Infomotions, Inc.Lay Morals / Stevenson, Robert Louis, 1850-1894



Author: Stevenson, Robert Louis, 1850-1894
Title: Lay Morals
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
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Contributor(s): Wall, Charles Heron [Translator]
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Title: Lay Morals

Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

Release Date: December, 1995  [EBook #373]
[This file was first posted on November 25, 1995]
[Most recently updated: August 18, 2002]

Edition: 10

Language: English

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*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK, LAY MORALS ***




Transcribed from the Chatto and Windus 1911 edition by David Price,
email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk




LAY MORALS AND OTHER PAPERS




Contents:
   Lay Morals
      Chapter I
      Chapter II
      Chapter III
      Chapter IV
   Father Damien
   The Pentland Rising
      Chapter I--The Causes of the Revolt
      Chapter II--The Beginning
      Chapter III--The March of the Rebels
      Chapter IV--Rullion Green
      Chapter V--A Record of Blood
   The Day After To-morrow
   College Papers
      Chapter I--Edinburgh Students in 1824
      Chapter II--The Modern Student
      Chapter III--Debating Societies
   Criticisms
      Chapter I--Lord Lytton's "Fables in Song"
      Chapter II--Salvini's Macbeth
      Chapter III--Bagster's "Pilgrim's Progress"
   Sketches
      The Satirist
      Nuits Blanches
      The Wreath of Immortelles
      Nurses
      A Character
   The Great North Road
      Chapter I--Nance at the "Green Dragon"
      Chapter II--In which Mr. Archer is Installed
      Chapter III--Jonathan Holdaway
      Chapter IV--Mingling Threads
      Chapter V--Life in the Castle
      Chapter IV--The Bad Half-Crown
      Chapter VII--The Bleaching-Green
      Chapter VIII--The Mail Guard
   The Young Chevalier
      Prologue:  The Wine-Seller's Wife
      Chapter I--The Prince
   Heathercat
      Chapter I--Traqairs of Montroymont
      Chapter II--Francie
      Chapter III--The Hill-End of Drumlowe




LAY MORALS




CHAPTER I



The problem of education is twofold:  first to know, and then to
utter.  Every one who lives any semblance of an inner life thinks
more nobly and profoundly than he speaks; and the best of teachers
can impart only broken images of the truth which they perceive.
Speech which goes from one to another between two natures, and,
what is worse, between two experiences, is doubly relative.  The
speaker buries his meaning; it is for the hearer to dig it up
again; and all speech, written or spoken, is in a dead language
until it finds a willing and prepared hearer.  Such, moreover, is
the complexity of life, that when we condescend upon details in our
advice, we may be sure we condescend on error; and the best of
education is to throw out some magnanimous hints.  No man was ever
so poor that he could express all he has in him by words, looks, or
actions; his true knowledge is eternally incommunicable, for it is
a knowledge of himself; and his best wisdom comes to him by no
process of the mind, but in a supreme self-dictation, which keeps
varying from hour to hour in its dictates with the variation of
events and circumstances.

A few men of picked nature, full of faith, courage, and contempt
for others, try earnestly to set forth as much as they can grasp of
this inner law; but the vast majority, when they come to advise the
young, must be content to retail certain doctrines which have been
already retailed to them in their own youth.  Every generation has
to educate another which it has brought upon the stage.  People who
readily accept the responsibility of parentship, having very
different matters in their eye, are apt to feel rueful when that
responsibility falls due.  What are they to tell the child about
life and conduct, subjects on which they have themselves so few and
such confused opinions?  Indeed, I do not know; the least said,
perhaps, the soonest mended; and yet the child keeps asking, and
the parent must find some words to say in his own defence.  Where
does he find them? and what are they when found?

As a matter of experience, and in nine hundred and ninety-nine
cases out of a thousand, he will instil into his wide-eyed brat
three bad things:  the terror of public opinion, and, flowing from
that as a fountain, the desire of wealth and applause.  Besides
these, or what might be deduced as corollaries from these, he will
teach not much else of any effective value:  some dim notions of
divinity, perhaps, and book-keeping, and how to walk through a
quadrille.

