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Title: Eclectic Magazine of Foreign Literature, Science, and Art - Vol. XLI., No. 6. June, 1885.
Author: Various
Language: English
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                           Eclectic Magazine



     New Series.    }                        { Old Series complete
  Vol. XLI., No. 6. }      JUNE, 1885.       { in 63 vols.



It is easier to write about the Russian advance at the present day than
it was a few years back. The ground has been cleared of much of the
rubbish which formerly encumbered it. Not long ago the apologists of
Russia were wont to compare the progress of her arms in Central Asia
with the progress of our own in India. We were warned of a certain law
of nature which impelled civilisation to advance on barbarism, and
were asked to hail with sympathy, rather than view with suspicion, the
extension of a Power which, as it swept on in its resistless course,
diffused the blessings of order, of knowledge, and of commerce over a
vast region hitherto sunk in a savagery of the worst description. But
public opinion is now somewhat changed. No one questions that Russia is
entitled to great credit for the civilising influence that has attended
her progress, for the large benefits she has conferred upon humanity in
her career of conquest through Central Asia. By crushing the Turcoman
raiders, indeed, and by abolishing the slave markets of Khiva and
Bokhara, she has restored peace and prosperity to districts which
were groaning in misery, and has earned the gratitude of thousands of
terror-stricken families. Whatever may happen in the future, she has
gained imperishable glory in the past by her victories of peace along
the desolated frontier of Khorassan; but here the register of her good
deeds must end. To suppose that she launched her forces across the
Caspian in 1869 and engaged in Central Asian warfare with a view to
these beneficent results, is to ignore the whole spirit and character
of her policy. Fortunately there is now no room for misconception. Her
soldiers and statesmen have recently laid bare her springs of action
with a plainness that is almost cynical, but at the same time with
a fulness of detail that must carry conviction to all unprejudiced
minds. It was during the Crimean war, we are told, that Russia first
realised her false position in regard to England. In her schemes of
aggrandisement in Europe she was liable to be met and thwarted at every
turn by British alliances and British influence; and when engaged in
war she was open to our attack in every quarter, in the Black Sea,
the Sea of Azof, the Baltic, or the coast of Georgia, without any
possibility of retaliation. If she was to develop in due course, as
had so often been predicted, into the leading Power of the world, it
was thus absolutely necessary that the inequality complained of should
be redressed. Some weak point in our armor must be discovered. Some
means must be found to shatter the palladium of our insular security.
Hence there arose the idea of creating a great Oriental satrapy, under
Russian administration, which should envelop the north-west frontier of
our Indian Empire, and from which, as occasion might arise, pressure
could be exerted, or, if necessary, armed demonstrations might issue,
which would neutralise British opposition in Europe, and would place
our policy on the Bosphorus or elsewhere in subordination to her
own. In former times, as is well known, elaborate schemes have been
discussed at St. Petersburg for the actual invasion of India, and, if
we may judge from the utterances of the Moscow press and the fervid
letters of certain Russian generals, the same exalted ideas still
prevail in many military circles; but assuredly no such extravagance
has been apparent in the careful plan of trans-Caspian operations
hitherto adopted by the Russian Government, which has, on the contrary,
been of the soberest and most practical character.

The end in view has been simply to arrive by gradual accretion of
territory at the frontier of India. In pursuance of this object Russia
has incurred expense without any immediate prospect of return, to
an extent which has filled economists with dismay; fifty millions
sterling, at least, having been expended by her in Central Asia during
the last twenty-five years. Native rights at the same time have been
mercilessly trampled on, and, above all, diplomacy has pushed its
privilege of deception far beyond the bounds hitherto recognised as
legitimate; but success, which condones all such irregularities, has
rewarded her efforts, and the crisis has now arrived, almost sooner
than was expected.

A brief summary of the salient points which have marked the persistent
advance of Russia in Central Asia seems to be all that is required
at present. For the first ten years following on the Crimean war
her generals, having crossed the Kirghiz steppes from Orenburg,
were gradually feeling their way along the valley of the Jaxartes.
Creeping up the river, and taking fort after fort and city after
city, they everywhere defeated the rabble soldiery of the Uzbegs,
and finally, in 1867, planted the Russian flag on the famous citadel
of Samarcand, adjoining the mausoleum of Timúr. Here, according to
prearranged design, the progress of the Russian arms was arrested,
pending the approach of co-operating columns from the Caspian; but,
in the meantime, the neighboring Khanate of Bokhara, hitherto the
most important of the Central Asian States, was brought completely
under control, and the influence of Russia was fully and firmly
established on the Oxus. To the westward a still more important series
of operations was now commenced. In 1869 the first Russian detachments
crossed the Caspian, and boldly invaded the country of the Turcomans.
Had such an expedition been carried out in Europe, it would have
been stigmatised as piracy, for there was absolutely no provocation
on the part of the tribesmen, nor even was the formality observed of
declaring war. Coercive measures, without further warning and with
varying success, were directed against the tribes of the neighborhood.
Gradually the sphere of action was extended. Khiva was reduced in 1873,
and then the Tekkehs, the principal tribe of the Turcoman confederacy,
who inhabited the steppe from Kizil-Arvat to Merv, were seriously
attacked. The western division of this tribe, called the Akhals, made
a stout resistance, on one occasion in 1879 beating off the regular
troops led by Lomakin, and seriously imperilling the whole Russian
position. Ultimately, however, in 1880, the renowned Scoboleff, greatly
assisted by the Persian chiefs of Kuchán and Bujnoord, who furnished
carriage and supplies from the adjacent frontier of Khorassan,
penetrated to the heart of the Akhal country and took their stronghold,
Geok Tepeh, by storm. All active opposition then collapsed, and in
due course conciliation, combined with intimidation, being skilfully
employed against the Eastern Tekkehs, who were demoralised by the
subjugation of their brethren in Akhal, and who applied for support
in vain both to Persia and to Cabul, Merv—“the Queen of the East,” as
she has been called—surrendered to Russia in February, 1884, and the
first act of the great Central Asia drama, after twenty-five years of
sustained and energetic action, was brought to a successful close. It
is needless to say that during this long and desperate struggle to
reach and occupy Merv there were many phases which tended to distract
public attention from the main object in view. To many persons who
followed the Russian proceedings with an observant and even friendly
eye—for the atrocities committed by the Turcomans had excited general
indignation against them—the explanation which most commended itself
was, that as Russia had already established an important government in
Turkestan very imperfectly supplied with the means of communication
with the Wolga, she found it indispensable to supplement the northern
line with a more direct and assured route to the west, which route
should traverse the Turcoman steppe _viâ_ Merv and Askabad, and should
thus connect Tashkend and Samarcand with the Caspian. And it is quite
possible that consideration of this nature—which from a strategical
point of view were perfectly sound and proper—may have had some weight
in determining the course of events, combined, as they naturally were,
with a full appreciation of the advantages in respect to prestige and
military power which must accrue from the creation of a new empire in
Central Asia; but I must adhere to my view that neither strategy, nor
lust of conquest, nor military glory, nor any of the thousand and one
motives which in matters of peace and war ordinarily actuate nations,
was the governing principle in directing the Russian advance into
Central Asia. That principle was, I believe, an intense desire to reach
the threshold of India, not for the purpose of direct or immediate
attack, but with a view to political pressure on Great Britain,
with which Power she would thus, for the first time, be brought in
territorial contact.

With this conviction strong on my mind, and with a lively sense of
the inconvenience to India of Russian contiguity, is it surprising
that I should feel constrained to put the following questions? Ought
we to have remained passive while the meshes were thus being woven
round us? Ought we not rather to have impeded by all the means at
our command the passage of the Russian columns from the Caspian to
Merv? There were many such means available. We might have persuaded
Persia, whose jealousy was already excited by the movement of the
Russian columns along her frontier, to interdict that supply of grain
and transport animals from Khorassan which was indispensable to a
successful advance. We might have furnished the Tekkehs of Akhal with
arms and money to resist the invaders. We might have warned the Russian
Government in plain but forcible language that her occupation of Merv
would infallibly lead to war. It is impossible, indeed, to acquit
ourselves of shortcoming in this respect. It is impossible to avoid the
conviction that, by a want of firmness in action as in language, the
crisis which now threatens us has been unduly accelerated. I have no
wish to reopen old sores, or to revive the acrimonious strife of 1881,
when the questions of the evacuation of Candahar and the abandonment
of the Quetta railway were debated with the keenness of political
disagreement, embittered by the virulence of party feeling; nor,
indeed, although strongly advocating at the time the retention of the
Western Afghan capital, and believing as I still do that Russia was
mainly encouraged to advance on Merv by our retirement from Candahar,
am I at all insensible to the solid advantages which resulted from
the adoption by the Government of the day of an opposite course of
action. I freely admit three distinct sources of gain. Firstly, the
considerable expense of maintaining an independent government in
Candahar for the last four years has been saved to the public treasury;
secondly, we have avoided local friction with the Dúrání population,
which might have seriously hampered us under present circumstances;
and, thirdly, we have succeeded during the interval in maintaining
friendly relations with the Amir of Cabul, a result which, according
to the best authorities—I refer especially to Sir Lepel Griffin’s
statement on this head—would have been impossible had he been subjected
to the constant sense of humiliation, as well as to the pecuniary
loss, occasioned by the dismemberment of his kingdom and the continued
presence of a British garrison at Candahar. Yet, admitting the value
of such results, I cannot but think them a poor compensation for the
cramped position, both military and political, in which we now find
ourselves. At any rate, if we were at present established in strength
at Candahar as we were in 1881, with the railway completed to that
town from Sibi, and with a small detachment occupying Girishk on
the Helmend, the improvement in our military position would be at
least equivalent to an additional force of 20,000 men in line should
hostilities really supervene with Russia, whilst the relations we
should have been able to establish during the interval with the Hazáreh
and Parsiwán section of the population—relations which must in the
future constitute our chief element of strength in the country—would
have rendered us almost indifferent to the jealousy and opposition of
the Afghans.

Having thus disposed of all preliminary matter, I now take up the
frontier question, from which arises our present acute misunderstanding
with Russia. Oriental states have notoriously elastic and fluctuating
frontiers, and Afghanistan is no exception to the general rule. At
different periods, indeed, since the institution of the kingdom of
Cabul by Ahmed Shah in 1747, the Afghan power has extended on one side
to Cashmire, on another to Deregez in Khorassan, while to the south it
has stretched into Beluchistan and even to the frontiers of Sinde. More
frequently of late years it has been circumscribed within much narrower
dimensions, and has moreover been disintegrated and broken up into
three distinct chiefships. The normal condition of the kingdom may be
considered to be such as it presented on Shir Ali Khan’s accession to
power in 1868, Herat and Candahar being united to Cabul, and the seat
of government being established at the eastern capital. It was shortly
after this, in 1872, that, on the invitation of Russia, who had already
brought Bokhara under her influence, and was exercising a tutelary
direction of her affairs, we undertook, in the interests of Shir Ali
Khan, to specify the northern districts over which we considered that
he was entitled to claim jurisdiction, the object being thus to define
a frontier between the Afghans and Uzbegs, which should obviate in the
future all risk of collision or misunderstanding. As Russia at that
time had no relations whatever with the Turcomans of Merv, it is not
very obvious why it should have been thought necessary to protract
the Afghan frontier beyond the Bokhara limit to the west of the Oxus.
Perhaps the object especially was to protect the Afghan-Uzbeg states of
Andekhúd and Mymeneh, which in the time of Dost Mohammed Khan had been
subject to Bokhara. Perhaps Russia already contemplated the absorption
of Merv, and foresaw that all territory outside of the Afghan boundary
would naturally fall into her own hands. At any rate, the memorandum
of 1872, better known as the Granville-Gortchakoff arrangement, after
defining the Bokhara frontier as far as Khjoa Saleh on the Oxus, went
on to name, as districts to be included in Shir Ali’s dominions,
“Akcheh, Sir-i-Púl, Mymeneh, Shilbergán, and Andekhúd, the latter
of which would be the extreme Afghan possession to the north-west,
the desert beyond belonging to independent tribes of Turcomans;” and
further: “The Western Afghan frontier between the dependencies of
Herat and those of the Persian province of Khorassan is well known
and need not be defined.” Now, however much it may be regretted that
this memorandum, which was evidently drawn up as a mere basis for
negotiation, and not as a formal declaration of territorial rights, was
not more explicit in defining the trace of the line, and especially in
marking the points at which it would cross the Murgháb and abut on the
Heri-rúd, it did at any rate establish two main points of geographical
interest. In the first place, it clearly distinguished between the
independent Turcoman desert to the north and the Afghan hilly country
to the south; and in the second place it naturally, and as a matter of
course, assigned to Afghanistan the “dependencies of Herat” to the west
of the Murgháb, which dependencies again were divided, it was said,
from Persian territory by the “well-known” boundary of the Heri-rúd.

The terms of this agreement were in February 1873 formally accepted by
Russia; and, faulty and irregular as the document is from a diplomatic
point of view, it has quieted all frontier agitation between the Oxus
and Heri-rúd for the last ten years, and would have served the same
purpose for another ten years in advance but for the unfortunate
intrusion of Russia into the controversy as a sequel to her conquest of

Russia first reintroduced a discussion on the frontier early in 1882,
suggesting, in the interests of peace and order, that the arrangement
of 1872-3 should, in respect to the western portion of the line, be
complemented by some formal demarcation, determined by actual survey of
the country; but as the Tekkehs were then independent, and there seemed
to be no advantage in encouraging Russia to absorb their territory
up to the line of demarcation, the proposal for a joint commission
of delimitation was received by us at the time with some coldness.
Two years later, in February 1884, affairs having much advanced in
the interim, negotiations were resumed, and in due course (July 1884)
commission _ad hoc_ was appointed, General Lumsden being nominated
by the British Government, and General Zelenoi by the Russian, with
instructions to meet at Serakhs in the following October.

Now, it is quite evident that in the earlier stages of these frontier
discussions the Russian Foreign Office understood the provisions of the
1872-3 arrangement, which were held to govern the later negotiation,
in their natural and common-sense acceptation. The principle of a
distinction between plain and hill was fully recognised, and the phrase
“dependencies of Herat” was held necessarily to include the province
of Badgheis, a tract which extended from the Paropamisus range to
Serakhs, and which had been a dependency of Herat from the time of
the Arab conquest. The line on which the commissioners were to be
engaged is thus everywhere spoken of by M. de Giers and M. Zinovieff
in the preliminary negotiations as a direct line from Khoja Saleh to
Serakhs, or to the neighborhood of Serakhs, and there is no hint of
any deflection of the line to the south. After the annexation of Merv,
however, and especially after M. Lessar had perambulated Badgheis and
made a careful study of the valleys of the Kushk and Murgháb rivers,
larger views appear to have dawned upon the Russian authorities.
Geographical and ethnological conditions were then invented that had
never been thought of before. It was discovered that the Paropamisus
range was the true natural boundary of Herat to the north, that the
district of Badgheis, which lay beyond the range, had been absolved
from its allegiance to Herat by efflux of time, Afghan jurisdiction
having been suspended during the Turcoman raids which had desolated the
district for above fifty years; above all, it was asserted that the
Saryk Turcomans who dwelt at Penj-deh and in the valley of the Kushk,
well within the Afghan border, must be registered as Russian subjects,
because another detachment of the same tribe, who dwelt at Yolatan,
beyond the desert and near Merv, had proffered their allegiance to
the Czar. Questions of principle of such grave moment, it was further
stated, required to be settled by the two European Governments before
the commissioners could enter on their duties, and General Zelenoi was
accordingly, without further explanation or apology, sent to rusticate
at Teflis, regardless of the public convenience or of the respect due
to his colleague, who had been waiting for him for four months on the
Murgháb with an escort of 500 men and a large gathering of attendants
and camp-followers.

The abrupt and discourteous manner in which Russia gave effect to her
altered views, by withdrawing her commissioner, was not calculated to
improve the prospect of an amicable settlement. Other graver matters,
too, soon supervened. Before General Lumsden had arrived at the
Heri-rúd, Russia had pushed forward a patrol to Púl-i-Khatún, about
fifty miles south of Serakhs, thus occupying one of the points on which
the Commission would have had to adjudicate; and subsequently she
extended her advance still further into the “debateable” land, placing
a strong post at Ak Robát, in the very centre of Badgheis, so as to
cut off from the Afghans a famous salt lake which supplies the whole
country with salt as far as Meshed and Askabad, and was thus a valuable
source of revenue; and also taking possession of the pass and ruined
fort of Zulficár, fifty miles south of Púl-i-Khatún, where one of the
favorite tracks of the old Turcoman raiders crossed the Heri-rúd, and
where an Afghan picket was already stationed. This last aggression,
which was later sought to be justified by Russia on the ground of
retaliation for an unauthorised Afghan advance on the Murgháb, brought
the outposts of the two nations into immediate contact, and would
certainly at the time have caused a collision but for General Lumsden’s
urgent remonstrances. On the Murgháb, too, affairs were equally
critical. As long ago as 1883, before the appointment of a frontier
commission was ever thought of, the Amir of Cabul, alarmed by the
Russian proceedings at Merv, had established a strong military post
at Bala Murgháb, in the Jamshídí country,[1] and about fifty miles
short of the Saryk settlement at Penj-deh. This was a purely military
precaution, with no political significance, and could give offence to
no one. In March of the following year, however, the situation was a
good deal altered. Owing to a visit from M. Lessar, who came from Merv
for the express purpose of testing the fidelity of the Saryk Turcomans
to the Amir of Cabul, and who was generally regarded as the forerunner
of a Russian advance, so much alarm was created in the neighborhood
that application was made to the commandant at Bala Murgháb to send a
detachment of his troops to Penj-deh for the protection of the Saryk
tribesmen; and it was fortunate that this requisition was complied
with, for otherwise the chances are that the Afghans would have lost
the place, as the Russians were actually preparing to attack it.

 [1] Bala Murgháb, where Sir P. Lumsden and his party have passed the
 winter, is apparently built on the site of the old city of _Abshín_,
 which was the capital of the _Shárs_ of Gharshistan, a line of princes
 of great celebrity in Oriental history. The family was of Persian
 descent, and reigned in Gharshistan (the upper valley of the Murgháb)
 for nearly two centuries during the Samanide and Ghaznevide dynasties,
 the Shar Abu Nasar, who was defeated by Mahomud and died in captivity
 at Ghazni in A.H. 406, being one of the most learned men of his time.

The importance of this incident of the Afghan occupation of Penj-deh
has been a good deal exaggerated by Russian partisans, who claim
that the “debateable” land reserved for the adjudication of the
commissioners was thus first invaded by the Afghans; but in reality, as
will be presently explained in detail, no question had ever been raised
in the country as to Penj-deh being outside the jurisdiction of Herat,
previous to M. Lessar’s visit in March 1884, and the Cabul commander
at Bala Murgháb, in ignorance of the appointment of a commission in
Europe to consider any such question, naturally and properly supposed
that he was merely carrying out an arrangement of internal police
in strengthening his northern outpost. As it afterwards turned out,
however, Russia attached the greatest importance to this obscure
position of Penj-deh. Colonel Alikhanoff, indeed, always preferring
action to negotiation, made an attempt to seize it with a detachment
from Merv a few months after its occupation by the Afghans, and only
desisted when he found that he must fight for its possession. There
have been since repeated demonstrations of attack from the northward,
and at the present moment it is the point where a collision between
Russians and Afghans is most to be apprehended, the Saryks of Yolatan
under Russian orders holding Púl-i-Khishti on the Kushk river, while
the Saryks of Penj-deh under Afghan orders hold the neighboring
position of Ak Tepeh, within half a mile’s distance, at the junction
of the Kushk and Murgháb, and peace being only kept between the
rival parties by the presence of our assistant commissioner, Colonel
Ridgeway, who has been directed by Sir P. Lumsden to watch the frontier
with an escort of fifty lancers, as long as he can with safety remain.

It must now be noted, that while local proceedings of this grave
character have been taking place on the Murgháb, diplomacy in Europe
has not been idle. When Russia decided not to send her commissioner to
the frontier pending our acceptance of the new principles which were
to govern the negotiation, she proposed for our consideration a zone
of arbitration within the limits of which the boundary line was to
be drawn. Negotiations on this subject are still proceeding, but no
definite arrangement has been yet arrived at.

It must be patent to all the world that if Russia were pursuing
a really honest policy, and were not striving to make a bargain
especially favorable to her own interests, she would leave the
delimitation commission to decide, according to evidence obtained on
the spot, what was meant in the arrangement of 1872-3 by drawing a
distinction between the Afghan hilly district and the Turcoman desert,
as well as what extent of territory ought to be fairly included within
“the dependencies of Herat.” On these points, which constitute the real
difficulties of the situation, I now propose to make a few general
remarks, repeating the arguments in favor of the Afghan claims which I
have already submitted to the public in another place.[2]

 [2] See _Pall Mall Gazette_, March 2, 1885.

Firstly, then, in regard to what is meant by the dependencies of
Herat, the district between the Murgháb and Heri-rúd is known by the
name of Badgheis, not, as has been fancifully suggested, from any
traditional connection with the mythical Bacchus, but rather, as is
stated in the _Bundehesh_, that curious repository of ancient Aryan
legends from the tribe of Vad-keshan, who were probably a subdivision
of the Hiyátheleh or Ephthalities, and who, according to Beladheri,
were first established in the district, in direct dependency on Herat,
by the Sassanian king Firoz in the fifth century A.D. Badgheis, from
its rich and abundant pasturage and its sylvan character, soon became
the favorite appanage of Herat, and the two names have been bracketed
in all history and geography ever since, the Lord of the Eastern
Marches being called, under the Sassanians, the Marzabán of Herat and
Badgheis, and the district in question having followed the fate of
the capital in all subsequent revolutions. The geographers, Istakhrí,
Ibn Haucal, Mokadassi, Edrisi, and their followers to the time of the
Mongol conquest, all describe Badgheis as the most valuable portion
of the Herat territory. Although indifferently supplied with running
streams, and being thus deficient in irrigated lands, particularly in
the northern part of the district, it was on the whole well peopled,
wells and _kahrízes_ (or underground aqueducts) supplying the wants
of the inhabitants. Again, in the southern and eastern portions of
Badgheis, including the northern slopes of the Paropamisus range and
the valley of the Kushk river, the natural beauties of the district
became proverbial. The author of the _Heft Aklím_ describes this part
of Badgheis as a flower-garden of delights, and adds that it contains
a thousand valleys full of trees and streams, each of which would
abundantly supply an army not only with encamping ground but with
grass and water, and fuel and fodder, and all the necessaries of life.
He also alludes to the strong hill forts in the Kaitú range, Naraitú
and others, of which our officers have lately seen the remains, and
thus illustrates the famous passage in the _Bundehesh_ which records
that “Afrasiáb of Tur (the eponym of the Hiyátheleh) used Bakesir
of Badgheis (_Baghshúrde_ of the Arabs; now called Kileh Maúr) as a
stronghold and made his residence within it, and a myriad towns and
villages were erected on its pleasant and prosperous territory,” The
geographers enumerate some ten or twelve considerable towns, which
continued to flourish till the time of the Suffaveans, the capital
being Dehistán (probably modern Gulran or Gurlan), which must have been
founded by the Dahæ when they accompanied the kindred tribe of Tokhari
or Hiyátheleh in their original immigration.

The boundaries of Badgheis seem to have fluctuated according to the
power of the neighboring states, and it is not always easy to verify
the notices of the geographers, owing to the disappearance of the
old names. Still, it is important to note that Hafiz Abrú, who was a
minister of Herat under Shah Rúkh, states categorically that Badgheis
was bounded on the west by the Persian districts of Jam and Serakhs,
thus proving that, at any rate at that period, the district extended
northward up to the confines of the desert. To the east Badgheis was
frequently made to include Merv-er-Rúd (Ak Tepeh), Penj-deh, Baghshúr
(Kileh Maúr), Baún or Bavan (Kara Tepeh), and the entire valley of
the Kushk river, while to the south it was separated from the plain
of Herat, as at present, by a range of hills (now called Barkhút),
the prolongation of the great Paropamisus. Such being the concurrent
testimony of all writers as to the configuration of the country in
antiquity, and Badgheis being so intimately connected with Herat as is
the Campagna with Rome, it is difficult to understand on what grounds
it can now be excluded from Afghan territory as indicated in the
memorandum of 1872. The argument that neither Dost Mohammed Khan, nor
Shir Ali Khan, nor even Abdur Rahman Khan until quite lately, exercised
any effective jurisdiction in the district, or held it in military
subjection, is certainly of no value; for this condition of recent
possession, which at one time did really govern the distribution, was
specially excluded from consideration in determining claims to Afghan
nationality by Prince Gortchakoff’s letter of the 19th of December,
1872; and it would be a monstrous aggravation of the original outrage
if the Turcomans, who had rendered Badgheis uninhabitable for fifty
years, were, in virtue of their forcible interruption of Afghan
government, to become themselves the legal owners of the country.

With regard again to the claims of Russia to inherit through the
Saryk Turcomans, a portion of whom have lately become her subjects,
the pretension is still more preposterous, since her outposts were
not within 500 miles of the disputed territory when in 1872 the
dependencies of Herat were adjudged to Afghanistan. It must be
acknowledged that Badgheis has for the last fifty years been swept and
harried by the Turcoman raiders till not a vestige of habitation has
been left in the district. The land, especially along the Heri-rúd,
is utterly desolate; but who will pretend that violence and outrage
of this exceptional character has obliterated the rights of Herat to
resume possession of the country on the re-establishment of order and
security? In real truth Herat has never abandoned her hold _de jure_
upon Badgheis. The towers along the southern hills, which Macgregor
remarked in 1875, were intended to protect the immediate plain of Herat
from the further incursions of the Tekkeh savages, who suddenly swept
down like a hurricane from the north whenever an opportunity offered,
not to serve as landmarks for the Afghan territorial border; they were
strictly works of internal defence, and as such have no analogy with
the line of border towers along the course of the Heri-rúd, which at
an earlier period had been erected by Kilich Khan, an officer of Shah
Zamán’s, with a view to resist invasion from Persia, and the ruins of
which are still to be seen in a scattered line, extending from Kohsán
to Garmáb in the vicinity of Púl-i-Khatún. Practically, and in so far
as the safety of Herat is concerned, it can make no great difference
if the Russian outposts are stationed at Púl-i-Khatún, or Zulficár,
or at Kohsán. Herat would be equally open to attack from any of these
points, and must rely for protection on its own means of defence; but
it must be remembered that this is not a mere strategical question:
on the contrary we are dealing with the rights and property of an
independent sovereign as the guardian of his interests, and have no
sort of authority to override the one or alienate the other on grounds
of geographical or political convenience. Badgheis is unquestionably
Afghan territory. Rescripts are still extant, addressed to the
inhabitants by the Suddozye kings of Cabul. In 1873 Shir Ali Khan
specifically named Badgheis, in his negotiations with Lord Northbrook,
as an Afghan district which was likely to be overrun by the Turcomans
if these tribes were expelled from Merv by the Russian arms. Again,
in the famous memorandum of 1872, I have a certain knowledge that
the phrase, “dependency of Herat,” was specially intended to cover
Badgheis, and finally the assessment of the district is actually borne
on the Herat register at the present day.

And now with regard to the other point at issue between Russia and
ourselves—the dependency of Penj-deh, which, being situated on
the Murgháb, just before the river issues from the hills, should
belong geographically to Afghanistan, and which, moreover, is at
least forty miles south of a direct line drawn from Serakhs to Khoja
Seleh on the Oxus—a brief summary of its history would seem to be
required. In antiquity Penj-deh was a mere suburb of the great city
of Merver-Rúd, now marked by the ruins of Ak-tepeh. Formed, according
to the geographer Yacút, of five separate villages (whence the name)
on the river Murgháb, which had been gradually consolidated into
a single township under Malik Shah, it was at the time of Yacút’s
visit, in A.H. 617, one of the most flourishing places in Khorassan.
Shortly afterwards it was ruined by the Mongols, and a second time it
was devastated by Timour, but under his successors, and especially
during the reigns of Shah Rúkh and Sultan Hussein Mirza, it again
rose to a state of great prosperity, and ever since, except during
some brief intervals of foreign dominion, it has remained in close
dependency on Herat. When Ahmed Shah Abdalli, on the death of Nadir in
1747, established the kingdom of Cabul, the Kushk and Murgháb valleys
were held by Eymák tribes, Hazárehs, Fírozkohís, and Jamshídís, who
cultivated the lower lands along the rivers and pastured their flocks
over the downs of Badgheis, unmixed with either Afghans or Turcomans,
but paying revenue to Herat in common with all the other tribes who
inhabited the ranges of the Paropamisus.

The earliest Turcoman intruders into the valley were Ersári, from the
Oxus. These nomads first appeared in about 1825, and were shortly
followed by Salors from Yolatan, and somewhat later by detached parties
of Saryks from Merv, all the new visitors, however, acknowledging
the jurisdiction of the local Jamshídí or Hazáreh chief, and paying
their dues to the Afghan ruler of Herat. In 1858 a further dislocation
occurred; the Ersáris, who never liked the Murgháb, returned to the
Oxus, while the Salors and Saryks, retreating before the Tekkehs of
Merv, took their places at Penj-deh. Later still the Salors crossed
over to the Heri-rúd, leaving the Saryks alone in possession of
the lands on the Murgháb and Kushk, where they remain in the same
condition of squatters on Afghan lands to the present day. During all
this long period, that is from the first appearance of the Ersáris at
Penj-deh, an annual tax has been levied on the Turcoman cultivators
and shepherds, either by the local Eymák chiefs—lords of the soil, and
themselves accountable to Herat—or by an officer specially deputed for
the purpose by the Afghan Governor of Herat. The names of the _naibs_,
or deputy governors, who have thus acted in command of the district
are all well known, and in many cases the individuals are still living
to attest their employment at Penj-deh under the Afghans. In fact,
no question was ever raised as to the Afghan right to Penj-deh, or
as to the political condition of the Saryks, until after the Russian
occupation of Merv. The Saryks were Turcoman tribesmen renting Afghan
lands, and during their tenancy accounted as Afghan subjects, precisely
as other divisions of the great Turcoman community who were settled
temporarily in Persia, in Khiva, and in Bokhara, during their sojourn
paid tribute to, and acknowledged the jurisdiction of, those States. If
the Saryks of their own free will desired to quit their Afghan lands at
Penj-deh and in Badgheis and migrate to their former pastures, which
have passed under the rule of Russia, the Afghans could not properly
interfere to prevent them; nor, indeed, with a view to avoiding
friction on the frontier, is it at all clear that an arrangement of
this nature might not be to the advantage of the Herat Government.
But it was wholly indefensible that Russia, on the broad principle of
ethnographical unity, should, as she recently did, demand as a right
the registration of the Saryks as Russian subjects, and should require
the transfer of the lands which they occupied to Russian jurisdiction.
A frontier, too, is now boldly claimed, assigning to Russia Penj-deh,
with all the adjacent lands on the Murgháb and Kuskh, and troops are
moved up the river from Merv to support the claim, at the imminent risk
of provoking collision and thus initiating war.

It remains now to consider the prospect before us in regard to this
momentous alternative of peace or war. To those who, like myself,
have watched the cautious and consistent proceedings of Russia in
Central Asia since the close of the Crimean war, with a growing
presentiment of evil, but still not without a certain admiration
of such determined policy and a warm approval in many cases of the
results, the immediate future presents no special features of mystery
or alarm. The occupation of Merv and the incorporation in the Russian
Empire of the vast hordes who roam the steppes from the Caspian to the
Oxus was but the crowning act of a long series of costly but tentative
enterprises, all leading up to the same much-desired consummation. The
threshold of India was reached. Russian Turcomania was now conterminous
with British Afghanistan, and it only remained to give effect to
the situation in the manner most conducive to Russian interests. It
must be understood, then, that in all the recent discussions between
London and St. Petersburg regarding lines of frontier, work of the
Commission, relations with the tribes, &c., Russia, in prosecution of
those interests, has been guided by three distinct considerations, all
aiming at the strengthening of her position in view to future pressure
upon England. Firstly, she requires the best strategical base available
for immediate demonstration against Herat. As far as actual attack is
concerned, her power would be as formidable if launched from Serakhs or
Merv as if she had already advanced half-way to Herat and were encamped
at Zulficár and Chemen-i-bíd; but in respect to a passive but continued
pressure, no doubt her best position would be on the northern skirts
of the hills which divide Badgheis from Herat, and in full command of
the upper valley of the Kushk. Hence her desire to possess a boundary
line from Zulficár on the Heri-rúd by Chemen-i-bíd to Meruchek on the
Murgháb, and hence the persistency with which she clings to this line,
even at the risk of actual conflict. Secondly, she requires the full
command of the Murgháb and Kushk valleys, not only because the most
direct, and by far the most commodious, road to Herat from her northern
base, the Caspian and Askabad, leads by Merv and Penj-deh, but also
because Penj-deh dominates the communication between Herat and Afghan
Turkestan, and would be thus of the greatest strategical importance
in the event of war between Russia and Cabul. Hence the insistence
with which she clings to Penj-deh and the boldness she has shown in
enveloping the place with her troops, hoping, as it would seem, to
redeem Alikhanoff’s former failure to obtain peaceful possession by
now provoking a disturbance between the Saryks and Afghans which shall
justify her own forcible interposition. And, thirdly, in regard to the
Saryks of Penj-deh, it should be clearly understood that it is not the
tribesmen that Russia principally cares about, but the lands which they
occupy. She is tempting them, no doubt, to declare in her favor by
every means in her power, and she ostentatiously displays before them
the bait that she has now occupied Badgheis as far as Ak Robát, and
thus commands the Salt Lake and the pastures which they have hitherto
enjoyed as Afghan tenants; but if the Afghans were to resume occupation
of Badgheis, and the Saryks were to offer, nevertheless, to migrate
to Merv or the Tejend, it is doubtful whether she would receive them.
The whole controversy, indeed, may be regarded as a sham, or at best
a means to an end, the possession of Penj-deh being the real object
aimed at, on account of its affording such a convenient basis for
threatening, or even for attacking, Herat.

The measures which Russia has taken to carry out the above objects are
of a very grave significance. Although it is known that we have already
recognised the validity of the Afghan claim to Badgheis and Penj-deh,
and are, moreover, pledged to support by our arms the Amir of Cabul,
Abdur Rahman Khan, in the event of an unprovoked aggression on his
territory by a foreign enemy, she has, on the mere ground apparently
that she contests his claim to these districts, advanced her troops
as far as Zulficár, Ak Robát, and Púl-i-Khishti. She has, in fact,
as matters stand at present, superseded the work of the commission.
She has arbitrarily drawn up a line of frontier deciding all the
moot points of jurisdiction in her own favor; and by her military
dispositions she has given evidence that she intends to uphold this
territorial distribution by force of arms. We have in the meantime
done all that was possible with honor to avert hostilities. We have
refused to abandon the hope of a settlement of the frontier dispute
through the agency of the delimitation commission, and we have in
various ways stretched conciliation to the utmost, merely requiring
that no further advance shall be made into the debateable land by the
pickets or patrols on either side, pending negotiation. Although no
formal arrangement to this effect has been agreed to, orders have been
issued to the Russian commanders on the spot, and a sort of truce of
a very temporary character has been thus established; but what is to
be the outcome of this strained position of affairs? The truce cannot
be prolonged indefinitely, and in the meantime any chance collision
between Cossack and Afghan patrols may set the whole country in a
blaze, for considerable reinforcements are said to be marching on
Penj-deh both from Merv and from Herat, and there is much exasperation
of feeling upon either side.

It is, of course, well understood that neither Russia nor England is
desirous of entering on a war at the present time, and if the quarrel
were really what it is ostensibly, it might be safely assumed that
a recourse to arms would be impossible. To suppose, indeed, that
two mighty nations like Russia and England would enter on a serious
conflict, which would cost millions of money and entail the sacrifice
of thousands of lives, upon a paltry squabble regarding a few hundred
square miles of barren desert or a few hundreds of savage Turcomans,
would be a simple absurdity. But the fact is that there are far graver
interests in the background. Russia, in pursuance of her original
design of demonstration against India, will certainly strain every
nerve and encounter very serious risks in order to obtain a frontier
suitable to her purpose. She desires to secure a strong and permanent
position at the foot of the Barkhút hills, not perhaps with a view to
undertaking the siege of Herat, for if such were her object the route
up the Kushk valley would offer a more convenient mode of approach,
but especially in order to increase her prestige among the Turcomans
and Persians, and, if possible, to overawe the Afghans, while at the
same time she would exert a severe and continuous pressure upon India.
This pressure undoubtedly would be very inconvenient to us, entailing,
as it would, the necessity of a constant preparedness for war, and we
should be fully justified in seeking to protect ourselves against it
by every means at our command. Already, for defensive purposes, we
have created a strong and friendly government in Afghanistan, and we
have undertaken to give it our cordial support. If, therefore, Russia
continues to maintain the positions which she has usurped far within
the Afghan limits, and thus permanently violates the integrity of the
country, resisting all negotiation, and even thwarting our efforts
through the commission to effect a compromise, there would seem to
be no alternative but a resort to arms. The Afghans are quite aware
of this, and are prepared to bear the brunt of the attack. The Amir,
with very brief preparation, could probably put 100,000 men into the
field, and supported with an auxiliary British army, which India, it
may be confidently assumed, is ready to supply, would prove at least
as formidable an antagonist as Omar Pasha or Shamil. Fortunately there
is already a small British force under Sir P. Lumsden in the immediate
vicinity of Herat, which in conjunction with the garrison of the city
would be sufficient, it is thought, to protect the place from a Russian
_coup de main_, pending the arrival of British reinforcements; and
it must be borne in mind that if once the die were cast and Russian
supremacy were fairly challenged by us in Central Asia, we might be
joined by unexpected allies. The Turcomans and Uzbegs, though cowed
at present, are not subdued. Persia is incensed at her spoliation by
Russia of the slopes of the Attock and the canals and rice-grounds of
old Serakhs, besides being much alarmed at the gradual envelopment by
Russian arms of her rich and warlike province of Khorassan; and even
Turkey would not be indisposed to strike another blow on behalf of her
ravished provinces, if there were the faintest prospect of success. To
the possibility of European complications I need not allude, but it is
hardly to be doubted that in any general _débâcle_ the balance would be
against Russia and in favor of England.

But it is just possible that at the eleventh hour Russia may listen
to the voice of reason and moderation, and may by timely concession
render the resumption of the work of the commission possible. In that
case war, immediate war, might be avoided. It must not, however, for
a moment be imagined that, unless forced by severe military disaster,
Russia would really abandon the great object of threatening India,
in pursuit of which she has already sacrificed so much treasure and
spilt so much of the best blood of her army. All that we should gain
would be a respite. With her attention riveted on Herat, which would
henceforward become the centrepiece of the Asiatic political tableau,
Russia might be content to withdraw from her present aggressive
attitude, and bide her time at Merv and Serakhs. Our own proceedings
must in any case mainly depend on the issue of the interview which
is about to take place between the Viceroy of India and the Amir
of Cabul. If, as there is every reason to anticipate, a complete
understanding should be arrived at between the two authorities, the
further demonstration against India would be met and checked. The
defences of Herat, under British superintendence, would rapidly
assume the dimensions and completeness befitting the importance of
the position as the frontier fortress of Afghanistan and the “key of
India;” and an auxiliary British garrison might even, if the Amir
required its co-operation, be furnished from India, so as to enable
him to show a bold front to his enemies, or, in case of need, to beat
off attack from the north. Under such circumstances the situation
would very closely resemble that which I ventured to foreshadow in
1874—the only difference, indeed, being that whereas I then proposed,
much to the dismay of the peace party both in England and in India, to
lease Herat and Candahar of the Amir of Cabul, so as to enable Great
Britain to negotiate direct with the Russian Government, in the present
case the normal arrangement of territory would remain unchanged,
and England would merely appear in relation to Herat as the Amir’s
ally and representative. The passage will be found in _England and
Russia in the East_, second edition, 1875, p. 378, and is as follows:
“What this occupation [of Herat] might lead to, it is impossible to
say. Russia might recoil from contact with us, or we might mutually
retire to a convenient distance from each other, or in our respective
positions at Merv and Herat—Russia being able to draw on her European
resources through the Oxus and the Caspian, while a railway through
Candahar connected our advanced garrison with the Indus—we might lay
the foundation of that limitary relationship along the whole line of
frontier, which, although unsuited to the present state of affairs in
Central Asia, must inevitably be the ultimate condition of our joint
dominion in the East.”

P. S. It should be well understood that this article has been drawn up
on the writer’s personal responsibility, and does not in any way commit
the Government to the opinions or line of action which it advocates.—H.
C. R.—_Nineteenth Century._





 “La nature est l’injustice même.”—RENAN.

Four articles of Mr. Herbert Spencer’s which appeared in the
CONTEMPORARY REVIEW, have recently been reprinted together, and form
now a work which Mr. Spencer has entitled “The Man _versus_ The State.”
This little volume merits the most attentive study, because in it the
great sociological question of our day is treated in the most masterly
manner. The individualist theory was, I think, never expounded better
or with stronger arguments based on first principles, or supported by
so great a number of clearly analyzed and admirably grouped facts.
These pages are also full of important truths and of lessons, from
whence both nations and governments may derive great benefit. Mr.
Spencer’s deductions are so concise and forcible that one feels oneself
drawn, against one’s will, to accept his conclusions; and yet, the more
I have thought on the subject, the more convinced have I become that
these conclusions are not in the true interest of humanity. Mr. Herbert
Spencer’s object is to prove the error and danger of State socialism,
or, in other words, the error and danger of that system which consists
in appropriating State, or communal, revenues to the purpose of
establishing greater equality among men.

The eminent philosopher’s statement, that in most civilized countries
governments are more and more adopting this course, is indisputable. In
England Parliament is taking the lead; in Germany Prince Bismarck, in
spite of Parliament; and elsewhere either Parliament or town councils
are doing the same thing. Mr. Spencer considers that this effort for
the improvement of the condition of the working-classes, which is
being everywhere made, with greater or less energy, is a violation
of natural laws, which will not fail to bring its own punishment on
nations, thus misguided by a blind philanthropy. I believe, on the
contrary, that this effort, taken as a whole, and setting aside certain
mistaken measures, is not only in strict accordance with the spirit of
Christianity, but is also in conformity with the true principles of
politics and of political economy.

Let us first consider a preliminary question, on which I accept Mr.
Spencer’s views, but for different reasons from his: On what are
individual rights founded, and what are the limits of State power?
Mr. Spencer refutes with pitiless logic the opinions of those who,
with Bentham, maintain that individual rights are State concessions,
or who, like Matthew Arnold, deny the existence of natural rights.
The absurdity of Bentham’s system is palpably evident. Who creates
the government? The people, says he. So the government, thus created,
creates rights, and then, having created rights, it confers them on
the separate members of the sovereign people, by which it was itself
created. The real truth is, that government defines and sanctions
rights, and employs the public strength to enforce their being
respected, but the rights themselves existed before.

Referring to the history of all primitive civilization, Mr. Herbert
Spencer proves to Mr. Matthew Arnold that in familial and tribal
communities there existed certain customs, which conferred recognized
and respected rights, before ever any superior authority which could
be designated by the name of State had been formed. Only, I think Mr.
Herbert Spencer is wrong in making use of the term “natural rights.”
This expression was an invention of the French philosophers of the
eighteenth century, and it is still employed in Germany by a certain
school of philosophers as _Naturrecht_. Sir Henry Maine’s clever and
just criticism of this expression in his book “Ancient Law” should warn
us all of the vague and equivocal meaning it conceals. The jurists
and philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries attached
two very different significations to the term “natural rights.” They
sometimes applied it to the condition of primitive societies, in which
their optimism led them to dream of a reign of justice, liberty, and
equality, and at other times they made use of it when speaking of the
totality of rights which should be possessed by every individual, by
reason of his manhood. These two conceptions are equally erroneous. In
primitive societies, in spite of certain customs which are the embryo
of rights, might reign supreme, as among animals, and the best armed
annihilate their weaker neighbors. Certainly, one would look in vain
there for a model of a political constitution or code suitable to a
civilized people. Neither can it be maintained that the “Rights of
man,” as proclaimed by the American and French Revolutions, belong to
each individual, only because he forms part of the human species. The
limit of rights which may be claimed by any one individual must depend
upon his aptitudes for making good use of them. The same civil code and
the same political institutions will not equally suit a savage tribe
and a civilized nation. If the granting of the suffrage to all were
likely to lead a people to anarchy or to despotism, it could not be
called a natural right, for suicide is not a right.

If one analyze completely the expression “natural rights,” one finds
that it is really not sense. Xavier de Maistre, annoyed by the constant
appeals to nature which are to be found in all the writings of the
eighteenth century, said, very wittily: “Nature, who and what is this
woman?” Nature is subject to certain laws, which are invariable; as,
for instance, the law of gravitation. We may call these “laws of
nature,” but in human institutions, which are ever varying, nothing of
the sort can exist. This superior and ideal right, which is invoked for
the purpose of condemning existing laws, and claiming their reform or
suppression, should rather be called _rational right_—that is to say,
right in conformity with reason.

In every country, and at all times, an order of things may be
conceived—civil, political, penal and administrative laws—which would
best conform to the general interest, and be the most favorable to the
well-being and progress of the nation. This order of things is not
the existing one. If it were, one might say, with the optimists, that
all is for the best in the best of possible worlds, and a demand for
any amelioration would be a rebellion against natural laws, and an
absurdity. But this order of things may be caught sight of by reason,
and defined with more or less accuracy by science; hence its name
of rational order. If I ask for free trade in France, for a better
division of property in England, and for greater liberty in Russia,
I do so in the name of this rational order, as I believe that these
changes would increase men’s happiness.

This theory permits of our tracing a limit between individual liberty
and State power.

Mr. Herbert Spencer proves very clearly that there are certain things
which no man would ever choose to abandon to State power; his religious
convictions, for instance. On the other hand, all would agree that the
State should accept the charge of protecting frontiers and punishing
theft and murder, that is to say, the maintaining of peace and security
at home and abroad; only here, like most Englishmen, Mr. Herbert
Spencer invokes human will. Find out, he says, on the one hand, what
the great majority of mankind would choose to reserve to an individual
sphere of action, and, on the other, what they would consent to abandon
to State decisions, and you will then be able to fix the limit of the
power of public authority.

I cannot myself admit that human will is the source of rights. Until
quite recently, in all lands, slavery was considered a necessary and
legitimate institution. But did this unanimous opinion make it any
more a right? Certainly not. It is in direct opposition to the order
of things which would be best for the general welfare; it cannot,
therefore, be a right.

Until the sixteenth century, with the exception of a few Anabaptists
who were burnt at the stake, all believed that the State ought to
punish heretics and atheists. But this general opinion did not
suffice to justify the intolerance then practised. The following
line of argument, I think, would be most in keeping with individual
interests, and, consequently, with the interests of society in general:
A certain portion of men’s acts ought not to be in any way subject
to sovereign authority, be it republican or monarchical. But what is
to be the boundary of this inviolable domain of individual activity?
The will of the majority, or even of the entire population, is not
competent to trace it, for history has proved but too often how gross
have been the errors committed in such instances. This limit can,
therefore, only be fixed by science, which, at each fresh progress in
civilization, can discover and proclaim aloud where State power should
cease to interfere. Sociological science, for instance, announces
that liberty of conscience should always be respected as man’s most
sacred possession, and because religious advancement is only to be
achieved at this price; that true property, or, in other words, the
fruit of personal labor, must not be tampered with, or labor would be
discouraged and production would diminish; that criminals must not
go unpunished, but that justice be strictly impartial, so that the
innocent be not punished with the guilty.

It would not be at all impossible to draw up a formula of these
essential rights, which M. Thiers called necessary liberties, and
which are already inscribed in the constitutions of America, England,
France, Belgium, Holland, and all other free nations. It is sometimes
very difficult to know where to set bounds to individual liberty, in
the interests of public order and of the well-being of others; and it
is true, of course, that either the king, the assembly, or the people
enacts the requisite laws, but if science has clearly demonstrated a
given fact it imposes itself. When certain truths have been frequently
and clearly explained, they come to be respected. The evidence of them
forms the general opinion, and this engenders laws.

To be brief, I agree with Mr. Herbert Spencer that, contrary to
Rousseau’s doctrine, State power ought to be limited, and that a
domain should be reserved to individual liberty which should be always
respected; but the limits of this domain should be fixed, not by the
people, but by reason and science, keeping in view what is best for the
public welfare.

This brings me to the principal question I desire to treat. I am
of opinion that the State should make use of its legitimate powers
of action for the establishment of greater equality among men, in
proportion to their personal merits, and I believe that this would be
in conformity, not only with its mission properly speaking, but also
with rational rights, with the progress of humanity; in a word, with
all the rights and all the interests invoked by Mr. Herbert Spencer.

I will briefly resume the motives given by Mr. Herbert Spencer to
show that any wish to improve the condition of the working-classes by
law, or by the action of public power, so as to bring about a greater
degree of equality among men, would be to run against the stream of
history, and a violation of natural laws. There are, he says, two types
of social organization, broadly distinguishable as the “militant” and
the “industrial” type. The first of these is characterized by the
_régime_ of status, the second by the _régime_ of contract. The latter
has become general among modern nations, especially in England and
America, whereas the militant type was almost universal formerly. These
two types may be defined as the system of compulsory co-operation.
The typical structure of the one may be seen in an army formed of
conscripts, in which each unit must fulfil commands under pain of
death, and receives, in exchange for his services, food and clothing;
while the typical structure of the other may be seen in a body of
workers who agree freely to exchange specified services at a given
price, and who are at liberty to separate at will. So long as States
are in constant war against each other, governments must perforce be
on a military footing, as in antiquity. Personal defence, then, being
society’s great object, it must necessarily give absolute obedience
to a chief, as in an army. It is absolutely impossible to unite the
blessings of freedom and justice at home with the habitual commission
of acts of violence and brutality abroad.

Thanks to the almost insensible progress of civilization and to gradual
liberal reforms, the ancient militant State was little by little
despoiled of its arbitrary powers, the circle of its interventions
grew narrower and narrower, and men became free economically, as
well as politically. We were advancing rapidly towards an industrial
_régime_ of free contract. But, recently, the Liberals in all countries
have adopted an entirely opposite course. Instead of restricting
the powers of the State, they are extending them, and this leads to
socialism, the ideal of which is to give to government the direction
of all social activity. Men imagine that, by thus acting, they are
consulting the interests of the working-classes. They believe that a
remedy may be found for the sufferings which result from the present
order of things, and that it is the State’s mission to discover and
apply that remedy. By thus acting they simply increase the evils they
would fain cure, and prepare the way for a universal bondage, which
awaits us all—_the Coming Slavery_. Be the authority exercised by king,
assembly, or people, I am none the less a slave if I am forced to obey
in all things, and to give up to others the net produce of my labor.
Contemporary progressism not only runs against the stream of history,
by carrying us back to despotic organizations of the militant system,
but it also violates natural laws, and thus prepares the degeneration
of humanity. In family life the gratuitous parental aid must be great
in proportion as the young one is of little worth either to itself or
to others, and benefits received must be inversely as the power or
ability of the receiver.

 “Throughout the rest of its life each adult gets benefit in proportion
 to merit, reward in proportion to desert, merit and desert being
 understood as ability to fulfil all the requirements of life. Placed
 in competition with members of its own species, and in antagonism with
 members of other species, it dwindles and gets killed off, or thrives
 and propagates, according as it is ill-endowed or well-endowed. If
 the benefits received by each individual were proportionate to its
 inferiority, if, as a consequence, multiplication of the inferior was
 furthered and multiplication of the superior hindered, progressive
 degradation would result, and eventually the degenerated species
 would fail to hold its ground in presence of antagonistic species and
 competing species.” (Page 65.)

 “The poverty of the incapable, the distress that comes upon the
 imprudent, the starvation of the idle, and the shouldering aside
 of the weak by the strong, which leave so many ‘in shallows and in
 miseries,’ are the decrees of a large, far-seeing benevolence.” (Page

When the State, guided by a wrongly inspired philanthropy, prevents
the application of this wise law, instead of diminishing suffering it
increases it. “It tends to fill the world with those to whom life will
bring most pain, and tends to keep out of it those to whom life will
bring most pleasure. It inflicts positive misery, and prevents positive
happiness.” (“Social Statics,” p. 381, edit. 1851.)

The law that Mr. Herbert Spencer desires society to adopt is simply
Darwin’s law—“the survival of the fittest.” Mr. Spencer expresses his
astonishment that at the present day, more than at any other period of
the world’s history, everything is done to favor the survival of the
unfittest, when, at the same time, the truth as revealed by Darwin,
is admitted and accepted by an ever-growing number of educated and
influential people!

I have endeavored to give a brief sketch of the line of argument
followed by Mr. Herbert Spencer. We will now see what reply can be made
to it. I think one chief point ought not to have escaped the eminent
writer. It is this: If the application of the Darwinian law to the
government of societies be really justifiable, is it not strange that
public opinion, not only in England, but in all other countries, is
so strenuously opposed to it, at an epoch which is becoming more and
more enlightened, and when sociological studies are pursued with so
much interest? If the intervention of public power for the improvement
of the condition of the working-classes be a contradiction of history,
and a return to ancient militant society, how is it that the country in
which the new industrial organization is the most developed—that is to
say, England—is also the country where State intervention is the most
rapidly increasing, and where opinion is at the same time pressing for
these powers of interference to be still further extended? There is no
other land in which the effort to succor outcasts and the needy poor
occupies so large a portion of the time and means of the well-to-do and
of the public exchequer; there is nowhere else to be found a poor-law
which grants assistance to even able-bodied men; nowhere else would it
ever have been even suggested to attack free contract, and consequently
the very first principles of proprietorship, as the Irish Land Bill
has done; and nowhere else would a Minister have dared to draw up a
programme of reforms such as those announced by Mr. Chamberlain at the
Liberal Reform Club at Ipswich (Jan. 14, 1885). On the Continent all
this would be looked upon as rank socialism. If, then, as a country
becomes more civilized and enlightened it shows more inclination to
return to what Mr. Herbert Spencer calls militant organization, and
to violate the Darwinian law applied to human society, may we not be
led to conclude that this so-called retrogression is really progress?
This conclusion would very easily explain what Mr. Herbert Spencer
designates as the “wheeling round” of the Liberal party with which he
so eloquently reproaches them.

Why did the Liberals formerly do their utmost to restrict State power?
Because this power was then exercised in the interests of the upper
classes and to the detriment of the lower. To mention but one example:
When, in former times, it was desired to fix a scale of prices and
wages, it was with a view to preventing their being raised, while,
to-day, there is a clamor for a lessening of hours of labor with
increased remuneration. Why do Liberals now wish to add to the power
and authority of the State? To be able to ameliorate the intellectual,
moral, and material condition of a greater number of citizens. There is
no inconsistency in their programme; the object in view, which is the
great aim of all civilization, has been always the same—to assure to
each individual liberty and well-being in proportion to his merit and

I think that the great fundamental error of Mr. Herbert Spencer’s
system, which is so generally accepted at the present day, consists in
the belief that if State power were but sufficiently reduced to narrow
it to the circle traced by orthodox economists, the Darwinian law and
the survival of the fittest would naturally follow without difficulty.
Mr. Spencer has simply borrowed from old-fashioned political economy
without submitting to the fire of his inexorable criticism, the
superficial and false notion that, if the _laissez-faire_ and free
contract _régime_ were proclaimed, the so-called natural laws would
govern the social order. He forgets that all individual activity is
accomplished under the empire of laws, which enact as to ownership,
hereditary succession, mutual obligations, trade and industry,
political institutions and administrations, besides a multitude of laws
referring to material interests, banking organizations, money, credit,
colonies, army, navy, railways, &c.

For natural laws, and especially the law of the survival of the
fittest, to become established, it would be necessary to annihilate
the immense existing edifice of legislation, and to return to the wild
state of society when primitive men lived, in all probability, much as
do animals, with no possessions, no successions, no protection of the
weak by the State.

Those who, with Mr. Spencer and Haeckel and other Conservative
evolutionists, are anxious to see the law of the survival of the
fittest and of natural selection adopted in human society, do not
realize that the animal kingdom and social organization are two such
totally different domains that the same law, applied to each, would
produce wholly opposite effects. Mr. Herbert Spencer gives an admirable
description of the manner in which natural selection is accomplished
among animals:—

 “Their carnivorous enemies not only remove from herbivorous herds
 individuals past their prime, but also weed out the sickly, the
 malformed, and the least fleet and powerful. By the aid of which
 purifying process, as well as by the fighting so universal in the
 pairing season, all vitiation of the race through the multiplication
 of its inferior samples is prevented, and the maintenance of a
 constitution completely adapted to surrounding conditions, and
 therefore most productive of happiness, is ensured.”

This is the ideal order of things which, we are told, ought to prevail
in human societies, but everything in our present organization (which
economists, and even Mr. Spencer himself, admit, however, to be
natural) is wholly opposed to any such conditions. An old and sickly
lion captured a gazelle; his younger and stronger brother arrives,
snatches away his prize, and lives to perpetuate the species; the
old one dies in the struggle, or is starved to death. Such is the
beneficent law of the “survival of the fittest,” It was thus among
barbarian tribes. But could such a law exist in our present social
order? Certainly not! The rich man, feebly constituted and sickly,
protected by the law, enjoys his wealth, marries and has offspring,
and if an Apollo of herculean strength attempted to take from him his
possessions, or his wife, he would be thrown into prison, and were
he to attempt to practise the Darwinian law of selection, he would
certainly run a fair risk of the gallows, for this law may be briefly
expressed as follows: Room for the mighty, for might is right. It will
be objected that in industrial societies the quality the most deserving
of recompense, and which indeed receives the most frequent reward, is
not the talent of killing one’s fellow-man, but an aptitude for labor
and producing. But at the present time is this really so? Stuart Mill
says that from the top to the bottom of the social ladder remuneration
lessens as the work accomplished increases. I admit that this statement
may be somewhat exaggerated, but, I think, no one will deny that it
contains a large amount of truth. Let us but cast our eyes around us,
and we see everywhere those who do nothing living in ease and even
opulence, while the workers who have the hardest labor to perform, who
toil from night to morning in mines, or unhealthy workshops, or on the
sea in tempests, in constant danger of death, are paid, in exchange
for all these hardships, a salary hardly sufficient for their means of
subsistence, and which, just now, has become smaller and smaller, in
consequence of the ever-recurring strikes, and the necessary closing of
so many factories, mines, &c., owing to the long-continued depression
of trade. What rapid fortunes have been made by stock-broking
manœuvres, by trickeries in supplying goods, by sending unseaworthy
vessels to sea to become the coffins of their crews! Do not such
sights as these urge the partisans of progress to demand the State’s
interference in favor of the classes who receive so inadequate a
payment for their labors?

The economists of the old school promised that, if the _laissez-faire_
and free contract _régime_ were proclaimed, justice would reign
universally; but when people saw that these fine promises were not
realized, they had recourse to public power for the obtaining of those
results which the much-boasted “liberty” had not secured.

The system of accumulating wealth and hereditary succession alone
would suffice to prevent the Darwinian law ever gaining a footing in
civilized communities. Among animals, the survival of the fittest takes
place quite naturally, because, as generations succeed each other,
each one must create his own position according to his strength and
abilities; and in this way the purifying process, which Mr. Herbert
Spencer so extols, is effected. A similar system was generally
prevalent among barbarians; but, at the present day, traces of it
may be seen only in instances of “self-made men;” it disappears in
their children, who, even if they inherit their parents’ talents and
capacities, are brought up, as a rule, in so much ease and luxury that
the germs of such talents are destroyed. Their lot in life is assured
to them, so why need they exert themselves? Thus they fail to cultivate
the qualities and tastes they may have inherited from their parents,
and they and their descendants become in all points inferior to their
ancestors who secured to them, by labor and industry, the privileged
position they hold. Hence the proverb, _A père économe fils prodigue_
(To a thrifty father, a spendthrift son).

It follows, therefore, that those who wish to see the law of natural
selection, by the transmission of hereditary aptitudes, established
amongst us should begin by demanding the abolition of hereditary

Among animals, the vitiation of the race through the multiplication of
its inferior samples is prevented “by the fighting so universal in the
pairing season.” In the social order the accumulation and hereditary
transmission of wealth effectually impede the process of perfecting the
race. In Greece after the athletic sports, or in those fortunate and
chimerical days of which the Troubadours sang, “the most beautiful was
sometimes given as a prize to the most valiant;” but, in our prosaic
age, rank and fortune too often triumph over beauty, strength, and
health. In the animal world, the destiny of each one is decided by
its personal qualities. In society, a man attains a high position, or
marries a beautiful woman, because he is of high birth, or wealthy,
although he may be ugly, lazy, and extravagant. The permanent army and
the navy would also have to be destroyed, before the Darwinian law
could triumph. Conscription on the Continent and enlistment in England
(to a less degree) condemn many of the strongest and most warlike men
to enforced celibacy; and, as they are subjected to exceptional dangers
in the way of hazardous expeditions and wars, the death-rate is far
higher amongst them than it would be under ordinary circumstances. In
pre-historic times, or in a general way, such men would certainly have
begotten offspring, as being the strongest and most apt to survive; in
our societies, they are decimated or condemned to celibacy.

Having borrowed from orthodox political economy the notion that it
would suffice to put a check on inopportune State intervention for the
reign of justice to become established, Mr. Herbert Spencer proceeds
to demonstrate that the legislators who enacted the poor-law, and all
recent and present law-makers “who have made regulations which have
brought into being a permanent body of tramps, who ramble from union
to union, and which maintain a constant supply of felons by sending
back convicts into society under such conditions that they are almost
compelled again to commit crimes,” are alone responsible for the
sufferings of the working-classes. But may we not blame law-makers, or,
rather, our own social order, for measures more fatal in their results
than either of these—for instance, the law which concentrates all
property into the hands of a few owners? Some years ago, Mr. Herbert
Spencer wrote some lines on this subject which are the most severe
indictment against the present social order that has ever fallen from
the pen of a really competent writer:—

 “Given a race of beings having like claims to pursue the objects of
 their desires—given a world adapted to the gratification of those
 desires—a world into which such beings are similarly born, and it
 unavoidably follows that they have equal rights to the use of this
 world. For if each of them ‘has freedom to do all that he wills,
 provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other,’ then each
 of them is free to use the earth for the satisfaction of his wants,
 provided he allows all others the same liberty. And, conversely, it
 is manifest that no one or part of them may use the earth in such a
 way as to prevent the rest from similarly using it, seeing that to do
 this is to assume greater freedom than the rest, and, consequently, to
 break the law. Equity, therefore, does not permit property in land.
 On examination, all existing titles to such property turn out to be
 invalid; those founded on reclamation inclusive. It appears that not
 even an equal apportionment of the earth amongst its inhabitants could
 generate a legitimate proprietorship. We find that, if pushed to its
 ultimate consequences, a claim to exclusive possession of the soil
 involves a land-owning despotism. We further find that such a claim is
 constantly denied by the enactments of our legislature. And we find,
 lastly, that the theory of the co-heirship of all men to the soil is
 consistent with the highest civilization; and that, however difficult
 it may be to embody that theory in fact, equity sternly commands it to
 be done.”

 “By-and-by, men may learn that to deprive others of their rights to
 the use of the earth is to commit a crime inferior only in wickedness
 to the crime of taking away their lives or personal liberties.”
 (“Social Statics,” chap. ix.)

