbishops, bishops, generals of
religious orders, and many eminent ecclesiastics of lesser dignity. A
Spanish priest of distinguished learning, who was to have presented
himself with Francis for examination before this body, was so
overpowered on entering the hall that he fainted. The scope of the
examination included civil law, canon law, and theology, but it was
confined to the last-named branch. Thirty-five questions were proposed,
and every possible objection was raised by the examiners to all the
answers. The examination over, his holiness expressed his supreme
satisfaction, went to Francis, and embraced him in presence of the
assembly, repeating the verse: ‘Bibe, fili mi, aquam de cisterna tua,
et fluenta putei tui; deriventur fontes tui foras, et in plateis aquas
tuas divide.’[52]

“In January, 1602, Francis was sent to Paris, charged with the
arrangement of certain ecclesiastical difficulties which had arisen in
consequence of the late transfer of the small territory of Gex from
Savoy to France. Negotiations with royal ministers are proverbially
slow, and a matter that Francis supposed might be terminated in six
days retained him at Paris six months. But for him this was not lost
time. He gave the course of Lenten sermons at the Royal Chapel,
preached constantly in various churches and communities, and was so
tireless in his spiritual labors that during these six months he is
said to have delivered one hundred sermons. It was during this visit
that he suggested to Pierre de Berulle (afterwards cardinal) the
foundation in France of an order for the education of the clergy, on
the model of the Oratory established in Italy by S. Philip Neri. The
project was carried out, and in 1611, when the Oratory was established
in France, its founder asked Francis of Sales to be its first superior.

“The reigning King of France was then Henry IV. He so highly prized
and admired De Sales that he offered him every inducement to remain in
France. He recognized in Francis the possession of all the qualities
and virtues belonging to the model ecclesiastic, and best calculated
to make religion respected and loved in a community scarcely recovered
from the evil effects of religious wars. The learned Cardinal du
Perron also appeared to be of the same opinion, for he said: ‘God has
certainly given him (De Sales) the key of hearts. If you want merely to
convince men, bring me all the heretics, and I will undertake to do it;
but if you want to convert them, take them to Mgr. de Genève.’”[53]

“Richard, cousin of mine,” said I, “your measure is Scriptural, heaped
up and running over. I ask you a question about that little book there
on the table, and you give me the entire biography of your Saint of
Sales. It’s all very edifying, certainly, but I want to know about the

“Oh! _The Devout Life?_” he replied. “I will tell you. In the first
place, a singular fact connected with it is that the work was completed
before S. Francis was aware that he had written a book. It happened
thus: A young, beautiful, and wealthy lady of the fashionable Parisian
world was so impressed by a sermon preached by the Bishop of Geneva
that she resolved to lead a new life, and solicited his spiritual
advice. His counsels of enlightened piety soon taught her that it was
possible to serve God with zeal without absolutely leaving the world.
Seeing her but seldom, he wrote from time to time such instructions as
he wished to convey, and also answered her letters asking for further
advice. On a visit to Chambéry, Mme. de Charmoisy—for that was the
lady’s name—showed these papers to the learned and pious Père Forrier,
rector of the College of Jesuits at that place. He was so much struck
with their contents that he had them copied, and wrote to Francis of
Sales, now Bishop of Geneva, urging him to publish them. The bishop
did not at first understand what he meant, and replied that he had
no talent for authorship, and no time to write. When the matter was
explained, and he ascertained that Père Forrier had studied and written
out what he called his ‘few miserable notes,’ he exclaimed: ‘Truly,
it is a wonderful thing that, according to these good people, I have
composed a book without knowing it.’ Very opportunely there reached him
at this juncture a letter from the secretary of Henry IV. of France,
expressing his majesty’s earnest wish that Mgr. de Genève would write a
work setting forth the beauty of religion, and showing worldly people
that a life of piety was not incompatible with a busy, active career.
‘No one,’ said the king, ‘could write such a book but Mgr. de Genève.’

“Thus pressed on all sides, the bishop set to work, made some changes
and additions[54] in the manuscript, and published it under the now
familiar title of _Introduction to a Devout Life_.

“The work had no model in French literature. It was neither apologetic
nor controversial, but purely moral and advisory; and this was much
in a period torn by religious dissensions and wars. Its success was
enormous. Praises of the book and its author poured in upon all sides.
Exaggerated encomiums disturbed the good bishop. ‘What!’ he said,
‘cannot God make fresh-water springs to come forth from the jaw-bone
of an ass? These good friends of mine think of nothing but me and my
glory, as though we might desire any glory for ourselves, and not
rather refer it all to God, who alone works any good which may be in

“Meantime, the _Introduction_ was translated into all languages, and so
widely read[55] that it was called at the time the _breviary_ of people
of the world.

“The imagery and symbolism of the book are full of grace and
attraction. It draws illustrations from pictures and flowers, and its
style is rife with similes and images which light up the essential
solemnity of the subject. As Sainte-Beuve says, ‘He puts plenty of
sugar and honey on the edge of the vase.’[56]

“But this grace of language and of style is not obtained at the
sacrifice of strength or of principle. The work has many passages full
of sombre energy, and, in particular, a meditation on death (first
book), which displays something of the peculiar vigor of a similar
chapter (twenty-third of the first book) in _Thomas à Kempis_.

“Then, there is a sharpness of penetration and a delicacy of insight
surprising to those who have not closely watched the springs of human
action and the workings of the human heart in themselves as well as in
others. Distinguished moralists, such as Montaigne and Franklin, have
discoursed eloquently and effectively on the morals and motives of
men, but you will find in none of them the elevation and purity of S.
Francis of Sales. Take, for instance, the thirty-sixth chapter of the
third book, in which he points out the almost imperceptible motives of
partiality and injustice which prompt us in everyday life to the most
selfish acts, consulting only interest and passion, while we pretend
to ourselves and others to be totally unconscious of anything in our
conduct that is not entirely praiseworthy. Listen and see how admirably
he introduces the subject: ‘It is reason alone that makes us men, and
yet it is a rare thing to find men truly reasonable; because self-love
ordinarily puts us out of the path of reason, leading us insensibly to
a thousand small yet dangerous injustices and partialities, which, like
the little foxes spoken of in the _Canticle_ destroy the vines; for,
because they are little, we take no notice of them; but, being great in
number, they fail not to injure us considerably.’

 “Now, remark how unerringly he places his finger on spots and
 blemishes that to our eyes are apparently as white as snow:

 “‘Are not the things of which I am about to speak unjust and
 unreasonable? We condemn every trifle in our neighbors, and excuse
 ourselves in things of importance; we want to sell very dearly, and
 to buy very cheaply; we desire that justice should be executed in
 another man’s house, but mercy and connivance in our own; we would
 have everything we say taken in good part, but we are delicate and
 touchy with regard to what others say of us; we would insist on our
 neighbor parting with his goods, and taking our money; but is it not
 more reasonable that he should keep his goods, and leave us our money?
 We take it ill that he will not accommodate us; but has he not more
 reason to be offended that we should desire to incommode him?... On
 all occasions, we prefer the rich before the poor, although they be
 neither of better condition, nor more virtuous; we even prefer those
 who are best clad. We rigorously exact our own dues, but we desire
 that others should be gentle in demanding theirs: we keep our own
 rank with precision, but would have others humble and condescending;
 we complain easily of our neighbors, but none must complain of us;
 what we do for others seems always very considerable, but what others
 do for us seems as nothing. We have two balances: one to weigh to
 our own advantage, and the other to weigh in to the detriment of our
 neighbor. _Deceitful lips_, says the Scripture, _have spoken with a
 double heart_; and to have two weights, the one greater, with which we
 receive, and the other less, with which we deliver, is an abominable
 thing in the sight of God.’”

“The book must be interesting,” said I. “You must lend it to me.”

“Candidly, George,” my cousin answered, somewhat to my surprise, “you
had better select something else for your reading; for, if you wish
merely to pass away the time in its perusal, it will most certainly
disappoint you, and you will find it dry and dull. If, indeed, you
desire to read it with a motive corresponding to the author’s aim in
writing it, that’s quite another affair. The book is for the heart
and the soul, not for the calculating head and worldly mind. There’s
nothing about it of what your admired Carlyle calls _dilettanteism_,
and its object is your welfare—not in this world, but in the next.”

“In what language,” I inquired, “was this work written?”

“In French, of course.”

“But Francis of Sales was, you say, a Savoyard?”

“True,” replied Dick; “what then?”

“Why, perhaps he didn’t write pure French?”

“Perhaps not. You are an American, are you not, George?”

“Of course I am; what then?”

“Why, then, perhaps you don’t speak the English language correctly. And
that,” continued Dick, “reminds me, as our late President used to say,
of a little story. You know that queer old original Major Eustace, who
lives just beyond the lake. I heard him relate that, when a young man,
he was travelling in Europe, and found himself one fine day at Moscow
without funds or tidings from home, except a letter advising him of
the failure of his father’s house. This was at a time when travelling
facilities were far inferior to those of the present day. He could not
get away, and so sat down and studied the Moscow advertisements. One
of them demanded an English tutor for the two sons (aged respectively
fourteen and sixteen years) of a Russian nobleman residing at a
well-known château near the city. Eustace was a college graduate. He
felt himself abundantly qualified for the position, and made instant
application. He was cordially received for the chances of obtaining
an English tutor at Moscow were very slim. The Russian questioned
Eustace very closely as to his acquirements—this conversation being,
of course, in French—and things went on swimmingly until he asked our
American cousin from what part of England he came. Eustace replied that
he was an American. The Russian’s face fell. ‘And what language do they
speak in America?’

“‘In the United States we speak English,’ replied Eustace.

“‘But it must be a _patois_,’ objected the Russian.

“‘Not at all,’ said Eustace. ‘We have no dialects, and, taken as a
body, the American people speak better English than the people of

“The Russian could not comprehend it. The result was that Eustace was
not engaged. Our nobleman went all the way to St. Petersburg for what
he wanted, and returned home triumphant with his born-English tutor.
Meantime, Eustace found something else to do, and remained at Moscow
long enough to acquire the Russian language, and make many pleasant
acquaintances. Being in London five years afterwards, he found the
Russian colony there in a fit of Homeric laughter over the strange
mishap of two young noblemen recently arrived from Moscow. Eustace at
once recognized the name of the Russian who insisted that Americans
speak a _patois_. His sons had been taught English by the tutor picked
up in St. Petersburg, and, fortified with plenty of money and excellent
letters of introduction, had been sent over to acquire the polish of a
London season in the best English society. In this society, then, they
made their _début_ speaking English fluently in _the broadest Yorkshire

“Now, to return to your Savoyard objection,” continued my cousin. “You
must know, my dear George, that Savoy is essentially French in tongue
and general characteristics of race. The French language is both spoken
and written there in all its purity; and many authors of worldwide
reputation as French writers are, in reality, Savoyards. There is, for
instance, Vaugelas the grammarian, Saint-Réal the historian, Ducis
the poet, the great Joseph de Maistre, his brother Xavier de Maistre,
whose _Voyage autour de ma Chambre_ I know you have read; and, in our
own day, Cherbuliez, whose success as a novelist has made the Parisian
romancers look sharply to their laurels. I have reserved mention of
S. Francis of Sales for a special reason. He wrote at a period when
the French language under the influence of Malherbe was soon to settle
down into its modern form; and so pure is his language and phraseology,
even tried by the highest French standard, that he is one of the model
authors adopted by the French Academy when its celebrated _Dictionary_
of the language was undertaken. The list of prose writers included,
among others, the names of Amyot, Montaigne, Charron, Arnauld, S.
Francis of Sales, Duplessis-Mornay, Cardinal du Perron, etc., etc.[57]
S. Francis of Sales is thus, you perceive, a French classic. The
English translations we have of his works,” continued my cousin, “fail
to do him justice.”

“Oh!” said I, “the old story—_traduttore_—_traditore_[58]—as the
Italians say.”

“Precisely so, for the sense and substance; and then, for the form and
setting, a period of nearly three hundred years has so modified shades
of signification and value in words which to-day apparently have the
same general meaning, that in our modern rendering the subtle aroma and
the more delicate beauties of thought and language appear to evaporate
in the process of translation.

“There is a certain charming simplicity and quaintness in the original
to which our grand modern style refuses to bend; and it appears to me
that we might have had an English version of the _Devout Life_ really
redolent of its author’s spirit if it could possibly have been done by
one of that noble band of young Jesuit martyrs judicially murdered by
Queen Elizabeth—say Campion or Southwell, for instance, who wrote in
the English of Shakespeare’s day—a period exactly corresponding with
that of S. Francis de Sales.”

“To sum it all up, then,” said I, “you ask me to accept this work as
perfection, and yet refuse me an opportunity of judging for myself.”

“On the contrary, George; for, although I contend that it is admirable
and, indeed, unsurpassed for its purpose, I have already said that
a reader seeking in it purely literary gratification would most
certainly be disappointed. I will say more, for I will not allow you
to monopolize the functions of _advocatus diaboli_: the book, to our
nineteenth century eyes, has several defects.”

“What do you mean by calling me the devil’s advocate?”

“Well, merely this, Cousin George. In our church, whenever it is
proposed to canonize as a saint a person of holy life, there is a
member of the commission appointed to examine the case, whose duty it
is rigidly to scrutinize all the testimony presented as to the holy
life of the deceased, to require the strictest proof, and to present
and urge every valid objection to its saintliness, such as charges of
any irregularity or lapse in conduct, morals, or faith. This official,
in short, is a sort of infernal prosecuting attorney, and has hence
received the descriptive nickname of _advocatus diaboli_. Now, it
appears to me, Cousin George, that, from the moment our conversation
on the _Devout Life_ began, you have been plying his vocation pretty

I could not deny it, so I said nothing, and allowed Gaston to go on.

“No; so far from claiming perfection for the work, I will volunteer
a criticism or two upon it. In the first place, there is an excess
of symbolism, and the multitude of comparisons and images becomes
fatiguing. Many of these images are full of grace and simplicity,
especially those drawn from the writer’s observation of nature; for
S. Francis of Sales, as we gather from this book, had a quick and
sympathetic appreciation of the charm of landscapes, the song of birds,
the fascination of flowers, and the thousand beauties of nature visible
only to one who truly loves nature, and sincerely worships nature’s
God. But there is an excess of all this; and when he gets beyond the
line of personal sympathy and observation, the comparisons become
stiff, and frequently violate good taste. Those drawn from natural
history, for instance, are strained and incongruous. The writer must
have found his Paphlagonian partridges with two hearts in Pliny. There
are many things, too, which to us appear to be in excessively bad
taste; but that is a defect not chargeable to the author individually,
but to the prevalent style of the age in which he lived. After all,
there are ‘spots on the sun.’ S. Francis of Sales did not write for
fame as an author, nor, indeed, from any worldly motive. A ‘classic
style’ and ‘the French Academy’ were inducements which never engaged
his attention. There is nothing of the rhetorician in his phrase, for
it is almost familiar in its ease and simplicity. But there’s the
tea-bell, my dear George, probably a happy release for one of us, for I
fear I have bored you dreadfully.”

“On the contrary, my dear Dick, for I have been as much edified as
interested in the saintly life you have revealed to me.”

“Why, my dear boy, I haven’t told you the half of it; nor, indeed, do I
know it thoroughly. But if it at all interests you, here it is.”

I read it, and have since read the lives and some few of the works of
several other saints, with what result it does not interest the public
to know. I can only say that I am going to fight it out on my present
line if it takes till doomsday. Cousin Dick and I are firmer friends
than ever, and Aunt Mildred from time to time asks me, with a slight
tone of sarcasm, if I saw any fashionable bonnets at our church last





AT our return, we found my mother had prepared the dinner as usual on
the days we went into the country. We joyfully seated ourselves at
the table. What is more delightful than a family dinner? And we were
all united. Louis was also in our midst. Victor was uncommonly lively
that evening. His face, so open, intelligent, and kind, was radiant.
I had never seen him so social and witty. His animation enlivened us
all—we loved him so much! Excellent man! what made him so happy was
the remembrance of the good deed he had done at the peril of his life.
I asked him more than twenty times that evening if he felt any worse,
and if it were not advisable to send for a physician. He invariably
replied that he felt as well as the day before, and even better. But
his cough grew worse from that time, and caused me serious alarm.
During dinner we conversed on general subjects, and afterwards went to
the _salon_. Victor installed himself beside the blazing fire which I
always had made for him in the evening. My mother and sister went up to
their own apartments. We were thus left alone with M. Louis Beauvais.
He turned towards Victor with a look full of respect and affection, and
I observed with astonishment that tears were streaming from his eyes.

“Madame,” said he to me, “I must appear strangely to you. Ah! that is
not the worst of it. I am a great sinner.”

Victor tried to stop him.

“No,” said he; “I will not keep silence. Mme. Barnier must know
everything, as well as you, noble-hearted man, whom I dare not call my
friend: I feel too unworthy.”

He seated himself, and, sadly gazing into the fire, began his story in
a tone as grave and sorrowful as if he were making a solemn avowal of
his faults before dying:

Ten years ago, said he, I was a Christian, not only in name, but in
heart and soul. My mother, a pious, energetic woman, such as we do not
see in our day, brought me up with extreme care, and I did my utmost
to correspond to her efforts. It is so easy and delightful to practise
one’s religion when one has faith, and feels that his endeavors are
at once pleasing to a mother and to God! My other studies over, I
became a candidate for the Polytechnic School, but was not successful
in my application. I then entered another, in order to learn civil
engineering. By the end of a year, I had given up all my pious habits
through want of moral courage. My principles, however, remained firm
enough to condemn me and fill me with remorse, but they were incapable
of restraining one who had imbibed a taste for error. Even my mother’s
death and her last words, though they affected me, did not bring me to
a sense of duty. A short time after I completed my studies in civil
engineering, my father gave me possession of what I inherited from my
mother, and asked what course I intended to pursue. “Remain at home,”
I replied,” and work under the direction of M. C——,” an architect of
the department, and a friend of the family. My father gave his consent
to this.

Left to myself, and master of my time and property, I made no delay in
commencing a life of dissipation and pleasure. My father was, above all
things, a man of forethought and calculation, and my conduct disgusted
him. We had several painful disputes, and at last he declared, to use
his own expressive language, he would give up the reins, and cease
to reproach me, but I must not thenceforth expect of him the least
advice or even aid, if I needed it. He then centred all his affections
on my brother and sister. As for me, I had begun by being idle and
extravagant: I soon became openly irreligious. My religious principles
were a restraint, and I determined to throw them aside. I thought
this would be easy. And I did prove myself uncommonly impious when
the preacher we had some months ago told us so many plain, wholesome
truths. I was not one of those guilty of disorderly conduct, whom all
respectable people must condemn; but—the acknowledgment is due you—I
approved of it, contemptible and wicked as it was. My conscience was
now roused, and remorse filled my soul with secret anger.

My mother being dead, there was no longer any one at home to speak
to me of religious things. My father is an honorable, upright man,
and attentive to his business, but as regardless of another world as
if there were none. My young brother is pious to a certain degree, I
suppose, but he is timid and reserved. Only my sister remains. Aline
left boarding-school about six months ago. She is nearly ten years
younger than I, and bears a striking resemblance to my mother. She has
the same kindness of heart and the same tone of piety, at once fervent
and rational, which I always loved and admired in my mother. I had been
separated from my sister many years, and when I met her again, I was
struck, with this resemblance, and at once conceived so much affection
and respect for her as to astonish myself.

As soon as Aline returned home, the appearance of everything changed:
the house became more attractive. I certainly do not wish to impute any
blame to my father—I love and respect him too much for that—but you
know as well as I that a house is not what it should be that has no
woman to preside over it. An Arabian poet says the mistress of a house
is its soul, and he is right. After my mother’s death, the house became
gloomy, but there was a marked change when Aline returned. It seemed as
if my mother had come back after a long absence to diffuse once more
around her cheerfulness, order, and piety.

But the superintendence of the household affairs, and her obligations
to society, did not wholly fill up Aline’s time. Like her whose
living image she was, she was eager to extend her knowledge. Before
her return, my father had subscribed for that wretched journal which
is the delight of the unbeliever, or those who wish to pass as such.
Aline sometimes read it, but she disliked it, as you may suppose. She
imparted her impressions to me, but I did not conceal from her my
sympathy with its irreligious views.

“Well, I do not agree with it in the least,” said she; “and, as I like
to know what is going on, I wish I could subscribe for M. Barnier’s
paper. Mme. C—— has lent it to me for some time. It is an able,
thoughtful journal, and edited by a sincere Catholic. That is the kind
of a newspaper that suits me.”

“Then, order it to be sent you.”

“That would be ridiculous. A young girl cannot subscribe for a

“I see no other way of having it.”

“Excuse me, there is. If you were obliging, you would see the way at

“And subscribe for you!... I subscribe for a _journal de sacristie_?...
That would be going rather too far; I should be laughed at.”

“You must have publicly compromised yourself, then, to fear making
people talk by subscribing for a respectable paper.” ...

The cut was well aimed. I reddened, but made no reply, and went away.
That night I subscribed for your paper, and received my first number.
Of course I opened it at once, out of perverse curiosity. I should have
been overjoyed to find a single flaw in it.

A short time after this, the incident at the cathedral occurred. As I
have already told you, I was not among those who made a disturbance
at the church door, but I was with them in heart. Père Laurent was
repulsive to me, as well as to most of those who displayed their
anger in so reprehensible a manner. He was everywhere the topic of
conversation. At home, my sister, who never lost one of his sermons,
annoyed me with his praises. Above all, she irritated me by repeating
his very words—words that seemed chosen expressly to disturb me and
force me to reflect.

The day after that atrocious manifestation, I eagerly opened your
journal. I was sure you would speak of the outbreak of the previous
day, and wished to see how far you would condemn it. The article
surpassed my expectations. You showed yourself more courageous than
ever. Never had you written anything that so directly hit my case. You
made use of certain phrases that reminded me of my shameful course, my
base inclinations, and my secret remorse, and in so forcible a manner
that the very perusal made me tremble with anger. That night, at our
club—that well-known circle of young men devoid of reason, and so
many men of riper years even more thoughtless—we had a great deal to
say about the occurrence of the previous day, and your article of that
morning. There was a general indignation against the preacher, and that
excited by what you had written was still stronger.

One of the _habitués_ of the club—one of those men who assume
the right of imposing their opinions on others about every
subject—seriously declared he had made a very important discovery:
the clerical party wished to overrule the city, and assert its adverse
authority as in the fearful times of the middle ages; but, however well
contrived the plot might be, it had not escaped the sagacious eye of
the speaker. The Conference of S. Vincent de Paul, more flourishing
than ever; the new development given to the journal you edit; the
arrival of an eloquent preacher—were they not all so many signs that
ought to arouse us to the imminence and extent of the danger?

The simplest and worst members of the club allowed themselves to be
influenced by this absurd declamation. I was, I confess, of the number.
Others shrugged their shoulders. The orator perceived it.

“Ah! you smile, messieurs; you think I exaggerate! In a year you will
confess I was right, but then it will be too late! Your wives will have
become devotees, the very thought of whose bigotry is enough to make
anybody shudder; your daughters will only aspire to the happiness
of entering a convent; the theatres will be closed for want of
patronage; and, if any one wishes an office, it will only be obtained
by presenting a certificate of confession. _Allez! allez!_ when that
black-robed tribe undertakes any scheme, it knows how to bring it
about. Instead of shrugging your shoulders when I reveal what is going
on, you would do better to take proper precautions. It is high time.”

A young fop in the assembly, the head clerk of a notary, notorious for
his volubility, his shallowness, and his assurance, rose and took up
the thread of discourse in his turn:

“I agree with what M. Simon has just said. We must consider the means
of utterly routing this dark race. The shortest course would be to
attack their leader. I will take that on myself. Barnier shall hear
from me.”

“No rashness!” was the exclamation on all sides. “We must beware of
making a martyr of him!”

“What course shall we take, then?” asked some of the party.

“Intimidate him,” said a voice. “Write him a letter of warning of so
serious a character as to make him desist.”

“That is also a bad plan,” objected M. Simon. “Anonymous letters are
treated with contempt, or are laid before the public. In either case,
the effect would be unfavorable to us.”

The young fop who had begun the subject now resumed:

“M. Simon, who has so clairvoyant an eye with respect to danger, ought
himself to suggest some way of bringing Barnier to reason.”

M. Simon assumed a solemn air: “I only know of one way, but that is a
good one. We must bribe him, not to withdraw from the paper—that would
be a false step, for another would take his place, and continue to
annoy us—but to induce him, in consideration of a certain sum, to wage
henceforth only an apparent war on us. That is the best thing to do.”

“Well,” replied the young fop, “it is hardly worth while to criticise
others, and then propose something not half so good. Barnier is not to
be bribed.”

“Why not?” asked M. Simon.

“Because a man whose opinions are the result of conviction can never
be bought. He fights for his flag, and is not much concerned about
anything else.”

“Convictions!—flag!—disinterestedness, indeed!” retorted M. Simon,
with a gesture of supreme contempt.

It was in vain to say that most of us had carefully observed you, and
were not mistaken as to your character. We were nearly all of the
clerk’s opinion. For once in his life, the fellow had a correct notion.
We then separated without coming to any decision, but each one promised
to think of some means of bringing you to reason, as we expressed it.
I dwelt on the subject the whole evening, and was still thinking of it
the next day when I took my place among the family at the dinner-table.

Aline was at that time greatly interested in the _soirée_ to which you
were afterwards invited, and the preliminaries were discussed at table.
To my great astonishment, she proposed to place your name on the list
of invitations. This proposition made me angry, and I flatly declared
it absurd. I was sure my father would make a similar reply. I had no
idea he would open the doors of his _salon_ to you, for I knew there
was no similarity of opinion between you. The result was precisely
contrary to my expectations. Was my father desirous of gratifying
Aline? Or did he wish to seize an opportunity of showing how little
value he attached to my opinion? I know not. But he allowed me to
finish what I had to say, and then said, in a dry tone:

“Aline, send M. Barnier an invitation. It is my wish.”

I was confounded. In my fury, I inwardly swore to be revenged. The
means of intimidating you, which the members of the club had not
been able to find without compromising themselves, I thought I had
discovered myself the night before. I communicated my plan to two of my
friends whose names I will not give. They declared it excellent, and
promised to second me.

What took place you know, but I will give you some details impossible
for you to have ascertained. I did not attend the _soirée_, but one of
my accomplices was there to keep me informed of your movements. When
you were ready to leave, he came to my room to notify me. It took only
a moment to disguise ourselves. We went out by a private door, and
dogged your steps. Ah! my dear friend, what infamous behavior! What had
you done to me that I should thus dare violate in your person the laws
of hospitality which even savages respect?

At this revelation, I turned pale. M. Louis Beauvais perceived it.

“Is not such an act unpardonable, madame?” said he. “And do you not
look upon me as worthy only of your contempt and hatred?”

“I have forgiven those who committed this wrong, whoever they might
be,” I replied. “Now I know it was you, and see how fully you repent of
it, I forgive you even more willingly.”

Thank you, madame, said he; but let me assure you that, culpable as my
intentions were, they were less so than they must have seemed to you.
We were desirous of intimidating M. Barnier, and making him believe
he exposed himself to constant serious danger by the boldness of the
course he had taken. We did not—I mistake—I did not intend to show
any physical violence, for that I considered base and criminal. I was
indignant when I saw one of our number strike him. I have ever since
regarded that young man with profound contempt. I had more than one fit
of remorse that night. The next morning, Aline, after accosting me,

“You know what happened to M. Barnier last night after leaving us. It
is infamous! It must have been a plot. I am sure you know the guilty
authors! Who are they? They ought to be punished.”

“How should I know them?” I exclaimed angrily.

“You know them only too well,” said Aline, regarding me with an air of
severity; ... “but you are not willing to betray your friends.... What

I endeavored to appear unconcerned. She continued looking at me with a
steadiness that made me shiver.

“Do not add to my distress,” said she. “Do not lay aside the only
virtue you have left, my poor brother—your customary frankness! I
understand it all, and know what I ought to say to you, but words fail
me. Ah! if our poor mother were still alive!” ...

Aline went away without another word. As for me, I remained motionless
and silent for some moments, by turns filled with shame, remorse, and
anger.... It would seem as if so grave an occurrence should have led
me to serious reflection. I felt inclined to it at first, but resisted
the inclination. I found excuses for myself, and soon thought no more
of it.

I continued, therefore, to live as I had for five years, one pleasure
succeeding another, and spending my property without reflecting what I
should do hereafter. But the day was at hand when I found myself in a
critical position in consequence of my prodigality.

When my father, in order to avert cause for contention, put me in
possession of my mother’s property, I at once took my papers to a man
in whom I placed entire confidence. I did this in order to throw off
all care. He had been for a long time my father’s cashier. He was and
is honesty itself.

“F. Martin,” said I, “here is all I possess. It will be a care for me
to keep these papers and collect my income. Do me the favor to take
charge of my property.”

F. Martin was confused and gratified at such a proof of confidence. But
his pleasure was somewhat modified when I added the following words:

“F. Martin, I attach one condition to this arrangement: you are not to
take advantage of it to sermonize me. I now tell you, with a frankness
that will preclude all surprise, I wish to amuse myself.... To what
degree, or how long, I cannot say, but such is my present intention,
that is certain.”

“O M. Louis, if your mother could only hear you!”

“F. Martin,” said I, with a gesture, as if to take back my portfolio,
“if you are going to begin to preach to me, take care!... I shall
give my papers to some one who may rob me. Then, instead of merely
curtailing my property a little, I shall spend it all in two years, or
four at the furthest; or rather, we shall spend it between us.”

“Dreadful boy! I always said you had the faculty of making everybody
yield to you. Well, I will do as you wish.”

“Ah! that is right. One word more. When I have but twenty thousand
francs left, you may warn me—not before!”

Things went on thus till a few days ago. I spent my property with a
rapidity that frightened me when I thought of it. My father perceived
it. My extravagance excited his indignation, but, faithful to his
resolution to avoid all contention, he forebore saying anything.
Not quite a fortnight ago, I met with a sad disappointment. An old
aunt of mine died. I had calculated on being her heir, but she left
all she had to my sister and other relatives, and gave me nothing.
My unwise conduct had for some time prejudiced her against me. This
disappointment made me quite thoughtful. I wrote F. Martin that I
wished to know the exact state of my affairs. The next day Martin
arrived at the appointed hour. He was pale and agitated—pitifully so.

“M. Louis,” said he, “you anticipated me. I was going to request an
interview with you. You have now only twenty thousand francs!”

I made a strong effort to control myself, and replied, with a smiling
air: “Well done! that is rather fast work!”

“So fast that I can hardly believe you have come to this. But it is
really so!”

“Where are the twenty thousand francs, Martin?”

“Why, I have not got them, M. Louis! I have only five thousand left
besides what you took.”

At this, my strength almost failed me. I at once realized I was
completely ruined. Fifteen months before, I had withdrawn twenty
thousand francs from Martin’s hands under the pretext of investing
them in a particularly advantageous manner. A trip to Germany, play,
and some pressing debts absorbed this sum without Martin’s knowing it.
I quietly dismissed him, saying I would see him again the next day.
Left alone, I balanced my accounts. Alas! my affairs were desperate!
The five thousand francs in Martin’s possession were all I had left,
and my debts amounted to four times that sum!

All day yesterday I remained stupefied, as it were, at so unexpected a
disclosure. My father had gone to Paris. I resolved to take refuge in
the country, and come to some decision. I went, scarcely knowing what
I was about, angry with myself, with everybody else, and desperate.
All night I sought some way of escape from the terrible blow that
had befallen me. I walked to and fro. From anger I sank into the
most profound dejection. The very thought of applying myself to any
occupation whatever appeared, above all, intolerable.

When morning came, I mechanically went to walk beside the river that
runs about a hundred yards from our house, and fell into a gloomy
reverie. The sleepless nights, the rioting, the habits to which I had
successively given myself up for years, the painful anxiety of the
previous night, had excited and weakened my nervous system. I was, as
it were, deprived of my reason.

While I was thus lingering on the shore, it seemed as if a mysterious
voice invited me to bury myself in the current before me. A terrible
struggle took place between my reason, the instinct that restrained
me, and the hallucination that kept drawing me nearer the bank. Reason
failed me. In a fit of despair, I cast myself into the stream. As soon
as I felt the cold water, my reason, my faith, awoke as ardent as in
the days of my boyhood. A cry issued from the very depths of my soul:
“O Mary, save me!” It would be impossible to tell you with what fervor,
what terror, I uttered this short prayer—impossible, also, to express
the immense joy that filled my heart when I realized I was saved.
But what confusion mingled with this joy—what gratitude, too, what
admiration of the designs of God, when I saw it was you who had rescued
me at the peril of your life!



M. Louis Beauvais had finished his story.

“And now,” said Victor, in the cheering, confidential tone of one
friend who wishes to encourage another, “what are you going to do?”

“That is precisely the question that preoccupies me. In fact, I see
no way of solving it. Were you to ask me what I am not going to do,
oh! then I should not be embarrassed for a reply. At all events, had
I even the means, I should not wish to continue the life I have led.
Nor do I any longer desire to escape from the trying position I am in
by having recourse to the cowardly, criminal means I took in a moment
of madness. Suicide fills me with horror! One must behold death face
to face, as I have to-day, to realize how easily a man can deceive
himself. I had really arrived at such a state of indifference and
insensibility that it seemed as if I had never had any religion; but
the terrible thought no sooner sprang up in my soul that I was about
to appear before God, than I found myself as sincere a believer as on
the day of my first communion. My whole life passed in review before
me, and I condemned myself without awaiting the divine sentence. When I
recall the inexpressible terror of that moment; when I remember if God
had not sent you to my assistance, and that, had it not been for your
heroism, I should have been for ever lost, there springs up in my heart
a continually increasing gratitude to my heavenly Father, and to you
who were the agent of his mercy.”

“Then, my friend,” replied Victor gravely, “you will allow me to make
one request.”

“Consider whatever you would ask of me granted in advance.”

“Then, forget the past six or eight years of your life, and become
again what you were under your mother’s influence.”

“I pledge you my word to do so, and hope by the divine assistance never
to break my promise—a promise I make with inexpressible joy. But that
is not all. What course do you advise me to take?”

“If I may form an opinion of your sister from what you say, she must be
a person of intelligence, kind feelings, and decision. In your place, I
would go to her, make known my exact situation, and ask her advice.”

“Yes; that is the best course to take. The idea pleases me. I will put
it in execution this very evening. My father is to be absent a day or
two longer. I shall have a good opportunity of talking freely with
Aline. I will go directly to her when I leave you. To-morrow morning I
will return and give you an account of our interview.”

Louis left us a few moments after. We commended him to God with all
our hearts at our evening devotions. It was so impressive a spectacle
to behold a soul break loose from past habits, and return to God
humiliated and conscious of his weakness—repentant, and burning with
ardor to enter upon a new life.

During the night, Victor was seriously ill. Fearing he was going to
die, I exclaimed, in a moment of anguish:

“Oh! that unfortunate adventure! That wretched young man will be the
death of you!”

“Take that back, dear,” said Victor; “it pains me. Instead of deploring
this occurrence, and calling it unfortunate, you should thank God.
He has thus granted my dearest wish. From the time I found my days
numbered, I prayed God to grant me every possible opportunity of
showing how earnestly I wished to serve him during the short time
left me on earth. He has now granted my desire. If my going into the
water to-day leads to my death, I shall have the infinite joy of being
in a certain sense a martyr, for I fully realized the danger. But an
interior voice whispered: ‘There is a soul to save,’ and I plunged into
the river.... Others would have done the same, but God does not give
every one such an opportunity. I thank him for having granted it to me.”

By degrees Victor’s alarming symptoms wore off. When he awoke the next
morning, he was much better than I had dared hope. He recalled with
a lively joy the events of the previous day, and expressed an eager
desire to know what Louis and his sister had decided upon.

We were not kept in suspense long. Louis arrived about nine o’clock.
Seeing his face was calm and happy, my poor husband manifested a
livelier satisfaction than I had ever known him to express.

“Sit down there,” said he, pointing to an arm-chair beside his bed,
“and give us the details of all you have done.”

As we agreed upon last evening, replied Louis, I went directly home
after leaving you, and inquired if my sister was in. They told me she
was. I went to her room. It was vacant. A servant informed me that
she had given up her old chamber some weeks before, and now occupied
my mother’s. I found Aline sitting in the middle of the room beside
a stand, in the same arm-chair my mother made use of to the last. I
cannot express the emotion that overpowered me when I entered. The
aspect of the room, the sight of the well-known furniture, Aline’s
grave air, and her resemblance to my mother, all carried me back ten
years. It seemed as if I were once more in the presence of her whom
I loved so much, but whose counsels I had followed so poorly. My
agitation increased when Aline sprang towards me, clasped me in her
arms, and covered my face with her tears.

“Wicked, wicked boy, she cried; you wished to put an end to your life!
How sinful in you! and what sorrow for us! Oh! conceal nothing from
me.... You are very unhappy, then?... You have no confidence in me?...
Come, tell me all. Leave me no longer in a state of uncertainty. And,
first, have you renounced your horrible project?”

Her voice betrayed such profound emotion, her eyes such tender
affection and deep anxiety, that I was affected to tears. I began by
begging pardon for all the anxiety I had caused her. I pledged my word
to enter upon a new life. When we were both somewhat calmer, I told her
all I had related to you. At the end of the account, she looked at me
as a mother would at her son, and said:

“Louis, the hand of God has visibly interposed in your behalf.
Everything shows you would have been drowned. And what a horrible
end!—in that river where so few people go, especially the spot you
chose, had not Providence, at the very moment you plunged into the
water, sent a man, a noble-hearted man, to save you at the peril of
his life. That is not all. When you were able to thank your deliverer,
you found it was—the very man who had already been brought to death’s
door through your fault. If I am not deceived, this is a wonderful
interposition of Providence. You have been a great sinner, my poor
boy, and your conversion had to be effected by a great sacrifice. This
sacrifice has been offered by M. Barnier in risking his life in order
to restore you to existence, which you wished to deprive yourself of. I
believe—pardon my great frankness—God wished, I believe, to inspire
you with thorough repentance by showing you your victim under the form
of your deliverer. Oh! if this repentance is not lasting, I shall
tremble at the thought of the chastisement that the justice of God,
weary of pardoning you, has in reserve. But, no!—there is no fear of
that. And now, what are you going to do?”

“Put an end to my idle life.”

“Very well. It was idleness especially that caused your ruin. But what
occupation will suit you? No imprudent heroism! You must do something
that will be congenial.”

“I am an engineer. It is time to remember it. I am going to Paris.
Either there or elsewhere I can easily find a place in some

“Very well. Father is to return to-morrow evening. What has occurred
cannot be concealed from him. I am even of the opinion it would be best
to tell him the whole truth. Only ... you will allow me to speak with
the frankness of a sister who loves you, will you not?”

“Oh! yes. Speak to me as our mother would.”

“Well, then, I must acknowledge father is extremely offended with
you. He is kind, very kind, as you know, but he cannot endure want of
calculation, especially in money matters, and your manner of conducting
has excited his indignation. I fear, therefore, he will at first be
greatly irritated at learning what has taken place. Public rumor will
at once inform him of it, so that, when he sees you for the first
time, you will not be able to induce him to listen to you. With your
consent, I will talk with him first. To prevent a premature explanation
with him, I propose you should go and pass two or three days with Aunt
Mary. She is now at her country-seat in M——. It is not far off. I can
easily send you word when it is time for you to return.”

I need not say with what gratitude I accepted this proposal, which
revealed the kindness of a sister, the delicacy of a woman, and the
prudence of a mother.

Aline continued: “I have two more requests to make. If you were a
different person, I might hesitate. But you were once pious. You are
better instructed in our religion than most of the poor young men
of our day. In a word, you have never lost your faith. Do not delay
having recourse to the remedy. Go to confession as soon as possible.
Confession develops repentance, puts a seal on our good resolutions,
and confers a special grace to keep them. I speak as I think. A
repentance that remains purely human cannot be lasting.”

I promised to go to confession to Father——, and shall keep my promise.

“One favor more,” resumed Aline. “It is a somewhat delicate matter,
but let us talk with the same freedom and simplicity that we did in
our childhood. That is the shortest way to come to an understanding.
You say you are fifteen thousand francs in debt. Knowing my father’s
disposition as I do, I am sure this will cause trouble if he knows it.
He is a man who would forgive your spending a hundred thousand francs,
but a debt of five hundred would make him extremely angry. This is
strange, but it is so. And you may be sure as soon as your creditors
hear of your ruin, they will come upon you. We must, therefore, hasten
to forestall them. We must settle with them where they are. Will you
permit me to render you a little service?... Sit down here, and draw
up, as papa would say, a schedule of your debts. I will give it to our
head clerk to-morrow, bind him to secrecy, and before noon you will be
free from debt.”

I was profoundly moved by so much generosity, and so profuse in my
thanks as to greatly touch Aline herself. But she concealed her emotion
under a lively, playful manner. I had to make out a list at once. I did
so, and gave it to Aline. She took it with a smile, and folded it up
without looking at it. There were two small sheets, one of which was
nearly blank.

“Why two papers?” she asked mechanically.

“One contains the list—the sad list; the other is a note which”....

“Ah! that is too much! Louis, my poor Louis, you are only half
converted! You do not really love me! You are unwilling to receive
anything from me. You would deprive me of the pleasure of giving this
to you. Ah! that is wrong. Oh! the contemptible _rôle_ you wish me to
play! I lend it to you! Fie, fie!” ...

So saying, Aline tore up the unfortunate note.

The night was far advanced before we separated. I had already bidden
my sister good-night. She retained my hand in hers, and, looking at me
with a caressing air, said:

“Louis, one favor more! Let us say our night-prayers together at the
foot of that bed where our dear mother made us say them so often. We
will pray for her. She watches over us. What has happened to you is a
proof of it.”