But, you may tell me, the young people are taught to be Christians.
It may be want of penetration, but I have not yet been able to
perceive it.  As an honest man, whatever we teach, and be it good
or evil, it is not the doctrine of Christ.  What he taught (and in
this he is like all other teachers worthy of the name) was not a
code of rules, but a ruling spirit; not truths, but a spirit of
truth; not views, but a view.  What he showed us was an attitude of
mind.  Towards the many considerations on which conduct is built,
each man stands in a certain relation.  He takes life on a certain
principle.  He has a compass in his spirit which points in a
certain direction.  It is the attitude, the relation, the point of
the compass, that is the whole body and gist of what he has to
teach us; in this, the details are comprehended; out of this the
specific precepts issue, and by this, and this only, can they be
explained and applied.  And thus, to learn aright from any teacher,
we must first of all, like a historical artist, think ourselves
into sympathy with his position and, in the technical phrase,
create his character.  A historian confronted with some ambiguous
politician, or an actor charged with a part, have but one pre-
occupation; they must search all round and upon every side, and
grope for some central conception which is to explain and justify
the most extreme details; until that is found, the politician is an
enigma, or perhaps a quack, and the part a tissue of fustian
sentiment and big words; but once that is found, all enters into a
plan, a human nature appears, the politician or the stage-king is
understood from point to point, from end to end.  This is a degree
of trouble which will be gladly taken by a very humble artist; but
not even the terror of eternal fire can teach a business man to
bend his imagination to such athletic efforts.  Yet without this,
all is vain; until we understand the whole, we shall understand
none of the parts; and otherwise we have no more than broken images
and scattered words; the meaning remains buried; and the language
in which our prophet speaks to us is a dead language in our ears.

Take a few of Christ's sayings and compare them with our current
doctrines.

'Ye cannot,' he says, 'serve God and Mammon.'  Cannot?  And our
whole system is to teach us how we can!

'The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the
children of light.'  Are they?  I had been led to understand the
reverse:  that the Christian merchant, for example, prospered
exceedingly in his affairs; that honesty was the best policy; that
an author of repute had written a conclusive treatise 'How to make
the best of both worlds.'  Of both worlds indeed!  Which am I to
believe then--Christ or the author of repute?

'Take no thought for the morrow.'  Ask the Successful Merchant;
interrogate your own heart; and you will have to admit that this is
not only a silly but an immoral position.  All we believe, all we
hope, all we honour in ourselves or our contemporaries, stands
condemned in this one sentence, or, if you take the other view,
condemns the sentence as unwise and inhumane.  We are not then of
the 'same mind that was in Christ.'  We disagree with Christ.
Either Christ meant nothing, or else he or we must be in the wrong.
Well says Thoreau, speaking of some texts from the New Testament,
and finding a strange echo of another style which the reader may
recognise:  'Let but one of these sentences be rightly read from
any pulpit in the land, and there would not be left one stone of
that meeting-house upon another.'

It may be objected that these are what are called 'hard sayings';
and that a man, or an education, may be very sufficiently Christian
although it leave some of these sayings upon one side.  But this is
a very gross delusion.  Although truth is difficult to state, it is
both easy and agreeable to receive, and the mind runs out to meet
it ere the phrase be done.  The universe, in relation to what any
man can say of it, is plain, patent and staringly comprehensible.
In itself, it is a great and travailing ocean, unsounded,
unvoyageable, an eternal mystery to man; or, let us say, it is a
monstrous and impassable mountain, one side of which, and a few
near slopes and foothills, we can dimly study with these mortal
eyes.  But what any man can say of it, even in his highest
utterance, must have relation to this little and plain corner,
which is no less visible to us than to him.  We are looking on the
same map; it will go hard if we cannot follow the demonstration.
The longest and most abstruse flight of a philosopher becomes clear
and shallow, in the flash of a moment, when we suddenly perceive
the aspect and drift of his intention.  The longest argument is but
a finger pointed; once we get our own finger rightly parallel, and
we see what the man meant, whether it be a new star or an old
street-lamp.  And briefly, if a saying is hard to understand, it is
because we are thinking of something else.