Has Mr. Herbert Spencer changed his opinions as to the proprietorship
of the soil since these lines were written? Not at all, for, in the
chapter entitled “The Coming Slavery,” he writes that “the movement for
land-nationalization is aiming at a system of land-tenure equitable
in the abstract.” But if society, in depriving numbers of persons of
their right of co-heirship of the soil, has “committed a crime inferior
only in wickedness to the crime of taking away their lives or personal
liberties,” ought it not, in common justice, to endeavor to repair
the injury done? The help given by public assistance compensates very
feebly for the advantages they are deprived of. In his important book,
“La Propriété Sociale,” M. Alfred Fouillée, examining the question from
another standpoint, very accurately calls this assistance “la justice
reparative.” The numerous and admirable charitable organizations which
exist in England, the keen emotion and deep commiseration manifested
when the little pamphlet, “The Bitter Cry of Outcast London,” was first
published, the growing preoccupation of Government with the condition
of the working-classes, must be attributed, in the first instance
certainly to Christian feeling, but also, in a great measure, to a
clearer perception of certain ill-defined rights possessed by those who
have been kept deprived of national or rather communal co-heirship. Mr.
Herbert Spencer has expressed this idea so closely and eloquently that
I hope I may be allowed to quote the passage:—

 “We must not overlook the fact that, erroneous as are these poor-law
 and communist theories, these assertions of a man’s right to
 maintenance and of his right to have work provided for him, they
 are nevertheless nearly related to a truth. They are unsuccessful
 efforts to express the fact that whoso is born on this planet of ours
 thereby obtains some interest in it—may not be summarily dismissed
 again—may not have his existence ignored by those in possession. In
 other words, they are attempts to embody that thought which finds its
 legitimate utterance in the law: All men have equal rights to the use
 of the earth.... After getting from under the grosser injustice of
 slavery, men could not help beginning in course of time to feel what a
 monstrous thing it was that nine people out of ten should live in the
 world on sufferance, not having even standing room save by allowance
 of those who claim the earth’s surface.” (“Social Statics,” p. 345.)

When one reads through that substantial essay, “The Man _versus_ The
State,” it appears as if the principal or, indeed, the sole aim of
State socialism were the extension of public assistance and increased
succor for the unworthy, whereas the reality is quite the reverse
of this! Scientific socialism seeks, first of all, the means of so
raising the working-classes that they may be better able to maintain
themselves and, consequently, to dispense with the help of others;
and, secondly, it seeks to find what laws are the most in conformity
with absolute justice, and with that admirable precept, “Benefit in
proportion to merit, reward in proportion to desert.” In the speech
delivered by Mr. Shaw Lefevre, last year (1884), as President of the
Congress of Social Science, at its opening meeting at Birmingham, he
traced, in most striking language, all the good that State intervention
had effected in England of late years: Greater justice enforced in the
relations between man and man, children better educated and better
prepared to become useful and self-supporting members of the community,
the farmer better guaranteed against the exaggerated or unjust demands
of the proprietor, greater facilities for saving offered, health
ensured to future generations by the hours of labor being limited, the
lives of miners further safeguarded, so that there are less frequent
appeals to public assistance, and, as a practical result of this last
measure, the mortality in mines fallen in the last three years to 22·1
per thousand, as compared to 27·2 per thousand during the ten previous
years—a decrease of 20 per cent.! One fact is sufficient to show the
great progress due to this State legislation: in an ever-increasing
population, crime is rapidly and greatly diminishing.

Suppose that, through making better laws, men arrive gradually at the
condition of the Norwegian peasantry, or at an organization similar to
that existing in the agricultural cantons of Switzerland; that is to
say, that each family living in the country has a plot of ground to
cultivate and a house to live in: in this case every one is allowed to
enjoy the full fruit of his labor, and receives reward in proportion
to his activity and industry, which is certainly the very ideal of
justice—_cuique suum_.

The true instinct of humanity has ever so understood social
organization that property is the indispensable basis of the family,
and a necessary condition of freedom. To prevent any one individual
from being deprived of a share in the soil, which was in primitive ages
considered to be the collective property of the tribe, it was subjected
to periodical divisions; these, indeed, still take place in the Swiss
Allmend, in some Scottish townships, in the greater part of Java, and
in the Russian Mir.

If such a _régime_ as this were established, there would be no more
“tramps wandering from union to union,” In such a state of society as
this, not in such as ours, the supreme law which ought to govern all
economic relations might be realized. Mr. Herbert Spencer admirably
defines this law in the following passage:—

 “I suppose a dictum on which the current creed and the creed of
 science are at one may be considered to have as high an authority
 as can be found. Well, the command, _If any would not work, neither
 should he eat_, is simply a Christian enunciation of that universal
 law of nature under which life has reached its present height, the
 law that a creature not energetic enough to maintain itself must die;
 the sole difference being, that the law which in one case is to be
 artificially enforced is in the other case a natural necessity.”

This passage ought to be transcribed at the commencement of every
treatise on social science as the supreme aim of all sociological
research; only the delusion, borrowed from the old political economy,
which consists in the belief that this dictum of science and
Christianity is in practice in our midst, ought to be suppressed.

Is it not a fact that, everywhere, those who can prove by authentic
documents that, for centuries past, their ancestors have thriven in
idleness are the richest, the most powerful, the most sought after?
Only at some future date will this dictum of science and Christianity
be brought to bear on our social organization, and our descendants
will then establish an order of things which will create economic
responsibility, and ensure to each the integral enjoyment of the
produce of his labor. The difficult but necessary work of sociology
is to endeavor to discover what this organization should be, and to
prepare its advent. Mr. Shaw Lefevre’s speech shows very clearly the
road that ought to be taken.

Mr. Herbert Spencer thinks, however, that this road would lead us
directly to a condition of universal slavery. The State would gradually
monopolize all industrial enterprises, beginning with the railways
and telegraphs as it has already done in Germany and Belgium, then
some other industries as in France, then mines, and finally, after the
nationalization of land, it would also take up agricultural enterprise.
The freedom enjoyed by a citizen must be measured, he says, not by the
nature of the government under which he lives, but by the small number
of laws to which he is subject. The essential characteristic of the
slave is that he is forced to work for another’s benefit. The degree of
his slavery varies according to the greater or smaller extent to which
effort is compulsorily expended for the benefit of another, instead of
for self-benefit; in the _régime_ which is approaching, man will have
to work for the State, and to give up to it the largest portion of his
produce. What matters it that the master under whose command he labors
is not an individual, but society? Thus argues Mr. Herbert Spencer.

In my opinion, the State will never arrive at a monopoly of all
industries, for the very simple reason that such a system would never
answer. It is possible that some day a social organization such
as Mr. Albert Schäffle, formerly Finance Minister in Austria, has
explained, may grow up, in which all branches of production are placed
in the hands of co-operative societies. But, be that as it may, men
would be no more slaves in workshops belonging to the State than in
those of merchants or manufacturers of the present day. Mr. Herbert
Spencer can every easily assure himself of this fact. Let him visit
the State collieries at Saarbruck, or inspect the Belgian railways,
and interrogate all the officials and workmen employed; he will find
that, from the highest to the lowest, they are quite as free, quite as
contented with their lot, as those engaged in any private industry.
There is even far more guarantee against arbitrary measures, so that
their real freedom is greater than elsewhere. The proof of this is the
fact that posts in any industries belonging to the State are always
sought for by the best workmen. If the degree of man’s slavery varies
according to the ratio between that which he is forced to yield up and
that which he is allowed to retain, then it must be admitted that
the majority of workmen and small farmers are certainly slaves now,
for they have very little or no property, and, as their condition
almost entirely depends on the hard law of competition, they can only
retain for themselves the mere necessaries of life! Are the Italian
_contadini_, whose sad lot I depicted in my “Lettres d’Italie,” free?
They are reduced to live entirely on bad maize, which subjects them to
that terrible scourge, the _pellagra_. What sad truth is contained in
their reply to the Minister who advised them not to emigrate!—

 “What do you mean by the nation? Do you refer to the most miserable of
 the inhabitants of the land? If so, we are indeed the nation. Look at
 our pale and emaciated faces, our bodies worn our with over-fatigue
 and insufficient food. We sow and reap corn, but never taste white
 bread; we cultivate the vine, but a drop of wine never touches our
 lips. We raise cattle, but never eat meat; we are covered with rags,
 we live in wretched hovels; in winter we suffer from the cold, and
 both winter and summer from the pangs of hunger. Can a land which does
 not provide its inhabitants, who are willing to work, with sufficient
 to live upon, be considered by them as a fatherland?”

The Flemish agricultural laborer, who earns less than a shilling a-day,
and the small farmer, whose rack-rent absorbs the entire net profits;
the Highland crofters, who have been deprived of the communal land, the
sacred inheritance of primitive times, where they could at least raise
a few head of cattle; the Egyptian fellahs, whose very life-blood is
drained by European creditors—in a word, all the wretched beings all
over the world where the soil is owned by non-workers, and who labor
for insufficient remuneration; can they, any of them, be called free?
It is just possible that, if the State were to become the universal
industry director (which, in my opinion, is an impossible hypothesis),
their condition would not be improved; but at all events it could not
be worse than it is now.

I do not believe that “liberty must be surrendered in proportion as the
material welfare is cared for.” On the contrary, a certain degree of
well-being is a necessary condition of liberty. It is a mockery to call
a man free who, by labor, cannot secure to himself the necessaries of
existence, or to whom labor is impossible because he possesses nothing
of his own, and no one will employ him!

Compare the life of the soldier with that of the hired workman either
in a mine or a factory. The first is the type of the serf in “The
Coming Slavery,” and the second the type of the independent man in an
industrial organization under the free contract _régime_. Which of the
two possesses the most real liberty? The soldier, when his daily duties
are accomplished, may read, walk, or enjoy himself in accordance with
his tastes; the workman, when he returns home worn out with fatigue
after eleven or twelve hours’ hard labor, too often finds no other
recreation than the gin-palace. The laborer at his task must always,
and all day long, obey the foreman or overseer, whether he be employed
by a private individual, by the State, or by a co-operative society.

“Hitherto,” says Mr. Herbert Spencer, “you have been free to spend
your earnings in any way which pleases you; hereafter you shall not be
free to spend it, but it will be spent for the general benefit.” The
important point, he adds, is the amount taken from me, not the hand
that takes it. But if what is taken from my revenue is employed to
make a public park which I am free to enter whenever I feel inclined,
to build public baths where I may bathe in summer or winter, to open
libraries for my recreation and instruction, clubs where I may spend my
evenings, and schools where my children may receive an education which
will enable them to make their own way in the world; to build healthy
houses, let at a low rent, which save me the cruel necessity of living
in slums, where the soul and the body are alike degraded; if all this
be done, would the result be the same as if this sum were taken by some
private Crœsus to spend on his personal pleasures and caprices? In
the course of last summer, while in Switzerland and Baden, I visited
several villages where each family is supplied, from forests belonging
to the commune, with wood for building purposes and for fuel; also
with pasturage for their cattle, and with a small plot of ground on
which to grow potatoes, fruit, and vegetables. In addition to this, the
wages of all public servants are paid for from the communal revenue,
so that there is no local taxation whatever.[3] Suppose that these
woods and meadows, and this land, all belonged to a landed proprietor,
instead of to the commune; he would go and lavish the revenue in large
capitals or in travelling. What an immense difference this would make
to the inhabitants! To appreciate this, it suffices merely to compare
the condition of the Highland crofters, the free citizens of one of
the richest countries in the world, and whose race has ever been
laborious, with that of the population of these villages, hidden away
in the Alpine cantons of Switzerland or in the gorges of the Black
Forest. If, in the Highland villages of Scotland, rentals had been, as
in these happy communes of Switzerland and Baden, partly reserved for
the inhabitants, and partly employed in objects of general utility, how
very different would have been the lot of these poor people! Had they
but been allowed to keep for themselves the sea-weed and the kelp which
the sea brings them, how far better off would they have been than they
now are, as is admirably proved in Mr. Blackie’s interesting book, “The
Scottish Highlanders.”

 [3] I may mention as an example, the township of Freudenstadt, at
 the foot of the Kniebis, in Baden. Not a single farthing of taxation
 has been paid since its foundation in 1557. The commune possesses
 about 5000 acres of pine forest and meadow land, worth about £10,000
 sterling. The 1,420 inhabitants have each as much wood for their
 building purposes and firing as they wish for, and each one can send
 out to pasture, during the summer, his cattle, which he feeds during
 the winter months. The schools, church, thoroughfares, and fountains
 are all well cared for, and every year considerable improvements are
 made. 100,000 marks were employed in 1883 for the establishment in the
 village, of a distribution of water, with iron pipes. A hospital has
 been built, and a pavilion in the market-place, where a band plays on
 fête-days. Each year a distribution of the surplus revenue is made
 amongst the families, and they each obtain from 50 to 60 marks, or
 shillings, and more still when an extraordinary quantity of timber has
 been sold. In 1882, 80,000 marks were distributed amongst the 1,420
 villagers. What a favored country, is it not?

A similar remark may also be applied to politics. What matters it,
says Mr. Herbert Spencer, that I myself contribute to make laws if
these laws deprive me of my liberty? He mentions ancient Greece as an
example to startle us at the notion of our coming state of slavery. He
writes: “In ancient Greece the accepted principle was, that the citizen
belonged neither to himself nor to his family, but to his city—the city
being, with the Greek, equivalent to the community. And this doctrine,
proper to a state of constant warfare, is one which socialism unawares
re-introduces into a state intended to be purely industrial.” It is
perfectly certain that the _régime_ of ancient Greek cities, which was
founded on slavery, cannot be suitable to modern society, which is
based on a system of labor. But we must not allow ourselves to forget
what Greece was, nor all we owe to that Greek civilization, which, Mr.
Herbert Spencer says, the “coming slavery” threatens to re-introduce
amongst us. Not only philosophy, literature, and arts flourished as
they have never done in any other age, but the political system so
stamped characters with individuality that the illustrious men of
Greece are types of human greatness, whose deeds and sayings will
be engraven on the memory of men so long as the world lasts. If the
“coming slavery” gives us such men as Pisistratus, Plato, Aristotle,
Xenophon, Lycurgus, Sophocles, Thucydides, Epaminondas, Aristides, or
Pericles, we shall, I think, have no cause to complain! But how is
it that Greece produced such a bevy of great men? By her democratic
institutions, combined with a marvellous system of education, which
developed simultaneously the faculties of the mind and the body.

The German army, in spite of its iron discipline, arrives at results
somewhat similar, though in a less degree. A rough peasant joins a
regiment; he is taught to walk properly, to swim, and to shift for
himself; his education is made more complete, and he becomes a man of
independent character, better fitted to survive in the struggle for
life. If the authorities in towns levy heavy taxes, and employ the
money in improving the condition of the inhabitants and in forming
those who need forming, even more than in the German army, and after
the fashion of the ancient Greeks, will not the generations yet to
come be better able to earn their own livelihood, and to maintain
an honorable position, than if they had been allowed to pass their
childhood in the gutters? Hr. Herbert Spencer reasons falsely when
he says, “What matters it that I make the laws if these laws deprive
me of my liberty?” Laws which tax me to degrade and rob me are
odious, but laws which deprive me of what I have for my own good and
for the further development of my faculties are well-meaning, as is
the constraint imposed on his children by a wise father for their
instruction or correction. Besides, to contribute to make laws elevates
a man’s character. As Stuart Mill has proved, this is indeed one of the
great advantages of an extension of the suffrage. A man called upon to
vote is naturally raised from the sphere of personal to that of general
interests. He will read, discuss, and endeavor to obtain information.
Others will argue with him, try to change his opinions, and he will
himself realize that he has a certain importance of his own, that he
has a word to say in the direction of public affairs. The elevating
influence of this sentiment over French, and still more over Swiss,
citizens is remarkable.

It is perfectly true that, for political and social reforms to be
productive of fruits, the society into which they are introduced must
be in a sufficiently advanced condition to be able to understand and
apply them, but it must not be forgotten that improved institutions
make better men.

Go to Norway; crimes are hardly known there. In the country people
never close their doors at night, locks and bolts are scarcely known,
and there are no robberies; probably, first, because the people are
moral and religious, but certainly, also, because property is very
equally divided. None live in opulence and none in absolute beggary,
and certainly misery and degradation, which often results from misery,
are the causes of the great majority of crimes.

The rich financier, Helvetius, wrote, very truly, that, if every
citizen were an owner of property, the general tone of the nation would
be conservative, but if the majority have nothing, robbery then becomes
the general aim. (“De l’Homme,” sect. vi. chap. vii.)

In conclusion, let us try to go to the root of the matter. Two systems
are suggested as cures for the evils under which society is suffering.
On the one hand, it may be said, in accordance with the doctrines of
Christianity and socialism, that these evils are the consequences
of men’s perversity and selfishness, and that it behoves charity
and fraternity to remedy them. We must do our best to assist our
unfortunate brethren. But how? By trying, Christ tells us, to imitate
God’s Kingdom, where “the last shall be first and the first last;”—or
by “having all things in common,” say the Apostles in all the ardor of
primitive Christianity, and later on certain religious communities;—or
by the giving of alms and other charitable acts, says the Christianity
of the middle ages;—while socialism maintains that this may be affected
by reforms in the laws regulating the division of property. On the
other hand, political economy and evolutionary sociology teach us
that these miseries are the inevitable and beneficent consequences of
natural laws; that these laws, being necessary conditions of progress,
any endeavor to do away with them would be to disturb the order of
nature and delay the dawn of better things. By “the weeding out of the
sickly and infirm,” and the survival of the fittest, the process of
amelioration of species in the animal kingdom is accomplished. The law
of natural selection should be allowed free and ample scope in human
society. “Society is not a manufacture, but a growth.” Might is really
right, for it is to the general interest that the mighty should triumph
and perpetuate the race. Thus argues what is now called _Science_.

In a book entitled “The True History of Joshua Davidson,” the author
places ideal Christianity and contemporary society face to face, and
shows very clearly the opposition which exists between the doctrines of
would-be science and those of the Gospel:—

  “If the dogmas of political economy are really exact, if the laws of
 the struggle for life and the survival of the fittest must really be
 applied to human society, as well as to plants and animals, then let
 us at once admit that Christianity, which gives assistance to the poor
 and needy, and which stretches out a hand to the sinner, is a mere
 folly; and let us at once abandon a belief which influences neither
 our political institutions nor our social arrangements, and which
 _ought_ not to influence them. If Christ was right, then our present
 Christianity is wrong, and if sociology really contains scientific
 truth, then Jesus of Nazareth spoke and acted in vain, or rather He
 rebelled against the immutable laws of nature.” (Tauchnitz edition, p.

Mr. William Graham, in his “Creed of Science” (p. 278), writes as

 “This great and far-reaching controversy, the most important in the
 history of our species, which is probably as old as human society
 itself, and certainly as old as the ‘Republic’ of Plato, in which
 it is discussed, or as Christianity, which began with a communistic
 form of society, had yet only within the past half-century come to be
 felt as a controversy involving real and living issues of a momentous
 character, and not utopias only remotely bordering upon the possible.”

I think it may be proved that this so-called “doctrine of science” is
contrary to facts, and is, consequently, not scientific; whereas the
creed of Christianity is in keeping with both present facts and ideal

Darwin borrowed his ideal of the struggle for existence and the
survival of the fittest from Malthus, from whom he also drew his
theories of evolution and of transformism; but no naturalist ever
dreamt of applying either of these laws to human society. It has
been reserved to sociology to attempt this, because it has accepted,
blindfolded, from the hands of economists, this most erroneous
principle: that society is governed by natural laws, and that it
suffices to give them free scope for the greatest possible happiness
and prosperity to reign. It is manifestly true that, as human society
is comprehended in what we call Nature, it must obey her laws; but
the laws and institutions, in all their different forms, which decree
as to the acquisition and transmission of property or possessions,
and hereditary succession, in a word, all civil and penal laws,
emanate from men’s will, and from the decisions of legislators; and if
experience, or a higher conception of justice, shows us that these laws
are bad, or in any way lacking, we are free to change them. As far as
the Darwinian laws are concerned, it would be perfectly impossible to
apply them to existing society without more radically destroying all
established institutions than the most avowed Nihilist would wish to do.

If it be really advisable that the law of the “survival of the fittest”
should be established amongst us, the first step to be taken would
be the abolition of all laws which punish theft and murder. Animals
provide themselves with food by physical activity and the use of
their muscles. Among men, in consequence of successive institutions,
such as slavery, servitude, and revenue, numbers of people now live
in plenty on their income, and do nothing at all. If Mr. Herbert
Spencer is really desirous to see the supreme principle, “reward in
proportion to desert,” in force amongst us, he must obtain, first of
all, the suppression of the existing regulations as to property. In
the animal world, the destiny of each is decided by its aptitudes.
Among ourselves, the destiny of each is determined by the advantages
obtained or inherited from parents, and the heir to, or owner of, a
large estate is sure to be well received everywhere. We see then, that
before Darwinian laws can become established, family succession must
be abolished. Animals, like plants, obey the instincts of nature, and
reproduce themselves rapidly; but incessant carnage prevents their too
excessive multiplication! As men become more civilized, peace becomes
more general; they talk of their fellow-men as their brothers, and
some philosophers even dream—the madmen!—of arbitration supplanting
war! The equilibrium between the births and the deaths is thus upset!
To balance it again, let us glorify battles, and exclaim, with General
Moltke, that the idea of suppressing them is a mischievous utopia; let
us impose silence on those dangerous fanatics who repeat incessantly,
“Peace on earth, good-will towards men.”

In the very heart of nature reigns seeming injustice; or, as M. Renan
puts it more strongly, nature is the embodiment of injustice. A falling
stone crushes both the honest man and the scamp! A bird goes out to
find food for its young, and after long search is returning to its
nest with its well-earned gains, when an eagle, the despot of the air,
swoops down and steals the food; we think this iniquitous and odious,
and would not tolerate such an instance amongst us. Vigorous Cain
kills gentle Abel. Right and justice protest. They should not do so,
for it is the mere putting in practice “of the purifying process by
which nature weeds out the least powerful and prevents the vitiation
of the race by the multiplication of its inferior samples.” Helvetius
admirably defines, for its condemnation, this Darwinian law which
Herbert Spencer would have society accept:—

 “The savage says to those who are weaker than himself: Look up to the
 skies and you see the eagle swooping down on the dove; cast your eyes
 on the earth and you see the lion tearing to pieces the stag or the
 antelope; while in the depths of the ocean small fishes are destroyed
 by sharks. The whole of nature announces that the weak must be the
 prey of the strong. Strength is a gift of the gods. Through it I
 become possessor of all it is in my power to capture.”

  (“De l’Homme,” iv. 8.)

The constant effort of moralists and legislators has been to replace
the reign of might by a reign of justice. As Bacon says, _In societate
aut vis aut lex viget._ The object is to subject men’s actions more and
more to the empire of the law, and that the law should be more and more
in conformity with equity. Society has ever been, and still is, to a
great extent, too much a reflection of nature. Violations of justice
are numerous, and, if these are to be put a stop to, we must oppose
ourselves still more to the laws of nature, instead of contemplating
their re-establishment.

This is why Christianity, which is an ardent aspiration after justice,
is in real accordance with true science. In the book of Job the problem
is tragically proposed. The unjust are equally happy with the just,
and, as in nature, the strong live at the cost of the weak. Right
protests against this, and the voice of the poor is raised against
their oppressors. Listen. What deep thought is contained in the
following passage!—“Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are
mighty in power? Their seed is established in their sight with them,
and their offspring before their eyes. Their houses are safe from fear,
neither is the rod of God upon them” (Job xxi. 7-9). “Some remove
land-marks; they violently take away flocks and feed thereof. They
cause him to go naked without clothing, and they take away the sheaf
from the hungry; which make oil within their walls, and tread their
wine-presses, and suffer thirst” (Job xxiv. 2, 10, 11).

The prophets of Israel raised an eloquent protest against the evils
then reigning in society, and announced that a time should come when
justice would be established upon the earth. These hopes of a Messiah
were expressed in such precise terms that they may serve as a programme
of the reforms which yet remain to be accomplished. “He shall judge
the poor of the people, He shall save the children of the needy, and
shall break in pieces the oppressor. He shall spare the poor and needy,
and shall save the souls of the needy. There shall be an handful of
corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains” (Psalm lxxii. 4, 13,
16). “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of
righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever” (Isaiah xxxii. 17).
“Surely I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies, and
the sons of the stranger shall not drink thy wine, for the which thou
hast labored; but they that have gathered it shall eat it, and praise
the Lord; and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the
courts of My holiness” (Isaiah lxii. 8, 9). In the New Jerusalem “there
shall be no more sorrow nor crying,” “They shall not build, and another
inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat; for as the days of a
tree are the days of My people, and Mine elect shall long enjoy the
work of their hands” (Isaiah lxv. 21, 22).

The prophet thus raises his voice in favor of the poor, in the name of
justice, not of charity and mercy. “The Lord will enter into judgment
with the ancients of His people and the princes thereof: for ye have
eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses. What
mean ye that ye beat My people to pieces, and grind the faces of the
poor? saith the Lord God of hosts” (Isaiah iii. 14, 15). “Woe unto them
that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no
place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth” (Isaiah
v. 8). In the future society property will be ensured to all, and every
one will “sit under his vine and under his fig-tree” (Micah iv. 4).

The ideal of the prophets comprehends, then, in the first place,
the triumph of justice, which will bring liberty to the oppressed,
consolation to the outcast, and the produce of their labors to the
workers; and secondly, and chiefly, it will bring the glorification and
domination of the elect people—Israel.

The ideal of the Gospel makes less of this second consideration of
national grandeur and pre-eminence, and places in the foreground the
radical transformation of the social order. The Gospel is the “good
tidings of great joy,” the Εὐαγγέλιον, carried to the poor,
the approach of the Kingdom of God—that is to say, of the reign of
justice. “The last shall be first;” therefore the pretended “natural
order” will be reversed!

Who will possess the earth? Not the mightiest, as in the animal
creation, and as Darwinian laws decree; not the rich, “for it is
easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to
enter the Kingdom of God.” Lazarus is received into Abraham’s bosom,
while Dives is cast into the place of torment, “where there is weeping
and gnashing of teeth.” The first of biological precepts, the one
respecting the survival of the fittest, as it immolates others for
personal benefit, is essentially selfish, which is a vice incessantly
reprobated in the New Testament. “Look not every man on his own things,
but every man also on the things of others” (Philippians ii. 4). The
chief of all Christian virtues is charity; it is the very essence of
the Gospel. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness,
and all these things shall be added unto you” (St. Matthew vi. 33).

How very true is the economic doctrine that, with equitable laws, each
should enjoy the integral produce of his labor, and that, were this the
case, personal activity would attain its highest degree. Nothing is
more adverse to the prosperity of a nation than unjust laws; and this
is precisely what the prophets and Christ teach us.

If Darwinian laws were applied to human society, the utility of
history, considered as a moral lesson for both kings and people, would
be destroyed. The history of man might then be looked upon as a mere
zoological strife between nations, and a simple lengthening out of
natural history. What moral instruction can possibly be drawn from the
study of the animal world, where the strong devour or destroy the weak.
No spectacle could be more odious or more demoralizing!

The incomparable sublimity of the Gospel, which is, alas! only too
often misinterpreted, consists in an ardent longing for perfection,
in that aspiration for an ideal of justice which urged Jesus and His
earliest disciples to condemn the world as it then was. Thence sprang
the hatred of evil in its many various forms, the desire for better
things, for reforms and progress! Why do Mahometans stand still in the
march of civilization, while Christian countries advance ever more
and more rapidly? Because the first are resigned to evil, whereas the
second combat and endeavor to extirpate it. The stoicism—the elevated
character of which can hardly be sufficiently admired—the austerity,
and purity of such ancients as Marcus Aurelius, nevertheless, bowed
before absolute facts, looking upon them as the inevitable results of
the actual and natural order of things. Like modern evolutionists, they
glorified the laws of nature, considering them perfect. Their optimism
led them so far as to adore the cosmos as a divinity. “All that thou
wilt, O Cosmos,” says Marcus Aurelius, “is my will; nothing is too
early or too late for me, if it be at the hour thou decidest upon. My
fruit is such as thy seasons bring, O Nature! From thee comes all. Thou
art all. All go towards thee. If the gods be essentially good and just,
they must have permitted nothing, in the arrangement of the world,
contrary to right and justice.” What a contrast between this serene
satisfaction and the complaints of Job, of the prophets, and of Christ
Himself! The true Christian, in direct opposition to stoics and to Mr.
Herbert Spencer, holds that the world is completely infected with evil;
he avoids it carefully, and lives in the hope of a general cataclysm,
which will reduce our globe to ashes, and make place for a new and
purified heaven and earth! The belief of stoics and of evolutionary
sociologists logically advocates inaction, for it respects the present
order of things as attributable to natural laws. The Christian’s belief
leads him to ardently desire reform and progress, but also, when he
is deceived and reduced to despair, it occasionally culminates in
revolutionary violence and in Nihilism.

Not only Jesus, but all great religious reformers, such as Buddha,
Mahomet, Luther, and the great philosophers, especially Socrates
and Plato, and the great law-givers, from Solon and Lycurgus to the
legislators of the French Revolution—all the elect of humanity, in
fact—are struck with the evils under which our race is forced to
suffer, and have imagined and revealed an ideal social order more
in conformity with the ideal of justice; and in their writings they
place this Utopia in contrast with the existing order. The more
Christianity becomes despoiled of dogmas, and the more the ideas of
moral and social reform, contained in Christ’s teachings, are brought
forward as the chief aim, the more Mr. Herbert Spencer’s principles
will be shunned and avoided. In the splendid development of Roman law,
which lasted fifteen hundred years, a similar evolution took place.
In the beginning, in the laws of the twelve tables, many traces of
the hard law in favor of the mighty may be found. This is symbolized
by the lance (_quir_), which gave its name to the quiritarian right.
The father was allowed to sell or destroy his children, as they were
his possession. He had absolute power over his slaves, who were his
“things”. The creditor might throw his debtor in prison, or even cause
him to be cut in pieces—_in partes secanto_. The wife was entirely in
her husband’s power—_in manu_. Little by little, as centuries rolled
on, eminent lawgivers succeeded each other, and gradual changes were
made, so that, finally, just and humanitarian principles penetrated the
entire Roman code, and the Darwinian law, which glorifies might, gave
place to the Christian law, which extols justice.

This movement will most assuredly continue, in spite of all the abuse
it may receive from Mr. Herbert Spencer, and from others who think
as he does. It is a result of the advance of civilization from the
commencement of Christianity, and even from the time of the prophets
of Israel. It will manifest itself, not as it did in the middle ages,
by works of mercy, but, under the control of economic science, by the
intervention of the State in favor of the disinherited, and by measures
such as Mr. Shaw Lefevre approves of, so that each and all should be
placed in a position to be able to command reward in proportion to the
amount of useful labor accomplished.

Darwinian laws, generally admitted in the domain of natural history and
in the animal kingdom, will never be applied to human societies, until
the sentiments of charity and justice, which Christianity engraves on
our hearts, are completely eradicated.—_Contemporary Review._


BY S. G. G.

One of the most noteworthy objects in the great pageant that passed
through the crowds of London on the 10th of last November was an effigy
of Wat Tyler, upon a lofty platform, lying prostrate, as if slain, at
the feet of Walworth, the Mayor, who stood with drawn sword beside the
seeming corpse. The suggestion was that of hero and miscreant—rebellion
defeated—the City saved! Many there were in the line of procession
who showed, by unexpected hisses and groans, that they did not so
read history; and it seems worth while to ask, especially while the
greatest contemporary of the Mayor and the Tyler is freshly brought to
our remembrance by the Wycliffe quincentenary commemoration, what that
scene in Smithfield really meant and what was its issue.

In reading the old chronicles we have to remember the fable of the
Lion and the Man. Monks like Knighton of Leicester, and Walsingham of
St. Albans, or courtiers like Jean Froissart, with great simplicity
betray their bias, and we must often “read between the lines.” It is
useful also to recollect that the distinction between a rebellion and
a revolution turns very much upon the fact of success. Had Wat Tyler
won the day, and secured the charter which seemed so nearly within the
people’s reach, his name would have come down to us in better company
than that of Jack Cade and other vulgar insurgents and rioters. A
second Magna Charta would have become memorable in English history, and
its chief promoter might have been known to posterity as Sir Walter
Tyler, or perhaps the Earl of Kent.

We all know the story of the poll-tax—that intolerable impost[4] which
followed the “glorious wars” and the sumptuous extravagance of Edward
III., and which awakened such bitter resistance in the early days of
Richard II. The monkish historians themselves tell us how harshly and
brutally the tax was levied, especially by one John Legg, the farmer
of the tax for Essex and Kent; and if this part of the history stood
alone we might pause before we wholly condemned the hasty blow by which
the Dartford bricklayer or “tiler” avenged the insulted modesty of his
child.[5] Why should we give all our admiration to William Tell—with
his _second_ arrow for the heart of Gessler had his first sped too
fatally[6]—and not recognise in this man of Kent also the honorable
indignation of an outraged father? But this may pass, as it is plainly
impossible that the great insurrection could have been wholly due to
such a cause. Sixty thousand men from Kent, Essex, Sussex, Bedford,
would never have been roused to revolt even by the news of this
Dartford tragedy. The deed, no doubt, gave impulse to the movement; but
the causes of disaffection had been at work long before the levy of the
poll-tax; and the “peasant revolt” becomes most deeply interesting, as
well as important, when regarded as the first passionate claim of the
“lower classes” in England for freedom and their rights as men.

 [4] A shilling a head from every person above fourteen years old.

 [5] Tyler, “being at work in the same town tyling of an house, when
 he heard” of the insult offered to his daughter, “caught his lathing
 staff in his hand and ran reaking home; when reasoning with the
 collector who made him so bold, the collector answered with stout
 words and strake at the tylar; whereupon the tylar, avoiding the blow,
 smote the collector with the lathing staff that the brains flew out
 of his head. Wherethrough great noise arose in the street, and the
 poor people being glad, every one prepared to support the said John
 Tylar.”—_Stowe’s “Chronicle.”_

 [6] Some will say that this is legend; but the illustration
 nevertheless may stand.

The courtly Froissart informs us that there was in the county of
Kent[7] “a crazy priest,” one John Ball, who had long been testifying
against the serfdom in which the peasantry were held, “Why,” he asked,
“should we be slaves? Are we not all descended from Adam and Eve? By
what title do our masters hold us in bondage?” Froissart declares that
Ball preached absolute communism, but there is no evidence that he went
beyond the vigorous assertion of the equal right of all to freedom.
“Every Sunday after mass,” writes the chronicler, “as the people came
out of church, he would preach to them in the market-place (he had been
excommunicated), and assemble a crowd round him ... and he was much
beloved by the people.” As a consequence “the evil-disposed in these
districts began to rise, saying they were too severely oppressed, that
at the beginning of the world there were no slaves, and that no one
ought to be treated as such, unless he had committed treason against
his lord, as Lucifer had done against God; but they had done no such
thing, for they were neither angels nor spirits, but men, formed after
the same likeness with their lords, who treated them as beasts. This
they would no longer bear, but had determined to be free, and if they
labored or did any other work for their lords they would be paid for

 [7] Other authorities make _Essex_ the chief scene of Ball’s
 ministrations. See “Lives of English Popular Leaders,” 2nd Series, by
 C.E. Maurice, 1875.

Such words of the “crazy priest” and his “evil-disposed” hearers seem
to us reasonable enough. Their chief fault, perhaps, is that they
belong to the nineteenth century, rather than to the fourteenth. Never
was a man more emphatically before his time than this same John Ball.
The usual result followed. For these and the like “foolish words” he
was arrested and imprisoned by Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury.
But those words could not die, although the first attempt to realise
them in deed was—like many a first effort for justice, truth and
freedom—premature and a little blind.

At the beginning of 1831, then, John Ball was lying in the archbishop’s
prison at Maidstone. Yet it was not in Kent that the rising actually
began. Five thousand men of Essex, according to Walsingham, took the
first step to revolt. The monkish chronicler makes merry with their
equipment. “Sticks, rusty swords, hatchets, smoke-dried bows the color
of old ivory, some with but an arrow apiece, and many arrows with
but one feather!” “Think of this ragged regiment,” he contemptuously
writes, “aspiring to become masters of the realm!”

Placards and flysheets of a quaint and grotesque rather than of an
inflammatory character, called upon the people to assert their rights.
Knighton of Leicester gives some remarkable specimens, transcribed from
the old black-letter manuscripts, purporting to be issued by “Jack the
Miller,” “Jack the Carter,” “Jack Trueman,” and “Jack Straw.”[8] For
the most part they are written in a kind of doggerel rhyme, as in the
Miller’s appeal: “With right and with might; with skill and with will;
let might help right, and skill before will; and might before right,
then goeth our mill aright.” “In the rude jingle of these lines,”
writes the late Mr. Green, “began for England the literature of
political controversy. They are the first predecessors of the pamphlets
of Milton and Burke. Rough as they are, they express clearly enough the
mingled passions which met in the revolt of the peasants; their longing
for a right rule, for plain and simple justice; the scorn of the
immorality of the nobles, and the infamy of the Court; their resentment
at the perversion of the law to the cause of oppression.”

 [8] The contemporary poet, Gower, has described one aspect of the
 rebellion in some Latin verses which amusingly indicate the names most
 common among the populace:—

     _Watte_ vocat, cui _Thome_ venit, neque _Symme_ retardat,
       _Bette_ que, _Gibbe_ simul, _Hykke_ venire jubet,
     _Colle_ furit, quem _Gibbe_ juvat, nocumenta parantes,
       Cum quibus ad damnum _Wille_ coire vovet,
     _Grigge_ rapit, dum _Davve_ strepit, comes est quibus _Hobbe_,
       _Larkin_ et in medio non minor esse putat,
     _Hudde_ ferit, quos _Judde_ terit, dum _Tebbe_ juvatur,
       _Jakke_ domos virosque vellit, et ense necat.

 Some of the chroniclers represent “Jack Straw” as only an _alias_ of
 Wat Tyler, but they were evidently two different persons.

A leader of this motley band was one Baker, of Fobbing, in Essex, of
whom a story is told similar to that of the Dartford Tyler. The Essex
men sent messengers to Kent, and a great company, doubtless of John
Ball’s hearers, speedily assembled. They roamed the country. Broke
open the archbishop’s prison at Maidstone, and liberated the popular
champion. They stopped several companies of Canterbury pilgrims on
their way to the shrine of Becket, not to maltreat or to pillage
them, but to impose an oath “to be loyal to King Richard, to accept
no king of the name of John”—a clause aimed at the deservedly hated
John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster—“and, for the rest, to stir up their
fellow-citizens to resist all taxes except the ‘fifteenths,’ which
their fathers and predecessors had acknowledged and paid.” Wat Tyler of
Maidstone—a different person evidently from the man who had slain the
tax-collector at Dartford—was chosen as their leader. Hollinshed, after
Walsingham, describes him as “a verie craftie fellow and indued with
much wit[9] (if he had well applied it).”

 [9] “Vir versutus et magno sensu præditus.”—Walsingham, i. 463.

A march upon London was now planned, for the purpose of meeting
King Richard face to face, and demanding a redress of the people’s
grievances. Sir John Newton, one of the king’s knights, was led, by
persuasion or force, to act as envoy for the insurgents. The king
shut himself up in the Tower of his Court, but was invited to meet
the peasant army, now mustered at Blackheath. Perhaps had he done so,
much that followed might have been avoided; but the messengers sent to
reconnoitre dissuaded him. His majesty had taken boat and had descended
the Thames to Rotherhithe, a detachment from Blackheath having come to
the riverside to meet him. At this point Richard was advised by Sudbury
the archbishop, and Robert Hales the treasurer, to hold no parley.
“Have nothing to do,” they said, “with a set of shoeless ribalds.” For
a little time, the royal lad—he was but sixteen—was rowed up and down
the river in his barge, pitiably irresolute; but at last he returned
to the Tower, and an advance upon the City was resolved upon by the
peasant army, after a sermon by Ball, on Blackheath, from the text—

    “When Adam dalf and Eve span,
    Wo was thanne a gentilman?”

The mayor and aldermen were for shutting the City gates, but the mass
of the citizens effectually protested against excluding those whom
they owned as “friends and neighbors.” The gates were accordingly
left open all night, and an immense multitude went in and out, as yet
comparatively orderly, and certainly honest. They stole nothing, not
even food; everything they took they paid for at a fair price; any
robber amongst them they put to death on the spot. As far as in them
lay, these rude undisciplined masses wished to make fair war on those
whom they regarded as their oppressors.[10] The Duke of Lancaster
was the first object of their animosity. His sumptuous palace in the
Savoy was ruthlessly destroyed, but the chronicler is careful to
relate that the rioters did not appropriate the spoils. His jewels
and other valuables he flung into the river, and one man detected in
secreting a silver cup was thrown in after it. The records of the
kingdom and other State papers were burned, the peasantry in some dim
confused way connecting these documents with the oppressions to which
they had been subject. Other acts of violence followed, notably the
destruction of great part of the Temple, of which Robert Hales was
Master. The insurgents, to whom drink had been freely served by many
of the citizens, soon became infuriated and uncontrollable. A wild,
half-drunken mob raged through the City, and deplorable excesses were

 [10] “It was said that the insurgents as they went along were
 killing all the lawyers and jurymen; that every criminal who feared
 punishment for his offences had joined himself to them; that masters
 of grammar-schools had been compelled to forswear their profession,
 and that even the possession of an inkhorn was dangerous to its owner.
 Most of the rumors were, no doubt, the mere inventions of the excited
 imaginations of the chroniclers or their informants. The orderly
 conduct of the army of Tyler when it was first admitted into London,
 and the definiteness of the demands which formed the basis of the
 charter granted by Richard, make the atrocities and absurdities of
 these acts alike improbable.”—C. E. Maurice, p. 164.

In this way the Thursday was passed—Corpus Christi Day, June 13, 1381.
The City was panic stricken. Walworth, the mayor, proposed, according
to Froissart, that an onslaught should be made upon the insurgents
during the night, when many of them, lying in drunken sleep, could
easily be killed “like flies.” But the atrocious counsel was rejected,
and on the Friday morning the king came to parley, chiefly, as it
appears, with the Essex contingent, gathered at Mile End, “in a fair
meadow,” writes Froissart, “where in the summer time people go to amuse
themselves.” The interview was a peaceful one. Nothing could be more
simple and reasonable than the demand of the people: “We wish that thou
wouldst make us free forever, us, our heirs, and our lands, and that we
should no longer be called slaves, nor held in bondage.” Richard II. at
once acceded to the petition, promised four things: first, that they
and their children after them should be free; secondly that they should
not be attached to the soil for service, but should be at liberty to
rent lands of their own at a moderate fixed price; thirdly, that they
should have access, free of toll, to all markets and fairs, cities,
burghs, and mercantile towns, to buy and sell; and, fourthly, that
they should be forgiven for the present insurrection. The king further
prepared to send letters to every town confirming these articles of
agreement. Two persons from each locality were to remain to carry back
these precious documents; “thirty secretaries” were instantly set to
work; and the multitude cheerfully dispersed.

But the men of Kent had meanwhile enacted a terrible scene at the
Tower. Taking forcible possession of the place and frightening the six
hundred yeomen on guard almost out of their wits in a way which the
chroniclers graphically describe, they sought out the archbishop and
treasurer who had called them “shoeless ribalds,” with Richard Lyons
the merchant, chief commissioner for levying the poll-tax, and John
Legg, the man who had taken the most prominent part in the collection
of the impot, also two of Legg’s satellites and an obnoxious friar.
These men they beheaded, carrying their heads on long pikes through the
streets of London. It was a terrible revenge, and must have steeled
the hearts of well-meaning citizens at once against the movement. The
King’s mother (the Princess Joan, widow of the Black Prince) was in the
Tower, half dead with terror. Some of the insurgents had penetrated
into her room and thrust their swords into the mattress of her bed in
search for the “traitors,” but beyond the murder of the archbishop and
his companions they seemed to have committed no outrage. The princess
herself, on being recognised, was treated with honor, and was conveyed
to the Wardrobe, Carter Lane, in the vicinity of Blackfriars, where the
king found her when his business at Mile End was done—a royal day’s
work that might have been one of the best and brightest in the annals
of England!

The next morning Richard heard mass in Westminster Abbey, and, on
his return with sixty knights, encountered Wat Tyler and his men in
Smithfield “before the Abbey of St. Bartholomew.” As it appears, Tyler
had some further demands to make, not being altogether satisfied with
the charter of Mile End.[11] Sir John Newton rode up to invite him to
approach the king. According to some accounts the knight was received
insolently. “I shall come,” said Tyler, “when I please. If you are
in a hurry you can go back to your master now!” Another narrator
tells us that Wat began to abuse Sir John Newton for coming to him on
horseback, being met with the courteous reply, “You are mounted, why
should not I be so likewise?” In a third chronicle we read that Tyler
was approaching Richard covered, and was ordered by Walworth, the
mayor, to remove his cap, but roughly refused. There was, at any rate,
a brief dialogue between Richard II. and the peasant leader, in which
the latter insisted on the immediate issue of letters of manumission
to all, and added his new demand, to the effect that “all warrens,
waters, parks, and woods should be common, so that the poor as well
as the rich might freely fish in all waters, hunt the deer in forests
and parks, and the hare in the field.” This cry for the repeal of the
game and forest laws went to the heart of one of the chief grievances
of the people. What reply the king gave is not recorded, nor is it
easy to disentangle from the conflicting accounts any clear details.
One chronicler says that Tyler came too near the king’s horse, as
if intending some mischief against his majesty; others that he was
simply insolent, tossing his dagger from hand to hand as he parleyed;
others that blows were actually interchanged between Wat and Sir John
Newton. This much at any rate is clear, that the Mayor Walworth—_John_
Walworth, as Knighton calls him; _William_, as in the other
authorities—aimed a sudden blow at the bold demagogue, who fell at once
from his horse, and was dispatched by one of the king’s squires, named
Sandwich or Cavendish.

 [11] It is possible that some of the points above mentioned were
 among these reserved demands. If so, the king conceded them to
 Tyler, verbally, before the catastrophe. But this is uncertain. The
 concessions are enumerated in Rymer’s “Fœdera,” vol. vii. p. 317.

With Wat Tyler died also the insurrection, and the hopes of English
liberty for many a dreary year. “As he fell from his horse to the
earth,” writes Walsingham, “he first gave hope to the English soldiery,
who had been half dead, that the Commons could be resisted.” There
was, no doubt, a touch of chivalry in the first words of the young
king, “Follow me!” he cried to the people infuriated by their leader’s
assassination; “I will be your captain!” They were startled, and
obeyed, the king preceding them to Islington, where he was met by a
large body of soldiers. There was no conflict, and the multitude slowly
dispersed, being threatened with death if found in the streets after

As soon as the king was safe it was found that his pledges had meant
nothing. The promises of enfranchisement, the “letters” about which
the “thirty secretaries” had been busy all the night of that memorable
fourteenth of June, were treated as void. “Villeins you are,” said the
king, when asked by the men of Essex to confirm his promises, “and
villeins you shall remain. You shall remain in bondage, not such as
you have hitherto been subjected to, but incomparably viler. For so
long as we live and rule by God’s grace over this kingdom, we shall use
our sense, our strength and our property, so to treat you that your
slavery may be an example to posterity, and that those who live now and
hereafter, who may be like you, may always have before their eyes, and
as it were in a glass, your misery and reasons for cursing you, and the
fear of doing things like those which you have done.” In the spirit of
this royal message, commissions were sent into the country to bring
those who had taken part in the insurrection to condign punishment.
John Ball, the preacher, Jack Straw with the Millers, Truemans, and a
host of others, were mercilessly put to death; and in that terrible
autumn the scaffold and the gallows had no fewer than seven thousand
victims![12] Nothing could more clearly show the panic into which this
wild rough outcry for freedom had thrown the constituted authorities in
Church and State. One good result, however, of the insurrection was in
the vanishing of the poll-tax. Of that impost, at least, we do not hear
again. And more—the people had learned their power, a lesson which in
the darkest times was never forgotten.

 [12] Green’s “History of the English People,” vol. 1. p. 475.

We believe in freedom now. Almost all that John Ball and Wat Tyler
demanded is the heritage of every Englishman. They might have sought
it, perhaps, by “constitutional methods.” Yet we must remember their
times. They did but imitate in their rough way during those three days
of terror the course which their masters pursued for more than three
hundred years! The stroke that laid Wat Tyler low—and made Richard II.,
that worthless lad, the master of the situation—whatever it was, was
not a blow for liberty!

Some partisan writers have associated the teachings of John Ball with
the principles maintained by Wycliffe, especially in his treatise “On
Dominion.” The dates, however, are against this. Ball is said to have
been a preacher for more than twenty years before the insurrection.
This carries us back to about 1360, an earlier date than we can assign
to Wycliffe’s treatise, or to his institution of “Poor Preachers.” In
fact, the chronicler Knighton takes a diametrically opposite view, and
regards Ball as a _forerunner_ of Wycliffe—the John the Baptist to
this false Messiah! In his fervid imagination the Leicester canon sees
the apocalyptic visions fulfilled—the catastrophe of the last days!
Such events can mean nothing else than the end of the world! “Much has
happened since then,” and the signs of the times may perhaps be read as
fallaciously by seers of to-day. There can, however, be no doubt that
before the insurrection, Ball had been an adherent of Wycliffe. The
demand for spiritual freedom fell in, at least, with the thoughts and
impulses that had prompted the serfs of their wild irregular cry for
social and political rights.

“In memory of Sir William Walworth’s valor,” writes Thomas Fuller in
his “Church History of Great Britain,” “the arms of London, formerly a
plain cross, were augmented by the addition of a dagger, to make the
coat in all points complete.” This is still a popular mistake. That
dagger, or short sword, has nothing whatever to do with Walworth, or
Tyler, or Richard II., or any of the personages, good or evil, of that
era. In fact, it was a relic or “survival” of the sword in the hand
of the Apostle Paul, formerly engraven on the City seal.[13] St. Paul
anciently figured as patron saint of London, and when in Reformation
times his effigy disappeared from the City arms his sword remained. We
know that in Christian art, from about the tenth century, the sword was
a familiar symbol of St. Paul, the primary intention no doubt being to
denote the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

 [13] For this information we are indebted to Mr. Overall, the
 courteous Librarian of the Guildhall Library.


The history of the Republic up to this time has been such a course of
surprises, that any forecast as to the future must be made with a large
reckoning for accidents; but this much may be said, that the Republic
owes its present appearance of stability to the want of commanding
talents among her ruling men. The outlook could not have been so
peaceful had Gambetta been alive. Gambetta had a vast ambition, and a
leonine, roaring energy, which provoked furious opposition. The men who
have parted his influence among them may be as ambitious as he was;
but they are so for personal objects, and as there is nothing great in
their characters or their policy, nothing imperious in their manner,
nothing stirring or seducing in their eloquence, they are less feared
than the man who wished to be a master, and said so. Nobody could
denounce M. Jules Ferry as aspiring to become a dictator; yet during
the past year he has held more effective power than was ever wielded
by Gambetta. He is a faithful party-servant who has been allowed to
exercise authority, because his employers have felt that they could
dismiss him at a moment’s notice. We bear more from a humble, useful
domestic, than from a self-asserting master. Louis XIV., who broke
the tyranny of Mazarin, and could not brook the arrogance of Fouquet,
submitted to the management of the quiet, astute Colbert.

In his novel “Numa Roumestan,” written while Gambetta was alive,
Alphonse Daudet showed “the North being conquered by the South,” that
is, the blustering, bragging, blarneying _blagueurs_ of Provence
and Gascony enthralling the democracy with their charlatanism, and
seizing upon all the public offices. Sardou had worked out the same
idea in “Rabagas;” but it must be noticed that the holders of the four
most important posts in France at this moment—the four Presidents,
of the Republic, of the Senate, of the Chamber of Deputies, and
of the Cabinet—are conspicuously exempt from the usual attributes
of demagogues. They are cold-headed men, plain of speech, dry in
manner; they are not Southerners, and, in fact, they are by no means
representative of the French as a nation.

M. Grévy comes from the Jura, on the borders of Switzerland, a
department which has for the last half century been more advanced in
public instruction than all the others, and where the _bourgeoisie_ are
something like the Scotch in their puritanism.

M. le Royer, President of the Senate, a hard, sententious little
man, with solemn eyes peering through gold-rimmed spectacles, and a
voice like the drone of a Lenten preacher—M. le Royer is a Genevan
Protestant, whose father became French by naturalisation. M. Brisson
was born and educated at Bourges, in the old province of Berry. He is
a trim, mathematically-minded lawyer and logician, creaseless in his
morals as in his dress, one of those Frenchmen to whom all the levities
of French life—light literature, music, gossip, and even _cuisine_—are
distasteful. M. Jules Ferry is a Lorrainer, born in the mountainous
Vosges; and, like M. le Royer, a Protestant—at least so far as he
confesses to any religion at all.

       *       *       *       *       *

A nation must be turned upside down before a man like M. Jules Ferry
can become Prime Minister. It makes one smile to think that the
French have demolished three dynasties, and that countless thousands
of enthusiastic revolutionists have let themselves be shot behind
barricades, in order that the country may now be ruled by a Cabinet
containing three second-rate journalists, and three barristers who have
no names at the Bar. “No more revolutions: I have become a Minister,”
wrote the late M. Garnier Pagēs to his constituents in 1848.[14] M.
Ferry, to do him justice, did not conclude that progress reached its
zenith on the day when he took Cabinet office; he has rather shown
modest thankfulness at his own elevation, while feeling privately, no
doubt, some astonishment. Now that he has been in place some time,
the astonishment must have worn off, for he has learnt to know men,
and to perceive that circumstances do more for most successful rulers
than these accomplish for themselves. An inexperienced man at the helm
soon gets accustomed to see the big ship obey the propulsion of his
rudder, and if he be steering in calm weather, he may do as well as the
skilled pilot. M. Ferry became Prime Minister _faute de mieux_, and he
may remain so (with occasional displacements) _crainte de pire_. The
course of French Republicanism is always downward, and the constant
preoccupation of men’s minds under that happy _régime_, is the fear of

 [14] “L’ère des révolutions est fermée! Je suis devenu Ministre, et le
 peuple entier entre au pouvoir avec moi.”

Jules Ferry owed the beginning of his political fortune to his luck in
writing for a newspaper which had a witty editor. Just twenty years ago
(1865), being then thirty-three years old, he joined the staff of the
_Temps_, and after contributing leaders for three years, undertook in
1868 a series of papers attacking the administration of Baron Haussmann
as Prefect of the Seine. Baron Haussmann had rebuilt Paris and made
it a city unique in the world for beauty and sanitation. M. Ferry
could not have performed such a task, but he was able to criticise
the Prefect’s work, to array long columns of figures showing how much
it had cost, and to ask whether it would not have been far better if
all these millions had been given to the poor. Baron Haussmann sent
_communiques_ to the _Temps_ impugning the accuracy of M. Ferry’s
figures; but the journalist of course stuck to his multiplication,
and, as spirited opposition always made a man popular under the
Empire, the Vosgian’s articles obtained more success than is usual
with statistical essays. It was proposed that they should be rebound
in pamphlet form and circulated among Parisian householders in view of
the general election of 1869. M. Neffzer, editor of the _Temps_, then
suggested that the pamphlet should be called, “Les Comptes Fantastiques

 [15] A play upon the title of “Contes Fantastiques d’Hoffmann”—a book
 which is popular in France.

The title took, and Jules Ferry got the reputation of being a comical
fellow. Resolving to make the most of this character while it
lasted, he came forward as a candidate for Paris at the elections of
1869—calling himself a Radical for this purpose. He was no more Radical
than comical, but if he had not taken up extreme views he could have
offered no reason for opposing the moderate Liberal (M. Guéroult,
editor of the _Opinion Nationale_), who was the sitting member of the
sixth Parisian ward. M. Ferry defeated his brother-journalist; and
in the following year, when the Empire collapsed at Sedan, he became
_ex-officio_ a member of the Government of National Defence. It will be
remembered that this Government was composed of the nine members for
Paris, because M. Grévy and some other leading Republicans refused to
accept power unless it were lawfully conferred upon them by a national

M. Ferry was of course installed in Baron Haussmann’s post; but
during the siege of Paris he was very nearly lynched by some of those
excellent working-men who had formerly hailed him as a friend and
brother. On the 31st October, 1870, an insurrection broke out in the
beleaguered city, and a vigorous attempt was made to overthrow the
Government. M. Ferry fell into the hands of the insurgents, and for
six mortal hours these rude men subjected him to every species of
indignity. They pulled his luxuriant black whiskers, they taunted him
with eating white bread and beefsteak, while his proletarian brethren
had to content themselves with rations of brown bread and horseflesh,
and when dinner-time came they offered him his choice between a grilled
rat and some cold boiled dog. Happily the Breton Mobiles were at hand
and delivered him; but from that day M. Ferry’s Radicalism perceptibly
cooled, and when the Communal rebellion occurred, he took good care not
to let himself be kidnapped again by the once-idolised working-man.
Decamping to Versailles he remained there throughout the second siege,
and did not return to take possession of his post as Prefect of the
Seine until the rebellion had been crushed. It was on this occasion
that alighting from his brougham near the still-smouldering Hôtel de
Ville, and seeing a convoy of Communist prisoners pass, he shook his
nicely-gloved fist and exclaimed: “_Ah! tas de canaille!_”

The exclamation was pardonable, for these Communists had shot M.
Ferry’s friend and former Secretary, Gustave Chaudey, and the
new-fledged Prefect must have imagined bullets whistling by his own
sleek ears as he looked at them. However, M. Ferry’s vindictiveness
went no further than words, for he exerted himself charitably to save
some old journalistic comrades who had taken the wrong side during the
civil war. He is believed to have secreted several of these in his
private lodgings and to have covered them with his official protection
while the police were hunting for them. What is more, he honorably
connived at the escape of one of his vilest detractors, Félix Pyat.
This charming person, always the first to preach sedition and regicide,
and the first to fly in the hour of danger, had been unable to get
clear away from Paris when the Commune fell. He took refuge in a
convent, where the nuns harbored him for six weeks, though these poor
women were quite aware that he was the Pyat who had been clamoring for
the demolition of churches and the shooting of hostages. Jules Ferry
happened to hear of Pyat’s whereabouts, but instead of delivering
up the wretched men to a court-martial, he caused a passport to be
privately given him.

Good nature abounds in M. Ferry’s character, and this quality, in
combination with perseverance and a quiet talent for picking up other
people’s ideas, has been the secret of his success. During the last
years of the Empire while he wrote for the _Temps_, he was a daily
frequenter of the Café de Madrid, and there he was appreciated as
an attentive listener to no matter whose stories. He had then, as
he has now, a face such as is only to be seen on the shoulders of
old-fashioned French barristers and Belgravian footmen. The judges of
the Second Empire did not allow _avocats_ to wear beards, so M. Ferry
shaved his upper lip and chin, but his whiskers were of stupendous
size. Add to these a Roman nose, a fine forehead, shrewd playful
eyes, a well shaped smiling mouth, and a certain plumpness of girth
which removed him altogether out of the category of those lean men
whom Shakespeare thought dangerous. He always shook men’s hands with
a hearty grip; he could laugh loud and long even when not amused; if
conversation flagged he could light it up suddenly with a few crackling
jokes, but he generally preferred to sit silent, smoking penny cigars
(for he was not rich), sipping absinthe, and taking mental notes of
what was being said around him. Now and then, especially if a talker
appealed to him, he would nod approval with a grave closing of the
eyes, which is the supreme politeness in the art of listening.

He never squandered his knowledge in small talk, so that his public
speeches always took his most intimate friends aback. Gambetta once
said to him: “You are the most secretive of chatter-boxes,”[16] the
truth being that Ferry used commonplace ideas in private intercourse,
just as some men keep half-pence for beggars. To stake gold in
conversational games over a _café_ table was more than his intellectual
means could afford. A _blagueur_ himself in a small way, he knew the
destructive power of that light chaff which can be thrown upon a
good idea while it has the bloom of novelty on it. Then he was not
combative. Gambetta, a millionaire in talents, could scatter his best
thoughts broadcast without ever impoverishing himself. At the Café
Procope, at Brébant’s, and in the dining-room of his friend, Clément
Laurier, he would pound his fists on the table and thunder out long
passages of the speeches which he intended to deliver, and this without
caring whether political opponents heard him. “You are showing your
hand,” Laurier[17] and the still more prudent Arthur Ranc used to say.
But Gambetta could win without hiding his trumps, or he could win
without trumps.

 [16] “Tu es le plus cachotier des bavards.“

 [17] Clément Laurier used to be Gambetta’s chief political henchman.
 During the war he was sent to London to negotiate the Morgan Loan. But
 the Commune sickened him of Republicanism and he joined the Royalist
 ranks. He died in 1878, being then one of the Deputies for the Indre.
 His change of politics never impaired his private relations with

Ferry always went into political action with his powder dry, chose
his ground carefully and picked out an antagonist whom he was sure to
worst. Gambetta would rush at the strongest enemy, Ferry fired at the
weakest; but this system had the advantage of leaving him after every
combat victorious and unwounded. It was a great triumph to him, when,
coming back among his friends, he heard their self-astonished bravos
as they slapped him on the back. There is much slapping on the back
in French political assemblies. Many a time has Gambetta’s broad hand
descended upon Ferry’s stalwart shoulders with the shout, ”_C’est bien
fait, mon petit!_”

The two were capital friends from the first, and remained so till
nearly the end. It was not till within two years of Gambetta’s death,
that the chief began to find his _protégé_ a little too independent.
Mutinous Ferry never was, but a time arrived when, from one cause and
another, he found himself second in influence to Gambetta among the
Republican party. He was but Addington to Gambetta’s Pitt: nevertheless
he got tired of hearing people say that he was only allowed to hold
office as a stopgap; and with a proper dignity he resented Gambetta’s
pretensions to act as occult Prime Minister without assuming the
responsibilities of the premiership. Gambetta, as we know, wanted to
become President of the Republic, or else Prime Minister with a secure
majority to be obtained by _scrutin de liste_. Until he could compass
one or other of these ends, he preferred to play the Agamemnon sitting
in the Presidential chair of the Chamber of Deputies. M. de Freycinet
and M. Ferry each humored this whim so long as it was possible, and
indeed nothing could have been more amicably subservient than M.
Ferry’s conduct while Prime Minister in 1881. He not only dispensed his
patronage by Gambetta’s directions, but framed all Government measures
according to the Dictator’s tastes, and even agreed to the performance
of little Parliamentary comedies, in which Gambetta pretended to attack
the Cabinet in order to dispel the notion that M. Ferry was not a
free agent. This state of things, however, could not continue after
the general election of 1881, when a strong Republican majority was
returned—not to support the Ferry Cabinet, but to set up something
better. Gambetta forgot that in putting on the gloves with his friend
Ferry, simply _pour amuser la galerie_, he was apt to give knock-down
blows which made Ferry look small. The cautious Lorrainer felt that he
had had enough of these sparring-matches, and he had the sharpness to
see that if he accepted a portfolio in the “Grand Ministère,” which
Gambetta formed in November 1881, he would confirm the general opinion
that throughout his premiership he had only been the great man’s
puppet. For all this, it was a very brave thing he did in refusing to
sit in Gambetta’s Cabinet. Gambetta was deeply offended and doubtless
as much surprised as Richelieu would have been if Brother Joseph had
declined to “act any longer with him for the present.” Happily the
Dictator could not punish Brother Jules as the Cardinal would have
chastised Brother Joseph.

He sent twice to Ferry to offer him a portfolio, wrote to him once, and
ended by proposing to get him elected life-senator and President of the
Upper House. But when all these favors were declined with thanks, he
shrugged his shoulders and exclaimed: “_Mais c’est absurde!_” meaning
that his friend Ferry had come to think a little too much of himself.