We sank on our knees beside each other. Aline said the prayers aloud.
I repeated them with my lips and in my heart, and with so much joy and
emotion that I melted into tears.

This morning I took leave of Aline. She means to come here herself,
in order to express her gratitude. My mother could not feel more. Oh!
how she loves you! As for me, I am going away ruined, but happier than
if my fortune were increased tenfold. Pray for me. And you, my dear
friend, take care of yourself. I trembled yesterday at the thought of
the danger to which you had exposed yourself in order to save my life.
I trembled as I came here, fearing your heroic imprudence might have
led to fatal results! Thank God! there is nothing serious. But redouble
your precautions; I shall need you for a long while. You will be my
best guide in the new way upon which I have now entered.

Louis then departed, leaving us exceedingly happy at the favorable turn
in his affairs.



The second day after Louis’ departure, we had in the afternoon an
agreeable surprise: Aline called to see us. All that Louis had told us
about her prepossessed us in her favor. The sight of her only increased
our disposition to love her.

Aline was at the time I am speaking of—and still is—a fine-looking
woman, tall, well-formed, and with a pleasing, intelligent face. Her
manner is a little cold at first, but her reserve is not unpleasing,
for it indicates a thoughtful mind. When she came into the room, my
husband and I were reading. She went directly to Victor, and with
emotion, but without any embarrassment, said:

“Monsieur, I am late in expressing my gratitude. Pardon this delay.
It has not been without good reasons. I was expecting my father every
moment, and was greatly preoccupied with all I had to communicate, as
well as about the reply he would make.” ...

“Mademoiselle,” replied Victor gently, “there is no need of excusing
yourself. I am happy, very happy, to see you, but had no right to
expect your visit.”

“No right, monsieur?... What! did you not save my brother’s life?...
And was it not you the unhappy fellow had before” ...

“O mademoiselle! do me the favor never to mention that circumstance!”

“You are generous, monsieur! But that is no reason why we should show
ourselves ungrateful—rather the contrary. Louis and I can never forget
that, before you saved his life, he had injured you to such a degree
that he can never be sufficiently repentant. As to my father, I have
not dared inform him of these details too painful to be acknowledged.
My father, alas! is not religious. Louis’ fault would seem so enormous
to him that he would never forgive him.”

“It is, however, of but little account. If harm has resulted from it,
Louis was only the involuntary cause. Let us adore the divine decrees,
and forgive our poor friend. He had not, after all, any very criminal

Aline looked at Victor with a sadness she could not wholly conceal. His
wasted features, his eyes hollowed by suffering, his air of languor,
nothing escaped her observation.

“I wish I could think so,” murmured she, as if speaking to herself.
“Ah! poor Louis, what remorse he must feel!”

This allusion to Victor’s sad condition brought tears to my eyes.
Victor suspected my emotion, and at once changed the subject.

“M. Louis has become my friend,” said he to Aline; “therefore pardon my
curiosity, mademoiselle, if it is indiscreet. May we hope to see him
again soon? Is M. Beauvais greatly offended with him?”

Everything is arranged for the best, though not without difficulty.
My father was not originally wealthy. It has only been by dint of
order, economy, and industry, that he has attained the position
he now occupies. When he learned that Louis had lost, or rather
squandered, his maternal inheritance, his anger was fearful. But by
degrees I made him comprehend that Louis, though ruined, had shown new
resolution—that he was willing to work; he wished to become useful,
and regain all he had lost. My father then grew calm. And yet all my
fears were not allayed. I had to tell him of Louis’ sad attempt at
suicide, of which he was still ignorant, but which he could not fail to
learn. I told him of it, dwelling on your devotedness, which struck him
most of all.

“Has Louis shown himself duly grateful to M. Barnier for the service?”
he asked. I replied that he had.

“So much the better. Such a sentiment does him honor. This circumstance
may lead to a friendship between them which cannot be too intimate, in
my opinion. And you say our prodigal son is willing to work? What is he
going to do?”

“Anything you wish, father.”

“That is easily said, but a poor reply. Nothing is well done that we
do not like to do. Has he manifested an inclination for any special

“Louis is a civil engineer. He would like to find a place somewhere in
that capacity.”

“Ah! he at length remembers he is a civil engineer!... He wishes to
turn his acquirements to some account?... It is a wonder! He need not
exile himself for that. You know Mr. Smithson?”

“Is not he the cold, ceremonious gentleman who came to see us Sunday?”

“The very one. Mr. Smithson is a wealthy Englishman who has been in
France these twenty years. He came on account of his health. He settled
at first in Paris, where he married a charming woman—a Catholic of
no property, but of a good family. This excellent Mr. Smithson was
so foolish as to speculate too much at the Bourse some years since,
and his losses were considerable. To withdraw himself from such a
temptation, he established his residence at St. M—— six months ago.
The situation pleased him, and there was another inducement: a large
paper manufactory there was offered for sale. He bought it, hoping
not only to find occupation, and feed his incessant activity, but to
repair the losses of the last few years. The mill is well situated
and well patronized. Everything would prove advantageous if Mr.
Smithson were better versed in the knowledge of machinery. But though
an Englishman, he has not been through the studies necessary to enable
him to superintend his industrial project as he ought. Besides this, he
is subject to frequent attacks of the gout. He has therefore besought
me to find him a man capable of superintending the mill under his
direction, and even of taking the whole charge if necessary.”

“So much for Louis’ affairs. What do you think of the arrangement? I
approved of it without any restriction. And you, monsieur?”

“I think, mademoiselle,” replied Victor, “that Providence continues to
treat Louis with parental kindness.”

“Oh! yes; truly parental! He will now remain under your influence. Even
in the house he is to enter, everything will encourage him, I hope, to
persist in his good resolutions. Mme. Smithson is said to be a woman of
lovely character. She has a daughter who must be a prodigy, unless I
have been misinformed. My father, who is very practical, and but little
given to exaggeration, is enthusiastic in her praise.”

Victor knowingly smiled at this last communication.

“You have divined my thoughts,” said Aline, blushing a little. “Well,
yes: this thought at once occurred to my mind. I said to myself, if
Louis can find at Mr. Smithson’s not only an occupation that will
enable him to forget the past, but an affection that will continue to
sustain him in a better course, I shall consider him the most fortunate
of men. But it is too soon to speak of that. This dear brother must
first return home, and be accepted by Mr. Smithson, to whom my father
wrote to-day.”

The next day both these things took place. Louis returned. Mr. Smithson
at once accepted him as his assistant. After calling on us with his
father, he left for St. M——.

While M. Beauvais was speaking to me, Louis said to Victor, in a low

“Everything is done. The bonds of iniquity are completely broken. I
have been to confession and to Holy Communion, and a new life has

The air of satisfaction with which he uttered these words, the calmness
and unaffected gravity he manifested, all announced he had indeed
become a new man.

“In a year he will be an eminent Christian!” said Victor, as Louis

He was not mistaken.




THE church has been commissioned to teach all mankind. It is by
preaching she fulfils this great work. But to aid her in this divine
mission, her Founder has furnished her with books written under the
inspiration of the Holy Ghost, which contain the very word of God
graven in ineffaceable characters. So precious a treasure has always
been preserved by the church with the respect it merits. Her doctors
have carefully weighed every word of these holy books; they have
taken pleasure in developing the different significations; and their
commentaries form the finest monuments of Christian literature. There,
as in a well-furnished arsenal, they have sought spiritual arms in
their warfare against the enemies of the faith, and they have defended
the Bible with unequalled zeal against all attacks and alterations
by heretics. The Scriptures have been the object of the fury of
persecutors, and more than one hero has shed his blood to defend them
from the insults of the unbeliever, and thereby had his name inscribed
on the glorious roll of the martyrology.

Protestantism, at its very birth, was desirous of profiting by this
respect of the Christian world. It affected an ardent zeal for the
sacred books, and, carrying its veneration beyond reasonable limits,
maintained that the Bible is the only rule of faith. But its very
exaggerations, by a law of Providence, have led it to the opposite
extreme. Three centuries have hardly elapsed, and the followers of
those who acknowledged no other rule of faith than the Bible, gradually
led to the verge of rationalism, accord a merely human authority to the
sacred volume.

Even from the very dawn of the Reformation, the pernicious influence
of free examination gave a deadly blow to the canon of Scripture.
Luther was the foremost. Everything in Holy Writ that conflicted with
his doctrines of wholly imputative justification, of free-will, and
the sacraments was boldly consigned among the apocryphal books. The
canon of Scripture, thus at the option of individuals, no longer had
any stability. Individual caprice led to the admission or rejection
of books that had been regarded as inspired from all antiquity. The
authenticity of the Scriptures was not only questioned, but also
their legitimate meaning. Luther denied the doctrinal authority of
the church, and was obliged to make the Bible the ground of faith;
that is, the Bible interpreted according to the particular notions
of each believer. In reality, Luther wished to subject his followers
to his own interpretation. Like rebels of every age, he arrogated an
authority he refused to legitimate power. But logic has its inevitable
laws. The Lutheran theory claimed absolute independence. It made all
Christians, even the most ignorant, even those the farthest from
the knowledge of the truth, judges of the real signification of the
Scriptures. It promised each believer the interior illumination of
the Holy Spirit in ascertaining the true meaning of the sacred text
beneath all its obscurities. But, as the divine Spirit is not pledged
to fulfil the promises of the Reformer, each Protestant interprets the
Bible according to his own views, and the various sects sprung from
the Reform have, in the name of the Scriptures, maintained the most
contradictory opinions.

Besides the change in the canon, and the false interpretation of the
holy books, there was another abuse—that of unfaithful translations.
Protestantism rejected the authority of the church, therefore it would
not receive her version of the Scriptures. It had no regard for the
Vulgate. The innovators, with Luther at their head, undertook new
translations. In their boldness, they did not shrink from attempting
to surpass the work of S. Jerome. They were not well versed in
the knowledge of the original idioms; they had access to but few
manuscripts; the copies they had were not the choicest; and yet they
imagined they could excel the great doctor who spent so large a part
of his life in Palestine, absorbed in the profound study of the
ancient languages; who took pains to collate the best manuscripts,
and was aided by the ancient rabbis the most versed in the knowledge
of Hebrew antiquities and in the languages of the East. Every day a
new translation appeared, which, under the pretext of adapting God’s
own Word to the common mind, diffused heretical novelties by means of
insidious falsifications.

The Reform was equally unscrupulous as to the correctness of the
text. The Bible was left to the arbitrariness of its editors and the
carelessness of printers. Through unscrupulousness or negligence,
many incorrect expressions crept into the versions sold to the
public. The new heresy was not wholly responsible for the numerous
faults in the various editions of the Bible. The sacred book had for
ages been subjected to all the hazards of individual transcription.
The distractions of the copyist had, in many instances, caused the
substitution of one word for another, the omission of a part of a
verse, or the transferring of the marginal gloss to the text. Hence so
many copies alike in the main, but full of discrepancies.


Such was the state of the Bible question at the opening of the Council
of Trent. Its importance could not escape the bishops who composed
that assembly, and the theologians who assisted them with their
acquirements, consequently it was the first proposed for consideration.
On the 8th of February, 1546, the fathers being assembled in general
congregation, Cardinal del Monte, the chief legate of the Holy See,
proposed the council should first consider the subject of the Holy
Scriptures, and make a recension of the canon, in order to determine
the arms to be used in the struggle against heresy, and also to thereby
show Catholics whereon their faith was grounded, many of whom lived
in deplorable ignorance on this point, seeing the same book accepted
by some as dictated by the Holy Spirit, and rejected by others as
spurious.[59] The president of the council afterwards determined the
principal points to be submitted to the consideration of the Fathers.

But this is not the place to review the account of this interesting
discussion. We will only state the results.

In the fourth session, held April 8, 1546, the council promulgated its
celebrated decree respecting the Holy Scriptures, which comprehended
two very distinct parts: the first, dogmatic; the second, disciplinary.

The dogmatic part established the authority of the sacred books in
matters of faith and morals, their divine origin, the canon, the
authenticity of the Vulgate, and the rules for interpreting the
inspired text.

The disciplinary prescriptions had reference to the use of the
Vulgate in the lessons, sermons, controversies, and commentaries; the
obligation of interpreting the Scriptures according to the unanimous
teachings of the Fathers; the respect to be paid to the divine Word,
and, consequently, the crime of those who apply it to profane, light,
or superstitious uses. The council likewise enacted severe laws against
publishers who issue the holy books, or commentaries on them, without
a written authorization of the ordinary, and against the vendors or
holders of prohibited editions; finally, it ordained that the Holy
Scriptures, especially the Vulgate, be henceforth printed with all
possible correctness.

To these prescriptions of the fourth session we will add the first
chapter of the decree of reform, continued in the fifth session,
ordering the institution of a course of Holy Scripture in certain
churches, in order that the Christian community might not be ignorant
of the salutary truths contained in the sacred volume. Such was the
reply to Protestant calumnies which accused the church of withholding
the sacred treasure of God’s Word from the faithful.

Such, briefly, were the labors of the Council of Trent with regard
to the Holy Scriptures. The importance of the decree of the fourth
session must not be estimated according to the brief place it occupies
in the canons, for, brief as it is, it has had an incalculable
influence on sacred science. This decree, in fact, gave rise to those
admirable works of criticism that have defended the authentic canon
against the attacks of heresy, and reduced the pretended discoveries
of Protestantism respecting the true canon of holy books to their
proper value; thence the number of excellent commentaries that for
three centuries have been enriching Catholic theology; and thence so
many apologetic works which have defended the truth of the Biblical
narrative against the false pretensions of rationalistic history.
To this same decree we owe the many learned researches concerning
the original text, the primitive versions regarded as genuine in the
ancient churches, and, above all, the incomparable edition of the
Vulgate—the result of thirty years’ labor by those most versed in the
study of sacred literature.

It would seem as if there were no necessity of reconsidering a question
so fully weighed by the Council of Trent. And yet the Fathers of the
Vatican also deemed it proper to take up the subject of the Holy
Scriptures, in order to reaffirm what had been defined by the Council
of Trent, to give greater prominence to points that the council had
left obscure, and to clear up some difficulties of interpretation that
had arisen within three centuries even among Catholic schools. The
dogmatic part of the decree of Trent alone was renewed and completed
by the Fathers of the Vatican. The exclusively doctrinal character of
the decree _Dei Filius_ admitted no reconsideration of the disciplinary
laws relating to the publishing of the holy books, or their
commentaries, and the abuses that might be made of the sacred text.
Besides, the penalties decreed by the Council of Trent were such as in
our day could not be put in execution, as they consisted not only of
spiritual censures, but pecuniary fines. The ecclesiastical authority,
deprived of its ancient tribunals, and living in the midst of a society
whose leading maxim is liberty of the press and liberty of conscience,
could not revive the old penalties. The Fathers of the Vatican also
omitted everything respecting the authenticity of the Vulgate. Many of
them, however, requested the council to ratify the decree of the fourth
session of Trent on this point, but the greater part of the bishops did
not deem it advisable to accede to the request. What, indeed, could
they add to that which had been so wisely defined by the Fathers of
Trent? Besides, is not the Vulgate received without protest by the
whole Catholic world as the only version recognized by the church as
authentic? As to the rationalists, it is not the translation of the
sacred books they attack, but the books themselves, their canonicity
and supernatural origin.

Laying aside, therefore, all these questions so important in
themselves, but which are not now points of controversy, the Council of
the Vatican only dwelt on the authority of the Scriptures, their divine
origin, the canon, and the rule of interpretation. On all these points
it had to oppose modern rationalism, and banish false and dangerous
theories from Catholic schools of theology.


First, in opposition to rationalism, the council teaches that divine
revelation is comprised in the Scriptures and tradition. This was
declared in the same terms by the Council of Trent, but it was by no
means useless in these times to renew so fundamental a definition.
Modern science rejects revelation: to be consistent, it ought also
to reject its monuments. It regards the Holy Scriptures as merely of
human authority. It does not, it is true, imitate the cynicism of the
philosophers of the XVIIIth century: it does not make our holy books
the butt of their foolish railleries. On the contrary, it affects
a profound respect for them, though it refuses to accept them as
the organ of divine communications. It regards them as it would the
discourses of Socrates—as books full of admirable wisdom which every
philosopher ought to know and study, but which do not owe their origin
to inspiration, properly so-called, or to revelation.

Discussion as to such an error was impossible. The council had merely
to pass its judgment, and repeat what the church had taught its members
for eighteen centuries, as a fresh proof that the Christian faith does
not falter in encountering the many new forms of incredulity. Having
affirmed the truth of revelation, it was necessary to point out what
it was contained in, that the Christian might know where to study the
science of salvation. It says: “This supernatural revelation, according
to the belief of the universal church, as declared by the holy Council
of Trent, is contained in the written books and in the unwritten
traditions that have come down to us.”

But what books contain this revelation? Pursuing the subject, the
council defined anew the canon of Scripture, which the state of the
times made, if not necessary, at least very opportune. Protestant
critics have not ceased since the Reformation to attack the canon
sanctioned by the authority of the church. Rationalism has come to the
support of Protestant criticism, and sometimes flatters itself it has,
by its historical discoveries, blotted out the entire list of the
holy books. The unadulterated traditions preserved by the church have
no scientific value in the eyes of rationalism, which only admits the
canonicity of those books that can trace the proofs of their origin
back to the very time of the apostles. Tertullian took a wrong stand in
asserting that the dogmas of faith should have prescriptive proof. In
vain the Catholic points out the wholly exceptional circumstances that
surround the Scriptural canon—the impossibility from the very first
of admitting books of doubtful origin as coming from the apostles,
or that these books could have been changed in any respect under the
jealous guardianship of a church and hierarchy spread over the face of
the earth, and charged with the conservation of the sacred deposit.
The incredulous critic refuses to receive proofs which the most common
mind perceives the full value of as well as the good sense. What does
he substitute for them? Theories founded on mere conjecture, and
constantly changing, but which are welcomed as the final conclusions
of science. Have we not seen the school of Tübingen found on some
obscure words of Papias a whole system tending to establish the more
recent composition of the Gospels? These new doctors regard the books
of divine truth as some of those legends that are embellished as they
pass from mouth to mouth till they are collected in a definite form by
some unknown writer. And has not this strange theory met with ardent
panegyrists in France, as if it were the definite solution of the great
controversy on the origin of the Gospels?[60]

Whoever attentively examines these strange theories will soon perceive
their weak point. But where are the men in the present generation who
read with sufficient care to see the hollowness of such solutions?
Their authors have seats in our academies; they occupy the most
important professorships; there is not an honorary distinction that
does not add its recommendation to their apparent knowledge. Skilled in
praising one another, the journals and reviews regarded as authorities,
even by certain Catholics, extol their labors. One would think they had
a monopoly of science. Has not all this been a source of real danger to
the faith of Christians?

The church had to counteract the influence of a criticism as bold as
it was easy, by her immutable decrees. It must once more affirm the
ancient canon of Scripture. This catalogue of the sacred books had
been solemnly approved at the end of the IVth century, in a celebrated
decree of the Councils of Hippo and Carthage, in which the Fathers
declared they received this canon from their ancestors in the faith. A
little later, Pope S. Innocent I. sent this same canon of Scripture to
S. Exuperius, the illustrious Bishop of Toulouse. S. Gelasius, in 494,
included it in his synodical decree. Finally, the Council of Florence,
in its decree relating to the Jacobites, and, at a later period, the
Council of Trent, sanctioned it by their supreme authority. Several
of the Fathers of Trent proposed to subject it to a re-examination;
not in order to retrench anything, but to satisfy the heretical, and
convince them by such a discussion that the Church of Rome had not
lightly decided on the list of the inspired books. But a large majority
of the Fathers thought, and with reason, that such a discussion
was appropriate to schools of Catholic theology, but to a council
it belonged to pronounce authoritatively. The canon of Scripture,
being a dogma of faith, formally defined by popes and councils, and
consequently unchangeable, could only be proclaimed anew and without
discussion.[61] The Council of the Vatican came to a like decision,
and, in declaring its acceptance of the canon of the Council of Trent,
with each of its books, in all the parts, it strengthened the faith of
Christians against the shameful pretensions of false science.

This course has shocked the Protestant historian of the council. M.
de Pressensé is indignant at so summary a procedure. “The council,”
he says, “has fallen into a profound and dangerous error on two
important points. In the first place, it proclaims the indisputable
canonicity of all the books of the Vulgate, including the Apocrypha[62]
of the Old Testament, thus showing it regards the immense labors of
the critics of the XIXth century as of no account, and acknowledging
that it is not permitted, for example, to question the origin of the
Gospel of Matthew, or the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, by
referring to such and such an expression of a Father of the IId and
IIId centuries.[63]The Catholic Church is thus prevented anew from
taking any part in the great work of Christian science of our day,
which consists in establishing a safeguard to the true canon of Holy
Scripture by free and conscientious research. What confidence can we
have in Catholic theology, on those points disputed by rationalism,
like the authenticity of the fourth Gospel? Examination, even, is
forbidden. Everything must be accepted in a lump. How much valuable
co-operation is thus lost or made fruitless through the council!”[64]

The church, then, at the bidding of this Protestant theologian, should
renounce her right to decide on the true Scriptures, and give up the
canon to the researches of rationalistic science, and this in order
to provide a safeguard for this same canon. An amusing idea, to give
up the catalogue of holy books to the caprice of incredulous critics
in order to preserve it intact! And besides, what new documents can
rationalistic science bring to light not perfectly known and considered
by the Catholic theologians of the last three centuries? Catholic
doctors have seen and weighed these difficulties as fully, to say
the least, as Protestant critics, but they have not thought a few
obscurities ought, scientifically, to outweigh immemorial prescription,
or, dogmatically, the perpetual usage of the church and the decrees of

Rationalism, on the contrary, appeals to obscure passages, or hasty
conclusions sometimes to be met with in the Fathers, in order to
exclude books from the Scriptural canon that have been venerated from
time immemorial as inspired. On which side is the real scientific
method? If historical records merit any confidence in spite of
difficulties of detail, no person of sincerity would hesitate to give
the preference to the theological rather than the rationalistic method.

As to the reproach made against the church for confining criticism
within such narrow limits as to stifle it, nothing is more contrary
to experience. The Council of Trent likewise decided on the canon of
Scripture, and yet what extensive labors, how many learned works,
have been published within three centuries in reply to the attacks of
Protestantism, and in order to establish the authenticity of the books
rejected by the Reformer! No, indeed; the church, in defining the
canon of Scripture, does not discourage the researches of the learned
respecting the Bible. The love of sacred literature, in the first
place, and also the necessity of defending Catholic belief against the
constantly renewed attacks of heterodox criticism, will keep Catholic
apologists constantly at work. The church, in maintaining its canon,
directs their labors, but without putting any restraint on their


Besides reaffirming the ancient decrees relating to the canon of
Scripture, the Council of the Vatican has completed and explained more
clearly what faith requires us to believe respecting the origin of the
holy books. This point had not been fully decided. The wants of the
times had not before required it. But the attacks of rationalism, and
the misinterpretations of semi-rationalism, required a more definite
decision in order to put an end to dangerous teachings even in Catholic

Christians have from the beginning believed God to be the author of
the Holy Scriptures. The Fathers of the fourth Council of Carthage, in
the profession of faith required of the new bishops, expressly made
mention of this truth. The same profession of faith is made in our day
by those who are promoted to the episcopate. Pope S. Leo IX., in the
profession of faith to which he required Peter of Antioch to subscribe,
declared God to be the author of the Old and New Testaments, including
the law, the prophets, and the apostolic books. The Council of Florence
inserted this same article in the decree about the Jacobites: The most
holy Roman Church “confesses that it is one and the same God who is the
author of the Old and the New Testament; that is to say, the law, the
prophets, and the Gospel; the saints of both Testaments having spoken
under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit.” Finally, the Council
of Trent, renewing the decree of Florence, accepted all the canonical
books of the two Testaments, God being the author of them both: _Cum
utriusque unus Deus sit auctor_. Besides, all these decrees were only
an expansion of the words of the Nicene Creed: _Qui locutus est per

The Catholic dogma is explicit: “God is the author of the books
of the Old and the New Testament.” The definitions of the ancient
councils had for their direct object the condemnation of the errors
of the Manichees, who made a distinction between the two Testaments,
attributing the first to the evil principle, the second to the true
God. But, secondarily, these definitions, referring to the actual
origin of the Holy Scriptures, declare they have God for their author.
The Council of Florence gave this explanation: “Because the saints of
both Testaments wrote under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit.”

But what is meant by inspiration? An important question, on which not
only Protestants differ from Catholics, but on which even orthodox
writers are not agreed.

To say what Protestantism understands by the inspiration of the
Scriptures would be difficult, or, to speak more correctly, impossible.
In a system where all belief is founded on free examination, there
must be an infinite variety of doctrinal opinions. The first Reformers
understood the inspiration of the holy books in the strictest
sense—every word of Scripture was sacred. Now, Protestantism, even
the most orthodox, allows greater latitude. Constrained to make more
or less concession to the encroaching spirit of rationalism, it takes
refuge in vague expressions that leave one in doubt as to the part
God had in the composition of the sacred books. Here is a pastor who
considers himself orthodox, and boasts of remaining faithful to the
principles of Luther and Calvin; he enters upon the subject of the
Scriptures, and speaks at length on the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.
Nevertheless, in these holy books inspired by God, he admits the
possibility of complete error when there is any question of history or
science which does not touch directly on religious dogmas or precepts.
Even in what relates to religious truth, inspiration, to him, is
reduced to I know not what particular assistance granted those who
had witnessed the life of Christ, in relating what they had seen and

According to this theory, every way so vague, we ask ourselves, What
was the nature of the inspiration imparted to the Evangelists SS. Mark
and Luke, who were not witnesses of our Saviour’s deeds, but merely
related what they had heard from others; what was the nature of that
imparted to S. Paul, who had never seen Christ, and took something very
different for the subject of his epistles from the acts and discourses
of the Redeemer?

The incertitudes of Protestantism had pervaded more than one Catholic
school, especially in Germany. Jahn, in his introduction to the books
of the Old Testament, confounds inspiration with assistance. A book
composed by the mere light of reason and pure human industry might be
placed on the catalogue of Holy Writ, if the church declared God had
preserved the writer from all error in the composition of the work.
Who does not see the falseness of a system which would include all the
dogmatic decrees of the popes and councils in the canon of Scripture?
Others confound inspiration with revealed truth. Every book written
according to the precise spirit of divine revelation could be placed
in the canon. According to this, not only the definitions of popes and
councils, but many ascetic works, sermons, and catechisms, might be
reckoned among the Holy Scriptures.

Finally, others, desirous of explaining the difference to be seen in
the various books of the Bible, think several kinds of inspiration
are to be distinguished. Sometimes the truths the sacred writer had
to record were above human comprehension, or at least unknown to him,
and could only be learned by actual revelation. The inspiration God
accords for this class of truths supersedes all effort on the part
of the writer. It is a suggestive inspiration, or, as it is called,

If the sacred writer was himself aware of the facts he related, and the
philosophical maxims he proposed to insert in his book, or if he had
drawn from any other source the truths he undertook to record, he had
no need of suggestive inspiration. His book, however, is to be regarded
as the work of God if he received special assistance to guide him in
the choice of the truths he recorded, and prevent him from making any
mistake in expressing himself. This is what is called _concomitant_

Finally, suppose a work composed by mere human wisdom, without any
other participation on the part of God than general assistance, and
it comes to pass that God, by the testimony of his prophets, or the
voice of the church, declares this book exempt from error, it is
thereby endowed with infallible authority, and may be reckoned among
the Scriptures. This kind of approval has been styled, though very
improperly, _subsequent_ inspiration.

These three distinct kinds of inspiration have been taught by eminent
theologians, such as Sixtus of Sienna (_Biblioth. Sac._ l. viii. Hæres,
12 ad. obj. sept.), Bonfrère (_Proloq._ c. viii.), Lessius and Hamel
(_Hist. Congreg. de Auxiliis_, a Livino de Meyere, l. i. c. ix.). But
these doctors never actually applied this distinction to the books that
compose the canon of Scripture. It was for them a mere question of
possibility: could books thus authentically approved have a place in
the Scriptural canon? They replied in the affirmative. But are there
actually any of our holy books that are wholly due to human industry,
and which God has declared sacred by subsequent approval? We give
Lessius’ opinion: “Though I do not believe this kind of inspiration
produced any of our canonical books, I do not think it impossible”
(_loc. cit._).

But the wise reserve of these great theologians has not been imitated
by all. A learned German professor, who is likewise a highly esteemed
author, has not hesitated to apply the distinction of these three
kinds of inspiration to the existing books: “The kind of inspiration,”
he says, “that produced such and such a book, or such and such a
passage, it is almost impossible to determine in particular. We can
only say that the parts where we read, _Thus saith the Lord_, or a
similar formula, probably belong to the first kind of inspiration; the
historical narrations that came under the writer’s observation belong
to the third (subsequent inspiration); the poetical books seem to come
under the second (concomitant inspiration).”[66]

These systems, it is manifest, weaken one’s idea of the inspiration
of the sacred volume as always understood by the church. We want an
inspiration by virtue of which the book is really the work of God,
and not of man—the truths it contains of divine, and not of human,
origin: man is the instrument, he who dictates is the Holy Ghost:
man lends his hand and pen, the Spirit of truth puts them in action.
But in the systems referred to, it is not really God who speaks: it
is man. Supernatural testimony gives indeed a divine authority to a
book, but it could not make God the author of what was really composed
by man. And though these writings should contain the exact truths
of revelation, they would be as much the result of human wisdom as
sermons, catechisms, ascetic books, and even the creeds and decrees of
councils which clearly state the doctrines of the church.

It was the duty of the council to put an end to interpretations which,
depriving the sacred books of the prestige of divine origin, diminished
their authority among the faithful. It has therefore defined what every
Catholic must believe concerning the degree of inspiration accorded to
the sacred writers. This definition is first stated in a negative form:
“The church holds them (the Holy Scriptures) as sacred and canonical,
not for the reason that they have been compiled by mere human industry,
and afterwards approved by her authority; nor only because they contain
revelation without error.” To this definition in a negative form
succeeds a positive one, in which the council declares the essential
condition of a book’s being placed in the canon of Scripture—“because,
having been written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they
have God for their author”: _propterea quod Spiritu Sancto inspirante
conscripti, Deum habent auctorem_.

The council, therefore, by this dogmatic definition, has excluded
any other meaning to the inspiration of the Scriptures that does not
ascribe them to the special agency of God. The schools are still free
to discuss what this divine operation consists in, and the conditions
on which a book may be said to have God for its author. But they must
first reject every explanation that reduces the agency of God to mere
assistance, and, still more, to subsequent approbation. It is in this
sense we must understand the fourth canon of the second series: “If any
one shall refuse to receive for sacred and canonical the books of the
Holy Scriptures in their integrity, with all their parts, according as
they were enumerated by the Holy Council of Trent, or shall deny that
they are inspired by God, let him be anathema.” It is the same anathema
pronounced by the Council of Trent, to which the Council of the Vatican
has added the express mention of the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.

There are other important observations to be made concerning this
definition. Though by no means favorable to the system of Sixtus of
Sienna, Bonfrère, and Lessius, it does not, however, condemn them in
formal terms. These theologians, as we have said, only considered the
subject _in abstracto_: Would subsequent inspiration or approbation
give a book a right to be placed in the canon?—a verbal question
rather than one of doctrine. It is certain that such a book would
have a sacred authority, but it is also certain that it could not be
called the work of God in the same sense as the holy books now in
our possession. The council, in its definition, only considered the
actual point; it declared all the books of our canon have God for
their author, because the Holy Ghost was the chief agent in their
composition. But the opinion of the modern exegete who applies the
doctrine of subsequent approbation to the books contained in our actual
canon appears to us really condemned by the new definition.

Now, the decree of the Vatican does not forbid the division of the
holy books into several classes according as the truths they contain
are recorded by the writer as a special revelation, or from knowledge
acquired by his natural faculties. But this distinction does not
infringe on the overruling agency of God in the composition of the book.

Finally, the question of verbal inspiration, so often discussed by
theologians, remains as free since the council as before. It is not
necessary for a ruler who issues a decree to dictate every expression,
but merely the substance of the new law: the secretary clothes it in
his own style. The latter is not a mere copyist: he, too, is the author
of the decree, but in a secondary sense. It is the same with regard to
the Holy Scriptures. The Holy Spirit suggests the truths to be recorded
in the prophecy, and directs the writer, but David and Isaias clothe
them in their own royal style, Amos in his rustic language.


We come now to the question of the interpretation of the holy books.
On this point, also, the Council of the Vatican has renewed and
completed the decree of the Council of Trent, which, in its fourth
session, endeavored to check the boldness, or, to make use of its
own expression, the restlessness of the free-thinkers of the age.
Protestants are constantly appealing to the Scriptures, but to the
Scriptures according to private interpretation. Agreed merely in
their opposition to the church and its doctrines, they are divided
infinitely as to the signification of the simplest texts. The strangest
interpretations are daily astonishing the faith of the believer, and
giving rise to scandals among Christians. To obviate this abuse, the
Council of Trent made the following decree: “In order to restrain
restless spirits, the council decrees that no one, relying on his own
wisdom in matters of faith and morals pertaining to the edification of
the Christian doctrine, shall wrest the Holy Scripture according to his
own private notions, and have the boldness to interpret it contrary to
the true sense in which it has been and is held by our holy mother, the
church, to whom it belongs to judge of the interpretation of the Holy
Scriptures, or contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers.”

This decree, as to its form, is chiefly disciplinary: it prohibits
interpreting the Scriptures contrary to the definition of the church
and the unanimous opinion of the Fathers in all that relates to faith
and morals.

This disciplinary prescription is based on a dogmatic principle which
the Council of Trent did not define, but which it referred to as an
incontestable truth: to wit, that to the church it belongs to judge
of the true meaning of the Scriptures: _cujus est judicare de vero
sensu et interpretatione Scripturarum sanctarum_. This truth is the
necessary consequence of the supreme magistracy of the faith. All
Catholics venerate the church as the depository of revealed truth,
and consequently of the Scriptures. But the deposit is not merely a
material one. The Christian receives the Scriptures from her, first,
because it is by her testimony he is assured of the true canon, that
they have God for their author, and that he is enabled to distinguish
the real text from the inaccuracies that have, in the course of time,
been introduced by the carelessness of copyists, as well as the
unscrupulousness of heretics. Moreover, he receives them from the
church, because through her he is made aware of their true meaning.
What would it avail him to possess the inspired volume, if, like the
book in the Apocalypse, it were sealed with seven seals? And who has
the power to break these seals but the church—bride of the Lamb?

In vain Protestantism repeats that the Scriptures are plain in
themselves, or, at least, that the interior illumination of the Holy
Spirit renders them intelligible to all. If this is really the case,
why, whenever the voice of the church is unheeded, the infinite number
of ways of interpreting the same passages? How was it that Calvin
plainly saw a mere figure of the Presence in the passage relating to
the Eucharist, when Luther clearly understood it to mean the Real
Presence? Would the Holy Spirit speak to Luther in one way, and to
Calvin in another entirely opposite? Whatever the Reformers may say,
the Scriptures are full of obscurity. The truths of salvation they
contain are not expressed in the didactic manner of a theological
treatise. The truths are there, but veiled in mystery, expressed in a
language now dead, and full of allusions to a history and to customs
widely differing from ours, as well as to the institutions and local
circumstances of a nation no longer existing. Private research would,
no doubt, enable a small number of men of intelligence and learning
to comprehend many parts of our holy books; but this means is not
accessible to the masses, who would remain for ever deprived of the
truths contained in the Scriptures if there were not on earth an
authorized interpreter of the divine text. What certitude would the
learned themselves have on this point without the help of the church?
How many divergent opinions would not liberty of interpretation
produce! It was, therefore, necessary that the church, when entrusted
with the Scriptures, should at the same time receive power to
interpret them authentically. This is why the Council of Trent forbids
interpreting them contrary to the defined meaning of the church.

Now, the church acquits itself of its duties as interpreter in two
ways: by solemn definitions, and by the ordinary teachings of its
doctors. The definitions of the church are not, in fact, restricted
to the declaration of dogmatic decisions: they often decide the real
meaning of the Scriptures. Thus we see the Council of Trent is not
satisfied with defining the divine institution and existence of the
sacrament of Extreme Unction: it also declares that the well-known
words of the Apostle S. James refer to this sacrament, and designate
its ministry, its matter, its form, and its effects.[67] In like
manner, with regard to the sacrament of Penance, not content with
defining its existence, it declares, in the first chapter of the
fourteenth session, that our Lord referred to this sacrament when,
addressing his disciples, he said: _Quorum remiseritis peccata_. We
could point out many other passages of Scripture of a similar nature
which the Council of Trent and other councils have authentically
defined the meaning of.

But the interpretation of the sacred text is more frequently shown
by the usage of the church, especially in its liturgy, and by the
unanimous or almost unanimous teachings of the Fathers and doctors.
It was thus the meaning of the passages concerning the Eucharist were
clearly determined by the liturgy, the writings of the Fathers, the
teachings of the schools, and the general sentiment of the Christian
world a long time before it was expressly defined by the Council of
Trent. In the same way, the church did not wait for the definition of
the Council of the Vatican to regard the promises of Christ to S. Peter
as made to the See of Rome, and including the essential prerogatives of
the Pontifical power.

Such was the twofold manner of defining the meaning of the Scriptures
the Council of Trent had in view when it forbade their interpretation
on points of faith and morals contrary to the sense in which they are
held by holy church and the unanimous consent of the Fathers.

This decree appears sufficiently explicit. And yet semi-rationalism
found two ways of eluding its bearing. The first was to regard this
part of the decree of the fourth session as purely disciplinary,
doubtless necessary in the condition of Christendom at the time of
the Council of Trent, but susceptible of being afterwards modified.
Now, in our day, the Catholic faith is no longer attacked as it once
was through the authority of the Scriptures. Knowledge has increased.
The commentator is forced to be mindful of the progress of human
intelligence, and to reconcile the meaning of the Scriptures with the
discoveries of the age. If one persists in asserting that the decree of
the council relates to faith as well as discipline, semi-rationalism
has recourse to another evasion: it understands this decree merely
in a negative sense; namely, that it is not lawful to interpret the
Scriptures contrary to the Catholic belief, which does not imply any
obligation to regard the meaning the church attaches to a passage
of Scripture as an article of faith. According to this rule, the
Catholic theologian could not interpret any text in opposition to the
existence of the sacrament of Extreme Unction, but, notwithstanding the
declarations of the Council of Trent, he would remain within the bounds
of orthodoxy, even if he denied that the words of S. James had any
reference to this sacrament.

Such is the half-way manner in which unsubmissive souls flatter
themselves they can remain true to the faith without accepting the
teachings of the church. For a long time this doctrine was practically
followed, though not formally stated. We will give an example. In the
XVIIth century, the Oratorian, Richard Simon, carried the boldness of
his criticisms to such an extreme that he openly acknowledged he made
no account of traditional interpretation, the authority of the Fathers,
and the teachings of the church; pretending to correct, according
to the Hebrew or Greek text, the meaning constantly followed by the
doctors of the church. Our readers are well aware with what vigor
Bossuet attacked a system so thoroughly Protestant.[68]

But this way of understanding the decree of the Council of Trent was
in direct opposition to the terms in which it is conceived. The form
doubtless is disciplinary, but the foundation of this law is expressly
stated, and is wholly dogmatic: _Cujus (ecclesiæ) est judicare de vero
sensu et interpretatione Scripturarum sanctarum_. This was not a mere
disciplinary prescript made for the first time by the council, but the
reminder of an obligation imposed on all Christians by the very nature
of revelation and the authority of the church.

If it is not true that this decree is purely disciplinary, it is
still less so that it should be understood in a mere negative sense,
as if the council only intended forbidding the interpretation of the
Scriptures contrary to the express dogmas or even the definitions of
the church and the unanimous opinion of the Fathers. The principle
on which this decree is founded goes still further: “It is to the
church it belongs to judge of the true sense and interpretation of
the Holy Scriptures.” Consequently, we ought not only to refrain from
contradicting her authentic interpretation, but should regard her as
our guide, and her decision in matters of interpretation as binding on
every Christian, so that he would fall into heresy who should refuse to
accept the meaning of a passage of Scripture as defined by holy church.
Such is the evident meaning of the decree of the Council of Trent.

This truth is so manifest that the profession of faith by Pius IV.
substitutes the positive and general form for the negative and
restrictive terms of the decree: “I also admit the Holy Scriptures
according to that sense which our Holy Mother the church hath held
and doth hold, to whom it belongeth to judge of the true sense and
interpretation of the Scriptures; neither will I ever take and
interpret them otherwise than according to the unanimous consent
of the Fathers.” Here the teachings of the church and the opinions
of the Fathers are plainly made the positive and authentic rule of

There could be no doubt as to the meaning of the Fathers of Trent.
But a controversy having arisen on a point of so much importance, the
Fathers of the Vatican were forced to explain this decree in such a way
as to prevent any ambiguity. They did so in these terms: “And since
those things which the Council of Trent has declared by wholesome
decree concerning the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures, in order
to restrain restless spirits, are explained by some in a wrong sense;
we, renewing the same decree, declare this to be the mind of the synod:
that, in matters of faith and morals which pertain to the edification
of Christian doctrine, that is to be held as the true sense of the
sacred Scripture which Holy Mother Church, to whom it belongs to judge
of the true sense and interpretation of the sacred Scriptures, has held
and holds: and therefore that no one may interpret the sacred Scripture
contrary to this sense or contrary to the unanimous consent of the

It follows from the definition of the Vatican that the decree of the
Council of Trent was not purely disciplinary, but likewise dogmatic:
that consequently it was not intended for a particular epoch and
exceptional circumstances, but was the expression of a divine law
applicable to every age, and as lasting as the church and the world;
that this decree not only forbids understanding the Scriptures contrary
to the belief and interpretation of the church, but makes it a positive
obligation to accept the meaning the church attaches to the sacred
text; in short, that the disciplinary law is founded on a dogmatic
truth which makes the authentic interpretation of the church a rule of
faith to which every mind should submit in the study of Holy Writ.