But to be a true disciple is to think of the same things as our
prophet, and to think of different things in the same order.  To be
of the same mind with another is to see all things in the same
perspective; it is not to agree in a few indifferent matters near
at hand and not much debated; it is to follow him in his farthest
flights, to see the force of his hyperboles, to stand so exactly in
the centre of his vision that whatever he may express, your eyes
will light at once on the original, that whatever he may see to
declare, your mind will at once accept.  You do not belong to the
school of any philosopher, because you agree with him that theft
is, on the whole, objectionable, or that the sun is overhead at
noon.  It is by the hard sayings that discipleship is tested.  We
are all agreed about the middling and indifferent parts of
knowledge and morality; even the most soaring spirits too often
take them tamely upon trust.  But the man, the philosopher or the
moralist, does not stand upon these chance adhesions; and the
purpose of any system looks towards those extreme points where it
steps valiantly beyond tradition and returns with some covert hint
of things outside.  Then only can you be certain that the words are
not words of course, nor mere echoes of the past; then only are you
sure that if he be indicating anything at all, it is a star and not
a street-lamp; then only do you touch the heart of the mystery,
since it was for these that the author wrote his book.

Now, every now and then, and indeed surprisingly often, Christ
finds a word that transcends all common-place morality; every now
and then he quits the beaten track to pioneer the unexpressed, and
throws out a pregnant and magnanimous hyperbole; for it is only by
some bold poetry of thought that men can be strung up above the
level of everyday conceptions to take a broader look upon
experience or accept some higher principle of conduct.  To a man
who is of the same mind that was in Christ, who stands at some
centre not too far from his, and looks at the world and conduct
from some not dissimilar or, at least, not opposing attitude--or,
shortly, to a man who is of Christ's philosophy--every such saying
should come home with a thrill of joy and corroboration; he should
feel each one below his feet as another sure foundation in the flux
of time and chance; each should be another proof that in the
torrent of the years and generations, where doctrines and great
armaments and empires are swept away and swallowed, he stands
immovable, holding by the eternal stars.  But alas! at this
juncture of the ages it is not so with us; on each and every such
occasion our whole fellowship of Christians falls back in
disapproving wonder and implicitly denies the saying.  Christians!
the farce is impudently broad.  Let us stand up in the sight of
heaven and confess.  The ethics that we hold are those of Benjamin
Franklin.  HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY, is perhaps a hard saying; it
is certainly one by which a wise man of these days will not too
curiously direct his steps; but I think it shows a glimmer of
meaning to even our most dimmed intelligences; I think we perceive
a principle behind it; I think, without hyperbole, we are of the
same mind that was in Benjamin Franklin.



CHAPTER II



But, I may be told, we teach the ten commandments, where a world of
morals lies condensed, the very pith and epitome of all ethics and
religion; and a young man with these precepts engraved upon his
mind must follow after profit with some conscience and Christianity
of method.  A man cannot go very far astray who neither dishonours
his parents, nor kills, nor commits adultery, nor steals, nor bears
false witness; for these things, rightly thought out, cover a vast
field of duty.