Two months after this the “Grand Ministère” had fallen. Jules Ferry
had given the _Scrutin de Liste_ Bill his vote, but he had refrained
from exerting any influence on behalf of the Cabinet. “_C’est un coup
de Ferry!_” ejaculated Gambetta, when the numbers of the division
were announced,[18] and upon somebody’s remarking that Ferry had
voted aright, “Bah, you should have seen him in the smoking-room,”
growled the angry chief. “But he was speaking up loudly for you in the
smoking-room.” “The song is in the tune,” answered Gambetta, “and Jules
was singing flat.”[19]

 [18] The _Scrutin de Liste_ Bill was rejected in the Chamber of
 Deputies on the 27th January, 1882, by 282 to 227.

 [19] “Le ton fait la chanson, et Jules chantait faux.”

The fact is that the fate of the _Scrutin_ Bill had turned wholly on
the question as to whether Gambetta could be trusted. The measure
establishing election by caucus would have placed absolute power in
his hands for years, and the Left Centre were naturally afraid of
this prospect, which was tantamount to the destruction of regular
Parliamentary government. But before committing themselves to a
coalition with Radicals and Monarchists, many of these moderate
Liberals came and sounded Ferry. He would only answer that he was
sure Gambetta meant well, and so forth; but of course this was not
enough, and the Moderates marched over to M. Clémenceau. The day after
this vote M. Ferry was back in office with the portfolio of Public
Instruction, and thirteen months later he was Prime Minister once more,
but this time under conditions very different from those which had
chequered his first Administration. Gambetta was dead, three Cabinets
had been overthrown within eight months, and M. Ferry was actually
able to make a favor of accepting a post in which M. de Freycinet, M.
Duclerc and M. Fallières had wretchedly failed. Things had come to such
a pass that if M. Ferry had objected to form a Government, M. Grévy
would have resigned.

Thus M. Ferry was truly on a certain day the _Deus ex machinâ_. His
advance to a position so powerful can only be explained by comparing
him to the winner of an obstacle race. Nine years ago, any politician
contemplating the possibility of Gambetta’s death, would have named
at least six Republicans now living as more likely than M. Ferry to
succeed him as leader of the party. He would have named Jules Simon,
Léon Say, William Waddington, Charles de Freycinet, Challemel-Lacour,
or Eugène Clémenceau; and supposing all these runners had started with
M. Ferry over a flat course, it may be questioned, to keep up the
racing metaphor, whether Ferry would have been so much as placed. But
in an obstacle race, one man comes to grief at the “hanging-tub,” one
at the crawling, another at the water-jump, and the winner is often the
man who, having scrambled through every thing in a haphazard fashion,
comes in alone—all the others having dropped off.

No man ever spoilt a fine chance so sadly as Jules Simon—the first
to “drop off”—and this all for want of a little spirit at the right
moment. The author of many learned and entertaining works on political
economy, a bright scholar, charming _causeur_, persuasive debater, a
man of handsome face and lordly bearing, infinitely respectable in his
private life, full of diplomatic tact and with a genuine aptitude for
administration—M. Simon had all the qualifications of a party-leader.
Under the Empire he was an Orleanist, but he let himself be converted
to Republicanism by M. Thiers after the war, and he was the only
Minister whom Thiers trusted to the extent of never meddling with the
business of his department. He was Minister of Public Instruction and
Worship for more than two years, and acquitted himself of his functions
in a manner to please both Catholics and Freethinkers, cardinals and
vivisecting professors. He was perhaps a little too unctuous in his
phrases; he had a suspicious facility for weeping, and he scattered
compliments and promises about him, as a beadle sprinkles holy water in
a May-day procession. But these are the little arts of diplomacy: M.
Simon could be quite firm in dismissing a Bonapartist professor, even
while shedding tears over the poor man’s appeal to be suffered to earn
his bread in peace; and when he was sent as High Commissioner of the
Government to visit the pontoons and prisons in which Coummunists were
confined, all his tender pity for political offenders in general (he
recognised many of his quondam electors in bonds) did not prevent him
from investigating each individual case with unemotional acumen. He had
power to liberate whom he pleased, but he used it sparingly. At Brest
he was much pained by the rudeness of a prisoner to whom he had said
kindly: “Why are you here, my friend?” “For having too much studied
your books,“ was the sniggering answer.[20] He had another disagreeable
shock at the prison of Versailles, where Louise Michel called him
”_Vieux farceur._”

 [20] “L’Ouvrier,” “L’Ouvriére,” “L’Ouvrier de huit ans,” “Le Travail,”
 “La Peine de Mort,” &c., works couched in the purest philanthropy and
 which remind the working-man of all his grievances against society.

But Jules Simon rendered some very great service to the Republican
cause. The office-holders of to-day often talk as if they had founded
the Republic—which shows that they have defective memories. The Comte
de Chambord was the real “Father of the Republic,” as even Senator
Wallon must acknowledge in his meditative moments.[21] If the Bourbon
prince had been anything better than a Quaker, Monarchy would have
been restored after the Commune—in fact, during the five years that
followed the civil war, the Republic merely lived under respite of a
death-sentence, so to say, until its enemies agreed as to how it should
be exterminated. But they could not agree, and Jules Simon was in a
large measure the cause of this. He went about among the Orleanists,
coaxing over this one and that one to the idea that Republicanism was
the only practical thing for the moment. His favorite argument was
this, that Socialists and other such people could be put down much
more summarily by a Republican Government than by a King. Under a
Bourbon Sovereign, Liberals and Socialists would make common cause,
and there would inevitably be another revolution before long; but if
the Orleanists would only take the Republic under their patronage
they might rule the country according to their doctrines, just as the
English Whigs had long ruled England, keeping their Radical tail in
subjection. With these words, Jules Simon wiled away many; and the
trophies of success thickened upon him. He was elected to the French
Academy; in 1875 he was nominated a life-senator, and in 1876, some
months after the first general election under the new Constitution, he
became Prime Minister.

 [21] M. Wallon was the mover of the resolution: “that the Government
 of France be a Republic.” It was carried in the National Assembly,
 1875, by a majority of _one_ vote.

He kept his post for about eight months, and then one memorable morning
he allowed Marshal Mac Mahon to dismiss him from it like a lacquey. The
Spaniards, by way of expressing their disbelief in the consistency of
courage at all times and in all circumstances, are accustomed to say
that a man was brave “on a certain day.” One may assert then, without
any imputation on M. Simon’s general valor, that on the 16th May, 1877,
he showed an utter want of pluck. The reason for this appears to have
been that he was out of health at the time—worn out by two or three
sleepless nights, and disgusted with the worries of office. He had
gone to bed on the 15th May without any suspicion that the Marshal
President intended to dismiss him and his Liberal Cabinet, and he was
therefore astounded when, as he was dressing, a messenger brought him
a letter in which the Marshal cavalierly told him that, as he had been
unable to manage the Republican majority, he must make way for stronger

Now it was quite true that the Republicans under Gambetta had behaved
very factiously towards Jules Simon. Parties were so divided in the
Lower House that no Minister could govern, and it was manifest that
the only way out of the death-lock would be through a dissolution.
But M. Simon was cashiered at the instigation of a Royalist Palace
Cabal, who wanted the next elections to be held under the auspices of
a Reactionary Cabinet, and he should have had the boldness to denounce
this intrigue. Instead of doing that he sat down in his dressing-gown,
it is said, and wrote a tame, self-exculpatory letter to the Marshal.
He did not see that Mac Mahon had played into his hands by enabling
him to take his stand as champion of the entire Republican party. A
few brave words of defiance to the Cabal, a dignified reproof to the
Marshal himself, and an appeal to the whole nation to rouse itself for
a grand battle at the polls, this is what Jules Simon’s letter should
have contained, and an epistle couched in these terms would have made
him immensely popular.

But the ejected Premier’s abject, doleful apology appearing in the
papers on the same day as the Marshal’s letter, spread consternation
and disgust through the Republican party. It was a whine at the moment
when a trumpet blast was expected. Simon had missed the opportunity of
being great. The Republicans were ashamed of him, and spurned him with
a positive yell of execration. In the course of the morning he hurried
to M. Thiers’s house, and began in a lachrymose style to descant upon
his wrongs, saying that he had never been the Marshal’s effective
adviser, that the Duc de Broglie had all along been guiding Mac Mahon,
&c. “Why on earth didn’t you say that in your letter?” screamed Thiers;
and the lugubrious M. Barthélemy St. Hilaire, lifting up his long arms
in woe, repeated like his chief, “Why was not that said in the letter?”

Why indeed? If Jules Simon had shown spirit he would have been
accounted the foremost man of the Republican party after Thiers’s
death, and he might eventually have been President of the Republic in
place of M. Grévy. As it was, the Republicans, after their victory at
the general election of 1877,[22] refused to rank him as one of their
number, and he has ever since been in the humiliating position of a
pariah. His speeches in the Senate are always applauded, but not by
the Republicans. It has become the fashion among his former allies to
speak of him as a renegade, and facetious party-newspapers have not
scrupled to play practical jokes upon him. One of these pleasantries
was rather funny. A paper announced that M. Simon had inherited a large
sum of money, and that, in the excess of his philanthropy, he had taken
to distributing twenty ‘napoleons’ every morning among the first five
score beggars (being true Republicans) who knocked at his door. For
days the Place de la Madeleine, where the unhappy statesman lived was
infested by hordes of vagabonds, howling “Vive la République,” and the
police found it difficult to disperse these believers in M. Simon’s

 [22] There were mistakes all round in that 15th May business. The
 Conservatives should have allowed the Republicans a little more rope.
 If the Simon Cabinet had been overthrown by a vote of the Left, and
 if another Liberal Administration had been put up to meet with the
 same fate—then would have been the time to dissolve the Lower House.
 But the Royalists were too impatient. They called for a national
 condemnation of Republicanism before the nation had grown tired of
 Republican dissensions. The 16th May was the making of Gambetta as a
 leader, for up to that time he had only been a free lance—“_un fou
 furieux_,” as Thiers called him. He stepped into the place which ought
 to have been Simon’s.

M. Léon Say has been mentioned among the politicians who once seemed
destined to do great things. He may do some of these things yet, for
he has not lost the confidence of his party, but he is such a rider of
hobbies, that he can never be expected to fall into the swing trot of
any party cavalcade, even though he be suffered to caper at its head.
He has been Prefect of the Seine, Minister of Finance, Ambassador to
London, and President of the Senate. He is a jovial man, with a plump
waist, face and moustache, not quite sixty, the proprietor of the
_Journal des Débats_, a millionaire, and the highest French authority
on finance. He writes as well as he speaks, and he speaks like a clever
book. The Bourse has so much confidence in him that this return to the
Ministry of Finance would at any time make the funds rise, and for
this reason every Premier has been anxious to have him in the Cabinet.
If M. Say would only confine himself to finance as M. Cochéry does to
postal matters,[23] he might abide comfortably in office for years; but
he is a political Sybarite who chafes at rose leaves. He has no sooner
accepted a post than he begins to see reasons for throwing it up. Hours
are wasted at every change of Cabinet in trying to persuade M. Say to
join this or that combination; but either his Free Trade principles
stand in the way, or he cannot sit with so and so, or he insists upon
having such and such a man to be his colleague. The curious thing
is that, while in opposition, M. Say takes immense trouble to get
the offer of one of those places, which he rejects when they have
been given him. He is not the dog biting at shadows, but the dog who
snatches substantial bones, and then turns up his nose at them.

 [23] M. Cochéry has been Minister of Posts and Telegraph under six
 successive Administrations.

Very different is M. de Freycinet, who has neither snatched at the
bones of office, nor surrendered them willingly when they fell in his
way. How came this able and active politician to fail so egregiously as
Prime Minister? About his talents there is no dispute, and he entered
public life under Gambetta’s special and most admiring patronage. A
distinguished civil engineer, he was almost unknown to the political
world, when, at the senatorial elections of 1876, Gambetta brought him
forward as candidate for Paris. De Freycinet was elected, and all of a
sudden he got talked of as the coming man—that is, the man who was to
be Gambetta’s factotum. He had dedicated a book on military tactics,
with some academical compliments to his patrons; and it was remembered
that he had been Gambetta’s military secretary and adviser during the
war. He was supposed to be full of new ideas about army reorganisation,
railway management, tax-assessment, and colonial extension. The first
time he spoke in the Senate there was a hush of curiosity, and though
he delivered himself in a small, piping voice, the lucidity of his
reasoning, and his business-like exposition of statistics, produced a
favorable impression. He was not much cheered, for applause would have
drowned his voice. “Nous n’applaudissions pas pour mieux écouter,” said
Léon Say politely to him.

Unfortunately, De Freycinet too soon forgot that Gambetta had singled
him out as an assistant and not as a rival. He did fairly well as
Minister of Public Works in M. Waddington’s Cabinet, but the rapid
using up of men in parliamentary warfare forced him out of his turn
into the front rank. His total and often amusing ignorance of foreign
countries made him unfit for the post of Foreign Secretary, whilst his
want of suppleness rendered him incapable of managing a party by means
of easy social intercourse with its most prominent members. He is a
politician of self-asserting conscientiousness, with a smileless face,
a distant manner, and a captious tone of saying, or rather speaking,
“no” to every proposal which he does not approve on a first hearing. At
the Quai d’Orsay he always seemed to Ambassadors to be in a hurry; but,
though he would draw out his watch two or three times in ten minutes
and repeat, “Venons au fait,” he generally wasted half the time in
every interview by telling his hearers that which he did _not_ mean to
do, “because my conscience forbids it.” At the time when the rewards
for the Exhibition of 1878 were distributed, he told an English attaché
that as the French Government had allotted 150 crosses of the Legion
of Honor to exhibitors, he thought that the Queen of England would do
a popular thing by awarding “twenty Garters.” When the constitution
of the Order of the Garter was explained to him, he said: “Ah well,
then twenty Victoria crosses.” He once remarked to Lord Lyons that he
was afraid it was only an antiquated insular prejudice which prevented
the English from adopting the French decimal system of coinage; and
he maintained in the hearing of Prince Orloff, the Russian Ambassador,
that “every Russian peasant speaks French.”

Respecting M. de Freycinet’s trick of pulling out his watch, a droll
story is told. M. Tirard, now Minister of Finance, who made his
fortune in the jewelry trade, once gave his colleague a gold watch as
a New Year’s present, the reason of this gift being that De Freycinet
had lately lost a watch. Next time the Foreign Secretary pulled out
his timepiece in the Senate, a facetious member observed in a stage
whisper: “He wants to make sure that Tirard’s present isn’t pinchbeck.”
“I am sure it is not,” answered the unjocular Freycinet, turning round
quite gravely in his place; “you are quite mistaken in ascribing any
such suspicions to me, sir.”

De Freycinet and Gambetta soon quarrelled, because the former as Prime
Minister wanted to follow out a policy of his own or else compel
Gambetta to take the reins. “I’ll be coachman or passenger,” he said
with his love of logical arrangements: “but I won’t sit on the box and
let you drive from the inside.” He had to resign, and the next time
he came to office, after the fall of the “Grand Ministère,” it was
as Gambetta’s declared opponent. But Gambetta at once set himself to
show that, although he had been unable himself to command a majority,
no Cabinet could live without his support, and M. de Freycinet was
made the first victim of this demonstration. He was overthrown on the
Egyptian question, and as M. Ferry did not care to be bowled over in
the same style, the veteran M. Duclerc was asked to form an emergency
Cabinet. But this gentleman and his successor M. Fallières, nick-named
“le Gambetta blond,” were mere nonentities.

M. Duclerc’s Cabinet was called the Long Vacation Ministry, because it
was too obviously predestined to collapse at the first contact with
Parliament. M. Fallières’s Administration lasted but ten days, owing
to the excessive modesty of its chief in recognising that he had been
placed on a pinnacle too high for his nerves. On the strength of his
_sobriquet_ —though his only resemblance to Gambetta consisted in
his being fat and hearty—he had been giving himself some airs as a
pretender to office, but his sudden accession to the Premiership in the
trying period that followed Gambetta’s death, made him so giddy that
he was smitten with gastric derangement and had to pen a resignation
in his bedroom. It was then that Jules Ferry, laughing quietly in his
sleeve at the discomfiture of his various competitors, came back to the
helm as already described.

We have said nothing about M. Waddington and M. Challemel-Lacour,
who were once thought superior to him in their prospects because M.
Jules Ferry has really always had advantages over these two rivals.
M. Challemel-Lacour, who is now shelved, has been a much over-rated
man, and M. Waddington is an Englishman. If it had not been for M.
Waddington’s nationality, which has estranged him a little from French
thought and made the French people somewhat suspicious of him, his
talents would possibly have enabled him to keep the leadership of the
Moderate Republicans; but then it has to be borne in mind that if
he were not English—a Rugbeian, a Cantab, a scholar and athlete—his
talents would not be what they are. M. Waddington may remain a valued
servant of the Republic and hold all sorts of high posts except the
highest; but the greatest destinies perhaps await Eugène Clémenceau—the
sixth on our list of men who were once preferred to M. Ferry, as
“favorites” for the first place.

M. Clémenceau is another of those Northerners whose ascendency
disproves M. Daudet’s theory. He is a Breton, a doctor by profession,
a keen, cold man with a cutting tongue, and something of military
peremptoriness in his manner. He began his political career by opening
a free dispensary in the Montmartre quarter of Paris, and giving advice
gratis to the poor on politics as well as medicine. He was elected
mayor for one of the wards of Paris during the siege, and performed his
administrative business splendidly, at a time when almost all the other
mayors were blundering. He and Gambetta hated each other so thoroughly
that it is a wonder they never came to duelling. The Breton Doctor, who
loathes “gush,” despised the Southerner’s rhodomontade; and Gambetta
used to bound and roar like a stung lion at the contemptuous thrusts
which Clémenceau made at him both from the tribune and from the columns
of his newspaper, the _Justice_. This paper is not pleasant reading,
for its editor appears always to write as if he meant to provoke his
enemies into personal quarrels. He is a brilliant swordsman, most
dangerous because left-handed, and a capital shot with pistols. Even
the doughty Paul de Cassagnac once declined a meeting with him.

M. Clémenceau has been patiently biding his time—which does not
mean that he has been spending his time to good purpose, for he has
attacked every Government during the last eight years with an utter
disregard of the dangers which might accrue to the Republic through
the continual overthrow of Ministries. This must lead one to doubt
whether there is not more of personal ambition than of public spirit in
his tactics, for the only alternative would be to suppose him stupid,
and that he certainly is not. He has now transferred to Jules Ferry
the scorn which he formerly poured upon Gambetta, and the two men
must be regarded as exponents of two completely antagonistic schools
of Republicanism. Jules Ferry used not to be an Opportunist, but in
succeeding to the leadership of Gambetta’s party, he has had to take up
its programme—colonial extension, little wars for glory, Protection,
temporisation in Home affairs, and in particular as regards the
relations between Church and State. M. Clémenceau, on the contrary, is
a Free-trader, non-interventionist, decentraliser and disestablisher.
He is more in harmony with the Manchester school than any other French
politician. That huge system of administrative centralisation, which
Napoleon created, is to him abhorrent, and he is a partisan of local
self-government on the largest scale. He is fond of relating how a
certain village mayor, receiving in 1852 a copy of the new Imperial
Constitution with orders to post it up, wrote to M. de Morny, saying
that he had done as requested, and would be happy to post up as many
more Constitutions as might be sent him thereafter.

M. Clémenceau’s Church policy may be summed up in the word
Destruction; he goes much further than a mere abrogation of the
Concordat. He looks to the day when Notre-Dame shall be a museum, and
the Madeleine a scientific institute. He holds that the Republic should
repudiate the Catholic Church and treat all ecclesiastical buildings
as State property. He would not object to a Gallican Church being
afterwards constituted, nor forbid members of that communion from
buying back some of the churches if they could afford to do so; but
he would apply to Roman Catholics the law against secret societies,
and absolutely prohibit French priests, under pain of banishment, to
acknowledge the authority of Rome. When people arguing with him about
this scheme, remark that “persecution never succeeds,” he answers:
“Nonsense, it is half-hearted persecution that does not succeed.
Protestantism was thoroughly well stamped out of Spain, and Romanism
out of England. I should not expect to get rid of our French Romanists
within a few years—two or three generations would be required to
complete the extirpation. But if the work is to be done fully, it must
be commenced with vigor.”

M. Clémenceau will never do much when he comes to office, because
he wants the power of moving masses. He has already been yelled at
in Montmartre as a backslider because he has refused to espouse the
economic fallacies of the Socialists. The multitude is not to be swayed
by pure reason, and no man can be a successful revolutionist unless he
have a dash of the fanatic about him. Events are nevertheless preparing
to bring M. Clémenceau to the Premiership, and this consummation will
be important because it will involve the incursion of an entirely new
set of men into all the public offices. M. Clémenceau’s influence
comes, not from his doctrines, but simply from his combativeness which
has made him the captain of a fine hungry host of young men who see
no chance of turning the Opportunists out of their snug places under
Government except by banding together as a new party.

If M. Ferry could bring the China and Tonquin wars to a brilliant
ending, could manage to create a Budget surplus, reduce taxation,
relieve the military burdens of the country, and put an end to the
agricultural and commercial stagnation—he might become a People’s man
for some years. Indeed he might consolidate his popularity by carrying
out half of the programme just sketched. The least success on his part
in war or diplomacy would be inflated by his Opportunist supporters
into a great triumph, because it is indispensable for the existence
of a party that its leader should be a man of reputation. Political
ideas must be incarnated in a man before democratic electorates can
understand them. Gambetta’s death took the Opportunists by surprise,
and they were not prepared with a man to put in his place. “_Jouons
au Ferry_,” said M. Arthur Ranc, and M. Ferry had the great luck of
coming to power just at the moment when the Opportunists had begun to
perceive that there must be no more overthrowing of Cabinets for some
time.—_Temple Bar._




A thoroughly mechanical conception of nature is the scientific ideal
of a very large and a very influential school of thinkers.[24] and the
goal towards which they strive. In so striving they follow the lead of
the earliest of modern philosophers, Descartes, who would probably have
felt no small satisfaction could he have foreseen that the doctrine of
animal automatism would be so eloquently advocated in the nineteenth
century, as well as that of a mechanical evolution of new species of
animals and plants.

 [24] Thus Kirchenoff has said (_Prorectoratsrede_, Heidelberg, 1865),
 “The highest object at which the natural sciences are constrained to
 aim is the reduction of all the phenomena of nature to mechanics;”
 and Helmholtz has declared (_Populaer Wissenschaft liche Vorträge_,
 1869), “The aim of the natural sciences is to resolve themselves
 into mechanics.” Wundt observes (_Lehrbuch der Physiologie des
 Menschen_), “The problem of physiology is a reduction of vital
 phenomena to general physical laws, and ultimately to the fundamental
 laws of mechanics;” while Haëckel tells us (_Freie Wissenschaft und
 freie Lehre_) that “all natural phenomena without exception, from
 the motions of the celestial bodies to the growth of plants and the
 consciousness of men ... are ultimately to be reduced to atomic

Evidently the last-mentioned conception was necessary to render the
mechanical theory complete. As long as men believed in the action of
any mysterious intelligence hidden in nature, and working through it in
specific evolution towards foreseen and intended ends, a mechanical
conception of nature was obviously impossible. But no less impossible
was the acceptance of such a mechanical hypothesis as long as any
belief remained in the existence, in individual animals, of an innate
and mysterious _instinctive_ power directing their actions in ways
beneficial to them or to their race, yet unintended and unforeseen by
the creatures which performed those actions. A denial of the existence
of any true “instinct,” as well as of any unmechanical action in
specific evolution, was then necessary for the maintenance of the
mechanical theory, and accordingly such denials have been confidently
made, as we have already seen.

While, however, this current of thought has been gaining in volume and
velocity, another contrary current has no less made itself manifest,
and amongst its exponents Edward Von Hartmann[25] is an eloquent
advocate of the manifest action of intelligence in nature, and of what
may thus be called an “intellectual” as opposed to a “mechanical”
conception of the universe. He lays much stress upon instinct, and is
as earnest in asserting its distinct existence and nature, as are the
mechanicians in denying its existence.

 [25] In his work on _The Unconscious_, a translation of which has been
 lately published by Messrs. Trübner & Co.

As was said at the beginning of the former article, the great interest
just now of the study of instinct, lies in its bearings on the
Darwinian hypothesis, or rather on the philosophy therewith connected.
Let us then proceed to examine whether or not the analogies before
pointed out between instinct and other forms of vital activity can be
carried further. Let us especially examine whether the consideration of
instinct in the widest sense of that term, throws any glimmerings of
light upon that most recondite and still most mysterious process, _the
genesis of new species_.

We may be encouraged to hope that such a result is possible from the
words of one of those twin biologists who on the same night put forth
their independently-arrived-at views as to what we are all agreed to
regard as at least an important factor in the origin of species. No
less a person than Mr. Wallace has written the following significant

“No thoughtful person can contemplate without amazement the phenomena
presented by the development of animals. We see the most diverse
forms—a mollusk, a frog, and a mammal—arising from apparently identical
primitive cells, and progressing for a time by very similar initial
changes, but thereafter each pursuing its highly complex and often
circuitous course of development with unerring certainty, by means of
laws and forces of which we are totally ignorant. It is surely a not
improbable supposition that the unknown power which determines and
regulates this marvellous process may also determine the initiation of
these more important changes of structure, and those developments of
new parts and organs which characterise the successive stages of the
evolutions of animal forms.”

These words advocate and confirm what I have elsewhere antecedently
urged. Many influences doubtless may come into play in the origin of
new species; but let us look a little narrowly at certain influences
which _must_ come into play therein, and the action of which no man can

One of these influences (which no one has more richly illustrated than
has the late Mr. Darwin) is that of heredity; but what _is_ heredity?

In the first place it is obviously a property, not of new individuals,
not of offspring, but of parental forms. As every one knows, it is the
innate tendency which each organism possesses to reproduce its like.
If any living creature, x, was self-impregnating and the outcome of a
long line of self-impregnating predecessors, all existing in the midst
of one uniform and continuously unvarying environment, then x would
produce offspring completely like itself. This fundamental biological
law of reproduction may be compared with the physical first law of
motion, according to which _any body in motion will continue to move on
uniformly at the same rate and in the same direction until some other
force or motion is impressed upon it_.

The fact that new individual organisms arise from both a paternal and
a maternal influence, and from a line of ancestors every one of which
had a similar bifold origin, modifies this first law of heredity only
so far as to produce a more or less complex compound of hereditary
reproductive tendencies in every individual, the effect of which must
be analogous to that mechanical law of _the composition of forces_
resulting in the production of a new creature resembling its immediate
and more remote progenitors in varying degrees, according to (1) the
amount of force springing from each ancestral strain, and (2) the
compatibility or incompatibility[26] of the prevailing tendencies,
resulting in an intensification, perpetuation, modification, or
neutralisation of ancestral characters, as the case may be.

 [26] Mr. Darwin tells us that two topknotted canaries produce bald
 offspring, due probably to some conflicting actions analogous to the
 interference of light.

All such action is but “heredity” acting in one or other mode; but
there is another and fundamentally different action which has to be
considered, and that is the action of the environment upon nascent
organisms—an action exercised either directly upon them, or indirectly
upon them through its direct action upon their parents. That such
actions produce unmistakable effects is notorious. It will be, I think,
sufficient here to advert to such cases as the well-known brood-mare
covered by a quagga, and the peculiar effects of a well-bred bitch
being lined by a mongrel. These show how an action exercised upon the
female parent (but with no direct action on the immediate offspring)
may act indirectly upon her subsequent progeny.

As a rule, modifications accidentally or artificially induced in
parents are not transmitted to their offspring, as is well shown by
the need of the repetition of circumcision, and of pressure of Indian
children’s heads and Chinese girls’ feet, in each generation. Yet there
is good evidence that such changes are occasionally inherited. The
epileptic offspring of injured guinea-pigs is a case often referred to.
Haëckel speaks of a bull which had lost its tail by accident, and which
begot entirely tailless calves. With respect to cats,[27] I am indebted
to Mr. John Birkett for the knowledge of an instance in which a female
with an injured tail produced some stump-tailed kittens in two litters.

 [27] See _The Cat_ (John Murray, 1881), p. 7.

There is evidence that certain variations are more apt to be inherited
than others. Amongst those very apt to be inherited are skin
affections, affections of the nervous system and of the generative
organs, _e.g._ hypospadias and absence of the uterus. The last case
is one especially interesting, because it can only be propagated

Changes in the environment notoriously produce changes in certain
cases, even in adults. The modifications which may result from the
action of unusual agencies on the embryo have been well shown by M. C.
Dareste.[28] As has been already remarked, processes of repair take
place the more readily the younger the age of the subject. Similarly,
it is probable that the action of the environment generally acts
more promptly and intensely on the embryo than in the older young.
That the same organism will sometimes assume very different forms
has been observed by Professor Lankester in the case of _Bacterium

 [28] See _Archives de Zool. expér._ vol. ii. p. 414 vol. v. p.
 174, vol. vi. p. 31; also _Ann. des Sci. Nat. 4 séries, Zoologie_,
 vol. iii. p. 119, vol. xv. p. 1, vol. xvii. p. 243; and his work
 _Recherches sur la production artificielle des Monstruositées ou
 essais de Tératogénie expérimentale_.

 [29] See _Quarterly Journal of Micros. Soc._, New Series, (1873), vol.
 xiii. p. 408, and vol. xvi. (1876) p. 27.

The effects of changed conditions is often very striking. _Ficus
stipulata_ grown on a wall has small, thin leaves, and clings to the
surface like a large moss or a miniature ivy. Planted out, it forms a
shrub, with large, coarse, leathery leaves.

Mr. Wallace has pointed out some of the curious direct effects of
external conditions on organisms. He tells us[30] that in the small
island of Amboina the butterflies (twelve species, of nine different
genera) are larger than those of any of the more considerable islands
about it, and that this is an effect probably due to some local
influence. In Celebes a whole series of butterflies are not only of
a larger size, but have the same peculiar form of wing. The Duke of
York’s Island seems, he tells us, to have a tendency to make birds
and insects white, or at least pale, and the Philippines to develop
metallic colors; while the Moluccas and New Guinea seem to favor
blackness and redness in parrots and pigeons. Species of butterflies
which in India are provided with a tail to the wing, begin to lose
that appendage in the islands, and retain no trace of it on the
borders of the Pacific. The Æneas group of papilios never have tails
in the equatorial region of the Amazon Valley, but gradually acquire
tails, in many cases, as they range towards the northern and southern
tropics. Mr. Gould says that birds are more highly colored under a
clear atmosphere than in islands or on coasts—a condition which also
seems to affect insects, while it is notorious that many shore plants
have fleshy leaves. We need but refer to the English oysters mentioned
by Costa, which, when transported to the Mediterranean, grew rapidly
like the true Mediterranean oyster, and to the twenty different kinds
of American trees said by Mr. Meehan to differ in the _same manner_
from their nearest American allies, as well as to the dogs, cats,
and rabbits which have been proved to undergo modifications directly
induced by climatic change. But still more strange and striking
changes have been recorded as due to external conditions. Thus it
is said[31] that certain branchiopodous creatures of the crab and
lobster class (certain crustacea) have been changed from the form
characteristic of one genus (_Artemia salina_) into that of quite
another (_Branchipus_), by having been introduced in large numbers by
accident into very salt water. The latter form is not only larger than
the former, but has an additional abdominal segment and a differently
formed tail. Such changes tell strongly in favor of the existence
in creatures of positive, innate tendencies to change in definite
directions under special conditions.

 [30] _Tropical Nature_, pp. 254-259.

 [31] _Nature_, 1576, June 8, p. 133. Schmankevitsch at Odessa.

It is also obvious that the very same influences (_e.g._ amounts of
light, heat, moisture, &c.) will produce different effects in different
species, as also that the nature of some species is more stubborn and
less prone to variation than that of others. Such, for example, is
the case with the ass, the guinea-fowl, and the goose, as compared
with the dog, the horse, the domestic fowl, and the pigeon. Thus both
the amount and the kind of variability differ in different races, and
such constitutional capacities or incapacities tend to be inherited by
their derivative forms, and so every kind of animal must have its own
inherent powers of modifiability or resistance, so that no organism or
race of organisms _can_ vary in an absolutely indefinite manner; and if
so, then unlimited variability must be a thing absolutely impossible.

The foregoing considerations tend to show that every variation is a
function[32] of “heredity” and “external influence”—_i.e._ is the
result of the reaction of the special nature of each organism upon the
stimuli of its environment.

 [32] In the mathematical sense of the word.

In addition to the action of heredity and the action of the
environment, there is also a peculiar kind of action due to an internal
force which has brought about so many interesting cases of what is
called “serial and lateral homology” which cannot be due to descent,
but which demonstrate the existence of an intra-organic activity,
the laws of which have yet to be investigated. Comparative anatomy,
pathology, and teratology combine to point out the action of this
internal force.

“Lateral homology” refers to the production of similar structures on
either side of the body, as in the similarity of our right and left
hands and feet. “Serial homology” refers to the production of similar
structures one behind the other, as in the series of similar segments
in the body of a worm or a centipede, and the similar series of limbs
in the latter animal.

These tendencies to lateral and serial repetition show themselves
in ways which cannot be accounted for by inheritance from ancestral
forms, but loudly proclaim the presence and action of some internal
force tending to produce such homologous repetitions in organisms in
different animals.

Thus even in ourselves, when we compare our leg and foot with our arm
and hand, we find that they have homologous features which cannot be
accounted for as being inheritances from supposed ancestral animals.
Our extremities resemble each other in the texture of the skin, the
shape of the nails, and other points, and these resemblances are not
due to external conditions, but exist in spite of them; and comparative
anatomy reveals to us countless similar examples in the animal kingdom.
Limbs can hardly be more unlike in form and position than are the arms
and legs of birds, and yet we meet with breeds of fowls and pigeons
the feet of which are furnished with what are called “boots,” that
is, with long feathers which grow on the side of the foot, serially
corresponding with that of the hand, which grow the feathers of the

Again, in disease, and in cases of monstrosity or congenital
malformation, nothing is more common than to find precisely similarly
diseased conditions, or similar abnormalities of structure, affecting
serially or laterally homologous parts, such as corresponding parts of
the two arms or two legs, or of the right (or left) arm and hand and
leg and foot respectively.

Altogether it seems then to be undeniable that the characters and the
variations of species[33] are due to the combined action of internal
and external agencies acting in a direct, positive, and constructive

 [33] The existence of internal force must be allowed. We cannot
 conceive of a universe consisting of atoms acted on indeed by external
 forces, but having no internal power of response to such actions. Even
 in such conceptions as those of “physiological units” and “gemmules”
 we have (as the late Mr. G. H. Lewes remarked) given as an explanation
 that very power the existence of which in larger organisms had itself
 to be explained.

It is obvious, however, that no character very prejudicial to a species
could ever be established, owing to the perpetual action of all the
destructive forces of nature which destructive forces, considered as
one whole, have been personified under the name “natural selection.”

Its action, of course, is, and must be, destructive and negative.
The evolution of a new species is as necessarily a process which is
constructive and positive, and, as all must admit, is one due to those
variations upon which natural selection acts. Variation, which thus
lies at the origin of every new species, is (as we have seen) the
reaction of the nature of the varying animal upon all the multitudinous
agencies which environ it. Thus “the nature of the animal” must
be taken as the cause, “the environment” being the stimulus which
sets that cause in action, and “natural selection” the agency which
restrains it within the bounds of physiological propriety.

We may compare the production of a new species to the production of a
statue. We have (1) the marble material responding to the matter of the
organism; (2) the intelligent active force of the sculptor, directing
his arm, responding to the psychic nature of the organism, which
reacts according to law as surely as in the case of reflex action in
healing, or in any other vital action; (3) the various conceptions of
the artist, which stimulate him to model, responding to the environing
agencies which evoke variation; and (4) the blows of the smiting
chisel, corresponding to the action of natural selection. No one would
call the mere blows of the chisel—apart from both the active force of
the artist and the ideal conceptions which direct that force—_the_
cause of the production of the statue. They are _a_ cause—they help
to produce it and are absolutely necessary for its production. They
are a _material_ cause, but not the _primary_ cause. This distinction
runs through all spheres of activity. Thus the inadequacy of “natural
selection” to explain the origin of species runs parallel with its
inadequacy to explain the origin of instinct, as before pointed out.

The _formal_ discoverer of a new fossil is the naturalist who first
sees it with an instructed eye, appreciates and describes it, not the
laborer who accidentally uncovers but ignores it, and who cannot be
accounted to be, any more than the spade he handles, other than a mere
_material_ cause of its discovery. So we must regard the sum of the
destructive agencies of nature, as a material cause of the origin of
new species, their formal cause being the reaction of the nature of
their parent organisms upon the sum of the multitudinous influences
of their environment. This kind of action of “the organism”—this
formal cause—has been compared by Mr. Alfred Wallace, and by me, with
the action of the organism in its embryonic development; and this, I
have further urged, is to be likened to the processes of repair and
reproduction of parts of the individual after injury, and this, again,
to reflex action, and, finally, this last to instinct as manifested in
ourselves and in other animals also.

The phenomena, then, exhibited in the various processes which have been
passed in review—nutrition, growth, repair, reflex action, instinct,
the evolution of the individual and of the species—will, I think,
abundantly serve to convince him who carefully considers them, that a
mechanical conception of nature is inadequate and untenable. For it
cannot be denied that in all these various natural processes, performed
by creatures devoid of self-conscious intellect, there is somehow and
somewhere a latent rationality, by the imminent existence of which
their various admirably calculated activities are alone explicable.
We are compelled to admit that the merely animal and vegetable worlds
which we regard as irrational, possess a certain rationality. This
innate mysterious rationality blindly executes the most elaborately
contrived actions in order to effect necessary or useful ends not
consciously in view. We have here to consider the question, “How is
this blind rationality, this practical but unconscious intelligence,

Edward Von Hartmann, the eloquent prophet of the unconscious
intelligence of nature, teaches us that such intelligence is the
attribute of the very animals and plants themselves.

But can we limit the manifestations of intelligence and
quasi-instinctive purpose to the organic world? By no means. The
phenomena of crystallisation, the repair in due form of the broken
angle of a crystal, the inherent tendencies of chemical substances to
combine in definite proportions, and other laws of the inorganic world,
speak to us of unconscious intelligence and volition latent in it also.

A perception of this truth has led to the conception of the universal
presence of true intelligence, as it were in a rudimentary form,
throughout the whole material universe—the universal diffusion of what
the late Professor Clifford called “mind-stuff” in every particle of

Such a belief can, however, be entertained only by those who neglect
to note the differences of objects presented to the senses, attending
solely to their resemblances, and describing them by inadequate and
misleading terms. The habit of perverting language in this manner,
has been lately well spoken of as using intellectual false coin. By
such an abuse of language and disregard of points of unlikeness, all
diversities may easily be reduced to identity. Against such abuse the
scientific biologist must energetically protest. The expression “life”
refers to definite phenomena which are not found but in animals and
plants. The crystal is not really alive, because it does not undergo
the cycle of changes characteristic of life. It does not sustain itself
by alimentation, reproduce its kind, and die. Anyone choosing to
stretch terms may say that molecules of inorganic matter live, because
molecules exist. But in that case we shall have to create a new term to
denote what we now call life. We might as well say a lamp-post “feels”
because we can make an impression on it, or that crystals “calculate”
because of their geometrical proportions, or that oxygen “lusts” after
that which it rusts. As the late Mr. G. H. Lewes has said: “We deny
that a crystal has sensibility; we deny it on the ground that crystals
exhibit no more signs of sensibility than plants exhibit signs of
civilisation, and we deny it on the ground that among the conditions
of sensibility there are some positively known to us, and these are
demonstrably absent from the crystal. We have full evidence that it
is only special kinds of molecular change that exhibit the special
signs called sentient; we have as good evidence that only special
aggregations of molecules are vital, and that sensibility never appears
except in a living organism, disappearing with the vital activities,
as we know that banks and trades-unions are specifically human

The considerations which are here applied to vital activity, may be
paralleled by others applied to intelligence. They will show us that
however profoundly rational may be that world which is commonly spoken
of as irrational, yet that its rationality is not truly the attribute
of the various animals which perform such admirably calculated actions,
but truly belongs to what is the ultimate and common cause of them all,
and to that only.

There is, indeed, a logic in mere “feeling,” there is a logic even in
insentient nature; but that logic is not the logic of the crystal nor
of the brute; its true position must be sought elsewhere. It is _in_
them, but it is not _of_ them.

However, let us patiently consider a little this hypothesis of an
innate, _unconscious_ intelligence as the cause of the various
strictly, or analogically, instinctive actions of animals.

It is in the first place plain that no intelligence could exist so as
to adjust “means” to “ends,” except by the aid of memory; and “memory”
has therefore been freely attributed even to the lower animals. Let us
see, then, what the term “memory” really denotes. Now we cannot be said
to _remember_ anything unless we are conscious that what is again made
present to our mind has been present to our mind before. An image might
recur to our imagination a hundred times, but if at each recurrence
it was for us something altogether new and unconnected with the past,
we could not be said to remember it. It would rather be an example of
extreme “forgetfulness” than of “memory.” In “memory,” then, there are
and must be two distinct elements. The first is the reproduction before
the mind of what has been before the mind previously, and the second
element is the recognition of what is so reproduced as being connected
with the past.

There is yet a further distinction which may be drawn between acts of
true recollection.

We are all aware that every now and then we direct our attention to try
and recall something which we know we have for the moment forgotten,
and which we instantly recognise when we have recalled it. But besides
this voluntary memory we are sometimes startled by the flashing into
consciousness of something we had forgotten, and which we were so far
from trying to recollect that we were thinking of something entirely

There are, then, two kinds of true memory—one in which the will
intervenes, and which may be spoken of as _recollection_, and the other
in which it does not, and which may be termed _reminiscence_. Neither
of these can exist in a creature destitute of true self-consciousness.
There are, however, two other kinds of repeated action which take place
even in ourselves, and which should be carefully distinguished.

The first of these are practically automatic actions, which are
repeated unconsciously after having been learned, as in walking,
reading, speaking, and often in playing some musical instrument. In
a certain vague and improper sense we may be said—having learned how
to do these things—to _recollect_ how to do them; but unless the mind
recognises the past in the present while performing them they are not
instances of memory, but merely a form of habit in which consciousness
may or may not intervene.

The second class of repeated actions just referred to are, on the other
hand, those in which consciousness cannot be made to intervene, and are
mere acts of organic habit. Thus a man wrecked on an island inhabited
by savages, and long dwelling there, may at first have the due action
of his digestive organs impeded by the unwonted food on which he may
have to live. After a little while, however, the evil diminishes, and
in time his organism may have “learnt” how to correspond perfectly with
the new conditions. Then with each fresh meal the alimentary canal
and glands must practically “recognise” a return of the recently
obtained experience, and repeat its freshly acquired power of healthy
response thereto. Can “memory” be properly predicated of such actions
of the alimentary glands? It can be so predicated only by a perversion
of language. It is not memory, because not only is it divorced from
consciousness as it occurs, but it cannot anyhow be made present to
consciousness. Again, a boy at school has had a kick at football,
which has left a deep scar on his leg. That boy, now become an old
man, still bears the same scar, though all his tissues have been again
and again transformed in the course of seventy years. Can the constant
reproduction of the mark, in any reasonable sense, be said to be an
act of, or due to, memory? Evidently it cannot, and neither can it be
reasonably predicated of any of the actions of plants or of the lowest

As, then, “memory” cannot be predicated, except by an abuse of
language, of the lower forms of life, it would appear that neither
intelligence nor rationality can truly exist in them, so as to preside
over all those actions of nutrition, repair, reproduction, and instinct
which we have examined and distinguished.

Nevertheless, Hartmann and his followers do not on this account
hesitate to ascribe true intelligence to unconscious nature, and though
such ascription may seem too absurd to deserve serious consideration,
it would nevertheless be a great mistake to despise such opinions. For,
as Mr. Lewes truly says,[34] “As there are many truths which cease to
be appreciated because they are never disputed,” so there are many
errors which are best exposed by allowing them to run to a head. Mr.
Butler, who carries this hypothesis of unconscious intelligence to its
last consequences, asks,[35] “What is to know how to do a thing?” His
answer is, “Surely, to do it.” And he represents how, when many things
have been perfectly learnt, they may be performed unconsciously. In a
very amusing chapter on “Conscious and unconscious knowers,” he says,
“Whenever we find people knowing they know this or that ... they do not
yet know it perfectly.” In another place he says,[36] “We say of the
chicken that it knows how to run about as soon as it is hatched ...
but had it no knowledge before it was hatched? It grew eyes, feathers,
and bones; yet we say it knew nothing about all this.... What, then,
does it know? Whatever it knows so well as to be unconscious of knowing
it. Knowledge dwells on the confines of uncertainty. When we are very
certain we do not know that we know. When we will very strongly, we do
not know that we will.”

 [34] _Problems of Life and Mind_, ii. iii. iv. of Third Series, p. 85.

 [35] _Life and Habit_, p. 55.

 [36] _Unconscious Memory_, p. 30.

Now the fact is that there is great ambiguity in the use of the word
_know_. Just as before with the term memory, so also here, certain
distinctions must be drawn if we would think coherently.

A. To “know,” in the highest sense which we give to the word, is to be
aware (by a reflex act) that we really have a certain given perception.
It is a voluntary, intelligent, self-conscious act, parallel to that
kind of memory which we before distinguished as “recollection.”

B. We also say we “know” when we do not use a reflex act, but yet have
a true perception—a perception accompanied by consciousness—as when we
teach, and in most of our ordinary intellectual acts.

C. When we so “know” a thing that it can be done with perfect
unconsciousness, we cannot be said to “know” it intellectually,
although in doing that thing our nervous and motor mechanism acts (in
response to sensational stimuli) as perfectly as, or more perfectly
than, in our conscious activity. The “knowledge” which accompanies
such “unconscious action” is improperly so called, except in so far as
we may be able to direct our minds to its perception, and so render
it worthy of the name—as we have seen we may direct attention to our
unconscious reminiscences, and so make them conscious ones. In the same
way then in which we have already distinguished such acts of memory
(while unconscious) as sensuous memory, so we may distinguish such acts
of apprehension (while unconscious) as _sensuous cognition_. By it we
can understand, to a certain extent, what may be the “knowledge” or
“sensuous cognition” of mere animals.

D. Besides the above three kinds of apprehensions, we may distinguish
others which can be only very remotely, if at all, compared with
knowledge, since they can never, by any effort, be brought within the
sphere of consciousness. Such are the actions of our organism by which
it responds to impressions in an orderly and appropriate but unfelt
manner—the intimate actions of our visceral organs, which can be
modified, within limits, according to the influence brought to bear on
them, as we may see in the oarsman’s hand, the blacksmith’s arm, and
the ballet-dancer’s leg.

If such actions could be spoken of as in any sense apprehensive,
they would have to be spoken of as “organic cognitions,” but they
may be best distinguished as “_organic response_” or “_organic

That the inorganic world, no less than the organic, is instinct with
reason, and that we find in it objective conditions which correspond
with our subjective conceptions, is perfectly true; but when once
the profound difference between mere organic habit and intellectual
memory is apprehended, there will be little difficulty in recognising
the yet greater difference between “organic correspondence” and the
faithfulness of inorganic matter to the laws of its being.

That the _absence_ of consciousness in actions which are perfectly
performed, does not make such actions into acts of “perfect knowledge,”
is demonstrated by every calculating machine. No sane person can say
that such a machine “possesses” knowledge, though it is true that it
“exhibits” it. Similarly we must refuse to apply the terms “memory” and
“intelligence” to the merely organic activity of animals and plants.

The assertion that in the vegetal and lowest animal forms of life
there is an innate but unconscious intelligence, is an assertion which
contains an inherent contradiction, and is therefore fundamentally
irrational. Anyone who says that blind actions (in which no end is
perceived or intended) are truly intelligent ones, abuses language.
The meaning of words is due to convention, and anyone who calls such
actions truly intelligent, divides himself from the rest of mankind by
refusing to speak their language.

What experience have we which can justify such a conception as that
of “unconscious intelligence?” We are indeed aware of a multitude of
actions which are evidently the outcome of intelligence, but which
(like the analogous action of a calculating machine) are performed by
creatures really unconscious, though they may possess consentience.
But consciousness is the accompaniment of all those actions which we
_know_ to be intellectual and rational. Our experience then contradicts
the hypothesis of the existence of any such thing as “unconscious
intelligence.” Such a thing is indeed no true concept, for it is
incapable not only of being imagined but also of being really conceived
of. It resembles such unmeaning expressions as “a square pentagon” or a
“pitch-dark luminosity.”

Nevertheless, our experience is _in favor_ of the existence of an
intelligence which can implant in and elicit from unconscious bodies
activities which are intelligent in appearance and result. Thus we
can construct calculating machines and train animals to perform many
actions which have a delusive semblance of rationality.

“Truly intelligent action” we know as being intelligent and rational
in its _foresight_, and therefore as necessarily conscious in the very
principle of its being.

“Unconsciously intelligent action,” improperly called “intelligent” or
“wise,” is that which is intelligent and wise only as to its results,
and not in the innermost principle of the creatures (whether living
or mere machines) which perform such action. To speak technically, we
have “formal” and “material” intelligence, as we have “formal” and
“material” vice and virtue.[37] We have already distinguished between
the “formal” and the merely “material” discoverer of a new fossil, and
this distinction is one which it is most important to bear in mind.
It is the failure to apprehend this distinction which is the root of
a vast number of modern philosophical errors, and the error which
consists in asserting the reality of “unconscious intelligence” is one
of them.

 [37] Thus a man wishing to aid another, but who by miscalculation
 causes his death, does an action which is “materially” homicidal,
 though “formally” his action is a virtuous one. Similarly a man may be
 “materially” a bigamist but not “formally,” as when he has married a
 second wife being honestly convinced that his first wife was dead.

In fact “intelligence” exists very truly, in a certain sense, in the
admirably directed actions blindly performed by living beings. It is
not, however, “formally” in them, but exists formally in their ultimate
cause. Nevertheless that intelligence is so implanted within them that
it truly exists in them “materially” though it is not “formally” in

We have here, then, the answer to the question, “What is the
rationality of the irrational?” It is a rationality which is very
really, though not materially, present in the irrational world, while
it is formally present in that world’s cause and origin.

To every Theist this answer will be a satisfactory one. To him who
is not a Theist there is no really satisfactory answer possible.
This is a question not of theology but of pure reason antecedent to
all theology. To reason, and to reason only, I appeal when I affirm
that the existence of a constant, pervading, sustaining, directing,
and all-controlling but unfathomable Intelligence which is not the
intelligence of irrational creatures themselves, is the supreme truth
which nature eloquently proclaims to him who with unprejudiced reason
and loving sympathy will carefully consider her ways. He can hardly
fail to discover, immanent in the material universe, “an action the
results of which harmonize with man’s reason; an action which is
orderly, and disaccords with blind chance, or ‘a fortuitous concurrence
of atoms,’ but which ever eludes his grasp, and which acts in modes
different from those by which we should attempt to accomplish similar
ends.”[38] For myself, I am bound humbly to confess that the more
I study nature the more I am convinced that in the action of this
all-pervading but inscrutable and unimaginable intelligence, of which
self-conscious human rationality is the utterly inadequate image,
though the image attainable by us, is to be sought the sole possible
explanation of the mysterious but undeniable presence in nature of a
rationality in that which is in itself irrational.—_Fortnightly Review._

 [38] _Lessons from Nature_, ch. xii. p. 374. John Murray, 1876.



White, crimson, emerald green, shining golden yellow, are amongst the
colors seen in the eyes of birds. In owls, herons, cormorants, and
many other tribes, the brightly-tinted eye is incomparably the finest
feature and chief glory. It fixes the attention at once, appearing like
a splendid gem, for which the airy bird-body with its graceful curves
and soft tints forms an appropriate setting. When the eye closes in
death, the bird, except to the naturalist, becomes a mere bundle of
dead feathers: crystal globes may be put into the empty sockets, and
a bold life-imitating attitude given to the stuffed specimen; but the
vitreous orbs shoot forth no life-like flames, the “passion and the
fire whose fountains are within” have vanished, and the best work of
the taxidermist, who has given a life to his bastard art, produces
in the mind only sensations of irritation and disgust. In museums,
where limited space stands in the way of any abortive attempts at
copying nature too closely, the stuffer’s work is endurable because
useful; but in a drawing-room, who does not close his eyes or turn
aside to avoid seeing a case of stuffed birds—those unlovely mementoes
of death in their gay plumes? who does not shudder, albeit not with
fear, to see the wild cat, filled with straw, yawning horribly, and
trying to frighten the spectator with its crockery glare? I shall
never forget the first sight I had of the late Mr. Gould’s collection
of humming-birds (now in the National Museum), shown to me by the
naturalist himself, who evidently took considerable pride in the work
of his hands. I had just left tropical nature behind me across the
Atlantic, and the unexpected meeting with a transcript of it in a
dusty room in Bedford Square gave me quite a shock. Those pellets of
dead feathers, which had long ceased to sparkle and shine, stuck with
wires—not invisible—over blossoming cloth and tinsel bushes, how
melancholy they made me feel!

Considering the bright color and great splendor of some eyes,
particularly in birds, it seems probable that in these cases the organ
has a twofold use: first and chiefly, to see; secondly, to intimidate
an adversary with those luminous mirrors, in which all the dangerous
fury of a creature brought to bay is best depicted. Throughout nature
the dark eye predominates; and there is certainly a great depth of
fierceness in the dark eye of a bird of prey; but its effect is less
than that produced by the vividly-colored eye, or even of the white
eye of some raptorial species, as, for instance, of the Asturina
pucherani. Violent emotions are associated in our minds—possibly,
also, in the minds of other species—with certain colors. Bright red
seems the appropriate hue of anger: the poet Herbert even calls the
rose “angrie and brave” on account of its hue: and the red or orange
certainly expresses resentment better than the dark eye. Even a very
slight spontaneous variation in the coloring of the irides might give
an advantage to an individual for natural selection to act on; for we
can see in almost any living creature that not only in its perpetual
metaphorical struggle for existence is its life safeguarded in many
ways; but when protective resemblances, flight, and instincts of
concealment all fail, and it is compelled to engage in a real struggle
with a living adversary, it is provided for such occasions with another
set of defences. Language and attitudes of defiance come into play;
feathers or hairs are erected; beaks snap and strike, or teeth are
gnashed, and the mouth foams or spits; the body puffs out; wings are
waved or feet stamped on the ground, and many other gestures of rage
are practised. It is not possible to believe that the coloring of the
crystal globes, towards which an opponent’s sight is first directed,
and which most vividly exhibit the raging emotions within, can have
been entirely neglected as a means of defence by the principle of
selection in nature. For all these reasons I believe the bright-colored
eye is an improvement on the dark eye.

Man has been very little improved in this direction, the dark eye,
except in the north of Europe, having been, until recent times,
almost or quite universal. The blue eye does not seem to have any
advantage for man in a state of nature, being mild where fierceness
of expression is required; it is almost unknown amongst the inferior
creatures; and only on the supposition that the appearance of the
eye is less important to man’s welfare than it is to that of other
species can we account for its survival in a branch of the human race.
Little, however, as the human eye has changed, assuming it to have
been dark originally, there is a great deal of spontaneous variation
in individuals, light hazel and blue-grey being apparently the most
variable. I have found curiously marked and spotted eyes not uncommon;
in some instances the spots being so black, round, and large as to
produce the appearance of eyes with clusters of pupils on them. I have
known one person with large brown spots on light blue-grey eyes, whose
children all inherited the peculiarity; also another with reddish hazel
irides thickly marked with fine characters resembling Greek letters.
This person was an Argentine of Spanish blood, and was called by his
neighbors _ojos escritos_, or written eyes. It struck me as a very
curious circumstance that these eyes, both in their ground color and
the form and disposition of the markings traced on them, were precisely
like the eyes of a common species of grebe, _Podiceps rollandi_. But
we look in vain amongst men for the splendid crimson, flaming yellow,
or startling white orbs which would have made the dark-skinned brave
inspired by violent emotions a being terrible to see. Nature has
neglected man in this respect, and it is to remedy the omission that he
stains his face with bright pigments and crowns his head with eagles’
barred plumes.

Bright-colored eyes in many species are probably due, like ornaments
and gaudy plumage, to sexual selection. The quality of shining in the
dark, however, possessed by many nocturnal and semi-nocturnal species,
has always, I believe, a hostile purpose. When found in inoffensive
species, as, for instance, in the lemurs, it can only be attributed to
mimicry, and this would be a parallel case with butterflies mimicking
the brilliant “warning colors” of other species on which birds do not
prey. Cats amongst mammals, and owls amongst birds, have been most
highly favored; but to the owls the palm must be given. The feline
eyes, as of a puma or wild cat, blazing with wrath, are wonderful to
see; sometimes the sight of them affects one like an electric shock;
but for intense brilliance and quick changes, the dark orbs kindling
with the startling suddenness of a cloud illuminated by flashes of
lightning, the yellow globes of the owl are unparalleled. Some readers
might think my language exaggerated. Descriptions of bright sunsets and
of storms with thunder and lightning would, no doubt, sound extravagant
to one who had never witnessed these phenomena. Those only who spend
years “conversing with wild animals in desert places,” to quote Azara’s
words, know that, as with the atmosphere, so with animal life, there
are special moments; and that a creature presenting a very sorry
appearance dead in a museum, or living in captivity, may, when hard
pressed and fighting for life in its own fastness, be sublimed by its
fury into a weird and terrible object.

Nature has many surprises for those who wait on her: one of the
greatest she ever favored me with was the sight of a wounded Magellanic
eagle-owl I shot on the Rio Negro in Patagonia. The haunt of this bird
was an island in the river, overgrown with giant grasses and tall
willows, leafless now, for it was in the middle of winter. Here I
sought for and found him waiting on his perch for the sun to set. He
eyed me so calmly when I aimed my gun, I scarcely had the heart to pull
the trigger. He had reigned there so long, the feudal tyrant of that
remote wilderness? Many a water-rat, stealing like a shadow along the
margin between the deep stream and the giant rushes, he had snatched
away to death; many a spotted wild pigeon had woke on its perch at
night with his cruel crooked talons piercing its flesh; and beyond the
valley on the bushy uplands many a crested tinamou had been slain on
her nest and her beautiful glossy dark green eggs left to grow pale in
the sun and wind, the little lives that were in them dead because of
their mother’s death. But I wanted that bird badly, and hardened my
heart: the “demoniacal laughter” with which he had so often answered
the rushing sound of the swift black river at eventide would be heard
no more. I fired: he swerved on his perch, remained suspended for a
few moments, then slowly fluttered down. Behind the spot where he had
fallen was a great mass of tangled dark-green grass, out of which rose
the tall, slender boles of the trees; overhead through the fretwork
of leafless twigs the sky was flushed with tender roseate tints, for
the sun had now gone down and the surface of the earth was in shadow.
There, in such a scene, and with the wintry quiet of the desert over
it all, I found my victim stung by his wounds to fury and prepared for
the last supreme effort. Even in repose he is a big eagle-like bird:
now his appearance was quite altered, and in the dim, uncertain light
he looked gigantic in size—a monster of strange form and terrible
aspect. Each particular feather stood out on end, the tawny barred
tail spread out like a fan, the immense tiger-colored wings wide open
and rigid, so that as the bird, that had clutched the grass with his
great feathered claws, swayed his body slowly from side to side—just
as a snake about to strike sways its head, or as an angry watchful cat
moves its tail—first the tip of one, then of the other wing touched
the ground. The black horns stood erect, while in the centre of the
wheel-shaped head the beak snapped incessantly, producing a sound
resembling the clicking of a sewing-machine. This was a suitable
setting for the pair of magnificent furious eyes, on which I gazed with
a kind of fascination, not unmixed with fear when I remembered the
agony of pain suffered on former occasions from sharp, crooked talons
driven into me to the bone. The irides were of a bright orange color,
but every time I attempted to approach the bird they kindled into great
globes of quivering yellow flame, the black pupils being surrounded by
a scintillating crimson light which threw out minute yellow sparks into
the air. When I retired from the bird this preternatural fiery aspect
would instantly vanish.

The dragon eyes of that Magellanic owl haunt me till now, and when I
remember them, the bird’s death still weighs on my conscience, albeit
by killing it I bestowed on it that dusty immortality which is the
portion of stuffed specimens in a museum.

The question as to the cause of this fiery scintillating appearance
is, doubtless, one very hard to answer, but it will force itself on
the mind. When experimenting on the bird, I particularly noticed that
every time I retired the nictitating membrane would immediately cover
the eyes and obscure them for some time, as they will when an owl is
confronted with strong sunlight; and this gave me the impression that
the fiery, flashing appearance was accompanied with, or followed by,
a burning or smarting sensation. I will here quote a very suggestive
passage from a letter on this subject written to me by a gentleman
of great attainments in science: “Eyes certainly do shine in the
dark—some eyes, _e.g._ those of cats and owls; and the scintillation
you speak of is probably another form of the phenomenon. It probably
depends upon some extra-sensibility of the retina analogous to what
exists in the molecular constitution of sulphide of calcium and other
phosphorescent substances. The difficulty is in the _scintillation_.
We know that light of this character has its source in the heat
vibrations of molecules at the temperature of incandescence, and the
electric light is no exception to the rule. A possible explanation is
that supra-sensitive retinæ in times of excitement become increasedly
phosphorescent, and the same excitement causes a change in the
curvature of the lens, so that the light is focussed, and _pro tanto_
brightened into sparks. Seeing how little we know of natural forces, it
may be that what we call light in such a case is eye speaking to eye—an
emanation from the window of one brain into the window of another.”

The theory here suggested that the fiery appearance is only another
form of the phosphorescent light found in some eyes, if correct,
would go far towards disposing of all those cases one hears and reads
about—some historical ones—of human eyes flashing fire and blazing with
wrath. Probably all such descriptions are merely poetic exaggerations.
One would not look for these fiery eyes amongst the peaceful children
of civilization, who, when they make war, do so without anger, and
kill their enemies by machinery, without even seeing them; but amongst
savage or semi-savage men, carnivorous in their diet, fierce in
disposition, and extremely violent in their passions. It is precisely
amongst people of this description that I have lived a great deal. I
have often seen them frenzied with excitement, their faces white as
ashes, hair erect, and eyes dropping great tears of rage, but I have
never seen anything in them even approaching to that fiery appearance
described in the owl.

Nature has done comparatively little for the human eye, not only in
denying it the terrifying splendors found in some other species, but
also in the minor merit of beauty; yet here, when we consider how much
sexual selection concerns itself with the eye, a great deal might have
been expected. When going about the world one cannot help thinking
that the various races and tribes of men, differing in the color of
their skins and in the climates and conditions they live in, ought to
have differently colored eyes. In Brazil, I was greatly struck with
the magnificent appearance of many of the negro women I saw there:
well-formed, tall, majestic creatures, often appropriately clothed in
loose white gowns and white turban-like headdresses; while on their
round polished blue-black arms they wore silver armlets. It seemed to
me that the pale golden irides, as in the intensely black tyrant-bird
Lichenops, would have given a finishing glory to these sable beauties,
completing their strange unique loveliness. Again, in that exquisite
type of female beauty which we see in the white girl with a slight
infusion of negro blood, giving the graceful frizzle to the hair,
the purple-red hue to the lips, and the dusky terra-cotta tinge to
the skin, an eye more suitable than the dark dull brown would have
been the intense orange brown seen in the lemur’s eye. For many very
dark-skinned tribes nothing more beautiful than the ruby-red iris could
be imagined; while sea-green eyes would have best suited dusky-pale
Polynesians and languid peaceful tribes like that one described in
Tennyson’s poem:—

    And round about the keel with faces pale,
    Dark faces pale against that rosy flame,
    The mild-eyed melancholy Lotos-eaters came.