It is thus the Council of the Vatican has renewed, explained, and
completed the definitions of the Council of Trent touching the great
question of the Scriptures. The second chapter of the Constitution
_Dei Filius_, in addition to the decree of the fourth session of the
Council of Trent, henceforth forms the basis of theological teachings
in everything relating to Biblical science.


 This bald, unjointed chat of his, my lord, I answered
 indirectly—_Shakespeare, Henry IV._

AUTHORS are proverbially not the best judges of their own works. It is
as rare, therefore, as it is gratifying to meet with one whose verdict
on his own production exactly coincides with that of the critic. Such
a fortunate concurrence of opinion between the writer and the person
to whose lot it has fallen to pass sentence on a work for a certain
portion of the public, relieves the latter gentleman of a vast amount
of responsibility, and renders his difficult task infinitely lighter
and more pleasant than such a task generally proves to be.

When, then, Mr. Fiske, the author of _Myths and Myth-Makers_, is kind
enough gratuitously to inform us in his preface that the “series
of papers” of which his book is composed is “somewhat rambling and
unsystematic,” it can be considered no injustice to him, and no
presumption on our part, to say that we cordially agree with him.
And when he further informs us that, “in order to avoid confusing
the reader with intricate discussions, he has sometimes cut the
matter short by expressing himself with dogmatic definiteness where a
sceptical vagueness might perhaps have been more becoming,” we find
nothing whatever to object to in this statement, with the solitary
exception of the word “perhaps,” which, if suppressed, would bring it
nearer the exact truth.

However, Mr. Fiske has here furnished us with a very fair idea, of
what the reader is to expect from his _Myths_. He himself has passed
sentence on himself. He tells us practically that we must not expect
too much from his “rambling” papers; he forestalls, if he does not
deprecate, criticism by assuring us at the outstart that his fault
has not been on the side of modesty of opinion and judicial weighing
of what he set forth. What, then, is left for the critic to do but to
confirm the self-condemnation of the author?

But we cannot allow Mr. Fiske to escape us in this fashion. Mr. Fiske
is an M.A., and Mr. Fiske is an LL.B., and a professor, and a professor
of philosophy—at Harvard, too. So that, although the dates so
carefully affixed to the end of each of his “rambling and unsystematic”
papers indicate that Mr. Fiske knocked this book off in three months,
still three months of philosophic chaff from a Harvard professor ought
surely to contain some grains of wheat.

The book in itself is not an uninteresting one. It is chock-full of
mythical stories, or folk-lore, or whatever people may please to
call what in our younger days we should have comprised under the one
delicious head of fairy-tales. To be sure, the stories were all told
before and by somebody else; but then, Mr. Fiske gives everybody
due credit, and confines his own portion of the work to a running
commentary with an undercurrent of foot-notes, and all sorts of
quotations, from the Rig-Veda down to Jack and Jill. We cannot in
justice say that Mr. Fiske’s portion is as interesting as the myths
themselves, though partaking considerably of their character.

But to come to the point—what does Mr. Fiske mean by his book? What
idea would he convey to us? What would he have us infer from it? “A
book’s a book, although there’s nothing in’t.”

If it is suggestive of anything at all, it is this: all or the chief
portion of the great myths of antiquity refer to the struggle between
darkness and light. It was the phenomenon of night and day which
puzzled people in the dawn of the world, ages before men possessed the
great blessing of this XIXth century, which blessing is, according to
Mr. Fiske, _via_ M. Littré, “scientific faith,” seemingly the only sure
thing in this enlightened age.

Some people might require a definition of this wonderful faith of
modern invention; but then, some people always will ask disagreeable
questions. For their benefit, it may be said to mean taking nothing for
fact or truth except what you can arrive at, or prove, or demonstrate
by a scientific process: in plain English, no faith at all.

Mr. Fiske then takes up this theory: that all men, being puzzled by
this daily phenomenon of light and darkness, day and night, and having
no “scientific faith” to guide them, and nothing better (Mr. Fiske
will pardon us this little bit of heresy against the XIXth century)
to supply its place, set to thinking and endeavoring to solve this
tremendous problem. They were all a dreadful sort of people all the
world over: they “knew nothing about laws of nature, nothing about
physical forces, nothing about the relations of cause and effect,
nothing about the necessary regularity of things.” As a set-off against
all these “nothings,” they possessed a something in the shape of “an
unlimited capacity for believing and fancying, because fancy and
belief had not yet been checked and headed off in various directions
by established rules of experience.” To all of which, and a great deal
more of the same nature, we feel very much inclined to append that
awkward _Q. E. D._ of the geometry which somebody would tag on to the
end of those beautiful propositions at school, and which our professor
terrified us by translating, “Which must be proved.”

Mr. Fiske, then, having set this profound and eternal conundrum before
the crazed intellects of the human race, which were gifted, according
to him, with nothing but this “unlimited capacity for believing and
fancying”—one would imagine that there might have been room for
Revelation here; but Revelation, of course, clashes with “scientific
faith,” and is therefore a myth in Mr. Fiske’s eyes—what were the
poor beings to do but endow everything, particularly the sun, with the
“volition” which they felt within themselves? How or why this _must_
have been so Mr. Fiske fails to explain, or indeed that it was so
at all. However, just for argument’s sake, let us take his word for
it, though by so doing we are false to scientific faith. Mr. Fiske’s
proposition, then, runs thus: Given the sun, and given the people with
eyes to gaze at the sun, the people must necessarily have endowed the
sun with “volition,” and worshipped the sun as a god. Once more, _Q. E.

Hence Mr. Fiske proceeds to argue: “The conception of infallible skill
in archery, which underlies such a great variety of myths and popular
fairy-tales, is originally derived from the inevitable victory of the
sun over his enemies, the demons of night, winter, and tempest. Arrows
and spears which never miss their mark, swords from whose blow no
armor can protect, are invariably the weapons of solar divinities or
heroes.” Consequently, Mr. Fiske is cruel enough to knock on the head a
considerable number of fictitious characters who were much better known
and loved by us years ago than many real characters to-day. He levels
his shaft tipped with scientific faith, whiz!—and down drop William
Tell, William of Cloudeslee, Beth-Gellert, Jack and the Beanstalk,
Roland, Sir Bedivere, Ulysses, Achilles, Balder the Beautiful,
Hercules, and a whole host of other famous heroes—or rather they
mount, for one and all represented the sun, and were types and figures
of his solar majesty.

Well, though we grieve to say it, it may be so; but the consolation
is still left us that, even if it be so, “it’s of no consequence,” as
our old friend Mr. Toots was wont sagaciously to remark. There is so
much of reality around us, and so much real sham, to speak a paradox,
to wing with our arrows, to shoot at all our lifelong and make no
visible impression on, that we have neither time, nor inclination, nor
patience to bother our brains with wire-drawn theories as to whether
Tell was Tell or the sun; whether a man ever performed the impossible
feat of piercing an apple, which happened to be on his boy’s head, with
a shaft or not, or whether a dog was killed by its master in mistake.
Such things may serve to amuse children or people who can find nothing
better to occupy their time. So far there is nothing to object to in
it. But when a man takes every imaginable story, collects them all as
he would old fossils, and tickets each off with a bad explanation,
or throws them together into a bag, as it were, and, charlatan-like,
shakes them all up in order to see if by any chance they might tumble
out in a shape antagonistic to Christianity, a work which, in view of
the many realities around us, is rubbish at the best, becomes in Mr.
Fiske’s hands rubbish at the worst.

For he does not hold to his tether; he will go out of his way to drag
religion into a place where, if it must enter, it shows itself, as
always, full of majesty, and beauty, and sublime truth, but not a thing
of ridicule, as this writer, by hint, and innuendo, and insinuating
little foot-note, and sly little chuckle, and weak little laugh, and
wit of the very smallest, would make it.

“The religious myths of antiquity, and the fireside legends of ancient
and modern times, have their common roots in the mental habits of
primeval humanity. They are the earliest recorded utterances of men
concerning the visible phenomena of the world into which they were

Now, there is nothing particularly startling in this passage; it is
just such an one as the reader might or might not assent to, being
really utterly careless on the subject. He would scarcely stop to
inquire how far Mr. Fiske’s “religious myths of antiquity” extended.
There is a seemingly unconscious vagueness about the phrase that
allows it to pass without question. And Mr. Fiske’s theories, if we
may dignify them by such a title, run on smoothly enough in killing
Beth-Gellert for the thousandth time, and bringing his powerful mind
and the infallible test of his “scientific faith” to bear on old
nursery jingles—such, for instance, as:

  “Jack and Jill went up the hill
    To get a pail of water;
  Jack fell down and broke his crown,
    And Jill came tumbling after.”

“This may read like mere nonsense,” says Mr. Fiske. Again we agree
with him it may; but the rising smile fades on the lip when met by the
solemn assurance immediately following: “But there is a point of view
from which it may be safely said that there is very little absolute
nonsense in the world.”

We grieve to say that the thought which struck us immediately on
reading this aphorism of Mr. Fiske’s was that, if one thing more than
another could tend to make us dubious as to its truth, it would be the
perusal of his own book. But _revenons_: “The story is a venerable
one,” he proceeds _in re_ “Jack and Jill.” “They—the children—fall
away from one another as the moon wanes, and their water-pail
symbolizes the supposed connection of the moon with rainstorms.”

Leaving our readers to ponder over this profound mystery so solemnly
set forth by the author, dazzled and bewildered, doubtless, by this
latest exhibition of moonshine, we pass from it to other things. It is
of a piece with all the author’s deductions, and as fair a sample as
any other of the ingenuity of his argument and the profundity of his
conclusions. We do not attempt to refute them; that task is above us;
we leave such questions to be argued out in their more fitting sphere,
where the characters in the story are best known and believed in—the

To all this sort of thing we do not object; it is very harmless,
and though scarcely the style of study and method of deduction one
might expect from a professor of philosophy at what is esteemed the
leading university in the United States, we can only arrive, however
regretfully, at the conclusion that we had perhaps made a false
estimate of the intellectual standing of that university, and of the
calibre, mental and moral, of its professors. Still, Mr. Fiske may
argue all his lifelong in this fashion, and we can only wish him better
employment. But unfortunately he does not stop here.

All the unravelling of these worthless myths has one aim and tendency:
the connecting with them true religion, Judaism first, and afterwards
Christianity, the belief in Christ, the Christian sacraments, Christian
observances, Christian practices; not as the one truth of which all
these myths formed so many broken and distorted fragments, but—hear
it, Christian fathers who send your sons to Harvard to learn wisdom and
truth from such men as the one under our notice—a myth with the rest
of them!

Ulysses, Achilles, Ormutz, Thor, Tell, William of Cloudeslee, the sun,
Jesus Christ—“These be thy gods, O Israel!”

A mad world, my masters! We are all wrong; living in a myth,
worshipping a myth, teaching a myth, our social and political state
to-day built upon a myth. “We may learn anew the lesson, taught with
fresh emphasis by modern scholarship, that in the deepest sense there
is nothing new under the sun.” So says Mr. Fiske. There is nothing sure
but scientific faith as expounded by M. Littré and—Mr. Fiske. All the
rest is myth.

It would be no surprise to us if Mr. Fiske were indignantly to reject
the construction which the Catholic, or the Christian reader of
whatever denomination, who possesses any knowledge of Christianity,
must put upon his words. Apparently he himself is not sufficiently
acquainted with Christianity to understand the meaning of those words;
and yet he is a “professor of philosophy” at a presumably Christian
university. He is, to judge him by this book, of that school of
would-be atheists so fashionable tod-ay, who talk mild infidelity
over their tea, and take it down with their muffins—a toast-and-water
infidelity, nice to take hob-and-nob with and to the admiration of
some antiquated Blue-Stocking. Mr. Fiske, like his class, might be
considered an atheist did he only possess the faintest conception of
what Christianity meant. An atheist is not a man who does not, but
who _will_ not, know God—a rebellious spirit who, like the fallen
archangel who has seduced him, rejects God, flings back his offering,
and cries out: “I will not serve!”

Such is atheism—negation, not unconsciousness; denial, not lack of
knowledge. Mr. Fiske’s toast-and-water stuff partakes of the latter
character. It is so very weak, so very thin, so supremely unconscious
of its feebleness, so full of self-sufficiency, so sublimely ignorant
of the fact that the poor little hobby-horse which it rides astride of,
and on which it pranks out, with “all the pomp and circumstance” of
mimic warfare, to have a tilt with the church, has been long ago ridden
to death by far doughtier champions than Mr. Fiske, but with a like
result—a tumble in the dust. Like the carpet-knight, who, “but for
those vile guns, might himself have been a soldier,” but for the vile
faith, these carpet-atheists might themselves have become Christian.
Did we not recollect that they possess immortal souls destined for one
of two eternities, we might almost congratulate ourselves on their

But not to lay so very serious a charge at Mr. Fiske’s door without
just grounds, we proceed to give a few instances of that gentleman’s
mythical contortions, which will sufficiently vindicate the severe
strictures we feel compelled to pass upon his book—a book, indeed,
which should have passed unnoticed, only that it is typical of the tone
and tendency of the class of writers remarked upon above.

Mr. Fiske would seem to have received some sort of a Christian
education, if we may so call it, in his youth; for he tells us “of
that burning Calvinistic hell with which his childish imagination had
been unwisely terrified.” Calvinism probably drove him into revolt
against Christianity, as it has driven so many others, and, instead of
returning, and examining, and searching for truth, he has adopted the
easier course of saying that it was all a sham—the devil was only a
bogy conjured up by nurses to frighten children and make them good.
Christianity was an excellent religion for children and timid old
maids; but for MEN, men of the XIXth century, it was a little
too much. On reading the fables of the pagans, he found that they had
their bogies to frighten their children, as the heathen possesses them
still. All the same, all the same, all the way down to the cradle, if
there be such, of the race.

  “Black spirits and white,
    Red spirits and gray,
  Mingle, mingle, mingle,
    You that mingle may.”

Such, if put into a coherent shape, would be, we think, Mr. Fiske’s
mode of explaining his belief. To him all mystery is myth, and the one
true guide is scientific faith.

There is no mention of Revelation from beginning to end of the book:
the author evidently does not believe in it. But though he is careful
not to say so in express words, the meaning of all his deductions is
very clear; and passages from the sacred Scriptures are contorted to
suit his purpose.

Thus, we are told[70] that “the very idea of an archfiend, Satan,
which Christianity received from Judaism, seems to have been suggested
by the Persian Ahriman, or at least to have derived its principal
characteristics from that source. There is no evidence that the Jews,
previous to the Babylonish captivity, possessed the conception of
a devil as the author of all evil. In the earlier books of the Old
Testament, Jehovah is represented as dispensing with his own hand the
good and the evil, like the Zeus of the _Iliad_.”

Of course, to a man of Mr. Fiske’s vast knowledge and profound
erudition, it would be an impertinence to suggest that, as the
name—the mere name, apart from all belief in it—Jehovah is the more
ancient of the two, it might have been more in order to invert its
position, so that it would run: “The Zeus of the _Iliad_, like the
Jehovah of the Old Testament, was the dispenser of good and evil.” But
Mr. Fiske studiously sets Jehovah first in place, though second in
time, giving one to understand thereby that Zeus was his precursor.
This may have been done inadvertently, but, if so, there is a strange
method in Mr. Fiske’s carelessness. He is clearly a believer in that

  “Divinity which doth shape our ends,
  Rough hew them as we may.”

Then, again, Mr. Fiske is correct enough in the passages which he cites
as showing that the Jehovah of the Old Testament dispenses “with his
own hand the good and the evil.” There is nothing startling in this: it
is the soundest Catholic as well as Jewish doctrine. We believe that
God does dispense the good and the evil alike; but the “dispensing
of the good and the evil” is a very different thing from the phrase
which concludes the preceding sentence: “The author of _all_ evil.”
Mr. Fiske plumes himself on his philological knowledge; he is great
in word-science, if we may so call it; does he, then, recognize no
distinction between “a dispenser” and “an author,” or again, between
evil and evil, or still further, between “evil” and “_all_ evil”?

“Evil is natural and moral,” says the dictionary. In the first sense,
it means what we generally comprehend by the word “misfortune”; as,
evil tidings, evil news, evil accident. In this sense, God is said
to be the dispenser of evil; that is, of trials which he sets his
children, as a father sets his son a hard task, to prepare them, to
test them, to educate them, to lift them up to the fulness of manhood,
which is in God. “Whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth.” But “moral
evil” or what Mr. Fiske calls “all evil,” is a very different thing. It
is that which is evil naturally, _in se_ and _per se_, which is in the
will of the devil, and which it is blasphemy to attribute to God. Evil
in the first sense may be, is generally, good in itself: the latter,
never. It may not be blasphemy in Mr. Fiske, for, as we said, he does
not, from insufficient acquaintance with the subject, know the meaning
of his own words. But observe how carefully all these words are placed
in connection and juxtaposition one with another, and how easily each
slides into its wrong place. Again, there is a singular method in Mr.
Fiske’s glaring—for a milder term in the face of what we have just
pointed out would be impossible—inaccuracies.

He goes on: “The story of the serpent in Eden—an Aryan story in every
particular, which has crept into the Pentateuch—is not once alluded
to in the Old Testament.” To this he adds a note: “Nor is there any
ground for believing that the serpent in the _Eden-myth_ is intended
for Satan?” Though Mr. Fiske is overrunning our space far more than we
intended he should do at the beginning, the next sentence is too good
to omit, as replete with a piece of criticism unique in its simplicity
and loftiness of tone: “The identification (of the serpent in the
Eden-myth with Satan) is entirely the work of modern dogmatic theology,
and is due, naturally enough, to the habit, so common alike among
theologians and laymen, of reasoning about the Bible as if it were a
single book (!), and not a collection of writings of different ages and
of very different degrees of historic authenticity.”

To all his readers the question will naturally suggest itself: Has Mr.
Fiske ever been outside the walls of Harvard? But there—we leave the
matter: it suggests its own comment; and, moreover, Mr. Fiske promises
us, “in a future work entitled (start not, ye publishers!) _Aryana
Vaedjo_, to examine, at considerable length, _this interesting myth_ of
the Garden of Eden.” We hope to see it.

Well, here we have in plain English the whole story of the fall of man,
the origin of good and evil in this world, and the cause of all the
consequences which followed therefrom; the whole story of the Creation
in fact, as in another place that of the Deluge, set aside quietly
and easily, without a word of doubt, or difficulty, or hesitation, as
a myth. It would be interesting to know what Mr. Fiske does believe
on these points—but his book is to come. We trust he will take the
pains to set us right on the subject of the origin of man and of the
Creation generally. Of man we should judge him to have as high an
opinion as Mr. Darwin, when he explains his present condition as being
brought about by “that stupendous process of breeding which we call
civilization; which has strengthened the feelings by which we are
chiefly distinguished from the brutes, leaving _our primitive bestial
impulses_ to die for want of exercise, or checking in every possible
way their further expansion by legislative enactments. (Draw this to
its legitimate conclusion, and there is no such thing as morality, it
being merely synonymous with law or education.) But this process which
is transforming us from savages into civilized men is a very slow one;
and now and then there occur cases of what physiologists call atavism,
or _reversion to an ancestral type of character_.... Now and then
persons are born possessed of the bestial appetite and cravings of
primitive man, his fiendish cruelty, and his liking for human flesh.”

This is a Harvard professor who thus explains what people generally
accredit to the maxims of the Gospel and the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Morality is simply education or force, and evil is inherent in the
naturally brutal being, man, who, like Topsy, gradually “growed” up to
what he is.

It were easy to go on thus multiplying instances of the truth of our
observation, that Mr. Fiske reduces Christianity to a myth; but we
think there is enough proof already. We pass by many things, therefore,
where the author’s display of shallow learning is only equalled by his
flimsy remarks. In a note (p. 48), he would have us infer that the
Jews believed in a plurality of gods just as did the pagans, because
Elohim—God—is plural—a common use of the word even in the English
Version, as when God says, “Let us go down and confound their tongue,”
etc.; but the Jews certainly never interpreted it as meaning anything
else than the one God, whom they adored. It was merely a foreshadowing
of the doctrine of the Trinity. In another place, he informs us that
S. Ursula is Artemis and Aphrodite, S. Gertrude the heathen Holda. He
is evidently unaware that one of the most popular books of Catholic
devotion is written by the “heathen Holda.” Stupid inaccuracies of
this description are unaccountable. In any other person they would
indicate a mind inflated with that dangerous “little learning” which
Pope warns us against; in a Harvard “professor of philosophy,” they
doubtless take the form of Shakespeare’s sins against grammar and good
taste, and go down as “beauties.” “Angels—women with large wings”
(_sic_)—are kinsfolk of the werewolf family, and Christianity has
“_degraded_ the beneficent lightning-god, Thor,” into the “grotesque
mediæval devil.” Odin and other glorious divinities undergo a similar
hideous transformation under the “degrading” influence of Christianity.
In fact, Christianity is but a system of plagiarizing, and plagiarizing
which by no means improves on the old pagan superstitions. The devil is
really a good-natured sort of being, or was till Christianity came and
spoiled his temper and himself generally. Of course such a being never
existed except in the brain of superstitious people unendowed with
scientific faith, who were racking their brains to find out the meaning
of that eternal puzzle, darkness and light, so that they at length came
to embody darkness in the form of the devil, and light in the person of
God, or Jupiter, or Apollo, or William Tell. That is the plain English
of Mr. Fiske’s book.

Mr. Fiske seems to think that he has struck a new vein, and opened up
to the world a golden ore long hidden. His theory is as old as any
other; and he has only given us a poor rehash of what much cleverer
men than he have oversurfeited us with ages ago. Before attempting to
handle the subjects he has touched upon, it would be advisable to go
to school again, and he might thus be saved a lamentable display of
childish ignorance on points known to all the world, save apparently
to Mr. Fiske. In a very weak review of a most interesting and clever
book, _Juventus Mundi_, written by a scholar and a thinker, neither of
which titles we feel justified in applying to Mr. Fiske, this latter
gentleman remarks, with astonishment, that Mr. Gladstone draws an
analogy between the gods of heathendom and the God of Christianity;
in other words, between distorted truth and its first original. This,
again, is as old as the hills. _Prometheus_, for instance, has struck
all readers as a wonderful type of the Saviour; and so with other
gods and heroes of antiquity. Scholars are pleased to draw likenesses
between the characters of the fables of pagan antiquity and those of
the sacred Scriptures; such connection is by no means necessary to
prove the truth of Christianity and of the doctrines of Revelation.
Christianity is here, around us, living, real: we are in it. It is
clear, well defined, unchanging, distinct, a solemn and awful fact:
deal with _it_, study it, destroy it, if you can. It has no connection,
claims no connection, needs no connection, with paganism. It stands
alone, self-sufficient, for God is its centre. It embraces the world;
it rules nations; and the better the governments, the nearer they
approach to the observance of its codes. History hallows it; scientific
discovery only tends to confirm our faith in it. It is superseding all
things, as its Founder meant it should; and people have the impudence,
for it is nothing else, to come and tell us to-day, in out-of-the-way
notes in silly books, that this stupendous fact is a myth! We can only
say to them, _tolle, lege_!

It is easy for a man to sit down in his chair, and spin out a theory,
connecting the most distant objects together in his own mind. Thus
Mr. Fiske drives Tell back to the sun, or Ulysses, or Odysseus, as he
prefers to call him, for he takes kindly to what we may be pardoned
calling the _Grotesque_ etymology; and even in this, like all poor
imitators, goes beyond his master. Homer tells us Ulysses was a man,
a great traveller, who had seen many lands. Oh! no, says Mr. Fiske;
Homer made a great mistake; he did not know what he was talking about;
Ulysses was meant for the sun. And yet Mr. Fiske tells us that the
“minds of primitive men worked like our own, and, when they spoke of
the far-darting sun-god, they meant just what they said.” Why should
not this reasoning hold good for Ulysses, as well as for Apollo?

Why, we might take up the story of Mr. Stanley’s discovery of
Livingstone, and concoct a far better myth out of it than Mr. Fiske has
out of many of his materials. Livingstone, like Ulysses, is a man who
had seen many lands; he is hurried away and lost to the world in a dark
and fiery country—a land of demons and impenetrable burning deserts.
The world laments his loss, and Stanley, the youthful, the Dawn, goes
out to seek him, and, after the usual obstacles, finds him in the dark
land, clothed in rags, with a blue cap on his head, adorned with a gold
band, a long beard falling gray over his breast, surrounded by the dark
children of the desert. When that fabulous New Zealander sits on the
ruins of London Bridge, some future Professor Fiske will probably take
up this story of to-day, and weave a myth out of it as the present one
has done with Ulysses; but Mr. Fiske may remember that the prophet who
foretold the New Zealander in his incongruous position only did so to
serve as an example of the indestructibility of God’s church.

If he must refer everything back to light, why not go a little beyond
the sun to the _Lux Mundi_—the light which shineth in the darkness,
but which the darkness comprehended not? Light and fire run from the
beginning to the end of the New and Old Testaments, as typical of God.
The first thing God made was light; he spoke to Moses in a burning
bush; his angel accompanied his people in a cloud and a pillar of
light. Man cannot look upon his face and live, for the glory of it. Is
it possible that Mr. Fiske, who is so keen at connections, could miss
such palpable indications of the connection between the traditions he
has mentioned and Revelation, without being struck by it, unless he did
so intentionally?

Had we space, we could show by comparison that the very words he has
quoted from Indian and other traditions of the Michabo, the great white
One, of the origin of the world and the history of the Deluge, are
almost identical in phrase even with the Scriptures. From F. De Smet’s
interesting Indian sketches, appearing in the _Catholic Review_, we
find that the Indians adore the Great Medicine, who is, above all, the
All-powerful, and sacrifice to him through the sun and the thunder,
because the sun is his great servitor.

And as for the devil, whom Mr. Fiske finds such an amusing character
(happy man! may he never be undeceived!), it may make him laugh at us,
but, for our part, we have a very decided belief in his existence and
power to do harm; in fact, did we only discern a spice of something
stronger and more powerful than Mr. Fiske presents us in his book,
just the faintest flavor of the genuine article—real brimstone and
fire—we should have been led to refer its authorship to the very
personage whom Mr. Fiske so despises. As it is, the work is unworthy
of his Satanic majesty. He inspired the idea which animates it long
ago, but the present execution is by too weak a hand for his. In this
we find an indication that the idea is used up and gone beyond working
order—driven to death, in fact.

Superstition undoubtedly did exist in the middle ages; perhaps—for
we are not too ready to believe this age so very far superior in
many points to those days as is generally conceded; at all events,
the world, as the world, is materially even very little better off
than it then was, notwithstanding all our boasted science, and the
rest, and the days allotted to man are not lengthened—perhaps, then,
superstition did flourish at that time to a greater extent than it
does to-day; but what does that prove? Simply that Christianity, “that
stupendous process of breeding,” did not convert the world in a day.

Did superstition prevail to a greater or less degree than it did prior
to the introduction of Christianity, before the old Jewish order passed
away, and gave place to the new—to the religion which was no longer
to be restricted to a single nation, but which was to spread abroad,
to become Catholic, and embrace the world, the family of God’s human
creatures, within its bosom? Was it, so much of it as did exist, more
or less hideous in the supernatural figures with which it peoples the
universe? Were the Norse gods of blood and bestiality, Thor, and Odin,
and Friga, “degraded”? Could they be degraded? Was Venus degraded, or
Jupiter, or Bacchus, or the multitude of others, by being replaced by
the truth, by the light which was so long coming and expected of the
nations—by the Sun of Justice?

It was this bursting of the light of the world upon nations which
dispelled for ever the dark mists of superstition that had so long
hidden the creation from its Creator; this was the Sun the nations
dimly saw and adored; this was the victorious Conqueror who overcame
all obstacles by his own sufferings, and death, and sacrifice; who,
like Prometheus, “came to cast fire upon the earth,” and who died in
agony to save his fellows, and destroy the false Jove with his heaven
of immorality—Jesus Christ! at whose name “every knee shall bow.”

And the darkness was this very devil, the author of all evil, who fell,
freely and consciously, in eternal rebellion against God; who cannot
be destroyed, for God created him immortal; who uses the power still
left him, which was once heavenly, in order to lead into rebellion
all creation against the God he hates with an eternal hatred; who is
permitted by God to tempt man, for man is a free agent—God not having
endowed a mere machine with the breath of life, the breathing of his
spirit—and, if man falls, he falls freely and consciously as did Satan.

Here lay the puzzle of darkness and light, good and evil, right and
wrong. The world saw itself bounded everywhere by the impassable; by
its wickedness it had lost the clear knowledge of its God; it would
overleap those barriers, and reach him again. The craving of its heart
was eternal; it saw the marks of its God around it: “The heavens
declared the glory of God, and the firmament displayed the wonders of
his works.” Men felt the supernatural, and worshipped; but their eyes
were blinded, and, groping in the darkness for their God, they mistook
his enemy, and worshipped him.

Paganism was and is the worship of the devil. The evil one allows men
to worship him under whatever form they please, provided only they
rebel against God. Impurity, bestiality, drunkenness, intellectual
pride, all things that lead astray, are for him good; but the law
of God is one and unchangeable, the same yesterday, to-day, and for
ever; and, therefore, though it is hard to kick against the goad, the
free-will of man whispers rebellion to him ever, for he finds God

What, then, dealt the death-blow to superstition? Was it scientific
faith, or the coming of Christ?

In order completely to fill a void, you must have something adequate.
The world through all the ages had this yearning for a something
wanting, this searching after a something lost. It felt the
supernatural, the beyond—it felt, but did not see. So each one made
him a religion of his own. To fill that eternal void, to make all one,
to satisfy the craving of the world, that void must be filled. But what
can fill it, save the supernatural? An infinite want can only be filled
by infinity. Jesus Christ came in form and with surroundings the very
reverse of what those who had waited most anxiously for him expected.
Consequently, their pride revolted, and they refused to accept the
Messiah. Nevertheless, no sooner was his doctrine made known, than
the world outside, the gropers in the darkness, felt the Sun; the
scales dropped from their eyes, the void was at length filled, the
craving satisfied; they saw their God, and knew him. Then superstition
ended, for they found a reason for every mystery in the all-powerful,
all-pervading God.

Had the world to wait for scientific faith to clear up its doubts and
give a reason for its longings and beliefs, superstition would still
reign paramount among men. What is scientific faith? What can it do?
That science has advanced since the days when men built the pyramids,
constructed cities whose ruins are the wonders of to-day, converted
the Eastern deserts into gardens, constructed the alphabet, built the
Parthenon, devised the geometrical figure, organized the sciences
of numbers, philosophy, the heavens, and set up leaning towers, we
concede; but the men who performed those wonders can scarcely be set
down as “knowing nothing of the laws of nature, nothing about physical
forces, nothing about the relations of cause and effect.” This age
has made an advance on them, it is true; but an advance utterly
disproportionate to the centuries which have rolled between; nay, in
some things it has retrograded.

Did people wait, then, for scientific faith to lift the veil from their
eyes, or was it the teachings of Christianity and the appearance of
Jesus Christ which lifted it? How much more has scientific faith taught
us than it taught the men who centuries ago, by their intimate and
accurate knowledge of natural causes, wrought those wonders touched
upon above? The supernatural still confronts us as it did them. Science
ends with the scientist. Can it tell him who he is, or why he is? Can
it touch the lightning, weigh the sun, reveal the mystery of life and
death? It can tell us we live and we die; that, when such or such a
circumstance occurs, what we call life is over. But can it tell us what
is life, whence it came, whither it goes? what the world is, who made
it, why it was made? what the seed is, why it grows up into a tree,
why the leaves sprout from the hard wood, who set all this principle
of life going, and why? Here lies the mystery that puzzled men; here
science stops, and God reveals himself: it is awed into silence, and
listens for his voice.

On reading this article once more, the thought has occurred to
the writer that objection may be taken to its tone as not exactly
in accordance with that myth of myths which goes by the name of
“amenities of literature.” Catholics very rarely come across this
pleasing illusion in the columns of adverse writers. But even should
this charge be well grounded, it is idle for Catholics to wrap what
they have to say in wadding, lest it fall too roughly on the delicate
sensibilities of people who undertake to insult a religion of which
they know nothing. Mr. Fiske is only a type of a class to whom is
entrusted the sacred mission of educating the youth of this country,
those particularly whose means admit of the highest education, and from
whom, therefore, much should be expected. Men wonder at the immorality
of our youth—the young man of society of to-day. Why wonder, when his
professors teach him that morality is a name, Christianity a fable, and
all religion a sham? We cannot affect to toy when the stakes played for
are so high. The morality of the coming race depends on the education
it receives. When, therefore, we find men, set in high places in our
foremost universities, abusing their position, and striving by every
means in their power to sap and undermine Christian education, we
think studious phrases idle and polished courtesy thrown away. Insult
and evil must be met with other weapons. If Mr. Fiske wishes to know
whether Christianity is a myth or not, let him sit down and study
before pronouncing. When he has sought and inquired earnestly, he will
find plenty to furnish him with the right answer.


WHAT man that is journeying abroad, doth not hasten backward to his
native land? Who that is speeding a voyage toward them he loves, longs
not with more ardor for a prosperous wind, that so he may embrace his
friends the sooner?... It is a large and loving company who expect us
there: parents, brothers, children, a manifold and numerous assemblage
longing after us, who, having security of their own immortality,
still feel anxious for our salvation.... Ah! perfect and perpetual
bliss! There is the glorious company of the apostles; there is the
assembly of prophets exulting; there is the innumerable multitude of
martyrs, crowned after their victory of strife and passion; there are
virgins triumphant, who have overcome, by vigor of continency, the
concupiscence of the flesh and body.... To these, dearest brethren, let
us with eager longings hasten: let it be the portion which we desire,
speedily to be among them, speedily to be gone to Christ. God behold
this thought of ours! This purpose of our mind and faith may the Lord
Christ witness!—who will make the recompenses of his glory the larger
according as man’s longings after him have been the stronger.—_S.


  Day of Doom! O day of terror!
  Prophet’s word, and Sibyl’s finger
  Point to one dread day of anger,

  When the skies shall warp and wither,
  Ocean shrink and dry together,
  Solid earth consume to cinder.

  Day of nature’s dissolution,
  Day of final retribution—
  Some to joy, and some to sorrow.

  Hark! the trumpet-blast terrific.
  How the dead, in mingled panic,
  Gather to the dread assizes!

  Death shall stand aghast, and Nature,
  When from dust the summoned creature
  Rises trembling to make answer.

  Ah, the wonder! oh, the wailing!
  When the heavens above unveiling,
  Show the Judge of all descending.

  Now begins the awful session.
  Sinner, make thy full confession;
  Naught avails the least evasion.

  Lo, the Book of Doom! each action,
  Secret sin, or bold transgression,
  Idle word, foul thought, is noted.

  Strictest justice is accorded;
  Grace to gracious deed afforded,
  Death to deadly sin awarded.

  Oh! where saints must fear and tremble,
  Could I stand the test, thus sinful?
  Could I find a plea for pardon?

  Could an advocate avail me?
  Pleas and advocates all fail me.
  Jesus! thou alone canst save me.

  Mighty Monarch! oh, remember
  That blest day of blest December—
  ‘Twas for me the Virgin bore thee.

  Seeking me, beside the fountain
  Thou didst rest thee; to the mountain,
  For my sake, thou didst betake thee;

  On that dear cross, to redeem me,
  Thou didst hang. Lord! is it seemly,
  So much costing, I should perish?

  Thou didst smile on Mary’s unction,
  Tearful love, and deep compunction,
  On the dying thief’s confession.

  Like them guilty, like them grieving,
  Like them loving, and believing,
  Lord! show me a like compassion.

  To thy mercy I confide me;
  From thy justice, Saviour, hide me,
  Ere that day of dread accounting.

  Oh, that day of strange uprising!
  Oh, that solemn criticising!
  Oh, that sentence past reversal!

  Peace to thee! departed brother,
  Tenant once of this cold clay!
  Jesus! give him rest alway. Amen.

  C. W.


IN all things that are not of precept, we must needs, if we wish to
influence the world, take the world as it is. We may deplore that the
stream has passed the romantic scenery through which its course once
flowed, but we are powerless to turn the current back. Indeed, its
oncoming strength is so ominous that no wise man can stand long on its
banks without seeing the urgent need of providing fresh outlets for
its impetuosity, lest it should come upon him unawares, and sweep him
away in a roaring inundation. The mental ferment of our age is this
stream which demands of us new channels whereon to spend its exuberant
activity; and it perhaps depends upon Catholic action whether the new
development shall be a blessing or a curse. The church knows that her
place is in the van of humanity, and to each young century she turns
her speedy encouragement, bidding it go forth and do its allotted
work under her banner. She hallows all discoveries, and knits them to
herself by the services she causes them to render to the truth, and, a
bolder innovator than the veriest sceptic, she opens her arms to every
development whose capabilities may be turned to a divine account. We
may depend upon this: that no new thing or idea which does not at once
draw upon itself the church’s approving notice, is worth more than a
passing thought. She lets the ephemeral go by, and fixes her eyes only
on the stable and the solid. More than that, all that is claimed as new
and good is contained or foreshadowed somewhere within her pale, either
in the hidden achievements of her sons, or in the written record of her
attitude towards human progress.

Now, the position of woman is a topic universally discussed, and one
which it has become the fashion to look upon as the pet offspring
of this particular century. There are two questions involved in the
discussion: one theoretical, upon which we have already touched, and
one practical. The former treats of the abstract right of equality
between man and woman, the latter (more sensibly) of the employment of
women, and of their fitness for bread-winning purposes. Woman has so
many spheres that it is difficult to mass her duties and rights in one
sweeping code; and, though her peculiar gift of home ministry is the
one which renders her most amiable in the eyes of the opposite sex,
it should be remembered that it is this very domesticity which often
obliges her to take to self-supporting labor. In this, how far superior
is womanhood to manhood! For whereas a man’s chief thought when
entering a profession or learning a trade is for his own advancement
and pecuniary success in life, a woman’s intention when working for her
bread is almost invariably the support of one weaker than herself, or
the lightening of the burden already borne by the other. In this sense,
we may say that woman is more heroic than man, constrained as she is by
the very nobility of her nature to ennoble the lowest things with which
necessity brings her in contact. Work in itself, simply as occupation
and discipline, is a noble thing and the fulfilment of the divine
law, but when undertaken with a motive such as the support of aged
parents and of sick children, or the reparation of an act of dishonesty
committed by a dishonorable member of the family, it rises even to
sublimity. Women are not exempt from the law of labor, though it has
been an immemorial custom that their fathers, brothers, and husbands
should shield them from its heaviest penalties. Work, in a mitigated
sense, has always been the lot of woman, but among Christians it is so
hallowed as to be rather a privilege than a yoke. In heathen nations,
woman’s work was merely that of a female animal, necessarily not quite
so hard as man’s, but only lighter in consideration of her physical
powers, and certainly not in reverence for her rightful dignity. It
was not the wife and mother who was thought of then: it was the female
beast of burden, at most the favorite of the hour. Judaism, the dawn of
a broader and holier dispensation, naturally betrayed its divine origin
by protecting the person and property and regulating the labor of
woman, thereby elevating drudgery into home duties, and raising to the
dignity of a contracting party one who had been hitherto but a servile
tool. Christianity went a step further, and threw open the doors of the
temple to woman, suffering her to assume every position her mental or
moral ambition led her to desire, save the office of the priesthood.
Judaism had sanctified and glorified marriage by looking upon every
union as a possible link in the future genealogy of the Messiah; and
the perfection of the Hebrew ideal culminated in Mary, the veritable
human mother of the Eternal Word. But Christianity had an additional
crown to bestow on womanhood, and, unlike Judaism, instead of leading
up to this new perfection, it first reared its ideal, and then called
upon all unborn generations to follow it as closely as might be. Thus
the two systems, marriage and virginity, converged for one miraculous
moment in the stainless person of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and since
after that unique motherhood there could be no aspiring to become an
earthly ancestor of the Promised One, a new relationship with God—that
of Spouse—came to be the highest honor attainable by womanhood. Step
by step, God had brought about woman’s enfranchisement, had united in
his law the dignity with which the Jews had invested her, and a new,
mysterious, unearthly dignity which he alone can understand, and had,
in one word, made perfection easy of attainment by her. Her work, too,
necessarily came under this ennobling process, and she can look back
with pride to the example of the typical woman—the last perfect Jewish
matron, the first perfect Christian virgin—and see the daughter of
kings and the Mother of God stooping to lowly household duties.

The Old and New Testament are full of circumstances or sayings with
reference to the subject of woman’s work. Although it is not expressly
mentioned in the curse pronounced on Adam after the Fall, there can
be little doubt that it is included in it. The race of man was there
doomed to earn its bread by the sweat of its brow, and though a special
punishment was also awarded the offending “mother of all the living,”
still she seems to have been included in the general curse of labor.
Events have proved this, and so long and regular a succession of events
must needs have had a deeper reason than mere temporal expediency.
In the history of Jacob and his two wives, we see a plain reference
to the importance of woman in a question of wages and inheritance.
Jacob, after serving his father-in-law Laban for twenty years,
departs secretly, but before doing so takes counsel with his wives,
and puts his case before them, calling them to witness that Laban
has overreached him and striven to do him harm. Their answer is as
practical as could be wished for: they complain of their father having
wasted their lawful inheritance and having counted them as strangers,
while they commend Jacob for championing their rights by taking, as the
Lord had commanded, all that was otherwise denied them.