Alas! what is a precept?  It is at best an illustration; it is case
law at the best which can be learned by precept.  The letter is not
only dead, but killing; the spirit which underlies, and cannot be
uttered, alone is true and helpful.  This is trite to sickness; but
familiarity has a cunning disenchantment; in a day or two she can
steal all beauty from the mountain tops; and the most startling
words begin to fall dead upon the ear after several repetitions.
If you see a thing too often, you no longer see it; if you hear a
thing too often, you no longer hear it.  Our attention requires to
be surprised; and to carry a fort by assault, or to gain a
thoughtful hearing from the ruck of mankind, are feats of about an
equal difficulty and must be tried by not dissimilar means.  The
whole Bible has thus lost its message for the common run of
hearers; it has become mere words of course; and the parson may
bawl himself scarlet and beat the pulpit like a thing possessed,
but his hearers will continue to nod; they are strangely at peace,
they know all he has to say; ring the old bell as you choose, it is
still the old bell and it cannot startle their composure.  And so
with this byword about the letter and the spirit.  It is quite
true, no doubt; but it has no meaning in the world to any man of
us.  Alas! it has just this meaning, and neither more nor less:
that while the spirit is true, the letter is eternally false.

The shadow of a great oak lies abroad upon the ground at noon,
perfect, clear, and stable like the earth.  But let a man set
himself to mark out the boundary with cords and pegs, and were he
never so nimble and never so exact, what with the multiplicity of
the leaves and the progression of the shadow as it flees before the
travelling sun, long ere he has made the circuit the whole figure
will have changed.  Life may be compared, not to a single tree, but
to a great and complicated forest; circumstance is more swiftly
changing than a shadow, language much more inexact than the tools
of a surveyor; from day to day the trees fall and are renewed; the
very essences are fleeting as we look; and the whole world of
leaves is swinging tempest-tossed among the winds of time.  Look
now for your shadows.  O man of formulae, is this a place for you?
Have you fitted the spirit to a single case?  Alas, in the cycle of
the ages when shall such another be proposed for the judgment of
man?  Now when the sun shines and the winds blow, the wood is
filled with an innumerable multitude of shadows, tumultuously
tossed and changing; and at every gust the whole carpet leaps and
becomes new.  Can you or your heart say more?

Look back now, for a moment, on your own brief experience of life;
and although you lived it feelingly in your own person, and had
every step of conduct burned in by pains and joys upon your memory,
tell me what definite lesson does experience hand on from youth to
manhood, or from both to age?  The settled tenor which first
strikes the eye is but the shadow of a delusion.  This is gone;
that never truly was; and you yourself are altered beyond
recognition.  Times and men and circumstances change about your
changing character, with a speed of which no earthly hurricane
affords an image.  What was the best yesterday, is it still the
best in this changed theatre of a to-morrow?  Will your own Past
truly guide you in your own violent and unexpected Future?  And if
this be questionable, with what humble, with what hopeless eyes,
should we not watch other men driving beside us on their unknown
careers, seeing with unlike eyes, impelled by different gales,
doing and suffering in another sphere of things?

And as the authentic clue to such a labyrinth and change of scene,
do you offer me these two score words? these five bald
prohibitions?  For the moral precepts are no more than five; the
first four deal rather with matters of observance than of conduct;
the tenth, THOU SHALT NOT COVET, stands upon another basis, and
shall be spoken of ere long.  The Jews, to whom they were first
given, in the course of years began to find these precepts
insufficient; and made an addition of no less than six hundred and
fifty others!  They hoped to make a pocket-book of reference on
morals, which should stand to life in some such relation, say, as
Hoyle stands in to the scientific game of whist.  The comparison is
just, and condemns the design; for those who play by rule will
never be more than tolerable players; and you and I would like to
play our game in life to the noblest and the most divine advantage.
Yet if the Jews took a petty and huckstering view of conduct, what
view do we take ourselves, who callously leave youth to go forth
into the enchanted forest, full of spells and dire chimeras, with
no guidance more complete than is afforded by these five precepts?

HONOUR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER.  Yes, but does that mean to obey?
and if so, how long and how far?  THOU SHALL NOT KILL.  Yet the
very intention and purport of the prohibition may be best fulfilled
by killing.  THOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.  But some of the
ugliest adulteries are committed in the bed of marriage and under
the sanction of religion and law.  THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE
WITNESS.  How? by speech or by silence also? or even by a smile?
THOU SHALT NOT STEAL.  Ah, that indeed!  But what is TO STEAL?