Since we cannot have the eyes we should like best to have, let us
consider those that nature has given us. The incomparable beauty of the
“emerald eye” has been greatly praised by the poets, particularly by
those of Spain. Emerald eyes, if they only existed, would certainly be
beautiful beyond all others, especially if set off with dark or black
hair and that dim pensive creamy pallor of the skin frequently seen in
warm climates, and which is more beautiful than the rosy complexion
prevalent in northern regions, though not so lasting. But either they
do not exist or else I have been very unfortunate, for after long
seeking I am compelled to confess that never yet have I been gratified
by the sight of emerald eyes. I have seen eyes _called_ green, that
is, eyes with a greenish tinge or light in them, but they were not
the eyes I sought. One can easily forgive the poets their misleading
descriptions, since they are not trustworthy guides, and very often,
like Humpty Dumpty in “Through the Looking Glass,” make words do “extra
work.” For sober fact one is accustomed to look to men of science;
yet, strange to say, while these complain that we—the unscientific
ones—are without any settled and correct ideas about the color of our
own eyes, they have endorsed the poet’s fable, and have even taken
considerable pains to persuade the world of its truth. Dr. Paul Broca
is their greatest authority. In his “Manual for Anthropologists” he
divides human eyes into four distinct types—orange, green, blue,
grey; and these four again into five varieties each. The symmetry of
such a classification suggests at once that it is an arbitrary one.
Why orange, for instance? Light hazel, clay color, red, dull brown,
cannot properly be called orange; but the division requires the five
supposed varieties of the dark pigmented eye to be grouped under one
name, and because there is yellow pigment in some dark eyes they are
all called orange. Again, to make the five grey varieties the lightest
grey is made so light that only when placed on a sheet of white paper
does it show grey at all: but there is always some color in the human
skin, so that Broca’s eye would appear absolutely white by contrast—a
thing unheard of in nature. Then we have green, beginning with the
palest sage green, and up through grass green and emerald green, to the
deepest sea green and the green of the holly leaf. Do such eyes exist
in nature? In theory they do. The blue eye is blue, and the grey grey,
because in such eyes there is no yellow or brown pigment on the outer
surface of the iris to prevent the dark purple pigment—the _uvea_—on
the inner surface from being seen through the membrane, which has
different degrees of opacity, making the eye appear grey, light or dark
blue, or purple, as the case may be. When yellow pigment is deposited
in small quantity on the outer membrane, then it should, according to
the theory, blend with the inner blue and make green. Unfortunately
for the anthropologists, it doesn’t. It only gives in some cases the
greenish variable tinge I have mentioned, but nothing approaching to
the decided greens of Broca’s tables. Given an eye with the right
degree of translucency in the membrane and a very thin deposit of
yellow pigment spread equally over the surface; the result would be a
perfectly green iris. Nature, however, does not proceed quite in this
way. The yellow pigment varies greatly in hue; it is muddy yellow,
brown, or earthy color, and it never spreads itself uniformly over the
surface, but occurs in patches grouped about the pupil and spreads in
dull rays or lines and spots, so that the eye which science says “ought
to be called green” is usually a very dull blue-grey or brownish-blue,
or clay color, and in some rare instances shows a changeable greenish

In the remarks accompanying the report of the Anthropomentric Committee
of the British Association for 1881 and 1883, it is said that green
eyes are more common than the tables indicate, and that eyes that
should properly be called green, owing to the popular prejudice
against that term, have been recorded as grey or some other color.

Does any such prejudice exist? or is it necessary to go about with the
open manual in our hands to know a green eye when we see one? No doubt
the “popular prejudice” is supposed to have its origin in Shakespeare’s
description of jealousy as a green-eyed monster; but if Shakespeare has
any great weight with the popular mind the prejudice ought to be the
other way, since he is one of those who sing the splendors of the green

Thus, in Romeo and Juliet:—

                              The eagle, madam,
    Hath not so green, so quick, so fair an eye
    As Paris hath.

The lines are, however, nonsense, as green-eyed eagles have no
existence; and perhaps the question of the popular prejudice is not
worth arguing about.

If we could leave out the mixed or neutral eyes, which are in a
transitional state—blue eyes with some dark pigment obscuring their
blueness, and making them quite unclassifiable, as no two pairs of eyes
are found alike—then all eyes might be divided into two great natural
orders, those with and those without pigment on the outer surface of
the membrane. They could not be called light and dark eyes, since
many hazel eyes are really lighter than purple and dark grey eyes.
They might, however, be simply called brown and blue eyes, for in all
eyes with the outer pigment there is brown, or something scarcely
distinguishable from brown; and all eyes without pigment, even the
purest greys, have some blueness.

Brown eyes express animal passions rather than intellect, and the
higher moral feelings. They are frequently equalled in their own
peculiar kind of eloquence by the brown or dark eyes in civilised
dogs. In animals there is, in fact, often an exaggerated eloquence of
expression. To judge from their eyes, caged cats and eagles in the
Zoological Gardens are all furred and feathered Bonnivards. Even in
the most intellectual of men the brown eye speaks more of the heart
than of the head. In the inferior creatures the black eye is always
keen and cunning or else soft and mild, as in fawns, doves, aquatic
birds, etc.; and it is remarkable that in man also the black eye—dark
brown iris with large pupil—generally has one or the other of these
predominant expressions. Of course, in highly-civilised communities,
individual exceptions are extremely numerous. Spanish and negro women
have wonderfully soft and loving eyes, while the cunning weasel-like
eye is common everywhere, especially amongst Asiatics. In high-caste
Orientals the keen, cunning look has been refined and exalted to an
expression of marvellous subtlety—the finest expression of which the
black eye is capable.

The blue eye—all blues and greys being here included—is, _par
excellence_, the eye of intellectual man; that outer warm-colored
pigment hanging like a cloud, as it were, over the brain absorbs its
most spiritual emanations, so that only when it is quite blown away
are we able to look into the soul, forgetting man’s kinship with
the brutes. When one is unaccustomed to it from always living with
dark-eyed races, the blue eye seems like an anomaly in nature, if not a
positive blunder; for its power of expressing the lower and commonest
instincts and passions of our race is comparatively limited; and in
cases where the higher faculties are undeveloped it seems vacant and
meaningless. Add to this that the ethereal blue color is associated
in the mind with atmospheric phenomena rather than with solid matter,
inorganic or animal. It is the hue of the void, expressionless sky; of
shadows on far-off hill and cloud; of water under certain conditions of
the atmosphere, and of the unsubstantial summer haze,

                Whose margin fades
    Forever and forever as I move.

In organic nature we only find the hue sparsely used in the
quickly-perishing flowers of some frail plants; while a few living
things of free and buoyant motions, like birds and butterflies,
have been touched on the wings with the celestial tint only to make
them more aërial in appearance. Only in man, removed from the gross
materialism of nature, and in whom has been developed the highest
faculties of the mind, do we see the full beauty and significance of
the blue eye—the eye, that is, without the interposing cloud of dark
pigment covering it. In the recently-published biography of Nathaniel
Hawthorne, the author says of him: “His eyes were large, dark blue,
brilliant, and full of varied expression. Bayard Taylor used to say
that they were the only eyes he ever knew to flash fire.... While he
was yet at college, an old gypsy woman, meeting him suddenly in a
woodland path, gazed at him and asked, ‘Are you a man or an angel?’”
Mrs. Hawthorne says in one of her letters quoted in the book: “The
flame of his eyes consumed compliment, cant, sham, and falsehood; while
the most wretched sinners—so many of whom came to confess to him—met in
his glance such a pity and sympathy that they ceased to be afraid of
God and began to return to him.... _I never dared gaze at him, even I,
unless his lids were down_.”

I think we have, most of us, seen eyes like these—eyes which one rather
avoids meeting, because when met one is startled by the sight of a
naked human soul brought so near. One person, at least, I have known
to whom the above description would apply in every particular; a man
whose intellectual and moral nature was of the highest order, and who
perished at the age of thirty, a martyr, like the late Dr. Rabbeth, in
the cause of science and humanity.

How very strange, then, that savage man should have been endowed
with this eye unsuited to express the instincts and passions of
savages, but able to express that intelligent and high moral feeling
which a humane civilisation was, long ages after, to develop in his
torpid brain! A fact like this seems to fit in with that flattering,
fascinating, ingenious hypothesis invented by Mr. Wallace to account
for facts which, according to the theory of natural selection, ought
not to exist. But, alas! that beautiful hypothesis fails to convince.
Even the most degraded races existing on the earth possess a language
and the social state, religion, a moral code, laws, and a species
of civilisation; so that there is a great gulf between them and the
highest ape that lives in the woods. And as far back as we can go this
has been the condition of the human race, the real primitive man having
left no writing on the rocks. In the far dim past he still appears,
naked, standing erect, and with a brain “larger than it need be,”
according to the theory; so that of the oldest pre-historic skull yet
discovered Professor Huxley is able to say that it is a skull which
might have contained the brains of a philosopher or of a savage. We
can only conclude that we are divided by a very thin partition from
those we call savages in our pride; and that if man has continued on
the earth, changing but little, for so vast a period of time, the
reason is, that while the goddess Elaboration has held him by one hand,
endeavoring ever to lead him onwards, the other hand has been clasped
by Degeneration, which may be personified as a beauteous and guileful
nymph whose fascinations have had as much weight with him as the wisdom
of the goddess.—_Gentleman’s Magazine._


“The Atlantosaurus,” said I, pointing affectionately with a wave of
my left hand to all that was immortal of that extinct reptile, “is
estimated to have had a total length of one hundred feet, and was
probably the very biggest lizard that ever lived, even in Western
America, where his earthly remains were first disinhumed by an
enthusiastic explorer,”

“Yes, yes,” my friend answered abstractedly. “Of course, of course;
things were all so very big in those days, you know, my dear fellow.”

“Excuse me,” I replied with polite incredulity; “I really don’t know
to what particular period of time the phrase ‘in those days’ may be
supposed precisely to refer.”

My friend shuffled inside his coat a little uneasily. (I will admit
that I was taking a mean advantage of him. The professorial lecture
in private life, especially when followed by a strict examination, is
quite undeniably a most intolerable nuisance.) “Well,” he said, in
a crusty voice, after a moment’s hesitation, “I mean, you know, in
geological times ... well, there, my dear fellow, things used all to be
so _very_ big in those days, usedn’t they?”

I took compassion upon him and let him off easily. “You’ve had enough
of the museum,” I said with magnanimous self-denial. “The Atlantosaurus
has broken the camel’s back. Let’s go and have a quiet cigarette in the
park outside.”

But if you suppose, reader, that I am going to carry my forbearance
so far as to let you, too, off the remainder of that geological
disquisition, you are certainly very much mistaken. A discourse which
would be quite unpardonable in social intercourse may be freely
admitted in the privacy of print; because, you see, while you can’t
easily tell a man that his conversation bores you (though some people
just avoid doing so by an infinitesimal fraction), you can shut up a
book whenever you like, without the very faintest or remotest risk of
hurting the authors delicate susceptibilities.

The subject of my discourse naturally divides itself, like the
conventional sermon, into two heads—the precise date of “geological
times,” and the exact bigness of the animals that lived in them. And
I may as well begin by announcing my general conclusion at the very
outset; first, that “those days” never existed at all; and secondly,
that the animals which now inhabit this particular planet are, on the
whole, about as big, taken in the lump, as any previous contemporary
fauna that ever lived at any one time together upon its changeful
surface. I know that to announce this sad conclusion is to break
down one more universal and cherished belief: everybody considers
that “geological animals” were ever so much bigger than their modern
representatives; but the interests of truth should always be paramount,
and if the trade of an iconoclast is a somewhat cruel one, it is at
least a necessary function in a world so ludicrously overstocked with
popular delusions as this erring planet.

What, then, is the ordinary idea of “geological time” in the minds of
people like my good friend who refused to discuss with me the exact
antiquity of the Atlantosaurian? They think of it all as immediate
and contemporaneous, a vast panorama of innumerable ages being all
crammed for them on to a single mental sheet, in which the dodo and
the moa hob-an’-nob amicably with the pterodactyl and the ammonite; in
which the tertiary megatherium goes cheek by jowl with the secondary
deinosaurs and the primary trilobites; in which the huge herbivores
of the Paris Basin are supposed to have browsed beneath the gigantic
club-mosses of the Carboniferous period, and to have been successfully
hunted by the great marine lizards and flying dragons of the Jurassic
Epoch. Such a picture is really just as absurd, or, to speak more
correctly, a thousand times absurder, than if one were to speak
of those grand old times when Homer and Virgil smoked their pipes
together in the Mermaid Tavern, while Shakespere and Molière, crowned
with summer roses, sipped their Falernian at their ease beneath the
whispering palmwoods of the Nevsky Prospect, and discussed the details
of the play they were to produce to-morrow in the crowded Colosseum,
on the occasion of Napoleon’s reception at Memphis by his victorious
brother emperors, Ramses and Sardanapalus. This is not, as the
inexperienced reader may at first sight imagine, a literal transcript
from one of the glowing descriptions that crowd the beautiful pages
of Ouida; it is a faint attempt to parallel in the brief moment of
historical time the glaring anachronisms perpetually committed as
regards the vast laps of geological chronology even by well-informed
and intelligent people.

We must remember, then, that in dealing with geological time we are
dealing with a positively awe-inspiring and unimaginable series of
æons, each of which occupied its own enormous and incalculable epoch,
and each of which saw the dawn, the rise, the culmination, and the
downfall of innumerable types of plant and animal. On the cosmic clock,
by whose pendulum alone we can faintly measure the dim ages behind
us, the brief lapse of historical time, from the earliest of Egyptian
dynasties to the events narrated in this evening’s _Pall Mall_, is
less than a second, less than a unit, less than the smallest item by
which we can possibly guide our blind calculations. To a geologist
the temples of Karnak and the New Law Courts would be absolutely
contemporaneous; he has no means by which he could discriminate
in date between a scarabæus of Thothmes, a denarius of Antonine,
and a bronze farthing of her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria.
Competent authorities have shown good grounds for believing that the
Glacial Epoch ended about 80,000 years ago; and everything that has
happened since the Glacial Epoch is, from the geological point of
view, described as “recent.” A shell embedded in a clay cliff sixty or
seventy thousand years ago, while short and swarthy Mongoloids still
dwelt undisturbed in Britain, ages before the irruption of the “Ancient
Britons” of our inadequate school-books, is, in the eyes of geologists
generally, still regarded as purely modern.

But behind that indivisible moment of recent time, that eighty
thousand years which coincides in part with the fraction of a single
swing of the cosmical pendulum, there lie hours, and days, and weeks,
and months, and years, and centuries, and ages of an infinite, an
illimitable, an inconceivable past, whose vast divisions unfold
themselves slowly, one beyond the other, to our aching vision in the
half-deciphered pages of the geological record. Before the Glacial
Epoch there comes the Pliocene, immeasurably longer than the whole
expanse of recent time; and before that again the still longer Miocene,
and then the Eocene, immeasurably longer than all the others put
together. These three make up in their sum the Tertiary period, which
entire period can hardly have occupied more time in its passage than
a single division of the Secondary, such as the Cretaceous, or the
Oolite, or the Triassic; and the Secondary period, once more, though
itself of positively appalling duration, seems but a patch (to use the
expressive modernism) upon the unthinkable and unrealisable vastness
of the endless successive Primary æons. So that in the end we can only
say, like Michael Scott’s mystic head, “Time was, Time is, Time will
be.” The time we know affords us no measure at all for even the nearest
and briefest epochs of the time we know not; and the time we know not
seems to demand still vaster and more inexpressible figures as we pry
back curiously, with wondering eyes, into its dimmest and earliest

These efforts to realise the unrealisable make one’s head swim; let
us hark back once more from cosmical time to the puny bigness of our
earthly animals, living or extinct.

If we look at the whole of our existing fauna, marine and terrestrial,
we shall soon see that we could bring together at the present moment
a very goodly collection of extant monsters, most parlous monsters,
too, each about as fairly big in its own kind as almost anything
that has ever preceded it. Every age has its own _spécialité_ in the
way of bigness; in one epoch it is the lizards that take suddenly
to developing overgrown creatures, the monarchs of creation in
their little day; in another, it is the fishes that blossom out
unexpectedly into Titanic proportions; in a third, it is the sloths
or the proboscideans that wax fat and kick with gigantic members; in
a fourth, it may be the birds or the men that are destined to evolve
with future ages into veritable rocs or purely realistic Gargantuas or
Brobdingnagians. The present period is most undoubtedly the period of
the cetaceans; and the future geologist who goes hunting for dry bones
among the ooze of the Atlantic, now known to us only by the scanty
dredgings of our “Alerts” and “Challengers,” but then upheaved into
snow-clad Alps or vine-covered Apennines, will doubtless stand aghast
at the huge skeletons of our whales and our razor-backs, and will
mutter to himself in awe-struck astonishment, in the exact words of my
friend at South Kensington, “Things used all to be so very big in those
days, usedn’t they?”

Now, the fact as to the comparative size of our own cetaceans and of
“geological” animals is just this. The Atlantosaurus of the Western
American Jurassic beds, a great erect lizard, is the very largest
creature ever known to have inhabited this sublunary sphere. His
entire length is supposed to have reached about a hundred feet (for
no complete skeleton has ever been discovered), while in stature he
appears to have stood some thirty feet high, or over. In any case,
he was undoubtedly a very big animal indeed, for his thigh-bone
alone measures eight feet, or two feet taller than that glory of
contemporary civilisation, a British Grenadier. This, of course,
implies a very decent total of height and size; but our own sperm
whale frequently attains a good length of seventy feet, while the
rorquals often run up to eighty, ninety, and even a hundred feet. We
are thus fairly entitled to say that we have at least one species of
animal now living which, occasionally at any rate, equals in size the
very biggest and most colossal form known inferentially to geological
science. Indeed, when we consider the extraordinary compactness and
rotundity of the modern cetaceans, as compared with the tall limbs and
straggling skeleton of the huge Jurassic deinosaurs, I am inclined to
believe that the tonnage of a decent modern rorqual must positively
exceed that of the gigantic Atlantosaurus, the great lizard of the
west, _in propria persona_. I doubt, in short, whether even the solid
thigh-bone of the deinosaur could ever have supported the prodigious
weight of a full-grown family razor-back whale. The mental picture of
these unwieldy monsters hopping casually about, like Alice’s Gryphon
in Tenniel’s famous sketch, or like that still more parlous brute, the
chortling Jabberwock, must be left to the vivid imagination of the
courteous reader, who may fill in the details for himself as well as he
is able.

If we turn from the particular comparison of selected specimens (always
an unfair method of judging) to the general aspect of our contemporary
fauna, I venture confidently to claim for our own existing human period
as fine a collection of big animals as any other ever exhibited on this
planet by any one single rival epoch. Of course, if you are going to
lump all the extinct monsters and horrors into one imaginary unified
fauna, regardless of anachronisms, I have nothing more to say to you;
I will candidly admit that there were more great men in all previous
generations put together, from Homer to Dickens, from Agamemnon to
Wellington, than there are now existing in this last quarter of our
really very respectable nineteenth century. But if you compare honestly
age with age, one at a time, I fearlessly maintain that, so far from
there being any falling off in the average bigness of things generally
in these latter days, there are more big things now living than there
ever were in any one single epoch, even of much longer duration than
the “recent” period.

I suppose we may fairly say, from the evidence before us, that there
have been two Augustan Ages of big animals in the history of our
earth—the Jurassic period, which was the zenith of the reptilian type,
and the Pliocene, which was the zenith of the colossal terrestrial
tertiary mammals. I say on purpose, “from the evidence before us,”
because, as I shall go on to explain hereafter, I do not myself
believe that any one age has much surpassed another in the general
size of its fauna, since the Permian Epoch at least; and where we do
not get geological evidence of the existence of big animals in any
particular deposit, we may take it for granted, I think, that that
deposit was laid down under conditions unfavorable to the preservation
of the remains of large species. For example, the sediment now being
accumulated at the bottom of the Caspian cannot possibly contain the
bones of any creature much larger than the Caspian seal, because
there are no big species there swimming; and yet that fact does not
negative the existence in other places of whales, elephants, giraffes,
buffaloes, and hippopotami. Nevertheless, we can only go upon the facts
before us; and if we compare our existing fauna with the fauna of
Jurassic and Pliocene times, we shall at any rate be putting it to the
test of the severest competition that lies within our power under the
actual circumstances.

In the Jurassic age there were undoubtedly a great many very big
reptiles. “A monstrous eft was of old the lord and master of earth.
For him did his high sun flame and his river billowing ran, And he
felt himself in his pride to be nature’s crowning race.” There was
the ichthyosaurus, a fishlike marine lizard, familiar to us all from
a thousand reconstructions, with his long thin body, his strong
flippers, his stumpy neck, and his huge pair of staring goggle eyes.
The ichthyosaurus was certainly a most unpleasant creature to meet
alone in a narrow strait on a dark night; but if it comes to actual
measurement, the very biggest ichthyosaurian skeleton ever unearthed
does not exceed twenty-five feet from snout to tail. Now, this is an
extremely decent size for a reptile, as reptiles go; for the crocodile
and alligator, the two biggest existing lizards, seldom attain an
extreme length of sixteen feet. But there are other reptiles now
living that easily beat the ichthyosaurus, such, for example, as the
larger pythons or rock snakes, which not infrequently reach to thirty
feet, and measure round the waist as much as a London alderman of the
noblest proportions. Of course, other Jurassic saurians easily beat
this simple record. Our British Megalosaurus only extended twenty-five
feet in length, and carried weight not exceeding three tons; but his
rival Ceteosaurus stood ten feet high, and measured fifty feet from
the tip of his snout to the end of his tail; while the dimensions
of Titanosaurus may be briefly described as sixty feet by thirty,
and those of Atlantosaurus as one hundred by thirty-two. Viewed as
reptiles, we have certainly nothing at all to come up to these; but our
cetaceans, as a group, show an assemblage of species which could very
favorably compete with the whole lot of Jurassic saurians at any cattle
show. Indeed, if it came to tonnage, I believe a good blubbery right
whale could easily give points to any deinosaur that ever moved upon
oolitic continents.

The great mammals of the Pliocene age, again, such as the deinotherium
and the mastodon, were also, in their way, very big things in
livestock; but they scarcely exceeded the modern elephant, and by no
means came near the modern whales. A few colossal ruminants of the same
period could have held their own well against our existing giraffes,
elks, and buffaloes; but taking the group as a group, I don’t think
there is any reason to believe that it beat in general aspect the
living fauna of this present age.

For few people ever really remember how very many big animals we still
possess. We have the Indian and the African elephant, the hippopotamus,
the various rhinoceroses, the walrus, the giraffe, the elk, the bison,
the musk ox, the dromedary, and the camel. Big marine animals are
generally in all ages bigger than their biggest terrestrial rivals, and
most people lump all our big existing cetaceans under the common and
ridiculous title of whales, which makes this vast and varied assortment
of gigantic species seem all reducible to a common form. As a matter
of fact, however, there are several dozen colossal marine animals now
sporting and spouting in all oceans, as distinct from one another as
the camel is from the ox, or the elephant from the hippopotamus. Our
New Zealand Berardius easily beats the ichthyosaurus; our sperm whale
is more than a match for any Jurassic European deinosaur; our rorqual,
one hundred feet long, just equals the dimensions of the gigantic
American Atlantosaurus himself. Besides these exceptional monsters, our
bottle-heads reach to forty feet, our California whales to forty-four,
our hump-backs to fifty, and our razor-backs to sixty or seventy.
True fish generally fall far short of these enormous dimensions, but
some of the larger sharks attain almost equal size with the biggest
cetaceans. The common blue shark, with his twenty-five feet of solid
rapacity, would have proved a tough antagonist, I venture to believe,
for the best bred enaliosaurian that ever munched a lias ammonite. I
would back our modern Carcharodon, who grows to forty feet, against
any plesiosaurus that ever swam the Jurassic sea. As for Rhinodon, a
gigantic shark of the Indian Ocean, he has been actually measured to
a length of fifty feet, and is stated often to attain seventy. I will
stake my reputation upon it that he would have cleared the secondary
seas of their great saurians in less than a century. When we come to
add to these enormous marine and terrestrial creatures such other
examples as the great snakes, the gigantic cuttle-fish, the grampuses,
and manatees, and sea-lions, and sunfish, I am quite prepared
fearlessly to challenge any other age that ever existed to enter the
lists against our own colossal forms of animal life.

Again, it is a point worth noting that a great many of the very big
animals which people have in their minds when they talk vaguely about
everything having been so very much bigger “in those days” have become
extinct within a very late period, and are often, from the geological
point of view, quite recent.

For example, there is our friend the mammoth. I suppose no animal is
more frequently present to the mind of the non-geological speaker,
when he talks indefinitely about the great extinct monsters, than the
familiar figure of that huge-tusked, hairy northern elephant. Yet
the mammoth, chronologically speaking, is but a thing of yesterday.
He was hunted here in England by men whose descendants are probably
still living—at least so Professor Boyd Dawkins solemnly assures us;
while in Siberia his frozen body, flesh and all, is found so very
fresh that the wolves devour it, without raising any unnecessary
question as to its fitness for lupine food. The Glacial Epoch is the
yesterday of geological time, and it was the Glacial Epoch that finally
killed off the last mammoth. Then, again, there is his neighbor, the
mastodon. That big tertiary proboscidean did not live quite long
enough, it is true, to be hunted by the cavemen of the Pleistocene
age, but he survived at any rate as long as the Pliocene—our day
before yesterday—and he often fell very likely before the fire-split
flint weapons of the Abbé Bourgeois’ Miocene men. The period that
separates him from our own day is as nothing compared with the vast and
immeasurable interval that separates him from the huge marine saurians
of the Jurassic world. To compare the relative lapses of time with
human chronology, the mastodon stands to our own fauna as Beau Brummel
stands to the modern masher, while the saurians stand to it as the
Egyptian and Assyrian warriors stand to Lord Wolseley and the followers
of the Mahdi.

Once more, take the gigantic moa of New Zealand, that enormous bird
who was to the ostrich as the giraffe is to the antelope; a monstrous
emu, as far surpassing the ostriches of to-day as the ostriches surpass
all the other fowls of the air. Yet the moa, though now extinct, is
in the strictest sense quite modern, a contemporary very likely of
Queen Elizabeth or Queen Anne, exterminated by the Maoris only a very
little time before the first white settlements in the great southern
archipelago. It is even doubtful whether the moa did not live down to
the days of the earliest colonists, for remains of Maori encampments
are still discovered, with the ashes of the fire-place even now
unscattered, and the close-gnawed bones of the gigantic bird lying
in the very spot where the natives left them after their destructive
feasts. So, too, with the big sharks. Our modern carcharodon, who
runs (as I have before noted) to forty feet in length, is a very
respectable monster indeed, as times go; and his huge snapping teeth,
which measure nearly two inches long by one and a half broad, would
disdain to make two bites of the able-bodied British seaman. But the
naturalists of the “Challenger” expedition dredged up in numbers from
the ooze of the Pacific similar teeth, five inches long by four wide,
so that the sharks to which they originally belonged must, by parity
of reasoning, have measured nearly a hundred feet in length. This, no
doubt, beats our biggest existing shark, the rhinodon, by some thirty
feet. Still, the ooze of the Pacific is a quite recent or almost modern
deposit, which is even now being accumulated on the sea bottom, and
there would be really nothing astonishing in the discovery that some
representatives of these colossal carcharodons are to this day swimming
about at their lordly leisure among the coral reefs of the South Sea
Islands. That very cautious naturalist, Dr. Günther, of the British
Museum, contents himself indeed by merely saying: “As we have no record
of living individuals of that bulk having been observed, the gigantic
species to which these teeth belonged must probably have become extinct
within a comparatively recent period.”

If these things are so, the question naturally suggests itself: Why
should certain types of animals have attained their greatest size at
certain different epochs, and been replaced at others by equally big
animals of wholly unlike sorts? The answer, I believe, is simply this:
Because there is not room and food in the world at any one time for
more than a certain relatively small number of gigantic species. Each
great group of animals has had successively its rise, its zenith,
its decadence, and its dotage; each at the period of its highest
development has produced a considerable number of colossal forms; each
has been supplanted in due time by higher groups of totally different
structure, which have killed off their predecessors, not indeed by
actual stress of battle, but by irresistible competition for food and
prey. The great saurians were thus succeeded by the great mammals, just
as the great mammals are themselves in turn being ousted, from the land
at least, by the human species.

Let us look briefly at the succession of big animals in the world, so
far as we can follow it from the mutilated and fragmentary record of
the geological remains.

The very earliest existing fossils would lead us to believe, what is
otherwise quite probable; that life on our planet began with very
small forms—that it passed at first through a baby stage. The animals
of the Cambrian period are almost all small mollusks, star-fishes,
sponges, and other simple, primitive types of life. There were as yet
no vertebrates of any sort, not even fishes, far less amphibians,
reptiles, birds, or mammals. The veritable giants of the Cambrian
world were the crustaceans, and especially the trilobites, which,
nevertheless, hardly exceeded in size a good big modern lobster. The
biggest trilobite is some two feet long; and though we cannot by any
means say that this was really the largest form of animal life then
existing, owing to the extremely broken nature of the geological
record, we have at least no evidence that anything bigger as yet moved
upon the face of the waters. The trilobites, which were a sort of
triple-tailed crabs (to speak very popularly), began in the Cambrian
Epoch, attained their culminating point in the Silurian, wandered in
the Devonian, and died out utterly in the Carboniferous seas.

It is in the second great epoch, the Silurian, that the cuttle-fish
tribe, still fairly represented by the nautilus, the argonaut, the
squid, and the octopus, first began to make their appearance upon this
or any other stage. The cuttle-fishes are among the most developed of
invertebrate animals; they are rapid swimmers; they have large and
powerful eyes; and they can easily enfold their prey (_teste_ Victor
Hugo) in their long and slimy sucker-clad arms. With these natural
advantages to back them up, it is not surprising that the cuttle
family rapidly made their mark in the world. They were by far the most
advanced thinkers and actors of their own age, and they rose almost
at once to be the dominant creatures of the primæval ocean in which
they swam. There were as yet no saurians or whales to dispute the
dominion with these rapacious cephalopods, and so the cuttle family had
things for the time all their own way. Before the end of the Silurian
epoch, according to that accurate census-taker, M. Barrande, they
had blossomed forth into no less than 1,622 distinct species. For a
single family to develop so enormous a variety of separate forms, all
presumably derived from a single common ancestor, argues, of course, an
immense success in life; and it also argues a vast lapse of time during
which the different species were gradually demarcated from one another.

Some of the ammonites, which belonged to this cuttle-fish group, soon
attained a very considerable size; but a shell known as the orthoceras
(I wish my subject didn’t compel me to use such _very_ long words,
but I am not personally answerable, thank heaven, for the vagaries of
modern scientific nomenclature) grew to a bigger size than that of
any other fossil mollusk, sometimes measuring as much as six feet in
total length. At what date the gigantic cuttles of the present day
first began to make their appearance it would be hard to say, for their
shell-less bodies are so soft that they could leave hardly anything
behind in a fossil state; but the largest known cuttle, measured by Mr.
Gabriel, of Newfoundland, was eighty feet in length, including the long

These cuttles are the only invertebrates at all in the running so far
as colossal size is concerned, and it will be observed that here the
largest modern specimen immeasurably beats the largest fossil form of
the same type. I do not say that there were not fossil forms quite
as big as the gigantic calamaries of our own time—on the contrary, I
believe there were; but if we go by the record alone we must confess
that, in the matter of invertebrates at least, the balance of size is
all in favor of our own period.

The vertebrates first make their appearance, in the shape of fishes,
towards the close of the Silurian period, the second of the great
geological epochs. The earliest fish appear to have been small,
elongated, eel-like creatures, closely resembling the lampreys in
structure; but they rapidly developed in size and variety, and
soon became the ruling race in the waters of the ocean, where they
maintained their supremacy till the rise of the great secondary
saurians. Even then, in spite of the severe competition thus
introduced, and still later, in spite of the struggle for life against
the huge modern cetaceans (the true monarchs of the recent seas), the
sharks continued to hold their own as producers of gigantic forms; and
at the present day their largest types probably rank second only to the
whales in the whole range of animated nature. There seems no reason to
doubt that modern fish, as a whole, quite equal in size the piscine
fauna of any previous geological age.

It is somewhat different with the next great vertebrate group, the
amphibians, represented in our own world only by the frogs, the
toads, the newts, and the axolotls. Here we must certainly with shame
confess that the amphibians of old greatly surpassed their degenerate
descendants in our modern waters. The Japanese salamander, by far the
biggest among our existing newts, never exceeds a yard in length from
snout to tail; whereas some of the labyrinthodonts (forgive me once
more) of the Carboniferous epoch must have reached at least seven or
eight feet from stem to stern. But the reason of this falling off is
not far to seek. When the adventurous newts and frogs of that remote
period first dropped their gills and hopped about inquiringly on the
dry land, under the shadow of the ancient tree-ferns and club-mosses,
they were the only terrestrial vertebrates then existing, and they
had the field (or, rather, the forest) all to themselves. For a
while, therefore, like all dominant races for the time being, they
blossomed forth at their ease into relatively gigantic forms. Frogs as
big as donkeys, and efts as long as crocodiles, luxuriated to their
hearts’ content in the marshy lowlands, and lorded it freely over the
small creatures which they found in undisturbed possession of the
Carboniferous isles. But as ages passed away, and new improvements were
slowly invented and patented by survival of the fittest in the offices
of nature, their own more advanced and developed descendants, the
reptiles and mammals, got the upper hand with them, and soon lived them
down in the struggle for life, so that this essentially intermediate
form is now almost entirely restricted to its one adapted seat, the
pools and ditches that dry up in summer.

The reptiles, again, are a class in which the biggest modern forms are
simply nowhere beside the gigantic extinct species. First appearing on
the earth at the very close of the vast primary periods—in the Permian
age—they attained in secondary times the most colossal proportions,
and have certainly never since been exceeded in size by any later
forms of life in whatever direction. But one must remember that
during the heyday of the great saurians, there were as yet no birds
and no mammals. The place now filled in the ocean by the whales and
grampuses, as well as the place now filled in the great continents by
the elephants, the rhinoceroses, the hippopotami, and the other big
quadrupeds, was then filled exclusively by huge reptiles, of the sort
rendered familiar to us all by the restored effigies on the little
island in the Crystal Palace grounds. Every dog has his day, and the
reptiles had _their_ day in the secondary period. The forms into
which they developed were certainly every whit as large as any ever
seen on the surface of this planet, but not, as I have already shown,
appreciably larger than those of the biggest cetaceans known to science
in our own time.

During the very period, however, when enaliosaurians and pterodactyls
were playing such pranks before high heaven as might have made
contemporary angels weep, if they took any notice of saurian morality,
a small race of unobserved little prowlers was growing up in the dense
shades of the neighboring forests which was destined at last to oust
the huge reptiles from their empire over earth, and to become in the
fulness of time the exclusively dominant type of the whole planet. In
the trias we get the first remains of mammalian life in the shape of
tiny rat-like animals, marsupial in type, and closely related to the
banded ant-eaters of New South Wales at the present day. Throughout
the long lapse of the secondary ages, across the lias, the oolite, the
wealden, and the chalk, we find the mammalian race slowly developing
into opossums and kangaroos, such as still inhabit the isolated and
antiquated continent of Australia. Gathering strength all the time
for the coming contest, increasing constantly in size of brain and
keenness of intelligence, the true mammals were able at last, towards
the close of the secondary ages, to enter the lists boldly against the
gigantic saurians. With the dawn of the tertiary period, the reign
of the reptiles begins to wane, and the reign of the mammals to set
in at last in real earnest. In place of the ichthyosaurus we get the
huge cetaceans; in place of the dinosaurs we get the mammoth and the
mastodon; in place of the dominant reptile groups we get the first
precursors of man himself.

The history of the great birds has been somewhat more singular.
Unlike the other main vertebrate classes, the birds (as if on purpose
to contradict the proverb) seem never yet to have had their day.
Unfortunately for them, or at least for their chance of producing
colossal species, their evolution went on side by side, apparently,
with that of the still more intelligent and more powerful mammals; so
that wherever the mammalian type had once firmly established itself,
the birds were compelled to limit their aspirations to a very modest
and humble standard. Terrestrial mammals, however, cannot cross the
sea; so in isolated regions such as New Zealand and Madagascar, the
birds had things all their own way. In New Zealand, there are no
indigenous quadrupeds at all; and there the huge moa attained to
dimensions almost equalling those of the giraffe. In Madagascar, the
mammalian life was small and of low grade, so the gigantic æpyornis
became the very biggest of all known birds. At the same time, these
big species acquired their immense size at the cost of the distinctive
birdlike habit of flight. A flying moa is almost an impossible
conception; even the ostriches compete practically with the zebras and
antelopes rather than with the eagles, the condors, or the albatrosses.
In like manner, when a pigeon found its way to Mauritius, it developed
into the practically wingless dodo; while in the northern penguins,
on their icy perches, the forelimbs have been gradually modified into
swimming organs exactly analogous to the flippers of the seal.

Are the great animals now passing away and leaving no representatives
of their greatness to future ages? On land at least that is very
probable. Man, diminutive man, who, if he walked on all fours, would
be no bigger than a silly sheep, and who only partially disguises his
native smallness by his acquired habit of walking erect on what ought
to be his hind legs—man has upset the whole balanced economy of nature,
and is everywhere expelling and exterminating before him the great
herbivores, his predecessors. He needs for his corn and his bananas the
fruitful plains which were once laid down in prairie or scrub-wood.
Hence it seems not unlikely that the elephant, the hippopotamus, the
rhinoceros, and the buffalo must go. But we are still a long way off
from that final consummation, even on dry land; while as for the water,
it appears highly probable that there are as good fish still in the
sea as ever came out of it. Whether man himself, now become the sole
dominant animal of our poor old planet, will ever develop into Titanic
proportions, seems far more problematical. The race is now no longer
to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. Brain counts for more
than muscle, and mind has gained the final victory over mere matter.
Goliath of Gath has shrunk into insignificance before the Gatling gun;
as in the fairy tales of old, it is cunning little Jack with his clever
devices who wins the day against the heavy, clumsy, muddle-headed
giants. Nowadays it is our “Minotaurs” and “Warriors” that are the real
leviathans and behemoths of the great deep; our Krupps and Armstrongs
are the fire-breathing krakens of the latter-day seas. Instead of
developing individually into huge proportions, the human race tends
rather to aggregate into vast empires, which compete with one another
by means of huge armaments, and invent mitrailleuses and torpedoes
of incredible ferocity for their mutual destruction. The dragons of
the prime that tore each other in their slime have yielded place to
eighty-ton guns and armor-plated turret-ships. Those are the genuine
lineal representatives on our modern seas of the secondary saurians.
Let us hope that some coming geologist of the dim future, finding the
fossil remains of the sunken “Captain,” or the plated scales of the
“Comte de Grasse,” firmly embedded in the upheaved ooze of the existing
Atlantic, may shake his head in solemn deprecation at the horrid sight,
and thank heaven that such hideous carnivorous creatures no longer
exist in his own day.—_Cornhill Magazine._


    ‘Twas a day of storm, for the giant Atlantic, rolling in pride,
    Drawn by the full moon, driven by the fierce wind, tide upon tide.
    Flooded our poor little Channel. A hundred anxious eyes
    Were watching a breach new broken—when suddenly some one cries,
    “A boat coming in!”—and, rounding the pierhead that hid her before.
    There, sure enough, was a stranger smack, head straight for the
    How will she land, where each wave is a mountain? Too late for
    Run up a flag there to show her the right place! She _must_ land

    She is close—with a rush on the galloping wavetop—a stand,
    As the water sinks from beneath her—her nose just touches the land.
    And then (as rude hands, sacking a city, greedy of prey,
    Toss, in some littered chamber, a child’s toy lightly away),
    A great wave rose from behind, and lifting her, towered, and broke,
    And flung her headlong, down on the hard beach, close to the folk.
    Crash!... But ’tis only her bowsprit gone—she is saved somehow
    And a cheer broke out, for a hundred hands have hold of her now.
    And they say ’twas her bowsprit saved her, or she must have gone
      over then;
    Her bowsprit it was that saved her; and little they think, those
    Of one weak woman that prayed, as she watched them tempest-driven!
    They say ’twas her bowsprit saved her! I say, ’twas that prayer,
      and Heaven!

    —_The Spectator._


If the Turk has been qualified as “unspeakable,” he is very far from
being inarticulate. Strange as it may seem to those who have formed
their opinion of him from hearsay, it is not the less true that he
is commonly a good conversationalist, and can say well and pointedly
what he has got to say, with a wealth of illustration in anecdote,
quotation, and proverb. The latter form commends itself especially to
the sententious Turkish mind. The synthetic form of the language, too,
secures brevity and conciseness, and opportunities are afforded for
those constant assonances or rhyming-vowels which are so dear to the

On looking over a note-book containing several hundred Turkish
proverbs, taken down in the course of reading and conversation, or
borrowed from a collection made at the Oriental Academy at Vienna,
the writer has amused himself by grouping them roughly under certain
heads, so as to illustrate some aspects of the national character and

But first it may be interesting to remark how many well-known English
and other European proverbs have their exact counterpart in Turkish.
How far are these to be accounted for by contact with, or conquest of,
Indo-European races? Or has it been a case of “les beaux esprits se
rencontrent”? For instance, we find “You should not look a gift-horse
in the mouth,” in exactly the same words, as well as “He that is born
to be hanged will never be drowned,” the Turkish version having the
advantage of being expressed in two words! The change of words is but
slight in “Troubled waters suit the fisher,” “One _flower_ does not
make summer,” and “The robe does not make the dervish;” while in Turkey
it is not pot that says to kettle, but negro to negro, that his face
is black. We are disposed to prefer “The nail saved the shoe, the shoe
the horse, the horse the man, the man the kingdom,” to our somewhat
lumbering “For want of a nail the shoe was lost,” &c. “Wake not the
sleeping dog,” has as a corollary “Step not on the sleeping serpent;”
and we are warned that there is “No rose without a thorn, nor love
without a rival.”

One instance in which our proverbial wisdom is opposed to the Turkish
is to be found in the expression “to kill two birds with one stone.”
The attempt to do this is condemned by sundry proverbs such as “One
arrow does not bring down two birds,” and “You cannot knock down nine
walnuts with one stone.”

Often we are reminded of Scriptural proverbs and aphorisms. “Nothing
unheard of in the world” sounds Solomonian enough; while “Out with the
eye that profits me not,” “The negro does not whiten with washing,” and
“That which thou sowest, that also shalt thou reap,” are strikingly
like New Testament teaching. Again and again we find expressed in other
words lessons of charity, considerateness, and justice, that would
not be unworthy of a Christian teacher, as, “The stranger’s prayer is
heard;” “The heart’s testimony is stronger than a thousand witnesses;”
“Among the blind, close your eyes;” “In truth is right;” “Justice is
half religion;” “Neighbor’s right, God’s right.”

The heading under which, perhaps, the largest number of proverbs can
be grouped, is that of opportune speech and silence. If the Turk, as
has been said, talks well, he also knows how to hold his tongue. He
looks down with the greatest contempt on the idle chatterer, and does
not even think that good-manners require him to make small-talk when
he has nothing to say. In fact, when on a visit to a well-bred Turk,
with whom you have no common subjects of interest to discuss, after
exhausting those suggested by politeness—his health, your own, that of
your family, the weather, and the water (a most interesting topic in
the East)—you may safely fall back upon that golden silence which their
proverb, like ours, rates above silver speech. Hear his comments on the
chatterer:—“There is no ass but brays;” “The dog barks, the caravan
passes;” “Fool is he who alone talks, and is his only listener;” “The
fool wears his heart on his tongue, the wise man keeps his tongue in
his heart;” and “Many words, an unsound heart.” He warns us of the
mischief of evil-speaking,—“The knife’s wound heals, the tongue’s
never;” “The tongue slays more than the sword;” and “The tongue is
boneless, but it breaks bones.” Again, he feels keenly the danger of
free speech under a corrupt and despotic rule; while he extols honesty
and good-faith, and generally condemns lying. The latter is condoned in
certain cases, for “Some lies are better than truth,” and we may “Lie,
but with measure.” The _suppressio veri_ is even strongly recommended,
for is not the “truth-teller banished out of nine cities?” while “He
who holds his tongue saves his head,” and “There is no better answer
than this, ‘I know not, I saw not.’”

But to turn to something pleasanter, we will quote a few sayings still
familiar in our Turk’s mouth, which have survived the corruption of
the Palace and official Kings, and seem still to breathe the hardy
and independent spirit of the old days, when courage and enterprise
were the only passports to the highest places in a conquering empire.
Then it could be said that “The horse is to him who mounts, the sword
to him who girds it on,” “The brave man’s word is a coat of mail,”
“Fortune is not far from the brave man’s head,” “The hero is known
on the battle-field,” and “Fear not to-morrow’s mischance.” Who but
a conquering race could have produced such a proverb as “Power on my
head, or the raven on my corpse;” and who can fail to hear a true ring
in “Peasant erect is taller than noble on bended knee,” or “I am the
slave of him who regards me; the king of him who disregards me?”

Almsgiving is creditable, for “The hand which gives is above that which
takes;” and it offers temporal advantages as well as spiritual. In this
world “No one cuts the hand that gives,” and “What thou givest that
shalt thou take with thee” [to the next]. But beware of accepting alms
or favors if you would keep your self-respect, and “Accept the largess
of thy friend as if thou wert an enemy.”

Great is the power of wealth; “Even the mountains fear the rich man.”
It covers a multitude of failings, and averts many ills. “If a man’s
money is white, no matter if his face be black.” “The knife cuts not
hand of gold.” But then the disadvantages and dangers of it in a land
where empty treasuries are filled by the suppression of a few rich men,
and the confiscation of their property! Truly the _vacuus viator_ has
the better part where brigands swarm. “Not even a thousand men in armor
can strip a naked man.” Our Turk is a man of few wants,—pilaff, coffee,
and tobacco are enough for him, and so he will rest contented in the
“Health that is better than fortune,” sagely reflecting that “A big
head has a big ache,” that “He who has many vineyards has many cares,”
and congratulating himself if he can say, “My money is little, my head
without strife.” He is not likely to make a fortune in business, being
destitute of the enterprise, as well as of the sharpness and hardness,
necessary to success. “The bazaar knows neither father nor mother,”
and our easy-going friend has a great regard for these domestic ties.
Besides, his religion forbids him either to speculate or to put out
money at interest, although he sometimes avoids this prohibition by
the clumsy expedient of a fictitious sale, or a “present” taken by the

It is a pity that his rulers should not have profited by his
experiences of debt. “Poor without debts is better than Prince,”
“A thousand cares do not pay one debt,” and “Creditors have better
memories than debtors,” are explicit enough, but, perhaps, were not
supposed to apply to Government loans.

We find some sound advice on the subject of friendship. Do not expect
your friend to be a paragon,—“Who seeks a faultless friend, rests
friendless.” But when you have found him, keep him,—“Old friend, old
bath,” you will do better to change neither; and if he is “a true
friend, he is better than a relation.” On the other hand, avoid the
British error of underrating your foe; he is always dangerous. “Water
sleeps, the enemy wakes,” and “Be thine enemy an ant, see in him an
elephant,” for “A thousand friends are few, one foe many.”

The references to woman are as ungallant as they are unjust. She is
to be treated as a child, and as such contemptuously pardoned for her
shortcomings. “You should lecture neither child nor woman;” it would be
waste of time. Her intelligence, too, is underrated, “her hair is long,
her wits short!” It is she who as a mother “makes the house, and mars
it,” and she is classed with good wine as “a sweet poison.” But it must
be admitted that in this want of gallantry the Turk is far surpassed by
the Persian, who says “The dog is faithful, woman never.”

The lover is regarded as a lunatic, unfit for the society of his
fellows. “If you are in love, fly to the mountains,” for “Lover and
king brook no companion.” He is “blind,” and distance is nothing to
him; for him, “Bagdad is not far,” and the only cures for his malady
are “travel and patience.”

A word of advice to those about to marry. “Marry below you, but do not
marry your daughter above you;” and “Choose cloth by its edge, and a
wife by her mother.” It is natural that we should find many references
to that submission which is at the root of Islam. Sometimes we find the
idea without reference to the Deity, as in the cases, “When fate comes
the eye of wisdom is blind,” “No one eats another’s destined portion,”
and “What will come, will come, willy nilly;” but more often he is
directly invoked. His will is fate, “Whom he slays not, man slays not,”
“Who calls on Him is not abandoned,” “He delays, but neglects not,”
provides for the helpless and “builds the blind bird’s nest;” and so we
should address ourselves to Him, “asking God for what we want, not his
servant.” If you apply to the latter, you may be disappointed. Even the
minister of religion is chary of his assistance. “Food from the Imam’s
house, tears from the dead man’s eye,”—you are as likely to get one as
the other. Sometimes, too, we meet with a small touch of scepticism, as
when we are told, “First tie-up your donkey, _then_ recommend him to
God;” and sometimes a cry of black despair, “Happiest he who dies in
the cradle.”

Let us conclude this hasty sketch with a few miscellaneous proverbs,
remarkable for point or picturesqueness. “The fish stinks from the
head” is often quoted in these days of Ottoman decay, in allusion to
the bad example which comes from above. We have heard the incapacity
for action which is engendered in Turkish rulers by the enforced
seclusion of their youth commented on with “Who stays at home, loses
his cap in the crowd.” The difficulties of equality,—“You are master,
and I am master; who will groom the horse?” On an impostor,—“The empty
sack won’t stand upright.” “_Qui trop embrasse, mal étreint_,” is
rendered by “Two water-melons won’t fit under one arm.” “Old brooms
are thrown on the roof,” may be taken to apply to the promotion of
superannuated fogies. Your hangers-on profit by your success,—“When you
climb a tree your shoes go up too.” The higher you are the worse you
fall, for “There is a cure for him who falls from horse or donkey-back,
but a pick-axe (to dig his grave) for him who falls from a camel.” Let
us hope that this proverb, in its literal sense, may never be justified
in the persons of our gallant Camel Corps in the Soudan. Three proverbs
on the donkey, exemplifying—the useful guest, “They asked the donkey to
the wedding, water or wood was wanting;” the power of hope, “Die not,
my donkey; summer is coming and clover will grow;” and the folly of
exposing oneself to needless criticism, “Don’t cut your donkey’s tail
in public; some will say, ‘It is too long;’ others, ‘It is too short.’”
And, lastly, as an instance in which the jingle of the original may
be reproduced in English,—“The mannerly man learns manners of the
mannerless.”—_The Spectator._



It was on a summer Sunday morning that the story began—or let me rather
say, that I take up the story, for who shall mark the real beginning of
those events that mightily color and disturb, and even turn the course
of our lives?

In the early sunshine, while the dew was still heavy on the grass,
Ian Macpherson had been away three miles up the valley with a dying
shepherd. Following the course of the broad, brawling, shallow Riach
river; now clambering along steep slate-colored banks of shifting
flakes and chips of stone, that looked as if they had swept in
avalanches down the abrupt hillside; now springing with the sure, agile
step of a born Highlander from one boulder to another as he crossed a
streamlet or took a short cut across a bend of the river; now walking
quickly over narrow, level reaches of meadow-ground, or amongst springy
heather under the birches that overhung the broken gravel banks above
the water,—his whole heart was overflowing with that exultation which
breathes in the very early hours of morning when the days are long. The
earth in that hour was very Paradise, not for anything it had given
or ever could give him, but because it was so beautiful, and in its
glorious undesecrated solitude seemed still fresh from the hand of God.

The home of the dying man was a mere hovel of peat-sods covered with
moss-grown thatch, built on one of those fertile reaches of soil
brought down and left here and there in these wild Scotch valleys by
floods of long ago. It stood just above the river—all too perilously
near in time of storm and flood, you would have thought—and round it
towered the rugged hills, echoing unceasingly the murmur of the water
and the wind—a murmur, at least, in summer. In winter many a wild storm
raged up there, darkening the air with heavy snow and sleet, bowing and
breaking and uprooting whole tracts of pines and larch; raving down
the shrouded peaks and narrow, dim ravines, and making to tremble the
little peat hut and the stout hearts within. And then, when the storm
was spent, would be a silence as of death; snowy steeps and glittering
peaks rising up on all sides motionless against a motionless sky, and
down below the dark water creeping slow and quiet under masses of ice.

Macpherson could see it all in memory even as he stepped across the
summer flowers, for the poor shepherds in the lone huts scattered here
and there in the long valley needed him in winter as well as in summer,
in foul weather no less than in fair. But to-day, as he grew accustomed
to the half-light in the hut, and the wan face of the dying man became
clearer in the shadow of the berth in the wall where he was lying, the
minister saw well enough that he would know no more an earthly winter,
nor ever see the snow come down upon the hills again. There was only
one window in the hut, a single unmovable pane a foot square, let into
the sod wall at one end, and rendered even less useful by a strip of
rag pinned across it by way of a blind. Most of the light came in
dusty beams down the wide chimney, slanting across the background of
smoke-blackened wall and rafter, and lying in patches on the uneven mud

As the day was warm the minister set the door wide open, and the dim,
dying eyes looked out wistfully at the sunny summer weather and the
beautiful wooded slopes where the foot of the opposite hill came down
to the river. But he was tired now; all this was passing from him, and
his eyes came back to Ian Macpherson’s face, where, as he dimly felt,
dwelt something that could not pass away—something that death itself
would have no power to disturb or change. Light kindled faintly on his
rugged, wasted features when Macpherson came and took the toil-worn
hand—so powerless now—in his, for in the young minister’s life this
poor shepherd had seen and understood what no words could have brought
home to him—the reality and power of love. He knew that Macpherson
counted not his life his own, nor any of the things that he possessed.
Year by year he had felt the subtle influence deepening, and had seen
the spirit burning clearer in the eyes, so that to meet him—to the
ignorant, simple shepherd—was like meeting an angel. In Macpherson he
saw and knew a man in the very prime of manhood, clever, as those said
who knew best, and with the world before him; who yet could let the
world go by; who sought no preferment, whose whole life and soul and
energy were devoted to his people without a thought for himself, and
who had ever a kind word and a happy smile for one and all.

These poor people could perhaps not have explained what their young
minister was to them; what he really was beyond what they saw they
could never know; and yet they did feel that he had sacrificed himself
for their sake in staying there, that this sacrifice was no grudging
martyrdom, but a glad free-will offering to the Lord he loved and to
them. It shed more light upon their hearts than a thousand sermons;
it had power to draw aside for them now and again the gross veil of
material aims, and to give them as in a mirror a glimpse of eternal

This dying man could believe in the great love of the Lord who died
for him when he had seen its living power in his minister’s life; and,
though the comparison is but as of a spark to the sun itself, the
selfless brotherhood of one whom he knew very far above him in ways
which he could not understand brought home to him the brotherhood of
Christ. With his hand in Macpherson’s, listening with fast-closing
ears to his earnest words, following his childlike, simple prayers,
it seemed as if earth and its soul-chains of sin and sorrow faded and
fell away; as if the gates of heaven opened wide and wider, and the
light shone out more and more perfect, till at last the call came down,
“Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord;” and then the spirit went up out
of the darkness and ignorance and poverty of the hard shepherd life,
and Macpherson was kneeling alone on the mud floor in the dim hovel
beside the dead.

An hour later the solitary bell of the kirk on the wooded knoll
overlooking Loch Riach was ringing thin and clear across lake and
meadow for morning prayer, and Macpherson hurried up the steep
footpath that wound upwards to the kirk between Scotch firs from the
flat grass land about the water.

A group of strangers stood at the kirkyard gate, a young fellow of two
or three-and-twenty, a lady who looked about the same age, tall and
very fair, and a lad in an Eton jacket with a top hat and broad white
collar. No doubt they belonged to the English family who had been
expected at the villa near the railway station and the store—the only
villa within half a dozen miles.

Macpherson, with the courtesy that is natural to even the shyest
Highlander, lifted his hat to them as a matter of course, and would
have passed on, but the young man stepped forward and asked if they
might go into the church, and whether it mattered where they sat.

“Oh! There’s only too much room,” he said, when he understood what they
wanted, which was not all at once, for the Gaelic was his native tongue
and his ears were utterly unfamiliar with English as spoken by English
people. He led the way through long rank grass and nettles, across
sunken graves and flat tombstones where the inscriptions were worn
away, more, surely, by wild winter storms than by church-going feet,
for there was no trace of any path from the gate to the door.

“Rummiest hole ’t ever I saw, Lily,” poor Macpherson heard the boy say
in an undertone, as he ushered the strangers into as curious a place of
worship as perhaps this nineteenth century can show.

The floor was all uneven and rudely paved with round cobble stones,
glistening and dark with perpetual damp; a gallery, sagging rather
alarmingly towards the middle, ran across either end; on the front
panel of the eastern one was branded in irregular characters,

 “I. M. FECIT. AUG. 17, 1771,”

and these were certainly the very newest part of the interior. Along
under the north wall was a row of little wooden pews, some with
broken doors, others with no doors at all; their flooring consisted
merely of earth, with a few rough planks thrown down here and there
to help to keep the feet of the congregation more or less dry. The
once whitewashed walls were stained and blotted with great seas of
green and red mould, and the atmosphere was as that of a subterranean
dungeon—chill, damp, and smelling of ancient decay. Macpherson opened
a pew for them, and they took their places while he walked, just as
he was, up the crazy pulpit stair, hung his hat on a nail above him,
and knelt down. There were two women in one of the rickety galleries,
and not more than half a dozen people in the pews below: a farmer’s
daughter in very gay attire, two or three laboring men in ill-fitting
suits of Sunday black; a keeper in his master’s former shooting-coat
and knickerbockers, and a couple of shepherds in kilt and plaid.

The bell ceased, and the bell-ringer, sexton, precentor,
beadle—whatever he was—having made the rope fast where it hung on the
gable outside, came in and took his place at the desk under the pulpit,
and the Psalm was given out—

    “I to the hills will lift mine eyes,
      From whence doth come mine aid,
    My safety cometh from the Lord,
      Who heav’n and earth hath made.”

But the only person who attempted to sing was the factotum at the
clerk’s desk, and he rendered the entire Psalm alone from beginning to
end, in slow, loud, wavering, twangy tones that took small account of
a semi-tone higher or lower, and left the tune, when he had finished,
still a matter of conjecture to the uninitiated.

As the service proceeded a few more people came in, dropped into pews
here and there, and stared at the unwonted sight of a lovely English
face and fresh London millinery. But when Macpherson rose, and gave
out his text, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole
world, and lose his own soul?” reading it twice or thrice in his
curious foreign accent, every eye was fixed upon his face, and each man
placed his arms on the table or shelf in front of him and bent forward
to listen.

It was a thin, plain face, with a low, broad brow, high cheekbones
and irregular features, that showed against the dull light-blue of
the old pulpit; but the dark eyes lit up with intense eagerness as he
leaned forward to preach in his fashion the old, oft-repeated lesson,
and every line of the slight, wiry figure was instinct with energy
and life. His sermon was short, and his language strong and simple—so
simple that to at least one listener it had the force almost of a new
revelation. The hearers could not know what that simplicity cost him,
though some of them might have remembered a time when they could not
understand him; there was nothing to tell how each plain, homely phrase
came out victorious over eloquent words and symbolic imagery and high
intellectual reasonings that were always thronging there within him;
nothing to reveal how hard he was trying to live in them and out of
himself, that he might realise their need, and feel how the message he
so burned to deliver might best wake echoes in those poor dull hearts
that were so slow to respond.

Very earnestly he set forth the nothingness of all the things that
“grossly close us in” and bar the way that leads to life. Passionately
he pleaded for the great single purpose that opens and makes plain that
way and guides unerringly the feet that find it.

The fair English lady, looking up at that young earnest face, and
then beyond it, where through the window she could see red fir boughs
stirring against the summer sky, wondered at the courage that could
face this mere handful of listeners and feel as enthusiastic and
speak with as much energy as though thousands hung upon his words.
To other than Gaelic ears that voice, too, had a special charm with
its undertone of pathos, its plaintive echo of “old, unhappy, far-off
things,” the melancholy of a dying language and a race that is being
fast merged and lost in the self-asserting, irreverent Saxon, akin to
that sorrow on the wind across the moors and among the lonesome hills,
even when it comes whispering down the wild warm corries, or blows cool
off the sunny summits on a summer day, carrying a sound of tears.

At the evening service the young Englishman was there alone, and on his
homeward way Macpherson wondered whether he ought to call at the villa.
For the next day or two, however, he knew he would have no time, for
there was fever at a little farm on the lower boundary of the parish,
and in the poor cottages belonging to it, and as often as other work
would allow Macpherson was there comforting, nursing, helping, and
always bringing with him some welcome trifle that the sufferers could
not afford; a few eggs, a lemon or two, a little tea, two or three
bottles of seltzer-water—anything his kind heart could suggest and his
ready hand procure. Visits like these sometimes occupied his whole
afternoon, so that he did not come home till the shadows of the hills
darkened all the valley.

The sun had disappeared behind the rugged granite steeps to westward,
though the eastern summits could see it still and glowed rose-red
against the evening sky when Macpherson reached the Manse after
Monday’s work. The door stood wide and showed a vista of boarded,
carpetless passage sprinkled with sand, carpetless stairs opposite the
entrance, and a door on either hand; merely looking in, it gave one the
impression that whoever kept the house had good intentions, but fell
lamentably short in carrying them out. Perhaps, however, it had ceased
to strike the master’s eye, for he hung up his hat in the passage with
quite a sigh of relief, turned to the door on the left with a smile of
content on his face, and went into his study.

There, a good deal to his astonishment, stood the young Englishman of
yesterday, holding out a cordial hand and introducing himself with an
apology as Robert Echalaz.

“I have been making your acquaintance through the names of your books,”
said he, with a smile. “The—the maid”—he hesitated a moment before
venturing to apply this title to the grimy child who had admitted
him—“the maid told me, as far as I could make out what she said, that
you would be home soon, so I took the liberty of waiting here.”

Macpherson assured him that he was very welcome, and fetched in another
chair out of the adjacent kitchen to add force to his words.

Then young Echalaz came straight to his point. His brother, he said,
was bent on getting some fishing, and they thought that probably Mr.
Macpherson, if he could not help them himself, might at any rate be
able to direct them to some one who could.

“And I was glad of so plausible an excuse for getting to know you,”
added the young fellow, with a frank smile. “I—I am preparing for holy
orders, and”—he hesitated—“well, I don’t know—but I should very much
like to have some talks with you.”

Macpherson’s face lit up with pleasure at this.

“I am afraid I shall disappoint you if you expect to learn anything
from me,” he said, and his quaint accent struck the young Englishman
afresh. Nevertheless, the two talked there for an hour before it even
occurred to them that time was passing, and Echalaz jumped up and
declared he ought to have been at home before now.

“And the fishing?” suggested Macpherson.

The fishing had been quite forgotten, but it was very soon settled,
and Macpherson after some debate promised to meet the two brothers on
the following Thursday. He accompanied his new acquaintance down the
path to the gate, thinking it would be pleasant to be able to offer him
hospitality of some sort, but afraid that dry oatcake would hardly be
attractive, even with the addition—supposing that boiling water could
be produced within reasonable time—of tea that this well-to-do young
Englishman might possibly not think good. Poor Macpherson dismissed his
hospitable inclinations with regret that made his grasp of the other’s
hand all the warmer when they parted.

When Macpherson arrived at the villa at the appointed hour he found Tom
waiting at the gate.

“Mother wants you to come in and see her,” said the boy, shaking hands,
and Macpherson followed him into the house to the drawing-room, where
Mrs. Echalaz—a pretty, faded, delicate-looking woman—lay on the sofa
beside the open window. She turned her head languidly towards him, and
held out a slim white hand.

“Ah, Mr. Macpherson, it is so good of you to devote yourself to my
boy,” she said, conventionally. “I am sure he is very grateful; are you
not, Tom?”