In the history of the infant Moses, Pharaoh’s daughter makes a regular
engagement with the child’s unknown mother “to nurse him for her, and
she would give her _her wages_.” It was a fair contract, by which the
Hebrew woman earned an equivalent for her services as nurse.

Then, again, we have Anna, the wife of Tobias, a genuine bread-winner,
though perhaps a lesser example of patience than she is of energy.
“Now, Anna his wife went daily to weaving work, and she brought home
what she could get for their living by the labor of her hands.”[71]
The picture of her domestic trials is pathetic, and her husband seems
to have had but a poor opinion of her discretion, for he asked her one
day, when she had brought home a young kid, whether she were sure that
it was not stolen? Her answer was certainly petulant, and consisted of
what many modern wives would say under the same provocation, but it was
ungrateful towards God. Human nature was much the same then as it is
now; and one charm of the old Bible narratives lies just in this, that
they _are_ so naïvely human. In the Book of Ecclesiasticus we read: “He
created of him [man] a helpmate like to himself: he gave _them_ counsel
and a tongue, and eyes, and ears, and a heart to devise....”[72] The
woman is here expressly included in the intellectual benefits heaped
upon man, and it is contrary to the whole spirit of the Scriptures to
suppose that these gifts were in her merely ornamental. Matters of
foresight, discretion, and business evidently come under the head of
things to be “devised.” Again, a little further on we find that “a
good wife is a _good portion_,” and “the grace of a diligent woman
shall delight her husband and shall _fat his bones_.”[73] By this is
meant “increase his substance,” which a woman can do in two ways—by
husbanding her means, or earning something herself. Even if the
“diligent woman” gave her husband nothing but counsel, that in itself
would be a material help: “A _prudent_ wife is from the Lord.”[74]

To guard against the abuses of unremunerated labor, to which through
poverty or improvidence the Hebrews might be subjected, Moses provided
the law of the seventh year of remission and the fiftieth of jubilee.
“Thou shalt not oppress him with the service of bond-servants, but he
shall be as a _hireling_ and a _sojourner_,” and “_his wages_ being
allowed for which he served before.”[75] With regard to women, the
laws were the same. “When thy brother a Hebrew man or Hebrew _woman_
is sold to thee and hath served thee six years, in the seventh year
thou shalt let him go free. And when thou sendest him out free, _thou
shalt not let him go away empty_; but shalt give him for his way out
of thy flocks, and out of thy barn-floor and thy wine-press,”[76] and
it is specially recommended that bondmen and bondwomen should not
be of the chosen race, but of the “nations around” the Hebrews. As
to the responsibility of women concerning vows, we read that a woman
under the power of her father or husband shall be bound to fulfil a
vow contingently on the consent of her superior, but an independent
woman is bound like a man: “The widow, and she that is divorced, _shall
fulfil whatsoever_ they vow.”[77] This argues at least a recognition
of woman’s full powers of reasoning, choice, and accountability, all
of which are involved in the serious matter of a vow. In the Gospel
of S. Luke, there is a passing allusion to female manual labor in the
parable that foretells Christ’s second coming: “_Two women_ shall be
_grinding_ together, the one shall be taken and the other left”—which
allusion is not meaningless. All through the New Testament, additional
light is thrown on the figurative expressions by the common customs of
the country during our Lord’s human life in Judea, and so we may infer
that in those days women frequently helped their husbands in various
agricultural pursuits.

Martha, the sister of Lazarus, has always been looked upon as a
type of active, busy life, according to our Lord’s words, “Thou
art troubled about many things.” But this was not wholly meant as
a rebuke, for there is a great difference between being _troubled_
and being _absorbed_ by worldly matters. Some among us must bear the
domestic burden, in order that others may have the leisure needed for
contemplation. Their place in the world is none the less holy because
it is not the most perfect, for if there were no rungs to the ladder
but the topmost one, how would it be possible to reach heaven? The
workers of this world have a mission as well as the seers, and Martha
holds almost as high a place in heaven as her sister who chose “the
better part.” In the Acts of the Apostles, it is related that S.
Paul, going out of the gates of Philippi and seeing there some women
assembled, spoke to them, whereupon “a certain woman named Lydia, _a
seller of purple_ of the city of Thyatira ... did hear ... and when
she was baptized, _and her household_, she besought us, saying: ...
come into my _house_ and abide there. And she constrained us.”[78]
This woman must doubtless have been sufficiently well-off, and was
most likely a widow or an unmarried woman. Her business, which she
probably conducted herself, since she is distinguished by the epithet
“a seller of purple,” must have brought her affluence, for her house
and household are specially mentioned, and it strikes us also as a
proof of her self-supporting and successful operations, that, being of
the city of Thyatira, she had travelled to Philippi and established a
home for herself within its walls. S. Paul and Silas are put in prison
and freed again while in Philippi, and as soon as they leave their
confinement, it is to Lydia’s house that they again repair. “And they
went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia; and having
seen the brethren, they comforted them and departed.”[79] The natural
inference is that the house of the generous “seller of purple” was the
centre, for the time being, of the little Christian community; that
here were the assemblies held and religious ceremonies performed; and
that Lydia, in fact, gave up her dwelling to be practically a school
and church. Her riches were her own; legitimately accumulated by an
ordinary trade. We are told nothing of her origin, her education, her
social position; she appears only as a “seller of purple” and a docile
recipient of God’s Word. There was probably nothing at all wonderful
about her—she was the ordinary business woman of her day: thrifty,
since she had worked to so successful a purpose—simple-minded,
since she so quickly believed the Word of God—generous, since she
“constrained” the Apostles to dwell with her. S. Paul, who found in
women such powerful auxiliaries, speaks in his Epistle to the Romans
of “Phœbe, our sister in the ministry of the church [a deaconess] ...
that you assist her in whatsoever _business_ she shall have need of
you: for she also _hath assisted many_.”[80] Now, this clearly points
to her having, or having had, either great possessions, which must have
entailed many cares of management, or great zeal in stirring up others
who were wealthier, which zeal also proves a capability for affairs.
But let us turn back to yet more emphatic Scriptural proof that woman
is noways debarred from a certain share in even great enterprises,
so long as her modesty is not endangered by it. Judith, the queenly
widow, occupied a position of this kind. “And her husband left her
great riches, and very many servants, and large possessions of herds
and oxen.”[81] The sequel of Judith’s history showed that she was as
wise as she was rich, and that prudence and discretion were her most
conspicuous gifts. She must have had great powers of government, and
an eye for ruling the many subordinates whom she probably employed
in the management of her possessions. She was no doubt a mother and
a guardian to her servants, and, although young and beautiful, as
the Scripture tells us she was, yet possessed a gravity and dignity
beyond her years. Her mind was not set upon the frivolities of social
life, and she gave herself much to prayer and fasting, abiding “shut
up with her maids” in an upper chamber of her house. It is a great
mistake to suppose that piety interferes with business habits in either
man or woman. The legitimate cares of life are perfectly compatible
with an unusual degree of spirituality, indeed, in many cases such
cares become absolute duties. The spiritual life reacts upon the
outer sphere of business relations, and while eliminating from it all
tendency to mere selfish aggrandizement, enhances and hallows the
worldly qualities requisite to its successful development. The world
needs holy and grave influences to leaven its pursuits in every field,
whether artistic, literary, or commercial, and while women can impart
to every lawful calling into which they enter that natural grace and
refinement which is their birthright, they should also strive to infuse
into it a supernatural influence. In the Book of Proverbs,[82] we read
the memorable description of the “wise woman,” and nothing is further
removed than this Scripture ideal from the various types of modern
womanhood which, in the clamor of the present questions as to woman’s
place and proper employment, have terrified the sight and darkened
the understanding of observers. Of her devotion to her husband, it is
said that “his heart trusteth in her, _and he shall have no need of
spoils_.” She is not of that aggressive, self-protecting type with
which we are (for our sins) familiar; she is not of those to whom a
husband is an appendage, insignificant at all times, removable at
any; she is not of the independent sisterhood who take their passions
for inspirations and their caprices for rules. Her influence must
mightily serve her husband’s lawful interests, for we are told that “he
is honorable in the gates when he sitteth among the senators of the
land.” This points to the wise woman’s high social position, no doubt
more due to her efforts, her industry, and her prudence, than simply
to her noble birth. She might—like many of her modern sisters—have
been born in the more fortunate walks of life, she might have been
educated with care and assiduity, she might have been taught that
perfect command of domestic details which secures an orderly and
attractive household, she might even have acquired that unconscious
good-breeding that marks the well-born and gently nurtured all over
the civilized world; and yet with all these advantages she might still
have failed to take a place in life—she might still have remained a
social nonentity. How many such worthy and estimable blanks are there
not in this world, in all ranks and shades of social standing! But the
model woman of the Scripture has risen above this level of neglected
or barren opportunities, and bears away the first honors of the race
of life, simply because she is _wise_. The prudence of her counsels,
shown in the ordering of her well-appointed household, her bargains and
her forethought, her stores of bread, linen, and wool, redound to her
husband’s honor; and when he “sitteth among the senators” he is known
as possessing a treasure that doubles all his wealth, and is herself
worth all his riches thrice doubled. But she is not entirely dependent
on him in her transactions, for we see that “she hath considered a
field and bought it; with the fruit of her hands she hath planted a
vineyard.” This bears very closely on our subject, and proves how
far the Scriptures hold a woman competent to think, speculate, work,
and achieve, unassisted by man. “She hath tasted and seen that her
traffic is good: ... she made fine linen and sold it, ... and hath
not eaten her bread idle.” Now, all this points to more than mere
domestic thrift. Here we see woman, not as a divorced wife, not as an
aggressive spinster, not as a frivolous social ornament, not as a mere
household drudge, but woman as a responsible being, with grave duties
and a wide field of action, taking a place in the world fully equal to
and yet utterly distinct from that of a man. She considers, she buys,
she sells, she rules, yet all the while she is solicitous for her
“maidens,” charitable and gentle to the poor, beloved by her husband,
and blessed by her children. She appears here as judged by the real
standard of her real worth. “Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain;
the woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the
fruit of her hands; and let her works praise her in the gates.”

So that she is not only to earn, but to enjoy. She is to have a stake
in the world, and a voice in matters of importance—she “opens her
mouth in wisdom, and the law of clemency is on her tongue.” Her opinion
is to be sought, considered, followed; her example is to be looked upon
with reverence, and criticism is to merge into admiration. Her position
is to be that of an arbiter and referee, neither sinking to that of
a petted child nor drifting into that of an unmated, unloved, and
defiant waif. It is not from a band of social outlaws, whose common
exile links them in common defence, that she is to seek support; but
in the circle of her own home, in the centre where God and nature have
placed her, she is to take the helm and gracefully mount the throne. No
violence and no straining after impossible immunities are to disfigure
her calm attitude of secure headship, and, even if her advice be
disregarded, time and not she herself must vindicate its wisdom.

It may be objected that all this is very well in theory, and would work
admirably if all women were _wise_, and all men worthy of them. But
who does not know that ideals will never become healthful influences
unless translated into facts, and that theories will never succeed in
bettering the world unless exemplified here and there in trial cases?
Would the _theory_ of Christianity be worth anything to the outside
world unless realized in the daily life of its Founder and in the model
existences of thousands of saints? It is impossible that anything
should take hold of the human mind and mould it to new perfections
before it has been put into tangible shape, and it is equally
impossible in our fallen state that _all_ the world should be converted
at once into so many perfect entities. Yet because all men will not
become saints, because all cannot write like Shakespeare, paint like
Raphael, or compose like Beethoven, are religion, poetry, and art to
be eschewed by lower aspirants, and relegated to the barren region of
things to be admired but not imitated? If, because absolute perfection
was never attainable by man, every man had therefore resigned himself
to a hopeless contemplation of the fine possibilities of Christianity,
we should have had no Anthony, no Jerome, no Augustine. If, later on,
because it was impossible to reform the _whole_ world and strike at
the root of _every_ abuse, the pontiffs had calmly looked on while
Christendom crumbled away, we should have had no Gregory the Great,
no Hildebrand, no Innocent III., no Sixtus V. Again, if an inflexible
adherence to rule were the only point worth aiming at, should we have
had a Dominic, a Teresa, a Francis Xavier, a Philip Neri, a Vincent
of Paul? In this world there are many experiments—tentative steps
leading to higher things, and opening doors of possibility to hitherto
untried systems. Even in the church, where all else is immovable,
there is constant _human_ progress, and if here or there one soldier
falls at his post—not through lack of enthusiasm, but through the
force of adverse circumstances, or the darkness of mind which still
shrouds his contemporaries while he himself has prematurely pierced
beyond it—still the great search after perfection, the great work of
Christian development, rolls on. So it is in the world, in art, in
philosophy, in science, in society. What if woman’s position never
has been made absolutely and securely certain? The church has always
theoretically pointed it out, and has often secured its partial
realization within her pale; it remains for the world to open its eyes,
and extend those barriers of the church to the furthest limits of
civilization, taking with it those improvements which it has so long
groped for in its wilful darkness, and which all the time have been
steadily in operation in the sanctuary of the old church.

So that it is idle to object that all we have said about woman’s work,
reward, and position is “very well in theory.” If a few pioneers will
do for the system what companies or even enterprising individuals
are ever ready to do for any material scheme that presents but the
slightest chance of success, the world would soon see the noblest
reform of all achieved in the very core of society. Nay, we will say
more: the pioneers _are_ there, the reform _is_ going on; only let the
busy, sceptical world stop a moment and look into the silent, gigantic
work ever renewing its strength in the church; let it pause and see
homes where woman, either as manager or worker, holds her supreme
rod of gentle authority; let it see the maiden toiling cheerfully
for her aged parents, or bringing home food and clothes to helpless
little sisters or ailing brothers—the wife helping and encouraging
the husband, and eking out by skilful management a pittance into an
income, and evolving comfort out of what in careless hands could hardly
compass necessaries; the widow keeping her sacred state, unassailed by
calumny, through the earnings which secure her privacy, or the widowed
mother joyfully burdened with the twofold legacy that gives her both
an object to live for and a memory to live in. Hidden homes these may
be, poor homes they almost all are—homes bounded by the four walls of
one squalid room, homes cramped in the garrets of tenement-houses or
saddened by the dreary respectability of furnished lodgings, but none
the less precious in the sight of the angels, and an example in the
sight of men.

We have spoken much of the Scriptural conception of woman as a
bread-winner, because upon this as a solid foundation we can build up
the further development of such a woman’s position. Everything that is
compatible with the _spirit_ of this conception may be said, in broad
comprehensiveness, to be allowable in woman. Everything that can be
referred to this ideal, as naturally flowing therefrom, is admissible
in her relations with the great working hive of mankind. Intellectual
labor especially is befitting to her, within the limits prescribed
by modesty. Manual labor, especially agricultural or mining, is
proportionately less fitting, both because of her physical weakness and
more still because of the too free association with men which it often
necessitates. Domestic labor, where this is not unreasonably heavy, is
certainly within her sphere—and for this no better reason can be given
than that the women of patriarchal times thought domestic labor no

With this view, we say that as many openings for the employment of
woman as can possibly be made, consistently with delicacy and womanly
modesty, should be speedily contrived. No one need fear that such
openings will deprive us of necessary comforts in the way of domestic
attendance; there will always be a residuum of womankind to whom
service will be the most natural and desirable outlet, to whom in fact
it will be the only career which will give scope to the capacities
they have. This will be the least difficulty; the real problem will
always remain rather on the other side—that is, as to how many
women can be redeemed from the bondage of circumstances by any known
method of redemption. It is appalling to think of the many women,
delicate-minded, earnest, persevering, who see in their womanhood,
which should be their crown and their boast, only the barrier to their
aspirations, the prison-door of their capabilities. It is terrible
to reckon the number of women who lose themselves, and wander away
from their place in society, either through the door of open shame
or through the only less revolting path of that which is called but
is not marriage; or visionary, defiant “independence.” How many
fallen women sadly excuse themselves by saying that they could find
no work to do, and yet could not bear to starve! On the other hand,
in women who have obviated that degradation by leaping into another,
we see the inevitable action of the narrow-mindedness of the world
upon an undisciplined nature. Women are often accused of being always
in extremes, and the accusation, in the case of women untrained by
religious influences, is in the main true, although it may as well be
said that the fact holds equally good with men who are not restrained
by such influences. So, between open degradation and blatant “woman’s
rightism,” the mind of the untutored woman will almost certainly,
except by a happy chance, find no mean.

Is this picture overdrawn? We are ready to affirm again and again
that it is not; the annals of society scandals and the records of the
divorce courts show that it is not; for what difference is there but a
despicable and conventional one between the legalized re-marriage of a
guilty woman to her seducer, and the illegal union of so many unhappy
couples whose relations it is a breach of propriety even to mention?

This is womanhood outside the church. It is no more a fancy picture
than that other blessed one of the homes we have already praised, the
homes of honest work and perfect peace. The world, to secure a nation
of women bred in such homes, must turn to the church, and ask her to
teach it the secret of such womanhood. The secret is in the Gospels,
in the old hallowed traditions of the Hebrews, and in the fulfilled
evangelical counsels. Voluntary poverty is the safeguard of holy and
allowable wealth; voluntary obedience is the counterpart of lawful
freedom; voluntary chastity is the hidden grace that obtains for others
wedded love and a grave Christian home. The hostages of humanity are
praying in the cloisters for the commendable domestic happiness of
their numerous brethren, and, in proportion as the world scorns their
sacrifice, so does it lose the fruit of their prayers.

We have said that woman’s work should be decided, God willing, by her
capabilities. This is to say that more ways should be open to her
than are open now to improve the talents God may have given her. In a
great measure she can, and does, open these ways for herself, and an
energetic nature of course will, like water, sooner or later “find its
own level.” Still, many who have mental powers have little strength
in battling with life, and might be helped if their luckier sisters
would be a little less selfish in their easily acquired security.
Work means self-respect, and self-respect means success. There is no
one so proud as the woman who knows her own worth, and lifts herself
by this knowledge high above all sordid temptations. She will be
a good wife, for she will choose no man for a husband save on the
lofty principle of his own worthiness of her, while her estimate of
herself will unconsciously become his also. She will be a tribunal to
herself and to him, and the slightest wrong action or paltry motive
in either will take, in the eyes of the other, the proportions of a
blot on their self-esteem. She will be a good mother, for her standard
of superiority will be the first her children will know, and with
them it will be inseparably blent with their personal affection for
their mother. The home will thus be created on a footing that years
will strengthen as they pass, and the austere yet happy gravity of
a Christian household will become a hereditary tradition with the
children. But for all this, the basis of work is wanted—work of some
sort, voluntary occupation or necessary drudgery, it matters little.
It is the discipline, not the fact, of work which is essential, and in
this sense the rich and high-born may be as hard workers as the poor
seamstress or the factory-girl. Yet, since this labor question touches
the poor chiefly, it is for them we would chiefly speak. Woman’s work
is circumscribed by her physical powers, man’s is not. Therefore, in
all things that a woman can do as well as a man (and of course in all
those which she can do better), the preference should be given to her.
There are many trades in which men cut not only a very useless but a
most ridiculous figure, and which the fittingness of things would point
out as woman’s proper field. Everything relating to feminine clothing
comes under this head; and were this department wholly given over to
women, it would at once relieve the poverty and shield the virtue of
many homes, and also spare the public the absurd spectacle of strong
men engaged in handling delicate ribbons and filmy laces. Printing
and kindred trades have been found practicable for women, and we know
that watchmaking and jewellery work are also accessible to the “weaker
vessel.” Still, it has at present gone no further than this, that
women are associated with men in many employments. Now, we could wish
that there should be many trades of which they would have an exclusive
monopoly. In this we think there would be no inconvenience; at any
rate, no one could assert that there was until the system had been
given a fair trial.

Society, in its present state of godless disorganization, not only
affords very little help to women who are eager and willing to help
themselves, but positively, despite the loud boasting of the century
as having originated “woman-reform,” places barriers in their way.
For what else is it but a barrier to honest advancement that, when a
respectable and virtuous woman of pleasing appearance goes to apply for
some desirable situation offered by advertisement, she is often, very
often, insulted by disgusting propositions, and her very expressions
of indignant surprise put down as a part skilfully played by her
before the inevitable surrender? This has been repeatedly done, in
many cases successfully, for precautions had been taken beforehand
to cut off the victim’s retreat and drown her cries; in others, when
cowardice, the twin-sister of vice, has shrunk from the determined
attitude of a virtuous woman at bay, the effort has happily failed.
The public papers have sometimes—with their proverbial inefficiency
and spasmodic, theatrical manner of showing up an abuse they know it
will pay better to speak of than to act against—taken in hand this
outrage to civilization, and published letters from the aggrieved women
detailing the attempted insult, but how many more women, sensitive and
gentle, shrink with horror from putting into print an experience they
would gladly blot from their memory! It will be asked, what remedy can
be devised for this? Immediate remedy, perhaps none; but remotely,
the remedy of a newly formed habit of regarding women with at least
the same respect as men who earn their daily bread. Physical weakness
will always be an incentive to wicked men to insult unprotected
women—that is to say, the vices of fallen human nature will never be
wholly blotted out; and in this juncture, as in all others, the real
remedy is the influence and authority of the church. Nowhere more than
in Italy—that maligned country in which Protestants refuse to see
anything save the last stage of corruption brought on by an “effete
priesthood and a degraded religion”—is that touching charity known of
portioning poor girls and affording them temporary refuge while out of
employment. In Rome, this was one of the foremost Papal charities; the
Holy Father took an especial personal interest in it; the Roman ladies
vied with each other in enlarging the numbers of its recipients and
adding to the fund provided for its continuance. In Venice, it used
to be the affair of the Doge, who was conventionally father to all
the dowerless, and the sworn protector of impoverished and threatened
innocence. Many saints have made this their favorite charity, and many
Italian marriages in the higher grades of life are accompanied by
this crowning token of Christian brotherhood—the portioning and safe
marrying of a poor young girl who might have otherwise fallen a victim
to the licentiousness of some professional _roué_.

While it is to be deplored that the openings for female employment
should still be so restricted, it is still more to be lamented
that there are actually employments in which female labor is most
unwarrantably used. In mining districts, this is peculiarly the case.
There men and women work promiscuously, often with very little clothing
on, and with still less sense of decency and morality. Little girls are
brought up there with no knowledge of themselves as responsible moral
agents, and conscious only that their work is not quite so valuable
because their muscles are not quite so strong as those of their
companions. Ignorance of religion, of moral restraints, and of social
decencies, combine to make of these immortal beings only lithe savages,
less enduring than the negro, less clever than the Indian. For the
white race in some sense seems born to civilization, and when removed
from civilizing influences relapses into far more brutal savageness
than others. Again, we find the problem only solvable through the
influence of the church; for she who originally drew together the
nomad hordes of the North and East, and gathered from their ranks
the founders of empires, the lawgivers of her own system, and the
discoverers of the New World, is still the only mistress the dominant
race which she once civilized will ever again acknowledge. Christendom
has been rent in twain, and the Christian nations deprived of the bond
that once knit them in one vast confederation and unity of interests;
and until this whole has been restored, barbarism will struggle
periodically to the surface, and strive to regain that ascendency it
lost more than a thousand years ago. The abuses and horrors of female
labor in mining districts are a blot upon civilization which never
had any existence before the recent disruption of Christendom; for,
wherever an abuse reared its serpent head, the church was at least
there to protest, and exert her moral influence if not material force.
It is idle to object that she did not, as a matter of fact, quell all
abuses; this objection might be urged against the apparently frustrated
mission of our Lord himself, as far as immediate tangible reforms
were concerned, but the essential fact stands, that as long as the
church’s authority remained undisputed there was at least in the world
one tribunal which, being the acknowledged visible representative of
God, could brand beyond appeal all encroachments on the rights of the
defenceless, and wither the plans of cunning and cruelty against the
poor. To those defended, this was a consolation; to those upbraided, it
was at least a secret dread.

Having said so much upon the question of woman’s position as a
bread-winner, we can only end by acknowledging that whatever is to
be done will have to be done in fragments, and under the auspices
of private enterprise alone. We cannot expect that in the present
condition of the world any but individual efforts will be made for the
advancement of the weaker sex, nor can we anticipate any but partial
and isolated results. But, nevertheless, these efforts will not lack
their reward, and we, who in the eyes of the world are now working in
the dark, can be content with the knowledge that from these disjointed
earthly efforts God is silently building up a great spiritual temple
of rescued souls. It may be that we never shall succeed but in part,
but this is the fate of all workers at a perfect system, and need not
dismay us in the least. Theologians say that if the merits of our
Lord’s Incarnation and Passion had redeemed but the single soul of his
Blessed Mother, still such unheard-of merits would not therefore have
been in the least superfluously applied; and in the same way may we
humbly think of ourselves, that if each life spent in the effort of
bettering the condition and widening the intellectual horizon of woman
had no result save in the increased welfare of one individual, still
the labor of such a life would not have been in vain.



_Merc._—“Young Abraham Cupid, he that shot so trim.”—_Romeo and
Juliet_, act ii. sc. I.[83]

CERTAINLY, this very singular prefix to the ordinary appellation of
the god of love suggests difficulties of interpretation not easy of
solution. It would appear to be one of those cant phrases familiar
enough, we may presume, at a certain period, for, if not readily to
be understood, the poet was unlikely to make use of it in such a
connection. But the reason for its application has passed out of mind,
and all the commentators have been at a loss to discover its meaning.
Mr. Singer, editor of a well-known edition of the poet’s plays,
disposes of the embarrassment in a manner equally summary and, as it
seems to us, unsatisfactory. Accepting the suggestion of Mr. Upton,
another commentator, that the word “Abraham” should be “Adam,” these
critics agree in conferring upon Cupid a prænomen which it is clear
neither Shakespeare nor his early editors affixed to the name by which
he is usually known. It is equally certain that no other writer has
ever employed the term “Adam” in such a way. In this state of the case,
we seem still left to seek the meaning of the word “Abraham,” as thus
used. In order to exhibit the whole merits of the question, let us
subjoin the note of Mr. Singer in reference to it, and also that of Mr.
Richard Grant White, editor of an American edition of Shakespeare. Mr.
Singer remarks:

“All the old copies read _Abraham_ Cupid. The alteration was proposed
by Mr. Upton. It evidently alludes to the famous archer, Adam Bell. So
in Decker’s _Satiromastix_: ‘He shoots his bolt but seldom, but, when
Adam lets go, he hits.’ ‘He shoots at thee, too, Adam Bell; and his
arrows stick here.’ The ballad alluded to is ‘King Cophetua and the
Beggar Maid,’ or, as it is called in some copies, ‘The Song of a Beggar
and a King.’ It may be seen in the first volume of Percy’s _Reliques of
Ancient Poetry_. The following stanza Shakespeare had particularly in

  ‘The _blinded_ boy, that _shoots so trim_,
    From heaven down did hie;
  He drew a dart, and shot at him,
    In place where he did lie.’”
  —_Singer’s Note._

Now, though it cannot be doubted that Shakespeare had in mind _the
blinded boy that shoots so trim_, as set forth in the ballad referred
to, nor that the expression “shot so trim” grew out of it, yet this
fact is far from affording good reason for the belief that he had
also Adam Bell in view, or that he had any thought of conferring the
Christian name of that noted outlaw upon Cupid himself. The presumption
would be that however _trim_ a bowman that “belted forestere” may have
been, yet the skill of Cupid in this respect is too preeminent and
well allowed, to admit of any compliment or illustration derived from
the name of the very best merely human archer who ever drew cloth-yard
shaft to ear. Mr. Singer appears to us, therefore, to have been misled
by a merely superficial analogy into too great confidence in an
improvident suggestion, when he ventured to substitute a conjectural
emendation of the text for a reading which was uniform in “all the old

The note of Mr. White is as follows:

“Upton gave us the _Adam_ which takes the place of ‘Abraham’ in all the
current editions, except Mr. Knight’s. But, as Mr. Dyce says, there is
not the slightest authority for the change. The last-named gentleman
conjectures that ‘Abraham’ in this line is a corruption of _Auburn_; as
it is unquestionably in the following passages which he quotes:

  ‘Where is the oldest sonne of Pryam,
  That Abraham coloured Troian? Dead.’
  —_Soliman and Perseda_, 1599, sig. H, 3.

  ‘A goodlie, long, thicke Abram colored beard.’
  —_Middleton’s Blurt_, _Master-Constable_, 1602, sig. D.

And in _Coriolanus_, act ii. sc. iii.

  ‘Not that our heads are some browns, some
  blacke, some Abram,’

as we read in the first three folios.

“The suggestion is more than plausible; and we at least owe to Mr. Dyce
the efficient protection which it must give to the original text. Cupid
is always represented by the old painters as auburn-haired.”[84]

But Mr. White, it will be observed, begs the question as to the
passages quoted from other authors. These passages simply prove that
“Abraham coloured” and “Abram colored,” as applied to the hair and
the beard, were common enough expressions at and before the time of
Shakespeare. Besides, only conceive whether it would be characteristic
of Shakespeare to write so tamely as “Young auburn Cupid”!

In fact, the term in question must have had a pertinent, significant,
and peculiar meaning, well understood by his contemporaries.

Mr. Knight conceives the term _Abraham_ to be thus appropriated from
the vagrants and beggars called “Abraham-men,” who were too often
cheats;[85] and it is to be feared that he thus means us to imply
the propriety of the appellation in this instance, upon the ungallant
hypothesis that Cupid is himself the prince and chief exemplar of
deceivers in general. But this specific characteristic we have always
understood to belong to Mercury. For however, popularly, Cupid is
estimated as a gay deceiver, Mercury was held by the Greeks the god of
fraud and falsehood. The sailors have a phrase of “shamming Abraham”
when one of the crew shirks his duty on pretence of sickness or for any
other pretended excuse. No one seems to have thought of the possible
origin of this proverbial expression, as used in reference to the
beggars from whose habits it is evidently derived. It has occurred to
us that, since Abraham was the father of the faithful, that is, the
person most eminent for faith, his name may have been thus taken up, in
a manner savoring more of wit than of reverence, in relation to persons
disposed to live rather by _faith_ than by _works_—in fact, who showed
the amplitude of their trust in whatever might turn up, oftentimes in
a somewhat questionable shape, by doing no work at all. This would
manifestly be a sort of _shamming Abraham_.

But however this may be, since all the old copies read _Abraham_ Cupid,
and since the alteration of the text commended by Mr. Singer and others
cannot be justified upon any grounds which they offer, or in any other
mode, we must find some means of explaining the phrase as it stands,
or remain in the dark as to its true interpretation. Certainly the
matter is not at all cleared up by unauthorized substitution. Against
Mr. Knight’s theory, on the other hand, militates the plain fact
that, in every example cited, unless the one in controversy be taken
as an exception, the word stands for a certain _color_, and not as
qualifying any moral characteristic, or implying any personal defect.
There is a difficulty, besides, in the _auburn_ hypothesis which it
must be admitted is hard to get over. Supposing the word had been found
written as it is, nowhere but in these two passages of Shakespeare,
it might, perhaps, so pass muster. He might not very unnaturally be
thought to have put such a corrupt form of the word _auburn_ purposely
into the mouth of the worthy citizen in _Coriolanus_; and the term
_auburn_, in such a connection, but misprinted in the course of time,
might possibly be considered not absolutely inconsistent with the
character of Mercutio and the strain of his speech. But when we find
the same word used by two other writers contemporary with Shakespeare,
both of whom would be likely to know the correct form and so to write
it, if “Abraham” or “Abram” were merely a corrupt form of it, and
especially as in one of the examples it occurs in a serious passage of
a tragedy—it seems much more probable that the term “Abraham” itself,
as so applied, had its own distinct and well-understood meaning,
so familiar as to excite, at that period, no necessarily ludicrous
association. And that this term _Abraham_ was a cant phrase which
had come into common use is actually implied by the correspondent
expression in the preceding line of this very speech of Mercutio:

  “Speak to my gossip, Venus, one fair word,
  One _nickname_ for her purblind son and heir;
  Young _Abraham_ Cupid, he that shot so trim.”

Now, it is obvious that _auburn_, as being a common adjective, could
constitute no nickname; whereas Abraham, as a noun proper, and at the
same time signifying a certain color, serves that purpose completely,
as, for example, _Cicero_, or _Nasica_.

We must own that a passage in Bishop Hall’s _Satires_ at first a little
puzzled us, viz.:

  “A lustie courtier whose curled head
  With _abron_ locks was fairly furnished.”[86]

But upon reflection it will be found that, although _abron_, at first
sight, looks much more like auburn than does either _Abraham_ or
_Abram_, and it might appear, therefore, to be, in fact, a less corrupt
form of that word than either of the other terms, yet, on the other
hand, _abron_ is itself both in form and sound much nearer _Abram_ than
it is to _auburn_, and may, therefore, be only a misspelt variation of
the first rather than of the second expression.

In this philological dilemma, we believe we are able to throw a gleam
of light on the obscurity; and, though the explanation is derived
from a source apparently remote, there is, nevertheless, good ground
for thinking it may prove satisfactory. We happen to have in our
possession a copy of the quarto edition of the Latin Dictionary
published at Cambridge, England, in 1693, which is the foundation of
those dictionaries of the Latin language in common use which have
succeeded it. The word _vitex_ is thus translated in it: “A kind of
withy or willow, commonly called agnus castus, in English, park-leaves,
_Abraham’s balm_, chaste or _hemp_ tree.”

Now, it is no less certain than melancholy to reflect upon that our
respected ancestry, like their descendants, were compelled to supply
the loss of hair by some adventitious covering, and that their periwigs
were sometimes perhaps commonly manufactured out of either the coarser
or the finer filament of flax or hemp, since those made of hair were
very costly. We are confident we have read of a splendid and no doubt
full-bottomed article of the latter material costing as much as fifty
guineas, a couple of centuries ago.[87] We speak of flax and hemp
indiscriminately, however botanically different, as those predecessors
of ours were in the habit of doing, and as being, in fact, used for
similar purposes, _e.g._, “Except the flax or hemp plant, and a few
other plants, there is very little herbage of any sort.”[88]

To the coarser filament of both, after the article is heckled, is
still, we believe, applied the name of _tow_. In either case, the
substance, when thus subjected to the nicer process of manufacture,
presents that well-known whitish brown color so often and so
enthusiastically celebrated by the elder English poets in the aspect
of “flaxen locks.” We do not know, and, after considerable research,
have been unable to ascertain with accuracy, what was the peculiar
relation of the “hemp-tree” to those other vegetable productions; but
infer from the name that there was a certain resemblance in the fibre
of the one to the others, and that probably to some extent it was
formerly used for similar purposes. At any rate, it is only with the
name and the associations it calls up that we have particularly to do.
If the hemp-tree, otherwise called “Abraham’s balm,” furnished when
manufactured an article similar in color to that of the other vegetable
productions referred to, a sufficient foundation is laid for this

Bosworth’s _Dictionary of the Anglo-Saxon Language_ affords a striking
illustration of the general subject. He says that “flax signified, in
earlier times, also _hair_ and all kinds of hairy thread. In Austria,
the flax is called haar, hair. The Danish hör signifies the same.” He
adds: “The Old English flix-_down_, soft hair, is another instance that
flax in earlier ages was used to designate hair.”

Of the metaphorical use of the word the poets are full of pregnant
examples, for instance:

  “Her flaxen haire, insnaring all beholders,
  She next permits to wave about her shoulders.”[89]

  “All flaxen was his poll.”[90]

  “Adown the shoulders of the heavenly fair
  In easy ringlets flowed her flaxen hair;
  And with a golden comb, in matchless grace,
  She taught each lock its most becoming place.”[91]

If to these examples we add the following passage, we shall perceive
that the hue in question enjoyed a special distinction and favor:

“The four colors signify the four virtues; the _flaxey_, having a
whiteness, appertains to temperance, because it makes _candidam et
mundam animam_.”[92]

And as this is a hue which frequently distinguishes the heads of
youngsters, a large proportion of whom, at an early period of life, we
know as _white-headed_ urchins, and in England as well as in the United
States even as _tow-heads_, we are very strongly inclined to believe
the color and the term “Abraham” or “Abram” to be thus derived from
association, and to be so applied to the boy Cupid; the word _Abraham_,
in this connection, having come to express, to a certain extent, the
_tow_, or the color of the tow, of _hemp_, or flax, or equally of the
finer part which remains after the tow is combed out. So that, in all
probability, the cant term “Abraham,” as thus applied in Shakespeare’s
day, meant precisely the same as _flaxen_, with, perhaps, a slightly
humorous allusion. And in this view of the case, we must put in a
_caveat_ to the allegation of Mr. White, that, if “Cupid is always
represented by the old painters as auburn-haired,” then they have so
depictured him without sufficient authority; indeed, in contradiction
of the best authorities; for the classical evidence on this point
will show his hair to be described as of that color which is usually
known by the style of “flaxen”; since auburn is really a dun color, or
“reddish brown,” whereas Cupid’s hair was flaxen, or, as we now say,
blonde. For instance:

“The god of love was usually represented as a plump-cheeked boy, rosy
and naked, with _light_ hair floating on his shoulders.”[93]

“Eros is usually represented as a roguish boy, plump-cheeked and naked,
with _light_ hair floating on his shoulders.”[94]

We cannot but think, therefore, that this manifest distinction of
hue effectually disposes of the theory that “abron” stands for any
misspelling of _auburn_, as suggested by Mr. Dyce, and adopted by Mr.

It appears, by the bye, that this same _agnus castus_, or hemp-tree,
which has given occasion for these remarks, was supposed from an early
period to possess some peculiar virtues, which prompted its other
appellation of “The Chaste Tree”; and to this circumstance was owing,
doubtless, its introduction by the poets in their descriptions of
various ceremonials. Thus, Chaucer has three several references to it
in his “Floure and Leafe,” and very noticeably, as follows:

  “Some of laurer, and some full pleasantly
  Had chaplets of woodbind; and, sadly,
  Some of _agnus castus_ weren also
  Chaplets fresh.”

So Dryden, also, modernizing this very passage of the older poet:

  “Of laurel some, of woodbine many more,
  And wreaths of _agnus castus_ many bore.”

It ought to be suggested that the statement herein made as to the
earlier practice of wearing wigs of flax and tow, in addition to some
direct evidence to the point, is partly a matter of inference, and
partly due to rather vague recollections of youthful studies (to which
we have not thought it worth while to recur) among the romance writers
of the last century. Their famous heroes undoubtedly were more or less
familiar with “Abraham-men” and personages of that description; and
it must be confessed that the impression of the “tow-wigs” worn, for
purposes of disguise or with whatever object, by the highwaymen, sturdy
beggars, and other worthies introduced into their novels, is amongst
the strongest left on our mind by those lucubrations of their genius.

The inference which we have ventured upon is that, since wigs were
articles of supposed necessity, and certainly have been used from
early times; and since those manufactured of hair must have been much
more costly in former days than at present, the probabilities are very
strong that this important description of head-gear was made, more or
less commonly, out of that material which still, we believe, affords
the foundation of those ingenious works of art, the color and beauty
of which furnished the poets with an ordinary and apt illustration of
bright and flowing locks.

We are not without testimony on this point, however, and that, too, of
no less authority than Walter Scott, which is literally to the point:

“The identical Peter wears a huge great-coat, threadbare and patched.
His hair, half gray half black, escaped in elf-locks around a huge wig
_made of tow_, as it seemed to me.”[95]

Addison also tells us, in a paper of the _Spectator_, as quoted by

  “I bought a fine flaxen long wig.”

It is true, Dr. Johnson cites this example in his _Dictionary_ as only
meaning something “fair, long, and flowing, as if made of flax”; but we
are far from thinking the qualification of his definition inevitably
correct, any more than in some other well-known instances. The great
lexicographer imagines a wig of hair as presenting the appearance of
one made of flax; but we see no reason why the excellent _Spectator_
should not be taken literally according to his expression; nor why
he may not have appeared upon the occasion to which he refers in a
veritable wig of flax, especially since such an object of manufacture
was common, could be made to bear so close a resemblance to hair,
probably looked better, and was of much less cost. We find a still more
decisive example in the _Spectator_, which scarcely admits of any other
than the most literal interpretation:

“The greatest beau at our next county sessions was dressed in a most
monstrous flaxen periwig that was made in King William’s reign.”[96]

The following example is equally pertinent:

“A fair, flaxen, full-bottomed periwig.”[97]

In this instance, the word “fair” would seem clearly to apply to the
color, and “flaxen” to the material, for otherwise the use of both
expressions would be tautological.

Indeed, we have not left this matter to conjecture and inference
merely; for we took occasion to inquire upon this topic, several years
ago, of a late celebrated hair-dresser; and, in fact, these notes have
been kept on hand for a period considerably longer than the nine years
prescribed by Horace for the due refinement and perfection of immortal
verse. Our excellent friend, M. Charrier, of Boston, informed us that
he had been called upon to manufacture actual wigs of the filament of
flax; and he remembered one particular occasion, when an article of
special beauty was required for the use of a popular actress, who was
to perform in a play which he thought was called “The fair maid with
the golden locks.”[98] Thus we trace the article to the stage itself,
and there, in all probability, its construction of the material in
question is traditional, and is much more likely to have originated
at a period earlier than the time of Shakespeare than at a later
date. Of course, if M. Charrier had lived to our day, he would have
found plenty of business in constructing those mountainous piles of
various vegetable material with which ladies now see fit to load their
heads—“some browne, some blacke, some Abram.”[99]

In corroboration of these views, explanatory, we hope, of the strange
expression, Abraham Cupid, to modern eyes and ears, we have just met
with a singularly apt illustration. A very young lady of our family
received last Christmas, as a present, a doll with a remarkable head of
hair. It was long, fine, profuse, admirably curled, and exactly of that
brilliantly fair color, the lightest possible shade of brown, sometimes
but rarely seen in its perfection on the heads of young persons, and
of the hue which might well be imagined as a peculiar and suitable
attribute of the god of love. An examination of this attractive
ornament to the seat of whatever intellect a doll might be supposed to
possess showed at once, that it was skilfully manufactured, doubtless
by accomplished French artisans, of the filament of flax.[100]

From these premises the following propositions seem to be fairly

1. That, in the time of Shakespeare, the word _Abraham_ was sometimes
employed as a cant term expressive of a certain color.