To steal?  It is another word to be construed; and who is to be our
guide?  The police will give us one construction, leaving the word
only that least minimum of meaning without which society would fall
in pieces; but surely we must take some higher sense than this;
surely we hope more than a bare subsistence for mankind; surely we
wish mankind to prosper and go on from strength to strength, and
ourselves to live rightly in the eye of some more exacting
potentate than a policeman.  The approval or the disapproval of the
police must be eternally indifferent to a man who is both valorous
and good.  There is extreme discomfort, but no shame, in the
condemnation of the law.  The law represents that modicum of
morality which can be squeezed out of the ruck of mankind; but what
is that to me, who aim higher and seek to be my own more stringent
judge?  I observe with pleasure that no brave man has ever given a
rush for such considerations.  The Japanese have a nobler and more
sentimental feeling for this social bond into which we all are born
when we come into the world, and whose comforts and protection we
all indifferently share throughout our lives:- but even to them, no
more than to our Western saints and heroes, does the law of the
state supersede the higher law of duty.  Without hesitation and
without remorse, they transgress the stiffest enactments rather
than abstain from doing right.  But the accidental superior duty
being thus fulfilled, they at once return in allegiance to the
common duty of all citizens; and hasten to denounce themselves; and
value at an equal rate their just crime and their equally just
submission to its punishment.

The evading of the police will not long satisfy an active
conscience or a thoughtful head.  But to show you how one or the
other may trouble a man, and what a vast extent of frontier is left
unridden by this invaluable eighth commandment, let me tell you a
few pages out of a young man's life.

He was a friend of mine; a young man like others; generous,
flighty, as variable as youth itself, but always with some high
motions and on the search for higher thoughts of life.  I should
tell you at once that he thoroughly agrees with the eighth
commandment.  But he got hold of some unsettling works, the New
Testament among others, and this loosened his views of life and led
him into many perplexities.  As he was the son of a man in a
certain position, and well off, my friend had enjoyed from the
first the advantages of education, nay, he had been kept alive
through a sickly childhood by constant watchfulness, comforts, and
change of air; for all of which he was indebted to his father's
wealth.

At college he met other lads more diligent than himself, who
followed the plough in summer-time to pay their college fees in
winter; and this inequality struck him with some force.  He was at
that age of a conversible temper, and insatiably curious in the
aspects of life; and he spent much of his time scraping
acquaintance with all classes of man- and woman-kind.  In this way
he came upon many depressed ambitions, and many intelligences
stunted for want of opportunity; and this also struck him.  He
began to perceive that life was a handicap upon strange, wrong-
sided principles; and not, as he had been told, a fair and equal
race.  He began to tremble that he himself had been unjustly
favoured, when he saw all the avenues of wealth, and power, and
comfort closed against so many of his superiors and equals, and
held unwearyingly open before so idle, so desultory, and so
dissolute a being as himself.  There sat a youth beside him on the
college benches, who had only one shirt to his back, and, at
intervals sufficiently far apart, must stay at home to have it
washed.  It was my friend's principle to stay away as often as he
dared; for I fear he was no friend to learning.  But there was
something that came home to him sharply, in this fellow who had to
give over study till his shirt was washed, and the scores of others
who had never an opportunity at all.  IF ONE OF THESE COULD TAKE
HIS PLACE, he thought; and the thought tore away a bandage from his
eyes.  He was eaten by the shame of his discoveries, and despised
himself as an unworthy favourite and a creature of the back-stairs
of Fortune.  He could no longer see without confusion one of these
brave young fellows battling up-hill against adversity.  Had he not
filched that fellow's birthright?  At best was he not coldly
profiting by the injustice of society, and greedily devouring
stolen goods?  The money, indeed, belonged to his father, who had
worked, and thought, and given up his liberty to earn it; but by
what justice could the money belong to my friend, who had, as yet,
done nothing but help to squander it?  A more sturdy honesty,
joined to a more even and impartial temperament, would have drawn
from these considerations a new force of industry, that this
equivocal position might be brought as swiftly as possible to an
end, and some good services to mankind justify the appropriation of
expense.  It was not so with my friend, who was only unsettled and
discouraged, and filled full of that trumpeting anger with which
young men regard injustices in the first blush of youth; although
in a few years they will tamely acquiesce in their existence, and
knowingly profit by their complications.  Yet all this while he
suffered many indignant pangs.  And once, when he put on his boots,
like any other unripe donkey, to run away from home, it was his
best consolation that he was now, at a single plunge, to free
himself from the responsibility of this wealth that was not his,
and do battle equally against his fellows in the warfare of life.