Tom murmured something about “awfully jolly,” and suggested that they
should start at once.

Mrs. Echalaz, however, first asked many questions, as to the distance,
the river, and the possibility of danger to her son, who was evidently
the spoiled pet of the family.

Macpherson assured her that she need not be alarmed, and promised at
all events to do his best to take care of Tom; and then, instead of
Robert, when he was expected, Lily came in equipped for a walk, and
Mrs. Echalaz said, “Ah, yes, my daughter, Mr. Macpherson. I’m sorry to
say Robert is not well. He reads too hard, I am sure; he is not fit to
go, and so I am sending Lily instead. I can’t let Tom”—she changed the
expression of the thought in her heart—“Tom would be quite too much for
you alone,” she said. “I always send one of them with him—not,” she
added, betraying herself still more to Macpherson’s quick perceptions,
“not that I doubt your care; I am sure you will not let any harm befall

But her last words, far from being expressive of any such assurance,
sounded like a reiterated appeal to him to guard her darling.

Macpherson said he would be very careful, and at length the three were
allowed to depart.

Tom lost no time in handing over all his encumbrances to his sister,
and before they had walked through the wood at the back of the villa
he was away after butterflies, leaving Lily and Macpherson to carry
the rods and tackle, the fishing-basket, and the lunch. It was a great
relief to the young minister to find that the English girl was neither
shy nor self-conscious, but ready to talk with the same pleasant
frankness and cordiality that had so struck him in the elder brother.

She watched Tom’s retreating figure with an indulgent smile for a
minute, and then turned to her companion. “May I ask you a great many
questions, Mr. Macpherson?” she said, with natural directness.

“Surely,” answered he, readily; “and I hope I may be able to answer
some of them.”

“I want to tell Robert,” she explained, with a smile. “After we had
been to your little kirk on Sunday we both wanted very much to know
you. He is to take holy orders, and he and I think a great deal about
the work to which he will be called. Your life, now, must be something
utterly different from anything we have ever seen or imagined before.”

“Is it?” he said. “Only because such primitive conditions exist perhaps
no longer in England. I suppose a time is drawing nearer that will
sweep away what lingers here.”

“Well, but—” Lily hesitated an instant. “May I be quite frank?” she put
in, deprecatingly. “How is it that _you_ are in such a place?”

He did not know the drift of this question, and looked puzzled.

“Why should I not be?” he asked, diffidently.

The girl glanced expressively to north and south, down and up the
lonely valley.

“One might say, speaking roughly,” she said, “that there are no people

Macpherson too looked up the valley, and saw, far off, the hut where
that poor shepherd had died, and thoughts of that Sunday morning
brought the light into his face.

“That _would_ be ’speaking roughly,’” he said, with a gentleness that
made her feel ashamed at first, and then anxious to justify herself.

“But is your congregation always so small?” she asked.

“That was about the average on Sunday,” he answered, and added, with
a sigh, as if the fact were one he tried to forget, “It _is_ small.
My predecessor, I’m afraid, was unpopular, and latterly very old and
feeble, and could not keep them together. A few have come back to me,
but only a few.”

“Then why do you stay here?” said Lily, impetuously. “Robert told me
about your books, and—and the house—the Manse—so poor and bare. He says
you must be far above your work. Indeed, we knew it from your sermon on

He looked distressed.

“Do you think they will not have understood me?” he asked, with eager
anxiety. “Was it difficult—obscure—beyond the mark?”

“Oh, no, no!” said Lily, astonished at his way of looking at it; “a
child must have understood every word. I can’t quite explain how it
struck me and Robert too; it was so short and so complete, and the
words so simple that one wondered at their intense force; and yet—yet—”

He looked anxiously at her. “Don’t be afraid to find fault, Miss
Echalaz,” he said, earnestly; “I shall be so thankful to you—”

“Fault!” she interrupted; “oh, you don’t understand me! I never heard
anything that went so straight from heart to heart as those words of
yours. When we came out I turned to Robert, and he turned to me, and we
both said, ‘Well?’ and then Robert asked me what was the secret of such
power, but I couldn’t tell. And he thought a long time as we went home,
about what you had said, and what he would have said in your place,
which none of them would have listened to or understood.”

Lily smiled rather sadly and broke off, for she remembered how Robert
had said to her at last that Macpherson “_walked with God_,” and
that that was the secret of his power. She could not well repeat her
brother’s words, but she knew that they were true, and wanted to
acknowledge to Macpherson the debt that both felt they owed to him.

“Ah! Mr. Macpherson,” she said, earnestly, “you made us both ashamed.
We were eager to begin teaching, and we suddenly found we had
everything still to learn. Robert says he sees now that _nothing_,
absolutely nothing, can be done by a man who has not begun with

Macpherson looked up with keen sympathy, divining at once a
fellow-struggler, for this was beaten ground to him, sorely familiar.

“That is true enough,” he said; “and yet we all begin at the outside,
and are always returning to it again.”

Lily sighed.

“Yes,” she said, “and looking downward from ourselves instead of up to
our ideal—to God. One seems to be always beginning, only beginning,
over and over again.”

“Perhaps,” said Macpherson thoughtfully—“perhaps we need a whole life
of beginning to show us what we are, and to teach us that the good that
is done is all of God.”

“But don’t you feel yourself thrown away on such a miserable little
congregation?” Lily went on, recurring to her first idea. “Would you
not like a large parish?—a city audience?”

His eyes kindled.

“Once,” he said, “I wished for a larger field, and, as you say, an
_audience_; and I thought myself thrown away. I looked on this as a
mere stepping-stone to preferment; it was quite too paltry for my
enthusiasm; I could not make myself intelligible to my few people, my
sermons flew quite over their heads; I was disappointed and miserable.
I wanted to bring a sacrifice, you understand, Miss Echalaz, but it was
to be of my own choosing—such as Cain’s. And when I felt that God did
not require it of me, I was angry and hurt, just, you know, as Cain
was. And then one day a poor shepherd said to me, humbly and simply,
‘You are too clever for the like of us.’ That was lightning across
thick darkness, Miss Echalaz. I understood, by God’s mercy, what I
had known without understanding all along; it was obedience that He
required; no sacrifice but the laying down of my will before His. And
now,” he said, sadly—“now I wish I _could_ throw myself away, if it
were but for one man.”

“But you won’t stay here always?” Lily suggested.

“Ah! I don’t know,” he answered, with a smile. “We are soldiers; we
go where we are sent; but I know now that it is good for us—for me at
least—to work in a field where no glory can be reaped. If there were
a prize within reach one might be in danger of looking away from the
Master who calls us to follow only Him.”

Lily walked on in thoughtful silence.

Meanwhile Tom had strayed far from the track, plunging knee-deep
through heather and green cranberry scrub after butterflies, and
alarming the oyster-catchers, which flew whistling and circling
overhead, “tiring the echoes with unvaried cries,” and grouse, which
went whirring and clamoring away up among the big grey boulders on the
mountainside. The two sat down to wait for him.

“Every sight and sound here has a personality for me,” Macpherson said,
looking across the valley, where along the brow of a scarped hollow
lay white wreaths of snow, and a little cloud above it hung about the
mountain-top, clinging as if it would fain wander no more across the
pathless heaven.

“That little cloud, see how it clings—heaven-born though it is—to the
barren earth. If it lingers there it must dissolve in rain and fall
into that cold hollow which never sees the sun.”

Even as he spoke the cloudlet stirred, detached itself, and stole
slowly away into the blue air.

“Ay!” he said to himself, with expressive intonation as he watched it;
and then, bending his head while he held a piece of heather ungathered
in his hand, he listened a minute. “Hark!” he said, raising his eyes
with a dreamy smile. “Do you hear it?”

Far through the stillness of the sultry summer air came the murmur of
water falling down its stony channel.

“It is the burn yonder—that green streak between the hills—tumbling
down among the ferns. I used to fancy it mourned to leave its native
fountains, and flowery sheltering banks, and the solitude of these
mighty hills; but now it seems to me it feels a great destiny drawing
it irresistibly onward, down to the forests below, through moor and
meadow, to exchange the mountain echoes and the wild birds’ cry for
the shriek and rattle of railways and the din of busy towns; to hurry
onward, though it lose its early sweetness and receive many a foul
stain as it goes to join the ocean, the mighty heart which draws it to
itself, reaching which at last all its impurity shall be purged away.”

He was looking into the far horizon, where rank on rank of faint and
fainter hills mingled with the clouds and blue sky, and seemed lost in
thoughts beyond the words he had been speaking.

Lily’s glance rested on his spiritual face, and presently she sighed.

“My lot, I’m afraid,” she said, “is cast in that same city turmoil—we
live in London, you know. It will be hard to go back to that
artificial, crowded, stifling atmosphere after this.” Glancing up and
round them at the wide moorland and the hills, “Here the soul lies open
to all the winds of heaven; there—ah! one can soon forget there is a
heaven at all.”

“Hullo!” cried Tom’s voice, some little way behind them; and presently
he came up flushed and very much out of breath, and flung himself down
in the heather at their feet. “I should like to climb up and touch that
snow,” he remarked, after only one minute’s prostrate inaction, resting
on his elbows with his chin in his hands and his feet waving slowly
about. “I shouldn’t fancy your living in winter, sir,” he went on,
looking up at Macpherson, “but perhaps you just shut yourself up with
your books, like a dormouse, till the snow clears off?”

“I can’t do that,” said Macpherson, simply. “I have been up this valley
sometimes in snow so deep that the three miles took over three hours to
walk, and once before I could come back there was such a blinding storm
that I had to spend the night in that little black hut—you can just see
it, to the right, far up the valley. It is not always safe to go alone,
but I generally do because I know almost every stone and tree.”

Tom cross-questioned a little about these winter expeditions, and then
voted for refreshments; but Lily laughed at him, and proposed that
they should do a little more of the day’s work first, and then the
three rose and set forward, Tom engrossing the minister’s attention
with a host of such far-fetched and extraordinary questions as only a
schoolboy can possibly propound and care to have answered.

When at last they reached the river, after looking about and choosing
a place for lunch, Tom condescended to relieve his sister of his own
paraphernalia, told her she might “turn out the grub” because he
required the basket, and coolly recommended her to mount guard over
everything till they came back.

“Are you not going to fish, Miss Echalaz?” asked Macpherson, becoming
aware that it was proposed to leave her alone, and not altogether happy
at the idea.

“Oh! she’s only chaperon,” cried Tom, impatient to be off, and Lily
held up a cloud of white knitting which she said would keep her
quiet as long as they liked to be away. Tom uttered an urgent “Oh,
sir—_please_—she really is all right,” Macpherson turned away, and
then the two went obliquely down the bank with their rods, and were
soon lost to sight.

All was silence but the babbling of the water among the rocks, and
the faint summer air playing in the tassels of the birches, and all
above the glowing brown and purple moor the heat twinkled and trembled
aromatic of thyme and bog myrtle and juniper.

Lily clambered down the bank and found a shady nook fringed about with
stunted birch and ferns, and there she resigned herself to knitting and
to thronging thoughts suggested by what the young minister had said.

Macpherson, meanwhile, and Tom had established themselves to their
entire satisfaction on two large boulders in mid stream, and abandoned
themselves to the “sport” of waiting for the fishes.

Tom, conscious at first of Macpherson’s experienced eye, contrived to
be very patient for half an hour; but then he could no longer help
thinking that the fishes were obstinate, or the spot unfavorable, or
the sun too hot and bright, or the air too still, or the fly—probably
the fly was not the right kind; at any rate, a change of position must
no longer be deferred. By judicious tacking from boulder to boulder,
and then across a low shingle island where stunted alder scrub made a
shelter for the oyster-catchers, and tufts of saxifrage and stonecrop
grew, he arrived at a more likely place, and tried again. Still it
was evident that the fishes did not see the matter from his point of
view. He very soon wearied of his new position and cast about for
a better. He saw a big round boulder out in the very middle of the
broadest part of the stream, and was seized with all a boy’s longing
to be on it, sport or no sport. To long for a thing, with Tom Echalaz,
was as a rule to attain it rather sooner than later, and he at once
began making his way out with plenty of pluck and very little caution,
and finally landed with his rod, much wetter than he cared to notice,
and tried again. He turned presently, when even this new delight was
beginning to pall, to see what Macpherson was doing. Then he fancied
he heard thunder, and stood motionless to listen. His eyes were fixed
on the brown laughing water, flowing so softly over the stones below,
that caught the sun and shadow through it and looked like broken gold
amongst the soft brown of the bottom; the pebbly clatter of the shallow
waterfall beyond was in his ears. This was the moment, the sight, the
sound that remained indelibly fixed in his memory afterwards—the sultry
stillness, and the slumbrous babble and murmur that only made it seem
more still. Surely there was a curious sound far off up the valley.

“It _is_ thunder,” he said softly to himself, and looked up at the
cloudless sky. “How—really—it does sound awfully queer.”

He glanced up stream to see what had become of his companion, and
called out, “I say, isn’t that thunder?”

Macpherson, who also was in the middle of the stream, to Tom’s
astonishment was in the act of throwing off his coat, and shouted
almost before Tom had spoken,

“To the bank—the bank, for your life! At once!” and even careless,
unobservant Tom saw his face look white as death against the dark
background of rock and river.

Young Echalaz, although alarmed, was by no means the man to move
without sufficient cause shown, and rather naturally looked about him
for his danger before doing what he was told, even when Macpherson
shouted again.

Yet the first far-off sound, the shouts and the delay, were all
embraced in a few seconds. Then suddenly the boy realised that it was
_not_ thunder—this fearful, awesome wail and roar that was drawing
nearer. He turned in terror, towards the bank, and heard Macpherson
call out, “Can you swim?”

“No,” Tom shouted, but his voice was lost in the wild tumult of
rushing water, the river rose to his waist, the spate was upon them.
Bewildered, but not losing all his natural courage, the boy made an
effort to plant the thick end of his rod down into the bottom to steady
himself, but the next instant the water was about his shoulders, he
lost his footing and was swept away upon the flood. Exactly what
happened then, or how long it was that he felt himself rolling over,
whirling helplessly along with the mighty current, choking and
struggling, deafened by the thunder of the water, fighting desperately
for his life, Tom never could make out, but he remembered feeling at
last that he was beaten, that his earthly career was “about played
out,” as he himself expressed it; then there was a moment’s vivid
anguish of death, and keen memories of things done and left undone in
the long ago that he must now “let alone for ever,” and then a pause,
a stoppage, energy coming back—he was caught and entangled by the
fishing-basket that hung about his shoulders, and then a strong arm
held him fast and he heard Macpherson’s voice saying bravely, “Hold
on—you’re all safe, thank God!” and in another minute he was dragged on
to the bank.

“I’m all right!” he gasped, plucking up his spirits as he got his eyes
open and pushed his dripping hair off his face, and then he sat up and
laughed at the figure his preserver presented kneeling there in his
shirt-sleeves, soaked and streaming with water. “What _will_ the mater
say?” he exclaimed, delighted with his adventure. “Let’s go and show
ourselves to Lily.”

Macpherson sprang to his feet and looked along the bank down stream.

“Where is your sister?” he faltered, dashing the water from his eyes;
and then, without waiting for an answer, he was away like an arrow from
the bow, running beside the river as hard as man can run. Tom set off
running too, and presently saw Macpherson, now far ahead, plunge into
the flood.

A dead tree, bleached by last winter’s storms, went sweeping past him,
checked now and again by projecting rocks or overhanging boughs, and
then driven on once more by the overwhelming force of the water. For an
instant the boy threw himself upon the ground sobbing loud in agonising
dread, and then again he struggled to his feet, choked down his sobs,
and ran on at his utmost speed.

Not very far down the river turned at a sharp angle towards the nearer
bank, and a few old alders leaned out between the rocks. As Tom drew
near enough to distinguish one object from another amongst the foam
and swirling water, he gave a glad shout, “Hold on! hold on!” and in
another two minutes, holding by the alders, he was clambering down
towards the edge of the water, where Macpherson had caught a bough with
one hand and with the other supported Lily, who was clinging to his

“Give her your hand,” said Macpherson, rather faintly. “I can do

“Can you give me your hand, Lily?” panted the boy, leaning down. “Can
you climb a bit?”

“Oh! save us, Tom! I can’t let go,” Lily gasped, helpless with terror.

“There’s no footing,” said Macpherson, desperately.

Tom laid himself carefully along the trunk, and reaching down,
succeeded in taking firmly hold of Lily’s hand. Macpherson at the same
moment exerted his flagging strength to lift her a little towards the
friendly boughs.

“Be brave,” he said, detaching her clinging hands.

Tom pulled valiantly, and in another minute she was safe; only half out
of the water it is true, and trembling with cold and fright, but still
able to hold on, and with Tom’s help climb up on to dry land.

“Thank God!” Macpherson uttered, and added, “Is she hurt?” but
before either could answer they heard a crashing noise and a cry,
and steadying themselves to look downwards, saw the dead tree, which
had been caught somewhere higher up and detained a little while,
go swinging round the curve with its roots tossing in the air, and
Macpherson—? Macpherson was gone, and the lower boughs, where he and
Lily had been clinging, were all broken and torn away.

       *       *       *       *       *

Two hours later Mrs. Echalaz was brought to the verge of hysterics at
the sight of her daughter, wet from head to foot, her face scratched
and bruised, her long wet hair hanging tangled about her shoulders,
without hat or gloves, and alone, hurrying towards the house.

Before Lily could explain what had happened Tom too appeared, wet and
pale, and choking with sobs, followed at a little distance by two
red-bearded, red-haired keepers, wet through also, moving slowly, and
carrying between them Macpherson, without coat or hat, his head fallen
back, his face white and still, his arms hanging limply down, water
trickling from his clothes and hair.

“I knew it! I said so!” screamed Mrs. Echalaz, clasping Tom in her
arms. “Never, never will I trust you out of my sight again!”

Tom broke away, crying bitterly.

“Oh, mother, don’t! He’s dead!”

“Dead!” shrieked poor Mrs. Echalaz; “and they’re bringing him into this

She was rushing out into the passage, but Robert, who had already
helped to bring Macpherson in, met her, and led her quietly back.

“You put these two to bed,” said he, “and I will take care of him,
mother. The men say he may come round,” and he hurried away to do all
that the keeper’s experience suggested and send at once for a doctor.

The keeper, whose name, in common with most of the population of that
district, was also Macpherson, told Robert how this very thing had
happened only two years before to the young laird and his own son, who
were both very nearly drowned, and explained that an unusual amount
of rain must have fallen up in the hills, some sudden and violent
downpour, to occasion the spate.

It was long before they dared cease to doubt of Macpherson’s recovery,
and when at last he really began to mend, the process was slow and

As soon as her terrors for Tom were appeased by finding that he was not
a whit the worse for his wetting, Mrs. Echalaz took so kindly to the
young fellow, who certainly owed his whole misfortune to them, that
she waited on him and nursed him as patiently and tenderly as his own
mother could have done.

“I could not have believed it was so pleasant to be ill,” he said to
her, with a grateful smile, one day when, helped by Robert and Tom, he
had come into the sitting-room for the first time; “I shall be spoiled
for going back to work.”

They all protested that he need not think of work yet, as he could not
so much as walk alone; and many a pleasant day went by in that little
sitting-room, where half-drawn blinds made a cool dimness, and an
unfamiliar perfume dwelt in the air—attar of roses, perhaps; something
quite different, at any rate, from the odor of plain—very plain—
cookery and peat smoke to which he was accustomed at the Manse.

The room was like fairyland, with its hundred costly trifles, china
ornaments, scraps of Oriental work, curious fans and other nicknacks,
photographs and books littered about in prettily-regulated disorder.

Lying there, weak and weary, his eyes dwelt upon it all with vague,
unspeculating wonder and faint content. Mrs. Echalaz and Lily too were
always so lovely to look at, “a gude sicht for sair een,” their faces
so refined, voices so low and gentle, hands so delicately fair; their
dress, too, was wonderful and beautiful, like a part of themselves. He
felt himself under a deepening spell in their midst; he had never seen
things like the things he saw here, nor women like these women.

As for Lily, he was ashamed at all she did for him, but too helpless to

Once, when she saw that he hardly knew how to suffer so much kindness
at her hands, she said, rather sadly,

“Except for me, you need not be lying here at all,” and after that he
could only hold his tongue, and try to take everything graciously,
owning to himself that the least he could do was this; and not owning
what he perhaps scarcely knew, that all this kindness would lose its
charm if she were no longer the minister. But the more the charm grew
upon him the more shy and silent he became with her; and, perversely,
the more he longed to see her, or at least to know that she was near,
the less dared he raise his eyes or speak a word. And then he felt
beyond all hiding that, to part and see her no more would be the
bitterest pain he could ever know—such pain as a man must carry to
his grave. He knew that he was sorry to be getting strong, and so
drawing near the hour he dreaded; and then, because he felt such utter
reluctance to return to his old life—the life he would feel to be so
desperately lonely henceforth—he resolved to go at once.

That very day he spoke to Mrs. Echalaz alone, when the evening twilight
made it easier to say what he knew she would oppose with the pretty
tyranny which they all exercised upon him, and which his natural
shyness made it very hard for him to resist.

“As if I should listen to such nonsense,” said Mrs. Echalaz, just as he
had felt that she would. “You are not going for at least a week.”

His thin, brown hand twitched nervously on the arm of his chair.

“You are very kind,” he said, huskily—“much too kind; but I _must_ go.
Please do not urge me to stay—you don’t know how hard you make it to

Mrs. Echalaz laid her pretty jewelled fingers on his restless hand.

“Now tell me why you _must_ go,” she said, kindly; “and if it is a good
reason I will allow it.”

He hesitated long enough for her to divine that his answer, when it
came, was an evasion.

“I know it is my duty,” he said, looking down. “I shall do wrong to
stay here—doing nothing.” The last two words he added rather hastily,
after an instant’s embarrassment.

“So you will not tell me?” said Mrs. Echalaz, reproachfully.

He raised his eyes, doubting, to her face, with a strong impulse to
tell her all; then he smiled faintly.

“Do you not think duty the highest possible reason?” he asked,
resolving to keep silence.

Mrs. Echalaz looked at him.

“I think I could tell you a nearer one,” she said, with a gentle
pressure of her hand on his, that told him she read his very heart; and
then she added, with grave kindness, “Then I suppose we must let duty
carry the day. We shall miss you dreadfully.”

Macpherson raised her hand with reverent affection to his lips, but he
could not say a word.

When the rest came home from their walk he was gone.

Privately Mrs. Echalaz told Robert what had passed, and what she
construed it to mean.

“Well, why not?” was his comment.

“Why not!” echoed his mother, raising hands and eyes. “Of course I
like him. I never met a man to whom I would sooner have trusted Lily’s
happiness, but _of course_ it’s impossible.”

“Why?” asked Robert, simply.

“My dear boy!” exclaimed Mrs. Echalaz, “you know he has nothing. And
think of the connection! Preposterous!”

“A fig for the connection!” rejoined Robert, coolly; “and as for money,
Lily has quite enough, I suppose. Ask _her_.”

“Oh, you’re perfectly ridiculous!” cried his mother, with a vehemence
that convinced him she was already wavering in her own mind, and he
said no more.

Meanwhile Macpherson went home, and the first thing that recalled
him unmistakably to common earth was the sight of his one servant, a
ragged, barefooted, scantily clad, unkempt lassie of eleven or so, who
opened the door to him with exceedingly dirty hands, a grin of cheerful
welcome on her broad unwashed face. It was like waking from a sunny
dream to find oneself lying in the dark; rain beating on the window,
the gusty night wind shaking the door; and to feel the thrill of some
sharp pain—pain that makes a loneliness for flesh and spirit such as no
human heart may share, but is known to God alone.

He nodded to the child, and going past her into his study, shut the
door behind him. The sand slipped and grated under his feet, the smell
of peat-smoke and cookery was unabated. He sat down at his table, where
in that long past other life of his he had spent so many busy happy
hours, and hid his face on his folded arms, trying to let the influence
and memory of the last weeks go by; trying hard to put it away and
brace himself to the old work again.

The girl tapped at the door and said his tea was ready, and he went
into the smoky kitchen and sat down before a rather smeary cup and
plate, a pile of singed oatcakes, and a small teapot, but the food
stuck in his throat. He could not touch it, and by way of getting to
work at once he went away to visit a poor family half a mile off. On
his way home he found his strength exhausted. He could hardly drag
himself along, and even when at last in sight of his own door he leaned
against the low kirkyard wall and wondered whether he could reach it,
while his tired eyes dwelt listlessly on the lovely evening landscape.
The grey birches leaned motionless down over the mossy knolls, and
the dark ranks of larch and fir by the loch looked down into their
dark glassy shadows in the deep water. The great hills are growing dim
through the mist of evening, the clouds have crept away, and all the
sky shines with a faint rosy glow through the veil of rising vapor;
the long grass in the hollows there beside the lake and all the folded
flowers in yonder meadows are drinking in the gracious dew. Far through
the stillness comes the voice of many waters—of the river leaping down
the rocks. Through Macpherson’s fancy comes a vision of it sparkling in
the glory of a summer day, of himself too walking there, fenced about
with daylight and companionship, plovers calling and crying overhead,
flowers glowing under foot, merry gnats dancing in the yellow gleams
under the alder boughs, light and shadow flying over the fields and
flickering among the pools and waterfalls. But now the ghostly mist
creeps on and folds it all out of sight, and he is alone.

Mournfully, and yet with what deep longing, it brings to his heart
thoughts of that dim night that shall be when the day is past to come
no more; of the many morrows that shall dawn and set with their sun and
shadow, the many evenings with their tender mist and dew, when he will
have nor part nor lot in the beautiful earth save a narrow grave he
knows not where. Oh, life, swifter than a weaver’s shuttle! vanishing
as a dream! Shall he not bear its utmost burden to the end?

Strength and patience came to him beside those quiet graves. Feeling
forward into the future he could divine a coming hour when he would be
fain to ask a harder trial, longer probation, ere he see the face of
the Master he has followed with such faltering feet; that he may suffer
a little more for the dear sake of Him whom he has loved so unworthily,
ere the day for suffering go by for evermore.

The next day, having made up his mind to avoid the villa entirely,
he sent Mrs. Echalaz a basket of water-lilies from the loch, with a
message to the effect that he hoped his long arrears of work might be
his excuse for not coming in person.

He only longed now to hear that they were gone, and went in daily fear
of meeting some of them. He thought and hoped that his fever of unrest
might pass into dull pain when she was gone, a pain he might be able
to bear more quietly, and in time, perhaps, ignore. Hard work was the
only anodyne; but he was not very fit yet for all he tried to do, and
the sore trouble of his heart weighed down his spirit and sapped his
energy in spite of his best efforts, so that even to himself he grew
changed and strange.

He was coming home one evening through the birch wood above the loch,
about a week after he had left the villa, with weary, lagging steps,
and his eyes upon the ground, when the consciousness of another
presence, though he heard no sound, made him look up to find himself
face to face with Lily standing alone on the narrow path just in front
of him. She had been sitting there under the trees and had just risen
to her feet; her hands were full of white scented orchis, her hat lay
on the ground, and the evening sunlight fell on her fair hair and
showed him that her face was paler than when he saw it last—paler and
almost, he thought, a little sad. He forgot how his behavior might
appear to her; his one idea was to escape, that she might never guess
the fatal shipwreck he had made.

His eyes fell directly, and with a few inarticulate words he lifted his
hat and stood aside to let her pass. But Lily did not move. Perhaps if
he had not looked so very ill, and something more than ill, she might
have lacked courage to disregard his gesture; as it was, pity held her

“Mr. Macpherson,” she said, in a low, grieved voice, “am I to pass by
without a word?”

He could not speak. It was like the last glimpse of light to the
prisoner condemned to life-long darkness to have her standing there.
How was he to bid her go?

“What have we done?” Lily asked. “What has happened?”

Macpherson looked up, pale and agitated. “I am not ungrateful,” he
said, barely able to control his voice. “Oh, don’t think that, Miss

“I can’t think that,” said Lily, simply; “but something is wrong if,
after all that has happened, you try to treat me as an utter stranger.”

He felt she was hurt, and looked up melted, penitent, ready to give
himself any pain, undergo any humiliation, to heal the wound he had

“Miss Echalaz,” he said, “I wanted to spare you—and myself too—I—I
am blind and bewildered—I have been very selfish—perhaps it is wrong
now to tell you—I don’t know—I can’t tell—” he stopped, and there was
a moment’s absolute silence covering wild confusion and conflict in
his heart, and then he looked up and the words came, he knew not how,
steady and clear, “I love you, Miss Echalaz.” They were scarcely spoken
before he was condemning himself again. “Oh! Laugh at me—” He laughed
too as he spoke, not knowing what he did till he saw her face change
and the tears start from her eyes.

“Does it seem to _you_ a thing for laughter?” she asked, passionately.
“Have you judged me a woman to laugh at the love of the noblest man I
know? To hold it so very cheap that you need not even tell me—”

“How could I tell you?” he broke out. “What could I offer in exchange
for all I would ask you to lay down? _Could_ I ask you to come and
live in this wilderness in the barest poverty, where half the year is
winter, where there is no—no society, nothing but work and hardship and

“If those were all you had to offer, you were right,” Lily answered,
tremulously. “You yourself do not live that life for nothing. There is
something that so far outweighs all those things that you count them as

“Oh, I love my people!” said Macpherson at once, and even as he
uttered the word it told him what she meant. “My love was such a poor
thing to offer,” he faltered humbly, “and I have nothing else.”

The tears brimmed over in Lily’s eyes. “And would you take anything
else in exchange?” she said—“would money do instead, or rank, or any
other thing?”

“Oh, no, no, no!” he exclaimed, impetuously; “only love, and only
yours! Can love—such love as mine—outweigh all the rest?” His voice
failed, and as he raised his earnest, searching eyes to her face, the
last words came in a hoarse whisper, “Oh, is it enough for me to dare
offer you that alone?”

Lily crossed the narrow pathway that divided them, letting all her
flowers fall at their feet, and laid her hands in his.

“Would you really have let me go away without telling me?” she asked,
bravely, while the rosy color deepened in her cheeks. “Less than love,
for you and me, is nothing; and more than love there cannot be;” and
then she was fain to hide her face and fast-falling tears upon his
breast. “Oh, if only I were less unworthy!”

Macpherson trembled as he drew her to him. “God bless you, darling!” he
murmured, brokenly; and again and again, thinking over the past, she
heard him whisper, “Thank God! thank God!”—_Leisure Hour._


This may be to some of our readers a startling question; for most of
us have had that star pointed out to us many years; and perhaps those
who directed our eyes to it little thought that there would ever be any
other pole-star. It is well known that if the northern extremity of the
axis of our earth were lengthened until it met the imaginary sphere of
the heavens, it would come very near to our present pole-star, hence
called Polaris; and if, for any cause, the direction of that axis were
materially altered, that star would no longer be a true index of the
north. We now propose to show that such a change of the direction of
the earth’s axis is continually taking place; and that the terrestrial
axis when thus lengthened describes a cone, the apex of which is the
centre of the earth; and the circumference of the base of the cone
is a circle described amongst the stars. When the axis has described
one-half of its course, the angle between the two positions it occupies
at the beginning and at the middle of the rotation is about forty-seven
degrees. And thus the extremity of the axis will successively come near
to other stars than our present pole-star; and in about twelve thousand
years it will have as the Polaris the very conspicuous star Vega, or α
in the constellation Lyra.

We now proceed to explain the reason of this movement of the earth’s
axis. It is well known that the earth is not a perfect sphere, but is
flattened at the poles, being what astronomers call an oblate spheroid.
Now, the sun’s attraction upon such a spheroidal body is not quite the
same as it would be upon a perfect sphere. When the sun is at either
equinox—that is, just over the equator—the attraction exercised upon
our earth is the same as if that body were spherical; but when the sun
is at or near the upper tropic, its action upon the terrestrial matter
which bulges at the equator has a tendency to pull that matter towards
the ecliptic, and to make the axis of the earth approach to a vertical
to the ecliptic. The same influence is at work when the sun is near the
lower tropic. And if this influence were not counteracted, the effect
would be to cause the ecliptic and equator ultimately to coincide; and
our annual succession of seasons would be done away with. But as no
such catastrophe is threatening us, and the inclination of the ecliptic
to the equator remains about twenty-three and a half degrees, there
must be some force which neutralises the above tendency: this is the
rotation of the earth on its own axis. No one but a good mathematician
could _a priori_ tell the exact effect of these two forces combined.
But any one may see how rotation may effect the motion of a body acted
on by another force, by observing how a pegtop is kept upright by the
rotation, whilst it falls as the rotation ceases. The influence of this
rotation to keep a body from falling may be noticed by any one who
carefully observes a spinning coin when about to fall. While the coin
spins rapidly, its uppermost part appears as a point. As it falls, the
point becomes a small circle, increasing as the rotation slackens. But
if the coin be very closely watched, when beginning to fall, it will
be seen that the small circle is for a moment diminished, showing that
the coin had partially recovered its upright position. This recovery
is entirely due to the rotation. Similarly, a bicycle is kept from
falling by its horizontal motion; and a conical bullet, which has
gained a great rapidity of rotation from a rifled barrel, keeps the
direction of its axis without deflection to the right or left. And thus
we find that the present position of the earth’s axis with respect to
the ecliptic is not altered; but the two forces acting upon the earth
cause the axis to rotate, as above described, so that the north pole
describes a circle in the heavens. But as the period of this rotation
is very great, it was not easy to detect such a result, except after a
long period of observation. It was discovered thus. The point where the
ecliptic and equator cut is called the first point of the constellation
Aries, one of the well-known twelve signs of the zodiac. From this
point all celestial measurements are made eastwards. Each star of
importance has had its distance east of that point—called its right
ascension—recorded. In the course of time, the tables of these numbers
so recorded appeared to be erroneous; but the error was so regular, and
all in one direction, that it was conjectured that the point from which
these right ascensions were reckoned had itself shifted its place. And
so it proved; and if any one looks at a celestial globe, he will see
that Aries no longer occupies the position where the equinox is, but is
somewhat to the east, or right, because the point of intersection of
the ecliptic and equator has slipped back. But as the sun appears to
take a shorter time to come back to the equinox than to arrive at the
same stars, which were once close to that point of intersection, this
slow retrograde motion is termed the _precession_ of the equinoxes.
The distance on the equator caused by this retrograde motion would, if
not otherwise modified, be 50″·41 annually. But the attraction of the
planets on each other produces a very small motion of the equinox in
the other direction; and so the resulting precession is about 50″·1
annually. If we divide the three hundred and sixty degrees in every
circle by the above small quantity, we shall find that the period
of the revolution of the earth’s axis is twenty-five thousand eight
hundred and sixty-eight years.

Of course the moon has an influence on the extra mass at the earth’s
equator, as the sun has, similar in kind, but far less in quantity.
This influence would cause the earth’s axis to describe very small
cones of the same nature as the large cone above described; and the
period of every rotation would be about nineteen years. The effect of
this second or lunar influence is to cause the earth’s axis to dip
a little towards the equator, and then to resume its position; and
this nodding motion is termed _nutation_, from the Latin word _nuto_,
to nod. Thus the axis of the earth describes a cone not of uniform
surface, but as it were fluted, and completes its majestic round in
nearly twenty-six thousand years, pointing to a various succession of
stars which will in their turns be honored by future astronomers as the
pole-stars of their respective generations.—_Chambers’s Journal._


    A pictured face, in frame of gold,
    Large, tender eyes, and forehead bold,
      And firm, unflinching mouth;
    A face that tells of mingled birth—
    The calmness of the northern earth,
      The passion of the south!

    The one face in the world to me,
    The face I never more shall see
      Until God’s kingdom come!
    Oh, tender eyes! oh, firm strong lips!
    What comfort in my life’s eclipse?
      What succor? Ye are dumb!

    I brought the blossoms of the Spring
    To deck my true love’s offering
      While he was far away:
    With rose’s bloom, with pansy’s grace
    I wreathed the well-beloved face;
      I have no flowers to-day.

    But laurel, laurel for my brave
    My hero lying in his grave
      Upon that foreign sod!
    He passed amid the crash of guns,
    Beyond the farthest sun of suns,
      A kingly soul, to God!

    He died upon the battlefield,
    He knew not, he, to fly nor yield,
      Bold Britain’s worthy son!
    And I will wreathe his laurel crown,
    Although the bitter tears run down—
      I was his chosen one.

    He loved his country, so did I;
    He parted forth to do or die,
      And I—I let him go;
    Oh dear, dear land! we gave thee all,
    God bless the banner, and the pall,
      God help the mourner’s woe!

    I hear the bells ring loud and sweet,
    I hear the shouting in the street,
      For joy of victory;
    The very children cease their play,
    To babble of the victor’s bay,
      And pennons flutter free.

    I hear the vivas long and loud,
    As they ride onward through the crowd,
      His comrades bold and brave;
    The shouts of triumph rend the air,
    Oh, he must hear them lying there,
      My hero in his grave!

    I do not grudge thee, darling mine!
    I, the last daughter of a line
      Whose warrior blood ran free
    Upon the battlefields of old;
    Thou wast not mine to have and hold,
      The land hath need of thee.

    I do not grudge thee; I shall smile,
    Beloved, in a little while,
      And glory in thy name;
    I hold love’s laurel in my hand,
    But take thou from the grateful land
      Thy wreath of deathless fame!
                           —_All the Year Round._



We seem to need a name for a new branch of the science of Man, the
Comparative Study of Ghost Stories. Neither sciology, from σκιά, nor
idolology, from εἴδωλον, appears a very convenient term, and as the
science is yet in its infancy, perhaps it may go unnamed, for the
time, like a colt before it has won its maiden race. But, though
nameless, the researches which I wish to introduce are by no means
lacking in curious interest. It may be objected that the comparative
study of ghost stories is already well known, and practised by two
very different sets of inquirers, anthropologists and the Society for
Psychical Research; but neither Mr. Tylor and Mr. Herbert Spencer nor
“those about” Mr. Gurney and Mr. Myers work, as it seems to me, exactly
on the topics and in the manner which I wish to indicate. Mr. Herbert
Spencer, as we all know, traces religion to the belief in and worship
of the ghosts of ancestors. Mr. Tylor, again, has learnedly examined
the probable origin of the belief in ghosts, deriving that belief from
the phenomena of dreams, of fainting, of shadows, of visions induced
by hunger or by narcotics, and of death. To state Mr. Tylor’s theory
briefly, and by way of an example, men reasoned themselves into a
theory of ghosts after the manner of Achilles in the _Iliad_ (xxiii.
70-110). The unburied Patroclus appeared to his friend in a dream, and
passed away, “And Achilles sprang up marvelling, and smote his hands
together, and spake a word of woe: ‘Ay me, there remaineth then even
in the house of Hades a spirit and phantom of the dead, albeit the
life be not anywise therein; for all night long hath the spirit of
hapless Patroclus stood over me, wailing and making moan, and charged
me everything that I should do, and wondrous like his living self it

Here we find Achilles in the moment of inferring from his dream the
actual existence of a spirit surviving the death of the body. No doubt
a belief in ghosts might well have been developed by early thinkers,
as Mr. Tylor holds, out of arguments like these of Achilles. It is
certain, too, that many of the social and religious institutions of
savages (if writers in the English language are to be allowed the use
of that word) have been based on the opinion that the spirits of the
dead are still active among the living. All this branch of the subject
has been exhaustively treated by Mr. Tylor in his _Primitive Culture_.
But I do not observe that Mr. Tylor has paid very much attention to
what we may call the actual ghost stories of savages—that is, the
more or less well-authenticated cases in which savages have seen the
ordinary ghost of modern society. Here, for the purposes of clearness,
I will discriminate certain kinds of ghost stories, all of them current
among races as low as the Australians, and lower than the Fijians, all
of them current, too, in contemporary European civilisation. First,
let us place the well-known savage belief that the spirits of the dead
reappear in the form of the lower animals often of that animal which is
the totem or ancestral friend and guardian of the kinship. This kind
of ghost story one seldom or never hears in drawing-rooms, but it is
the prevalent and fashionable kind among the peasantry for example,
in Shropshire. In the second class, we may reckon the more or less
professional ghosts that appear obedient to the medium’s or conjurer’s
command at _séances_. These spirits, which come “when you do call
them,” behave in much the same manner, and perform the same sorts of
antics or miracles, in Australian _gunyehs_, in Maori _pahs_, and at
the exhibition of Mr. Sludge, or of the esoteric Buddhists. Thirdly,
we arrange the non-professional ghost, which does not come at the
magician’s call, but appears unexpected, and apparently irresponsible.
This sort also haunts houses and forests; other members of the species
manifest themselves at the moment of death, or become visible for the
purpose of warning friends of their own approaching decease. Such
phenomena as a sudden flash of supernatural light, or the presence of a
white bird, or other ghostly creatures prophesying death, may perhaps
be allotted to this class of apparitions.

These things are as well known to contemporary savages as they were to
the classical people of Lucian’s day, or as they are, doubtless, to
the secretaries of the Society for Psychical Research. Once more, we
ought to notice the “well-authenticated” modern ghost story, which on
examination proves to be really a parallel to the William Tell myth,
and to recur in many ages, always attached to different names, and
provided with fresh properties. To look into these ghost stories cannot
be wholly idle. Apparently there is either some internal groundwork of
fact at the bottom of a belief which savages share with Fellows of the
Royal Society, or liability to certain recurring hallucinations must
be inherited by civilised man from his untutored ancestors, or the
mythopœic faculty, to use no harder term, is common to all stages of
culture. As to habits of hasty inference and false reasoning, these,
of course, were bequeathed to us by our pre-scientific parents, and
these, with our own vain hopes and foolish fears, afford the stuff
for most ghosts and ghost stories. The whole topic, in the meanwhile,
has only been touched at either end, so to speak. The anthropologists
have established their own theory of the origin of a belief in ghosts,
without asking whether the actual appearance of apparitions may not
have helped to start or confirm that belief. The friends of psychical
research have collected modern stories of the actual appearance of
apparitions without paying much attention, as far as I am aware, to
their parallels among the most backward races, or to their mediæval and
classical variants.

It is not necessary to occupy much space with the savage and modern
ghosts of men that reappear in the guise of the lower animals. Among
savages, who believe themselves to be descended from beasts, nothing
can be more natural than the hypothesis that the souls revert to
bestial shapes. The Zulus say their ancestors were serpents, and in
harmless serpents they recognise the dead friend or kinsman returning
to the family kraal. The Indian tribes of North-Western America claim
descent from various creatures, and under the shape of these creatures
their dead reappear. The lack of distinction, in the savage mind,
between man and beast makes ghost stories of this species natural
among savages. But it is curious, in Miss Burne’s volume on _Shropshire
Folk-Lore_, to find that almost all the Shropshire ghosts, even of
known persons recently deceased, display themselves in the form of
beasts, while ghosts in human guise are comparatively rare exceptions.
Thus (p. 111) the wicked squire of Bagley, after his death, _came_ as
a monstrous and savage bull. He was “laid” in church, where he cracked
the walls by the vigor of his resistance. “There are believers in this
story who affirm that, were the stone to be loosened, the bull would
come forth again by many degrees worse than he was at the first.”
“It is not an invariable rule that ghosts should take the form of
animals.... A road near Hodnet is haunted by the ghost of a farmer
who, for no known reason, comes again with a horse’s head,” like the
Phigalian Demeter! The ghost (limited) of seven illegitimate children
_came_ as a cat! A man drowned in the Birmingham and Liverpool Canal
appears (p. 107) as a monkey; and so on. So common, in France, are
human ghosts in bestial form, that M. D’Assier has invented a Darwinian
way of accounting for the phenomena. M. D’Assier, a Positivist, is a
believer in ghosts, but not in the immortality of the soul. He suggests
that the human _revenants_ in the guise of sheep, cows, and shadowy
creatures may be accounted for by a kind of Atavism, or “throwing
back,” on the side of the spirit to the lower animal forms out of which
humanity was developed!

The chief or only interest of these bogies in bestial shape lies in
the proof they afford of the tenacity of tradition. It is impossible
to imagine the amount of evidence capable of proving that what seems
a bull is really the ghost of a wicked squire, as people think in
Shropshire. But the prevalence of a superstition like this demonstrates
that ideas originally conceived by savages, and natural or inevitable
in the savage mental condition, may survive in the rustic peoples of
the most civilised nations.

The second class of ghost stories, tales of what we may call
“professional” spirits that come and go at the sorcerer’s command, need
not detain us long. This branch of the subject has been examined by the
anthropologists. Mr. Tylor has provided many examples of the savage
_séance_, the Shaman or medicine man bound and tied in a darkened room,
and then released by the spirits whose voices are heard chattering
around him. “Suppose a wild North American Indian looking on at a
spirit _séance_ in London. As to the presence of disembodied spirits
manifesting themselves by raps, noises, voices, and other physical
actions, the savage would be perfectly at home in the proceedings, for
such things are part and parcel of his recognised system of nature.”
I doubt if any modern medium could quite rival the following feat
of an Australian Birraark or sorcerer, as vouched for by one of the
Tatungolung tribe. “The fires were allowed to go down,” the Birraark
began his invocation. At intervals he uttered the cry, _Coo’ee!_ “At
length a distant reply was heard, and shortly afterwards the sound as
of persons jumping on the ground in succession. This was supposed to
be the spirit Baukan followed by the ghosts. A voice was then heard in
the gloom asking in a strange intonation, “What is wanted?” Questions
were put by the Birraark, and replies given. At the termination of the
_séance_, the spirit voices said, “We are going.” Finally the Birraark
was found in the _top of an almost inaccessible tree, apparently
asleep_. It was alleged that the ghosts had transported him there at
their departure.[39] If as good a _séance_ could be given in Hyde Park,
and if Mr. Sludge could be found at the close in the top of one of the
Scotch pines in Kensington Gardens, we might admit that the civilised
is on a level with savage spiritualism. Yet even this _séance_ was
very much less impressive than what the author of _Old New Zealand_
witnessed in a Maori pah, when the spirit of a dead native friend of
his own was present and “manifested” rarely.

 [39] _Kamilaroi and Kurnai_, p. 254.

The curious coincidences between savage and civilised “spiritualism”
have still to be explained. Mr. Tylor says that “the ethnographic view”
finds “modern spiritualism to be in great measure a direct revival
from the regions of savage philosophy and peasant folk-lore.” But in a
really comparative study of the topic, this theory would need to be
proved by historical facts. Let us grant that Eskimo and Australian
spiritualism are a savage imposture. Let us grant that peasants, little
advanced from the savage intellectual condition, retained a good deal
of savage spiritualism. To complete the proof it would be necessary
to adduce many examples of peasant _séances_, to show that these were
nearly identical with savage _séances_, and then to demonstrate that
the introducers of the civilised modern _séance_ had been in touch with
the savage or peasant performances. For the better explanation of the
facts, the Psychical Society might send missionaries to investigate
and test the exhibitions of Australian Birraarks, and Maori Tohungas,
and Eskimo Angekoks. Mr. Im Thurm, in Guiana, has made experiments
in Peayism, or local magic, but felt no more than a drowsy mesmeric
sensation, and a headache, after the treatment. While those things are
neglected, psychical research is remiss in attention to her elevating

In the third class of ghosts we propose to place those which are
independent of the invocations of the sorcerer, which come and go, or
stay, at their own will. As to “haunted houses,” savages, who have
no houses, are naturally not much troubled by them. It is easy to
leave one _gungeh_ or bark shelter for another; and this is generally
done after a death among the Australians. Races with more permanent
habitations have other ways of exorcising the haunters—by feeding the
ghosts, for example, at their graves, so that they are comfortable
there, and do not wish to emerge. Two curious instances of haunted
forests may be given here. To one I have already referred in a little
volume, _Custom and Myth_, recently published. Mrs. Edwards, in
_Macmillan’s Magazine_, printed a paper called “The Mystery of the
Pezazi.” To be brief, the mystery lay in the constant disturbing sounds
of nocturnal tree-felling near a bungalow in Ceylon, where examination
proved that no trees had been felled. Mrs. Edwards, her husband, and
their servants were on several occasions disturbed by these sounds,
which were unmistakable and distinct. The Cingalese attribute the
noises to a Pezazi or spirit. I find a description of precisely the
same disturbances in Sahagun’s account of the superstitions of the
Aztecs. Brother Sahagun was one of the earliest Spanish missionaries in
Mexico, and his account of Aztec notions is most intelligently written.
In Mexico, too, “the Midnight Axe” is supposed to be a phenomenon
produced by woodland spectres. A critic in the _Athenæum_ suggested
that the fact of the noise, attested by English witnesses in Ceylon who
knew not Sahagun, was matter for the Psychical Society. Perhaps some
physical examination would be more likely to discover the actual origin
of the sounds of tree-felling. I was not aware, however, till Mr.
Leslie Stephen pointed it out, that the Galapagos Islands, “suthard of
the line,” were haunted by the Midnight Axe. De Quincey, who certainly
had not heard the Ceylon story, and who probably would have mentioned
Sahagun’s had he known it, describes the effect produced by the
Midnight Axe on the nerves of his brother, Pink:—

 So it was, and attested by generations of sea-vagabonds, that every
 night, duly as the sun went down and the twilight began to prevail, a
 sound arose—audible to other islands and to every ship lying quietly
 at anchor in that neighborhood—of a woodcutter’s axe.... The close of
 the story was that after, I suppose, ten or twelve minutes of hacking
 and hewing, a horrid crash was heard, announcing that the tree, if
 tree it were, that never yet was made visible to daylight search, had
 yielded to the old woodman’s persecution.... The woodcutter’s axe
 began to intermit about the earliest approach of dawn, and, as light
 strengthened, it ceased entirely, after poor Pink’s ghostly panic grew

 [40] _Autobiographic Sketches_, p. 337.

I offer no explanation of the Midnight Axe, which appears (to
superstitious minds) to be produced by the _Poltergeist_ of the forests.

A much more romantic instance, savage and civilised, of a haunted
woodland may perhaps be regarded as a superstition transmitted by
French settlers to the natives of New Caledonia. The authority for the
following anecdote is my friend and kinsman, Mr. J. J. Atkinson, of
Viewfield, Noumea, New Caledonia.

Mr. Atkinson has lived for twenty years remote from books, and in
the company of savage men. He informs me that a friendly Kaneka came
to visit him one day, and seemed unusually loth to go. After one
affectionate farewell he came back and took another, and then a third,
till Mr. Atkinson asked him why he was so demonstrative. The native
then replied that this would be their last meeting; that in a day or
two he would be dead. As he seemed in perfect health, the Englishman
rallied him on his fears. But he very gravely explained that he had
met in the woods one whom he took for the girl of his heart. It was
not till too late that he recognised the woman for a forest-haunting
spirit. To have to do with these is death in three days, and their
caresses are mortal. As he said, so it happened, for the unlucky fellow
shortly afterwards died. I do not think my informant had ever heard
of Le Sieur Nann and the Korrigan, the well-known Breton folk-song
of the knight who met the forest fairy, and died in three days. A
version of the ballad is printed by De la Villemarque, Barzaz-Breiz (i.
41). Variants exist in Swedish, French, and even in a Lowland Scotch
version, sung by children in a kind of dancing game. In this case, what
we want to know is whether the Kaneka belief is native, or borrowed
from the French. That there really exist fair and deadly women of the
woods perhaps the most imaginative student will decline to believe.
Among savages men often sicken, and even die, because they consider
themselves bewitched, and the luckless Kaneka must have been the victim
of a dream or hallucination reacting on the nervous system. But that
does not account for the existence of the superstition.

The ghosts which at present excite most interest are ghosts beheld at
the moment of their owner’s decease by persons at a distance from the
scene of death. Thus Baronius relates how “that eximious Platonist,
Marsilius Ficinus,” appeared at the hour of his death on a white horse
to Michael Mercatus, and rode away, crying “O Michael, Michael, vera,
vera sunt illa,” that is, the doctrine of a future life is true. Lord
Brougham was similarly favored. Among savages I have not encountered
more than one example, and that rather sketchy, of a warning conveyed
to a man by a ghost as to the death of a friend. The tale is in
FitzRoy’s _Voyage of the ‘Adventurer’ and the ‘Beagle’_ (ii. 118).
Jemmy Button was a young Fuegian whom his uncle had sold to the
‘Beagle’ for a few buttons.

 While at sea, on board the “Beagle,” about the middle of the year
 1842, he said one morning to Mr. Byno, that in the night some man
 came to the side of his hammock, and whispered in his ear that
 his father was dead. Mr. Byno tried to laugh him out of the idea,
 but ineffectually. He fully believed that such was the case, and
 maintained his opinion up to the time of finding his relations in
 Beagle Channel, when, I regret to say, he found that his father had
 died some months previously.

Another kind of ghost, again, that of a dead relative who comes to warn
a man of his own approaching decease, appears to be quite common among
savages. In his interesting account of the Kurnai, an Australian tribe,
Mr. Howitt writes:—

 Mr. C. J. Du Vé, a gentleman of much experience with the Aborigines,
 tells me that, in the year 1860, a Maneroo black fellow died while
 with him. The day before he died, having been ill for some time, he
 said that, in the night, his father, his father’s friend, and a female
 spirit he could not recognize, had come to him, and said that he would
 die next day, and that they would wait for him.

To this statement the Rev. Lorimer Fison appends a note which ought
to interest psychical inquirers. “I could give many similar instances
which have come within my own knowledge among the Fijians, and, strange
to say, the dying man, in all these cases, kept his appointment with
the ghosts to the very day.” A civilised example recorded by Henry
More is printed in the _Remains_ of the late Dr. Symonds. In that
narrative a young lady was wakened by a bright light in her bedroom.
Her dead mother appeared to her, exactly as the father of the Maneroo
black fellow did, and warned her that she was to die on the following
midnight. The girl made all her preparations, and, with Fijian
punctuality, “kept her appointment with the ghosts to the very day.”
The peculiarity of More’s tale seems to be the brilliance of the light
which attended the presence of the supernatural. This strange fire
is widely diffused in folk-lore. If we look at the Eskimo we find
them convinced that the Inue, or powerful spirits, “generally have
the appearance of a fire or bright light, and to see them is very
dangerous ... _partly as foreshadowing the death of a relation_.”[41]
In the story repeated by More, not a kinsman of the visionary, but
the visionary herself was in danger. In the _Odyssey_, when Athene
was mystically present as Odysseus and Telemachus were moving the
weapons out of the hall (xix. 21-50), Telemachus exclaims, “Father,
surely a great marvel is this I behold! Meseemeth that the walls of
the hall, and the fair spaces between the pillars, and the beams of
pine, and the columns that run aloft are bright as it were with flaming
fire. Verily some god is within of them that hold the wide heaven.”
Odysseus answers, “Lo, this is the wont of the gods that possess
Olympus.” Again, in Theocritus, when Hera sends the snakes to attack
the infant Heracles, a mysterious flame shines forth, φάος δ’ ἀνἀ οἶκον
ἐτύχθη.[42] The same phenomenon occurs in the saga of Burnt Njal when
Gunnar sings within his tomb. Philosophers may dispute whether any
objective fact lies at the bottom of this belief, or whether a savage
superstition has survived into Greek epic and idyll, and into modern
ghost stories. Into Scotch legend, too, this faith in a mysterious and
ominous fire found its way—

    Seemed all on fire that chapel proud,
      Where Roslin’s chiefs uncoffined lie,
    Each baron, for a sable shroud,
      Sheathed in his iron panoply.

Scott derives the idea from the tomb fires of the Sagas, but we have
shown the wide diffusion of the belief.

 [41] Rink, _Tales and Traditions of the Eskimo_, p. 43.

 [42] “And all the house showed clear as in the light of dawn.”—Theoc.
 xix. 30-40, ed. Ahrens.

By way of ending this brief sketch of the comparative study of ghost
stories, an example may be given of the recurrent tale which is told of
different people in different ages and countries. Just as the anecdote
of William Tell and the Apple occurs in various times, and among widely
severed races, so, in a minor degree, does the famous Beresford ghost
story present itself in mythical fashion. The Beresford tale is told at
great length by Dr. F. G. Lee, in his _Glimpses of the Supernatural_.
As usual, Dr. Lee does not give the names of his informants, nor trace
the channels through which the legend reached them. But he calls his
version of the myth “an authentic record” (p. 51). To be brief, Lord
Tyrone and Miss Blank were orphans, educated in the same house “in the
principles of Deism.” When they were about fourteen years of age their
preceptor died, and their new guardians tried to “persuade them to
embrace revealed religion.” The boy and girl, however, stuck to Deism.
But they made a compact that he or she who died first should appear to
the survivor “to declare what religion was most approved by the Supreme
Being.” Miss Blank married Sir Martin Beresford. One day she appeared
at breakfast with a pale face, and a black band round her wrist. Long
afterwards, on her death-bed, she explained that this band covered
shrunken sinews. The ghost of Lord Tyrone, at the hour of his death,
had appeared to her, had prophesied (correctly) her future, and had
touched her wrist by way of a sign.

 He struck my wrist; his hand was as cold as marble; in a moment the
 sinews shrank up, every nerve withered.... I bound a piece of black
 ribbon round my wrist. The black ribbon was formerly in the possession
 of Lady Betty Cobb, who, during her long life, was ever ready to
 attest the truth of this narration, as are, to the present hour, the
 whole of the Tyrone and Beresford families.

Nothing would induce me to dispute the accuracy of a report vouched for
by Lady Betty Cobb and all the Tyrones and Beresfords. But I must be
permitted to point out that Lord Tyrone merely did what many ghosts had
done before in that matter of touching Lady Beresford’s wrist. Thus,
according to Henry More “one” (bogie) “took a relation of Melanchthon’s
by the hand, and so scorched her that she bore the mark of it to her
dying day.” Before Melanchthon the anecdote was “improved” by Eudes de
Shirton in a sermon (_Mémoires de l’Académie des Inscriptions_, 1877).
According to Eudes, a certain clerk, Serlon, made with a friend the
covenant which Miss Blank made with Lord Tyrone. The survivor was to
bring news of the next world. Well, the friend died, and punctually
appeared to Serlon, “in a parchment cloak, covered with the finest
writing in the world.” Being asked how he fared, he said that this
cloak, a punishment for his love of Logic, weighed heavier than lead,
and scorched like the shirt of Nessus. Then he held out his hand, and
let fall a drop which burned Serlon to the bone—

    And ever more that Master wore
    A covering on his wrist.

Before Eudes de Shirton (1081-1153) William of Malmesbury knew this
anecdote, which he dates about 1060-1063, and localises in Nantes.
His characters are “two clerks,” an Epicurean and a Platonist, who
made the usual contract that the first to die should appear to the
survivor, and state whether Plato’s ideas or Epicurus his atoms were
the correct reply to the conundrum of the universe. The visit was to
be paid within thirty days of the death. One of the philosophical pair
was killed, a month passed, no news of him came. Then, when the other
expected nothing less, and was busy with some ordinary matter, the
dead man suddenly stood before him. The spectre explained that he had
been unable to keep his appointment earlier; and, stretching out his
hand, let fall three burning drops of blood, which branded, not the
wrist, but the brow of the psychical inquirer. The anecdote recurs
later, and is attached by certain commentators on Dante to one Siger
de Brabant. Now this legend may be true about Lady Beresford, or about
William of Malmesbury’s two clerks, or about Siger de Brabant, or about
Serlon; but the same facts of a compact, the punctual appearance of
the survivor, and the physical sign which he gave, can scarcely have
occurred more than once. I am inclined, therefore, to believe that the
narrative vouched for by two noble families is accurate, and that the
tales of William of Malmesbury, Henry More, Eudes de Shirton, and Siger
de Brabant are myths—

    Or such refraction of events
      As often rises ere they rise.

Though this sketch of a new comparative science does not perhaps prove
or disprove any psychical or mythological theory, it demonstrates
that there is a good deal of human nature in man. From the Eskimo,
Fuegians, Fijians, and Kurnai, to Homer, Henry More, Theocritus, and
Lady Betty Cobb, we mortals are “all in a tale,” and share coincident
beliefs or delusions. What the value of the coincidence of testimony
may be, how far it attests facts, how far it merely indicates the
survival of savage conceptions, Mr. Tylor and Mr. Edmund Gurney may be
left to decide. Readers of the _Philopseudes_ of Lucian will remember
how the Samosatene settled the inquiries of the psychical researches
of his age, and in that dialogue there are abundant materials for the
comparative student of ghost stories.—_Nineteenth Century._




The present movement in Germany towards colonial expansion promises to
set in its right place the part played by her people in the settlement
of the earth. This has been hitherto under-estimated, as Germany has
established no colonies of her own, and up to the present century her
colonial activity has been intermittent. But the colonizing instinct
has, since the earliest times, been innate in the German character. For
centuries the history of civilization in North Germany is the history
of the gradual conquest of the Eastern Provinces from the Wends, and
of the patient reclamation of the soil. By their superior persistence
and industry the Teutonic settlers pushed back in turn the various
Sclavic populations whose irruptions had once thrust them to the west.
Under different conditions the struggle continues at the present day,
and German thrift and discipline even now gain ground in the Baltic
provinces of Russia. This expansion of Germany to the east was followed
by the rise of the great Hanseatic commerce. Nor can there be much
doubt that, if the towns of the Hansa had retained their commercial
pre-eminence, and if the steady increase of German population had been
left unhindered, German enterprize in due time would have claimed its
share in the allotment of the New World. But at the decisive epoch the
heaviest calamity she ever experienced, and one that influenced the
whole of her succeeding history and retarded her development, fell upon

The religious troubles of the sixteenth century drew to a head in the
great religious war. When the Peace of Westphalia was signed, and the
storm which had raged through the length and breadth of the land for
nearly thirty years, was at last spent, Germany was left desolate
and exhausted. Her fields lay untilled, her forests had been wasted
with fire, her commerce dislocated, while something like two-thirds
of her population had perished. So appalling did the want of men and
labor seem at the time that even the Catholic Church, according to
some historians, sanctioned marriage among its priests. From that
time to the beginning of this century, Germany practically retires
from the field of colonial and commercial activity; for, whatever may
be the last motives which impel the emigrant to leave his home, the
necessary condition of successful colonization in the modern world is
the presence of a redundant population at home. Moreover, the policy
of the petty Governments into which the country was broken up, was now
uniformly directed to attracting and then restricting labor. This was
absolutely necessary in the first place for the actual cultivation
of the soil. In 1768 the humanitarian Emperor, Joseph II., issued a
warning to the princes of the Holy Roman Empire against allowing the
migration of their subjects for this reason. With the rise of political
ambitions an additional motive was supplied. In Prussia and elsewhere
the serfs contributed exclusively the rank and file of the armies,
which were officered by the nobility, while the commercial classes were
exempted from military service.

After a long interval German population began to recover itself in the
last century. But the process was gradual, and it received a heavy blow
from the Seven Years’ War, and again from the protracted Napoleonic
struggle. During the eighteenth century the only considerable
emigration was Catharine the Second’s great importation of German
peasants into Southern Russia. And in connection with this appears for
the first time that deep-rooted aversion to paying the blood-tax of
conscription, which became an article of faith with the Menonite sect,
and removed it wholesale from the Dantzig region.


After the Treaty of Paris the enormous reproductive vigor of the
German race soon reasserted itself, and the surplus population began
to swarm off in ever-larger numbers. The stream of emigration, which
had begun to dribble into New York before the close of last century,
where the son of a Baden butcher had already established the future
fortunes of the Astors, assumed its present volume and importance
about 1820. Since that time it has kept roughly proportionate to the
growth of population, increasing temporarily when wars and rumors of
war have been in the air, and subsiding, as they disappeared, to its
normal limits. Taking the last sixty years from 1822, the total number
of German immigrants into North America was something over three
millions, and the last decade has contributed a million alone. They
have increased and multiplied in the land of their adoption, and the
United States contain to-day some seven million citizens in all of
German origin, who, according to many observers, are destined to become
the predominant element in the new community. It has certainly pervaded
the whole organization of society. German names are to be found among
the leading merchants, the great financiers, and, to a minor extent,
among the politicians, and if they occur less frequently than might be
expected, it must be remembered that a regular process of converting
German into English names, according to their signification, was
instituted in the New York of last century.