2. That, since the name “Abraham’s balm” was used for a certain shrub
or bush, otherwise called the hemp-tree, the color in question was
probably that of dressed hemp or flax, which nearly resembled each
other in hue; the word tow being still applied to the coarse filament
of both.

3. That the color attributed to “flaxen locks,” so celebrated through
the whole range of English poetry, is, in fact, that light and fair,
that is, blonde, color of the hair assigned to Cupid.

4. That “Young Abraham Cupid,” therefore, means nothing else than
_flaxen-haired_ or _fair-haired_ Cupid.

In regard to the term “Abraham’s balm,” as applied to the hemp-tree, we
beg leave to suggest that such an appellation may have been bestowed
on such a tree, as intimating a natural and appropriate cure for such
infirmities as resulted in mistakes about property, to which we may
suppose Abraham-men and their associates were only too subject. The
figure may be thought similar to that highly metaphorical expression
conveyed by the passage:

  “Ye shall have a hempen caudle, then.”[101]

As to “Abraham-men,” a rope may, in fact, have been thought, in extreme
cases, a “_balm_ for hurt minds.”


IT stands girdled with its forty thousand acres of forest, or gathering
of many palaces rather than a united single one, and presents perhaps a
wider and more varied retrospect than any of its historical compeers.
Poet, philosopher, and historian alike find inexhaustible food for
meditation before the grand, irregular pile that rises up before us
with its towers and gables massed against the sky—the most elaborate
epic ever written in stone. But prior to the stupendous poem that
we behold to-day, an idyl rose upon its site; a song, half sacred,
half sylvan, floats to us across the distant tide of time, the
record of an undying past. A vast virgin forest where the chant of
prayer and penitence mingles with the voicing of the primeval choir
of oaks, and sycamores, and elms, and spire-like poplars, ranged in
many-octaved lyres for the winds to strike with strong melodic finger;
and human souls set up in the high places, higher than forest trees
or earth-built towers; harps wooing the touch divine of the Master’s
hand, joining in the ecstatic song of seraph praise; souls these who
have cast aside crowns of gold, and trodden their purple garments under
foot, to choose the crown of thorns and the scant robe of poverty—love
driven to the strange madness, of the cross; others there are who sing
the deep plain-song of humility and forgiven sin; while some, whose
snow-white brow the dark shadow of sin has never crossed, carol forth
in innocent joy with the matins of the lark the hymn of deliverance,
the psalm of praise and worship, of intercession and thanksgiving—such
is the concert of celestial harmony that echoes to us from the long-ago
of the grand old forest. Many changes, will follow: we shall see a
busy stir of multitudinous life alternating with the chill silence of
the tomb; princes and prelates hurrying to and fro, noble matrons,
and frail women, and death in many forms, beautiful and terrible,
serene and tragic, passing and repassing the gates; and we shall hear
the woods reverberating to other sounds than those of prayer—to the
clanging of civil strife, to the voice of laughter and of tears.

Distinct amidst all the earlier memories of Fontainebleau stand out
the figures of S. Louis and his mother, Blanche of Castille. There
are many versions as to the origin of the place; the most popular one
records that S. Louis, being out hunting one day, lost a favorite
hound called Bleau, and, after scouring the forest in search of the
truant, found him at last quietly drinking at a fountain, and was so
enchanted with the beauty of the surrounding scene that he determined
to build a hunting-lodge on the spot; he did so, and, in memory of the
incident, it was named Fontaine de Bleau. But this pretty legend is
rejected by the most reliable historians, who have searched out traces
of a much earlier origin for Fontainebleau. There seems sufficient
evidence of its having been used as a royal residence by Hugh Capet,
and frequented as a favorite rendezvous for the hunt by all the earlier
kings of France. The existence of the famous monastery of S. Germain
l’Auxerre, at the western extremity of the forest, is advanced as a
proof, and a strong one, of its being in those remote times inhabited
by royal patrons, for monasteries sprang of necessity where kings
lived; and there is no doubt that the greater portion of the abbey
lands were grants from good King Robert. Blanche of Castille retired
to an old château of some sort at Fontainebleau during her husband’s
absence while at war with England or the Albigenses; she founded in the
neighborhood the Abbaye de Lys, which was later on munificently endowed
by her son, Louis IX., who even went the length of giving up to it some
acres of the forest that he loved so well. It was here that a great
portion of his childhood was passed. Under the shadow of the old woods,
or pacing the solemn cloisters of the abbey, his mother instilled into
his mind those first lessons of fear and love upon which his life was
so faithfully modelled. “My son, I love thee dearly, but, so help me
God, I would rather see thee dead at my feet than have thee live to
sully thy soul with one mortal sin.” Truly, a valiant mother of the
Machabean mould—a woman of strong faith, worthy to be the mother of a
Christian king.

When the child has grown to manhood, we see him still at Fontainebleau,
holding his court of justice under the broad shade of a giant oak, he
seated on the gnarled trunk, while his people gathered round him—a
young patriarch settling the disputes of his tribe, dealing out the
law; justice and mercy being counsel, and judge, and jury, and the
king’s word supreme. Sometimes we see him dashing through the glade,
followed by his courtiers, while the merry hunting-horn scares the wild
birds from their nests, and rouses the tusky boar in his lair; but
more frequently we see the king alone, meditating on the frail tenure
of earthly joys and pride, or surrounded by the wise and learned men,
too noble to be called courtiers, whose society he enjoyed better than
that of youths of his own age. Louis preserved through life a taste for
the monastic offices that he had joined in habitually with Blanche de
Castille in his childhood; and, when he could spare a few days from the
cares of his kingdom, he would spend them in the prayerful solitude of
the monastery of the Mathurins, assisting at all the offices with the
monks, and helping them in tending the sick and teaching the poor. His
young courtiers made merry over this strange pastime for a king, but
Louis only laughed, and said: “Let them laugh, these young ones! It
hurts no one, and God is not offended. If I spent my time in hunts, and
tournaments, and dancing, they would not blame me. Let them laugh; pray
God I may never give them cause to weep!” Once S. Louis fell ill at
Fontainebleau, and, being considered at the point of death, he called
his little son to him, and gave him some touching advice concerning his
conduct and private life; then suddenly changing his tone to one of
great impetuosity, he exclaimed: “I pray thee, fair son, make thyself
loved of my people! for verily I had rather a Scotchman came from
Scotland to govern the kingdom well and loyally than that it should be
unfairly or unkindly governed by thee!”

Joinville, who was the close companion of S. Louis through the
most active part of his career, finds no words wherewith to praise
adequately the character and virtues of the king. “What concerned
himself alone could never move him to joy or wrath,” says this
trustworthy chronicler; “but when it touched the honor of God, or the
happiness of his people, Louis knew no fear, and brooked no delay, nor
could any earthly consideration hinder him in the discharge of a duty.”
Yet Joinville censures his master severely for having undertaken the
second Crusade, which he condemns as a great military and political
mistake. Had it succeeded, however, Egypt would have become a Christian
colony, and the cross would have been planted on the pyramids; this was
what S. Louis looked to beyond the conquest of Jerusalem; and, if his
dream had been realized, Joinville would hardly have pronounced it a
“great mistake.”

A quaint anecdote is told of a trick played by S. Louis to ensnare
his nobles into enlisting in this fatal expedition. The court was at
Fontainebleau for the celebration of Christmas. It was customary for
the king to present the courtiers with furred cloaks called _liveries_
to wear at Midnight Mass on Christmas eve. S. Louis had a great number
of these made, and gave orders that a cross should be embroidered in
dark silk on the shoulder of each, and that they should be distributed
at the last moment in a dimly lighted apartment; this was done,
according to the king’s command; the courtiers hurriedly donned
their _liveries_, and it was only when they entered the brilliantly
illuminated church that the wearers beheld the symbol on each other’s
backs. They were at first astonished and displeased, says Joinville,
but when the king came forward with the cross on his own shoulder and
the crucifix in his hand, and asked if they would tear theirs off, and
send him forth alone to the Holy Land, a thrill of chivalrous ardor
ran through the assembly, and all answered as one voice: “No; we will
follow you! We will keep the cross!” And they did.

Blanche de Castille, whose religious enthusiasm is rightly or wrongly
credited with the responsibility of this ill-fated enterprise, held
the regency during her son’s absence, and proved by her courage in
confronting the dangers and difficulties of the charge, and by her
wisdom and counsel, that even in those unprogressive days a wise and
virtuous woman made no bad substitute for a man in the mighty task of
government. She spent most of her time in the comparative retirement
of Fontainebleau; but when the news came of the disastrous issue of
Mansoorah, where the Christian army was cut to pieces, and the king
with his noblest captains taken prisoners, she left it, and hastened
to the capital, in order to work more actively for the ransom of her
son and his brave companions in arms. It was a terrible time for a
mother. The queen knew that those who had taken her son captive had
no power over his soul; she knew that Louis was more commanding in his
chains than he had even been at the head of his armies; that adversity
would teach him no language unbecoming a Christian prince; that neither
threats nor torture would wrench from him any compromise unworthy of
his honor; and that captivity, nay, death, in so august a cause was the
most enviable destiny she could have wished him; but she was a human
mother withal, and in this hour of trial her motherhood vindicated
itself relentlessly. Blanche labored day and night to raise a ransom
that might tempt the Turk to give up his prize. She heard that eight
thousand _besants_[102] would be accepted for the king himself, and
this sum was with great difficulty mustered and sent to Palestine.
But when Louis heard it, he sent word to the sultan that “the King of
France was not to be ransomed with gold or silver; that he would give
the town of Damietta for his own person, and eight thousand _besants_
for his army.” The offer was rejected with scorn, and Louis was
subjected to still greater cruelties and humiliations; but at last,
worn out by the indomitable heroism of his victim, the sultan gave
way; the regal fortitude in which suffering had clothed their captive
had subdued even his jailers into wondering admiration, and they set
him free, declaring that “this king was the proudest Christian that
the East had ever seen.” No sooner was he at liberty, than, instead of
hastening away from the scenes of his misery and misfortunes, Louis set
to work to spread the Gospel far and wide in Palestine; but Blanche
had earned a right to clasp him to her heart after those three years
of separation. She felt, too, that the days were growing short; so she
wrote, entreating him to come home. S. Louis was repairing the ramparts
of Sidon when the summons reached him; he immediately prepared to obey
it; but, before he had left Sidon, the mother who, next to God, had
been the supreme love of his life had taken her flight to a better
world. She died at Fontainebleau. “He made great mourning thereat,”
says Sire de Joinville, “that for two days no speech could be gotten of
him. After that he sent a chamber-man to fetch me. When I came before
him in his chamber, where he was alone, he stretched forth his arms,
and said to me, ‘O seneschal! I have lost my mother. My God, thou
knowest that I loved this mother better than all other creatures, but
thy will be done. Blessed be thy name!’” Philip le Bel (IV.) was born
at Fontainebleau. There are conflicting versions as to the place of
Philip’s death, but it is generally supposed to have taken place at
Fontainebleau, in the same room where he was born. There was a current
belief at the time, and it was preserved through many succeeding
generations, that his death was the result of a summons issued against
him by the grand master of the templars, Jacques de Molai. A hundred
and thirteen templars perished at the stake during Philip’s reign, and
these _autos-da-fe_ were crowned by that of the grand master, who was
burnt alive in the gardens of his own palace. As the flames rose round
his naked body, the templar lifted up his voice, and, in the hearing of
the vast multitude of spectators, solemnly summoned Philip “to meet him
at the judgment-seat in four months from that day.” The death of the
king precisely four months from the day of De Molai’s execution gave a
sanction to the credulity of the people, and the legend passed into
an historical occurrence. The fact of the summons is accepted; we can
have no difficulty in admitting its inevitable effect on the mind of
the individual against whom it was sent forth. There was a prevailing
belief that a dying man had the power to issue the formidable command,
and that obedience was compulsory. Philip, whose passion for gold
had led him to confiscate the treasures of the templars, and then to
calumniate and persecute them in order to justify his own spoliations,
was haunted by the words of De Molai. He grew sick, and his illness,
defying all the arts of medicine, soon brought him to the verge of
death. Feeling that his days were numbered, he begged to be taken to
Fontainebleau, that he might gaze once more upon the home of his happy
childhood. On arriving there, he sent for his children and his friends,
and took a sorrowful farewell of them. “They entered the chamber where
the king was,” says Godefroid de Paris, “and where there was very
little light. They asked him how he felt, and he answered: ‘Ill in body
and in soul. I have put on so many _tillages_ and laid hands on so much
riches that I shall never be absolved. Methinks I shall die to-night,
for I suffer grievous hurt from the curses which pursue me.’” And that
same night he died (1314).

The sons of Philip frequented Fontainebleau very faithfully. So
did Charles V.; but a veil of mist hangs over the history of the
castle during the greater part of the XIVth century. We only find
it mentioned now and then as a meeting-place for the hunt of royal
sportsmen. Isabeau de Bavière honored it often with her presence,
and enlarged a portion of the building. But the romantic history of
Fontainebleau dates from Francis I. He was to it what Louis XIV. was
to Versailles. It is customary amongst the admirers of those two
brilliant representatives of French monarchy to set them side by side,
and compare their characters and achievements. And no doubt there are
points of resemblance between them, but it is difficult to pursue the
comparison much below the surface. Louis XIV., as a king, certainly
has the best of it, and, as a man, Francis seems to have had all the
vices without many of his successor’s redeeming virtues. Louis was
dissipated, but he put a limit to his dissipation: Francis knew none;
he exhausted the treasury by his wanton prodigality and the army by his
senseless ambition; he burnt La Provence, he broke his plighted word to
Charles V., and yet we hear him spoken of as the rival of Bayard, “sans
peur et sans reproche.”[103]

History passes strange verdicts sometimes, but stranger still is the
blind credulity with which posterity endorses them, and clings to them
in spite of the light that by degrees pierces through the darkness,
showing up the idol or the monster, stripped of masks and drapery, and
exposed in its nakedness, or clothed with its own deeds, that make the
only garment it has a right to wear; we acknowledge that we have been
worshipping a false standard, or forswearing an honest one; but we go
on with a dogged tenacity worshipping and forswearing still, rather
than forsake an old love or renounce an old antipathy. There are few
personages in history who have usurped this kind of worship and held
it more successfully than Francis I. Fontainebleau is not, however,
the appropriate place for challenging his claims to the applause of
posterity; here he is on his vantage-ground; we see him at his best,
all his faults, if not obliterated, mellowed in the blaze of borrowed
glory that encircles him; here he is the graceful knight-errant, the
magnificent patron of art, and science, and learning, surrounded by
men of genius, whom he treats as equals and as friends; we forget his
profligate follies, his reckless waste of the kingdom’s money and the
kingdom’s blood, when we see him petting Leonardo da Vinci, doing the
behests and humoring the crotchets of the cantankerous old genius so
tenderly, and bearing his unreasonable jealousy and his reproaches like
a chidden child. It would go hard with us to be severe on so lovable
a scapegrace, even if he were not the King of France. Francis ought
never to come before us except in the midst of his beloved artists.
There he is perfect. To Leonardo his demeanor is especially touching.
When the proud old man, still in the zenith of his fame, but stung by
the coldness of Leo X. and frightened by the rising glory of Michael
Angelo’s sun, turned sulkily away from his native land, Francis
invited him to Fontainebleau, received him with open arms, and treated
him like a prince as he was of the true _right divine_ creation,
and laid himself out to console him and brighten the evening of his
days. The exile was querulous from ill-health, as well as soured by
disappointment and the ingratitude of the Medici; but Francis bore with
his temper and his lamentations with the sweetness of a woman; there
was no tender gracefulness that sympathy could devise to cheer the old
man’s spirit and heal his aching pride that the king had not recourse
to; he would have kept him at Fontainebleau, near his own person, but
Leonardo, who was so fond of solitude and meditation that he never
married, “because the clatter of a wife’s tongue would have disturbed
his thoughts,” could not bear the gay bustle of the court, and said he
must go somewhere to be quiet; so Francis gave him a splendid suite of
apartments in the Château de Clou at Amboise. He spent the remaining
four years of his life there, painting his celebrated Mona Lisa, the
most exquisitely finished perhaps of all his works, and in writing his
treatise _Della Pittura_, a book of great originality and learning,
written, like all Da Vinci’s books, after the manner of the Eastern
manuscripts, from right to left—a singularity which he adopted, it
is said, to foil the curiosity of those around him, and prevent his
brother artists from discovering his secrets. The king paid twelve
thousand livres for Mona Lisa—an unprecedented sum for a work of art
in those days. When Leonardo was thought to be near his end, Francis
had him conveyed to Fontainebleau that he might watch over him himself
and be with him at the close.

On the morning of his death, when the king came into the room, the
dying man tried to raise himself on his couch to welcome him, but the
effort was too much; he sank forward, and would have fallen but for the
timely arms that rescued him. Francis laid the venerable old head upon
his breast, and there it lay till Leonardo breathed his last.

The artist had been pursued for months before his death by a morbid
terror of being buried alive, and had implored Francis to let him be
kept three days before the coffin was closed. The king complied with
the wish, and caused his friend to be exposed with royal honors, and
the body laid in state for three days. He was buried in the Church of
S. Florentin, near his own abode at Amboise.

Benvenuto Cellini is another shining stone in the pedestal of Francis
I. Discontented with the recognition that his genius met with at home,
he too was enticed from the blue skies of Florence to the colder but
more genial atmosphere of Fontainebleau, and was petted by the graceful
king only in a less degree than Da Vinci. But Benvenuto, who knew so
many things, who excelled almost equally as a poet, a sculptor, and
a painter, was lamentably ignorant in the art of being a courtier.
The Duchesse d’Estampes was queen of the gay palace of Armida, and
all the great men that frequented it bowed before her; but this bold
Florentine, who had a dash of the brigand in his composition, thought
he might dispense with her patronage, and refused to do homage at
the common shrine; he knew that he had had the bad luck to displease
the haughty fair one by his untutored manners from the first, and,
instead of trying to conciliate, he determined to conquer her. The
duchess was a liberal and enlightened patroness of art, and seems
to have merited in some degree by her personal accomplishments the
flattering title bestowed on her by one of her protégés of “the most
beautiful of _savantes_ and the most learned of belles.” Her sway over
Francis rested, therefore, on something stronger than the ephemeral
tenure of mere beauty; but, had it been otherwise, what chance was
there for Benvenuto against the favorite of the king? He, foolish
mortal, braved her so far as to ask the king direct, without having
recourse to her intervention, for an order to cast a bronze statue
for the great gallery which was in process of completion, and Francis
gave him the order, with carte-blanche for the execution. The statue
was finished, and a day appointed for the king to see it. This was a
precious opportunity for a woman’s vengeance; the duchess knew that
the triumph of the artist depended altogether on the first impression
produced on the king, and that the triumph of the work depended mainly
on the light in which it was seen: Cellini had named an hour when the
sun would pour in soft, full floods of light down the gallery; and,
long before the appointed time, he was there, watching every changing
shadow that it cast upon his statue, counting the minutes impatiently,
while his friends and all the court flocked in to assist at the king’s
entrance, and witness the triumph or the humiliation of the sculptor.
But the hour passed, and another, and another, and there was no sign of
Francis; the sun was gathering up its light, and speeding away to the
west, and the brown twilight was creeping into the gallery. Benvenuto
grew nervous, then outrageous. He paced up and down before his Jupiter
like a man gone mad. Where was the king? Would no one take pity on him
to go and call the king? But Benvenuto knew full well that none in that
courtly crowd would be guilty of so rash an act. Not even he himself
would dare to do it. He knew whose fault it was that the king was not
forthcoming, and he gnashed his teeth in savage but impotent rage. But
genius, like prophecy, has a ready handmaid in inspiration. “Let fall
the curtains, and bring lights,” cried the sculptor, with a sudden
bound from despair to triumph. The partisans of the “_belle savante_”
groaned, and stood still; the friends of Cellini flew to obey his
orders. It mattered not that they did not understand: the master did.
In less time than it takes to tell, the gallery was illuminated from
end to end; lamps, torches, waxlights, every luminary that hands could
carry, was put in requisition, till Jupiter shone out magnificent,
terrible, and dazzling in the blaze of an impromptu illumination more
weirdly effective than the brightest daylight could have been.

Cellini’s spirit rose to frenzy. He ran hither and thither, arranging
the lights with a view to more striking effect; clustering many flames
in a group at one point, leaving another in partial shade; clapping his
hands in wild delight one minute, impatiently knocking down one of his
helpmates the next. It was finished. The king was heard approaching.
Cellini, with an imperious gesture, commanded silence; the doors of
the gallery were thrown open, and the colossal bronze god flashed out
in all his dark effulgence on the astonished and enchanted gaze of the
monarch. The triumph of the hour was complete; but it cost the sculptor
dear. The duchess gave Francis no peace till he quarrelled with her
enemy, and dismissed him from the court.

Many Italian artists had followed Leonardo da Vinci to France, some out
of love for the great master himself, others tempted by the generosity
which the King of France showed universally to their class. The most
distinguished of these disciples of Leonardo was Andrea del Sarto. But
he was of too restless a disposition to settle anywhere permanently;
camp, court, and studio alike wearied him after a time; his wings
were too buoyant to remain long folded even in the enchanted clime of
Fontainebleau; he was not more than a year there, when he declared it
was a necessity of life for him to return to Florence, the ostensible
motive being to see his wife. Francis proposed to send for her,
promising that she should be made welcome to his court as an honored
guest; but Andrea said this would not do: he must go himself and fetch
her. All the king could obtain was a promise that he would return to
France in a year; and, to make the promise more binding, he entrusted
him with a considerable sum of money, to be expended, according to
Andrea’s taste and judgment, on objects of art for the decoration of
the palace. But when Andrea found himself once more in Florence, in
the company of his wife and his former boon companions, he forgot all
about his mission, and spent the king’s money in merry-making; he did
not dare show himself at Fontainebleau after this, but frittered away
the rest of his life in his native city, where he eventually died in
poverty and contempt. It would take too long to enumerate the various
European celebrities who fill up the brilliant picture presented by
Francis’ court at this period; but we cannot refuse a passing mention
to Serlio, the accomplished Bolognese architect, whom the king lured
away from Italy by his gold and his honeyed flattery. Serlio rebuilt
the palace almost entirely; his genius was allowed full scope, and the
result justified the confidence of his patron.

The area of the old building being much too small for the magnificent
new plan, Francis bought in the Mathurin Convent and the noble grounds
with which Louis IX. had endowed it, and added them to the original
site. The design of the library had been sketched by S. Louis, and
this Serlio adhered to strictly, making no change of his own. When the
edifice was finished, Francis swept Italy and Spain for artists to
adorn and beautify it. Rosso came to paint the walls in fresco, and his
design for the grand gallery, which was to be called the Gallery of
Francis I., carried the prize over all his competitors; he embellished
it with paintings, friezes of great beauty, and rich stucco-work.
So delighted was the king with the result of Rosso’s labors that,
in addition to other favors, he created him a canon of the Sainte
Chapelle. This wonderful gallery had sixteen frescoes representing the
most remarkable incidents in the life of Francis; the famous _porte
dorée_[104] was decorated by the same gifted hand. It is lamentable to
think that these glorious works of art, which formed Rosso’s principal
claim on the admiration of the world, were sacrificed to the vindictive
jealousy of a rival. Francesco Pellegrini had been the early friend
of Rosso; but, when they met as fellow-laborers at Fontainebleau, the
friendship turned to a rivalry which soon developed into bitter enmity,
and ended in the tragic death of Rosso. Primaticcio, as Pellegrini
is usually called, was accused by his rival of having stolen a large
sum of money from him; he was put to the torture, but acquitted
triumphantly. Rosso was then seized with shame and remorse; haunted
in imagination by the shrieks of the innocent man, the friend of his
youth, whom he had given up to the torture, his mind gave way, and in a
fit of insanity he took poison, which killed him in a few hours. Some
say that Rosso knew that the accusation was false, and that he brought
it designedly against Primaticcio, hoping to get rid of him; but his
frantic grief on discovering his mistake, and the fatal consequences of
his remorse, may be taken as contradictory evidence of this opinion.
Primaticcio, moreover, by his subsequent conduct, vindicates his
unhappy rival from having done him so very great a wrong in suspecting
him capable of the theft, for he unblushingly stole from Rosso what was
incomparably more precious to him than gold—his fame. No sooner was he
master of the field, than he set about to destroy all traces of Rosso’s
beautiful compositions, pulling down the walls which they adorned,
under pretence of enlarging the space. Some few that were spared by the
relentless destroyer have been obliterated by damp and the effects of
time. There is one fine painting of his to be seen in the Louvre—“Mary
receiving the homage of S. Elizabeth.”

The fêtes given at Fontainebleau by Francis I., though perhaps inferior
in splendor to those of Louis XIV. at Versailles, surpassed them
in picturesque elegance; they were rather the ideal festivities of
an artist than the gorgeous pageants of an Arabian caliph. But the
leisures of Francis were not all wasted in frivolous amusements. In
his sane moments, when he was not flying after that will-o’-the-wisp
that cost France and him so dear, the conquest of the Milanese, he was
something more than the mere fascinating madcap that his enemies make
him out; for it is his lot, like that of all charming but unprincipled
sovereigns, to inspire panegyrics and denunciations equally
exaggerated. He was not only a patron of those artists who contributed
to the adornment of his dwellings: Francis courted the society of
learned men for learning’s sake. The luxurious repasts of Fontainebleau
were enlivened and refined by the presence of such men as Clement
Marot, whose style, full of terseness and incisive grace, the king was
fond of emulating in verses of his own composition, not altogether
devoid of poetic merit. He delighted in the chivalrous lays of the
middle ages, and in the harmonious cadence and florid imagery of the
ballads of the troubadours. The witty Curé of Mendon was a frequent
guest at the royal table, Francis provoking his lively sallies, and
heartily enjoying them, though the sarcasm was often boldly pointed
at himself. Learned men of every class—doctors, bookworms, and even
printers—were admitted to the same honor. Erasmus was one of the
few who withstood the wiles of the charmer; he steadfastly refused
all invitations to reside permanently at Fontainebleau; but he kept
up a brisk correspondence with Francis, the honest freedom of whose
tone throughout does equal honor to the scholar and the king. The
French court was, in fact, the most polished and the gayest in Europe
at this period. The sprightly Queen of Navarre—that sister whom
Francis so tenderly loved, his “Marguerite des Marguerites”—was its
presiding genius and brightest ornament. She was passionately fond of
Fontainebleau, and made it her home during the greater part of her
first husband’s life, and after her marriage with Henri de Navarre,
who was so frequently absent, either in her brother’s service or
in the pursuit of war on his own account. Her image is everywhere
associated in our memory with that of Francis in his favorite palace.
In her boudoir, a spacious and magnificently decorated room, leading
out of Rosso’s noble gallery, the royal brother and sister passed
many delightful hours, either in affectionate converse together, or
surrounded by the artists and learned men whom they both loved to
honor. Here Francis placed the library of rare books and manuscripts
for which he had scoured Italy, Spain, and Greece. The erudite Erasmus
would sometimes deliver one of his learned discourses on deep and
elevating themes in the privacy of this enchanting retreat, while
Marguerite de Navarre worked out, in rainbow-tinted silks and golden
threads, the poem of one of her artist friends, or some chivalrous
exploit of her idolized Francis. Happy had it been for Francis and for
France had he dwelt content amidst the peaceful and refined delights
of this Eldorado. But there was the Milanese—that unlucky Milanese,
the bane of his life, and of his people’s while his lasted. Again
and again he flew at it like a moth at the flame, or a madman at his
_idée fixe_—failure and humiliation, instead of disgusting him with
his hobby, only goaded him to its pursuit with greater zest. And what
odd, shifting relations grew out of this standing duel between him and
Charles V.! Alternately, they were rivals, friends, deadly foes, and
“dear brothers.” Beside the gloomy, vindictive Spanish warrior, subtle
in his policy, swift and ruthless in his vengeance, the brilliant
figure of Francis shone at its best; he had all the qualities that his
rival lacked; his uncalculating generosity, his rash impulses that
led him into so many grievous straits, all stand out in bright relief
against the dark background of the contest. The story of the broken
Treaty of Madrid is one of the many vexed questions over which the
apologists of both princes have broken innumerable lances, but they
leave it pretty much where it stood in the year of grace 1527, after
the Notables decided that the conditions of the treaty were monstrous,
and had been unjustifiably imposed by a jailer on his prisoner, and
that Francis was right in maintaining _que prisonnier gardé n’est tenu
a nulle foye, n’y se peut obliger à rien_.[105]

Charles had no right to exact the abdication of his conquered foe,
and the latter had no power to effect it without the consent of his
Notables, which he knew full well would never be granted. Still, the
solemn oath sworn on the crucifix by Francis in presence of the emperor
is not to be disposed of so easily. It would have been more consistent
with the character for Bayard-like chivalry, which the French prince
arrogated, to have withheld the pledge which he knew he could not
redeem, than to purchase his liberty by a subterfuge that has left
an equivocal mark upon his memory. He was only a lifetenant of the
crown of France; he might resign it, but he had no power to alienate
its most insignificant fief; in swearing, therefore, to hand over the
duchy of Burgundy and the counties of Flanders and Artois to Charles
V., he was performing a vain sham; for, had he been willing to carry
out the promise of renunciation himself, he was well aware that the
states-general and the parliament of the realm would never ratify the
act, and that without their ratification it remained null and void. The
strong epithets used by Charles in denouncing the disloyalty of his
quondam captive in violating this preposterous treaty are, however,
somewhat misplaced, considering the duplicity and cruelty which he
himself had displayed in extracting impossible concessions from a brave
and conquered foe.

It was not long before Francis had an opportunity of vindicating his
much-prized character for chivalrous magnanimity by heaping coals of
fire on the head of Charles. The emperor was on his way to Ghent, and
applied to the king for a safe-conduct through his dominions. It was
granted at once, but on condition that the emperor should remain for a
few days the guest of Francis. Charles was in such a hurry to castigate
the rebels that he would have promised more than this in order to
arrive swiftly on the scene of vengeance; he consented to halt at
Fontainebleau; but no sooner had he set foot on the soil of his “good
brother of France,” than he was seized with tremors and suspicions
that made his life miserable; he accused himself of madness in having
so rashly rushed into the arms of a prince whom he had persecuted
meanly when he was in his power, and whose state he had grievously
injured; nor did the magnificence of the reception which greeted him
on his arrival calm his fears. Francis, who was utterly incapable of a
base breach of hospitality, could not forego the pleasure of playing
a little on the agonies of Charles; he occasionally repeated to him
the murmurings of the Queen of Navarre and the Dauphin, who would fain
have improved the rare opportunity by compelling their guest to undo
some of the mischief he had done their brother and father. Francis even
recounted to the emperor with great merriment an epigrammatic little
passage between himself and his favorite dwarf, Triboulet: while the
latter was diverting the king with his usual antics on the night of
the Spaniard’s arrival, he suddenly pulled out his tablets, and began
to write with an air of great gravity. “What are you writing there,
Triboulet?” inquired his master. “The name of a bigger fool than
myself,” replied the dwarf. “Who is that?” said Francis. “Charles,”
replied Triboulet. “But suppose I keep my word, and let him go?”
queried the king. “Then,” answered Triboulet, “I would rub out Charles,
and write Francis instead.”

The question of the Milanese was discussed between the two sovereigns
during this period with great earnestness on one side and consummate
skill on the other. Charles promised solemnly to bestow the investiture
on the Dauphin; but, when Francis urged him to confirm his pledge by a
written guarantee, he cunningly retaliated his host’s answer concerning
the Treaty of Madrid: “_Prisonnier gardé n’est tenu à nulle foye,
n’y se peut obliger à rien._” He declared, however, that on reaching
Flanders he would give the promise in writing. We know how he kept his




IN a former notice, we expressed an intention to present our readers
with the translation of certain curious fragments relating to Merlin;
to be followed by some of the historical poems which succeeded the
Druidic compositions of earlier times. We proceed to fulfil our promise.

The name of Merlin (Myrrdhin, or Marzin) is so closely associated with
the early mystic and mythological poetry of Cambria and Armorica that
it will be desirable to give some account of this personage, as far as
the uncertainty of his history renders it possible to do so, before
reproducing any of the poems of which he is the subject.

It has long been supposed that there existed two Merlins, one of whom,
a magician, was the offspring of a Christian virgin and a Roman consul
who lived in the Vth century, in the reign of Ambrose Aurelian; or,
according to the popular tradition, whose father was no mortal, but a
malignant _Duz_, whom, under the form of a bird, she unwittingly let in
at her window: and the other, a warrior and bard, who after the battle
of Arderiz, in which he had unintentionally killed his nephew, lost his
reason, and retired from the world.

But critics of the present day agree in considering that it is one
person who is the subject of a triple tradition, and that it is the
same Merlin who appears in the light of a mythological, historical, and
legendary hero.

The fragments which still remain in Wales of the poems of this bard
are either very much modernized or almost wholly transformed. Of the
ballads relating to him which exist in Brittany, there seem to be four
principal ones. First, a cradle-song, intensely pagan in spirit, in
which his mother plaintively relates to him his mysterious origin while
rocking him to sleep, and when, to her amazement, the infant derides
her regrets, and defends his father, declaring himself to be born to
be the good genius of the Breton nation. This poem it is needless to
reproduce. We give translations of the remaining three, beginning with




  “Merlin, sage Merlin, say, whither away,
  With your Black Dog, at the dawn of the day?”
  “Seeking am I, in each wave-hollowed cleft,
  Egg red as blood, by the sea-adder left.

  “Cress I would seek in the meadowland low,
  Magical gold-herb, and weird mistletoe;
  Deep in the forest to find must I go,
  Where by the fay-haunted fount it doth grow.”

  “Merlin, sage Merlin, your steps, ah, retrace!
  Mistletoe leave, the old oak-tree to grace;
  Leave the green cress and the gold-herb to grow,
  Hid in the well-watered meadowland low.

  “Leave the red egg of the snake of the sea
  Mid the wild foam of the breakers to be.
  Merlin! turn back from the path you have trod,
  One and the only Diviner is God!”

The latter half of the poem appears to be the voice of S. Kado, the
Christian bishop to whom tradition attributes the conversion of Merlin.

The gold-herb figures as one of the most approved charms of Druidic
days. It is said to sparkle at a distance like gold—whence its
name—and is greatly esteemed by the Bretons for its medicinal
qualities. It must be gathered at dawn, by a person who is in a state
of grace, fasting, barefoot, and clad in white linen which has not
been previously worn. A circle is traced round it, and no steel must
approach it, but it must be carefully plucked by the hand. Should any
one chance to tread upon the plant, he sleeps forthwith, and can hear
and understand the language of animals and birds.

In the next poem, Merlin no longer appears as a magician. He is himself
overcome by a sorceress, who, after depriving him of his harp and his
gold ring, the symbols of his dignity as bard, takes advantage of a
particular taste he seems to have had for apples (if we may judge
by the praises lavished upon that fruit in poems of his composition
still extant in Wales[107]) to ensnare him, and to make even his will
powerless by their means.

The tradition of his disappearance is common to Wales and Brittany.
“The tomb of Merlin is known to none,” says the bard Myvyrian, who
lived before the Xth century. And in the Welsh Triads[108] it is
written that “he embarked with nine other bards, and whither he went
cannot be known.” He himself says that he fled from the court to dwell
in the woods.[109]

The king mentioned in the ballad appears to be Budik, chief of the
Bretons of Armorica, a British prince who emigrated from Cornwall, and
who was a valiant defender of the independence of Brittany against the
Franks. He was assassinated by order of Clovis, who had been unable to
overcome him in battle, about the year 506. He married his daughter
Alienor to a prince whose name is unknown, and gave her Léon for dowry.




  “Good grandmother, pray list to me:
  Fain would I go the feast to see—
  The feast commanded by the king,
  And join the races in the ring.”

  “To see the feast you will not go,
  To this, nor other one I trow;
  Go you shall not to see the sight:
  I see that you have wept this night.
  Go you will not while I can let,
  If dreamings fond your cheeks make wet.”

  “Sweet little mother, love you me?
  Can _you_ forbid me there to be?”
  “In flying thither, you will sing:
  Returning, you will droop the wing.”


  Bridled has he his chestnut colt,
    His chestnut colt so red:
  Its hoofs, well shod with glittering steel,
    Strike fire at every tread.

  Gleams on its neck a ring, and on
    Its tail a ribbon gay;
  Fair trappings o’er its back he throws,
    Then mounts and speeds away.

  E’en as he gains the glittering course,
    The horns all loudly sound;
  While, in the ever-thickening crowd,
    The eager horses bound.

  “Who the great barrier of the field
    Shall leap at one clear spring,
  Perfect and free, the same shall wed
    The daughter of the king!”

  Wildly thereat the young colt neighs,
    Prances, and bounds amain;
  His gleaming eyes flash eager fire,
  He paws the ground with keen desire,
    Then flies across the plain.

  Far, far behind, the others all
    Were long ago pass’d by:
  He flies alone. With one great bound,
    He clears the barrier high.

  “My lord the king, your royal word
    Is pledged that so it be:
  The fair Linor I therefore crave,
    For surely mine is she.”

  “The princess Linor think not thou
    In any wise to win.
  No sorcerer my daughter weds,
    Nor any of his kin.”

  An aged man, whose snowy beard
    Upon his breast flowed down,
  White as the wool by furze-brake torn
    Upon the moorland brown—

  An aged man, with robe of wool,
    Bordered by silver band
  Throughout its length, sat by the king,
    Upon the king’s right hand.

  Unto the royal ear he bent—
    He bent, and whispered low;
  Then did the king his sceptre raise,
    And struck a sounding blow—

  A blow upon the table thrice,
    That all the field might hear:
  It hushed the crowd to silence, while,
    With voice both loud and clear,

  Thus spake the king: “So bring thou me
    The harp of Merlin old,
  Which by four chains hangs by his bed—
    Four chains of finest gold:
  If Merlin’s harp thou bring to me,
    My child, perchance, shall marry thee.”


  “Good grandmother, I pray give heed,
  And counsel me in this my need:
  My heart is broken!” “Oh, indeed!
  Hadst thou not set at naught my rede,
  Thy hap had met with better speed.
  Poor grandson mine! Yet weep not so:
  The harp shall be unbound, I trow.
  A golden hammer here behold,
  No sound rings from its stroke of gold.”


  “Now fair befall this palace high,
    And joy to all therein!
  Behold, with Merlin’s harp I come,
    Which scarce I hoped to win.”

  When the king’s son these tidings heard,
    Low to his sire spake he:
  And thereupon thus said the king,
    To that bold youth and free:

  “If thou from Merlin’s own right hand
    Safe unto me shalt bring
  The ring he wears, Linor is thine
    When I receive the ring.”


  He went his way, and, weeping, sought
  His grandame, with new care distraught:
  “Behold, the king his word hath spoken!
  Behold, the king his word hath broken!”

  “Nay, fret thee not: there is small need;
  Only, to that I bid, give heed:
  My little coffer open thou,
  And take thereout a slender bough,
  Whereon twelve glittering leaflets grow:
  Like fiery gold they gleam and glow.
  ‘Tis now full seven years agone
  Since seven woods I searched, alone,
  On seven nights, at darkest hour,
  Ere I could win that plant of power.
  When you the midnight cock-crow hear,
  Your red horse waits: speed forth, nor fear:
  In slumber deep will Merlin be;
  So fear thee not: good speed to thee!”

  When loud the cock at midnight crowed,
  The red steed bounded on the road;
  And ere his notes he ceased to sing,
  The youth had borne away the ring.


  Ere dawn had brightened into day,
    He stood the king beside,
  Whereat the king in wonder gazed,
    Silent and stupefied.

  And all with him: “His wife, behold,
    He verily has won!”
  The king retires a moment, with
    The old man and his son.

  Anon the king returns, and still
    The two are at his side:
  And thus he spake; “‘Tis true, my son,
    That thou hast gained thy bride;

  “Yet is there one adventure more
    Which thou must undertake;
  When that is sped, my son-in-law
    Forthwith I thee will make.

  “The princess Linor shall be thine,
    And all the country fair
  Of Léon I bestow for dower;
    This, by my race, I swear.

  “Do but the thing which I demand,
    (And this the last shall be:)
  To celebrate the marriage, bring
    Bard Merlin unto me.”


  “O Merlin, Bard, alone, forlorn,
  With all thy garments soiled and torn:
  O Merlin, Bard, whence comest thou,
  With weary step, with clouded brow,
  Bareheaded and barefooted? Say;
  And whither wouldst thou wend thy way?
  Thy holly staff can barely stay
  Thy bending form, thou Druid gray.”

  “Alas! To seek my harp I go:
  Best solace that my heart can know
  In this world. I am wandering
  To seek my harp, to seek my ring:
  Both have I lost: no more I sing,
  But wearily am wandering.”

  “Nay, then, O Merlin, grieve not so;
  Yet shalt thou find thy harp, I trow:
  Thy harp and eke thy golden ring;
  So cease awhile thy wandering.
  Enter, O Bard, and rest thee here,
  And taste a morsel of my cheer.”

  “Nay, pray me not: I will not stay,
  Nor pause upon my weary way;
  I will not cease my painful quest,
  I will not eat, I will not rest,
  Until I seek no more in vain:
  Until my harp I find again.”

  “Hear me, O Merlin, and obey:
  In sooth, thou wilt not long delay
  Thy harp to find. Come in, I pray,
  A little space, nor say me nay.”