Some time after this, falling into ill-health, he was sent at great
expense to a more favourable climate; and then I think his
perplexities were thickest.  When he thought of all the other young
men of singular promise, upright, good, the prop of families, who
must remain at home to die, and with all their possibilities be
lost to life and mankind; and how he, by one more unmerited favour,
was chosen out from all these others to survive; he felt as if
there were no life, no labour, no devotion of soul and body, that
could repay and justify these partialities.  A religious lady, to
whom he communicated these reflections, could see no force in them
whatever.  'It was God's will,' said she.  But he knew it was by
God's will that Joan of Arc was burnt at Rouen, which cleared
neither Bedford nor Bishop Cauchon; and again, by God's will that
Christ was crucified outside Jerusalem, which excused neither the
rancour of the priests nor the timidity of Pilate.  He knew,
moreover, that although the possibility of this favour he was now
enjoying issued from his circumstances, its acceptance was the act
of his own will; and he had accepted it greedily, longing for rest
and sunshine.  And hence this allegation of God's providence did
little to relieve his scruples.  I promise you he had a very
troubled mind.  And I would not laugh if I were you, though while
he was thus making mountains out of what you think molehills, he
were still (as perhaps he was) contentedly practising many other
things that to you seem black as hell.  Every man is his own judge
and mountain-guide through life.  There is an old story of a mote
and a beam, apparently not true, but worthy perhaps of some
consideration.  I should, if I were you, give some consideration to
these scruples of his, and if I were he, I should do the like by
yours; for it is not unlikely that there may be something under
both.  In the meantime you must hear how my friend acted.  Like
many invalids, he supposed that he would die.  Now, should he die,
he saw no means of repaying this huge loan which, by the hands of
his father, mankind had advanced him for his sickness.  In that
case it would be lost money.  So he determined that the advance
should be as small as possible; and, so long as he continued to
doubt his recovery, lived in an upper room, and grudged himself all
but necessaries.  But so soon as he began to perceive a change for
the better, he felt justified in spending more freely, to speed and
brighten his return to health, and trusted in the future to lend a
help to mankind, as mankind, out of its treasury, had lent a help
to him.

I do not say but that my friend was a little too curious and
partial in his view; nor thought too much of himself and too little
of his parents; but I do say that here are some scruples which
tormented my friend in his youth, and still, perhaps, at odd times
give him a prick in the midst of his enjoyments, and which after
all have some foundation in justice, and point, in their confused
way, to some more honourable honesty within the reach of man.  And
at least, is not this an unusual gloss upon the eighth commandment?
And what sort of comfort, guidance, or illumination did that
precept afford my friend throughout these contentions?  'Thou shalt
not steal.'  With all my heart!  But AM I stealing?