The German settler, as a rule, makes a less enterprising pioneer than
the British. He is averse to giving hostages to fortune, and trusts
rather to patient industry along the beaten tracks. But where the
English or Scotch American has pushed to the West or founded a new
mining-camp, the less adventurous Teuton follows, and, with his genius
for plodding industry, not unfrequently reaps the fruits of the others’
daring. Accordingly the mass of the German Americans may be found
within the more settled Eastern and Central States. A large proportion
go to recruit the territorial democracy, and an almost equally large
number find employment in the mines, on roads and railways, and in the
engineering sheds. The female immigrants do something to supply the
general want of domestic servants, and the ubiquitous German Kellner
is almost as well known in New York as in Dresden or Vienna. A small
residue, again, which has carried into the New World the impracticable
ideas and habits which made residence in the Fatherland impossible,
sink into the discontented urban populations among which Socialistic
ideas are germinating freely.

Vast as their powers of assimilation are, the United States, however,
do not absorb all the redundant population of Germany. Though no
longer imported and settled in large bodies by improving Empresses
as an example of thrift, the peasants still find their way across
the Russian frontier. The Czar now counts nearly three quarters of a
million subjects of German origin, chiefly of the Bauer class, and they
supply the best agricultural labor in his dominions. But, unlike their
brethren in the more congenial atmosphere of America, they refuse to
throw off their Deutschthum, and remain in unyielding opposition to
their unsympathetic environment

Among the steppes of New Russia, or along the flat banks of the
shallow Volga, the traveller will come upon more than one cluster
of villages with high-pitched roofs, bearing the familiar names of
Weimar, Strasburg, Mannheim, &c. which witness to the existence of a
secret Heimweh, _æternum sub pectore volnus_. Considerable agricultural
colonies have similarly grown up unnoticed in South America. In Rio
Grande do Sul and the adjacent provinces, German settlers have rendered
their territory the garden of Brazil; have given the landscape a new
character with their Lutheran churches, and are wealthy and numerous
enough to support five German newspapers.

Far away, also, under less clement skies, their perseverance has
reclaimed a prosperous domain amid the swamps of the Dobrudscha. The
Menonite settlement which lately passed under the Roumanian Government
numbers 100,000 souls. The beginnings of smaller settlements, again,
are noticeable in Syria and Thessaly, intent on bringing under
cultivation long-desolate tracts.

In England and in other populous countries the position of the German
settler is naturally different. The immigration into England began with
the political refugees of 1848, and developed its present character and
proportions much later. At this moment the German element in England is
probably under-estimated at 250,000. It is concentrated in the large
towns. The metropolis alone is credited with 100,000 German adults,
and its German population suffices to support four newspapers, while a
daily average importation of 12,500 journals keep it in touch with the
Fatherland. Manchester and Liverpool can boast another 30,000 between
them, engaged in commerce and finance. Indeed, according to a common
saying, half the members of the Stock Exchange are now Germans, and
this very exaggeration indicates the position they have acquired in the
world of Capel Court. The majority, however, are rather to be found in
the lower walks of commercial life.

The German clerk has become a conspicuous feature in the city, and
tends to bring down still lower the scanty salaries of the class to
which he belongs. There are eating-houses in the neighborhood of Mark
Lane where the mid-day visitor might fancy himself transported into
Hamburg, so general are the guttural interjections around him. Germans
throng, again, into several industries, while in the East-end there
is a large but by no means prosperous body of tailors, whom Professor
Bryce found it prudent, for electoral purposes, to address in their own

Even into France the intruding German has found his way. He has
engrossed several branches of trade into his hands, has come to be
the principal maker of the elegant _articles du Paris_, and from time
to time provokes an outburst of indignant chauvinism. According to
consular reports, exclusive of citizens of German descent, the Republic
shelters and maintains 80,000 subjects of the Hohenzollerns. His
presence is also felt in Italy, Hungary, and the Austrian Slav States.
The same qualities win him a foothold everywhere; he works harder,
lives cheaper, and asks less than the native. He threatens, indeed,
in these respects, to become to other Europeans what the Chinese have
become to the American.

Not content with the necessarily rough estimates of the number of
German-descended settlers abroad, the Imperial Government last year set
on foot a careful statistical inquiry into the number of expatriated
German-born subjects. The returns are as yet incomplete, and do not
embrace Russia or Asia. But they are significant as showing the
direction this vast emigration takes. Out of nearly two and a half
millions of German-born subjects in other lands, America contains
1,900,000, France and Switzerland respectively about 80,000, and
England 40,000.

It could hardly be expected that Germany, animated by a proud
consciousness of her newly-won national existence, should look upon
this expatriation of her children with equanimity. There are many
things in the position of their brethren abroad which are only too
galling to the pride of the arbiters of Europe. Hardest of all,
perhaps, for the German patriot to bear is the spectacle of his
countrymen easily surrendering their Deutschthum, putting on another
nationality like a cloak, and becoming oblivious of the common home.
According to Hartmann’s dismal lamentations, the German emigrant is
distinguished above all others by the ease with which he effects this

Certainly in America and Australia his complaint holds good. The
vulgar system of transforming German into English names has already
been remarked, and in the second generation the immigrant is entirely
American, ostentatiously affecting to “schbick de Inglisch only,”
Elsewhere the process of transition does not go on so readily. In
Russia the German settler exemplifies the fundamental antagonism
of Slav and Teuton, and retains a sense of his origin and inherent
superiority among his more indolent neighbors. But in Russia the
Bauer is contributing to the wealth, not only of a rival, but perhaps
of a hostile nationality. He labors again, even in Brazil, under
religious and civil disabilities; in the Dobrudscha the German villages
were harried by Circassians in the late war, and now the Roumanian
Government seeks to plant its own husbandmen on the lands reclaimed by
German industry. In other European countries the emigrant is forced
to win a difficult footing by undertaking the most toilsome and
unremunerative labor. He is, indeed, reduced into being a hewer of wood
and drawer of water for alien peoples.

Apart from these sentimental motives there are urgent political and
economical reasons why the demand for a greater Germany, for a German
exit to carry off this surplus population, should now be made. A
military empire depends upon its supply of recruits, and according to
Bismarck’s somewhat paradoxical theory, the emigrants are drawn from
among the most capable and energetic citizens. This continual drain of
military strength can hardly be looked upon without apprehension.

Again the economical loss to Germany by this outgoing of productive
labor is tremendous. It has been calculated at an annual sum of
£15,000,000, and for the last fifty years to amount to a capital sum
of £700,000,000. These figures are probably pitched too high, but the
substantial fact remains the same.


At the same time the vital necessity of relieving Germany by an annual
Auswanderung is now fully recognized. The necessity becomes daily more
urgent. In Germany the birth-rate per mille has advanced to 38; in
Great Britain it stands at 35, giving a yearly increase in population
for the two countries of 600,000 and 400,000 respectively. Hence every
walk of life is congested in the Empire, and in the lower strata of
society the struggle for existence has become almost internecine. The
artizans have no accumulated resources to fall back upon as in England,
and the pressure of the agricultural class upon the soil, for all its
thrift and economy, is fearfully severe. The struggle tells chiefly,
of course, upon life in its weaker stages, and the returns of infant
mortality indicate how desperate it has become, how shrunken is the
margin between production and consumption, and what the terrible remedy
is which Nature is constrained to supply. In populous tracts in the
heart of the Empire the rate of infant mortality reaches 40, and even
45, per mille. In corresponding English districts it does not rise
above 20.

For the last twenty-five years individual thinkers have proclaimed the
importance of organizing German colonies to carry off this surplus
population regularly, of preventing its absorption into foreign
peoples, and of utilizing it for the common weal. For years their
exhortations remained like the voice of one crying in the wilderness.
The country was engaged in consolidating its national existence; a
superficial glance revealed the fact that the more desirable spaces of
the earth’s surface were filled up, and the official classes looked
upon the proposal askance. Proud of the great work its industry and
intelligence had already achieved, the Beamtenstand was confident of
its ability to solve the newer problems by re-adjusting the relations
of labor and capital, and by modifying the social organization.

The task has proved more formidable than was anticipated, and the
attitude of the Socialists has disabused the bureaucracy of its
confidence. In opposition even to the enticing schemes of the Iron
Chancellor they show themselves determined to insist on their own
inadmissible scheme of social re-construction. Nor do they manifest
more favor towards the colonial panacea; some of their leaders, indeed,
have denounced it in the bitterest terms, both as impracticable and as
an _ignis fatuus_ likely to lead the nation astray from the true path
of salvation. On the other hand, the commercial classes are warm in its
support, and German conservatism generally hopes for the effect which a
Greater Germany may possibly exercise in diverting the imagination of
the working classes from internal Utopias.

But the difficulties in the way of establishing transmarine
agricultural colonies, and this is the central aim of German
aspirations, are very great. Germany has to make up the lee-way of two
centuries, to recover the start which England obtained while she was
torn and exhausted by recurring war. The suitable zones of the world
are apparently already occupied, and neither the acquisition of islands
in the Pacific, nor placing barren coasts or fever-swamps in Africa
under the Imperial ægis, will serve her purpose. Popular aspirations,
indeed, point to a South African Empire, incorporating the Transvaal
and Cape Colony at our expense, and influential papers do not hesitate
to air these aspirations. But neither these suggestions nor the more
practicable demand for a Germany in South America have yet received the
_imprimatur_ of responsible politicians.


A like necessity for making up lost lee-way dominates the simultaneous
movement towards commercial extension. Germany entered the commercial
arena long after England had covered the globe with the network of her
shipping routes and her credit system. To reduce the advantage gained,
and to bring up their own lines to a level, a subvention is to be paid
out of the national revenues. An examination of the four subsidized
lines originally proposed, to China, Australia, Bombay, and South
Africa, shows that they were meant to compete directly with existing
English routes. In the same way the projected Transmarine Bank is to
contend with the ubiquitous English banking and credit organization, of
which the Germans are forced to avail themselves. Indeed, the _Cologne
Gazette_ has lately computed that by the use of English carrying ships,
and by the payment of bank commissions, &c., Germany contributes a tax
of £25,000 a day to the wealth of this country.

Handicapped, however, as German commerce has been, it has lately made
great strides over-seas, thanks to its distinguishing qualities of
thrift and industry. German competition is felt severely in the Far
East, and has cut down profits at Hongkong to a minimum. And though
the bulk of the foreign trade of China remains with the English, the
coasting trade is rapidly passing into German hands. In South America
they have secured a still larger share of her trade; their agents are
active in the Pacific; and, besides the new territory of Lüderitzland,
more than sixty factories have recently been established along the
African coast, from Sierra Leone to Ambriz, while German influence had
apparently gained a temporary advantage in Zanzibar. The demand for
new markets is the more urgent now in Germany because the largest of
her previous markets, Russia, is being closed against her. Not content
with having sheltered themselves already behind an almost prohibitive
tariff, the Moscow manufacturers, alarmed at the success with which
their German rivals have transferred their plant into Russian Poland,
in spite of the difficulties and expense, now clamor for a Customs line
to be drawn between the Polish provinces and inner Russia.

The loud demand for new markets is not, however, really so urgent, or
sustained by such pressing causes, as the cry for colonial settlements.
It may be doubted whether Germany’s penurious soil possesses in itself
sufficient mineral and other resources ever to allow her to contend
with this country as the great manufacturer of the raw products of the

It is rather England who must seek new outlets for her commerce, as her
old markets are exhausted or shared among new competitors, while the
amount of human energy she supplies, and its more than proportionate
productiveness, steadily increase, owing to acquired skill and improved
machinery. Germany’s first need, on the other hand, is for habitable
and agricultural colonies, where her surplus population may be planted,
and may not be lost to her. There is, therefore, no immediate cause of
hostile rivalry; and German expansion, with its orderly and commercial
instinct, may be regarded as a valuable influence in the spread of


In discussing German movements, however, it is impossible, at the
present time, to omit reckoning with the views of the great statesman
who controls her destinies. Prince Bismarck has been variously
represented as reluctantly putting himself at the head of a colonial
agitation which he really deprecates, and as using it merely in order
to discomfit domestic opponents, or to make foreign Governments feel
his weight abroad. No doubt these last two reasons have had some effect
in shaping the Chancellor’s actual policy. But Prince Bismarck appears
to have needed no prompting for appreciating the necessity of colonial
expansion, and to have given it his serious reflection long before
the present Colonization Society met at Eisenach. In the days of the
North German Confederacy, the rising Minister lent all his influence
to the proposals of the firm of Godeffroys Bros. for the annexation
of the Samoa group. A scheme was drawn up, dividing the land among
military settlers, grants of arms were made from the Royal Arsenals,
and the _Hertha_ the first continental iron-clad which steamed through
the Suez Canal, was despatched to give a vigorous support. Before
the last arrangements, however, were completed, the Franco-German
war intervened, with the internal consolidation and the diplomatic
struggles which succeeded it.

But Prince Bismarck had not abandoned his early ideas; he was waiting
till the time was ripe. In 1875 he made a tentative effort, without
success, to wring a guarantee from the Reichstag for a new South Sea
Company. Next year he was pressed to give his support to a proposed
railway from Pretoria to the sea. He refused, but in private made the
following significant statement to the intermediate agent:—

“The colonial question is one I have studied for years. I am
convinced Germany cannot go on for ever without colonies, but as yet
I fail to perceive deep traces of such a movement in the country.”
Those deep traces have now been revealed, and it remains to be
seen whether the Iron Chancellor will not be able, in spite of the
apparently insuperable objects in his way, to give practical effect
to the aspirations of the German nation, and to his own earnest
conviction.—_National Review._


On the 8th June, 1876, George Sand, the great French novelist, died
at her château of Nohant in Berri. The strong right hand that for
forty years had been used in the service of her countrymen, sometimes
to delight, sometimes to admonish, had dropped the pen in death; the
noble heart that, with all its faults and all its deviations from the
strict line of social conventionality, had yet ever sided with the weak
against the strong, the oppressed against the oppressor, had ceased to
beat, and even in the frivolous, heartless capital where she had lived,
men went about knowing they had sustained an irreparable loss and that
a blank had been made in their lives that would never be filled.

She was the last of that illustrious fraternity of chosen spirits
that flourished fifty years ago in France, of whom Victor Hugo is
the sole survivor. Lamartine, Théophile Gautier, Michelet, Alfred de
Musset, Balzac, George Sand, were the names that then resounded in
the literary world of Paris, while now Emile Zola and Alexandre Dumas
fils are its principal adornments. George Sand and Balzac’s novels
form as it were the connecting link between the world of romance of
the eighteenth century and our own. She has carried the idealism of
Jean Jacques’ “Nouvelle Héloïse,” and the poetry of Chateaubriand’s
“Renée” into our prosaic nineteenth century, while Balzac presented to
his contemporaries as vivid reflections of life as any to be found in
the pages of “Manon Lescaut” or “Gil Blas.” The authoress of “Indiana”
is the high-priestess of the romantic school; the author of “Le Père
Goriot” the exponent of the realistic.

 “Love must be idealised in fiction,” she says in the “Histoire de ma
 Vie.” “We must give it all the force, and all the aspirations we have
 felt ourselves, besides all the pain we have seen and suffered. Under
 no circumstances must it ever be debased; it must triumph or die, and
 we must not be afraid to invest it with an importance in life, which
 lifts it altogether above ordinary sentiments.”

Balzac, her fellow-worker, used to say: “You seek men as they ought to
be; I take them as they are. I idealise and exaggerate their vices; you
their virtues.”

By further study of her life and correspondence, we shall know how
true this observation is, and how this striving after ideal perfection
not only influenced her literary work, but caused so much of that
eccentricity and rebellion against social laws which shocked her
contemporaries and has made her name a by-word in the mouths of those
who could not appreciate her genius, or realise the tenderness and
nobility of soul that were hidden under her unfeminine exterior.

The publication of her letters (looked forward to with so much
impatience) has recently taken place, and the veil has been still
further torn from those domestic relations well known to have been
unhappy. Were they written by any one but the authoress of “Elle et
Lui,” we should have regretted their appearance as indiscreet, and
wanting in loyalty towards one no longer able to protest against the
secrets of her life being dragged forth to amuse the crowd. A frequent
charge however brought against George Sand is the want of delicacy she
has shown in taking the world into her confidence. “Charity towards
others, dignity towards myself, sincerity before God,” is the motto
prefixed to the “Histoire de ma Vie.” She certainly is both charitable
and sincere, but we must agree with her enemies in thinking it an
open question whether, so far as concerns herself, she has observed
a dignified reserve. Indeed, on various occasions she defiantly
proclaimed, “That all hypocrisy was distasteful to her, and that it
would have been the recognition of those acts as irregularities which
were but the legitimate exercise of her liberty, had she been ashamed
of them or endeavored to keep them secret.”

The autobiography was unfortunately revised and corrected in 1869,
and considerably spoilt in the process. These letters are the more
interesting, therefore, as throwing sudden lights on varying moods, and
showing the rejection of many heterodox opinions at first, which were
afterwards accepted without hesitation.

“La vie ressemble bien plutôt à un roman, qu’un roman à la vie,” she
says, and certainly no heroine of one of her own romances could be more
interesting as a study than she is, with her gentleness and “bavardages
de mère” one moment, and her violent casting off of all domestic duties
the next. Touching appeals are made to Jules Boucoiran, the tutor, to
tell her whether her children ever mention her name, and directly after
there is the following exultant declaration:

 “Ainsi, à l’heure qu’il est, à une lieue d’ici, quatre mille bêtes me
 croient à genoux dans le sac, et dans la cendre, pleurant mes péchés
 comme Madeleine. Le réveil sera terrible. Le lendemain de ma victoire,
 je jette ma béquille, je passe au galop de mon cheval aux quatre coins
 de la ville.”

The first letter of the “Correspondence” is written in 1812, when
Mademoiselle Aurore Dupin was a happy child of eight, living at her
ancestral home, the old château of Nohant.

Already she is insubordinate and high-spirited, delighted at being able
to deceive her grandmother by carrying on a secret correspondence with
her mother, and hiding the letters behind the portrait of the old Dupin
in the entrance-hall. “Que j’ai de regret de ne pouvoir te dire adieu.
Tu vois combien j’ai de chagrin de te quitter. Adieu; pense à moi,
et sois que je ne t’oublierai point.—TA FILLE. Tu mettras la réponse
derrière le portrait du vieux Dupin.”

The last letter of the first volume is dated “La Châtre, 1836,” when
what she herself called the crisis of the “sixth lustrum” was over.
The celebrated voyage to Venice with Alfred de Musset had already
been made, the romance of “Elle et Lui” had been lived through and
written—the immortal passion which has been told and sung by both sides
for the benefit of the world, and which has now become a part of the
poetry of the nineteenth century, was already a thing of the past; and
she had come to the point, as she writes to her friend Madame d’Agoult,
of finding her greatest happiness in a state of being where she neither
thinks nor feels. “You, perhaps, are too happy and too young to envy
the lot of those shining white stones which lie so cold, so calm, so
dead, under the light of the moon. I always salute them as I pass
along the road in my solitary midnight ride.” This volume comprises,
therefore, all the most eventful periods of her life, and whatever has
since been published is only of secondary interest.

George Sand was born in Paris in 1804. She was descended on her
father’s side from Maurice de Saxe, natural son of Augustus II.,
King of Poland. Her father died in 1808, and she was brought up at
the château of Nohant close to La Châtre in Berri. She lived there
until she was thirteen, passing her days in the open air, sometimes
wandering through the woods and fields, with the peasant children
of the neighboring village, or more often sitting alone, under some
great tree, listening to the murmur of the river close by, and the
whisper of the wind amidst the leaves. Here she learnt that kindness
and simplicity of manner which always characterised her, and here she
contracted that love for communion with Nature which in her wildest and
most despairing moments never forsook her.

 “Ah, that I could live amidst the calm of mountain solitudes,” she
 exclaims, “morally and materially above the region of storms! There to
 pass long hours in contemplation of the starry heavens, listening to
 the mysterious sounds of nature, possessing all that is grandest in
 creation united with the possession of myself.”

At twelve she began to write, composing long stories about a hero to
whom, under the name of Corambe, she raised an altar of stones and
moss in the corner of the garden. For years she remained faithful to
Corambe and cherished the project of constructing a poem or romance to
celebrate his illustrious exploits.

At thirteen, her mother and grandmother, unable to agree upon the
subject of her education, determined to send her to a convent in Paris.

 “Conceive,” one of her biographers says, “the sadness of this wild
 bird shut up in the cage of the English Augustines in the ‘Rue des
 Fossés-Saint-Victor.’ She wept tears of bitter regret for the cool
 depths of woods, the sunny mornings, and dim quiet evenings of her

Comfort was soon found however in her work, and in the schoolgirl
friendships that she formed, some of which lasted her lifetime.

In 1820, when sixteen, she returned to Nohant. Her grandmother died
in the following year; and then, although often suffering from her
mother’s irritable and capricious temper, she seems to have enjoyed
perfect liberty: riding, walking, and reading; devouring everything
that came into her hands, from Thomas à Kempis to Jean Jacques
Rousseau. On one occasion, kneeling before the altar in the chapel,
she was seized with a paroxysm of devotion and talked of becoming a
nun. To this succeeded complete emancipation in her religious opinions,
and a refusal even to conform to the observances of her Church. A
quarrel with her confessor accomplished the separation from orthodoxy.
She became a deist, and remained so for the rest of her life, making
art her religion, and passing through all the phases of pessimism and
Saint-Simonianism that prevailed in her day.

In 1822, to escape the solicitations of her mother, she consented to
marry Monsieur Dudevant, son of one of the barons of the Empire.

She describes in her autobiography how one evening, when sitting
outside Tortoni’s eating ices after the theatre, she heard a friend
(Madame Duplessis) say to her husband: “See, there is Casimir!”
Whereupon a slight, elegant young man of military bearing came up to
salute them. Her fate was sealed from that day. They were married in
September 1822, she being only eighteen. After paying a few visits
they returned to live at Nohant. The letters begin consecutively after
the birth of her first child, and are written at odd times, and from
different places—sometimes in the middle of the night, while all the
household were asleep, the lightning flashing and the thunder rolling;
sometimes in a garret overlooking a narrow little street of the town
of Châtre, at six o’clock in the morning, the nightingales singing
outside and the scent of a lilac-tree pervading the air; sometimes at
her grandmother’s old bureau in the hall at Nohant, with all her family
round her.

The portion of the “Correspondence” which will take readers most by
surprise is that describing the first years of her married life. There
is no desire here “to lose her identity in the great conscience
of humanity!” her heart seems perfectly satisfied bending over her
cradle, and her mind entirely occupied with the “concrete duties” of
manufacturing soothing syrups and amusing her children.

 “My son is splendidly fat and fresh,” she writes to her mother. “He
 has a bright complexion and determined expression, which I must say is
 borne out by his character. He has six teeth which he uses with great
 vigor, and he stands beautifully on his feet, though too young to run

Casimir is mentioned now and then, and always with a certain amount of
affection. She is evidently attached to him through the children, and
relates how fond he is of her and them.

    “Our dear papa,” she says, “is very much
    taken up with his harvest. He has adopted a
    mode of threshing out his corn, which accomplishes
    in three weeks what used to occupy five
    or six. He works very hard all day, and is off
    rake in hand at daybreak. We women sit on
    the heaps of corn reading and working for
    hours together.”

She describes a carnival at Nohant in 1826, four years after her
marriage, when she sits up three nights a week dancing, “Obligations
which have to be accepted in life.” Obligations which seem to be
grateful enough to her, although she only amuses herself by the light
of three candles, with an orchestra composed of a hurdy-gurdy and

Certain disturbing elements seem however, as the year goes on, to
agitate the domestic barometer. They make a journey to Bordeaux, and
there the society, although not brilliant, is more attractive than
that of Nohant—the prospect of returning to the “three candles and the
hurdy-gurdy” seems to frighten her—and she complains of Casimir’s want
of “intellectual” energy: “Paresseux de l’esprit, et enragé des jambes.”

“Cold, wet, nothing keeps him at home; whenever he comes in it is
either to eat or to snore.” In writing about some commissions which
her mother has executed for her in Paris, she says: “Casimir asks me
to express his gratitude; it is a sentiment which we can _still_ feel
in common.” Rustic duties pall upon her, her appetite and health fail,
she is reduced to “looking at the stars, instead of sleeping.” “My
existence is passed in a complete state of mental solitude surrounded
by unsympathetic, commonplace people, some of whom deface their lives
by coarse inebriety.” She here alludes to her brother, Hippolyte, who
destroyed his own and his wife’s happiness by his drunken habits.

The only event that brightened her sadness was the arrival of a young
tutor for her children, M. Jules Boucoiran, who always, as she says,
remained her devoted friend and ally.

She thus whimsically relates an incident small in itself, but one that
made an impression on her owing to the existing circumstances:

 “I was living in what used to be my grandmother’s boudoir, because
 there was only one door, and no one could come in unless I liked. My
 two children sleep in the room next to me. The boudoir was so small
 that I could hardly fit into it with all my books. I therefore slept
 in a hammock, and wrote at an old bureau, which I used in company with
 a cricket, who seeing me so often had become perfectly tame. It lived
 on my wafers, which I purposely chose white for fear of poisoning it.
 After eating its meal on my paper as I wrote, it always went and sang
 in its favorite drawer. One evening, not hearing it move, I searched
 everywhere, but the only remains I found of my poor friend were his
 hind legs. He never told me that he went out for a walk every day, and
 the maid had crushed him when shutting the window. I buried him in a
 datura flower, which I kept for some time as a sacred relic. I could
 not get rid of a strange foreboding that with the song of this little
 cricket my domestic happiness had fled for ever.”

Meantime the artistic leaven was working within her. On one of her
flying visits to Paris she entered the Louvre and felt singularly
“taken possession of” by the beautiful pictures around her.

 “I returned,” she says, “again and again, arriving early in the
 morning and going away late in the evening. I was transported into
 another world, and was haunted day and night by the grand figures
 created by genius. The past and present were revealed to me, I became
 classical and romantic at the same time, without understanding the
 struggle between the two that agitated the artistic world. I seemed
 to have acquired a treasure, the existence of which I had never been
 aware of. My spirit expanded, and when I left the gallery I walked
 through the streets as in a dream.”

After this awakening of her intellectual nature she returned to
Nohant, more determined than ever to escape from her wretched life,
and to save her children from influences that might destroy them in
the future. Her first object was to endeavor to make money enough to
procure the means of existence. She tried everything, translating,
drawing, needlework, and at last discovered that she could earn an
humble pittance by painting flowers on wooden boxes. To this pursuit
she devoted herself for some time, believing it to be the only trade
for which she was fitted.

Meantime her domestic affairs came to a crisis sooner than she
expected. The cause is thus related to Jules Boucoiran:

 “You know my home life, and how intolerable it is! You yourself have
 often been astonished to see me raise my head the day after I had
 been crushed to the earth. But there is a term to everything. Events
 latterly have hastened the resolution which otherwise I should not
 have been strong enough to take. No one suspects anything; there has
 been no open quarrel. When seeking for something in my husband’s desk
 I found a packet addressed to myself. On it were written these words:
 ‘To be opened after my death.’ I opened it however at once. What did
 I find? imprecations, anathemas, insulting accusations, and the word

This discovery, she tells him, decided her to come to an arrangement
with her husband at once, by which she was to live the greater part
of the year in Paris with her children, spending a month or two of
the summer at Nohant. There were, no doubt, faults on both sides. She
herself confesses in her autobiography “that she was no saint, and was
often unjust, impetuous in her resolves, too hasty in her judgments.”
Wherever there are strong feelings and desires there must be discord at

 “Happy he who plants cabbages,” says she. “He has one foot on the
 earth, and the other is only raised off it the height of the spade.
 Unfortunately for me, I fear if I did plant cabbages I should ask
 for a logical justification for my activity, and some reason for the
 necessity of planting cabbages.”

Hers is not a nature that must be judged coldly. What right have we to
say that she was to clip the wings of her genius, pass her years in the
service of conventionality, and never seek the full development of her
artistic nature? When she left the home of her childhood with pilgrim’s
staff and scrip to start along the thorny path that led to the shrine
of art, she was not actuated by any weak and wayward desire of change,
but by the vehement and passionate desire to give forth to the world
what was locked within her breast.

The beginning of her life in Paris was one of considerable poverty
and privation. She lived _au cinquième_ in a lodging, which cost her
a yearly rent of £12; she had no servant, and got in her food from an
eating-house close by for the sum of two francs a day. Her washing and
needlework she did herself. Notwithstanding this rigid economy, it was
impossible to keep within the limits of her husband’s allowance of £10
a year, especially as far as her dress was concerned.

After some hesitation therefore she took the resolution, which caused
so much scandal then and afterwards, of adopting male attire.

 “My thin boots wore out in a few days,” she tells us in the
 autobiography. “I forgot to hold up my dress, and covered my
 petticoats with mud. My bonnets were spoilt one after another by the
 rain. I generally returned from the expeditions I took, dirty, weary,
 and cold. Whereas my young men acquaintances—some of whom had been the
 companions of my childhood in Berri—had none of these inconveniences
 to submit to. I therefore had a long gray cloth coat made with a
 waistcoat and trousers to match. When this costume was completed by a
 gray felt hat and a loose woollen cravat, no one could have guessed
 that I was not a young student in my first year. My boots were my
 particular delight. I should like to have gone to bed with them. On
 their little iron heels I wandered from one end of Paris to the other;
 no one took any notice of me, or suspected my disguise.”

George Sand was twenty-seven years of age at this time. Without being
beautiful she was striking and sympathetic-looking. Sainte-Beuve thus
describes his first interview with her:

 “I saw, as I entered the room, a young woman with expressive eyes and
 a fine open brow, surrounded by black hair, cut rather short. She was
 quiet and composed in manner, speaking little herself, but listening
 attentively to all I had to say.”

In an engraving of Calmatta’s from a picture done by Ary Scheffer, we
see that her features were large but regular, her eyes magnificent, and
her face distinguished by an expression of strength and calm that was
very remarkable. Her hair, dressed in long bandeaux, increases this
expression of peace so belied by the audacity of her genius.

She began her life of independence with very fixed opinions on
abstract ideas, but with complete ignorance, so far as material
necessities were concerned:

 “I know nothing about the world, and have no prejudices on the
 subject of society, to which the more I see of it, the less I desire
 to belong. I do not think I can reform it, I do not interest myself
 enough about it to wish to do so. This reserve and laziness is perhaps
 a mistake, but it is the inevitable result of a life of isolation and
 solitude. I have a basis of ‘nonchalance’ and apathy in my disposition
 which, without any effort on my part, keeps me attached to a sedentary
 life, or, as my friends would call it, ‘an animal one.’”

A great many of these friends were so shocked at her eccentric
proceedings, that she made up her mind to withdraw voluntarily from
intercourse with them, leaving them the option of continuing it if they

 “What right had I to be angry with them, if they gave me up? How
 could I expect them to understand my aims or my desires? Did _they_
 know? Did _I_ know myself, when burning my vessels, whether I had any
 talent, any perseverance?

 “I never told any one my real intentions; and whenever I talked of
 becoming an authoress, it was in joke, making fun of the idea, and of

Still her destiny urged her forward, and she was more than ever
resolved, in spite of the difficulty, to follow a literary career:

 “My life is restricted here, but I feel that I now have an object. I
 am devoted to one task, and indeed to one passion. The love of writing
 is a violent, almost an indestructible one; when once it has taken
 possession of an unfortunate brain it never leaves it again.... I
 have had no success: my work has been found unnatural by people whose
 opinion I have asked.... Better known names must take precedence of
 mine, that is only fair: patience, patience.... Meantime I must live
 on. I am not above any work. I write even articles for _Figaro_. I
 wish you knew what that meant; but at least they pay me seven francs a
 column; and with that I can eat, drink, and go to the play, which is
 an opportunity for me to make the most useful and amusing observations.

 “If one wishes to write, one must see everything, know everything,
 laugh at everything. Ah, ma foi, vive la vie d’artiste! notre devise
 est liberté.”

She thus describes her mornings spent in the editorial offices of the

  “I was not very industrious, I must confess, but then I understood
 nothing of the work. Delatouche would give me a subject, and a piece
 of foolscap paper, telling me not to exceed certain limits. I often
 scribbled over ten pages which I threw in the fire, and on which
 I had not written one word of sense. My colleagues were full of
 intelligence, energy, and facility. I listened, was much amused, but
 did no good work, and at the end of the month received an average of
 twelve francs fifty centimes, and am not sure I was not overpaid at

She writes to M. Boucoiran:

 “People blame me because I write for the _Figaro_. I do not care
 much what they say. I must live, and am proud enough of earning my
 bread myself. The _Figaro_ is a means as well as another. I must
 pass through the apprenticeship of journalism. I know it is often
 disagreeable; but one need never dirty one’s hands with anything
 unworthy. Seven francs a column is not much to earn, but it is most
 important to get a good footing in a newspaper office.”

She painted the most vivid portraits of the various eminent men whose
aid she sought, and who invariably tried to dissuade her from embarking
on a literary career. Balzac, when she first knew him, lived in an
“entresol” in the Rue de Cassini.

 “I was introduced to him as a person greatly struck by his talent,
 which indeed was true, for although at that time he had not yet
 produced his ‘chefs-d’œuvre,’ I had admired his original manner of
 looking at things, and felt that he had a great future before him.
 Every one knows how satisfied he was with himself, a satisfaction
 which was so well justified that one forgave him for it. He loved to
 talk of his works, to describe them beforehand, and to read little
 bits of them aloud. Naïve and good-hearted, he asked advice of
 children, and then only made use of it as an argument to prove how
 right he was himself.

 “One evening when we had dined with him in some eccentric manner on
 boiled beef, melon and iced champagne, he went and put on a beautiful
 new dressing-gown, which he showed off with the delight of a young
 girl. We could not dissuade him from going out in this costume to
 accompany us as far as the entrance to the Luxembourg. There was not a
 breath of wind, and he carried a lighted candle in his hand, talking
 continuously of four Arab horses, which he never owned, but which he
 firmly believed for some time were in his possession. He would have
 gone with us to the other end of Paris, had we permitted it.

 “My employer Delatouche was not nearly so pleasant. He also talked
 continuously about himself, and read aloud his novels with more
 discretion than Balzac, but with still more complacency. Woe betide
 you if you moved the furniture, stirred the fire, or even sneezed
 while he was thus occupied. He would stop immediately to ask you,
 with polite solicitude, if you had a cold, or an attack of nerves,
 and pretending to forget the book he had been reading, he obliged you
 to beg and pray before he would open it again. He never could accept
 the idea of growing old with resignation, and always said: ‘I am not
 fifty, but twice twenty-five years of age.’ He had plenty of critical
 discernment, and his observations often kept me from affectations
 and peculiarities of style—the great stumbling-block of all young
 authors. Although he gave me good advice, he put what seemed to me
 insurmountable difficulties in my way. ‘Beware of imitation,’ he said,
 ‘make use of your own powers, read in your own heart, and in the life
 you see around you, and then record your impressions.... You are too
 absolute in your sentiments. Your character is too strong. You neither
 know the world, nor individuals, your brain is empty! Your works may
 be charming, but they are quite wanting in common sense. You must
 write them all over again.’ I perfectly agreed with him and went away,
 making up my mind to keep to the painting of tea-caddies and cigarette

At last “Indiana” was begun, aimlessly, and with no hope of success.

 “I resolutely,” she says in the “Histoire de ma Vie,” “put all
 precept and example out of my mind, and neither sought in others,
 nor in my own individuality, a type or character. Of course it has
 been said that Indiana was me, and her history mine. She was nothing
 of the kind. I have drawn many different female personations, but
 I think when the world reads this confession of my impressions and
 reflections, it will see that none of them are intended for my own
 portrait. I am too elevated in my views to see a heroine of romance
 in my mirror. I never found myself handsome enough nor amiable enough
 to be either poetic or interesting; it would have seemed to me as
 impossible to dramatise my life, as to embellish my person.”

“Indiana” was signed for the first time by her _nom de plume_ George

Her former romance, “Rose et Blanche,” had been written in
collaboration with M. Jules Sandeau. It appeared under the name of
Jules Sand. When “Indiana” was finished Delatouche, who undertook
to publish it, advised its authoress to change the name of Jules to
George. She did so, and henceforth in literature and society was known
by no other name but George Sand.

“Indiana” was a genuine success, and made a considerable stir in Paris.
The imperfections of its construction were forgiven for the eloquence
of its passion and the beauty of its style; and the only words on every
one’s lips for some days after its appearance, were, “Have you read
‘Indiana’? You must read ‘Indiana.’”

Even her severe friend Delatouche was stirred out of his critical frame
of mind. She describes his clambering up to her garret, and finding a
copy of “Indiana” lying on the table.

 “He took it up, and opened it contemptuously. I wished to keep him
 from the subject and spoke about other things, but he would read on,
 and kept calling out at each page: ‘Come, it is a copy! Nothing but
 a copy of Balzac.’ I had neither sought nor avoided an imitation of
 the great novelist’s style, and felt that although the book had been
 written under his influence, it was unjust to say it was a copy. I let
 him carry away the volume, hoping he would rescind his judgment. Next
 morning on awaking I received the following letter:

 “‘GEORGE,—I beg your pardon; I am at your feet. Forgive the insulting
 observations I made last night. Forgive all that I have said to you
 for the last six months. I have spent the night reading your book. Ah,
 my child! How proud I am of you!’”

The following extract from one of her letters written after the
publication of “Indiana” shows how modest she remained in the midst of
her success:

 “The popularity of my book frightens me. Up to this moment I have
 worked inconsequently, convinced that anything I produced would pass
 unnoticed. Fate has ordained otherwise. I must try to justify the
 undeserved admiration of which I am the object.

 “Curiously enough, it seems as if half the pleasure of my profession
 were gone. I had always thought the word inspiration very ambitious,
 and only to be employed when referring to genius of the highest
 order. I would never dare to use it when speaking of myself without
 protesting against the exaggeration of a term which is only sanctioned
 by an incontestable success. We must find a word, however, which will
 not make modest people blush, and will express that ‘grace’ which
 descends more or less intensely on all heads in earnest about their
 work. There is no artist, however humble, who has not his moments of
 inspiration, and perhaps the heavenly liquor is as precious in an
 earthenware vessel as in a golden one. Only one keeps it pure and
 clear, while the other transmutes it or breaks itself. Let us accept
 the word as it is therefore, and take it for granted that from my pen
 it means nothing presumptuous.

 “When beginning to write ‘Indiana,’ I felt an unaccustomed and
 strong emotion, unlike anything I had ever experienced in my former
 efforts at composition; it was more painful than agreeable. I wrote
 spontaneously, never thinking of the social problem on which I was
 touching. I was not Saint-Simonian, I never have been, although I have
 had great sympathy with some of the ideas and for some of the members
 of the fraternity; but I did not know them at that time, and was
 uninfluenced by their tenets. The only feeling I had was a horror of
 ignorant tyranny.”

In spite of her literary success the year 1833 was one of the most
unhappy of George Sand’s life. We know the lines addressed to her by
Mrs. Browning:

    “True genius, but true woman! dost deny
    The woman’s nature with a manly scorn,
    And break away the gauds and armlets worn
    By weaker women in captivity?
    Ah, vain denial! That revolted cry
    Is sobbed in by a woman’s voice forlorn,—
    Thy woman’s hair, my sister! all unshorn,
    Floats back dishevelled, strength in agony,
    Disproving thy man’s name: And while before
    The world thou burnest in a poet-fire,
    We see thy woman’s heart beat evermore
    Through the large flame.”

 “I ought to be able to enjoy this independence bought at so dear a
 price,” she writes to her friend M. François Rollinat, “but I am
 no longer able to do so. My heart has become twenty years older,
 and nothing in life seems bright or gay. I can never feel anything
 acutely again, either sorrow or joy. I have gone through everything
 and rounded the cape; not like those easy-going nabobs who repose in
 silken hammocks under the cedarwood ceilings of their palaces, but
 like those poor pilots who, crushed by fatigue, and burnt by the sun,
 come to anchor, not daring to expose their fragile bark to the stormy
 seas. Formerly they led a happy life, full of adventure and love. They
 long to begin it again, but their vessel is dismasted, and the cargo

Alas! the “fragile bark” was tempted once more to put to sea, this time
freighted with the rich cargo of all the love and all the hope of her
passionate woman’s heart.

In the “Histoire de ma Vie” she touches very slightly on the
episode of her journey to Venice with Alfred de Musset, and in the
“Correspondence” we only read the following significant words, written
to M. Jules Boucoiran from Venice on April 6, 1834:

 “Alfred has left for Paris. I shall remain here some time. We have
 separated, for months, perhaps for ever. God knows what will become
 of me now. I feel still, however, full of strength to live, work, and

He suffered more than she. After lying six weeks in a brain fever
hovering between life and death, he returned to his family broken down
in health and spirits—“I bring you,” he writes to his brother, “a sick
body, a grieving soul, and a bleeding heart, but one that still loves

He declared later, when the anguish had passed, that,

  “In spite of its sadness, it was the happiest period of my life.
 I have never told you all the story. It would be worth something if
 I wrote it down; but what is the use? My mistress was dark, she had
 large eyes! I loved her, and she forsook me. I wept and sorrowed for
 four months; is not that enough?”

The year that followed their separation was a momentous one in both
their literary careers. He produced the “Nuit de Mai,” the “Nuit de
Décembre” and the “Confessions d’un Enfant du Siècle;” while she wrote
“Jacques” and “Consuelo.”

Her letters are the fittest commentary on her life and mode of thought
at this time. She thus addresses M. Jules Boucoiran:

 “You make serious accusations against me. You reproach me for my many
 frivolous friendships and affections. I never undertake to justify
 statements made about my character. I can explain facts and actions,
 but blunders of the intelligence, errors of the heart, never! I have
 too just an opinion of merit in general to think much of my individual
 worth; indeed I have neither reverence nor affection for myself, the
 field is therefore open to those who malign me; and I am ready to
 laugh with them, if they appeal to my philosophy; but when it is a
 question of affection, when it is the sufferings of friendship which
 you wish to express, you are wrong. If we have discovered great faults
 in those we love we must take counsel with ourselves, and see whether
 we can still continue to care for them. The wisest course is to give
 them up, the most generous to remain their friends, but for that
 generosity to be complete there must be no reproaches, no dragging up
 of events long past.”

The following is written to M. Adolphe Gueroult:

 “Your letter is as good and true as your heart; but I send you back
 this page of it, which is absurd and quite out of place. No one must
 write in such terms to me. If you criticise my costume, let it be on
 other grounds. It is really better you should not interfere at all.
 Read the parts I have underlined, they are astoundingly impertinent. I
 don’t think you were quite responsible when you wrote them. I am not
 angry and am not less attached to you, but I must beg you not to be so
 foolish again. It does not suit you....

 “My friends will respect me just as much, I hope, in a coat as in a
 dress. I do not go out in male habiliments without a stick, so do
 not be afraid ... and be assured I do not aspire to the dignity of a
 man. It seems to me too ridiculous a position to be preferable to the
 servitude of a woman. I only wish to possess to-day, and for ever,
 that delightful and complete independence which you seem to imagine is
 your prerogative alone. You can tell your friends and acquaintances
 that it is absolutely useless to attempt to presume on my attire or
 my black eyes, for I do not allow any impertinence, however I may be

She became Republican, almost Communistic in her views, founded a
paper, the _Cause du Peuple_, and contributed to another, the _Commune
de Paris_.

 “It seems to me,” she writes to her son, “that the earth belongs
 to God, who made it and has given it to man as a haven of refuge.
 It cannot therefore be His intention that some should suffer from
 repletion, while others die of hunger. All that any one can say on the
 subject will not prevent me from feeling miserable and angry when I
 see a beggar man moaning at a rich man’s door.

 “If I say all this to you, however, you must not repeat it or show my
 letter. You know your father’s opinions are different. You must listen
 to him with respect, but your conscience is free, and you can choose
 between his ideas and mine. I will teach you many things if you and I
 ever live together. If we are not fated to enjoy this happiness (the
 greatest I can imagine, and the only thing that would make me wish to
 stop on earth), you will pray God for me, and from the bosom of death,
 if anything remains of me in the Universe, my spirit will watch over

After the June massacres, she retired, sad and disappointed, to
Nohant, where, surrounded by her children and grandchildren, she
reigned as _père et mère de famille_, respected and loved by all. The
eccentricities of her youth were forgiven for the sake of her genius
and generosity of heart. She was hospitable and simple, allowing her
son and his wife to manage the household and property, making her
guests, however, feel that she was the controlling spirit of the house.
Here—all the struggles of life over—she devoted herself to literature,
and produced the best works of her life: “La Petite Fadette,” “La
Mare au Diable,” and “François le Chiampi.” George Sand had none of
the brilliancy and repartee in general conversation one would have
expected, and as the years went on she became more silent and reserved.

Her greatest happiness was to sit in her arm-chair smoking cigarettes.
Often, when her friends thought she was absorbed in her own
meditations, she would put in a word that proved she had been listening
to everything. The word spoken, she would relapse again into silence.
It was only when she sat down to her desk that she became eloquent,
and the expressions that halted on her lips rushed abundantly from her
pen. Her characters grew beneath her hand, and she went on writing,
with that perfect style which is like the rhythmic cadence of a great
river—“Large, calm, and regular.” George Sand worked all night long
after all her guests were in bed, sometimes remaining up until five
o’clock in the morning. She generally sat down to the old bureau in the
hall at Nohant, with pen, ink, and foolscap paper sewn together, and
began, without notes or a settled scheme of any kind.

 “You wish to write,” she says to her lovely young friend, the Comtesse
 d’Agoult. “Then do so by all means. You are young, in the full force
 of your intelligence and powers. Write quickly and don’t think too
 much. If you reflect, you will cease to have any particular bent, and
 will write from habit. Work while you have genius, while the gods
 dictate to you. I think you will have a great success, and may you be
 spared the thorns which surround the blessed flowers of the crown of
 glory. Why should the thorns pierce your flesh? You have not wandered
 through the desert.”

When death came, she met it simply and bravely, like the great soul
that she was. “Laissez la verdure” were the last words she spoke. No
one at first understood what she meant, and thought she was delirious,
but afterwards they remembered that she had always expressed a dislike
to slabs and crosses on the graves of those she loved, so they left a
mound of grass to mark her resting-place.

As we read the works of the two great female novelists of the century,
George Eliot and George Sand, a comparison inevitably suggests itself
to our minds. They both had the same passionate sympathy with the
trials and sufferings of humanity, the same love and reverence for all
that was weak and lowly. No intellectual aristocracy existed for them;
they loved the crowd, and tried to influence the crowd. It is curious
they should both have made the same observation, the one on hearing
Liszt, the other on hearing Mendelssohn play: “Had I any genius, _that_
is the form I should have wished to take, for then I could have spoken
to _all_ my fellow-men.” George Sand was ever seeking ideal perfection,
and in that search often lost the right road and “wandered in the
desert.” George Eliot accepted life with that calm resignation that was
part of her nature; she was more restrained and less passionate than
her French sister. The one, while at school, reproaches herself for her
coldness and inability to feel any enthusiasm about the prayer-meetings
in vogue among her companions. The other cast herself on her knees one
day in a fit of devotion, and for weeks declared that she would become
a nun.

There is as much divergence in the artistic work they produced as
in their characters. George Sand, without having the perfection of
construction and finish that distinguish George Eliot, far surpasses
her in the delineation of her female characters. George Eliot never
described a woman of genius, while George Sand has written Consuelo and
the Comtesse Rudolstadt, both of them types of the _femme artiste_,
with all her weakness and all her greatness.

In the painting of human love, also, the French novelist is infinitely
stronger than the English one. We linger with absorbing interest over
the suffering and passion of Indiana and Valentine, while we yawn over
the conversations between Dorothea and Will Ladislaw, or Deronda and
Myra. George Eliot herself has said, “That for eloquence and depth of
feeling no man approaches George Sand.”

We have seen a photograph done of George Sand shortly before she died.
The face is massive, but lit up by the wonderful eyes through which the
soul still shines. An expression of tenderness and gentle philosophy
hovers round the lips, and we feel almost as though they would break
into a smile as we gaze. She became latterly like one of those grand
old trees of her own “Vallée Noire,” lopped and maimed by the storms
and struggles of life, but ever to the last putting forth tender shoots
and expanding into fresh foliage, through which the soft winds of
heaven whisper, making music in the ears of those weary wayfarers who
pause to rest beneath their shade.—_Temple Bar._


One of the most interesting results of the study of language is the
elucidation which it affords of the history of mankind. In the larger
sphere of comparative philology, important discoveries regarding
the relations of various races have been made. In some cases a
common origin has been proved for the widely dissimilar languages of
different nations; in others, the influence of one people upon its
less civilised neighbors is clearly shown. If, on the other hand, we
confine our inquiries to our own language, the historical associations
which it presents are no less interesting. The successive races which
predominated in the early days of the history of Great Britain, have
each left its impress upon our language, in which Celtic, Latin, Saxon,
Danish, and Norman elements are strangely intermingled. Even now, our
commercial intercourse with the inhabitants of every quarter of the
globe is ever enriching our vocabulary with borrowed terms and phrases.
Hence, it is hardly to be wondered that such a composite language
affords an ample field for research. We may trace in it the gradual
progress of civilisation, and follow the changes of national ideas and
feelings, the elevation of some words, the debasement of many others.
We may recognise the half-forgotten names of men once famous for their
characters and achievements, and of places once renowned for their
produce and manufactures. Finally, we may recall states of society
which have long since passed away, and find in modern phrases vestiges
of the manners and customs of other days.

It is to these records of the minor details of life that we would
briefly call attention, as an investigation possessing the double
interest of investing with greater reality the history of the past, and
of throwing a new light on the bearing of words otherwise inexplicable.
This class of words has undoubtedly been increased by startling
derivations, due more to the imagination and ingenuity of their
inventors, than to any certain foundation in fact. But even those which
are universally recognised form a considerable category, from which we
may select a few of the more interesting specimens.

We would first remind our readers of the derivations of two words
applied to a peculiar form of wealth—the substantive _fee_ and
the adjective _pecuniary_, which, though so widely different in
form, recall to us the same idea through the vehicle of different
languages. They are both taken from words—the one Saxon, the other
Latin—signifying “cattle,” and thus take us back to the times when
flocks and herds were the chief property of our ancestors, the evidence
as well as the source of their wealth. It is curious how, from this
first signification, the words came to be considered applicable to
wealth of any kind, and have now become almost limited in meaning to
property in the form of money. To the same days of primitive simplicity
we may also undoubtedly attribute the word _rivals_, when the pastoral
dwellers by the same stream (Latin _rivus_) would not unfrequently be
brought into unfriendly competition with each other. Some words and
expressions are derived from the time when but few persons could boast
of what we should consider the most elementary education. The word
_signature_, for example, had a more literal application in the days
when the art of writing was known but to a few monks and scholars, and
when kings and barons, no less than their humbler followers, affixed
their cross or _sign_ to any document requiring their assent. Again,
when we speak of abstruse _calculations_, we make unthinking reference
to the primitive method of counting by means of pebbles (_calculi_),
resorted to by the Romans.

It is remarkable how many of the terms relating to books and the
external materials of literature refer primarily to the simple
materials made use of by our ancestors to preserve their thoughts
and the records of their lives. In _book_ itself, it is generally
acknowledged we have a proof of how a primitive race, generally
believed to have been the Goths, employed the durable wood of the _boc_
or beech-tree on which to inscribe their records. _Library_ and kindred
words in our own and other modern languages indicate the use of the
_liber_ or inner bark of a tree as a writing material; while _code_,
from _caudex_, the trunk of a tree, points to the wooden tablets
smeared with wax on which the ancients originally wrote. The thin
wooden leaves or tablets were not like the _volumina_, rolled within
one another, but, like those of our books, lay over one another. The
_stilus_, or iron-pointed implement used for writing on these tablets,
has its modern form in our _style_, which has come to be applied less
to the manner of writing than to the mode of expression. Hence its
significance has been extended so as to apply to arts other than that
of composition. As advancing civilisation brought to the Western world
the art of making a writing material from strips of the inner rind of
the Egyptian papyrus glued together transversely, the word _paper_ was
introduced, to be applied as time went on to textures made of various
substances. The Greek name of the same plant (_byblos_) gives us a word
used with reference to books in the composite forms of _biblio_grapher,
_biblio_mania, and so forth. It is worthy of remark that in England,
as well as in France, Germany, and other European countries, the
simple form of this Greek word for book, our _Bible_, has come to be
restricted to One Book, to the exclusion of all others. From _scheda_,
a Latin word for a strip of papyrus rind, has also descended our

The transition from tablets to paper as a writing material has also a
monument in _volume_, which, in spite of its significance as a roll
of paper, is applied to the neatly folded books which have taken the
place of that cumbrous form of literature. More than one instance of
a similar retention of a word the actual signification of which is
completely obsolete, might easily be adduced. The word _indenture_
refers to an ancient precaution against forgery resorted to in the case
of important contracts. The duplicate documents, of which each party
retained one, were irregularly _indented_ in precisely the same manner,
so that upon comparison they might exactly tally. A _vignette_ portrait
has also lost the accompaniment which alone made the name appropriate,
namely, the vine-leaves and tendrils which in the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries usually formed its ornamental border. The
directions in the English Prayer-book, again, are still known as
_rubrics_ (Latin _ruber_, red), although it is now the exception rather
than the rule to see them printed as originally, in _red_ letters. Once
more, we apply without any sense of incongruity the name of _pen_ (from
Latin _penna_, a feather) to all those modern appliances which rival,
if they have not yet superseded, the quill, to which alone the word is
really appropriate.

Several words come down to us derived from customs connected with
election to public offices. The word _candidate_ (from Latin
_candidus_, white), is one of these. It was customary among the Romans
for any suitor for office to appear in a peculiar dress denoting his
position. His toga was loose, so that he might show the people the
scars of the wounds received in the cause of the commonwealth, and
artificially _whitened_ in token of fidelity and humility. Again,
_ambition_—a word of which the significance has been widened to embrace
the most overpowering of all the passions of the human heart—refers
primarily to the practice of these same candidates of repairing to
the forum and other places of public resort, and their “going round”
(Latin _ambientes_) among the people, endeavoring to ingratiate
themselves by friendly words and greetings. From the ancient practice
of secret voting by means of “balls,” we have the word _ballot_, which
is erroneously applied to all secret voting, even when, as in the
case of our parliamentary elections, voting-papers, and not balls,
are employed. Nor must we omit another word of similar origin—that
is, _ostracism_. This word signified among the Greeks the temporary
banishment which might be inflicted by six thousand votes of the
Athenian people upon any person suspected of designs against the
liberty of the state. The name arose from the votes being recorded upon
a bit of burnt clay or an earthenware tile shaped like a shell (Gr.
_ostrakon_, a shell). It is closely allied to the Greek _ostreon_, or
Latin _ostrea_, an oyster. A somewhat similar practice existed among
the Syracusans, where it went by the name of _petalism_, from the leaf
(Gr. _petalon_) on which the name of the offender was written. With
the caprice of language, this word has entirely passed away, while the
Athenian custom gives us a word expressive of social exclusion.

It has been said that there is hardly an institution of ancient times
which has not some memorial in our language. The sacrifices of Greeks
and Romans are commemorated in the word _immolate_, from the habit of
throwing meal (Latin _mola_) upon the head of the victim. The word
_contemplate_ was probably used originally of the augurs who frequented
the temples of the gods, _temple_ meaning originally “a place cut off,”
and hence “reserved,” Our word _funeral_ is borrowed from a Latin word
of similar signification, which in its turn is connected with _fumus_,
smoke, thus giving us an allusion to the ancient habit of burning the
bodies of the dead. Another word connected with the rites accorded to
the dead—that is, _dirge_—is of Christian origin. It is a contraction
of the first word of the antiphon in the office for the dead, taken
from the eighth verse of the fifth Psalm: “Dirge, Dominus meus,” etc.
(“Lead or direct me, O Lord,” etc.). From a Roman law-term of Greek
origin we have the word _paraphernalia_, signifying strictly those
articles of personal property, besides her jointure, which were at the
disposal of a woman after the death of her husband.

From a detail of Roman military life we trace the derivation of the
word _subsidy_, originally applied only to assistance in arms, but
generalised to signify help of any kind, especially pecuniary aid.
_Salary_ meant originally “salt-money,” or money given to the soldiers
for salt. With the inconsistency frequently found in language, the name
survived after money had taken the place of such rations. Strictly
speaking, the word _stipend_ is liable to the same etymological
objection, since the meaning of the word is a certain quantity of small
coins estimated by weight.

The derivation of the word _tragedy_ has been a fruitful field of
controversy. It is undoubtedly the case that this class of drama was
originally of anything but a mournful and pathetic character, and was a
remnant of the winter festival in honor of the god Dionysus. The word
is coined from the Greek _tragos_, a goat; but various reasons have
been assigned for this connection. Some assert that a goat was the
prize awarded to the best extempore poem in honor of the god; others,
that the first actors were dressed like satyrs, in goat-skins. A more
likely explanation is that a goat was sacrificed at the singing of the

It is curious to remark how many names applied to persons, in allusion
either to their characters or occupations, can be traced to some custom
of other days. The very word _person_ is an example of this class of
derivatives. It was first applied to the masks which it was customary
for actors to wear. These covered the whole head, with an opening for
the mouth, that the voice might _sound through_ (Latin _personare_).
The transition was easy from the disguise of the actor to the character
which he represented, and the word was ultimately extended beyond
the scenic language to denote the human being who has a part to play
in the world. _Sycophant_ is compounded of two Greek words (_sycon_,
_phantēs_), signifying literally a “fig-shewer,” that is, one who
brings figs to light by shaking the tree. It has been conjectured,
also, that “fig-shewer” perhaps referred to one who informed against
persons exporting figs from Attica, or plundering sacred fig-trees.
Sycophant meant originally a common informer, and hence a slanderer;
but it was never used in the modern sense of a flatterer. Another
word of somewhat similar meaning, _parasite_, sprung from no such
contemptible trade. The original bearers of the name were a class of
priests who probably had their meals in common (Latin _parasiteo_, to
sit beside). But very early with the Greeks the term came to be applied
to one who lives at the expense of the great, gaining this position
by adulation and servility. Also of Greek origin is _pedagogue_
(_paidagōgos_), signifying, first, rather the slave who conducted
the child’s _steps_ to the place of instruction, than, as now, the
master who guides his mind in the way of knowledge. In later times,
a _chancellor_ gained his name from the place which it was customary
for him to occupy near the lattice-work screen (_cancellus_) which
fenced off the judgment-seat from the body of the court. The same Latin
derivation gives us the _chancel_ of a church, from the fact of its
being screened off, and what is more remarkable, the verb to _cancel_,
that is, to strike out anything which is written by making cross-lines
over it.

Several of the names of different trades will at once occur to our
readers. Thus, a _stationer_ is one who had a “station” or stand in the
market-place for the sale of books, in order to attract the passers-by
as customers. An _upholsterer_, originally _upholdster_, was, it would
seem, an auctioneer, who “held up” his wares in order to show them off.
The double _-er_ in this word is superfluous, as in _poulter-er_. A
_haberdasher_ was so called from his selling a stuff called _hapertas_
in old French, which is supposed to be from a Scandinavian word meaning
pedlars’ wares, from the _haversack_ in which they were carried.

Two military terms have curious origins. _Sentinel_ has been traced
through Italian to the Latin _sentina_, the hold of a ship, and is thus
equivalent to the Latin _sentinator_, the man who pumps bilge-water
out of a ship. It is curious to mark how the name of a naval official
of whom constant vigilance was required has been wholly transferred
to a post requiring equal watchfulness in the sister service. The
other term to which we would call attention is _hussar_, a Hungarian
word signifying “twentieth.” In explanation of this derivation, it is
related that when Matthias Corvinus ascended the Hungarian throne in
1458, the dread of imminent foreign invasion caused him to command an
immediate levy of troops. The cavalry he raised by a decree ordering
that one man should be enrolled out of “twenty” in every village, who
should provide among themselves for his subsistence and pay.

We may pass now to some words of the same nature of less honorable
significance. _Assassin_ remains in our language as the dread memorial
of the domination of an odious sect in Palestine which flourished
in the thirteenth century, the Hashishin (drinkers of _hashish_, an
intoxicating drink or decoction of the _Cannabis indica_, a kind of
hemp). The “Old Man of the Mountain” roused his followers’ spirits by
help of this drink, and sent them to stab his enemies, especially the
leading Crusaders. The emissaries of this body waged for two hundred
years a treacherous warfare alike against Jew, Christian, and orthodox
Mohammedan. Among the distinguished men who fell victims to their
murderous daggers were the Marquis of Monteferrat in 1192, Louis of
Bavaria in 1213, and the Kahn of Tartary some forty years later. The
_buccaneers_, who at a later date were hardly less dreaded, derived
their name from the _boucan_ or gridiron on which the original settlers
at Hayti were accustomed to broil or smoke for future consumption the
flesh of the animals they had killed for their skins. The word is said
to be Caribbean, and to mean “a place where meat is smoke-dried.”

Some of the contemptuous terms in our language have been attributed to
remarkable origins. In _scamp_, we have a deserter from the field of
battle (Latin _ex_, and _campus_), a parallel word to _decamp_; and
in _scoundrel_, “a loathsome fellow,” “one to scunner or be disgusted
at.” The old word _scunner_, still used as a term of strong dislike
in Lowland Scotch, meant also “to shrink through fear,” so that
_scunner-el_ is equivalent to one who shrinks, a coward. _Poltroon_ is
“one who lies in bed,” instead of bestirring himself.

Several words have passed from a literal to a figurative sense,
and have thus become much wider in signification. Thus, _villain_
originally meant merely a farm-servant; _pagan_, a dweller in a
village; _knave_, a boy; _idiot_, a private person; _heathen_, a
dweller on a heath; _gazette_, a small coin; and _brat_, a rag or
clout, especially a child’s bib or apron. _Treacle_ meant an antidote
against the bites of serpents; _intoxicate_, to drug or poison;
_coward_, a bob-tailed hare; and _butcher_, a slaughterer merely of
he-goats. _Brand_ and _stigmatise_ still mean to mark with infamy,
although the practical significance of the words is now chiefly a
matter of history. Under the Romans, a slave who had proved dishonest,
or had attempted to run away from his master, was branded with the
three letters F U R, a thief or rascal; while it may not be generally
known that in England the custom of branding the cheek of a felon with
an _F_ was only abolished by statute some sixty years ago.