  She so besought, so urged him, till
  Her wily wit had worked her will.

  With night approaching, home there came
  The grandson of that ancient dame;
  And when he drew the hearth anear,
  Back started he with sudden fear;
  For there Bard Merlin sat at rest,
  His head low bowed upon his breast:
  Yes, there forsooth sate Merlin gray;
  And he?—how should he flee away?

  “Hush, grandson mine! fear naught; in deeps
  Of slumber most profound he sleeps.
  Eaten has he red apples three,
  On the hot ashes cooked by me.
  Whither we list we now may fare,
  And he will follow everywhere.”


  In early morning, ere the queen
    Had risen from her bed,
  Her waiting-lady to her side
    She called, to whom she said:

  “What in the city has befall’n?
    And what the noise, I pray,
  That shakes the columns of my bed,
    Ere yet ‘tis dawn of day?

  “And what has happened in the court?
    And wherefore do the crowd
  With eager tumult thus press on
    With joyous shouts and loud?”

  “It is that all the town is glad,
    And keeping holiday,
  Because unto this palace high
    Bard Merlin comes to-day;

  “And by his side an aged dame
    In robe of white wool fair:
  The royal son-in-law, behind,
    Follows the ancient pair.”

  This heard the king, and ran to see:
    “Haste thee, good crier arise!
  Rise from thy bed: make speed: proclaim
    The feast in gallant wise.

  “Make proclamation through the land,
    And summon great and small
  Alike, to keep the marriage feast,
    And make high festival.

  “Come all who will, come high and low:
    The daughter of the king
  Affianced eight days hence will be
    With the betrothal ring.

  “Bid to the nuptials nobles, lords
    Of ancient Brittany,
  Dukes, marquises, and judges grave,
    And all of high degree.

  “Bid churchmen, warriors, and knights;
    But summon first of all
  The great crown-vassals of the land:
    The rich, the poorest, call.

  “Run, messenger, the country through,
    With diligence and speed;
  To hasten quickly thy return
    See that thou give good heed.”


  “Good people all two ears who own,
    Wide open let them be,
  And silence keep—keep silence all,
    And hearken unto me.

  “Hearken to that which is ordained:
    The daughter of the king
  In eight days hence betroth’d will be,
    And wear the ‘spousal ring.

  “Come to the nuptials all who list,
    Rich, poor, or great, or small;
  Churchmen and judges, counts and knights,
    The king inviteth all.

  “Nothing to you shall lacking be,
    Nor silver bright, nor gold,
  Nor meat, nor bread, nor hydromel,
    Nor wine, for young and old,

  “Nor seats for you to sit upon,
    Nor valets quick to wait.
  Two hundred bulls, two hundred swine,
    Will be served up in state.

  “Two hundred heifers, and of roes
    One hundred from each wood
  Throughout the country, oxen white
    And black, two hundred, good;

  “Whereof the hides shall equally
    Be shared among the guests;
  And there will be a hundred robes
    Of white wool for the priests.

  “A hundred chains of burnished gold
    For warriors brave and true;
  And for young girls a roomful gay
    Of festal mantles blue.

  “Eight hundred nether garments good
    For folk of poor estate,
  And seemly gifts for every guest
    Or be he small or great.

  “A hundred skilled musicians there,
    Each seated in his place,
  Music will make, by day and night,
    The festival to grace.

  “And in the midst of all the court,
    With fitting pomp and state,
  Merlin the Bard that marriage high
    Will duly celebrate.

  “In short, the feast will all surpass
    That e’er have been before;
  Nor will there be in time to come
    Its equal evermore.”


  “Chief of the royal kitchens, say,
    The marriage, is it done?”
  “Finished, and paid for; and the guests
    Departed every one.

  “For fifteen days the feast was kept
    With gaiety and glee,
  Then, laden with rich gifts, the guests
    To go their ways were free,

  “All with protection from the king;
    And thus, with joyful heart,
  To Léon with his royal bride
    Did the king’s son depart.

  “All are gone hence, well satisfied;
    Not so the king alone:
  Merlin the Bard is lost again,
    And whither is he gone?”

It is believed that Merlin was assassinated, but popular tradition has
not suffered the mysterious bard to die.

The story of the conversion of Merlin in his old age comes down to us
from very early times, and has been sung by the Christian bards of
Wales, Armorica, and the Gaelic clans. The following ballad, as well
the foregoing fragments relating to Merlin, is still sung in Treguier,
and other parts of Brittany.


  S. Kado walked the forest maze,
    Through many a darkling dell:
  S. Kado walked thro’ the forest green
    Ringing his clear-toned bell;

  When out from the shade of the ancient trees
    A phantom bounding sprang;
  But still S. Kado went his way,
    And still his clear bell rang.

  The phantom’s beard was like lichen gray
    Spread o’er an ancient stone,
  And its restless eyes, like boiling water,
    Glitter and danced and shone.
  ‘Twas Merlin the Bard that Kado met,
    That S. Kado met this day,
  With fiery eyes that wildly glared,
    And beard so long and gray.

  “In Heaven’s name, I bid thee, phantom,
    Tell me who art thou?”
  “A bard was I when in the world,
    To whom did all men bow.
  If I into the palace came,
    A joyous crowd pressed round,
  And gleaming gold fell from the trees
    When my harp began to sound.

  “My country’s kings all loved me well;
    And strange kings held in fear
  The mighty bard with harp of gold,
    To Brittany so dear.
  Now in the woods I dwell alone:
    Men honor me no more.
  Grinding their teeth, there pass me by
    The wolf and fierce wild boar.

  “My harp is lost; the trees are felled
    From whence dropped glittering gold;
  The kings of Brittany are not;
    The land to strangers sold.
  ‘Merlin the fool!’ now shout the folk,
    And pelt, with scoffings bold.”

  “Poor innocent, return to God,
    Who pity has on thee,
  And rest thy weariness on him
    Who died on Calvary.”

  “Ah, then in him I will confide,
    Will he but pardon me.”
  “Pardon from him do I pronounce:
    The Blessed One in Three.”

  “A cry of joy my heart sends forth,
    To honor heaven’s high King;
  And through eternal ages I
    His praise will ever sing.”

  “Go, Christian soul, and may his angels
    O’er thee spread their wing.”


THE mother of a family of three children sits musing while she mends
their clothing which lies heaped upon a table beside her. The pile
has lowered slowly under her patient and busy fingers during the long
afternoon. The slanting sun now shines across her bowed head while she
still continues her work. It touches up the homely furniture of the
room with a glow richer than the gilding of art, and lends to the place
a cheerful aspect which does not accord with the mood of its occupant.
She is a woman of about twenty-four years, with considerable claim to
beauty in her regular features and dark, intelligent eyes. But there is
a look of discontent on her face, and a querulousness in her voice, as
she occasionally reproves the noisy children playing about her. Yet the
eyes wear a patient look, in spite of the discontent expressed, and a
sort of hushed resolve seems stamped upon her features, as if, whatever
is the trouble with which she battles, no acknowledged recognition of
it shall find vent. Nature, however, has her way, and that which the
voice refuses to utter the eye often betrays, and there will be found
lines written upon the human face which those who study physiognomy may
translate. It is the chirography of the soul. She writes upon the face
as upon a tablet, often also extending the characters to the whole of
the frail temple she occupies, leaving her traces in motions of the
hands, carriage of the head, the very posture of the body, and in the
gait, so that all are eloquent of her subtle influence. How often a
pure pious soul, dwelling on heavenly things, recoiling from grossness,
and courting all that is divine, praying fervently always not to be
led into temptation, but delivered from evil, glorifies a plain face
into a seraphic beauty which makes the beholder wonder whence comes
this loveliness! We see plain features. We wonder that this face should
please as much as it does, forgetting the soul’s high mission. We see
not the lamp behind the screen of flesh: we only see the effect of
the rays. Again, we see faces where nature has done much to beautify,
and where a soul not delivered from evil has written such ugly marks
that the fair tablet is disfigured with blots and stains of sinful ink
flowing from the pen held in the grasp of passion.

Whence comes the writing on the face of this mother sitting in the
golden sunshine, doing the work which mothers are usually content to
perform? She is striving as best she may with a lot in life distasteful
to her, but from which she sees no means of escaping, and, indeed,
as yet does not dream of trying to escape. This lot is that of being
married to a man of coarser nature than her own, who seldom sympathizes
with her in anything at all above the most grovelling interests.
Why she married him seems to her now an ever-unsolved puzzle, a
never-ceasing source of regret. If she had read the lines, she might
conclude with the poet that it was “accident—blind contact and the
strong necessity of loving.” Not being acquainted with that answer
to her riddle, she blames fate and her own inexperienced youth, and
the need of a home and protection at a time when her own heart had
not yet asserted its rights. Now, she knows she does not love her
husband, and she thinks she hates him at times. Not that he is cruel,
not that he is unfaithful—he is neither of these; but he is narrow,
jealous, exacting, unintellectual, and coarse; while she is aspiring,
even poetic, in her nature. Fond of the beautiful, seeking it in every
way, cultivating her intellect as best she can against the odds of a
deficient education, limited means and time, and overtaxed strength of
body, she longs for a better position in life. Care has fretted, if
not furrowed, her fair white forehead already; yet still she reaches
out and clings to every refining influence. All books that have
fallen in her way she has read, stealing the time from toiling hours
already filled to overflowing with household work. On this particular
afternoon, there lies among the stockings she is mending a poem of
Whittier’s, which has taken such a hold upon her fancy and morbid
feeling that the discontent deepens and the hunger of her starving
heart gnaws more sharply than usual. This poem, _Maud Muller_, read so
gaily by the happy many, with pleasure at its pretty conceits, allies
itself so to this woman’s experience that it finds an echo she cannot
silence, in the lines—

  “She wedded a man unlearned and poor,
  And many children played round her door;
  But care and sorrow and childbirth pain
  Left their traces on heart and brain.”

Although she has never had any other lover, or even a passing fancy for
any other man, save some vague ideal of some one different from her
husband John Thorndyke, as she reads:

  “And for him who sat by the chimney lug,
  Dozing and grumbling o’er pipe and mug,
  A manly form by her side she saw,
  And joy was duty, and love was law,”

she seems to herself the heroine of the poem, and John Thorndyke the
very unpleasant companion portrayed. And yet no thought of escaping
from what she considers her “shackles” obtrudes upon her musings.
She is a severe Puritan in her education and faith, and thus far has
escaped the base free-thinking and “free-love” tendencies of the day.
Marriage, disagreeable as it has proved to her, seems still, if not
a sacrament, a binding, honorable state, to be borne with according
to her promise, “for better or for worse.” She has been married by
an Episcopal clergyman, because it had been most convenient, and her
husband had preferred that form; and thus her spoken promise has always
seemed to her yet more definite. “For better for worse, for richer for
poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till
death us do part.” That sounds always to her like a doom. Joy is not
duty, and love is not law, in her case; but she patiently takes “up her
burden of life again, saying only, ‘It might have been.’”

But in her lonely heart, she has one pure God-given instinct to glorify
her otherwise gloomy religion, and ennoble her dull, hard lot. This
is charity in its loveliest form—a disposition for nursing the sick
and attending to the needy—a positive vocation for the work, which
she does from enthusiasm, not from cold duty. Ever her willing hands
minister to the suffering, and often is she called to watch through
lonely nights at their bedsides. In this way, her acquaintance has
extended far beyond her husband’s sphere of life. Often in the houses
of her neighbors, both rich and poor, are her skill and kindness called
into requisition. Tact and cleverness, and, above all, a willingness
to help in time of need, soon make a woman appreciated and respected
among those by whom she is surrounded, and so it happens that her own
life presents itself to her in sharper contrast with the lives of other

That unsatisfied hunger at her heart gnaws more and more, and her
husband grows to her more and more repulsive; but while he repels her
thus, and every tendril of her nature reaches out vainly for supporting
strength, she fails not in any duty as wife and mother. While her heart
calls vainly, her conscience is answered and obeyed in every exaction.
Courting no admiration from others, even where willing tribute is paid
to her beauty and refinement; dressing in Quaker-like simplicity, not
only in accordance with her limited means, but her own severe taste;
leading a quiet, industrious life, Agnes Thorndyke is irreproachable,
and esteemed by all who know her. The serpent coiled down in the
shadows of her soul is waiting to rear its head—waiting for an evil
hand, an evil breath, to warm it into strength, that its venom may
poison this pure life.

That evil hand, that evil breath, are coming, as they are always sure
to come—

  “When such thoughts do not come of themselves
  To the heart of a woman neglected, like elves
  That seek lonely places—there rarely is wanting
  Some voice at her side, with an evil enchanting
  To conjure them to her.”

“Deliver us from evil.” How well our Lord knew the need of that
petition for us! How wise the church to require its frequent use! It
is the cry of the direst human need, in its last extremity, to its
last refuge. How will the evil come to Agnes Thorndyke? and how will
she be led into temptation? The gate is opened apparently by her very
virtues. While she sits brooding over the thoughts which Whittier’s
pretty poem has suggested, her attention is aroused by a loud cry, and
noise of clattering hoofs and wheels. Running to the window, she sees
a crowd around a gentleman who lies bruised and senseless before her
door, while a horse and shattered carriage are fast disappearing down
the street. Standing on her porch, elevated above the heads of the
little crowd, she perceives that the stranger is not killed, but that
he must be cared for instantly. She calls to the men to bear him within
her open door, that she may assist to dress his wounds, while a surgeon
is summoned. This she does so deftly and so gently that the sufferer
thanks her warmly, and the surgeon compliments her on her skill.

The man is not very dangerously hurt, but the doctor advises that he be
kept very quiet for a time. At this the stranger looks perplexed, and,
casting first a searching glance about the room and over the person of
Mrs. Thorndyke, he says:

“If I could be allowed to remain here for any remuneration which this
lady would consent to receive, I would pay it willingly, and also
consider it a great favor. I am a stranger in the place. I had finished
the business for which I came, and I was hurrying to the railway
station, when this unlucky accident befell me, and threw me upon your

He looks now at Mrs. Thorndyke. She does not speak immediately, but
seems to be considering the expediency of yielding to his request. Her
quick sympathy shows her at once that it will be best for him not to be

“If you cannot consent, Mrs. Thorndyke,” says the doctor, “he had
better be removed to the hotel above here.”

“Pray, no!” interposes the patient. “I came from there, and glad enough
I was to leave it. It is a noisy, dirty, wretched place. Can’t you
think of some better refuge than that?—if I may not stay here.”

There is peevishness in his tones while speaking to the doctor which
soften to a gentle pleading as he turns at the last words again to his
hostess. It is not lost upon her. She is touched by his evident desire
to stay, and equally evident need of quiet and rest.

“If my husband does not object when he returns,” she says, “I will
undertake to be your nurse; but I am afraid our plain house and ways
will hardly satisfy you when you are stronger.”

“Oh! thanks—a thousand thanks,” he replies; “no danger of any
fastidiousness of mine standing in the way of my gratitude and content.”

And so it is arranged; for the pecuniary help which the stranger offers
is not unwelcome to John Thorndyke in the growing needs of his family.

This stranger, Martin Vanderlyn, is a handsome man of thirty-five
years, with the kind of beauty and manner which takes captive the
fancy of many women, yet which is really satanic; hard and cruel gray
eyes, but capable of a soft, imploring expression; dark hair; pale,
clear skin; and tall, well-knit figure; a voice agreeable in most of
its cadences, but with a treacherous note occasionally grating on the
ear, though corrected quickly, as if he himself had felt it; inherent
strength, but not purity of purpose; persistent patience in executing
his own selfish and sensual will; apparent gentleness, and refinement,
and culture, made subservient to his own desires; poetry, and flattery,
and irreligion, and sophistry always on his lips and in his eyes—such
is the patient which it becomes Agnes Thorndyke’s loving task to nurse
day after day. In this dangerous companionship, this hungry heart finds
solace. “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” should
be her constant prayer now. How can she help seeing his admiring eyes
follow her, and look into her own? How can she prevent the dangerous
familiarity sanctioned by their relative positions of nurse and
patient? Well he knows how to increase the ever-ready sympathy for his
sufferings. Soon and easily he reads the disappointment in her life,
and detects the cause. Is there no scruple of conscience, no emotion
of gratitude, to stay him in his bad designs, framed and nursed on
his sick-bed during the very time she so tenderly cares for him? Not
one. Day by day he weaves the net and casts the toils about her so
surely that her whole manner towards her husband has changed to a
querulousness and impatience which speedily provoke a response of the
same nature; and discord and hatred sit in the place where once reigned
duty and peace.

John Thorndyke, although of a heavy, is also of a spiteful and jealous,
temperament. He has been, in his dull way, proud of his wife, and
selfishly pleased at the comfort she has brought him. It has not
occurred to him to try to brighten her life. Indeed, he has not known
that her life needed any cheer. He thinks that she is his, and all her
duty is to him, and so long as he knows himself faithful to her, and
gives her all the pecuniary support he can command as a mechanic, it
does not occur to him that he fails in any respect. He has never even
questioned himself on that point. No misgivings apparently disturb his
sluggish conscience. In this, he differs widely from his wife. She has
sharply questioned her conscience, being perhaps dimly aware of the
weak spot in the citadel, of the serpent coiled in the shadow. But as
she has never before given the slightest cause for his jealousy, she
has not been even suspicious of how terrible a sway it can have over
him. Even now she does not read the signs aright, being blinded by her
own new infatuation.

In the meantime, Martin Vanderlyn is convalescent, and making himself
more and more interesting to her. He addresses her always with so much
respect and courtesy that it is a continual flattery to her; for this
woman has her vanity under all her severe simplicity of garb and mien,
and to be recognized as being superior to her position in life is the
strongest—or _weakest_—desire of her heart. To so regard her is to
flatter her more surely and insidiously than to praise her beauty or
her grace.

Sitting one day over her sewing, she is suddenly surprised by the
remark from Vanderlyn, who has been silently studying her: “Mrs.
Thorndyke, you are not happy.”

She looks up with a sort of frightened expression, as if detected in
some crime. After a moment of deprecating, silent supplication in her
eyes, she responds with the commonplace question, quite at variance
with her look and manner:

“Why do you think so?”

“Because,” he says, “I am a physiognomist, and I have been studying
your face until I can read it as I would a book; and a more eloquent
book could not be found.”

The last words are spoken in a softened voice which makes her blush and
keep her eyes steadily averted. She has not been used to compliments
before his advent, and cannot toss them off or return them lightly.
She feels guilty now at liking this so well. Looking steadily at her
meanwhile, and pleased at her embarrassment, he says, “I have read in
this book that your life is not a happy one, and I am not surprised
at reading it. Perhaps my own past experience has made me quicker at
translating the language of your book; for, Mrs. Thorndyke, I have not
been happy myself, and I think your discontent springs from a similar

Again that deprecating look, as if battling with her conscience, which
whispers to her that the cause of her trouble should not be avowed or
even tacitly admitted. Complaint against her husband should not be
made to Martin Vanderlyn, above all. There is already too dangerous a
sympathy between them. A subtle intuition tells her that she is being
led into temptation, and that she ought to end this now and for ever.
Yet she does not do so. The serpent in the shadow has even now warmed
and stirred. Curiosity, also, concerning Mr. Vanderlyn’s former history
leads her to encourage him to proceed; so she says, “I am sorry to hear
that your life has not been, a happy one. I had thought of your leaving
us to go to brighter scenes and kinder friends.”

She has pondered over the absence of any communication with friends
or relatives during his illness, and so this last remark is not quite
truthful. She has often wondered if he has ever had wife or lady-love.
He answers all this by his reply to her last words:

“I am glad that I cannot return to the unhappy time I speak of. That is
closed for ever. It was when I had a wife, Mrs. Thorndyke; I have none

“She is dead, then,” says Agnes, looking up, and speaking in a low
voice which she instinctively feels should not seem sympathetic with
a grief he evidently disavows, for it is rather a relief which he

“I know not,” he says, with a careless tone; “she may be, for aught I
know or care. She is dead to me, and I know I feel quite dead to her.
We are divorced, and I am a free man again. To that unhappy time of
my life I cannot return. The chains are broken. It was a woeful time.
I can imagine no surer blight on a human being’s happiness than an
unsuitable marriage. I know how it poisons a life, because mine, for a
time, was so poisoned. I think if there is any hell, my marriage was
arranged there by the prince himself, who is particularly interested
in the marriage question. I think divorces are made in heaven, not
matches, for my relief on getting my divorce was heavenly. The
sacrament of divorce for me! The feeling it gave me was that which old
John Bunyan ascribes to Christian when the pack of sins fell off his

He speaks with an audacity which frightens her Puritan prejudices,
while it lures her feminine admiration for his courage in daring to
speak out and assert himself. There is some romance here also, and a
subtle flattery in being made his confidante. For to her more delicate
sense, this, which he would brazenly declare to any one who might
listen, seems a sacred confidence. Her face looks her sympathy. The
answering chord is struck, and he sees it. The serpent has stirred to
the evil breath.

“Do you not think, Mrs. Thorndyke, that we have the inborn right to
seek our own happiness? Has not nature implanted that feeling within
us? Are not our lives a continual protest against being made miserable
or uncomfortable for the sake of sustaining a law of church or state?
The law of love is above these, and it can glorify a life, or the
absence of it can debase one.”

“And joy was duty, and love was law,” echoes in Mrs. Thorndyke’s
memory; and here is the “manly form by her side.”

He continues without pause: “If it is our right to pursue happiness, it
is equally our right to seek our love freely, casting off fetters which
love disdains; they chafe his delicate wings—love cannot live bound.”

“But he must be, to some extent,” she almost gasps, frightened at this
new and dangerous doctrine. “Society, respectability, require that
there should be a marriage bond by which the law can hold either party
to the contract. Else what would become of us? So many would escape who
have no right to do so.”

“I doubt that they have no right to escape. The very desire for escape
constitutes the right. If the law of love is there, no escape will be

“Yes; but, Mr. Vanderlyn, in many instances, the possibility of escape
causes a desire for it; and where there is no way of escape, the
inevitable is accepted. ‘What can’t be cured must be endured,’ you
know.” And there is a mournful cadence in her voice, a drooping of her
head and eyes.

“That is just the cruel part of it,” he says—“that freezing endurance
sitting like a vampire on our hearts.”

She puts her hand up suddenly to her heart, and clutches at her dress
nervously, as if to hide the vampire hidden there. Is it not rather a
tightening of the serpent’s coil? The next moment she is composed, and
ashamed of the momentary effect his words have caused in her outward
manner. He has seen the motion, however, but gives no evidence of it.
As if absorbed only in his own remembrances, not desiring to stir up
hers, he continues:

“I speak as one who knows and has felt, not as one who deals with
the cold abstractions of theologians and political economists. We who
know through bitter tasting of the cup are the true philosophers. Our
eyes have been opened, and we see the light. We no longer grope in the
darkness of the middle ages. We cast off the chains forged for us ages
ago. We will be free in our love, and in our beliefs or disbeliefs,
for creeds are chains. Do not let me shock you, my gentle Puritan. I
beg your pardon. Do not look at me so reprovingly, I cannot bear it.
Remember I am a sick man still, and you are my good, sweet nurse. You
must not grieve me with your displeasure. It is bad for me, you know.
Your frown makes me unhappy—come, smile on me.”

Ah! such idle, easy, words for him to speak—such dangerous ones for
her to hear! None such ever fall on her ear from John Thorndyke’s lips,
and, if they should, they would not please her so from him. She knows
this only too well, and that this man ought not to have the power to
please her so easily. But she allows herself this pleasure, arguing
that her life is bare enough.

“Do you forgive me enough to care to hear my story?” he says, after a

“Oh! yes,” she answers; “I am interested in that which has so colored
your feelings on this subject, and has given you such strange views of
law and religion.” She tries to speak it lightly, but he detects the
interest in himself. It is what he wishes.

“It is not much of a story,” he says. “I was married very
young—attracted and deceived by a pretty, saintly face, such as one
sees in pictures, and which always pleases youth. I found my saint to
be a stubborn bigot, who put her confessor above me, and set me and my
happiness entirely at naught in computing her debit and credit with
her church. Such selfish looking after one’s own interest in the next
life is to me disgusting. Every generous impulse must be stifled for
that end. The certain present is offered up a victim to the uncertain
future. I and my happiness had to be forgotten in prayers, penances,
fastings and foolishness. Bah! it sickens me to remember it. Enough
that, after bearing every discomfort, I sought a divorce, and _took_

He says the last in a strange tone, which long afterwards she recalls.

“Had you no children?” she asks.

“Yes, one; but it died, happily for it. I should not have liked to see
a daughter of mine trained in that church, as of course she was doomed
to be had she lived. That alone would have goaded me to madness—to see
the fastings and prayings duplicated. Two at it, against one.”

Here the conversations ends, and Agnes Thorndyke takes “up her burden
of life again,” with an added protest against it. How she wishes that
she could cut the cords, and let it fall like Christian’s pack! Poor
John Bunyan! “to what base uses has he come at last!” Christian’s pack
of sins made to represent the sacrament of marriage! But if “the devil
can quote Scripture for his purpose,” he will not scruple to use John
Bunyan’s quaint fancies.

About this time, Mrs. Thorndyke begins to have her attention drawn to
certain vile papers and periodicals of the day, introduced cautiously
at first, and with some discrimination, as if the better (or rather,
_less bad_) ones have been selected. She finds them lying about Mr.
Vanderlyn’s room, and she reads them without comment, but the seeds
take root. Afterwards Mr. Vanderlyn calls her attention to certain
cleverly written but mischievous articles; flattering her intellect
by appealing to her supposed ability to decide on these abstruse
questions. When he finds that she reads with avidity all he procures,
faster and thicker the vile flood, which disgraces the press and the
name of literature, pours in upon her. Here she is almost defenceless.
With no thorough education, no religious influence to penetrate into
her life, and guard her against this assault, she is left to stem this
torrent of sophistry, to answer these devil’s thoughts penned too often
by the hand of her own sex. It is a sad but significant fact that, in
this sort of vile writing, women, when they do stifle their better
natures and take up unclean pens, excel the other sex. Some of the most
dangerous books of the day are written by females, under the guise of
pretended morality, which deceives silly girls and weak women who read
them and are unable to detect the poison under the honey. Alas! that
women should thus prostitute their intellects in the service of the

When a woman of Agnes Thorndyke’s stamp can be found reading long
editorials in a paper devoted to the destroying of the marriage
relation, and to the advance of “free-love” principles, alas! for the
happiness, the very legitimacy, of her children! But what cares Martin
Vanderlyn for any such considerations? To corrupt this woman’s nature
and to win her is his present and sole object, and so he calls to his
aid all those of her own sex as well as of his, who dip their pens in
envenomed ink for mercenary ends.

But John Thorndyke has become jealous, and, being so, he is not
a more agreeable husband. He soon signifies his desire that Mr.
Vanderlyn shall find for himself some other lodgings. In doing this,
he expresses himself so coarsely, and hints so broadly at the cause of
his displeasure, that it increases the very danger he seeks to avoid,
by forcing an understanding and recognition of the situation between
his wife and her patient. This is just what Mr. Vanderlyn desires. He
wishes Agnes Thorndyke to know him to be her lover, long before he
will dare to avow it to her. Well he knows that he must prepare her
for that, lead her step by step up to that avowal; and he knows that
she may recoil at any moment, and turn out from the slippery path
through which he is leading her. Too many good instincts and habits of
early training are warring with the bad teachings he is so assiduously
implanting, to make his task a perfectly easy one. Now that John
Thorndyke has shown his jealousy so plainly, these two cannot look
into each other’s eyes without knowing there is some cause for it.
They cannot ignore it, and, while Mr. Vanderlyn is preparing to leave,
he improves the opportunity to remark how unhappy he is at the sad
necessity. He tells her how pleasant it would be if he could continue
to pass all his days with her; and at last, finding himself unreproved,
he asks if that is not possible?

At this she does recoil, with a wild and frightened look like that of a
hunted deer. But he knows that it is the first shock which either kills
or leaves the victim able to bear another. Her mind has taken in the
full force of the proposal, and yet she does not send him at once from
her presence. She only says, “How can it be possible?” admitting by the
very question that she might like it to be possible.

“Leave him, Agnes,” he says, “and come to me—to me, your adorer—I
can appreciate the jewel of which he knows not the value!”

“But I am his wife, and I cannot be that to you; so, if not that,
nothing, Martin.”

“Yes; you can be a wife to me, Agnes, if you must be tied by the law.
The law will soon free you as it has freed many another. Cast off your
chains as I cast off mine, and come to me!”

He holds out his arms as he speaks, and she goes to them. The serpent
has coiled almost his last coil!

In no relation except that of wife can this woman be persuaded to live
with Vanderlyn; but the law may be perverted, her marriage contract
basely set aside and broken. “For better, for worse” she has taken
John Thorndyke, and she has plighted him her troth; but she will not
have the worse, and her troth she will not keep. Yet the law must make
her _seem_ a wife, even in this degradation. So it is agreed that
steps shall be taken to obtain a divorce, Vanderlyn’s money being at
her service. It is so agreed, but not without many struggles on her
part. If she is not a loving wife, she is a tender mother. This new
infatuation cannot crush the true maternal instinct in her heart. It
requires the wildest assurances on Vanderlyn’s part that the law will
give her the control of her children, and that he will care for them
and educate them as if they were his own, to keep her from receding.

Vanderlyn is no longer an inmate of her house, but he hovers around her
neighborhood, seeing her during her husband’s absence, upon which she
can always count for a certain number of hours every day. He writes to
her letters which seem to her gems of poetry and eloquence, but which
are really only fulsome flatteries, and sophistries of a godless school
which he studies and copies. He knows that it is necessary to keep her
mind always clouded by these false arguments, and her vanity fed by
these protestations, because she is not by nature prone to the falsity
to which he is luring her. This woman with a better husband, or even
with a worse husband, and better religious teaching, could not have
been so tempted. She is no syren, no coquette; it really needs much
careful tact, and study, and address on Vanderlyn’s part to make her
take the first steps in this path.

The children seem to be her guardian angels now. In their innocent
helplessness there is great strength. Vanderlyn often wishes them in
their graves, for it seems to him, chafing in his vexation, as he

  “Baby fingers, waxen touches, press me from the mother’s breast,”

that these are rivals indeed, which may yet laugh him down and bring
her rest, unless he is unremitting in his efforts to prevent it.

As if in answer to his bad desires, scarlet-fever prostrates them all
at once, but drives him, for the time, from the thoughts of their
mother. Wan and pale with watching, anxiety, and dread, Agnes weeps
and prays over her little flock—prays as she has not prayed for a
long while. Yet two are taken. The youngest darlings are buried in one
grave, leaving a boy of seven years to fill the empty places.

For a time, Vanderlyn almost thinks his game is lost to him, and that
Death has checkmated him; for the dead children, whose lives have
seemed in his way, are even yet his most powerful opponents. So truly
does Agnes mourn now, so bitterly reproach herself, that, if her
husband will meet her with any tender sympathy in this their common
sorrow, some love for him may yet spring up, watered by her tears for
children which were his as well as hers.

  “Oh! the child, too, clothes the father with a dearness not his due.”

But John Thorndyke is not the man to be tender and delicate to any
one whose grief takes such a form as hers. Her brooding melancholy he
calls “moping.” Her silence and shrinking from every one, he speaks
of as “airs” put on to disturb him. He thinks the loss is his as well
as hers, and _he_ is not inclined to “mope and take on so.” He goes
to his work every day as usual, and, although he does miss his little
prattlers, to whom he has always been indulgent, the world does not
seem all dark to him. He is utterly incapable of understanding how
differently this blow affects her, and it chafes him that she does not
bear it as he does. He cannot see that the very need of going to his
daily toil, of mixing with other men whose minds are not on his loss,
and the leaving of his sad home every day, helps to dissipate much
morbid feeling which might cling to him were he obliged to stay at
home, as his wife is compelled to do. He never thinks of the greater
difference which it has made to her in every little change which the
absence of the children demands. The very lightening of her care and
toil for them leaves greater time and room to grieve. Her bereaved
heart cries for love and sympathy in this her sorest need, and her
husband does not heed the cry; does not soften to her just at the time
he can save her.

Vanderlyn does not slight the chance of increasing his influence. He
has been jealous of these children living, he has feared their memories
may even now crowd him from the mother’s heart, but he sees the need
of some one to _appear_ at least to share her grief. She does not
scruple to tell him how cold and unfeeling her husband is at this time;
and thus she furnishes him with one more weapon in the contest he is
waging against her better nature. He plays now the part of tender,
devoted friend, rather than that of lover. He sees that just now no
lover’s image can obtrude before the angel faces always present to her
thoughts; he has the tact and patience to wait and turn the present
digression ultimately to his favor. It may be that, after all, if
these children had lived, she never could turn entirely from her duty.
But this delicate attention to her now in her grief, contrasting so
unhappily with Thorndyke’s unfeeling, stupid impatience with her, is
the most dangerous temptation of all, because it wins her confidence in
his being a real friend as well as lover.

When the first acute feelings have worn off after the children’s death,
and her life has gradually become more cheerful, she turns from her
husband with a bitterness and contempt which produce in him a still
worse frame of mind. Now he taunts her for her assumed superiority to
him, and scoffingly pictures how happy she might have been with some
rich man—Vanderlyn, for instance. And so matters go on from bad to
worse, until he consents to her applying for a divorce, seeming as
willing as she to part for ever.

Of what use lingering over the details? The divorce is granted, as
such things are, in open defiance of Heaven’s decree and the apparent
law of the land. When a New York daily paper has frequently a list of
divorces longer than its list of marriages, can we wonder over the
fact? In this case, it has been necessary to change their residence
for a time, because the laws of one state are more favorable to this
object than another. But Christ’s law is the same everywhere. Can a
couple be considered married to each other in one part of our country,
and divorced in another? Are the children of a second union legitimate
in one state, and illegitimate in another? It would really seem so.

But Agnes Thorndyke, or rather, Agnes Rodney, as she is now
called—taking back her maiden name, without her maiden heart—is
deprived of one comfort on which she had surely counted. Her one child
is left to its father. Thorndyke has schemed for this with deliberate
malice. It is not that he loves the boy overmuch, but it is his revenge
upon her. He would rather burden himself with the care of this little
child than forego the pleasure it gives him to punish her. And so,
while the father of her child lives, she lays her head on another man’s
breast, and calls him husband. Vanderlyn is spared either the keeping
or the breaking of his promise to care for her children—two in the
graves where he wished them, and one in a strange woman’s care. He has
all he wished for—John Thorndyke’s pretty wife at last.

Thorndyke takes to his forsaken home a housekeeper at first, as if he
were a widower. This woman is a widow who makes him so comfortable that
he speedily marries her, without considering law or Gospel as they may
bear on his case. No compunctions trouble her easy conscience, and she
accepts the lot offered to her as the best thing in a business point
of view likely to fall to her. Being disinclined for reading poetry,
having no refined yearnings, having little intellect to cultivate, she
never reads _Maud Muller_, nor thinks of herself as out of her place
in any sense. Being good-natured and not oversensitive, she gets along
with John Thorndyke remarkably well, and no thought of Agnes ever makes
a ripple of disturbance between them. She might be forgotten, except
for the boy, with her eyes and features, left in her old home. He calls
the woman in her place “mother,” and does get quite motherly treatment.
He loves the brothers and sisters who in time spring up around him, and
seems as happy in his boyish plays as if his own mother were guarding
and guiding him. Who can say how much his future life might be changed
if that mother had been left to him? To be sure, her death might have
brought as great a change to him, and we will now only follow her fate.

Is she happy in her new relations? Is joy her duty, and love her
law, now? Can that ever be, after broken vows and outraged honor?
“It is not in the bond.” For a time she thinks herself happier in
all her more refined associations; with leisure, books, servants,
all at her command, and with Martin Vanderlyn devoted to her. He
does not introduce her into society, but lives remote from all his
acquaintances and former friends. This never troubles her. Two people
like these, who have closed or tried to tear out a chapter in their
life-history, naturally shrink from having it recalled. They prefer
to think themselves sufficient for each other, looking always to the
future—never to the past, if they can avoid it.

But before a year is passed, Agnes begins to see that Vanderlyn is
not so entirely devoted to her as she would wish and he has at first
seemed. It is the first shadow of a misgiving, not really harbored,
but resting upon her heart in spite of herself. She does not wish to
see any difference in him, and she tries to think it is business which
keeps him so often away from her. He says it is, and why not think so?
why not believe him? Alas! small clouds of doubt already dot the sky of
her belief in him. Whence they have arisen she can scarcely tell; but
there they are, and threatening to increase. However, she has risked
too much for him, braved too much, to foster anything now which may
wreck her life-venture. If this man fail her, where can she turn? But
after a while a little child is born—a boy to help divert her thoughts
from that other boy bearing another father’s name. The mother does
blush when she thinks of these boys, each hers, having each a different
father living _now_. She had named her first-born after her own father,
and some idea of trying to fill his place leads her to call this one by
the same name—George Rodney. Vanderlyn, however, playfully calls him
Martin after himself, and, as the child grows, he learns to answer to
that, and calls himself “Martie” quite as often as by the name which
his mother has given him, and which she will never relinquish.

So truly does the pure instinct of motherhood show her the falsity of
her present position that she often feels that two fathers should not
be living at the same time for the two boys for whom she is mother. Of
that other boy she often thinks still with yearning love, and of his
sisters in their little grave; more now than at first, when Vanderlyn
was with her so much, for his absences grow longer and more frequent.
He takes no father’s pride in this child of his, but rather seems bored
by the care and trouble it has brought. A baby _is_ a tyrant in a
household, especially if it is loved as Agnes loves this one, giving it
almost all her time and care. Now, indeed, Vanderlyn might say, if he
remembers the poet he quoted before in his jealousy of her love for her

  “Nay, but nature brings thee solace; for a tender voice will cry:
  ‘Tis a purer life than thine—a lip to drain thy trouble dry:
  ... My latest rival brings thee rest.”

But it does not bring her rest. She often now remembers that Thorndyke
was a fonder and better father than his successor; that his children
seemed at their birth and during their lives to form a tie between his
wife and himself; that he always faithfully brought his hard-earned
money to her, to spend or save for them as well as for himself. She
gives him this credit now, because Vanderlyn, with his more abundant
means, shows in many ways a carelessness of her comfort and pecuniary
wants. True, she has not really suffered, but small misgivings have
oppressed her that she may yet come to that. She has found that
Vanderlyn is not the substantial business man she was at first led to
believe. She had thought him a lawyer, and so he is by education; but,
in reality, he is an adventurer and a speculator, and, although often
commanding money easily, he has no real fortune, and has only a very
fluctuating income. This it is that worries him and takes him often
away from home long at a time. He has not the honesty to deny himself
any accustomed luxury for the sake of those dependent upon him. It
chafes him to be obliged to meet his household expenses, and not always
have the means to do so conveniently. He knows that Agnes will not
insist upon unnecessary expenditure, but he has not the courage to tell
her frankly of his affairs. There is a respect for her in his heart
in spite of all, and he knows that there is an uprightness about her
which would lead her to insist on plainer living and fewer servants.
She is not weakly self-indulgent as he is. He is so unprincipled at
heart that no tie, no obligation, can bind him when it once becomes
irksome. He is a greater moral coward than the woman he has perverted.
And so at last, when her boy is about five years old, Agnes finds
herself deserted. Martin Vanderlyn has gone to California, and left
her with her household effects, and about one hundred dollars in
money—that is all.

She looks her fate steadily in the face. Young enough and strong enough
yet for work, but with a helpless child upon her hands, what shall she
do? She sells promptly her furniture, books, pictures, and jewelry. For
the last she has never cared, but Vanderlyn had lavished it upon her
during the days she was seeking a divorce. Very rarely has she worn it.
With the sum thus raised, she can, for a time, pay her board until she
can find employment, and she seeks the most retired house she can find
for a refuge.

In bitterness of spirit beyond anything she has ever endured while the
honest wife of John Thorndyke, Agnes now feels in almost overwhelming
force the folly of the course she has pursued—_almost_ overwhelming,
but not quite, for she still believes herself to be Martin Vanderlyn’s
lawful wife. Bad as he has proved himself, she as yet has no doubt
that he is her lawful husband, and so, in her present abode, she calls
herself Mrs. Vanderlyn, with no thought but that she is so honestly, if
not wisely.

She has been in her new home rather less than a week, when, passing
along the corridor, she meets, coming from a room near her own, two
Sisters of Mercy, who have apparently just taken leave of an invalid
lady; at least, so she judges from the voice which comes through the
open door, saying:

“Good-by, and come again soon, Sisters,” followed by a cough that to
her experienced ear sounds like consumption. She has heard that cough
in the night when she has been wakeful, and she hears it again many
times this day. She thinks of the invalid often, with her old instinct
of sympathy for the sick—a sympathy which of late years has not been
much called forth in her retirement. The next day, coming in from her
quest for employment, she meets on the porch a gentleman who, she feels
almost sure, is a Catholic priest. He enters the house at the same
time with herself, and, proceeding before her up the stairs, passes
directly and quietly to the room occupied by her sick neighbor. “She is
a Catholic, then,” says Agnes to herself; “but that does not matter. I
wonder if I could do her any good?” And she acknowledges to herself a
very strong desire to see her neighbor, and offer any service in her
power. But she does not act at once. Her peculiar position makes her
shrink from meeting strangers or forming acquaintances. Still, the
cough strikes upon her ear appealingly, all the more that there comes
no sound of any voices from the room, save when the priest or the
Sisters of Mercy are there. She knows her neighbor must be alone, and,
she suspects, lonely also, for many hours. She resolves to go to see
her, and take little George, thinking, in the fondness of her mother’s
heart, that his pretty ways may divert the sick woman.

But who is she, and what is her name? Agnes asks this of her landlady
the first time she finds that everbusy and worried woman alone.