The truly quaint materialism of our view of life disables us from
pursuing any transaction to an end.  You can make no one understand
that his bargain is anything more than a bargain, whereas in point
of fact it is a link in the policy of mankind, and either a good or
an evil to the world.  We have a sort of blindness which prevents
us from seeing anything but sovereigns.  If one man agrees to give
another so many shillings for so many hours' work, and then
wilfully gives him a certain proportion of the price in bad money
and only the remainder in good, we can see with half an eye that
this man is a thief.  But if the other spends a certain proportion
of the hours in smoking a pipe of tobacco, and a certain other
proportion in looking at the sky, or the clock, or trying to recall
an air, or in meditation on his own past adventures, and only the
remainder in downright work such as he is paid to do, is he,
because the theft is one of time and not of money,--is he any the
less a thief?  The one gave a bad shilling, the other an imperfect
hour; but both broke the bargain, and each is a thief.  In
piecework, which is what most of us do, the case is none the less
plain for being even less material.  If you forge a bad knife, you
have wasted some of mankind's iron, and then, with unrivalled
cynicism, you pocket some of mankind's money for your trouble.  Is
there any man so blind who cannot see that this is theft?  Again,
if you carelessly cultivate a farm, you have been playing fast and
loose with mankind's resources against hunger; there will be less
bread in consequence, and for lack of that bread somebody will die
next winter:  a grim consideration.  And you must not hope to
shuffle out of blame because you got less money for your less
quantity of bread; for although a theft be partly punished, it is
none the less a theft for that.  You took the farm against
competitors; there were others ready to shoulder the responsibility
and be answerable for the tale of loaves; but it was you who took
it.  By the act you came under a tacit bargain with mankind to
cultivate that farm with your best endeavour; you were under no
superintendence, you were on parole; and you have broke your
bargain, and to all who look closely, and yourself among the rest
if you have moral eyesight, you are a thief.  Or take the case of
men of letters.  Every piece of work which is not as good as you
can make it, which you have palmed off imperfect, meagrely thought,
niggardly in execution, upon mankind who is your paymaster on
parole and in a sense your pupil, every hasty or slovenly or untrue
performance, should rise up against you in the court of your own
heart and condemn you for a thief.  Have you a salary?  If you
trifle with your health, and so render yourself less capable for
duty, and still touch, and still greedily pocket the emolument--
what are you but a thief?  Have you double accounts? do you by any
time-honoured juggle, deceit, or ambiguous process, gain more from
those who deal with you than it you were bargaining and dealing
face to face in front of God?--What are you but a thief?  Lastly,
if you fill an office, or produce an article, which, in your heart
of hearts, you think a delusion and a fraud upon mankind, and still
draw your salary and go through the sham manoeuvres of this office,
or still book your profits and keep on flooding the world with
these injurious goods?--though you were old, and bald, and the
first at church, and a baronet, what are you but a thief?  These
may seem hard words and mere curiosities of the intellect, in an
age when the spirit of honesty is so sparingly cultivated that all
business is conducted upon lies and so-called customs of the trade,
that not a man bestows two thoughts on the utility or
honourableness of his pursuit.  I would say less if I thought less.
But looking to my own reason and the right of things, I can only
avow that I am a thief myself, and that I passionately suspect my
neighbours of the same guilt.

Where did you hear that it was easy to be honest?  Do you find that
in your Bible?  Easy!  It is easy to be an ass and follow the
multitude like a blind, besotted bull in a stampede; and that, I am
well aware, is what you and Mrs. Grundy mean by being honest.  But
it will not bear the stress of time nor the scrutiny of conscience.
Even before the lowest of all tribunals,--before a court of law,
whose business it is, not to keep men right, or within a thousand
miles of right, but to withhold them from going so tragically wrong
that they will pull down the whole jointed fabric of society by
their misdeeds--even before a court of law, as we begin to see in
these last days, our easy view of following at each other's tails,
alike to good and evil, is beginning to be reproved and punished,
and declared no honesty at all, but open theft and swindling; and
simpletons who have gone on through life with a quiet conscience
may learn suddenly, from the lips of a judge, that the custom of
the trade may be a custom of the devil.  You thought it was easy to
be honest.  Did you think it was easy to be just and kind and
truthful?  Did you think the whole duty of aspiring man was as
simple as a horn-pipe? and you could walk through life like a
gentleman and a hero, with no more concern than it takes to go to
church or to address a circular?  And yet all this time you had the
eighth commandment! and, what makes it richer, you would not have
broken it for the world!