These examples of a class of words denoting traces of customs of other
days, might easily be largely multiplied; but enough has been said
to remind our readers of one aspect of the historical value of our
language—that is, the impress of the thoughts and practices of past
generations stamped upon the words which are used in the familiar
intercourse of life.—_Chambers’s Journal._



It is certainly not necessary that to every play, as to every fable, a
moral easily deducible from it should be attached; though every play
that presents a true picture of life must almost as a matter of course
teach some lesson. _Othello_ is the drama of jealousy, _Macbeth_ the
drama of ambition, _Romeo and Juliet_ the drama of passionate love;
but it was not to show the danger of jealousy, of ambition, or of
passionate love, that these dramas were written. A picture of the
“green-eyed monster,” in all its hideousness, occurs in the first; a
reflection on the futility of “vaulting ambition” in the second; and
a warning of the “violent ends” produced by “violent delights” in
the third. The moral purpose of the play, supposing such a purpose
to exist, is not, however, in either case made obvious. In numbers
of the most successful plays of modern France, on the other hand, we
find a moral thesis adopted beforehand and deliberately worked out by
dramatic means. This moral thesis does not necessarily embody a high
moral notion. It may be, and often is, paradoxical in character. The
one thing essential is that it shall assert a principle, and present a
case of as dramatic a character as possible in illustration of it. The
moral which, as before remarked, belongs to every incident in life,
is not always an evident one; nor in the finest works of art does the
moral ever lie conspicuously on the surface. But if a vivacious comedy
or a dramatic play is specially intended to teach or rather to prove
something, it is as well that there should be no mistake about it; and
in these cases the audience is generally informed in the first act
of what in the succeeding acts the author proposes to demonstrate. A
French drama of incidents has often no moral beyond the familiar—not
to say vulgar—one that virtue prospers and vice does not; and though
each of Victor Hugo’s dramas teaches some special lesson it might
sometimes be difficult, but for the preface, to discover it. Numbers of
French dramas, however, deal not only with the facts of life but also
in an explicit manner with its theories, and though often immoral are
constructed on what may be called a moral basis.

In that edifying work, the _Pink Dominos_, for instance, the
complicated and certainly very ingenious intrigue which forms the
substance of the piece has its origin in an argument between two
ladies, one a thorough Parisian, the other a simple-minded and rather
backward provincial, as to the true nature and appropriate treatment
of husbands. A husband, according to the Parisian lady, is never
perfect; and the wise wife is she who pardons his “slight slips ’gainst
_bonos mores_,” and, to avoid driving him to humiliating subterfuges
and denials, pretends even not to see them. In the long run a husband
will be grateful to such a wife, and she may be sure in a general way
of his fidelity and affection; whereas to a wife too vigilant and
too implacable he will be obliged to behave with a duplicity which,
reacting upon his own sensitive nature, will make him despise himself
and detest her.

A good many modern French plays are in fact pamphlets in dramatic form;
and some of them have suffered as works of art from having been too
evidently written with a purpose. The dramatist who wishes to prove
the truth of a proposition put forward by himself will of course make
his characters act as it is necessary they should act in order to give
the desired result. He must not violate probability in too flagrant
a manner, and his play will scarcely succeed if the dénouement seems
altogether unnatural; but even while observing these conditions he
may, and usually does, so mould his personages as to make them quite
exceptional; though it is with these exceptional personages that he
works towards establishing his general rule. The interesting thing,
however, in connection with the moral and philosophical plays of
modern France is not any lesson that they teach, but the fact that
such plays exist, showing as it does that the theatre in France is
much more than a place of amusement. It is a place of discussion,
in which every question that agitates society is treated, and often
in several different pieces from several different points of view.
Absurdities of the day (such as those of æstheticism) are satirised
no doubt on our own stage. But the social questions dealt with on the
French stage are often of a far graver character than any connected
with dress. This was the case even with M. Sardou’s _Famille Benoiton_,
notoriously a costume piece, and dependent in a large measure for its
success on its amusing exaggerations of the exaggerated costumes of
the day. But it was more than that. It touched upon many other follies
akin to that of exaggeration in dress; and was really a stage echo of
M. Dupin’s celebrated pamphlet on _Le Luxe effréné des Femmes_. M.
Sardou’s exhilarating picture of the unbridled luxury of women called
for no reply, and in fact admitted of none. His eloquent apostrophe
to white muslin, “O sainte mousseline,” was criticised in the press
on economical grounds, the work of “getting up” a muslin dress being
neither so simple nor so inexpensive as M. Sardou had imagined.
But admitting the existence of the evils that he attacked it was
impossible to defend them. Similarly when, in the lively days of 1848,
_La Propriété c’est le Vol_ was brought out, and the serpent of Eden
was presented on the stage with the hat and spectacles and the very
physiognomy of M. Proudhon, it was not likely that any dramatist would
take the part of the Socialist and seek to represent individualism as
ridiculous. The “right to labor” is asserted in this same piece by
a dentist without patients, who insists as a matter of principle on
pulling out the teeth of the first person he meets. This again could be
met by no counter-presentation from a socialistic point of view, nor
would the Government have permitted it; for despite the article in the
_Constitution_ of 1830, declaring that “the censorship is abolished and
cannot be re-established,” it has never been found possible to dispense
in France with stage censorship, which, temporarily set aside as a
result of some revolutionary movement, has always been re-established
before long. So necessary, indeed, had it become under the second
French Republic, to restrain the Aristophanic tendencies of the newly
emancipated dramatists, that the censorship went to extremes, and not
content with prohibiting political subjects interfered with social
subjects also. Thus it was under the second French Republic that the
younger Dumas’ sympathetic picture of the woman who has gone astray
(_La Traviata_, as she is considerately called in the Italian version
of the play) was objected to by the censorship, nor was it until the
Empire that _La Dame aux Camélias_ could be brought out.

It would probably be a mistake to see in this piece any deliberate
attempt to raise up the fallen woman. The play was only a dramatic
version of a novel by the same author for which the subject had been
furnished by the life and death of a certain Marie Duplessis—whose
story Dickens, becoming acquainted with it during a visit to Paris,
had at one time proposed to treat. _La Dame aux Camélias_ was in any
case destined to achieve such popularity that for a time the class to
which the heroine belongs became invested with unusual interest. Vice
by being represented as consumptive lost all its grossness; but no
sooner had the play attained its maximum of success than the discovery
was made that it rested on a wrong moral basis. It “rehabilitated
the courtesan;” and M. Théodore Barrière, assisted by the inevitable
collaborateur, undertook to set matters right by exhibiting that
objectionable personage in her true colors. The outcome of this
undertaking was _Les Filles de Marbre_: too fine a name for them
according to Théophile Gautier, who preferred as a substitute _Les
Filles de Platre_. Instead of dying of love, complicated by phthisis,
with claims to forgiveness based on her having “loved much,” the
leading lady of M. Barrière’s piece reduced her lover to poverty and
despair, unconsciously ruined his talent, and consciously insulted
him when she could no longer extort money from him. The God this young
woman avowedly worshipped was not love but gold. She was without pity,
without remorse; nor did the author think fit to place in contrast
with her a more amiable specimen of depravity—even as Dumas has placed
side by side with his tender-hearted Marguerite Gauthier, the selfish
and ignoble Prudence. Marco, the chief of the _Girls of Marble_, is
doubtless a much more common character in the world than Marguerite
Gauthier; and Balzac, who knew the world, had anticipated in only
one of his characters—the unfortunate Coralie—all the best points
in Marguerite Gauthier, whereas he had anticipated in half-a-dozen
different characters, from Madame de Marneffe downward, the worst
points in Marco. But though Marco may have been a good deal truer to
nature than Marguerite Gauthier she was far less interesting; and
the picture of a fallen woman saved by an access of genuine feeling
was much more agreeable than that of a degraded one dragging to his
destruction a miserably weak man.

The _Girls of Marble_ seemed, however, to M. Léon Laya too hard, too
cold; and to show that women might lead irregular lives, and yet be
kind and generous, he wrote _Les Cœurs d’Or_. Here two young women,
attached by anti-matrimonial ties to two young men, find that they
are preventing them from making suitable marriages in a decent sphere
of life. The young men know what, in a worldly point of view, they
ought to do, but are restrained by good feeling and the remembrance
of past affection from doing it. The young women, however, resolve to
sacrifice themselves. They take the initiative in breaking off the
connection, and by doing so prove that they have “hearts of gold.”
This sentimental piece, written in the style called “honnête,” did not
meet with anything like the success of the highly emotional _Dame aux
Camélias_, or of the cynical _Filles de Marbre_; nor did it close the
stage discussion as to the goodness or badness of a particular class
of women—a discussion which, indeed, might have been carried on for an
indefinite time, seeing that the class in question comprises a great
number of different specimens, from Cleopatra—that “reine entretenue,”
as Heine called her—to the Esther of Balzac’s _Splendeurs et Misères
d’une Courtisane_.

Then arose the question—suggested, no doubt, by M. Laya’s _Cœurs
d’Or_—whether a woman really possessing a heart of gold ought to be
abandoned whenever it suited the convenience or the caprice of her
lover to get rid of her. M. Léon Gozlan took one view of the matter
and M. Emile Augier the other; the former developing his ideas on
the subject in a single act, the latter in a full-sized drama. In
Léon Gozlan’s charming little piece, _La Fin du Roman, ou Comment
on se débarrasse d’une Maîtresse_, a young man is represented as so
hopelessly attached to a young woman whom he has omitted to marry, that
his friends, as “men of the world,” think it necessary to speak to him
on the subject. The attachment has lasted a considerable time, and it
is explained to him that it will be mere weakness on his part to allow
it to continue any longer. He is invited to join a travelling party to
Italy, and is mockingly told that he will want to bring his mistress
with him. He repels the taunt, and, in response to the suggestion
of one of his friends, makes a bet on the subject. The separation
having been decided on, a division of household effects takes place.
Difficulties arise about the appropriation of certain objects to which
a sentimental interest belongs, and which each, from regard for the
other, wishes to retain. A favorite dog is disputed for; and when it
is arranged that he shall be the property of the one he goes to most
willingly, the faithful animal hesitates between the two, and maintains
an attitude of strict but friendly neutrality. Lastly, there is a
child’s miniature which neither will consent to part with; and thus,
little by little, the impossibility of the separation is made manifest.
The young man takes the young woman with him to Italy. But he wins his
bet all the same, for he is accompanied not by his mistress but by his

As a counterpart to this work, in which an immoral situation is
rectified by the simplest means, may be taken M. Emile Augier’s
_Mariage d’Olympe_, in which a similar situation is, by similar means,
made to yield terrible and tragic results. Only M. Augier’s young woman
happens to be not at all the same sort of person as M. Gozlan’s young
woman; so that whereas to abandon the one would have been culpable and
foolish, to introduce the other into decent society was reckless and

Dumas showed before long a disposition to turn, not against his own
views, but of views supposed to be his. Whatever allowances might be
made for a woman in the position of Marguerite Gauthier, a real wife
ought not, according to his very original idea, to deceive her husband.
He exhibited, in _Diane de Lys_, a lady who took this liberty, and who
was shot in consequence by her justly indignant spouse.

M. Dumas’ _Fils Naturel_, in which a father disavows his son, until at
last the young man finds himself in such a position that he can in his
turn disavow his father, gave rise to a good many pieces on the same
subject. The half-a-dozen or dozen plays in which it is shown that
irregular relations between men and women are likely to have awkward
consequences, are, as studies of social problems, scarcely worth
dwelling upon. Every one knows that (as in _La Fiammina_) the son of
a prima donna who has misconducted herself may find difficulties in
his way when he proposes to marry a girl whose parents are eminently
respectable; and we need no sensational dramatist to teach us (as in
_Coralie_), that an officer whose mother has amassed a large fortune by
the most shameful means may, in spite of his personal merits, meet with
slights and indignities.

M. Emile Augier’s _Gendre de M. Poirier_ started the son-in-law as a
dramatic subject. In this comedy, one of the best of modern times, a
rich bourgeois has married his daughter to a penniless aristocrat, who
directs the household in such a sumptuous style that the father-in-law
finds himself in a fair way of being ruined. To this a sort of
counterpart was furnished by M. Augier himself in _Un Beau Mariage_;
which, while sparing fathers-in-law, exposes the thoughtlessness of
some mothers-in-law who expect their daughters’ husbands, not only
to take charge of their affairs, but to accompany them to evening
parties and balls. This to a serious-minded young man would doubtless
be a great trial; and in M. Augier’s comedy the end of the matter is
that the husband leaves the house of his rich mother-in-law, and,
followed at a very dramatic crisis by his wife, supports himself by the
exercise of his talents as a chemist, mechanician, and inventor. The
mother-in-law, even when she possesses the advantage of being rich,
is not a popular character on the French stage; nor, apparently, on
the Spanish stage either. There is, at all events, a modern Spanish
comedy, called _The Meadow Coat_ (the rough coat, that is to say, of
the untrained, unclipped horse), in which, as in _Un Beau Mariage_, a
rustic husband who rises early meets, on coming down in the morning,
his wife and mother returning from a late ball. In M. Augier’s
corresponding scene the husband has been reading and writing all night
when the two ladies in their ball dresses suddenly burst upon his

_Le Gendre de M. Poirier_, too, was the progenitor, or at least the
caller-into-existence, of another son-in-law piece called _Les Petites
Mains_, in which a son-in-law of fashionable tastes and habits, but
without money of his own, is harshly treated by a father-in-law, who
insists upon his adopting some occupation, and who ultimately, by dint
of persecution and misrepresentation, separates him from his wife and
forces him to become clerk and touter to a house agent. The moral of
this amusing little comedy is not quite apparent to the unspectacled
eye. The semi-burlesque proposition on which it rests is, however, to
the effect that men with large hands are intended by nature to make
money, and men with small hands to spend it. The piece belongs in any
case to the son-in-law series, in which, by its entertaining qualities,
it may claim to hold an honorable place.

The latest social subject dealt with by French dramatists has been the
fertile one of divorce, which M. Sardou has treated both seriously
and comically. Before _Odette_ and _Divorçons_, he had, however,
written the less known _Daniel Rochat_, which ends with a divorce in
Switzerland, the divorced persons being of course citizens of the
Helvetian Republic; and though the main subject of _Daniel Rochat_
is the union, followed immediately afterwards by the separation, of
two persons who are prevented from living together as husband and
wife by incompatibility of religious convictions, it may all the same
be classed with M. Sardou’s other divorce pieces. The author lets
it be seen that the mistake made by _Daniel Rochat_ can easily be
remedied in Switzerland, a country, where divorce is easy; whereas
it would have been without remedy in France, where divorce was at
that time impossible. The case, however, though an effective one for
the dramatist—at least for such a dramatist as M. Sardou—is of too
exceptional a character to merit attention from the dramatic moralist
or legist.

The practice of treating subjects of the day in dramatic form is one
which, from a purely artistic point of view, cannot be commended.
The process involves almost necessarily forced motives and distorted
characters. Works, too, produced on this system must, from the nature
of the case, be of ephemeral interest. Who, for instance, now that
France, like England, Germany, and the United States, has a law of
divorce, can care for pieces in which the interest turns upon the
iniquity of treating as indissoluble every contract, to whatever
painful consequences it may have led, which has once been signed in
presence of Monsieur le Maire? In Shakespeare and Molière so little are
affairs of the day touched upon (without ever being made the subject of
an entire work) that a reader might find it difficult to determine from
internal evidence at what period either of these writers lived. The
characteristic talk of _Les Précieuses_ is about the only indication in
the case of Molière of the time to which the piece belongs. There is
scarcely a work, on the other hand, from the pen of M. Sardou (who may
be taken as the representative comedy writer of modern France) which
does not bear the impress and color of the time, and which (especially
in the case of his later pieces) does not in a very direct manner
reproduce the incidents or reflect the ideas of the life around him. If
immediate and striking success with a Paris audience be the author’s
aim, it must be admitted that M. Sardou’s method is more effective
than that of his predecessor, Scribe, whose comedies are masterpieces
of ingenuity, but are for the most part independent of place and time.
Many of Scribe’s pieces have been quite as successful in England as in
France. This cannot be said of any of Sardou’s plays, with the solitary
exception of “_Les Pattes de Mouche_,” one of his earliest works,
written at a time when Scribe was still his model. But so far as Paris
at the present moment is concerned, M. Sardou hits the mark, and hits
it harder than ever Scribe did.

The stage in France would be used for the discussion of political as
well as social questions, did the censorship permit it. Of this we
had a sign in M. Sardou’s _Rabagas_, produced soon after the Commune,
in various pieces brought out during the revolutionary days of 1848,
and in _Les Cosaques_, which, after being previously rejected by the
censorship, was authorised for representation just before the outbreak
of the Crimean war, when, as a matter of policy, antagonism to Russia
was encouraged and stimulated by the Government. As a rule, however,
no performance likely to call forth manifestations of political
feeling, or to give offence to a friendly State, or to its people, is
allowed. M. Sardou’s _L’oncle Sam_ was objected to as calculated to
hurt the feelings of the Americans; and the authors of a little piece
called _L’Etrangère_—not to be confounded with the five-act comedy
of the same name—were required to change it because (as set forth in
a document which figures among the _Papiers secrets de l’Empire_)
numbers of foreigners visit Paris and might be annoyed at seeing the
leading character of the very objectionable little piece put forward
as a typical lady from abroad! All social questions of the day have,
however, for the last thirty years been left freely to the dramatist
to treat as he may think fit. Or it may be that such questions have
always been left to him, and that it is only during the last quarter of
a century or so that he has thought fit to occupy himself with them.

The true character of women who have none was the first theme to be
treated controversially, with examples in lieu of arguments; then the
desirability of getting married in certain cases where the marriage
ceremony had been dispensed with; then, in due time, the rights of
natural children and their compromising effect in connection with
mothers proposing to lead a new life. The son-in-law question—of such
slight interest to Englishmen—had meantime sprung up; and the quiet,
studious son-in-law, bullied by his wife’s mother; the fashionably
extravagant son-in-law, devouring the substance of his wife’s father;
the idle but well-meaning son-in-law, misunderstood by every one, were
turn by turn exhibited. Finally, the divorce question produced a whole
crop of pieces, serious and comic; and it may be that the treatment
of this question by a succession of dramatists, who dwelt on the
misery and disgrace resulting from marriages practically dissolved,
but legally indissoluble, had some effect in hastening the adoption
of M. Naquet’s Bill. The cruel position of a husband chained to a
disreputable wife, and unable to set himself free, has been shown in
one of M. Sardou’s most effective pieces, which, thirty years ago, when
England also was without a divorce law, would have been as effective
in England as in France. But it was difficult for English audiences to
realise the situation; and now that continued wedlock between husbands
and wives who hate one another is no longer enforced by law, the
difficulty for French audiences may soon be equally great. With the
passing of M. Naquet’s Divorce Bill such pieces as the _Odette_ of M.
Sardou, the _Diane de Lys_ of M. Alexandre Dumas the younger, and the
_Fiammina_ of M. Mario Uchard lost all significance. When the pressure
of the matrimonial knot has become quite unbearable it is now no longer
necessary either that the wife should retire to a convent or that
the husband should be shot. The difficulty is solved by the simpler,
though less dramatic, means of a divorce. It is matter of publicity
that immediately after M. Naquet’s Bill became law the author of _La
Fiammina_ took precisely this view of his own matrimonial trouble.

There has been a recent instance, too, in Germany, of a subject of
the day—this time a serious one—being dealt with by a dramatist.
_Die Gräfin Lea_, a play by Herr Rudolf Lindau, contains a striking
exhibition of that prejudice against everything Jewish, to which in
Germany the high-sounding name of anti-Semiticism has been given. In
a very ingenious succession of scenes he shows that the widow, who by
reason not only of her Jewish faith, but also of her low origin, is
deemed by her husband’s relatives unworthy to succeed to his nobiliary
estate, is an excellent and charming woman, who would not be out of
place even in the very highest position. The tribunal before which the
case is brought takes just this view of the matter, and the Countess
Lea triumphs. But the dramatists argument in favor of the Jews is
somewhat weak; and he leaves us to suppose that if the Countess Lea
had been an ill-bred, commonplace Jewess, instead of a Jewess of great
refinement, the court might equitably have given judgment against her.
A reply to Herr Lindau’s piece, such as in France it would certainly
have elicited, might easily have been written. But in Germany, as in
England and all countries except France, the stage has not enough hold
upon society to cause social questions to be often discussed in stage
pieces. In France, on the other hand, the public takes such an interest
in the theatre that the “boards” are almost to them what the platform
is to the English and the Americans.

The production of a whole series of pieces on one particular subject of
debate implies a continuous attention on the part of the intelligent
public such as no stage but that of Paris—and the Paris stage only in
modern times—seems ever to have enjoyed. Until the end of the last
century the French dramatist was poorly paid, and as dramatist had
little offered to him in the way of distinction beyond the hollow
applause of the public. It was not until Beaumarchais obtained the
decree fixing the remuneration to dramatic authors at so much per
cent. on the gross receipts that writers of all kinds, and of every
degree of eminence, began to occupy themselves with the stage; and it
was not until all the best literary talent in the country had thus
been attracted to the drama that the French Academy opened its doors
to dramatists as such. Victor Hugo was a poet first and a dramatist
afterwards. The elder Dumas was a dramatist first and a novelist
afterwards—and he was never admitted to the Academy at all. The
election of Scribe, a dramatist, and virtually nothing else, was quite
an event. Since that time, however, the entry of a highly successful
dramatist of long-established reputation into the Academy has come
to be looked upon as a matter of course. The last dramatist elected
as such was a very admirable farce writer, M. Labiche, author of _Un
Chapeau de Paille d’Italie_, _Le Voyage de M. Perrichon_, _Les Petites
Mains_, and other similar pieces, full of humor, but without the least
academical pretensions.—_Fortnightly Review._



It is a long time since I quoted Bishop Wilson, but he is full of
excellent things, and one of his apophthegms came into my mind the
other day as I read an angry and unreasonable expostulation addressed
to myself. Bishop Wilson’s apophthegm is this: _Truth provokes those
whom it does not convert_. “Miracles,” I was angrily reproached for
saying, “do not happen, and more and more of us are becoming convinced
that they do not happen; nevertheless, what is really best and most
valuable in the Bible is independent of miracles. For the sake of this
I constantly read the Bible myself, and I advise others to read it
also.” One would have thought that at a time when the French newspapers
are attributing all our failures and misfortunes to our habit of
reading the Bible, and when our own Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal is
protesting that the golden rule is a delusion and a snare for practical
men, the friends of the old religion of Christendom would have had a
kindly feeling towards any one—whether he admitted miracles or not—who
maintained that the root of the matter for all of us was in the Bible,
and that to the use of the Bible we should still cling. But no; _Truth
provokes those whom it does not convert_; so angry are some good people
at being told that miracles do not happen, that if we say this, they
cannot bear to have us using the Bible at all, or recommending the
Bible. Either take it and recommend it with its miracles, they say, or
else leave it alone, and let its enemies find confronting them none but
orthodox defenders of it like ourselves!

The success of these orthodox champions is not commensurate with their
zeal; and so, in spite of all rebuke, I find myself, as a lover of the
Bible, perpetually tempted to substitute for their line of defence a
different method, however it may provoke them. Christmas comes round
again, and brings the most beautiful and beloved festival of the
Christian year. What is Christmas, and what does it say to us? Our
French friends will reply that Christmas is an exploded legend, and
says to us nothing at all. The _Guardian_, on the other hand, lays it
down that Christmas commemorates the miracle of the Incarnation, and
that the Incarnation is the fundamental truth for Christians. Which is
right, the _Guardian_ or our French friends? Or are neither the one nor
the other of them right, and is the truth about Christmas something
quite different from what either of them imagine? The inquiry is
profitable; and I kept Christmas, this last winter, by following it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Who can ever lose out of his memory the roll and march of those
magnificent words of prophecy, which, ever since we can remember, we
have heard read in church on Christmas-day, and have been taught to
regard as the grand and wonderful prediction of “the miracle of the
Incarnation?” “The Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin
shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Butter and honey shall he eat, until he shall know to refuse the
evil and choose the good. For before the child shall know to refuse
the evil and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be
forsaken of both her kings.” We all know the orthodox interpretation.
Immanuel is Jesus Christ, to be born of the Virgin Mary; the meaning
of the name Immanuel, _God with us_, signifies the union of the divine
nature and ours in Christ, God and man in one Person. “Butter and
honey shall he eat”—the Christ shall be very man, he shall have a true
human body, he shall be sustained, while he is growing up, with that
ordinary nourishment wherewith human children are wont to be fed.
And the sign that the promised birth of Immanuel, God and man in one
Person, from the womb of a virgin, shall really happen, is this: the
two kings of Syria and Israel who are now, in the eighth century before
Christ, threatening the kingdom of Judah, shall be overthrown, and
their country devastated. “_For_ before the child shall know”—before
this promised coming of Jesus Christ, and as a sign to guarantee it,
the kings of Syria and Israel shall be conquered and overthrown. And
conquered and overthrown they presently were.

But then comes the turn of criticism. The study of history, and of
all documents on which history is based, is diligently prosecuted; a
number of learned, patient, impartial investigators read and examine
the prophets. It becomes apparent what the prophets really mean to say.
It becomes certain that in the famous words read on Christmas-day the
prophet Isaiah was not meaning to speak of Jesus Christ to be born more
than seven centuries later. It becomes certain that his Immanuel is a
prince of Judah to be born in a year or two’s time. It becomes certain
that there is no question at all of a child miraculously conceived
and born of a virgin; what the prophet says is that a young woman,
a damsel, at that moment unmarried, shall have time, before certain
things happen, to be married and to bear a son, who shall be called
Immanuel. There is no question in the name _Immanuel_ of a union of the
human and divine natures, of God and man in one Person. “God present
with his people and protecting them” is what the prophet means the name
to signify. In “Butter and honey shall he eat,” there is no question of
the Christ’s being very man, with a true human body. What the prophet
intends to say is, that when the prince Immanuel, presently to be
born, reaches adult age, agriculture shall have ceased in the desolated
realm of Judah; the land, overrun by enemies, shall have returned to a
wild state, the inhabitants shall live on the produce of their herds
and on wild honey. But before this comes to pass, before the visitation
of God’s wrath upon the kingdom of Judah, and while the prince Immanuel
is still but a little child, not as yet able to discern betwixt good
and evil, “to refuse the evil and choose the good,” the present enemies
of Judah, the kings of Syria and Israel, shall be overthrown and their
land made desolate. Finally, this overthrow and desolation are not,
with the prophet, the sign and guarantee of Immanuel’s coming. Immanuel
is himself intended as a sign; all the rest is accompaniment of this
sign, not proof of it.

This, the true and sure sense of those noble words of prophecy which
we hear read on Christmas-day, is obscured by slight errors in the
received translation, and comes out clearer when the errors are

 “The Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold, the damsel shall
 conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

 Milk-curd and honey shall he eat, when he shall know to refuse the
 evil and choose the good.

 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the
 good, the land shall be forsaken, whose two kings make thee afraid.”

Syria and Israel shall be made desolate in Immanuel’s infancy, says
the prophet; but the chastisement and desolation of Judah also shall
follow later, by the time Immanuel is a youth. Further yet, however,
Isaiah carries his prophecy of Immanuel and of the events of his life.
In his manhood, the prophet continues, Immanuel, the promised child of
the royal house of David, shall reign in righteousness over a restored,
far-spreading, prosperous, and peaceful kingdom of the chosen people.
“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end,
upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom.” This completion of the
prophecy, too, we hear read in church on Christmas-day. Naturally, the
received and erroneous interpretation, which finds, as we have seen,
in the first part of the prophecy “the miracle of the Incarnation,”
governs our understanding of the latter part also. But in the
latter part, as well as in the former, the prophet undoubtedly has
in view, not a scion of the house of David to be born and to reign
seven centuries later, but a scion of the house of David to be born
immediately; a scion who in his youth should see Judah afflicted, in
his manhood should reign over it restored and triumphant.

Well, then, the “miracle of the Incarnation,” the preternatural
conception and birth of Jesus Christ, which the Church celebrates at
Christmas, and which is, says the _Guardian_, the fundamental truth for
Christians, gets no support at all from the famous prophecy which is
commonly supposed to announce it. Need I add that it gets no support
at all from any single word of Jesus Christ himself, from any single
word in the letters of Paul, Peter, James, or John? The miraculous
conception and birth of Jesus is a legend, a lovely and attractive
legend, which soon formed itself, naturally and irresistibly, around
the origin of the Saviour; a legend which by the end of the first
century had established itself, and which passed into two out of
the four Gospel narratives that in the century following acquired
canonicity. In the same way, a precisely similar legend formed itself
around the origin of Plato, although to the popular imagination Plato
was an object incomparably less fitted to offer stimulus. The father of
Plato, said the Athenian story, was upon his marriage warned by Apollo
in a dream that his wife, Perictiona, was about to bring forth a babe
divinely conceived, and that he was to live apart from her until the
child had been born. Among the students of philosophy, who were Plato’s
disciples, this story, although authorized by his family, languished
and died. Had Plato founded a popular religion the case would have
been very different. Then the legend would have survived and thriven;
and for Plato, too, there would have certainly been a world-famous
“miracle of the Incarnation” investing his origin. But Plato, as
Bossuet says, formed fewer disciples than Paul formed churches. It was
these churches, this multitude, it was the popular masses with their
receptivity, with their native tendencies of mind, heart, and soul,
which made the future of the Christian legend of the miracle of the

But because the story of the miracle of the Incarnation is a legend,
and because two of the canonical Gospels propound the legend seriously,
basing it upon an evidently fantastic use of the words of prophecy,
and because the festival of Christmas adopts and consecrates this
legend, are we to cast the Gospels aside, and cast the celebration
of Christmas aside; or else to give up our common sense, and to say
that things are not what they are, and that Isaiah really predicted
the preternatural conception and birth of Jesus Christ, and that the
miracle of the Incarnation really happened as the _Guardian_ supposes,
and that Christians, in commemorating it, commemorates a solid fact of
history, and a fact which is the fundamental truth for Christians? By
no means. The solid fact of history marked by Christmas is the birth of
Jesus, the miraculous circumstances with which that birth is invested
and presented are legendary. The solid fact in itself, the birth of
Jesus with its inexhaustible train of consequences, its “unspeakable
riches,” is foundation enough, and more than enough, for the Christmas
festival; yet even the legend and miracle investing the fact, and now
almost inseparable from it, have, moreover, their virtue of symbol.

Symbol is a dangerous word, and we ought to be very cautious in
employing it. People have a difficulty in owning that a thing is
unhistorical, and often they try to get out of the difficulty by saying
that the thing is symbolical. Thus they think to save the credit of
whoever delivered the thing in question, as if he had himself intended
to deliver it as symbolical and figurative, not as historical. They
save it, however, at the expense of truth. In very many cases,
undoubtedly, when this shift of symbol is resorted to for saving the
credit of a narrator of legend, the narrator had not himself the least
notion that what he propounded was figure, but fully imagined himself
to be propounding historical fact. The Gospel narrators of the miracle
of the Incarnation were in this position of mind; they did not in the
least imagine themselves to be speaking symbolically. Nevertheless, a
thing may have important value as symbol, although its utterer never
told or meant it symbolically. Let us see how this is so with the
Christian legend of the Incarnation.

In times and among minds where science is not a power, and where the
preternatural is daily and familiarly admitted, the pureness and
elevation of a great teacher strike powerfully the popular imagination,
and the natural, simple, reverential explanation of his superiority is
at once that he was born of a virgin. Such a legend is the people’s
genuine translation for the fact of his unique pureness. In his birth,
as well as in his life and teaching, this chosen one has been pure;
has been unlike other men, and above them. Signal and splendid is the
pureness of Plato; noble his serene faith, that “the conclusion has
long been reached that dissoluteness is to be condemned, in that it
brings about the aggrandisement of the lower side in our nature, and
the defeat of the higher.” And this lofty pureness of Plato impressed
the imagination of his contemporaries, and evoked the legend of his
having been born of a virgin. But Plato was, as I have already said, a
philosopher, not the founder of a religion; his personality survived,
but for the intellect mainly, not the affections and imagination. It
influenced and affected the few, not the many—not the masses which
love and foster legend. On the figure of Jesus also the stamp of a
pureness unique and divine was seen to dwell. The remark has often been
made that the pre-eminent, the winning, the irresistible Christian
virtues, were charity and chastity. Perhaps the chastity was an even
more winning virtue than the charity; it offered to the Pagan world,
at any rate, relief from a more oppressive, a more consuming, a more
intolerable bondage. Chief among the beatitudes shone this pair:
_Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven_,
and, _Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God_; and of
these two, the second blessing may have been even the greater boon.
Jesus, then, the bringer of this precious blessing, Jesus, the high
exemplar and ideal of pureness, was born of a virgin. And what Jesus
brought was not a philosophy, but a religion; he gave not to the few,
but to the masses, to the very recipients whom the tender legend of his
being born of the gracious Virgin, and laid in the humble manger, would
suit best; who might most surely be trusted to seize upon it, not to
let it go, to delight in it and magnify it for ever.

So the legend of the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus, like
the legend of the miraculous conception and birth of Plato, is the
popular homage to a high ideal of pureness, it is the multitude’s way
of expressing for this its reverence. Of such reverence the legend is
a genuine symbol. But the importance of the symbol is proportional
to the scale on which it acts. And even when it acts on a very large
scale, still its virtue will depend on these two things further: the
worth of the idea to which it does homage, and the extent to which its
recipients have succeeded in penetrating through the form of the legend
to this idea.

And first, then, as to the innate truth and worth of that idea of
pureness to which the legend of the miracle of the Incarnation does
homage. _Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God_, says
Jesus. _God hath not called us to impureness, but unto holiness_, adds
his apostle. Perhaps there is no doctrine of Christianity which is
exposed to more trial amongst us now, certainly there is none which
will be exposed, so far as from present appearances one can judge,
to more trial in the immediate future, than this. _Let us return
to nature_, is a rising and spreading cry again now, as it was at
the Renascence. And the Christian pureness has so much which seems
to contradict nature, and which is menaced by the growing desire
and determination to return to nature! The virtue has suffered more
than most virtues in the hands of hypocrites; and with hypocrites
and hypocrisy, as a power in English life, there is an increasing
impatience. But the virtue has been mishandled, also, by the sincere;
by the sincere, but who are at the same time over-rigid, formal, sour,
narrow-minded; and these, too, are by no means in the ascendant among
us just now. Evidently, again, it has been mishandled by many of the
so-called saints, and by the asceticism of the Catholic Church; for
these have so managed things, very often, as to turn and rivet the
thoughts upon the very matter from which pureness would avert them and
get them clear, and have to that extent served to endanger and impair
the virtue rather than forward it. Then, too, with the growing sense
that gaiety and pleasure are legitimate demands of nature, that they
add to life and to our sum of force instead of, as strict people have
been wont to say, taking from it—with this growing sense comes also
the multiplication everywhere of the means of gaiety and pleasure,
the spectacle ever more prominent of them and catching the eye more
constantly, an ever larger number of applicants pressing forward to
share in them. All this solicits the senses, makes them bold, eager and
stirring. At the same time the force of old sanctions of self-restraint
diminishes and gives way. The belief in a magnified and non-natural
man, out of our sight, but proved by miracles to exist and to be
all-powerful, who by his commands has imposed on us the obligation of
self-restraint, and who will punish us after death in endless fire if
we disobey, will reward us in Paradise if we submit—this belief is
rapidly and irrecoverably losing its hold on men’s minds. If pureness
or any other virtue is still to subsist, it must subsist nowadays not
by authority of this kind enforcing it in defiance of nature, but
because nature herself turns out to be really for it.

Mr. Traill has reminded us, in the interesting volume on Coleridge
which he has recently published, how Coleridge’s disciple, Mr. Green,
devoted the last years of his life to elaborating, in a work entitled
“Spiritual Philosophy: founded on the Teaching of the late Samuel
Taylor Coleridge,” the great Coleridgian position “that Christianity,
rightly understood, is identical with the highest philosophy, and that,
apart from all question of historical evidence, the essential doctrines
of Christianity are necessary and eternal truths of reason—truths which
man, by the vouchsafed light of nature and without aid from documents
or tradition, may always and everywhere discover for himself.” We shall
not find this position established or much elucidated in “Spiritual
Philosophy,” We shall not find it established or much elucidated in the
works of Coleridge’s immediate disciples. It was a position of extreme
novelty to take at that time. Firmly to occupy it, resolutely to
establish it, required great boldness and great lucidity. Coleridge’s
position made demands upon his disciples which at that time it was
almost impossible they should fulfil; it embarrassed them, forced them
into vagueness and obscurity. The most eminent and popular among them,
Mr. Maurice, seems never quite to have himself known what he himself
meant, and perhaps never really quite wished to know. But neither did
the master, as I have already said, establish his own position; there
were obstacles in his own character, as well as in his circumstances,
in the time. Nevertheless it is rightly called _the great Coleridgian
position_. It is at the bottom of all Coleridge’s thinking and
teaching; it is true; it is deeply important; and by virtue of it
Coleridge takes rank, so far as English thought is concerned, as an
initiator and founder. The “great Coleridgian position,” that apart
from all question of the evidence for miracles, and of the historical
quality of the Gospel narratives, the essential matters of Christianity
are necessary and eternal facts of nature or truths of reason, is
henceforth the key to the whole defence of Christianity. When a
Christian virtue is presented to us as obligatory, the first thing,
therefore, to be asked is whether our need of it is a fact of nature.

Here the appeal is to experience and testimony. His own experience
may in the end be the surest teacher for every man; but meanwhile, to
confirm or deny his instinctive anticipations and to start him on his
way, testimony as to the experience of others, general experience, is
of the most serious weight and value. We have had the testimony of
Plato to the necessity of pureness, that virtue on which Christianity
lays so much stress. Here is yet another testimony out of the same
Greek world—a world so alien to the world in which Christianity arose;
here is the testimony of Sophocles. “Oh that my lot might lead me
in the path of holy _pureness_ of thought and deed, the path which
august laws ordain, laws which in the highest heaven had their
birth;...the power of God is mighty in them, and groweth not old.” That
is the testimony of the poet Sophocles. Coming down to our own times,
we have again a like testimony from the greatest poet of our times,
Goethe; a testimony the more important, because Goethe, like Sophocles,
was in his own life what the world calls by no means a purist. “May
the idea of _pureness_” says Goethe, “extending itself even to the
very morsel which I take into my mouth, become ever clearer and more
luminous within me!” But let us consult the testimony not only of
people far over our heads, such as great poets and sages; let us have
the testimony of people living, as the common phrase is, in the world,
and living there on an every-day footing. And let us choose a world the
least favorable to purists possible, the most given to laxity—and where
indeed by this time the reign of the great goddess Lubricity seems,
as I have often said, to be almost established—the world of Paris.
Two famous women of that world of Paris in the seventeenth century,
two women not altogether unlike in spirit, Ninon de l’Enclos and Mme.
de Sévigné, offer, in respect to the virtue with which we are now
occupied, the most striking contrast possible. Both had, in the highest
degree, freedom of spirit and of speech, boldness, gaiety lucidity.
Mme. de Sévigné, married to a worthless husband, then a widow,
beautiful, witty, charming, of extraordinary freedom, easy and broad
in her judgments, fond of enjoyment, not seriously religious; Mme. de
Sévigné, living in a society where almost everybody had a lover, never
took one. The French commentators upon this incomparable woman are
puzzled by this. But really the truth is, that not from what is called
high moral principle, not from religion, but from sheer elementary
soundness of nature and by virtue of her perfect lucidity, she revolted
from the sort of life so common all round her, was drawn towards
regularity, felt antipathy to blemish and disorder. Ninon, on the other
hand, with a like freedom of mind, a like boldness and breadth in her
judgments, a like gaiety and love of enjoyment, took a different turn,
and her irregular life was the talk of her century. But that lucidity,
which even all through her irregular life was her charm, made her
say at the end of it: “All the world tells me that I have less cause
to speak ill of time than other people. However that may be, could
anybody have proposed to me beforehand the life I have had, I would
have hanged myself.” That, I say, is the testimony of the most lucid
children of this world, as the testimony of Plato, Sophocles and Goethe
is the testimony of the loftiest spirits, to the natural obligation
and necessity of the essentially Christian virtue of pureness. So when
legend represents the founder of Christianity and great exemplar of
this virtue as born of a virgin, thus doing homage to pureness, it does
homage to what has natural worth and necessity.

But we have further to ask to what extent the recipients of the
legend showed themselves afterwards capable, while firmly believing
the legend and delighting in it, of penetrating to that virtue which
it honored, and of showing their sense that accompanying the legend
went the glorification of that virtue. Here the Collects of the
Church which have come down to us from Catholic antiquity—from the
times when all legend was most unhesitatingly received, most fondly
loved, most delighted in for its own sake—are the best testimony.
Jesus was manifested, says one of the Epiphany Collects, “to make
us the sons of God and heirs of eternal life,” and we, having this
hope, are to “purify ourselves even as he is pure.” And the Collect
for Christmas-day itself—that very day on which the miracle of the
Incarnation is commemorated, and on which we might expect the legend’s
miraculous side to be altogether dominant—firmly seizes the homage
to pureness and renovation which is at the heart of the legend, and
holds it steadily before us all Christmas-time. “Almighty God,” so
the Collect runs, “who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take
our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin,
grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption
and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit.” The miracle is
amply and impressively stated, but the stress is laid upon the work
of regeneration and inward renewal, whereby we are to be made sons
of God, like to that supreme Son whose pureness was expressed through
his being born of a pure Virgin. It is as, in celebrating at Easter
the miracle of the Resurrection, the Church, following here St. Paul,
seizes and elevates in the Collect for Easter Eve that great “secret of
Jesus” which underlies the whole miraculous legend of the Resurrection,
and which only through materializing itself in that legend could arrive
at the general heart of mankind.

It is so manifest that there is that true and grand and profound
doctrine of the _necrosis_, of “dying to re-live,” underlying all which
is legendary in the presentation of the death and resurrection of
Jesus by our Gospels, it is so manifest that St. Paul seized upon the
doctrine and elevated it, and that the Church has retained it,—that one
can find no difficulty, when the festival of Easter is celebrated, in
fixing one’s thoughts upon the doctrine as a centre, and in receiving
all the miraculous story as poetry naturally investing this and doing
homage to it. And there is hardly a fast or a festival of the Christian
year in which the underlying truth, the beneficent and forwarding idea,
clothed with legend and miracle because mankind could only appropriate
it by materializing it in legend and miracle, is not apparent. Trinity
Sunday is an exception, but then Trinity Sunday does not really
deal with Gospel story and miracle, it deals with speculation by
theologians on the divine nature. Perhaps, considering the results of
their speculation, we ought now rather to keep Trinity Sunday as a day
of penitence for the aberrations of theological dogmatists. It is,
however, in itself admissible and right enough that in the Christian
year one day should be given to considering the aspects by which the
human mind can in any degree apprehend God. But Trinity Sunday is,
as I have said, an exception. For the most part, in the days and
seasons which the Church observes, there is commemoration of some
matter declared in Scripture, and combined and clothed more or less
with miracle. Yet how near to us, under the accompanying investment of
legend, does the animating and fructifying idea lie!—in Lent, with the
miracle of the temptation, the idea of self-conquest and self-control;
in Whitsuntide, with the miracle of the tongues of fire, the idea of
the spirit and of inspiration.

What Christmas primarily commemorates is the birthday of Jesus—Jesus,
the bringer to the world of the new dispensation contained in his
method and secret, and in his temper of _epieikeia_, or sweet
reasonableness, for applying them. But the religion of Christendom has
in fact made the prominent thing in Christmas a miracle, a legend; the
miracle of the Incarnation, as it is called, the legend of Jesus having
been born of the Virgin. And to those who cannot bring themselves
to receive miracle and legend as fact, what Christmas, under this
popularly established aspect of it, can have to say, what significance
it can contain, may at first seem doubtful. Christmas might as first
appear to be the one great festival which is concerned wholly with
mere miracle, which fixes our attention upon a miracle and nothing
else. But when we come to look closer, we find that even in the case
of Christmas the thing is not so. That on which Christmas even in
its popular acceptation, fixes our attention, is that to which the
popular instinct, in attributing to Jesus his miraculous Incarnation,
in believing him born of a pure Virgin, did homage—pureness. And
this, to which the popular instinct thus did homage, was an essential
characteristic of Jesus and an essential virtue of Christianity, the
obligation of which, though apt to be questioned and discredited in the
world, is at the same time nevertheless a necessary fact of nature and
eternal truth of reason. And fondly as the Church has cherished and
displayed the Christmas miracle, this, the true significance of the
miraculous legend for religion, has never been unknown to her, never
wholly lost out of sight. As times goes on, as legend and miracle are
less taken seriously as matters of fact, this worth of the Christmas
legend as symbol will more and more come into view. The legend will
still be loved, but as poetry—as poetry endeared by the associations of
some two thousand years; religious thought will rest upon that which
the legend symbolizes.

It is a mistake to suppose that rules for conduct and recommendations
of virtue, presented in a correct scientific statement, or in a new
rhetorical statement from which old errors are excluded, can have
anything like the effect on mankind of old rules and recommendations to
which they have been long, accustomed, and with which their feelings
and affections have become intertwined. Pedants always suppose that
they can, but that this mistake should be so commonly made proves
only how many of us have a mixture of the pedant in our composition.
A correct scientific statement of rules of virtue has upon the
great majority of mankind simply no effect at all. A new rhetorical
statement of them, appealing, like the old familiar deliverances of
Christianity, to the heart and imagination, can have the effect which
those deliverances had, only when they proceed from a religious genius
equal to that from which those proceeded. To state the requirement is
to declare the impossibility of its being satisfied. The superlative
pedantry of Comte is shown in his vainly imagining that he could
satisfy it; the comparative pedantry of his disciples is shown by the
degree in which they adopt their master’s vain imagination.

The really essential ideas of Christianity have a truth, depth,
necessity, and scope, far beyond anything that either the adherents
of popular Christianity, or its impugners, at present suppose. Jesus
himself, as I have remarked elsewhere, is even the better fitted to
stand as the central figure of a religion, because his reporters so
evidently fail to comprehend him fully and to report him adequately.
Being so evidently great and yet so uncomprehended, and being now
inevitably so to remain for ever, he thus comes to stand before us
as what the philosophers call an _absolute_. We cannot apply to him
the tests which we can apply to other phenomena, we cannot get behind
him and above him, cannot command him. But even were Jesus less
of an _absolute_, less fitted to stand as the central figure of a
religion, than he is, even were the constitutive and essential ideas of
Christianity less pregnant, profound and far-reaching than they are,
still the personage of Jesus, and the Christian rules of conduct and
recommendations of virtue, being of that indisputable significance and
worth that in any fair view which can be taken of them they are, would
have a value and a substantiality for religious purposes which no new
constructions can possibly have. No new constructions in religion can
now hope to found a common way, hold aloft a common truth, unite men in
a common life. And yet how true it is, in regard to mankind, conduct
and course, that, as the “Imitation” says so admirably, “Without a
way there is no going, without a truth no knowing, without a life no
living.” _Sine viâ non itur, sine veritate non cognoscitur, sine vitâ
non vivitur._ The way, truth, and life have been found in Christianity,
and will not now be found outside of it. Instead of making vain and
pedantic endeavors to invent them outside of it, what we have to do
is to help, so far as we can, towards their continuing to be found
inside of it by honest and sane people, who would be glad to find them
there if they can accomplish it without playing tricks with their
understanding; to help them to accomplish this, and to remove obstacles
out of the way of their doing so.

Far from having anything to gain by being timid and reticent, or else
vague and rhetorical in treating of the miraculous element in the
Bible, he who would help men will probably now do most good by treating
this element with entire unreserve. Let him frankly say, that miracle
narrated in the Bible is as legendary as miracle narrated anywhere else
and not more to be taken as having actually happened. If he calls it
symbolical, let him be careful to mark that the narrators did not mean
it for symbol, but delivered it as having actually happened, and in so
delivering it were mistaken. Let him say that we can still use it as
poetry, and that in so using it we use it better than those who used it
as matter of fact; but let him not leave in any uncertainty the point
that it is as poetry that we do use it. Let no difficulties be slurred
over or eluded. Undoubtedly a period of transition in religious belief,
such as the period in which we are now living, presents many grave
difficulties. Undoubtedly the reliance on miracles is not lost without
some danger; but the thing to consider is that it _must_ be lost, and
that the danger must be met, and, as it can be, counteracted. If men
say, as some men are likely enough to say, that they altogether give
up Christian miracles and cannot do otherwise, but that then they give
up Christian morals too, the answer is, that they do this at their
own risk and peril; that they need not do it, that they are wrong in
doing it, and will have to rue their error. But for my part, I prefer
at present to say this simply and barely, not to give any rhetorical
development to it. Springs of interest for the emotions and feelings
this reality possesses in abundance, and hereafter these springs may
and will most beneficially be used by the clergy and teachers of
religion, who are the best persons to turn them to account. As they
have habitually and powerfully used the springs of emotion contained in
the Christian legend, so they will with time come to use the springs
of emotion contained in the reality. But there has been so much
vagueness, and so much rhetoric, and so much license of affirmation,
and so much treatment of what cannot be known as if it were well known,
and of what is poetry and legend as if it were essential solid fact,
and of what is investment and dress of the matter as if it were the
heart of the matter, that for the present, and when we are just at the
commencement of a new departure, I prefer, I say, to put forward a
plain, strict statement of the essential facts and truths consecrated
by the Christian legend, and to confine myself to doing this. We make
a mistake if we think that even those facts and truths can now produce
their full effect upon men when exhibited in such a naked statement,
and separately from the poetry and legend with which they are combined,
and to which men have been accustomed for centuries. Nevertheless, the
important thing at the present moment is not to enlarge upon the effect
which the essential facts and truths gain from being still used in that
combination, but after indicating this point, and insisting on it, to
pass on to show what the essential facts and truths are.

Therefore, when we are asked: What really is Christmas, and what does
it celebrate? we answer, the birthday of Jesus. What is the miracle
of the Incarnation? A homage to the virtue of pureness, and to the
manifestation of this virtue in Jesus. What is Lent, and the miracle
of the temptation? A homage to the virtue of self-control and to the
manifestation of this virtue in Jesus. What does Easter celebrate?
Jesus victorious over death by dying. By dying how? Dying to re-live.
To re-live in Paradise, in another world? No, in this. What, then,
is the kingdom of God? The ideal society of the future. Then what is
immortality? To live in the eternal order, which never dies. What is
salvation by Jesus Christ? The attainment of this immortality. Through
what means? Through means of the method and the secret and the temper
of Jesus.

Experience of the saving results of the method and secret and temper of
Jesus, imperfectly even as this method and secret and temper have been
extricated and employed hitherto, makes the strength of that wonderful
Book in which, with an immense vehicle of legend and miracle, the new
dispensation of Jesus and the old dispensation which led up to it are
exhibited, and brought to mankind’s knowledge; makes the strength of
the Bible, and of the religion and churches which the Bible has called
into being. We may remark that what makes the attraction of a church
is always what is consonant in it to the method and secret and temper
of Jesus, and productive, therefore, of the saving results which flow
from these. The attraction of the Catholic Church is unity, of the
Protestant sects, conscience, of the Church of England, abuses reformed
but unity saved. I speak of that which, in each of these cases, is the
promise apparently held out; I do not say that the promise is made
good. That which makes the weakness and danger of a church, again, is
just that in it which is not consonant to the line of Jesus. Thus the
danger of the Catholic Church is its obscurantism, of the Protestant
sects their contentiousness, of the Church of England, its deference to
station and property. I said the other day, in the East-end of London,
that, ever since the appearance of Christianity, _the prince of this
world is judged_. The _Guardian_ was disquieted and alarmed at my
saying this. I will urge nothing in answer, except that this deference
to the susceptibilities of station and property, which has been too
characteristic of the Church of England in the past—a deference so
signally at variance with the line of Jesus—is at the same time just
what now makes the Church of England’s weakness and main danger.

As time goes on, it will be more and more manifest that salvation
does really depend on consonance to the line of Jesus, and that
this experience, and nothing miraculous or preternatural, is what
establishes the truth and necessity of Christianity. The experience
proceeds on a large scale, and therefore slowly. But even now, and
imperfectly, moreover, as the line of Jesus has been followed hitherto,
it can be seen that those nations are the soundest which have the
most seriously concerned themselves with it and have most endeavored
to follow it. Societies are saved by following it, broken up by not
following it; and as the experience of this continually proceeds,
the proofs of Christianity are continually accumulating and growing
stronger. The thing goes on quite independently of our wishes, and
whether we will or no. Our French friends seem perfectly and scornfully
incredulous as to the cogency of the beatitude which pronounces
blessing on the pure in heart; they would not for a moment admit that
nations perish through the service of the great goddess Lubricity. On
the contrary, many of them maintain this service to be the most natural
and reasonable thing in the world. Yet really this service broke up the
great Roman Empire in the past, and is capable, it will be found, of
breaking up any number of societies.

Or let us consider that other great beatitude and its fortunes, the
beatitude recommending the Christian virtue of charity. “Blessed are
the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Many people
do not even understand what it is which this beatitude means to bless;
they think it recommends humbleness of spirit. Ferdinand Baur, whose
exegesis of texts from the Gospels is more valuable than his criticism
of the mode in which the Gospels were composed, has well pointed out
that the persons here blest are not those who are humble-spirited, but
those who are in the intention and bent of their spirit—in mind, as we
say, and not in profession merely—indifferent to riches. Such persons,
whether they possess riches or not, really regard riches as something
foreign to them, something not their own, and are thus, in the phrase
of another text where our received translation is misleading, faithful
as regards riches. “If ye have not been faithful in that which is
foreign to you, who will give you that which is your own?” The fidelity
consists in having conquered the temptation to treat that for which men
desire riches, private possession and personal enjoyment, as things
vital to us and to be desired. Wherever there is cupidity, there the
blessing of the Gospel cannot rest. The actual poor may altogether fail
to be objects of the blessing; the actual rich may be objects of it in
the highest degree. Nay, the surest of means to restore and perpetuate
the reign of the selfish rich, if at any time it have been interrupted,
is cupidity, envy, and hatred in the poor. And this again is a witness
to the infallibility of the line of Jesus. We must come, both rich
and poor, to prefer the common good, the interest of “the body of
Christ”—to use the Gospel phrase—the body of Christ of which we are
members, to private possession and personal enjoyment.

This is Christian charity, and how rare, how very rare it is, we all
know. In this practical country of ours, where possessing property and
estate is so loved, and losing them so hated, the opposition to it is
almost as strong as that to Christian purity in France. The _Saturday
Review_ is in general respectful to religion, intelligent and decorous,
in matters of literary and scientific criticism reasonable. But let it
imagine property and privilege threatened, and instantly what a change!
There seems to rise before one’s mind’s eye a sort of vision of an
elderly demoniac, surrounded by a troop of younger demoniacs of whom
he is the owner and guide, all of them suddenly foaming at the mouth
and crying out horribly. The attachment to property and privilege is
so strong, the fear of losing them so agitating. But the line of Jesus
perpetually tends to establish itself, as I have said, independently
of our wishes, and whether we will or no. And undoubtedly the line
of Jesus is: “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the
kingdom of God!” In other words: “How hardly shall those who cling
to private possessions and personal enjoyment, who have not brought
themselves to regard property and riches as foreign and indifferent to
them, who have not annulled self, and placed their happiness in the
common good, make part of the ideal society of the future!”

The legend of Christmas is a homage to the Christian virtue of
pureness, and Christmas, with its miracle of the Incarnation, should
turn our thoughts to the certainty of this virtue’s final victory,
against all difficulties. And with the victory of this virtue let us
associate the victory of its great fellow-virtue of Christian charity,
a victory equally difficult but equally certain. The difficulties are
undeniable, but here the signs of the times point far more to the
emergence and progress of the virtue than to its depression. Who cannot
see that the idea of the common good is acquiring amongst us, at the
present day, a force altogether new? that, for instance, in cases
where, in the framing of laws and in the interpretation of them by
tribunals, regard to property and privilege used to be, one may say,
paramount, and the idea of the common good hardly considered at all,
things are now tending quite the other way; the pretensions of property
and privilege are severely scrutinized, the claims of the common good
entertained with favor. An acceleration of progress in the spread of
ideas of this kind, a decline of vitality in institutions where the
opposite ideas were paramount, marks the close of a period. Jesus
announced for his own period such a close; a close necessitated by the
emergence of the new, the decay of the old. He announced it with the
turbid figures familiar through prophecy to his hearers’ imagination
figures of stupendous physical miracle, a break-up of nature, God
coming to judgment. But he did not announce under these figures, as our
Bibles make him announce, the end of _the world_; he announced “the end
of _the age_,” “the close of the period.” That close came, as he had
foretold; and a like “end of the age” is imminent wherever a certain
stage is reached in the conflict between the line of Jesus and the
facts of the period through which it takes its passage. Sometimes we
may almost be inclined to augur that from some such “end of the age”
we ourselves are not far now; that through dissolution—dissolution
peaceful if we have virtue enough, violent if we are vicious, but
still dissolution—we and our own age have to pass, according to the
eternal law which makes dissolution the condition of renovation. The
price demanded, by the inexorable conditions on which the kingdom of
God is offered, for the mistakes of our past, for the attainment of
our future, this price may perhaps be required sooner than we suppose,
required even of us ourselves who are living now; “verily I say unto
you, it shall be required _of this generation_.”—_Contemporary Review._


War is, of course, economically, purely destructive. The men employed
produce nothing; the engines prepared are useless, except for killing;
the money expended is most of it consumed on objects which can yield
no direct return. Enormous quantities of food are wasted in transport,
domestic animals are used-up in unproductive labor, and the men slain
are necessarily among the strongest in the nation. Nevertheless, the
economic loss of war is often not felt for a time; and it is probable
that in the war supposed to be coming with Russia this will be the
case to an unusual degree. Almost all the possessing classes, to begin
with, will at first feel as if the war had made them less poor. Those
of them who are lucky enough always to save, find all investments
cheaper, which is to them as if their money had directly increased in
power. Only six weeks ago you could not buy a solid security to pay
quite four per cent., and to-day there are twenty to choose among. The
possessing classes have been suffering from the fall in prices, and
the fall in prices will cease. Already the owners of land are relieved
of apprehension by a rise in the price of wheat which may be taken
as equivalent in effect to a five-shilling protective duty; and the
farmers, possibly misled by the tradition of former wars, look forward
to a rise of at least double that. As the American supply will not be
affected, and the Indian supply will be as good as ever, and every
rise in price draws new supplies, they may possibly be disappointed;
but imagination is a factor in trade, as in all other things governed
by human minds, and the prices of things to eat will undoubtedly
stiffen. The mere increase in the cost of sea-carriage will secure
that; and this increase will be considerable, for a Government at war
draws heavily on the surplus shipping for transport; and while freight
rises, so also do rates of insurance and competent seamen’s wages.
Large as the seafaring class is, the demand made on it in war-time by
a great Power sensibly diminishes it, and so increases the value of
the remaining seamen. All sea-borne goods must rise perceptibly in
price, and so, though the reason is not so apparent, do all metals;
and owing to the law which tends to equalise all profits, so in
smaller proportion do all other vendible things. The phenomenon called
by housewives “dearness” appears at once; and as the possessing and
trading classes, distributors excepted, fret under cheapness, this is
for the time a satisfaction to them. Landlords, shipowners, planters
abroad, farmers at home, mineowners, and manufacturers with large
stocks, classes which greatly influence opinion, deem themselves to
be, and in some instances are, decidedly better-off. Nor are the
distributing classes at first injured. Much of the enormous expenditure
of war goes into their pockets; war is recognised as full excuse for
heavier prices; and the demand from the well-to-do which so often
makes the difference between profit and loss increases rather than
diminishes. The currency, too, tends to become inflated by the issue
of Government paper, not in the form of bank-notes, but of obligations
of all kinds, signed by a firm—the Government—known to be solvent,
and passing in large transactions from hand to hand, and inflation
always produces the appearance of prosperity. The enormous mass of
expense, again, based on borrowed money,—that is, practically, on
future earnings,—swells the volume of available money in circulation,
and enlarges, sometimes enormously, the profits of certain men, _e.g._,
army contractors, who immediately spend on their own objects till
the veins of the community seem full of blood. Even wages rise, and
especially the wages of the poorest class, the half-skilled laborers.
It is often supposed that this is not the case; but the truth would
seem to be that the withdrawal of laborers from production caused by
war, falling as it does, not on the whole people, but on a limited
section of them,—namely, those who are at once poor, specially
able-bodied, and under thirty-five,—greatly diminishes the total
supply, and at once raises wages. This is thoroughly recognised on the
Continent, where mobilisation affects such a huge mass of men, and
even in England the numbers taken away are very serious. In a war of
two years at least 100,000 men will require to be replaced, another
100,000 will be hired for garrison duty of all kinds, and a further
contingent of unknown numbers will be employed in dockyards, transport
services, and the endless forms of hard labor necessary to send armies
to the field. If we remember that the half-skilled laborers are only a
division of the people, and that agricultural laborers, in particular,
upon whom much of the pressure falls, are only 600,000, we shall see
that war seriously reduces the available supply of hands, and so sends
up one class of wages. In truth, in the beginning of a war in a country
not liable to invasion, and not harassed from the first by financial
distress, it is difficult to see what class—unless it be soldiers’
wives—suffers economically from the very beginning, and does not
rather feel as if it were prospering. Something of this is, no doubt,
imaginary, and due to the bustle and interest created by war, and the
sense it causes of a necessity for harder work; but most of it has a
true economic source. The expenditure is greater, the competition is
less, and one new career, rapidly consuming men, has been opened to
the discontented. There is more room for those who are not engaged,
and more to get, and they therefore feel well-off. So strong is this
impression, that in countries where the well-off classes govern—as was
the case in England’s war with Napoleon—war is often protracted by
their reluctance to lose the advantages which they think, often with
reason, they are enjoying, though at the expense of the whole community.