“The sick lady in the front room? Why, she is your namesake, perhaps a
relation.” And the landlady eyes keenly her questioner, thinking her
curiosity about both of her boarders will now be gratified, as she
slowly adds: “She is a Mrs. Vanderlyn, as well as yourself.”

Agnes feels herself trembling and almost choking at the swift rush of
conviction coming over her as to who this Mrs. Vanderlyn is: The priest
and the Sisters of Mercy! Martin Vanderlyn’s wife was a Catholic! She
can hardly command her voice to ask:

“Is she a widow?”

“I guess so, but she hasn’t said so,” replied the landlady. “She has
no friends, except them horrid spooks of nuns and that there sneakin’
priest; I do declare I’m ashamed to see ‘em a-comin’ in and out o’ my
door—but _you_ be’ent a Catholic, be you?” she says, in sudden alarm,
lest her burst of confidence has been misplaced. Agnes reassures her by

“Oh! no; I am not a Catholic, nor is any of my family; so I think this
lady can be no relative, as my husband was never a Catholic.”

What makes her voice change as she shapes her reply in this evasive
way? It is not altogether the keen, inquiring eyes of the landlady
trying to find if she is wife or widow. She can scarcely tell herself;
but the sharpened sense of expectation of some coming revelation, or
else the nearness of Martin Vanderlyn’s wife, makes her feel for the
first time a sense of guilt in speaking of him as her husband. Not that
she says even to herself as yet that he is _not_ her husband; but the
two wives—if this is his wife—in such close proximity, impresses her
much as the fact of the two living fathers of her two boys has done.
It cannot seem to her quite right for herself to be Martin Vanderlyn’s
wife, while the woman in the next room is such a reality. As long as
the divorced wife had seemed to belong to the past—perhaps dead—it
had not impressed Agnes so keenly as to be living under the same
roof with her; for Agnes feels almost sure that it is so. Still, her
desire to see her neighbor is by no means lessened; and it is not idle
curiosity, but a nobler feeling, which leads her to ask the landlady to
introduce her. That person has, in the meantime, remarked:

“The lady is a real lady, and, if she _is_ a Catholic, I can’t say
aught agin her. I do hate to see them beads, and crosses, and figgers,
and picturs of folks with Saturn’s rings on their heads, which she
keeps in her room; but, if she gits any comfort from ‘em, poor soul,
why, I can’t begrudge her that. Only I wish she had more light and some
_real_ religion, now that she’s so near dyin’. I do hate to see her
sunk in darkness, without no light o’ the Gospel. But ‘tain’t no use
talkin’ to her, she never gits offended; but, when I wanted to send a
good Methodist minister to pray with her, she said her spiritooal needs
was already cared for by. Father what’s-his-name, and she jist give me
back that lovely tract about _Going to Hell_, as if she warn’t scared a
bit. ‘Tain’t no use, Mrs. Vanderlyn, to talk to her. They’re all of ‘em
so set and superstitious they _can’t_ experience religion or have any
realizin’ sense o’ their sins.”

Says Agnes: “I don’t want to minister to her soul. That is not my
mission. I only thought she was lonely, and I might do her some good in
being a little company for her some of the time, if nothing more.”

“And so you might, and it’s right good of you to think of it. It’ll
take some off my mind to know you’ll see her sometimes, as I can’t
find time to go in and sit with her as often as I think she may expect
of me.”

And the landlady, followed by Agnes, taps at the door of Mrs.
Vanderlyn’s room. In a minute more, Agnes finds herself face to face
with the invalid, who is sitting in a large easy-chair by the window.
After some words from the landlady, explaining Agnes’ kind intention
and sympathy, that garrulous person withdraws to her pressing household




  Go; vainly in thy breast lies hid the steel
  That pierces. I perceive thy sad estate,
  Thy silent fortitude; and for thy weal
      I pray thee meet thy fate.

  And weep before me! Cast thy burden down,
  I know that sorrow finds a drear relief
  In solitude, and wears abroad the crown
      Of a majestic grief.

  The hand of friendship may not put aside
  The heavy folds of the funereal veil,
  And on the threshold of an arid pride,
      Words seem to faint, and fail.

  But days have passed, I come—nay—never start,
  Suffer my presence, place thy hand in mine,
  Pour thy full soul into my faithful heart
      Whose pulses all are thine.

  If friendship only bore me to thy side,
  I would withdraw before thine icy face,
  Obey the teachings of my _human_ pride,
      My eager steps retrace.

  But I, too, have known sorrow, and have earned
  The right to minister before its shrine.
  A mighty secret, too, my heart has learned,
      Whose sources are divine—

  A secret that shall set thy soul aglow
  When once its holy meaning I unfold,
  And make thee bless its author for the woe
      That _thus_ could be consoled.



THE ruins that lie by the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates give us
a better notion of the power of the kings of Babylon and Assyria, of
the civilization, religion, and moral condition of the ancient peoples
of these countries, than the writings of historians. The obelisks and
pyramids, the ruined temples and the columns covered with hieroglyphic
characters, tell us more of Egypt than Herodotus and Manetho. In like
manner do the tombs and inscriptions in the catacombs bear witness to
the faith and morality, the usages and manner of living, of the early

The study of these catacombs has therefore a double aim: one dogmatic,
the other historical. Considered from the latter standpoint alone,
the discoveries recently made in the catacombs destroy the theories
and appreciations of many historians. It is literally true, as a
distinguished non-Catholic has said, that, “since Rossi published
his works, the history of the age of the Christian martyrs has to be
rewritten.” The distinguished Alfred de Reumont, on page 806 of the
first volume of his _History of the City of Rome_, says: “No one knows
better than the author how much this work is indebted to the researches
of De Rossi.”

The pontificate of Pius IX., among its other glories, can claim that of
having especially aided De Rossi in his archæological studies; and on
this account alone it would deserve the gratitude of all the friends
of science. Pius IX. has deserved the name of the “second Damasus,”
not only because he founded “The Archæological Commission for the
Investigation of the Ancient Christian Monuments of Rome,” and aided
it with pecuniary subsidies, but more particularly because he took a
lively personal interest in all its undertakings.

The zeal of Pius IX. found in John Baptist de Rossi, a born Roman, a
most suitable person for the advancement of archæological lore. And,
in fact, Rossi alone, as all acknowledge, made more progress than
all his predecessors. Although he has been more than a quarter of a
century at work, he is still a hale man; and if Piedmontese brutality
or revolutionary barbarism does not prevent him, he may yet make
more splendid progress in his learned studies. Rossi has wonderful
powers of observation, united with great calmness and perseverance in
investigation, ardent love of science, and vast erudition. He is well
versed in all the branches of his favorite science—in archæology,
bibliography, history, æsthetics, topography, and architecture. With
keen discernment, which his complicated investigations never lead
astray, he knows how to choose and value his materials. We know
not which to admire more—the persevering industry, or the great
and unflinching mental and physical strength, which he displays in
assorting the various materials which come before him. His judgment in
forming hypotheses, in drawing conclusions and consequences, is always
prudent. He prefers to prove too little rather than too much. On this
account, as well as because of his critical acumen, he has obtained
such a reputation among archæologists that Martigny, in his _Dictionary
of Christian Antiquities_, says: “We can rely implicitly on every word
that Rossi writes.” Rossi never builds a card-house; he makes no vague,
superficial reasonings. All is deeply thought; monuments and documents
are always brought in to corroborate his assertions; and we know that
nothing is more solid and convincing than the hard marble.

It is true Rossi has not published the half of his immense collections;
but from what has been published we can perceive that nothing so
important has appeared in the archæological world since the time of
Bosio, perhaps never anything so vast from one archæologist.

The first great archæological work of Rossi appeared when he was yet
a young man. It was printed in the third volume of the _Spicilegium
Solesmense_, published by the celebrated Benedictine Dom Pitra, now
cardinal of the church. Rossi always quotes it with pleasure as his
first work. The title is _A Letter on the Christian Monuments bearing
the Inscription ΙΧΘΥΣ_. Paris, 1855.

The figurative and poetical style of the Sacred Scriptures, as well
as the discipline of the secret, introduced into the “Church of the
Catacombs” those numerous symbols, so full of meaning, which, disguised
in the simplest pictures or the simplest words, expressed so much to
the initiated. The lamb, the anchor, ship, the stag, peacock, the cock,
the dove, etc., were symbols of sublime Christian ideas. But the most
important of all the Christian symbols was the _fish_. It is mentioned
as a Christian hieroglyphic all through the works of the Fathers, and
appears on all the old monuments. On these latter, sometimes the Greek
word _ΙΧΘΥΣ_ sometimes the painted, and some times the engraved, image
of the fish, is found. During the period of the discipline of the
secret, especially during the first three centuries of the church, the
most holy mysteries of Christianity were concealed from the uninitiated
under the symbol of the fish.

The fish is the symbol of Jesus Christ. The Fathers before the IVth
century insinuate this in obscure and ambiguous terms, while those of
the IVth and Vth centuries proclaim it plainly. Thus writes towards the
end of the IVth century Bishop Optatus Milevitanus:[110] “The fish,
according to its Greek orthography, _Ιχθυς_ expresses by its letters
a number of holy names, which in Latin are _Jesus Christus Dei Filius
Salvator_”—Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour—_Ιησοῦς Χριστός Θεοῦ
Υἱὸς Σοτήρ_. S. Augustine[111] expressly says that, if you take the
first letters, of these five Greek words, and unite them together, you
have _ἰχθυς_, _i.e._ _fish_, which name is a symbol of Christ.

Some ecclesiastical writers strive to connect the fish-symbol of Christ
with the Sibylline prophecies; other Fathers endeavor to find in it
certain analogies between the nature and acts of the fish and the human
nature and works of Christ. The different passages of ancient writers
on these points are brought together in De Rossi’s treatise. Rossi
himself has beautifully explained the origin of this symbol.

The fish is the symbol of Christ according to his human nature. In the
figurative language of the church, the present life is likened to a
sea. _Ubique mare sæculum legimus_,[112] says Optatus Milevitanus.
Ambrose calls men the fish who swim through this life. When the divine
Word became man, he became a fish as we. Hence Gregory the Great wrote:
“Christ condescended to hide himself in the waters of human nature, in
order to be captured by the angel of death.”

More frequently the fish is used as the symbol of the divine nature of
Christ. The large fish caught by Tobias that he might have food for his
journey, use the liver and gall to free Sara from devils, and restore
sight to his father, was considered by the Fathers as a striking symbol
of the divine Redeemer, who by the light of his doctrine cures the
blindness of ignorance, redeems the world from the power of demons,
and feeds us with his body on the pilgrim route from earth to heaven.
Therefore is Christ symbolized as Teacher of truth in his church; as
Redeemer from the power of Satan by baptism; and as Food of souls in
the Eucharist.

Out of the many beautiful and expressive symbolical representations of
the intimate connection between Christ and his church, we shall select
only the two figures numbered 104 and 105 in De Rossi’s tract. In the
midst of a surging sea a fish is swimming, carrying on its back a ship,
the symbol of the church. It is the divine _Ιχθυσ_, who, according
to his promise made to his church, carries her safely through the
storms of the world. The ship is managed by rowers, the hierarchy of
the church. The only pilot and leader of the ship is the Holy Ghost,
represented by a dove sitting on the top of the mast. In order that
no one may mistake the vessel, the scene of Christ giving the keys
to Peter is painted in the foreground exactly as our modern painters
represent it. In order to make this point clear, namely, that the Holy
Ghost is guiding the bark of Peter, the words _ΙΗΣ_ (_Ιησοῦς_) and
_ΠΕΤ_ (_Πέτρος_) are written over the picture.

Man is born the child of divine wrath: Christ frees him from
Satan’s power by baptism; makes him a child of God, a new man, a
_neophyte_.[113] Now, as Christ the Fish scatters these his blessings
in the baptismal font, it was called by the names of _baptisterium_,
_illuminatorium_, and, more frequently during the time of the
discipline of the secret, _piscina_, or fishpond. Therefore Bishop
Oriontius of Auch wrote in the Vth century: “The fish, born in
the water, is the author of baptism.” Therefore were the oldest
baptisteries commonly ornamented with the picture of a fish (Rossi, p.

In many of the monuments collected by Rossi, near the word _ΙΧΘΥΣ_ we
have also the word _ΝΙΚΑ_. The fish conquers. The neophyte is freed
from ruin and the power of Satan—he is a trophy of Christ’s victory.

Since the word fish, as well as the picture of it, was perfectly
identified with Christ the Redeemer, it was natural to use this symbol
to conceal that mystery which the pagans so fearfully misrepresented
when they said that the Christians met together at stated times,
slaughtered a child, drank its blood, and ate its flesh.[114]

The fish became the symbol of the Holy Eucharist. This could be done
with the greater propriety, since Rossi tells us that, at the banquets
of the wealthy pagans, fish was considered a delicacy, and it is seldom
found on pagan monuments. Hence, to eat _the fish_, and to receive
Holy Communion, became synonymous expressions. Prosper of Aquitaine
calls Christ the great Fish, who gives himself as food to his disciples
and the faithful.

We cannot enter into details, and shall only consider the monumental
inscription found at Autun in 1839, which has attracted so much
attention from the archæologists. The text begins with the words:
_Ιχθυσ οὐρανίου θεῖον γένος ἤτορι σεμνῷ χρῆσαι_: “O divine race of
the heavenly Ikthus, guard, after you have received it, the immortal
fountain of grace flowing from divine sources. Bathe thy soul, my
friend, in the ever-flowing waters of wealth-giving wisdom. Receive the
sweet food of the Saviour of the saints; eat and drink the Ikthus which
thou holdest in thy hands.[115] O Ikthus, I have prepared my hands,
I long for thee, my Lord and my Redeemer! That I may behold thee in
happiness, O my mother; I beseech this favor of thee, O light of the
dead. Aschaudius, my father, thou dearest to my heart, with my sweet
mother and my sisters, in the peace of the Ikthus remember thy son

The first verse of this beautiful inscription which many of the learned
in the time of Marcus Aurelius and at the end of the IIId century use,
alludes to the grace of baptism; the following sentences refer to the
sacramental use of the Ikthus. In the concluding phrase, the founder
of the monument, Pectorius, addresses himself to his parents and
relatives, with the petition that they would remember him in heaven,
where they enjoyed the peace of the Ikthus.

From this important monument, as well as from many others collected
by Rossi, it is proven that the Holy Eucharist was thought to be a
_sacrament_ by the early Christians. In others, it is equally clear
that they considered it a _sacrifice_ also.

In one of the oldest cemeteries, that of Domitilla, as well as in
that of Callistus, we see a thrice sweet sacrificial table, on which
three loaves and one fish are lying. On each side of the table are
seven baskets with loaves. The meaning of the picture is plain. The
connection of the Ikthus with the bread is clearly shown. “The table
represents the Christian altar. This was usually a portable slab of
marble with brazen rings, placed over a martyr’s grave, and supported
by little columns. But what else could the Christian artist wish to
symbolize by placing the fish beside the bread than the offering of
the divine Ikthus on the altar? We have, therefore, on the one hand,
the invisible presence of the divinity in the fish; on the other, the
visible form of the bread, and then the position of the mysterious
representation. The sacrifice is the table of the Lord, the Eucharistic
banquet. To make this clearer, the seven baskets filled with loaves
surround the sacrificial table. They represent the seven baskets which
were filled with the remnants left after the multiplication of the
loaves in the wilderness—a miracle which has always been considered a
type of Holy Communion.”[116]

Dom Pitra, in his _Spicilegium_, has added to Rossi’s documents
many found in Gaul. Ferdinand Becker, in the _Historisch-Politische
Blätter_, vol. lxiii., p. 736 _et seq._, has written, since Rossi’s
time, a remarkable article on the “Symbol of Jesus Christ under the
Figure of a Fish.” Professor Jacob Becker has published something
on the same subject. Rossi naturally did not treat of the German
discoveries in this line of archæology.

It is singular that the symbol of the fish continued to be used in
Germany up to the middle age. In the _Hortus Deliciarum_ of the Abbess
Herrad, written in the XIIth century, and still preserved in the
Strasbourg Library, there is a representation of the sacrament of the
altar, by means of a small basket with a loaf and a fish. In a picture
in the cathedral library at Einsiedeln, there is the symbol of a fish
whose blood is represented as opening the gates of limbo.

Northern Africa, once so celebrated in the annals of the church, did
not escape the research of Rossi. Léon Rénier has collected, in a
work entitled _Roman Inscriptions of Algeria_, published at Paris,
A.D. 1838, most of those documents which caused Rossi to
undertake his second great work, _A Letter to J. B. Pitra, Benedictine
Monk, on the Christian Titles found at Carthage_. These documents are
very important as explaining the symbol of the cross. The Christians,
for various reasons, were unwilling at first to represent the cross
among their symbols. The cross was the _damnata crux_ of Apuleius,
the _infelix lignum_ of Seneca, the _teterrimum, crudelissimumque
supplicium_ of Cicero. The Christians, therefore, did not wish to give
the pagans an occasion of insult, nor to give scandal to the weak
faith of the catechumens. Prudent respect, as well as wise foresight,
induced them to conceal their most holy symbol in the interest of the
progress of faith. Consequently, as Rossi proves, we find the _cruces
dissimulatæ_ among the symbols, which, by their similarity with the
real figure of the cross, became Christian symbols, but, on account
of their being also recognized as heathen symbols, excited no scandal
or suspicion. Such concealed symbols, or _cruces dissimulatæ_, are,
according to Rossi, the _Tau_ or crooked cross, the oblique or S.
Andrew’s cross, the anchor cross, and the monogram of Christ with all
its varieties.

The oldest monogram is the simple _Χ_, the first letter of Christ’s
holy name. At a later period, the _Χ_ was united with the _Ι_, the two
together standing for _Ιησοῦς Χριστός_. Before the time of Constantine,
the monogram was represented by the union of the Greek letters _Χ_ and
_Ρ_, the two first letters of the word _ΧΡΙϹΤΟϹ_. After the conversion
of Constantine, when the punishment of the cross was abolished, and all
that was offensive or scandalous in it removed, the symbol became more
striking by the introduction of a cross-line. In the second half of the
IVth century, in spite of the Julian persecution, the symbol of the
cross became more plain. But when Christianity, in and since the time
of Theodosius the Great, took possession of the laws, and ordinances,
and customs of the empire, the symbol became so clear that all could
understand it. Therefore, after the end of the IVth century, and in the
beginning of the Vth, we find the simple figure of the cross on all
public monuments, without any attempt to conceal it.

The progress of this symbol of the cross was not so slow in development
in some of the remote provinces as in the city of Rome and its
environs. In some of the distant provinces, the power of paganism
ceased to control the people at an earlier date than in the city, and,
consequently, allowed the Christians to manifest their symbols without
fear. This happened as early as the IId century in Northern Africa,
where the Christians were powerful at a very early date. Rossi, in the
same work, gives us valuable documents and proofs to show the important
place which the symbol of the triangle should hold in archæological
disquisitions. It was a recognized symbol of the Holy Trinity.

It is a common custom among certain prejudiced modern writers to speak
of the “hatred of the early Christians for art.” By degrees, however,
the bandage begins to fall from their eyes, and the truth becomes
clearer. To Rossi much credit is due for having labored to destroy this
prejudice also. The attention of the early Christians was called to
works of sculpture rather than to works of painting. And this was quite
natural. The statues were mostly naked. And “among the entirely naked
Aphrodites of the later Greek and Roman artists, there is hardly one in
which the woman does not predominate over the goddess. Sensuality and
grossness are conspicuous in most of them.”[117] Some of them also knew
that the Venus of Praxiteles, which he represented at first entirely
unclothed, was copied after a model of Phryne.

It is different with painting—after music and poetry, the most
spiritual of arts. “By the blending of light and shade, and the laws
of perspective, it can give a tone of spirituality to the bodily form,
and an ethical appearance to the inanimate. Painting is the art of
soul impressions. Everything great, noble, and refined can be better
expressed on the canvas than in marble.” The Christian muse, therefore,
naturally took to painting. Hence on the walls in the catacombs we find
the first efforts of the Christian painters. Likenesses of the Mother
of God are among the first which we meet. These pictures, in which
virginal innocence, maternal tenderness, holy worth, tender grace and
piety, are manifested, have been collected and published in 1863 in
large chromo-lithographs in his work entitled _Imagine Scelte della B.
Vergine tratte dalle Catacombe Romane_.

The earliest likeness of the Mother of God is found in the catacombs
of Priscilla. On account of the many likenesses of the Blessed Virgin
found in them, these have been called the Marian Catacombs. There is no
doubt that these pictures are of apostolic date, and originated with
that Priscilla who was known both to Peter and Paul, the mother of
the Senator Pudens, and grandmother of the holy virgins Praxedes and
Pudentiana. In the arch of the central crypt, the adoration of the magi
is painted. The Blessed Virgin holds the Infant Jesus in her bosom;
before her in the sky is the star whose light leads the three wise men
from the East to visit the divine Child.

In another crypt is delineated the annunciation of the angel. The
Blessed Virgin sits on a throne like the ancient episcopal chairs;
before her stands the archangel as a beautiful, ethereal youth,
without wings, dressed in tunic and pallium, his right hand raised,
and the index finger of it pointed at the Virgin. In her face there
is a look of surprise and holy, virginal shyness. On the ceiling of
another grave-niche, in the very oldest part of the catacomb, close
to the graves of the family of Pudens, we find a painted picture of
the Virgin and Child in the pure classic style. Rossi, supported by
the most various archæological and historical documents, places this
picture in the time between the second half of the Ist and the first
half of the IId century. The Blessed Virgin, clothed with many-folded
drapery and cloak, bears on her head the veil usually worn by the
married or betrothed. Over her hangs the star of Bethlehem; before her
stands a young, powerful-looking man, with a prophet’s mantle thrown
over his shoulders. In his left hand he holds a scroll, and with the
right he points to the star and the Virgin and Child. He is Isaias
the Prophet, pointing out the favored Virgin, the branch of the root
of Jesse, who was to conceive and bring forth the blessed Fruit; and
showing the great light which was to shine over Jerusalem. The beauty
of the composition; the grace and dignity of the figures; the swelling
folds of the drapery; and the correctness and spiritual beauty of the
expression, make this, although the oldest picture of the Madonna, one
of the most striking which we possess. The elder Lenormant did not
hesitate to compare it with Raphael’s best productions.

The picture of the Madonna in the second table of Rossi is of more
recent origin. In this picture, the Mother of God sits on a chair of
honor, holding the divine Child in her lap. The three kings, led by a
star, come to meet her. It is from the cemetery of Domitilla. We omit
the other pictures of the adoration of the magi in the other catacombs
of Callistus, Cyriaca, etc.

The assertion of the Calvinist historian Basnage, that the pictures of
the Blessed Virgin were not introduced into the church until after the
Council of Ephesus, A.D. 431, sinks to the ground in the face
of Rossi’s documents.

He has collected in his works the chief inscriptions to be met with
in the catacombs, and has surpassed all his predecessors in the
completeness of his information and documents. Although, after the
discovery and investigation of the catacombs by the celebrated Bosio,
many authors like Aringhi, Bottari, Boldetti, the Jesuit Lupi, Marchi,
and others, had treated on them, and the relations of their contents to
theological sciences and ecclesiastical studies, none has equalled the
distinguished Rossi, whose ardor, energy, and talent were always aided
by the most liberal sympathy of the Roman Pontiff.


OFFERO (the bearer), afterwards S. Christopher, being proud of his vast
strength and gigantic limbs, resolved to serve—for he was poor—only
the most powerful monarch on earth.

Accordingly, he searched far and near until at last he came to the
court of a king who, as he was told, was the greatest monarch on earth.
To him Offero offered his services.

They were gladly accepted, for his powerful frame pleased the eye of
the king, who knew that no other prince could boast of such a servant.

Offero, supposing his master to be afraid of no one, was greatly
surprised on perceiving the king tremble and cross himself, whenever
the name of Satan was mentioned. “Why dost thou do so?” he inquired of
the monarch.

“Because Satan is very mighty,” replied his master, “and I am afraid
lest he should overcome me.”

“Then I must leave thee, for I will serve only him who is afraid of no
one,” said Offero.

Again he commenced his wanderings; this time in search of Satan. One
day, on crossing a desert, he perceived a horrible object with the
appearance of great power coming towards him. Offero’s great size
seemed not in the least to startle him, and with an air of authority he
asked: “Whom dost thou seek?”

“Satan,” Offero answered, “for I have heard that he is the most
powerful upon earth. I wish to have him for my master.”

“I am _he_,” said the other, “and thy service shall be an easy one.”

The giant bowed low, and joined his followers.

As they pursued their way they came in sight of a cross. No sooner had
Satan’s eyes perceived it, than he turned with evident fear and haste
and took another road, so as to avoid passing the cross.

Offero was not slow in noticing these signs of alarm. “Why dost thou do
so?” he asked his master.

“I fear the cross,” Satan made answer, “because Christ died upon it,
and I fly from it lest it should overcome me.”

“Then there is one more powerful than thou, and I shall leave thee and
seek him,” replied Offero. With these words, he left Satan and went in
search of Christ.

After much toil and long wanderings, he came to a hermit, whom he
entreated to tell him where Christ could be found.

The holy man, seeing him thus ignorant, pitied and taught him. “Christ
is indeed the greatest king in heaven and on earth,” he said, “for his
power will endure throughout eternity; but thou canst not serve him
lightly—he will impose great duties upon thee, and he will require
that thou fast often.”

“I will not fast,” said Offero, “for that would weaken my strength,
which makes me so good a servant.”

“Thou also must pray,” continued the hermit, taking no heed of the

“I have never prayed and will never do so. Such service is for
weaklings, not for me,” replied the giant.

“Then,” said the hermit, “dost thou know of a river whose waters are
wild and deep, and often swollen by rains, sweeping away in its swift
current many of those who would cross it?”

“Yes,” said Offero.

“Then go there and aid those who fight with its waves; carry the weak
and little ones across upon thy strong, broad shoulders. This is good
work, and, if Christ will have thee in his service, he will assure thee
of his acceptance.”

Offero went to the river, and on its banks built himself a hut. Day
and night he aided all who came, carrying many upon his shoulders, and
never wearying in assisting them across the river. A palm-tree was his
staff, which he had pulled in the forest, and which was well suited to
his great strength and height.

One night, when resting in his hut, he heard a voice like that of a
weak child, and it said: “Offero, wilt thou carry me?”

He rose quickly and went out, but, search as he would, he could find
no one; and he re-entered his dwelling; but presently the voice
called again: “Offero, wilt thou carry me?” A second search proved
fruitless. At the third call he rose again, taking with him a lantern.
He searched, and at last found a child. “Offero, Offero, carry me over
this night?”

He lifted him up and began crossing the stream. Immediately the wind
commenced to blow, the waves rose high, and the roar of the waters
sounded like thunder. The child also began to increase in weight,
grew more heavy upon his shoulders, and Offero feared that he must
sink; but, with the aid of his staff, he kept himself up, and at last
succeeded in reaching the opposite shore. Then he cried: “Whom have I
carried? Had it been the whole world, it could not have been heavier.”

Then the child replied: “_Me_, whom thou desirest to serve, and I have
accepted thee. Thou hast not only carried the world, but _him_ who made
it, upon thy shoulders. As a sign of my power and my approbation of
thee, fix thy staff in the earth, and it shall grow and bear fruit.”

Offero did so, and soon it was covered with leaves and fruit. But the
wonderful child was gone. Then Offero knew that it was Christ whom he
had carried, and he fell down and worshipped him.

Thenceforth he called himself Christopher, served his Master
faithfully, holding fast to his new faith through all kinds of tortures
and sufferings.

King Dagnus of Lycia, after having thrown him into prison, and not
succeeding in turning him from his faith, commanded that he should be

Arrived at the place of execution, he knelt down and prayed that all
who saw him and believed in Christ, should be delivered from earthquake
fire, and tempest. It was believed that his prayers were heard, and
that all who look upon the figure of S. Christopher are safe, for that
day, from all dangers of earthquake, flood, and fire. The sight of it
is believed also to impart strength to the weak and weary.


 CHURCH DEFENCE. New York: The Catholic Publication Society.

 “Our Clerical Friends” appear to be suffering pain from the strong
 sinapisms of Dr. Marshall. At least, we suspect they must be in pain,
 from certain suppressed, inarticulate cries and moans of the _Church
 Journal_, _Churchman_, etc. Their doctor is inexorable, however, and
 has already applied another blister. Their internal disorder is too
 deeply seated and obstinate to allow of any milder treatment. They
 have been seized with such a violent madness of fancying themselves
 priests and playing at Catholic that argument is lost on them, unless
 plentifully infused with ridicule. _Church Defence_ is unmerciful
 in its ridicule, like the _Comedy of Convocation_, but it is also
 perfectly genteel and polished in its style, and as overwhelming in
 argument as an essay by Dr. Newman. Those who have laughed over the
 sparkling pages of the classic _Comedy_, will enjoy another laugh
 over this new drama, and those who have been thrown into a rage by
 _My Clerical Friends_ will be at a loss for epithets wherewith to
 give vent to their pent-up bosoms when they read this new amiable
 discussion, which they will and must do, in spite of themselves. Dear
 friends and would-be Catholics, you might as well laugh with the whole
 world that is laughing at you! Your little farce is played out. It is
 a small business to be trying to cheat poor girls who are entrapped
 by your counterfeit Sisters, by pretending that you are Catholic
 priests and can give them sacraments. Something else is wanted besides
 acolytes and nicolytes, candles and high celebrations, mimicry of our
 sacerdotal dress, and high collars or high altars. You are outdone
 even in counterfeiting Catholicity by the little Greek schismatical
 chapel, where there is a better Signor Blitz than any of your feeble
 imitations. Do, if you please, try something new for the amusement of
 mankind, and let the curtain fall on the Anglo-Catholic farce!

 York: The Catholic Publication Society. 1873.

 The second of these novelettes by the most popular writer of fiction
 among the Catholics of Germany is really a charming story. The
 character of “Angela” is remarkably well drawn, and is the type of
 a perfect Christian woman, in the three phases which are so full
 of moral and poetic beauty, as maiden, bride, and mistress of the
 household. The first one is very different, dealing with incidents and
 scenes which are not so pleasing, but unfortunately equally real. As
 both are reprints from the pages of this magazine, our readers will
 remember them, and no doubt be glad to get them in a separate form.
 Those who have not read them will find them not only entertaining
 reading, but full of thought and instruction on most important and
 practical topics of modern life.

 LIFE OF J. THEOPHANE VÉNARD, Martyr in Tonquin; or, What Love
 Can Do. Translated by Lady Herbert. New York: The Catholic Publication
 Society. 1873.

 LIFE OF HENRY DORIÉ, MARTYR. Translated by Lady Herbert. New
 York: The Catholic Publication Society. 1873.

 These two works are translations from the French by Lady Herbert, for
 the benefit of S. Joseph’s Foreign Missionary College at Mill Hill
 near London, to which she has been a warm friend and liberal patron
 from the beginning. Americans cannot help feeling a great interest in
 that institution, for the first band of missionaries it sent forth
 came to labor among the colored people of our Southern States.

 Nothing could be better calculated to stimulate the fervor of the
 aspirant to the missionary life than the example of these two young
 Christian heroes worthy of the primitive ages of the church—worthy,
 it might be said, of the XIXth century; for never was there an age
 that required more firmness of purpose and constancy to the truth
 than this, with its glorious confessors of the faith in Asia, and as
 large an army of martyrs on the other side of the globe undergoing the
 slower torture of heart and soul that is far worse than that of the

 The lives of the two missionaries before us are affecting to the
 last degree. Every Catholic youth should read them, if not to fully
 emulate their example, to which all have not the happiness of being
 called, at least to catch something of the unworldliness and burning
 piety they manifested from their very childhood. Indeed, we wish
 everybody could read them, for there could be no better proof of the
 holy influences of the Catholic religion upon the young heart. We
 linger with admiration over the account of their boyhood overshadowed
 by their future martyrdom. One golden thread runs through their
 whole lives—one constant aim—the wish to win souls to Christ, and
 at last to gain the martyr’s crown. And this intense desire for
 martyrdom was no mere youthful enthusiasm, as was proved when their
 lifelong prayer was granted. But amid all the self-denial with which
 they fitted themselves for their glorious destiny, nothing in their
 character is more striking than the tender affection—passing ordinary
 human love—apparent in their intercourse with their families, as
 if religion had refined every fibre of their hearts, and made them
 more keenly susceptible of love, of suffering, and of devotion to
 the service of God. They never allowed earthly affections, however,
 to come between them and their great aim in life. What angels of the
 sanctuary they were while preparing for the sublime functions of the
 priesthood! What a lofty conception they had of the sacrament of holy
 orders that consecrated them to a life of sacrifice! How joyfully they
 entered upon the life that promised them the radiant crown.

  “Prepared for virgin souls and them
  Who seek the martyr’s diadem.”

 “_Souffrir pour Dieu_—To suffer for God—will henceforth be my
 motto,” said Henri Dorié, about to leave his country for ever.
 Everything at the _Séminaire des Missions Etrangères_ was calculated
 to strengthen this desire for suffering. Old missionaries, who bore
 in their bodies the marks of the Lord Jesus, were their professors.
 Every day they went to pray in the Hall of Martyrs, around which
 are ranged the relics of those who have suffered for the faith in
 China, Japan, and the isles of the sea, together with the instruments
 of their martyrdom—an appalling shrine at which to pray! And the
 whole room is crimsoned with the light diffused through the red
 hangings—significant of blood and suffering.... Among other sacred
 articles in this hall is the blood-stained crucifix of Bishop Borie,
 whose interesting life has been written by the Rev. F. Hewit.

 One of the most affecting scenes related in these books is when a
 band of missionaries is about to leave for their field of labor. On
 the eve of their departure, the young apostles all stand before the
 altar—victims ready for the glorious sacrifice—and one by one the
 loved companions and friends they are to leave behind come up to
 prostrate themselves, and kiss the feet of these heralds of salvation,
 the whole congregation meanwhile chanting: _Quam speciosi pedes
 evangelizantium pacem, evangelizantium bona!_—How beautiful are the
 feet of them who preach the Gospel of peace, of them that bring glad
 tidings of good things!

 M. Vénard went to labor in Tonquin. When the first missionary to that
 country—a Dominican friar—landed there in 1596, he found a great
 cross on that unknown shore, which seemed to prefigure what awaited
 those who should attempt to evangelize it. And to see how truly, we
 need go no further back than 1861, when, in the course of nine months,
 sixteen thousand Christians were martyred in only two provinces of
 Anam, and twenty thousand condemned to perpetual slavery. This was the
 year in which M. Vénard was martyred. The letter he wrote his beloved
 sister in his cage at midnight on the eve of his martyrdom has been
 styled by an eminent Frenchman “one of the most beautiful pages of the
 history of the martyrs of the XIXth century.”

 Henry Dorié was sent to Corea—the very name of which is symbolical to
 the Christian ear of persecution and martyrdom. The whole history of
 the church in that country is written in blood. Its first missionaries
 were all martyrs, its first bishop, its first converts. In one
 year—1839—over eight hundred Christians were martyred, and a still
 larger number perished from want in the mountains where they had taken
 refuge. But M. Dorié had but one desire—when his labors were ended,
 to win the palm. His prayer was not denied him.

 It is thus the sufferings of Christ are daily perpetuated in some
 member of his body in various parts of the world. We should all have a
 share in this great sacrifice of atonement, according to the measure
 of our calling, if not by personal labors, at least by our prayers
 and contributions. England is taking up the foreign missionary work.
 America, too, should have her part in it. Such a work would react on
 our own hearts, and develop a self-denial and generosity that would
 constrain us more powerfully in promoting every good work at home.
 As Archbishop Manning says: “It is because we have need of men and
 means at home that I am convinced we ought to send both men and means
 abroad—in exact proportion as we freely give what we have freely
 received will our works at home prosper, and the zeal and number of
 our priests be multiplied.”

 THE MONEY GOD; or, The Empire and the Papacy. A Tale of the
 Third Century. By M. A. Quinton. Baltimore: Kelly, Piet & Co. 1873.

 _The Empire and the Papacy_—a title of fresh significance in these
 days. It is remarkable how soon the Roman emperors realized that
 their authority could not exist in Rome with that of the pope,
 the importance of whose office became more and more apparent. The
 influence of the papacy gradually widened, and so asserted itself as
 to overshadow the very authority of the emperor himself. It excited
 alarm. Decius declared he would rather hear of a rival springing up to
 contest for the empire than of the election of a new bishop of Rome.
 How notoriously eminent must have been the dignity of that office to
 excite such jealousy! Was it the dread of this new mysterious power
 that led so many of the emperors to exile themselves, as it were, from
 their capital? Though pope after pope lived in Rome, and died there,
 even if by martyrdom, not one emperor from the time of Heliogabalus
 till Constantine ended his days in that city. One was killed in
 Germany, another strangled in Carthage, a third slain in Thrace, a
 fourth killed by lightning beyond the Tigris; not one died in Rome.
 And for more than a century and a half they resided elsewhere, hardly
 daring to show themselves in the capital, because they felt more
 and more their moral isolation in the midst of the Roman people.
 Diocletian went to Rome to be recognized as emperor, but returned
 to Nicomedia. When Maximian was made his colleague and assumed the
 government of Italy, he did not establish himself at Rome, but chose
 Milan as his residence. Constantine’s great object, after triumphing
 over his enemies, was to leave Rome and found a new capital. “The
 same girdle could not enclose both the emperor and the pontiff,”
 says M. de Maistre; “Constantine gave up Rome to the pope.” It was
 a moral necessity that the papacy—a power “far above king, law, or
 popular right,” should be free, and this has never been contested with
 impunity since.

 In the work before us, the contrasting influence of the empire and
 the papacy is exemplified in the history of two boys who were stolen
 from their mother in Thrace and sold at Rome as slaves. Separated in
 their childhood, one providentially fell into the hands of Agatho, a
 Christian hermit; the other gave himself to the service of Plutus,
 the “Money God.” We wish, for the sake of the young into whose hands
 this book may fall, that the early history of Eva, their mother, had
 been somewhat veiled. It affords, however, a strong contrast between
 the violent, passionate courtesan and the subdued and humble Christian
 which she finally becomes. A confessor of the faith, she fully redeems
 her early career by a life of penitence. Her sad form gives relief
 to that of Plautia, a noble Christian matron. Tertullian tells us
 how much Christianity improved the condition of woman. No sage of
 antiquity ever thought of developing her spiritual nature and thereby
 giving her greater moral elevation, but the humblest Christian priest
 made this a duty. We have only to read the writings of the Fathers,
 particularly S. Jerome, to realize the great renovation that took
 place in woman’s nature when her soul was awakened to higher aims
 and became conscious of a holier destiny. The _Acts_ of the early
 martyrs set before us some of the noblest types of womanhood. There is
 a grandeur in their unalterable serenity of soul under persecution,
 examples of which are given in the book before us. Indebted so greatly
 to the Christian religion, woman became its efficient supporter. We
 learn from Ammianus Marcellinus that the first popes were chiefly
 supported by the offerings of the Roman matrons. Their devotion to
 the service of the church is manifest from the jealous exclamation of
 Diocletian: “I hate, as a usurpation of my powers, the influence of
 these Christian priests over the matrons.”

 This tale of the IIId century evinces great familiarity on the part of
 the author with classical and antiquarian lore as well as the early
 Christian writers.

 THE NESBITS; or, A Mother’s Last Request, and other Tales. By
 Uncle Paul. New York: The Catholic Publication Society. 1873.

 The first of these stories and the principal one, _The Nesbits_, is a
 rapid sketch of the life and fortunes of a young American, none the
 less interesting and, it may be hoped, true to nature because the
 figure of the hero, Ned Nesbit, is exactly the reverse of the “Young
 America” of the popular imagination. He is honest, manly, truthful,
 and religious; and it may be a surprise to some readers to find that
 those unusual characteristics of “Young America” neither make him
 insipid nor offer an insurmountable barrier to his success in life.
 The scenes of the story shift from the backwoods to New Orleans, from
 New Orleans to Mexico. There is plenty of fresh air, of sea and sky,
 pleasant bits of Mexican scenery and vistas of Mexican life; there are
 camping out and long rides and “brushes” with the Indians, hit off
 rapidly, and though in an unpretentious style, one admirably adapted
 to its purpose. There is a pleasant and harmless little love-plot
 that Uncle Paul’s chief readers—the young folk—are likely to vote
 “slow,” but they will find plenty of other things more congenial to
 their sanguinary tastes scattered throughout the book, while the tone
 is thoroughly Catholic from beginning to end. The second story of the
 volume—“The Little Sister of the Poor”—is a sketch, condensed from
 the French, of a little hunchback, who, finding her deformity rather
 an obstacle to her walking pleasantly in the ways of this world, and
 that even a dower of 10,000 francs did not serve to smooth it down,
 finally hides it away in religion, and becomes “a little sister.” The
 story would be very entertaining only that it may tend to strengthen
 the stupid idea so prevalent among non-Catholics, that the nun’s
 habit is a good covering for personal deformity, and that a convent
 is a sort of receptacle for ladies who can “do no better”: whereas,
 God culls his flowers where he wills, and women in convents are just
 the same as women anywhere else, with the exception that they have
 devoted their lives entirely to God’s service. In his last story—“The
 Orphan”—Uncle Paul has struck upon a vein which might be worked with
 as much profit as interest. It is a short, indeed too short, sketch
 of a thing that a few years back was of very common occurrence in
 this country. An Irish emigrant girl finds herself suddenly bereft of
 her parents, and placed in the keeping of a Protestant family. The
 author has made her position superior to that of the generality of
 her sisters under similar circumstances; she is a ward rather than a
 servant, and among friends rather than enemies to her race and faith.
 But even so, she finds herself, young and friendless, placed amid
 the thousand difficulties of Protestant surroundings. Her triumph
 over them is very touchingly told. The idea contained in this story
 might be worked to much greater advantage; and the tracing up some of
 those poor children who were snatched away and buried among heretical
 families, which, even if acting with the very best intentions, might
 consider the religion of these orphans something they were bound to
 abolish, would form a sadly interesting story, and one which would
 take in much of our recent Catholic history in this country.