It is by degrees that the economic effect of war comes to be felt,
through the agency, usually, of taxation. No nation can throw away
perhaps two years’ revenue in one on unproductive effort without
becoming gradually poorer,—that is, without having less to spend in
giving good wages to great multitudes of men. Suppose a war to cost
fifty millions a year—and the American war cost £120,000,000—though
much of that is spent in wages, the whole is loss, for even the wages
are paid, from the economic point of view, for doing nothing. In the
best case, that of a country which is annually heaping-up a reserve in
the shape of savings, this reserve must be diminished to an appreciable
degree; and the effect, _pro tanto_, is as if the community were making
less profit, or were fractionally less industrious, or were more
addicted to consumable luxuries like tobacco or wine. If the process
continues long, or the war is excessively expensive, all saving-power
is consumed, and the community sinks gradually to the position of a
man who is living from hand to mouth, and making nothing to provide
against the future. The process, of course, may be slow; it may be
retarded, as in England in the Great War, by the sudden rise of new
and profitable industries, and it may be diminished in its effect by
thrift; but it is inevitable. No nation could expend a second year’s
revenue on war continuously for a century without being beggared; and
each separate year must of necessity involve some approach towards
beggary. Borrowing distributes the loss over future years; but it
does not diminish the loss itself, which is positive, and not to be
diminished by any financial arrangement. Borrowing involves taxation,
and the effect of taxation in the gross is to impoverish. It is often
said, for instance, that England could borrow a hundred millions, and
then pay for it by a twopenny tax on sugar; and that, as a financial
statement, is correct. But then this also is correct, that the three
and a half millions a year raised to pay for a loan of that amount
expended in a past war, means a loss equivalent to an obligation to
keep 100,000 unskilled laborers at £35 a year each in idleness for
ever. An unskilled laborer does not earn more than that; and that,
therefore, is one expression of what the community gives away through
such a tax, without real benefit to its producing-power. It is true
that three and a half millions is not an amount sufficient to hurt
England; but it is a fresh burden on England, and it begins to fall
just when it is hardest, that is, when war expenditure and consequent
borrowing ceases. It is on the top of the loss of the great customer
who has been throwing away, say, £100,000,000 a year, that the new
taxation comes, and is, therefore, often so cruelly felt. We have
been told, on high financial authority—that of the late Mr. James
Wilson—that after Waterloo, when the era of war ended, and the war
expenditure ceased, the people found that just when their mighty
customer, the Government, ceased to buy everything, and prices suddenly
sank, everybody was paying seven-and-sixpence in the pound of his
earnings to the State. The reaction was terrible; every man felt nearly
ruined, and for at least four years a spirit of economic dishonesty
spread among the people, till the ominous words, “the sponge,” began
to be uttered aloud. As it happened, the distress did not matter. An
enormous development of industry, the result of new inventions and
mechanical appliances, rapidly made England rich again; and, followed
as it was by a new system of communication, rebuilt the national
fortune; but the economic danger for a few years was terrible. Nothing
like that is likely to occur again; but still, a great war will touch
every household with its consequences before it is done. A shilling
income-tax will be felt even by the rich, and will directly deplete the
reservoir out of which those who provide the comforts of life are paid.
Duties on edible luxuries or necessaries will be felt by the poor in
proportion to their poverty, and this the more because they will come
on the back of the general “dearness,” especially of eatables, which is
the inevitable consequence of war. When the war stops, therefore, there
will be distress, great or little, in proportion to the expenditure;
but, great or little, equally inevitable, not to be kept-off by any
financial arrangement. It may be rendered short, of course, or even
innocuous, by other causes, such as a sudden discovery of a new and
cheaper motor which, by reducing the energy to be expended on producing
a result, positively adds to the national force, and, therefore, to
the national producing-power, or by the opening-up of new channels of
industry; but, apart from these, there is no avoiding the economic
consequence of war. War is waste; the nation pays for the waste by
taxation, and, therefore, every individual in the nation must, _pro
tanto_, suffer. The particular war may be right, or unavoidable, or
purely self-defensive, but one of its consequences must be this; and it
is never wise to conceal what inevitably must happen.—_Spectator._



Various references have been made of late to a mysterious sheikh who
from his lodgings in Paris is believed to hold the strings of the
Nationalist movement in Egypt and the religious revolt in the Soudan.
We have received the following account of this interesting personage
from a correspondent who called on him the other day in Paris:—

Sheikh Djamal-ud-dîn Al-Hûsseiny, for such is his full name and title,
was born in Cabul in the year 1837, of a noble and renowned family
in Afghanistan called the Seiyidists de Connoire (descendant of the
prophet Mahommed). He began the study of Arabic when eight years old,
and afterwards he devoted himself to the study of Mahommedan theology
and philosophy. When the Mutiny broke out in India he left Cabul and
went to that country, travelling through all parts of India, after
which he visited Mecca, returning to Afghanistan by Baghdâd and
Persia. Sheikh Djamal-ud-dîn joined Abd-ur-rahman Khan, the present
ruler of Afghanistan, when civil war broke out between them and Sher
Ali Khan. Abd-ur-rahman having been defeated by Sher Ali, Sheikh
Djamal-ud-dîn fled to Constantinople, and at this place he was courted
by the leading savants and learned men of that city, his literary
fame already having attained considerable renown throughout the East.
Soon after his arrival in Constantinople he was unanimously elected
a member of the Court of Public Instruction. While at Constantinople
his spirit blazed into fury at the spectacle of the bad and corrupt
administration of the Turks. He delivered lectures and wrote against it
in vehement terms, which resulted in his expulsion from Turkey in the
year 1871. He thereupon went to Egypt, where he had long been famous
for his remarkable knowledge of Arabic, Islamic law, and all branches
of philosophy. Hence many of the best men in Egypt and the Soudan
flocked around him, and he had several pupils whom he instructed in all
branches of Oriental learning. Amongst these pupils of his by far the
most notable was Mahammed Ahmad, the Mahdi. At Cairo he attacked Ismail
Pasha, denouncing him as the cause of the ruin of Egypt. In short he
was one of the principal instruments that caused Ismail’s downfall.
When the present Khedive came to the throne he likewise preached in
public assemblies against him as the agent of foreign intervention, and
consequently in 1880 he was exiled from Egypt. All his possessions,
such as his library and papers, were seized at Tewfik’s command by the
Egyptian Government. From Egypt he again visited India, remaining there
three years, and then two years ago he came over to Paris, in which
city he still resides.

His abode is a modest hotel near the Boulevards, where he has
apartments modestly furnished. In his habits Sheikh Djamal-ud-dîn is
very regular. Rising early in the morning, he enters his sitting room,
and peruses the newspapers, smoking his Turkish tobacco in an English
pipe. Close by him he generally keeps his Koran, and several Arabic,
Persian, Turkish books and pamphlets are scattered about his room, as
well as a number of the leading French and English newspapers. Here
we may mention that he published for a time an Arabic paper called
_Al-Urwat-ul-Wuthka, Le Lien Indissoluble_, which had an enormous
circulation in the East. Sheikh Djamal-ud-dîn has a majestic and
commanding presence (as may be seen from the accompanying portrait),
and a face of remarkable intelligence. He keeps his head uncovered
indoors, contrary to Oriental custom. It has already been mentioned
in the papers that Sheikh Djamal-ud-dîn has had and has a sort of
communication with the Mahdi. He describes him to be a very intelligent
person, well versed in Moslem theology and history. In stature he is
of moderate size, rather thin, but muscular and wiry. He grows a small
beard, and his color is bronze but by no means black, and he possesses
a sedate, pious look. In his early age the Mahdi was remarkable for
great religious principle, and was always very abstemious and kindly
disposed to the weak and poor. Before he acquired his present position
as Mahdi he believed that he felt some sort of inspiration, and
certainly now believes himself to be the Mahdi expected by all Islam,
nor, in his old master’s opinion, does he do this as a mere political

The following is a transcript of the notes of the interview between our
representative and the Sheikh:—

What does the word Mahdi convey to Mahommedans; in what position does
it place them, and what is the effect produced on them?—Mahommedans
believe, according to Islamic tradition, that at the end of time there
will appear a Mahdi, who will be recognized by certain indications,
and his mission is to exalt Islam throughout the world. Consequently
the Mahdi’s mission is one of great importance, and its effect on
Mahommedans is very great. He who studies the history of Islam will
find that many Moslem empires were formed through a Mahdi’s mission.

Is it possible for the present Mahdi to be successful in his enterprise
and to be followed by all or a large portion of the Mahommedans?—This
matter is but like all others of the sort, and considering the present
bad condition of the Moslems, should the Mahdi gain two or three more
successes, he would certainly be followed by nearly all the Mahommedans.

Do you think it possible to crush his influence?—Yes, if they do not
fight him in his own country, thus forcing him, so to speak, to fight
and defend it; and also if they leave the defence of other countries
to the Mahommedans themselves. The best method of crushing a religious
rising, to my mind, is to allow co-religionists to do it.

As the Sheikh is not merely the tutor of the Mahdi, but also a Cabulee
savant and old partisan of Abd-ur-rahman, the conversation turned on
the Afghan question.

What is your opinion of the Russian advance?—This is a matter of great
complication, requiring for its solution the greatest consideration,
for there is no doubt that on the one hand a war between two such
great Powers as England and Russia must, besides the enormous loss
of life, cause great losses to all the world, and cause great future
complications. Further, it would not end in a short time. On the
other hand, should Russia come to amicable terms at present with
England through the mediation of Germany, or by the means of friendly
relations between the present British Cabinet and that of Russia,
the result would be more disadvantageous to England, inasmuch as
the Russian policy and intentions respecting their advance in India
cannot be doubted or misunderstood by politicians. Therefore, should
an amicable arrangement and understanding be arrived at at present,
Russia will have more time and be better able to arrange her affairs
and complete her preparations. They could cause a railway to be made
from Exeus to the frontier of Afghanistan. Further, they would be
enabled to remove any ill-feeling that may exist between them and the
tribes of Turcomans, and try to gain the friendship of the tribes of
Djamshîdé and Hûzarah, who are situated near Herat, as well as the
Uzbaks, who dwell in Balkh, who are all different in race, particularly
the Hûzarah, who differ in religion, they being Shîhists. It would
not be difficult for Russia to gain these tribes, as they are not on
very friendly terms with the Afghans. After this Russia would try and
gain the Afghans to their side by promising them the Punjaub. Russian
promises would have greater effect than all the means England can bring
to bear, inasmuch as Russian character is more akin to the Oriental
than any other. Further, the Russians would by intrigue try to incite
Indian hostility towards English, promising them self-government should
Russia succeed.

All this, however, requires time, so that if Russia should hurry
herself into war at present she would be acting against her interests,
which would show the greatest ignorance; but I do not think she
would be so foolish seeing what she would risk in a war just now. In
short, unless Russia retreats back to the Caspian Sea leaving Turcoman
and Buckharah, there cannot be perfect safety for England in India.
Although the retreat of Russia so far is difficult, yet in the future
it would be more so. It is, however, possible, and this by weakening
her power in Europe; or by England uniting with the Afghans, Persia,
and Turkey, and forcing Russia to withdraw as above stated; and for
England to withdraw from the Soudan leaving it to Mahommedans to
arrange their internal affairs. Egypt can undoubtedly improve herself
and repair, slowly but surely, the damages done. This, however, I
fear the present Government will not do, inasmuch as they slight the
Mahommedans, and that Russia will supersede them in the matter and in
gaining Moslem sympathy, time will show and prove.—_Pall Mall Gazette._


 RUSSIA UNDER THE TZARS. By Stepniak. Rendered into English by William
 Westall. New York: _Charles Scribner’s Sons_.

This is the second contribution of the author to an understanding of
the social and political conditions which make the Russia of to-day
the reproach and horror of modern civilization; and it is a successful
attempt to throw light on the true relations of the revolutionary
movement known to us as Nihilism to those conditions. The first book
“Underground Russia,” was a comparatively slight work, treating the
salient facts of Russian bureauocracy from the standpoint of the
dramatic story-teller, and assuming that the world was fully acquainted
with the national causes which have led to the dreadful outcrop of
repeated assassination as the logical and necessary outcome. In the
present work Stepniak surveys the field from the point of view of the
philosophical historian and essayist, and reviews elaborately all
of the antecedent conditions and the present complexity of evils,
which have laid such cruel responsibilities on the would-be reformer.
Allowing for that margin of exaggeration and warmth of coloring which
are inseparable from the attitude of the enthusiast, it remains clear
that the author has framed an overwhelming indictment against the
Government of Russia, as a blot on modern civilization so black and
evil, as to justify the abhorrence of all who have a just regard for
the rights of man. Even the most austere moralist is tempted to admit,
in view of such facts, that there may arise conditions where “killing
is no murder.” Stepniak has written much in the English newspapers and
reviews on the real causes of Russian Nihilism, and the woful facts of
imperialism and bureauocracy, which have called forth such a drastic
and bloody remedy, if that can be called a remedy which is still vainly
struggling with the accumulated weight of centuries of governmental
crime. In the book under notice he sums up in a consecutive whole what
he had previously stated in fragments.

Beginning with the old Russia, which antedated the founding of the
present Romanoff dynasty, under which all the previous elements and
tendencies toward misgovernment have become crystallized, he states
some very remarkable facts in the political history of his native
land which are not known to the general reader. One of the sources
of discouragement to the observer of Russian affairs has been the
dread that there was nothing in the traditions and training of the
people to serve as a foundation for a more just and liberal form of
government and an establishment of social order, once revolution had
wrought its work in overthrowing the present imperialism. Stepniak
dissipates this notion very effectively, and throws a new light on the
elements entering into the problem. Previous to the time of Ruric, the
various principalities now making up Imperial Russia were governed on
a democratic principle even more complete than that which inspired
the republics of Italy in their brightest days. The people of each
literally determined their own laws and alliances by open council, in
which the utmost freedom of debate occurred and the meanest citizen
had a voice. True, princes were at the head of these governments, but
they were purely electoral, and were so completely at the mercy of
the people that they could be dislodged at any time. They were merely
military chiefs, with no voice in the making of the laws and with no
fixed time of holding position, merely servants of the people with
vastly less power and responsibility than are possessed by any one of
the higher officials who rule under a representative system. These
democracies, though turbulent, disorderly, and quarrelsome, served
effectively for several centuries as the medium for the promotion of a
high degree of prosperity; and several of them, notably that of great
Novgorod, became leading commercial marts of Europe. The tradition is
still faintly preserved in the grand annual fair, to which traders
flock from all quarters of the East. Internal wars and the tremendous
pressure of the Tartar hordes which afterward overran Russia in large
part, tended to consolidate these democracies under one ruler. It would
be beyond our purpose to trace even in outline the steps by which the
haughty autocracy of Tzardom was finally fastened on the country, but
it is a singular fact that in the _mir_, or system of village communes,
which exists side by side with imperialism in Russia, we have to-day a
survival in an humble form of the old Sclav democracies. Stepniak finds
in this a hopeful basis for building up free and successful government,
when revolution shall have thrown off the incubus of the Romanoffs and
the bureaucratic system, of which this dynasty is both the creator and
the slave.

The picture which the author gives of life in Russia could hardly be
painted in darker colors. No man’s house is safe from domiciliary
visits, and the least word of indignation or protest is likely to cause
one to be thrown into a prison to rot, or to be exiled for life to
the mines of Siberia. Even if found guiltless in court he may be sent
into exile by the order of the chief of police. This dread official
seems to have almost absolute power. Even a man against whom no charge
has been made may be banished to a distant province and compelled to
live under police supervision. Any anonymous denunciation is considered
sufficient for the police tribunals to act on, and the accused has
not even the privilege of confronting his accuser. The action of this
terrible and implacable power has paralyzed all healthy intellectual
life in Russia, and men who dare to think, either quit Russia, as did
Turguenieff, or enroll themselves in the ranks of the revolutionists
to plot and work in secrecy like moles, biding their time for open and
resolute action. The culmination of the crime of imperialism against
the life of the empire is found in its dealing with education in all
its branches, from the universities down to the most primitive schools.
Under the management of Count Tolstoi—the most base and unscrupulous
of the imperial advisers—the universities are watched and governed by
_manchards_, who now usurp the place of once learned professors, and
discipline is enforced by the prick of the bayonet and the crack of
the Cossack whip. Every student is watched as closely as the condemned
wretch on the eve of execution, and no social intercourse is allowed.
History, science, and literature are sedulously discouraged as studies,
because they are “dangerous” guides, and the dead bones of Latin and
Greek taught in the most pedagogic fashion are regarded as the only
proper food. Even primary schools are watched by spies and soldiers,
and babies are made to feel the weight of the police lash. Everywhere
is found the iron, inflexible hand of official power, and bureauocracy
crushes out the life of the land. The press, both in the provinces
and in the great centres, has been completely extinguished, and only
those papers which slavishly reflect the opinions of the Government are
allowed to exist. Reviews and magazines are placed under an equally
rigorous _surveillance_, and Count Tolstoi’s _Index Purgatorius_ puts
a ban on the printing or sale of every book calculated to stimulate
thought or arouse ambition. All that is worthy in science, art, and
literature is tabooed, and prurient French novels are nearly the only
foreign books permitted an unrestricted circulation. The Greek Church
is thoroughly allied with the Government, and a tool more useful
in a country where the majority of the ecclesiastics are knaves and
parasites, and the majority of the people, ignorant and superstitious,
can hardly be imagined. It is in the hands of this power that all the
primary schools have been transformed under the present _régime_, and
the results can easily be imagined.

While officialdom thus crushes the life out of the nation, it is
honeycombed through and through with corruption and dishonesty.
Bribery, theft, mendacity, and malversation of office rot every
branch of the public service, and the imperial treasury is robbed
as unscrupulously as the people are trodden under foot. Gigantic
peculations are continually being discovered, and yet are permitted to
go unpunished. Stepniak asserts that if Russia were plunged into a war
to-day, she would find herself in a condition similar to that which
made French armies so utterly unable to cope with the forces of Germany
in the last conflict. The examples of public spoliation carried on by
officials high in the confidence of the Emperor, cited by our author,
are such as have hardly a parallel in Europe. It has come to be a
by-word in Russia that the ordinary vulgar criminal, however flagrant
his offence, is leniently dealt with. It is only against the political
offender that the severe terrors of the law are invoked.

It would be difficult to find, at least in recent history, any
record which matches the plain recital of the wrongs and villainies
perpetrated under Russian imperialism. It is against this system that
Nihilism is struggling, impotently in appearance, but always earnestly,
persistently, intelligently. However the mind may revolt from certain
phases of Nihilism and condemn some of its methods, it is impossible
that, on the whole, intelligent minds should not sympathize with it and
regard its success as the only hope of national salvation. Stepniak
intimates that the time of terrorism, the era of assassination has
passed. The propaganda of liberty has been pushed with great success
in the ranks of the army, and at least a quarter of the commissioned
officers below the rank of colonel, including many of the bravest and
most skilful men in the service, are affiliated to Nihilism. Russia
cannot remain for many years in her present condition. The mills of
the gods, though grinding slowly, are grinding exceedingly fine. If
the statements made by our author are true, the power to make an open
and armed revolt effective is being forged and tempered rapidly. We
believe that at least nine-tenths of men of AngloSaxon race will give
that revolt a God-speed when the time does come. Stepniak’s book,
which is singularly free from harsh invective and sounding adjectives,
is terrible by the weight of its simple, direct, and, we believe
on the whole, accurate statements. It certainly throws a light on
Russian affairs such as the reader can obtain, probably, from no other
contemporary work.

 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. By Hippolyte Adolph Taine, D.C.L. Oxon, Author
 of “A History of English Literature,” “Notes on England,” etc.
 Translated by John Durand. In three volumes. Vol. III. New York:
 _Henry Holt & Company_.

This is the concluding volume of Taine’s history of the French
Revolution, and in vividness of presentation, charm of style, and
clearness of statement it surpasses even its predecessors. The views
of M. Taine in regard to the causes of the French Revolution, and his
characterizations of the men who rose to the top during its fierce and
bloody progress, have been severely criticised. Nearly every historian
of the period is borne along by a strong partisan bias. It seems
impossible for the writer to enter on this troubled and tempestuous
period to keep himself aloof from the agitations which swell the
events and motives he depicts. So all historians of the period are
at odds with each other. M. Taine is more severe and sweeping in his
condemnation of the men that guided the revolution than most of his
rivals. Perhaps no better explanation of the view and attitude of
the author can be given than that found in his eloquent and striking
preface, which we give entire:

“‘In Egypt,’ says Clement of Alexandria, ‘the sanctuaries of the
temples are shaded by curtains of golden tissue. But on going farther
into the interior in quest of the statue, a priest of grave aspect,
advancing to meet you and chanting a hymn in the Egyptian tongue,
slightly raises a veil to show you the god. And what do you behold? A
crocodile, or some indigenous serpent, or other dangerous animal, the
Egyptian god being a brute rolling about on a purple carpet.’

“We need not visit Egypt or go so far back in history to encounter
crocodile worship, as this can be readily found in France at the end
of the last century. Unfortunately, a hundred years is too long an
interval, too far away, for an imaginative retrospect of the past.
At the present time, standing where we do and regarding the horizon
behind us, we see only forms which the intervening atmosphere
embellishes, shimmering contours which each spectator may interpret
in his own fashion; no distinct, animated figure, but merely a mass
of moving points, forming and dissolving in the midst of picturesque
architecture. I was anxious to have a nearer view of these vague
points, and, accordingly, transported myself back to the last half of
the eighteenth century, where I have been living with them for twelve
years, and, like Clement of Alexandria, examining, first, the temple,
and next the god. A passing glance at these is not sufficient; a step
further must be taken to comprehend the theology on which this cult is
founded. This one, explained by a very specious theology, like most
others, is composed of dogmas called the principles of 1789; they were
proclaimed, indeed, at that date, having been previously formulated by
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the well-known sovereignty of the people, the
rights of man, and the social contract. Once adopted, their practical
results unfolded themselves naturally; in three years the crocodile
brought by these dogmas into the sanctuary installed himself there on
the purple carpet behind the golden veil; in effect, he was intended
for the place on account of the energy of his jaws and the capacity of
his stomach; he became a god through his qualities as a destructive
brute and man-eater. Comprehending this, the rites which consecrate
him and the pomp which surrounds him need not give us any further
concern. We can observe him, like any ordinary animal, and study his
various attitudes, as he lies in wait for his prey, springs upon it,
tears it to pieces, swallows it, and digests it. I have studied the
details of his structure, the play of his organs, his habits, his mode
of living, his instincts, his faculties, and his appetites. Specimens
abounded. I have handled thousands of them, and have dissected hundreds
of every species and variety, always preserving the most valuable and
characteristic examples, but for lack of room I have been compelled to
let many of them go because my collection was too large. Those that I
was able to bring back with me will be found here, and, among others,
about twenty individuals of different dimensions, which—a difficult
undertaking—I have kept alive with great pains. At all events, they are
intact and perfect, and particularly the three largest. These seem to
me, of their kind, truly remarkable, and those in which the divinity
of the day might well incarnate himself. The bills of butchers, as
well as housekeeping accounts, authentic and regularly kept, throw
sufficient light on the cost of this cult. We can estimate about how
much the sacred crocodiles consumed in ten years; we know their bills
of fare daily, their favorite morsels. Naturally, the god selected the
fattest victims, but his voracity was so great that he likewise bolted
down, and blindly, the lean ones, and in much greater number than the
fattest. Moreover, by virtue of his instincts, and an unfailing effect
of the situation, he ate his equals once or twice a year, except when
they succeeded in eating him. This cult certainly is instructive, at
least to historians and men of pure science. If any believers in it
still remain I do not aim to convert them; one cannot argue with a
devotee on matters of faith. This volume, accordingly, like the others
that have gone before it, is written solely for amateurs of moral
zoology, for naturalists of the understanding, for seekers of truth,
of texts, and of proofs—for these alone and not for the public, whose
mind is made up and which has its own opinion on the Revolution. This
opinion began to be formed between 1825 and 1830, after the retirement
or withdrawal of eye-witnesses. When they disappeared it was easy to
convince a credulous public that crocodiles were philanthropists; that
many possessed genius; that they scarcely ate others than the guilty,
and that if they sometimes ate too many it was unconsciously and in
spite of themselves, or through devotion and self-sacrifice for the
common good.”

The volume is divided into the following sections: “Establishment
of the Revolutionary Government;” “The Jacobin Programme;” “The
Governors;” “The Governed;” “The End of the Revolutionary Government.”
The author gives a luminous picture of the facts and conditions which
preceded the Reign of Terror. In reading these brilliant pages we
are carried along so swiftly that it is hard to realize at first the
enormous research and weighing of authorities, which we soon recognize
by glancing at the foot-notes. The various elements entering into the
situation were complex, but they are unravelled with great dexterity
and presented with no less clearness. When we come to those pages
which deal with the Reign of Terror proper, M. Taine rises to his most
graphic and picturesque power. His description and characterization of
Danton, Marat, Robespierre, Hebert, St. Just, and the other bloodhounds
that led the pack, are masterpieces. Carlyle, whose account of the
French Revolution is a lurid and magnificent prose poem, does not
give a more powerful and vivid realistic picture, while the present
author without doubt has by far the advantage in the accuracy of his
statements, the reliability of his facts, the judicial weight of his
opinions. It may be unquestioningly stated that among recent historical
books there is none worthy to be ranked in interest and importance with
this study of one of the most remarkable periods in the world’s history
by M. Taine.

 LOUIS PASTEUR: HIS LIFE AND LABORS. By his Son-in-law. Translated from
 the French by John Durand. New York: _D. Appleton & Co._

The career of M. Pasteur is one of those which rank among the greatest
in the value of the results which he has obtained. Starting as a great
chemist, he went on, step by step, making great discoveries in the
line of his work, till he finally proved absolutely the germ theory of
disease, which, prior to his investigations and experiments, had been
merely an hypothesis. The great crowning work of his life, however, has
been the establishment of the fact that vaccination, as discovered by
Jenner is not an isolated truth, but one of a class of similar truths,
which could be utilized to the incalculable blessing of the world; in
other words, that it is possible in the case of a great many diseases
to make the system proof against contagion by inoculation with an
attenuated virus of the same nature. He has been splendidly successful
in the cases of splenic fever and of hydrophobia, and all the analogies
indicate that this is only the beginning of a much wider extension of
the same principle. Pasteur’s conclusions are now accepted by the whole
scientific, and a host of ardent and ingenious disciples are working
along the same line of experiment and investigation. The beneficent
results are likely to be of such a character as to revolutionize
the whole treatment of disease. Before Pasteur had reached the
culmination of his great career, he had saved millions of francs per
annum to France by his discovery of the means to cure diseases in
vines, and the method of saving silk-worms from the parasitic ailment
which threatened the whole silk culture of France. But in absolutely
demonstrating, starting from the germ theory of disease as a basis,
that disease could be guarded against, at least in certain cases, by
inoculation with attenuated virus, he has opened the way probably
for results the greatness of which we do not yet appreciate. Like
Dr. Robert Koch, of Berlin, he has been experimenting with cholera,
but, unlike Dr. Koch, he denies that the cholera germ, or _bacillus_,
has yet been found. Investigators are, however, on the road to the
truth, and we confidently anticipate that the goal will be reached not
only in cholera, but many other diseases. If so Pasteur’s name will
shine _primus inter pares_ among those who most contributed to such a
beneficent revolution in the methods, of grappling with the most fatal
forms of disease and death. The story of Pasteur’s life, of his methods
of work, of his progress from discovery to discovery, is told by his
admiring disciple and son-in-law in a very fresh and attractive style,
unencumbered by technical terms and with a peculiarly French vivacity
and grace of touch. There is a very interesting summary of the results
of Pasteur’s work written by no less an authority than Professor John
Tyndall, who does ample justice to the genius and ability of his great
French contemporary. Pasteur is now only sixty-two years of age, and as
his health has lately been re-established, the world may expect still
more important discoveries than any which he has yet made.

 the Use of Schools and of Young Persons, etc., but more especially
 for the Use of Soldiers, Sailors, Apprentices, and of Ploughboys. By
 William Cobbett. With Notes by Robert Waters. New York: _A. S. Barnes
 & Co._

Next to Lindley Murray (and he is rather a name, _clarum et venerabile
nomen_, than an authority) no work in the English language on grammar
is more famous than this of Cobbett. The book is written with great
charm of style, and is cast in the form of familiar letters, being
addressed to his son. It is the only grammar in the world, probably,
which can be read with pleasure by a casual person picking it up
for an hour’s recreation. Its methods and principles of teaching
have been widely commended by the most experienced grammarians and
instructors. The book is so well known as not to need any special
words from us in praise or criticism. We find an amusing sentence on
the title-page which is not without significance. After the general
statement of the title of the book we find these, “to which are added
six lessons intended to prevent statesmen from using false grammar and
from writing in an awkward manner.” There is no doubt that some such
special department is needed, but it is dubious whether the aforesaid
statesmen could be made to realize the fact. The notes which are added
by the editor, Mr. Waters, are suggestive and useful, and written in
an easy and engaging style, modelled somewhat after that of Cobbett

 AT THE SIGN OF THE LYRE. By Austin Dobson. New York: _Henry Holt & Co._

This collection of _vers de société_ by Austin Dobson will be
pleasantly received by the poets many admire. The kind of verse in
which he has made his reputation is not the highest, but it has been
carried to great perfection in recent years; and among the group of
verse-makers no one has plucked more brilliant laurels than Austin
Dobson. He has the true touch of his craft, and no one can unite
sparkle and grace more deftly with that flavor of satire and substance
of good sense, which, after all, are essential to the best _vers de
société_. There are a few poems of a more serious character, which are
also excellent in their way.

 York: _Funk & Wagnalls_.

The author of this work is extensively known as one of the most
sprightly and spirited writers and authors we have among us. He
grapples here with one of the difficult and vital problems of the
times. He is, however, at home with his theme. He says: “The greater
part of my life has been spent among working people, in working with
them, or in working for them.” Sure of his “audience,” he uses plain
and forcible words, both to employers and employés. The questions
discussed by him so sensibly and practically, are among the most
important and pressing involved in what is called “The Labor Question,”
The book ought to have a wide circulation. It cannot fail to do good.


A FRENCH party in Mauritius have started a new journal, called
_Madagascar_. The name indicates its object—it is to promote the
annexation to France of the great African island.

       *       *       *       *       *

A CURIOUS discovery has recently been made in the records of the
Calcutta High Court which may serve to throw additional light on the
history of the time of Clive. Some of the papers relating to the trial
of Nandkumar have been unearthed, and among them is the judgment, with
a long note appended in some old system of stenography, giving what
purport to be the true reasons for the lightness of the punishment
inflicted. A lithographic copy of the note is to be sent to England for

       *       *       *       *       *

MR. SWINBURNE’S new tragedy, “Marino Faliero,” is dedicated to Aurelio
Saffi, the Italian patriot. This will indicate that the striking
chapter of Venetian history upon which the drama is based has been
treated in some measure politically. The chronicle, however, has been
faithfully followed as to incidents.

       *       *       *       *       *

MR. J. A. SYMONDS is engaged upon the sequel to his _Renaissance in
Italy_. This book will deal with the period between 1530 and 1600. Mr.
Symonds proposes to treat of the changes effected in Italian politics,
society, and culture by the Spanish ascendancy and the Catholic
revival. He will probably call the book _Italy and the Council of

       *       *       *       *       *

HERR W. FRIEDRICH, of Leipzig, will publish shortly a history of
Russian literature, by Alexander von Reinhold, forming vol. vii. of the
series, “Geschichte der Weltlitteraturen im Einzeldarstellungen.” The
prospectus, issued by the publishers, claims that the book will far
surpass in completeness and accuracy all previous works on this subject.

       *       *       *       *       *

A DROLL incident occurred recently at Scotland Yard, London. Mr.
Charles Gibbon, the novelist, has a friend there who is an inspector
of the detective department, and to whom he is indebted for valuable
instruction in the details of criminal procedure. In recognition
of this service he forwarded to his friend a copy of the book just
published entitled “A Hard Knot,” one of the principal characters
in which is a detective. The parcel was done up in brown paper and
delivered late in the evening by the Parcels Delivery Company, This was
the information forwarded to Mr. Gibbon on the following day:

“Inspector —— was on duty here last night, and it is usual for the
officer to turn in about 11.30 P.M. But having received the parcel, he
informed me this morning that he was unable to sleep—wondering if it
contained _dynamite_ and every minute was to be his last. After turning
over and over in bed, he at length got up and examined his bugbear
carefully. Then, seeing your name on it, he felt satisfied, went to
bed, and slept.”

       *       *       *       *       *

PROFESSOR BLACKIE is not the only eccentric master the young men of
Edinburgh University have had over them. Professor Christison—whose
son became eminent in the Edinburgh Medical School—once having caught
a student winking in his Latin class ordered him to stand up, and
spoke as follows: “No smirking, no smiling, and above all, no tipping
of the wink; for such things are hurtful to yourselves, baneful to
the republic, and will bring down the gray hairs of your parents with
sorrow to the grave. Hum! by the way, that’s a very pretty sentence;
turn it into Latin, sir.”

       *       *       *       *       *

_The World_ of London has conspicuously suggested Mr. Lowell for the
Merton Professorship of English Language and Literature at Oxford.

       *       *       *       *       *

A FINE monument has been erected at Ormiston, East Lothian, to the
memory of Dr. Robert Moffat, the famous missionary to Africa.

       *       *       *       *       *

SOME interesting autographs were recently sold at auction in London.
The original autograph copy of Lord Byron’s “Fare thee well! and if
forever,” fetched $85; the originals of Burns’s “Tam O’Shanter” and
“Lament of Mary, Queen of Scots” together fetched $760; one of Lord
Chesterfield’s letters to his son, $15; thirteen letters of Dean Swift,
from $38 to $85 each, and one of Charles Lamb, from Paris, $65.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE commission intrusted with the publication of the correspondence
of Peter the Great has collected up to now 8,000 letters and other
documents, among which are the copy-books used by the emperor when a
child, and one letter written to his mother in 1688 from Pereyslavl,
giving her an account of the work of rigging the ships then in course
of construction on the lake of that name. It is stated that these
documents will be printed with as little delay as possible.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE remainder of the famous Salamanca collections are now being
dispersed at Madrid. The library was formed mainly by Señor Gayangos,
and was rich in works of chivalry and early editions of “Don Quixote.”
Most of the rarest books had already found a resting-place on the
shelves of Señor Cánovas del Castillo and other collectors. The portion
now sold, for which a bookseller gave 700_l._, comprised general works
with a sprinkling of rarities. One of these, a work but little known by
Boccaccio, entitled “Caida de Príncipes,” translated into Spanish in
the sixteenth century, led to a lively competition; a reprint of this
work is promised shortly. When the last of these volumes shall have
been sold, nothing will remain of the treasures acquired at great cost
by that prince of financiers the late Marquis of Salamanca.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE Marquis of Lorne’s volume on “Imperial Federation,” is announced
for immediate publication in England.

       *       *       *       *       *

“OTHMAR” is the title of Ouida’s forthcoming story. The scene is laid
in Russia and the novel is said to be full of dramatic incident.

       *       *       *       *       *

A LITTLE girl—the granddaughter of the Rev. Cazneau Palfrey—said to
her mother the other day: “Mamma, I feel so strangely when I read
Hawthorne, it seems as if I was reading through a veil.” Of course this
was a Boston babe.

       *       *       *       *       *

PRINCE WILLIAM, eldest son of the Crown Prince of Germany, is about to
publish a book on “The Wars of Cæsar in the Light of Modern Strategy.”

       *       *       *       *       *

THE immediate publication of the MS. diary of Shakespeare’s cousin, the
Town Clerk of Stratford-on-Avon, is announced. The volume will consist
of autotypes of the folio pages of the MS., a transcript by experts of
the British Museum, an introduction by Dr. Ingleby, and an appendix
of documents illustrative of the diary, and some of them never before
printed. The diary extends from 1613 to 1616—the years of Shakespeare’s
residence at Stratford previous to his death on the 5th of May (April
23 O. S.) of the latter year. From beginning to end it is a record of
the attempts made to enclose, and of the resistance offered to the
enclosure, of the common fields of Stratford, in which Shakespeare was
interested, not only as a freeholder, but also as the owner of a moiety
of the tithes.

       *       *       *       *       *

AMONG the brilliant young Englishwomen, who are making a name in
contemporary literature, is Miss Violet Paget, the Vernon Lee whose
“Miss Brown” has caused some scandal among the London pre-Raphaelites.
She lives on the _terreno_ of No. 5 Via Garibaldi, Florence, and is
not quite twenty-four years of age. She is a brilliant talker, and
if sometimes sophistical, is never without a clever reason for her
sometimes extreme and startling opinions. Her reading is astounding
in its extent and variety; her memory more remarkable still. Some of
the most striking essays, which have appeared in the English magazines
and reviews during the last five years, on Italian art, history, and
literature have been from her pen. Her time is greatly taken up with
the care of her half-brother, Eugene Hamilton, the poet. The fate of
this brilliant young man is a very sad one. He was in the Government
service during the Siege of Paris and at the Geneva Alabama Claims
Conference and was so overworked that he brought on a disease of the
spine which has buried him in what Heine calls a “mattress grave.” Miss
Paget’s mornings are devoted to riding with her brother, and whatever
time she has for individual work is in the night or between the return
from this drive and four in the afternoon, when her brother’s callers
begin to arrive. Miss Paget is a great admirer of Henry James, is
an omnivorous reader, an illogical but often wonderfully intuitive
exponent of mediævalism, and a deadly enemy of the æsthetic movement.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE Royal Spanish Academy has published in the _Madrid Gazette_ the
conditions of a literary competition of considerable interest, to
those at least conversant with Spanish literature. The temptation, in
the shape of profit as well as of honor, should develop latent talent
if it exists. The Academy proposes to give the successful author a
gold medal, about 120_l._ in money, and 500 copies of the book. The
first competition is for the best biographical and critical study upon
Tirso de Molina; the second for a _romancero_ upon the lines of the
“Romancero del Cid,” the subject being Don Jaime el Conquistador, the
volume to contain not fewer than twenty nor more than fifty romances.
The manuscripts of the _romancero_ must be furnished not later than
March, 1886, and the Tirso, March, 1887.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE translation of the “Mahâbhârata” published at Calcutta by Protap
Chandra Roy, and distributed gratuitously, is not only progressing
regularly, but begins to excite more and more interest among the people
of India. Several Indian princes have contributed largely toward the
funds necessary for carrying on this enormous work, more particularly
the Maharajah of Cashmere, the Nawab Khayeh Abdul Gani Bahadoor, the
generous Maharanee Swarnamayee, the Guikwar of Baroda, the Maharajah of
Travancore, etc. More funds, however, were wanted, and it is pleasant
to hear that Babu Govinda Lal Roy, a rich zemindar of Rungpore, has
on the occasion of his daughter’s marriage undertaken to bear all the
expenses of the English translation of one of the largest books of the
“Mahâbhârata,” the “Vana Parva,” or Forest Book.

       *       *       *       *       *

A WORK so rare that its existence might have been doubted has lately
found its way from Persia to the British Museum. The historian
Hamdullah Mustaufi says, in his preface to the “Guzidah,” that he was
engaged upon the composition of a rhymed chronicle of the Muslim
world, which would consist when completed of no less than 75,000
verses. That voluminous work, which, for all we knew, had never been
seen or heard of since, has been found. To Mr. Sidney Churchill, of
Teheran, belongs the credit of having discovered it in private hands
at Shiraz, and secured it, not without a long and severe struggle with
the owner, for the national library. It is entitled “Zafar Namah,”
and forms a bulky and closely written quarto, richly ornamented with
frontispiece and gilt headings, and dated Shiraz, 807, _i.e._, 1405
of our era. It contains the author’s _nom de guerre_, Mustaufi, and
comprises, according to the epilogue, the precise number of verses
announced beforehand, viz., 75,000. Of these the first 25,000 are
devoted to the Arabs, _i.e._, to Mohammed and his successors down to
the fall of the Califate of Bagdad; the next 20,000 to the Persians,
or to the dynasties of Iran from the Saffaris to the Karakhitais of
Kerman; and the last 30,000 to the Moghols. This last section, the
largest and most valuable, beginning with the origin of the house of
Genghizkhan, treats very fully of the foundation of the Moghol empire
of Hulagu, and of his successors in Persia down to Abu Sa’id Bahadur
Khan, the last of the dynasty, under whom the author lived. The history
is brought down to the time of composition, A.H. 735, A.D. 1334, just
one year before Abu Sa’id’s death.


THE MIGRATIONS OF BIRDS.—Among all the migrants the swallow has,
perhaps, attracted most attention in all ages and countries. It arrives
in Sussex villages with remarkable punctuality; none of the migrants
perform their journeys more rapidly than the swallows and their
congeners. A swift with young ones, or during migration, covers from
1500 to 2000 miles a day. It begins business feeding its young about
three o’clock A.M., and continues it till nine P.M. At that season,
therefore, the swift spends nearly eighteen hours upon the wing, and
it has been computed that at the ordinary rate of travelling of this
very fast bird it would circumnavigate the globe in about fourteen
days. At a push, if it were making forced flights, the swift would
probably keep on the wing, with very brief intervals of rest, during
fourteen days. The speed of the whole tribe is marvellous, and seems
the more so when compared with that of the swiftest of animals that
depend for their progressive powers on legs, however many legs they
may be furnished with. The hare is swift, yet in Turner’s well-known
picture of rain, steam, and speed the hare’s fate is sealed; she will
be run over and crushed by the engine rushing in her wake. The swiftest
animals would soon break down at forty miles an hour, which the swallow
unconsciously accomplishes, merrily twittering all the while. All the
swallow tribe are found in every part of Great Britain, including
Shetland, except the swift, which is not found in those islands. Dr.
Saxby, author of “Birds of Shetland,” says that one day a poor fellow,
a cripple, who happened at the time to be exceedingly ill off and
in want of food, came to him with a swallow in his hand. The doctor
ordered the man some dinner. It seems he had opened his door, restless
and half famished, when in flew the swallow and brought him, so to
speak, a dinner. “After this,” said the poor fellow, “folk need na tell
me that the Lord does na answer prayer.” The swallow can hardly be
inelegant. When it walks, however, it does so with particularly short
steps, assisted by the wings, and in accomplishing any journey longer
than a few inches it spreads its wings and takes flight. It twitters
both on the wing and on the nest, and a more incessant, cheerful,
amiable, happy little song no other musician has ever executed. Much
has been said of that “inexplicable longing” and “incomprehensible
presentiment of coming events” which occasion birds to migrate from
certain districts before the food supplies begin to fail. Quails,
woodcocks, snipes, and many other birds, it is said, are in the finest
condition at the time of commencing their migration, while none of
them are emaciated at that season, so that the pinch of hunger, it is
argued, cannot have yet affected them. But it should be remembered
that fat as well as lean birds may feel that pinch, and that birds are
very fast-living creatures, full of life, movement, and alertness,
quick to observe, to feel, and to act. In the rapid digestion of their
food they are assisted by a special organ which grinds down such items
as grain, gravel, nails, or needles, swallowed in mistake or from
caprice or curiosity, with astonishing facility. They prefer feeding
nearly all day, and when fully crammed they sometimes become as plump
as ortolans, or as well-fed quails, whose skin bursts when they fall
to the gun. But when the appetite is urgent, obesity does not by any
means preclude hunger. Twelve hours’ fast and snow and a change of
wind are very urgent facts in the lives of these quick creatures in the
autumn of the year, and then begins that sudden migration which the
lighthouse-keepers have observed. It is impossible to imagine creatures
more practical and full of action and freer from “presentiments” than
birds, engaged as they are from day to day snatching their food at
Nature’s board. Perhaps we may compare them to the guests of Macbeth,
since all goes well so long as the ghost abstains from making his
appearance; but very suddenly sometimes, in the case of the northern
birds, the spectre of hunger puts them to flight. Fat or lean, they
must go on the instant, and that is why they arrive pell-mell upon our
coast; but, as the country to be cleared of its birds of summer is
extensive, and the distances of the journeys various, they naturally
arrive at intervals. The migrations of birds are world-wide. The birds
of North America make corresponding movements to those of Northern
Europe, travelling in a north-easterly and south-westerly direction
and at the same seasons. The countries of the Gulf of Mexico form the
chief retreat of the North American migrants, especially Mexico itself,
with its three zones and great variety of climate. But some of them
go as far as the West Indies and New Granada. A great number winter
in the Southern States. Their method of migration is the same as that
which has been described elsewhere. They follow the routes marked out
by nature. The kinds of birds are in many cases the same, or they
are at least American representatives of the same families that form
the migrants of the Old World. They travel southwards in the autumn
and return again in spring. The migrants of the southern hemisphere
are constrained by their situation to reverse the direction of their
periodic movements, flying northwards to escape the rigor of winter
and returning south in spring. From March to September some of the
most inhospitable regions of the south are quite deserted; even the
wingless penguins quit their native shores of Tierra del Fuego and the
Falkland Islands after the breeding season and swim to milder regions,
while many of the birds which have bred in Patagonia and Southern Chili
depart on the approach of winter. The same rules, according to Gould,
govern the movements of birds in Australia, where several species
migrate in summer to the southern portion of the Continent and to
Tasmania to breed.—_Edinburgh Review._

       *       *       *       *       *

ORIENTAL FLOWER LORE.—During a residence of some years in the East,
I have had abundant opportunities of studying the folk lore of the
people inhabiting the vast empire of China, the Malay Peninsula,
and the adjoining lands, and I have found their lore to be of the
profoundest interest and importance. The facts which I shall now submit
to the reader have not been culled at second-hand from the writings of
travellers or stay-at-home translators, but were gleaned from the lips
and homes of the people themselves, or during my personal residence in
the East, where I had every opportunity of verifying the results of my
investigations. As being the most familiar to Europeans, we will begin
with the use of the Orange, a plant which, by reason of its bearing
fruits and flowers at the same time, and during the greater part of
the year, has been taken as the symbol of fertility andprosperity. In
China the word for a “generation” is _tai_; in Japan the same word
means both “generation” and “orange.” Now see the way in which the
language of flowers and fruits speaks out in the East. When the new
year arrives the Japanese adorn their houses with branches of orange,
plum, bamboo, and pine, each of which being placed over the entrance,
has a symbolic meaning. The orange, called _dai-dai_, represents the
idea of perpetuity, or the wish that there may be _dai-dai_—“generation
on generation”—to keep up the family name. The bamboo signifies
constancy, as it is a wood which never changes its color; the pine-tree
symbolises perpetual joy; while the plum-tree, blossoming in cold
weather, encourages man to rejoice in time of trouble, and hope for
better days. In China there are many kinds of oranges, one of which is
known in Canton as _kat_. Hundreds of years before Christ this name was
in use in China, as we know from its mention in the classic writings
of that land. In Fuchan this word takes the form of _kek_, and in
other parts of the empire it will be pronounced somewhat differently
still, but whether it be _kat_, or _kek_, or _kih_, the syllable has
a lucky meaning. Consequently, when the New Year arrives, the people
procure large quantities of these oranges, in order that they may be
able to express to their friends who call to see them their wish that
good luck may attend them during the coming year. This they do by
handing them an orange, and the lads who at this season pay a number
of visits to their relatives and friends come off well, as it would be
considered both mean and improper to send away a guest without such
a token of good-will. There is in bloom at this important season a
sweet little Daffodil (_Narcissus Tazetta_), which is a great favorite
with the people, and sells by thousands in Canton and other large
cities. It bears the name of _Shui sin fá_, or “water fairy-flower,”
and is cultivated in pots and stands of ornamental design filled with
pebbles and water. A list of fairy flowers, or such as are by name and
tradition in China associated with these “spirites of small folks.” The
tree pæony, or montan, and the chrysanthemum, the chimonanthess, and
other winter flowering plants, are also much sought after at this time,
and each has its meaning. The costliness of the former has led to its
being designated by the Cantonese as “the rich man’s flower,” while the
chrysanthemum is such a favorite in Japan as to give its name to one
of their great festivals. I must not here omit to mention the Citron,
famous for the curious fruit it bears. This fruit, the peel of which
is employed among ourselves in a candied form for flavoring certain
confectioneries at Christmas, grows in a very strange fashion. Though
it belongs to the orange and lemon family, yet one variety has fruits
of monstrous shapes, very nearly resembling in form the hand of Buddah,
with two of the fingers bent in a novel manner, as represented in the
paintings and figures of that divinity. On this account the fruits bear
the name of _Fu-shan_, or “Buddah’s hand.” This peculiarity, arising
from the carpels or divisions of the fruit being more or less separated
from each other and covered with a common rind, has led to the custom
of placing it in porcelain and other costly dishes before the household
gods, or on the altars in the temples at this particular season. It
should be noted that while some fruits are specially agreeable to the
gods, others are regarded as altogether unfit for their use. Sometimes
the fruit is tabooed because of its smell, while its color, time
and place of growth, shape and use, all have weight in coming to a
decision. In Penang, some years ago, I had the opportunity of attending
an important festival at the little shrine near the famous waterfall,
at the time of the new year, and I then observed that bananas and
cocoa-nuts were the most acceptable offerings, and as the devotees
came and presented them at the temple, the priest would cleave the
nut in two and divide the bunch of plantains, returning half to the
worshipper, and retaining half as the temple perquisite.—_Time._

       *       *       *       *       *

WHAT’S IN A NAME?—When we are told that “a rose by any other name would
smell as sweet,” the fact appears to be self-evident. Yet there was
a time when there was something in a name. We have abundant evidence
from the history of the ancients, and from observations of savage
tribes, to show that they believed in some inseparable and mysterious
connection between a name and the object bearing it, which has given
rise to a remarkable series of superstitions, some of which have left
traces even amongst ourselves. The Jews believed that the name of a
child would have a great influence in shaping its career; and we have a
remarkable instance of this sort of superstition in quite a different
quarter of the world. Catlin, the historian of the Canadian Indians,
tells us that when he was among the Mohawks, an old chief, by way of
paying him a great compliment, insisted on conferring upon him his
own name, _Cayendorongue_. “He had been,” Catlin explains, “a noted
warrior; and told me that now I had a right to assume to myself all the
acts of valor he had performed, and that now my name would echo from
hill to hill over all the Five Nations.” A well-known writer points out
that the Indians of British Columbia have a strange prejudice against
telling their own names, and his observation is confirmed by travellers
all over the world. In many tribes, if the indiscreet question is asked
them, they will nudge their neighbor and get him to answer for them.
The mention of a name by the unwary has sometimes been followed by
unpleasant results. We are told, for instance, by Mr. Blackhouse, of a
native lady of Van Diemen’s Land who stoned an English gentleman for
having, in his ignorance of Tasmanian etiquette, casually mentioned the
name of one of her sons. Nothing will induce a Hindu woman to mention
the name of her husband; in alluding to him she uses a variety of
descriptive epithets, such as “the master,” etc., but avoids his name
with a scrupulous care. To such an extent is this superstition carried
among some savage tribes that the real names of children are concealed
from their birth upwards, and they are known by fictitious names until
their death. The fear of witchcraft probably is the explanation of
all those superstitions. If a name gets known to a sorcerer, he can
use it as a handle wherewith to work his spells upon the bearer. When
the Romans laid siege to a town, they set about at once to discover
the name of its tutelary deity, so that they might coax the god into
surrendering his charge. In order to prevent their receiving the same
treatment at the hands of their enemies, they carefully concealed
the name of the tutelary deity of Rome, and are said to have killed
Valerius Soranus for divulging it. Reluctance to mention names reaches
its height in the case of dangerous or mysterious agencies. In Borneo
the natives avoid naming the small-pox. In Germany the hare must
not be named, or the rye-crop will be destroyed; and to mention the
name of this innocent animal at sea, is, or was, reckoned by the
Aberdeenshire fishermen an act of impiety, the punishment of which
could be averted only by some mysterious charm. The Laplanders never
mention the name of the bear, but prefer to speak of him as “the old
man with the fur-coat.” The motive here appears to be a fear that by
naming the dreaded object his actual presence will be evoked; and this
idea is preserved in one of our commonest sayings. Even if the object
of terror does not actually appear, he will at least listen when he
hears his name; and if anything unpleasant is said of him he is likely
to resent it. Hence, in order to avoid even the semblance of reproach,
his very name is made flattering. This phenomenon, generally termed
euphemism, is of very common occurrence. The Greeks, for example,
called the Furies the “Well-disposed ones;” and the wicked fairy Puck
was christened “Robin Goodfellow,” by the English peasantry. The
modern Greeks euphemise the name of vinegar into “the sweet one.” Were
its real name to be mentioned, all the wine in the house would turn
sour. We have an example of the converse of the principle of euphemism
work in the case of mothers among the savage tribes of Tonquin giving
their children hideous names in order to frighten away evil spirits
from molesting them. It is, however, in the case of the most dreaded
and most mysterious of all our enemies—Death—that the superstition
becomes most apparent. “The very name of Death,” says Montaigne,
“strikes terror into people, and makes them cross themselves.” Even
the unsuperstitious have a vague reluctance to mentioning this dreaded
name. Rather than say, “If Mr. So-and-so should _die_,” we say, “If
anything should happen to Mr. So-and-so.” The Romans preferred the
expression “He has lived” to “He is dead.” “M. Thiers _a vécu_” was
the form in which that statesman’s death was announced; not “M. Thiers
_est mort_.” The same reluctance is noticeable in mentioning the names
of persons who are dead. A writer on the Shetland Isles tells us that
no persuasion will induce a widow to mention her dead husband’s name.
When we do happen to allude to a deceased friend by name, we often add
some such expression as “Rest his soul!” by way of antidote to our
rashness; and this expression seems to have been used by the Romans in
the same way. As might be expected, we find this carried to a great
extreme among savages. In some tribes, when a man dies who bore the
name of some common object—“fire,” for instance—the name for fire
must be altered in consequence; and as proper names among savages are
almost invariably the names of common objects, the rapid change that
takes place in the language and the inconvenience resulting therefrom
may be imagined. Civilization has indeed made enormous progress from
this cumbersome superstition to our own philosophy, which can ask with
haughty indifference, “What’s in a name?”—_Chambers’s Journal._

       *       *       *       *       *

HISTORIC FINANCE.—The first tithe on movables was granted, or enacted,
by papal authority, in 1188, for the Second Crusade. From 1334
subsidies of a fifteenth on goods in general, and a tenth from tenants
of the royal demesne, became the principal form of direct taxation.
Poll taxes (so-called), varying according to rank, were levied in 1377
and 1380, and on other occasions, the maximum being 60 groats, the
minimum 1 groat (4d.) for man and wife. Children under 16 were exempt;
and hence the outrage which gave the immediate occasion of Wat Tyler’s
insurrection. “A fifteenth and tenth,” however, speedily came to mean
a fixed sum of about £38,000, gradually sinking with the decay of
particular towns to £32,000, levied by a fixed assessment on each shire
and borough. A tax thus limited became, with the growth of national
wealth and needs, ridiculously inadequate. A new land tax of 5 per
cent. was granted in 1404, and a graduated income tax in 1435. But the
customs on wool and hides exported and 2s. per ton on wine imported,
with a general poundage of 6d. ad valorem on other exports and imports,
were the only permanent and regular revenue of the Crown, and during
the War of the Roses almost the sole addition to the yield of the royal
estates. This hereditary revenue, however, sufficed for the ordinary
expenses both of the State and the household. The great popularity of
Edward IV. with the citizens, especially of London, enabled him to
raise considerable benevolences, a practice which, forbidden by act of
Parliament on the accession of Richard III., was resumed and carried
to an often oppressive extent by Henry VIII. and his children. The
old fifteenths and tenths were still granted from time to time, but
under the Tudors were accompanied by subsidies in the nature of an
income tax of 4s. on the rental of lands and 2s. 8d. on the total
value of goods—yielding about £80,000. Each subsidy was accompanied
by a clerical grant of 6s. in the pound of annual value, worth about
£20,000. The last grant made to Elizabeth was of four subsidies and
eight fifteenths and tenths, amounting in all perhaps to £640,000.—_The
Saturday Review._

       *       *       *       *       *

THE THREE UNITIES.—As we have said, the groundwork of “The Cid” is
wholly Spanish, but the beautiful poetry of many of the lines is
wholly Corneille’s. And had Corneille been allowed to follow his
own instincts, and write his play as his spirit moved him, it would
probably be free from many of its absurdities. He was bound to observe
the laws of “the three unities,” which the French pedants of those days
thought necessary to make incumbent upon every one who wrote for the
stage. These ignorantly learned men imagined that Aristotle on his own
authority had promulgated laws to be observed in the composition of a
dramatic poem, and that they should be always binding. The events in
every play were to be comprised within 24 hours, the scene could not
be changed, and in the play there should be only one interest or one
line of action. These laws were as the sword of Damocles held over the
heads of the French dramatists as they sat at their work. Richelieu
had lent his voice in favor of the edict, and they dreaded being found
guilty of insubordination. The authority of Aristotle was too high to
be questioned, and because the Greek writers had so written they must
be followed. The great Condé expressed himself as being terribly bored
by a tragedy by the Abbé d’Aubignac. A friend of the author tried to
excuse the play, saying that it was written exactly after the precepts
of Aristotle. Condé replied: “I am charmed that the Abbé d’Aubignac
should have followed Aristotle so carefully, but I cannot forgive
Aristotle for having made the Abbé d’Aubignac write such a detestable
tragedy!”—_All the Year Round._

       *       *       *       *       *

A SUNDAY-SCHOOL SCHOLAR.—Here is the pith of a talented youngster’s
paper on the “Good Samaritan:” “A certing man went down from jerslam
to jeriker, and he fell among thieves and the thorns sprang up and
choaked him—whereupon he gave tuppins to the host, and praid take
care on him and put him hon his hone hass. And he past by on the other
side.” This and the following are not, as might be supposed, American
exaggerations, but authenticated instances of examiners’ experiences.
The last specimen is in answer to the question, “Who was Moses?” “He
lived in a hark maid of bullrushes, and he kept a golden calf and
worshipt braizen snakes, and he het nothin but qwhales and manner for
forty years. He was kart by the air while riding under a bow of a tree
and he was killed by his son Abslon as he was hanging from the bow. His
end was peace.”—_Chambers’s Journal._

       *       *       *       *       *

A MAHDI OF THE LAST CENTURY.—It is interesting to look back a hundred
years and trace the career of a former Mahdi, the Prophet Mansour,
the Sheikh Oghan-Oolō, who burst on the Eastern world in 1785 as
the Apostle of Mahomet, and went forth conquering and to conquer
till Constantinople sought his alliance, and Russia armed herself
_cap-à-pied_ to resist his advance. It was early in March, at the
commencement of the Ramadan, that a solitary horseman rode into Amadie,
a town of Kourdistan, wearing the green turban which marked him as a
descendant of Mahomet, a white woollen garment girt about the hips with
a leathern girdle, and a pair of yellow sandals. His imposing stature,
dignified manners, flashing yet melancholy eyes, vast forehead, and
magnificent black beard showed him to be a king among men; and the
rigor of his fast, combined with the fervor of his perpetual prayers
in the mosque which he never quitted, proved him in the eyes of the
faithful to be a saint of the finest water. When Ramadan was over
the new Prophet assumed the post of authority in the mosque which
had witnessed his prayers and vigils, and proclaimed the twenty-four
articles of a reformed creed. The majority of them were drawn from the
Koran, others from the Mosaic statutes, some few were of Pagan origin,
and the final item was the Christian maxim, “Thou shalt love the Lord
with all thine heart, and thy neighbor as thyself.” This evangel was
not, however, accepted with as much readiness as might have been
anticipated. It was necessary to make a bold stroke and secure the
wavering allegiance of the people of Amadie, so the Prophet declared
that Mahomet, in his inscrutable wisdom, had chosen them to carry the
new law to the Gentiles, and that to them would belong the exclusive
right to punish impenitent sinners with the weapons he was about to
send them. A few days later four men arrived from Sinope escorting a
quantity of arms and ammunition of European manufacture. These worthies
were all of different nationalities, one being Tabet Habib, a Persian
merchant and money-lender of Scutari, another a Frenchman named Cléophe
Thévenot, a third Camillo Rutigliano, a Neapolitan, and the fourth a
German, or probably a Jew, called Samuel Goldemberg. The arms were at
once distributed among the most enthusiastic converts, who, however,
numbered less than a hundred. On April 20 the little band marched from
Amadie to Taku, where the Prophet summoned the inhabitants, explained
his mission, and read the new code of regulations. Those who gave in
their allegiance were enrolled and armed, while the recalcitrants were
put to the sword. The Prophet now found himself at the head of several
thousand troops, undisciplined it is true, but amenable to the orders
of such a ruling spirit as himself. They were approaching Bitlis, a
fortified city containing about twenty thousand souls, defended by
a fortress perched on an inaccessible rock, and garrisoned by five
hundred Turkish troops. The Pasha in charge determined to show fight,
so he summoned the citizens to the ramparts and confided the fortress
to the soldiers. It was all in vain, for the invading army took Bitlis
by assault, and the Prophet, by way of example, impaled the poor Pasha,
his officers, and the chief men of the place, and delivered the city
over to the tender mercies of his soldiers for three days and three
nights. The army next marched to Mush, where the terrified Aga opened
his gates, and the Prophet assured the inhabitants that no harm should
befall them if they supplied his troops with fresh provisions, and
all the young men between twenty and thirty enrolled themselves under
his banners. The Prophet had a keen eye as a military tactician, for
Erzeroum is the centre from which the caravan routes to Van, Trebizond,
Tiflis, and Siwas, diverge. The conqueror turned northwards, taking
possession of half a dozen towns as he went along, and at length sat
down before the fortress of Akhalzik, which was then pretty much as
it is now, a strongly fortified city on the Turco-Russian frontier,
containing about 30,000 inhabitants and a Turkish garrison 5,000
strong. The Pasha and his troops defended themselves bravely, but after
spending ten days in trenches before the walls, the Prophet ordered an
assault, and Akhalzik fell as Bitlis had done at the outset. The Pasha
and his officers were impaled, those who submitted were allowed to
swell the conquering hosts, the impenitent and stubborn was massacred,
and the city burned and sacked. As the troops stood shouting over the
smoking ruins, they hailed their chief as “Mansour,” or the Victor, and
by that name he is principally known to history. Recruits began to come
in apace from all the neighboring provinces, and Mansour saw himself
at the head of 40,000 men, poorly armed but ready for anything; so he
marched straight on Erzeroum, the gates of which were open to him. The
booty he always reserved for himself on entering a city was the right
to choose all the most beautiful women as slaves; but he did it only
to save them from the horrors that would otherwise have awaited them,
and the shame of exposure in the bazaar. He neither loved nor trusted
women, and had flung all passions save ambition behind him. If the
Prophet Mansour had chosen at this moment to turn his arms against
Constantinople, there is no doubt that he would have succeeded, and
if he had become master of the Porte, it is probable that the “sick
man” would never have troubled the councils of Europe. But instead of
invading Turkey, he became its ally against Russia, apparently on the
understanding that he was to be recognised as undisputed sovereign of
all the countries he could rescue from the grasp of the Northern Bear.
Kars fell into his hands after a bombardment of six hours. This secured
his line of retreat, and he led his men over the mountains to Tiflis,
where Heraclius, King of Georgia, awaited him on the marshy plain
of Kours with an army of 50,000, 10,000 of whom were tried Russian
troops, sent to his aid by Catherine. The opposing hosts were equal as
to numbers; the tide of battle rose and fell for three long days, and
Heraclius was totally defeated. Twenty-two thousand of his men were
slain, and 10,000 taken prisoners and sold as slaves at Constantinople.
Mansour took possession of the royal palace, abandoning the city of
Tiflis to his soldiers, and in a letter written from thence he for the
first time used the signature of Sheikh Oghan-Oolō. Turkey now began to
see that her ally might very easily become her master, and endeavored
to undermine his influence. He was perfectly aware of all her little
intrigues, and when a courteous ambassador was sent to him, reproached
him with the treason and perfidy of the Porte, and thundered forth a
threat to go himself to Constantinople for an answer to the charge. In
less than a month all preparations were made, and, assembling his large
army, Mansour read to them a proclamation from Mahomet, commanding
him to annihilate the Osmanlis and place a faithful prince on the
throne of Constantinople. As the Prophet was quite aware that if he
took Constantinople he would have to deal with the united strength
of France, Austria, and Russia, he thereupon concluded an offensive
and defensive alliance with the Sheikh-ul-Islam, and promised to turn
his arms against Russia. From that moment fortune forsook Mansour.
He returned to the Caucasus, and endeavored to raise the Lesghiens
Tartars, and had a victorious engagement with the Russian general
Apraxin, who had to retreat to Kashgar. Gradually the tribes and
nations fell away from him, and gave in their allegiance to Catherine,
and at last Mansour was closely besieged by General Gadowitz in Anapa,
on the Black Sea. He refused to capitulate, and the Russian troops
carried the town and fortress by assault. At the head of the long line
of prisoners who defiled past the conqueror walked the Prophet, a noble
and dignified figure even in his fall. Gadowitz himself presented
Mansour to the Empress, who treated him with the respect due to a brave
and gallant foe. She received him with every mark of honor, gave him
an annual pension of about £4,000, and assigned to him a residence
in the little town of Solowetz, on the Black Sea. There he entered a
convent of Armenian monks, wrote his memoirs, and corresponded with
his family until his death in 1798. This eighteenth century Mahdi thus
ended his days in obscurity, and when but little past his prime. He
no doubt died of _ennui_ and disappointment, for adventure had been
as the bread of life to his soul from babyhood. The most curious part
of his story remains to be told. He was neither Sheikh nor Prophet,
not even a Mussulman, and least of all an Oriental. His name was Jean
Baptiste Boetti, and he was the son of an Italian notary, destined for
the medical profession, which did not please him, and he ultimately
became a Dominican monk. Little or nothing of all this would have been
known had not Boetti, when figuring as the Prophet Mansour, been weak
enough to write his own autobiography piecemeal at dead of night. He
kept the manuscript in his jewel casket, but one day his chancellor,
one of the three Europeans who were in his confidence, eloped with a
lovely Georgian girl _and_ the casket. On reaching Constantinople,
this individual sold the papers to the representative of the King of
Sardinia, and they were recently discovered by Professor Ottino, of
Turin, among the archives of Piedmont.—_Time._

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes

Obvious typographical errors have been silently corrected. All other
spelling, punctuation and hyphenation remains unchanged.

Italics are represented thus _italic_.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Eclectic Magazine of Foreign Literature, Science, and Art - Vol. XLI., No. 6. June, 1885." ***

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