 WILD TIMES. A Tale of the Days of Queen Elizabeth. By Cecilia
 M. Caddell. New York: The Catholic Publication Society.

 This is a new and handsome edition of a story which, though it came
 out some years back in London, is probably unknown to very many of our
 readers. It is just one of those books which Catholics sadly stand
 in need of to adorn and grace their, to a certain extent, cumbersome
 literature. Miss Caddell has been fortunate in her choice of _Wild
 Times_, and _Wild Times_ have been fortunate in Miss Caddell. The
 period of the Reformation forms for the Catholic of to-day the most
 interesting one of English history; and recent researches, such as
 are exhibited in F. Morris’ late books (_Our Catholic Forefathers_,
 and _The Condition of Catholics under James I_.) and others similar,
 are bringing that particular period home to us with a clearness and
 fulness of knowledge which tend to make us acquainted with all the
 intricacies and common details of life, particularly Catholic life
 in those wild times, as we are with the humdrum life of to-day. Miss
 Caddell’s story is really the history of one of the very few noble
 English Catholic families who stood firm to their faith in that dark
 hour, and who, for the simple reason of being true to their God, were,
 according to law, false to their sovereign and country. The chief
 characters are two young brothers, Sir Hugh and Amadée Glenthorne, the
 latter a Jesuit educated on the Continent, and returning by stealth
 to the work of the ministry, which at that time meant martyrdom; the
 former a fiery, high-spirited English gentleman, whose hot blood and
 lofty aspirations cannot run tamely in the dismal groove set him by
 the “law,” because he happens to be a Catholic, but who, when the
 hour of trial comes, and he is weighed in the balance, is not found
 wanting. Around these two, with their charming sister Amy, the plot
 gathers; and the tracing of their fortunes and misfortunes makes a
 most beautiful and moving tale. There are plenty of other characters
 in the book: Blanche Monteman, Hugh’s betrothed, and Guy, the lover
 of Amy, both Protestants, give occasion for some very skilfully
 constructed complications; and the proud nature of the girl, and the
 terrible fall of that pride, are given with what the lady author may
 allow to be called a masterhand. There is also a weird gipsy queen,
 Ulrique, who turns out eventually to be something quite different,
 powerfully drawn, whilst the premature death of the mischievous little
 imp, Tom Tit, is as touchingly told, if not more so, as that of Little
 Paul Dombey. To enter into the plot of the story further than has
 been done would be to deprive the reader of _Wild Times_ of half the
 pleasure of a story so skilfully woven that the interest is sustained
 to the very last line, and its development hidden until the author
 chooses to disclose it. The style is of the purest, occasionally
 rising to the strongest, English. Miss Caddell has mastered the old
 forms, without making them as wearisome as some of Scott’s Northern
 dialects cannot fail to be to the unhappy uninitiated. The love in
 the story is by no means of the namby-pamby order, but good, and
 honest, and true; in a word, manly and womanly in the true sense
 of those words; and though mainly carried on between Catholic and
 Protestant, it serves for that very reason to heighten the interest of
 the story, and as here depicted seems a very natural thing in those
 wild times; whilst one has the hope all through that earthly love will
 blend with a higher. The gradual change effected in the blunt, fiery
 character of Hugh by the chastening hand of affliction, under which
 at first he chafes till you fear for him, but finally rises with all
 his strength of character to the heroism of a Sebastian, is as ably,
 though naturally and unconsciously, developed as anything the writer
 remembers seeing in this style of book. The only thing he quarrels
 with is the preface. Without being dogmatic on the point, it is very
 doubtful whether, “when the queen—Elizabeth—ascended the throne,
 Catholicity was still the religion of the great masses of the people,
 and was either secretly followed or openly professed by a large half
 of the noblest families in the land.” English history scarcely bears
 this out; and had only one-half the noblest families in the land been
 even secretly Catholics, still less such Catholics as Hugh Glenthorne
 and his brother, England would never have sworn by a goddess in
 petticoats, and Mr. Froude would never have felt compelled to write
 his history. Again, when the author speaks of “the brightest and
 bravest of the band who form a halo of glory round the throne of Queen
 Elizabeth,” the reader involuntarily asks himself, What band? And the
 very question is its own answer. Still, a notice is not for a preface;
 and however one may quarrel with that, with the story itself no fault
 can be found. It is a beautiful, high-toned, moving picture of noble
 Catholic struggle, suffering, and death, drawn evidently with infinite
 pains and after historic study, and with that highest art which is
 nearest nature.

 _Marion Howard_ and _Maggie’s Rosary_. WILFULNESS AND ITS
 CONSEQUENCES. By Lady Herbert. New York: The Catholic Publication
 Society. 1873.

 The little book before us is intended for a premium-book for schools,
 and is admirably adapted to this purpose. The stories are thoroughly
 natural, and written in a good, healthy Catholic spirit. They are
 calculated to reach the masses in the most satisfactory way which
 could be chosen, that is, through their children. A great deal is
 constantly said about the authority of parents in the home, but
 we should not forget the immense and preponderating element of
 the children’s influence on their parents. This, if used in the
 right direction (which means, if guided in that direction by the
 teacher) may become of the utmost importance. It may civilize many
 a half-savage unfortunate who seems dead even to the stings of his
 own conscience; it may turn to serious reasoning the mind hitherto
 careless, because not exercised on spiritual things; it may shame
 into decency a character not irredeemably bad, but overgrown with the
 evil habits of half a century. In _Peter’s Journey_, or a drunkard’s
 dream, we see put into plain words the devil’s plea against the victim
 of intemperance. He claims him as his own by _fair barter_. “When
 thou didst ask for drink, did I not ask thee in return, not only thy
 wife’s affection, thy children’s happiness, thy home’s comfort, but,
 more than all, did I not demand thy soul? _I asked thee openly, and
 thou didst willingly agree...._ Well, didst thou not have the drink,
 morning, noon, and night? _And if so, shall I not have my price in
 full?_” This is a dark, but far from overwrought picture. Yet the
 mercy of God is greater than even such malicious sins, and till the
 very last the “pearly shadow” of his angel guardian protects the poor
 sinner. Peter awakes, and a sudden reformation is at hand. The poor
 wife, breaking down under her troubles, is weary and fretful, but
 Peter does not heed this, and in his stormy exit is only stopped by
 the baby, who is “examining the handle [of the door] with an attention
 worthy of an amateur locksmith.” Peter raised it in his arms, looked
 at it for a moment, and then, kissing it almost reverently, gave it
 to Mike and clumped down-stairs. “Poor Norah hoped he had not got
 _delirium tremens_.” It was a long time before Peter came back; when
 he did, it was behind the rampart of a large basket bursting with
 eatables. He goes down on his knees to his wife and begs forgiveness
 in the most charmingly abrupt and natural way, and when Norah recovers
 from a fainting-fit, everything is bright and happy again. “Certain
 it is that, when the _Angelus_ rang, it found them sitting side by
 side, shelling peas, and the baby on his knee, chuckling over a stick
 of rhubarb that it expected every one to smell every five minutes.”
 And what is the end? A triumph for Peter, and a hopeful example for
 all those who are honestly trying to follow in his footsteps. “In
 the whole parish there is not a cleaner house, better children, or
 a happier wife than Peter’s.... He collects the subscriptions for
 the schools, takes the money in church, carries the big banner at
 processions, and seems to do the work of half a dozen men made into
 one.... Is there a drunkard to reclaim, Peter is the man to take him
 in hand, depend upon it. Is there a drunkard’s widow struggling with
 her little ones alone, Peter will help her and put her in a way to get
 her living ... and he thanks God for all things, for his home, his
 little ones, his means of doing good, but, more than all, he thanks
 him for his wife Norah, and for a journey he took, of which he never
 speaks, on the Feast of S. Peter and S. Paul.”

 Of the “other tales,” we much prefer “A Carpenter’s Holiday.”
 The evils of bad companionship are here depicted, the absurd
 temptations which human respect thrusts in the path of young and
 often weak men, the manliness and true Anglo-Saxon spirit which even
 outsiders recognize in a firm refusal to yield to such temptations.
 The character of Sam is very interesting, and the history of his
 conversion quite a natural one. A lesson here and there is worth
 taking from it. For instance, the Catholic carpenter says to his
 friend, “People talk so much about our flowers and candles that really
 one would think they was a great part of our religion, _and, as it
 is, they’re just nothing_.” The old lesson of the example of converts
 is also well put forward. The end is, of course, an introduction to
 an earthly paradise, in the shape of a snug little farm, “the house
 hidden by roses, jasmine, ivy, and honeysuckle ... a dear, large,
 old-fashioned garden, with its apple and pear trees, its currant
 and gooseberry bushes, and its bed of flowers and cabbages, never
 thinking, as grand people’s flowers and cabbages seem to think, that
 they are not fit company for each other.” We are inclined to think
 that, if all discontented, restless people believed this sort of thing
 to be the inevitable reward of virtue, they would immediately become
 virtuous and leave off being discontented and restless. _We_ should,
 at any rate. And if this kind of life was the ending to which all
 good carpenters who spent their early holidays properly had a chance
 of attaining, why, then, we should be much freer than we are from
 trades-union strikes and International Associations. “The Carpenter’s
 Holiday” is the story most full of human interest and natural incident
 among all the little group by the author of _Maggie’s Rosary_.—We now
 come to Lady Herbert’s story of _Wilfulness_. This is an extract from
 the diary of a Sister of Mercy, and reveals one of the many phases
 of silent misery of which a large city is always full. The story is
 interesting if only as a picture of the heroism, the sacrifices,
 the sufferings, and the charity of people in humble, struggling
 circumstances, who could never hope to have their virtues set before
 an admiring public, and whose only motive was evidently the love of
 God and reverent trust in his divine providence. The last days of
 the heroine are touchingly told, her unselfishness in behalf of her
 father especially. “Every shilling which had been given her to spend
 in the little comforts so urgently required, had been hoarded up by
 her for this long-expected situation, when she was determined that her
 father’s appearance should do no discredit to his kind recommender.
 ‘Only think,’ she continued, ‘I had enough for everything but one pair
 of boots, and I could not conceive where that eighteen shillings was
 to come from. But I set to work and prayed one whole night for it,
 and the next morning a young priest came to see me, and brought me a
 sovereign, which he said a gentleman had given him that very day to
 give to his first sick call!’”

 and New Mexico. By James F. Meline. New York: The Catholic Publication
 Society. 1873.

 This is the fourth edition of this excellent book, which is now
 published by The Catholic Publication Society. As we noticed this book
 at some length in THE CATHOLIC WORLD for February, 1868, we
 can only reiterate what we then said, viz.:

 “There is just about enough fact to make the work decently solid, a
 good deal of fancy and impression, and, above all, a light hand.
 The style as a whole is really good, because it does pretty evenly
 just what it attempts and professes—sometimes more, seldom less.
 The descriptions of Denver and Central City, and the account of the
 Pueblos of New Mexico, interested us especially—the former for its
 manner, the latter for its interesting and curious facts. But another
 reader would call our selection invidious, and cite quite another set
 of incidents. The fact is, Mr. Meline is everywhere vivid, easy, and
 suggestive, and we do think we like those two parts best because we
 have friends in Denver and take a special interest in the old Poltec

 the _Catholic Standard_. 1872.

 This was a convention of the representatives of nearly 20,000 Catholic
 workingmen. These men, living in different parts of the country,
 are organized into numerous beneficial societies, each independent
 for its own purposes and government, yet enjoying a fellowship with
 all the others for the sake of mutual benefit. The Benevolent Union
 makes these men each others’ friends, in sickness and in death, in
 any part of the country where a society exists. We say it makes them
 friends—we might better say brothers; for attention and support in
 sickness and Catholic burial after death are acts more than friendly.
 Any society which is beneficial and composed exclusively of practical
 Catholics, can become associated on payment of five dollars initiation
 fee, and not to exceed twenty-five cents a year for each member—this
 tax last year having been but ten cents. From these sources a fund
 is raised to pay the expenses of the conventions and a very small
 salary to the secretary and treasurer. Any member away from home is
 entitled to recognition by simply presenting his travelling card.
 In case of sickness, it entitles him to receive from any affiliated
 society whatever aid his own would give him, and in case of death, to
 the expenditure of the same amount for his funeral as would have been
 allowed at home. Expenses thus incurred are refunded by the society to
 which the recipient belonged.

 The mere statement of these advantages suffices to explain the
 extraordinary success which has attended the Union. Begun in the
 little city of Dayton, Ohio, with a small number of societies, it
 has in four years extended itself in every direction; sometimes
 creating new societies, sometimes affiliating old ones, everywhere
 attracting great attention and eliciting the warmest encouragement;
 until it is not too much to say of it now that it is one of the great
 beneficial institutions of the country. At the last convention,
 the President of the Philadelphia City Council extended a public
 welcome to the delegates. The proceedings were opened by a sermon
 from the distinguished Jesuit Father Maguire, and the speeches and
 debates were orderly and dignified, and sometimes eloquent, the most
 important questions being discussed and decided expeditiously and
 without ill-temper. Among other things, we noticed that measures
 were instituted looking to the settlement of immigrants in favorable
 places, and to their safety and comfort while in transit. A full
 and minute account was rendered of the receipt and disbursement of
 the common fund, and expression frankly and powerfully given to
 the unanimous sentiment of the societies with regard to Catholic
 education, and of sympathy with the Holy Father in his present
 distress. There was no evidence whatever of any spirit of rivalry; on
 the contrary, a committee was appointed to negotiate for the extension
 of the benefits of the Benevolent Union among other Catholic bodies.

 These large assemblages of intelligent and zealous Catholics supply
 one of the greatest wants of the church. After business matters
 are fairly disposed of, the convention becomes a great Catholic
 representative body—not indeed to make laws or to enforce them, but
 to give voice to the thoughts of the Catholic laity on questions which
 concern the general welfare of the church. Never did the clergy, from
 the Pope down to the parish priest, stand in greater need of the
 encouragement of the faithful, and never before have the faithful
 exhibited greater alacrity in giving it. Such gatherings as these
 are the best support which the church nowadays can have in resisting
 oppression and securing her rights. We therefore pray God to give this
 Benevolent Union a great success; and we are at a loss to perceive why
 such should not be the prayer of every good Catholic. The organization
 of a branch society in a parish will be the best preventive of
 Freemasonry and other condemned societies; it will secure the poor
 man and his family from want in case of sickness or accident at home
 or among strangers; it will give the priest and the educated layman
 an audience outside the church for the advocacy of Catholic public
 rights; and at least once a year the convention will exhibit to the
 American public, in a most striking manner, the unity, the charity,
 the patriotism, and the power of the Catholic people of this country.

 THE HOMES OF OBER-AMMERGAU. A series of Twenty Etchings in
 heliotype, from the original pen-and-ink drawings, together with Notes
 from a diary kept during a three months’ residence in Ober-Ammergau,
 in the summer of 1871. By Eliza Greatorex. Munich: Published by Jos.
 Albert, photographer to the courts of Munich and St. Petersburg. 1872.
 New York: Putnam.

 Many books have been published about Ober-Ammergau and its
 Passion-Play. This one is not, however, a mere repetition of their
 substance under a different form. It is altogether different in
 substance, and, therefore, a really new as well as most interesting
 description. The accomplished author does not occupy her pages with an
 account of the play itself, but takes us into the homes of the actors,
 and among the scenes of that picturesque German village. Though
 she is not a Catholic, her heart is full of kindliness, sympathy,
 and reverence, and we have read her truly exquisite portrayal of
 the primitive and most Christian life of the favored inhabitants
 of Ammergau with pleasure and admiration. The etchings are in the
 style of the best and truest art. The author has been honored by an
 autograph letter from the King of Bavaria, who, in spite of his faults
 as a ruler, is a man of taste and cultivation in the fine arts, and
 by a very kind reception at the private audience which was granted to
 her by the august Pius IX. We recommend this beautiful volume very
 cordially to all lovers of art, and of the most genuine, simple, and
 charming phases of nature and of Catholic piety which are to be found
 in the modern world, which is so full of glaring but empty illusions.
 As the edition in the hands of the New York publisher is a small one,
 those who desire to procure a copy would do well to be in haste about
 ordering it from the publisher.

 FILIOLA. Baltimore: Kelly, Piet & Co. 1873.

 ladies’ school exhibitions. New York: The Catholic Publication
 Society. 1873.

 The latter of these, a whimsical satire on the discontent of each
 class with its own duties, pleasures, and belongings, and envy of
 those of every other class, is amusing. To every rose there is a
 thorn, and while some envy their superiors in position those luxuries
 which the latter care nothing for, these again are often constrained
 to envy the freedom of those on a lower level. But nothing is truer
 than the adage, that _the back is fitted to the burden_.

 THE DEAF-MUTE: OR, THE ABBÉ DE L’EPÉE. Historical Drama in
 Four Acts. New York: The Catholic Publication Society. 1873.

 The following, taken from the preface of the work, is a synopsis of
 this little play: Julius is exposed in Paris at the age of ten by his
 uncle, who procures a written evidence of the boy’s death, and then
 seizes upon his property. The Abbé De l’Epée, Director of the Deaf and
 Dumb Asylum in Paris, finds the youth, and educates him. Suspecting
 the boy to be of noble blood, he bestows all his care on the helpless
 deaf-mute during eight years, creates his soul anew, as it were, and
 in the meantime endeavors to find out the place of his birth. For this
 purpose the Abbé travels with his protégé over a great part of France,
 and finally arrives at Toulouse, which city the young man recognizes
 as the place of his home. The Abbé consults the young lawyer Frauval,
 a friend of St. Alme, who is the son of Julius’s uncle. Darlemont
 refuses to recognize his nephew, but is at last prevailed upon to
 restore Julius to his rightful inheritance, by the threatened exposure
 of his son St. Alme. So the matter is settled amicably, and Julius
 grants to St. Alme, his former playmate, half of his estate.



VOL. XVII., No. 99.—JUNE, 1873.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873, by Rev.
I. T. HECKER, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at
Washington, D. C.


 “No breath of calumny ever attainted the personal purity of
 Savonarola.”—_Henry Hart Milman, Dean of S. Paul’s._

THE bright and shining fame of Girolamo Savonarola, the man upon
whom, in the XVth century, the wondering attention of the whole
civilized world was admiringly fixed, fell during the XVIIIth century
into oblivion or contempt—a not uncommon fate in that period for
religious reputations and religious works. The generally received
opinion concerning him was that of the sceptic Bayle, who, with show
of impartiality and phrase of fairness (‘Opinion is divided as to
whether he was an honest man or a hypocrite’), but with cold and
cruel cynicism, covered the unhappy Dominican with his sharpest and
most pungent sarcasm, leaving the reader to infer that he was a mean
impostor, who most probably deserved the martyrdom he suffered.

In our own day, Dean Milman, of the Established Church of England, asks:

 “Was he a hypocritical impostor, self-deluded fanatic, holy,
 single-minded Christian preacher, heaven-commissioned prophet,
 wonder-working saint? Martyr, only wanting the canonization which was
 his due? Was he the turbulent, priestly demagogue, who desecrated
 his holy office by plunging into the intrigue and strife of civic
 politics, or a courageous and enlightened lover of liberty?”

And—unkindest cut of all—punishment transcending in degree the worst
faults and most terrible crimes of which he has been unjustly accused
by his most cruel enemies—modern German Protestantism has placed
him in bronze effigy in company with the bigamous Landgrave Philip
of Hesse, and with Prince Frederick of Saxony, on the monument at
Worms, as one of the predecessors and helpers of Luther. The ascetic
Savonarola the acolyte of the beery Monk of Wittenberg! The chaste
Dominican the inferior of the sensual Reformer! The ecclesiastic who,
in the flower of his manhood and the fulness of his intellect, made the
unreserved declaration of Catholic faith[118] in which he lived and
died, the aider and precursor of the archheresiarch!

Truly, so far as the judgment of this world is concerned, one hour of
the degradation of Worms is sufficient to have cancelled all his sins.
Poor Savonarola!

Jerome Savonarola, born in Ferrara, in 1452 (Sept. 21), was the son of
Nicholas Savonarola. His mother Helen was of the Buonaccorsi family of
Mantua, and his paternal grandfather a physician of Padua of such high
reputation that Nicholas, Prince of Este, induced him, by the bestowal
of honors and a pension, to come to Ferrara. Jerome’s youth was serious
and studious, and, under the fostering care of one of the best of
mothers, his character developed favorably. At the age of ten, he went
to the public school of his native city, and it was intended that he
should complete the usual studies necessary to his becoming a physician.

The traveller of to-day, who sees the deserted squares and grass-grown
streets of Ferrara, can form but little idea of the Ferrara of that
period; a splendid city of one hundred thousand inhabitants, possessing
one of the most brilliant courts of Italy, and witnessing the frequent
passage of princes, emperors, and popes, whose presence gave constant
occasion for pageants, processions, and banquets. The young Jerome, it
was noticed, sought none of these, but was fond of lonely walks and
solitude, even avoiding the beautiful promenades in the gardens of the
ducal palace.

He pursued his medical studies for some time, but his favorite reading
was found in the works of Aristotle and S. Thomas Aquinas. Long years
afterward, he said of the latter: “When I was in the world, I held him
in the greatest reverence. I have always kept to his teaching, and,
whenever I wish to feel small, I read him, and he always appears to me
as a giant, and I to myself as a dwarf.” Although, like most youths of
his age, he indulged in making verses, his were not of the ordinary
callow model. One of his short youthful poems which survived him was on
the spread of sceptical philosophy and the decay of virtue. “Where,” he
asks—“where are the pure diamonds, the bright lamps, the sapphires,
the white robes, and white roses of the church?” Such language, taken
in connection with his declaration at the time that he would never
become a monk, shows that the idea, although in a negative form, was
already working in his mind. He afterwards related that, being at
Faenza one day, he by chance entered the church of S. Augustine, and
heard a remarkable word fall from the lips of the preacher. “I will not
tell you what it was,” he added, “but it is here, graven on my heart.
One year afterwards, I became a religious.”

Modern novels and the average silly judgment of worldly people in such
matters are usually unable to comprehend why any man or woman should
enter a convent unless they are what is called “crossed in love.” Some
such story is related of Savonarola, and Milman says of it: “There is
a vague story, resting on but slight authority, that Savonarola was
the victim of a tender but honorable passion for a beautiful female.”
We should also incline to be of the same opinion, were it not that
Villari[119] refers to it as having some foundation. He says that, in
1472, a Florentine exile, bearing the illustrious name of Strozzi, and
his daughter, took up their abode next to the dwelling of Savonarola’s
family. The mere fact that he was an exile from Dante’s native city
was sufficient to excite Savonarola’s sympathies. He imagined him
oppressed by the injustice of enemies, suffering for his country and
for the cause of liberty. His eyes met those of the Florentine maiden.
Overflowing with confident hope, he revealed his heart to her. What was
his bitter disappointment on receiving a disdainful answer rejecting
him, and giving him at the same time to understand that the house of
Strozzi could not lower itself by condescending to an alliance with the
family of Savonarola. He resented the insult with honest indignation,
but, says his chronicler, _il suo cuore ne restó desolato_—“his heart
was broken.” This may all be, but certain it is that the disappointed
youth did not instantly rush into a convent to bury his blasted hopes.
On the contrary, the incident of the sermon at Faenza occurred nearly
two years afterward. On this circumstance he frequently dwelt, saying
that a word, _una parola_, of the preacher still strongly affected him,
but he always reserved it as a sort of mysterious secret even from his
most intimate friends.

In returning from Faenza, he was light of heart, but found, on reaching
home, that a hard trial was before him. It was necessary to conceal
his intention from his parents, but his mother, as though she read
his secret, would fix her eyes upon him with a gaze which seemed
to penetrate his very soul. This struggle went on for a year, and
Savonarola often refers to his mental sufferings during that period.
“If I had made known my resolution,” he says, “I believe my heart
must have broken, and I should have allowed myself to be shaken in
my purpose.” Again, on another day, the 22d of April, 1475, Jerome,
seating himself, took a lute, and played an air so sad that his mother,
turning to him suddenly, as if moved by the spirit of prophecy, said to
him in a tone of sorrow: “My dear son, that is a farewell song.” With
great effort, the young man continued to play with trembling hand, but
dared not raise his eyes from the ground.

The next day, April 23, was the feast of S. George, a great festival
for all Florence. Savonarola had fixed upon it to leave his father’s
house, and, as soon as the religious ceremonies of the morning were
over, he quitted home, and made his way to Bologna, where he knocked
for admittance at the


He was then just twenty-two and a half years old. Announcing his desire
to enter on his novitiate, he wished, he said, to be employed in the
most menial of the offices of the community, and to be the servant of
all the others. Being admitted, he seized his first leisure moment that
same day to write a long and affectionate letter to his father, in
which he sought to comfort him and explain the step he had taken. It is
a memorable letter:

 “DEAR FATHER: I fear my departure from home has caused
 you much sorrow—the more so that I left you furtively. Permit me
 to explain my motives. You who so well know how to appreciate the
 perishable things of earth, judge not with passion like a woman,
 but, guided by truth, judge according to reason whether I am not
 right in carrying out my project and abandoning the world. The motive
 determining me to enter on a religious life is this: the great misery
 of the world, the iniquities of men, the crimes, the pride, the
 shocking blasphemies, by which the world is polluted, for there is
 none that doeth good—no, not one. Often and daily have I uttered this
 verse with tears:

  ‘Heu fuge crudelas terras! Fuge littus avarum.’

 I could not support the wickedness of the people. Everywhere I saw
 virtue despised, and vice honored. No greater suffering could I have
 in this world. Wherefore every day I prayed our Lord Jesus Christ to
 lift me out of this mire. It has pleased God in his infinite mercy to
 show me the right way, and I have entered upon it, although unworthy
 of such a grace. Sweet Jesus, may I suffer a thousand deaths rather
 than oppose thee and show myself ungrateful! Thus, my dear father,
 far from shedding tears, you should thank our Lord Jesus, for he has
 given you a son, has preserved him to you up to the age of twenty-two,
 and has deigned to admit him among his knights militant. Can you
 imagine that I have not endured the greatest affliction in separating
 from you? Never have I suffered such mental torment as in abandoning
 my own father to make the sacrifice of my body to Jesus Christ, and
 to surrender my will into the hands of persons I had never seen. In
 mercy, then, most loving father, dry your tears, and add not to my
 pain and sorrow. I am satisfied with what I have done, and I would not
 return to the world even with the certainty of becoming greater than
 Cæsar. But, like you, I am of flesh and blood; the senses wage war
 with reason, and I must struggle furiously with the assaults of the
 devil.[120] They will soon pass by, these first sad days, bitterest in
 the freshness of their grief, and I trust we will be consoled by grace
 in this world, and glory in the next. Comfort my mother, I beseech
 you, of whom, with yourself, I entreat your blessing.”

In the convent at Bologna, Savonarola spent seven years. During his
novitiate, his conduct was the admiration of all his brethren. They
wondered at his modesty, his humility, and his faultless obedience. He
appeared to be entirely absorbed in ecstatic contemplation of heavenly
things, and to have no other desire than to be allowed to pass his time
in prayer and humble obedience. To one looking at him walking in the
cloisters, he had more the appearance of a shadow than of a living man,
so much was he emaciated by abstinence and fasts. The severest trials
of the novitiate seemed light to him, and his superiors had frequently
to restrain his self-imposed denials. Even when not fasting, he ate
hardly enough to sustain life. His bed was of rough wood with a sack
of straw and one coarse sheet; his clothes, the plainest possible,
but always scrupulously neat. In personal appearance, Savonarola was
of middle stature, dark, of sanguine-bilious temperament, and of
extraordinary nervous sensibility. His eyes flamed from beneath dark
eyebrows; his nose was aquiline, mouth large, lips thick but firmly
compressed, and manifesting an immovable determination of purpose.
His forehead was already marked with deep furrows, indicating a
mind absorbed in the contemplation of grave subjects. Of beauty of
physiognomy there was none, but it bore the expression of severe
dignity. A certain sad smile, passing over his rough features, gave
them a kindly expression which inspired confidence at first sight.
His manners were simple and uncultivated; his discourse, plain to
roughness, became at times so eloquent and powerful that it convinced
or subdued every one.

As Savonarola advanced in his studies, he devoted all the time he
could possibly spare to the writings of the Fathers and to the Holy
Scriptures. There are no less than four different copies of the Bible
still existing in the libraries of Florence, and a fifth in the library
of S. Mark, in Venice, of which the margins are covered with Latin
notes written by him, which are excessively abridged, and in a writing
so fine as to be read only with difficulty. According to the custom of
the order, the young monk was in due time sent out on the mission, that
is, to different cities and towns, to preach and exercise his other
clerical duties. In 1482, he was ordered to Ferrara, whither he went,
very much against his will. His relatives desired that he should remain
there, in order to be near his family. Referring to this, he wrote to
his mother: “I could not do as much good at Ferrara as elsewhere. It
is seldom that a religious succeeds in his native place. Hence it is
that the Scripture commands us to go forth into the world. A stranger
is better received everywhere. No one is a prophet in his own country.
Even concerning Christ, they asked: ‘Is not this the son of the
carpenter?’ As to me, it would be inquired, ‘Is not this Master Jerome,
who committed such and such sins, and who was not a whit better than
ourselves? Ah! we know him.’”


From Ferrara, Fra Hieronimo was sent to the Convent of S. Mark, at
Florence. A mass of saintly and artistic recollections cluster around
the history of this convent. Holy men passed their lives within its
austere cloisters, and eminent artists here consecrated their works by
Christian inspiration. It is sufficient to mention from among them the
names of Fra Angelico, whose admirable frescoes adorn its walls, of
Fra Bartolomeo, known to the world as Baccio della Porta, the equal of
Andrea del Sarto, of Fra Benedetto, and of the brothers Luke and Paul
della Robbia. Villari dwells on one of its greatest illustrations, F.
Sant’ Antonino, the founder or renewer of nearly all the charitable
institutions of Florence, and in particular of the Buoni Uomini di
San Martino, which exists to this day in all its beautiful Christian
edification, if, haply, the tide of modern progress, under Victor
Emmanuel, have not swept it away.

F. Sant’ Antonino’s memory is still cherished there as that of a
man burning with divine charity, and consumed with the love of his
neighbor. His death, which took place in 1459, was deplored in Florence
as a public calamity.

The early history of the convent is closely connected with that of
Cosmo de’ Medici, who was its munificent patron. Besides large amounts
spent on the building, he made them a still more valuable donation.
Niccolo Niccoli, a name well known to scholars, a collector of
manuscripts of European fame, had spent his life and a large fortune in
making a collection of valuable manuscripts which was the admiration
of all Italy. At his death, he bequeathed it to the public, but the
donation was useless by reason of the heavy debts against his estate.
Cosmo paid them, and, retaining for himself a few of the most precious
documents, gave all the rest to the convent. This was the first public
library in Italy, and it was cared for by the monks in a manner which
proved them worthy of the gift they had received. S. Mark became, as it
were, a centre of learning, and not only the most learned monks of its
affiliated convents in Northern Italy, but the most distinguished men
of that period, sought every occasion to frequent it.

Savonarola’s arrival in the Florentine convent had been preceded by his
reputation for learning and for piety. It was even said of him that he
had made some miraculous conversions, and the story was told that, in
making the journey from Ferrara to Mantua by the river, he had been
shocked by the obscene ribaldry of the boatmen. He turned upon them
with terrible earnestness, and, after half an hour of his impressive
exhortation, eleven of them threw themselves at his feet, confessing
their sins, and humbly demanding his pardon.

Savonarola was at first delighted with all he saw of Florence. The
delicious landscape bounded by the soft outline of the Tuscan hills,
the elegance of language, the manners of the people, which appeared to
increase in refinement and courtesy as you approached Florence, all had
predisposed him to find delight in this flower of Italian cities, where
nature and art rival each other in beauty. To his mind, so strongly
imbued with the religious feeling, Florentine art seemed like a strain
of sacred music, attesting the omnipotence of genius inspired by faith.
The paintings of Fra Angelico appeared to him to have summoned the
angels to take up their abode in these cloisters; and, gazing at them,
the young religious was transported into a world of bliss. The holy
traditions of Sant’ Antonino and of his works of charity were still
fresh among the brethren, and everything appeared to draw him closer
to them. His heart was filled with hopes of better days, he forgot
his former disappointments, as well as the possibility that there
might be fresh ones in store for him when in time he came to know the
Florentines better.


When Savonarola came to Florence, Lorenzo the Magnificent had been its
ruler for many years, and was then at the apogee of his fame and his
power. Under his sway[121] everything looked prosperous and happy.
The struggles that formerly convulsed the city had long ceased. Those
who refused to bend to the domination of the Medici were imprisoned,
exiled, or dead. All was peace and tranquillity. Feasts, dances, and
tournaments filled up the leisure of this Florentine people, who, once
so jealous of their rights, now seemed to have forgotten the very
name of liberty. Lorenzo participated in all these diversions, and
even exerted himself to invent new ones. Among these were the _Canti
Carnascialeschi_, first written by him and sung by the young nobility
and gentry of Florence in the masquerades of the Carnival. Nothing
perhaps can better depict the corruption of the period than these
songs. At this day not only educated young men, but the lowest of the
populace, would hold them in scorn, and their repetition in public
would be an offence against decency swiftly to be suppressed by the
police. And yet such were the occupations of predilection of a prince
praised by all, and considered as the model of a sovereign, a prodigy
of courtesy, a political and literary genius. And there are those
who are to-day inclined to think of him as he was then looked upon,
to pardon him the blood cruelly spilled to maintain a power unjustly
acquired by him and his, the ruin of the republic, the violence by
which he forced from the community the sum necessary for his reckless
expenditure, the shameless libertinism to which he abandoned himself,
and even the rapid and infernal corruption of the people which he
studied to maintain with all his force and mental capacity.[122] And
all this must be pardoned him forsooth, because he was the protector of
literature and the fine arts!

Among all the Italian historians who have painted Florence at this
epoch, there is but little difference except in the variety and depth
of the colors used by them. Bruto writes, and what he says is neither
useless nor irrelevant reading if, as we progress in his description,
we bear in mind to what extent it may be applied to New York in the
year 1873 as well as to Florence in 1482. “The Florentines,” he says,
“seeking to live in idleness and ease, broke with the traditions of
their ancestors, and in immoderate and shameful license fell into the
way of the most disgraceful and detestable vices. Their fathers, by
dint of labor, fatigue, virtue, abstinence, and probity, had made the
country flourish. They, on the contrary, as if they had cast aside
all shame, seemed to have nothing to lose: they gave themselves up to
drinking, gambling, and the most ignoble pleasures. Lost in debauch,
they had shameless intrigues and daily orgies. They were stained with
all wickedness, all crime. General contempt of law and justice assured
them complete impunity. Courage consisted in audacity and temerity;
ease of manner, in a culpable complaisance; politeness, in gossip and


In consideration of his acquirements, Fra Hieronimo, was appointed
a teacher of the novices, and held the position for four years
(1482-1486). In 1483, owing either to a want of preachers or to the
high opinion formed of him from his success as a professor, he was
appointed to preach the course of Lenten sermons at the church of
S. Lawrence. Meantime, what he had learned of the Florentines from
personal observation had not tended to raise them in his estimation. He
had discovered that, in spite of their finished education and highly
cultivated intellects, their hearts were filled with scepticism, and
an ever-present sarcasm hovered on their lips. This want of faith and
of high principles caused him to shrink anew into himself, and his
disappointment was the greater as it contrasted so keenly with the
hopes he entertained on entering Florence. With these feelings he
for the first time ascended a Florentine pulpit. Hardly twenty-five
people came to hear him a second time. Twenty-five persons! They
could hardly be seen in the vast building. His voice was feeble, his
intonations false, his gestures awkward, his style heavy. His preaching
was a failure. But he was not discouraged, and was anxious to make
another attempt. His superiors, not caring to renew the experiment in
Florence, sent him to San Gemignano for two years. He made no attempt
to change his style. The Florentines had been accustomed to preachers
who carefully studied the elocutionary part of their sermons, many of
them seeking to form themselves upon some classical mould, and their
delivery was generally polished and graceful. Savonarola despised
these aids, and thundered in his rough, uncultivated way, against
scandals and want of faith, speaking with scorn of the modern poets
and philosophers, and despising their fanaticism for the classics.
The Bible he quoted profusely, and made it the foundation of all his
sermons. His success at San Gemignano was by no means a decided one,
nevertheless it was sufficient to give him confidence in himself, and
to confirm the course he had marked out for himself as a preacher.
Returning to his convent, he continued to fulfil his modest duties as
reader or professor until 1486, when by his superiors he was


where he remained four years. These four years are the most obscure of
his life. It is known, however, that during this period he preached
in various cities of that country, and especially at Brescia. Here
his power in the pulpit first fully revealed itself. He preached on
the Apocalypse. With fervid words, imperious accents, and impressive
voice, he reproached the people with their sins, and threatened them
with the anger of God. Making startling application of the prophecies
to Brescia itself, they should see, he told them, their city a prey
to furious enemies, who would make their streets run rivers of blood.
Crime and cruelty would visit them in their worst shape, and everything
would be delivered up to terror, fire, and destruction. His menaces
appalled them, and his voice appeared to come from another world. These
prophecies were recalled when, a few years later, in 1512, Brescia
was taken by assault by the French troops under Gaston de Foix, and
the city sacked and devastated with the most dreadful barbarity. Six
thousand of its inhabitants were killed.

Savonarola is next heard of at Reggio, in 1486, where a chapter of
Dominicans was convened for the discussion of certain questions of
theology and discipline. A number of learned laymen were also present,
attracted by the prospect of theological discussion. Among these was
the celebrated Pico di Mirandola, then only twenty-three, but already
famous as a prodigy of intelligence and learning. He was struck by the
appearance of Savonarola before the monk had said a word, and had noted
his pallid countenance, and sunken eyes, and forehead ploughed with
furrows of thought. In the theological debate, Savonarola took no part,
but when the question of discipline came up he spoke and thundered.
What he said left upon Mirandola the impression that he beheld an
extraordinary man, and on his arrival at Florence some time afterward,
he besought Lorenzo de’ Medici to have Savonarola recalled to
Florence.[123] After preaching at Bologna and Pavia, and delivering a
course of Lenten sermons at Genoa, he was, at the instance of Lorenzo,
recalled by his superiors to Florence, in 1490. Thus it was that the
bitterest enemy of the Medici, the subverter of their power, was by
one of themselves invited to return. Notwithstanding his discernment
Lorenzo little knew what sad disasters he was preparing for his house,
or what a flame he was kindling in the convent which his ancestors
had built. In order to give an example of the Christian simplicity he
preached, Fra Hieronimo made the journey home on foot, and, owing to
physical weakness, accomplished only with difficulty his


In his convent he quietly resumed his functions of reader. There
was no question of his preaching, for he had not forgotten the icy
indifference of the Florentines. Devoting himself sedulously to the
instruction of his novices, they became the objects of his tender care
and of his fondest wishes. Meantime his powers had increased and his
fame had spread. It was echoed from Northern Italy, and confirmed by
Mirandola. Gradually the professed brothers of the convent joined
the novices in listening to Savonarola’s lectures, and scholars and
learned men of the city demanded permission to be admitted to them.
Among those was his adviser Pico. The study-room in which he gave his
lectures was no longer sufficient to hold the crowd. The garden of the
convent was then taken possession of, and there, under the shade of a
bush of damask roses, carefully renewed to this day by the brothers
of the convent with religious veneration, he continued his lessons.
His subject was the exposition of the Apocalypse. The crowd of his
hearers still increased, and it was proposed to the Prior of S. Mark
that Fra Hieronimo should continue his lectures in the church. This
was accorded, and on Sunday, August 1, 1490, crowds flocked to hear
the preacher, who, formerly so much despised in Florence, had gained
such a reputation in other parts of Italy. From an account of it left
by himself, he that day preached a terrible sermon. He continued
his explanation of the Apocalypse. The walls rang with his terrible
conclusions, he succeeded in communicating to the excited multitude the
impetuosity of his own feelings, his voice seemed to them superhuman.
The success of that day was complete. Nothing else was talked of in all
Florence, and the literati for a short time forgot Plato to discuss the
merits of the new Christian preacher. Here is his own account of the

 “On the first day of August of this year, 1490, I began publicly to
 expound the Apocalypse in our church of S. Mark. During the course
 of the year, I continued to develop to the Florentines these three
 propositions 1. ‘That the church would be renewed in our time.’ 2.
 ‘Before that renovation, God would strike all Italy with a fearful
 chastisement.’ 3. ‘That these things would happen shortly.’ I labored
 to demonstrate these three points to my hearers, and to persuade them
 by probable arguments, by allegories drawn from sacred Scripture,
 by other similitudes and parables drawn from what was going on in
 the church. I insisted on reasons of this kind; and I dissembled the
 knowledge which God gave me of those things in other ways, because
 men’s spirits appeared to me not yet in a state fit to comprehend such

The reader will not fail to notice the portentous intimation conveyed
in the last sentence of this remarkable record. Savonarola already
believed himself the recipient of supernatural communications “the
knowledge which God gave me of these things in other ways.” We shall
find him presently boldly announcing his celestial visions and commands
from heaven, and here may be discerned clearly and at once the point at
which his noble mind and pure spirit, disturbed by the excitement of
years of mental tension and meditation on Apocalyptic visions, lost its
clearness and its balance, and fell into the gravest errors of judgment
and doctrine.