The truth is, that these commandments by themselves are of little
use in private judgment.  If compression is what you want, you have
their whole spirit compressed into the golden rule; and yet there
expressed with more significance, since the law is there
spiritually and not materially stated.  And in truth, four out of
these ten commands, from the sixth to the ninth, are rather legal
than ethical.  The police-court is their proper home.  A magistrate
cannot tell whether you love your neighbour as yourself, but he can
tell more or less whether you have murdered, or stolen, or
committed adultery, or held up your hand and testified to that
which was not; and these things, for rough practical tests, are as
good as can be found.  And perhaps, therefore, the best
condensation of the Jewish moral law is in the maxims of the
priests, 'neminem laedere' and 'suum cuique tribuere.'  But all
this granted, it becomes only the more plain that they are
inadequate in the sphere of personal morality; that while they tell
the magistrate roughly when to punish, they can never direct an
anxious sinner what to do.

Only Polonius, or the like solemn sort of ass, can offer us a
succinct proverb by way of advice, and not burst out blushing in
our faces.  We grant them one and all and for all that they are
worth; it is something above and beyond that we desire.  Christ was
in general a great enemy to such a way of teaching; we rarely find
him meddling with any of these plump commands but it was to open
them out, and lift his hearers from the letter to the spirit.  For
morals are a personal affair; in the war of righteousness every man
fights for his own hand; all the six hundred precepts of the Mishna
cannot shake my private judgment; my magistracy of myself is an
indefeasible charge, and my decisions absolute for the time and
case.  The moralist is not a judge of appeal, but an advocate who
pleads at my tribunal.  He has to show not the law, but that the
law applies.  Can he convince me? then he gains the cause.  And
thus you find Christ giving various counsels to varying people, and
often jealously careful to avoid definite precept.  Is he asked,
for example, to divide a heritage?  He refuses:  and the best
advice that he will offer is but a paraphrase of that tenth
commandment which figures so strangely among the rest.  TAKE HEED,
AND BEWARE OF COVETOUSNESS.  If you complain that this is vague, I
have failed to carry you along with me in my argument.  For no
definite precept can be more than an illustration, though its truth
were resplendent like the sun, and it was announced from heaven by
the voice of God.  And life is so intricate and changing, that
perhaps not twenty times, or perhaps not twice in the ages, shall
we find that nice consent of circumstances to which alone it can
apply.



CHAPTER III



Although the world and life have in a sense become commonplace to
our experience, it is but in an external torpor; the true sentiment
slumbers within us; and we have but to reflect on ourselves or our
surroundings to rekindle our astonishment.  No length of habit can
blunt our first surprise.  Of the world I have but little to say in
this connection; a few strokes shall suffice.  We inhabit a dead
ember swimming wide in the blank of space, dizzily spinning as it
swims, and lighted up from several million miles away by a more
horrible hell-fire than was ever conceived by the theological
imagination.  Yet the dead ember is a green, commodious dwelling-
place; and the reverberation of this hell-fire ripens flower and
fruit and mildly warms us on summer eves upon the lawn.  Far off on
all hands other dead embers, other flaming suns, wheel and race in
the apparent void; the nearest is out of call, the farthest so far
that the heart sickens in the effort to conceive the distance.
Shipwrecked seamen on the deep, though they bestride but the
truncheon of a boom, are safe and near at home compared with
mankind on its bullet.  Even to us who have known no other, it
seems a strange, if not an appalling, place of residence.

But far stranger is the resident, man, a creature compact of
wonders that, after centuries of custom, is still wonderful to
himself.  He inhabits a body which he is continually outliving,
discarding and renewing.  Food and sleep, by an unknown alchemy,
restore his spirits and the freshness of his countenance.  Hair
grows on him like grass; his eyes, his brain, his sinews, thirst
for action; he joys to see and touch and hear, to partake the sun
and wind, to sit down and intently ponder on his astonishing
attributes and situation, to rise up and run, to perform the
strange and revolting round of physical functions.  The sight of a
flower, the note of a bird, will often move him deeply; yet he
looks unconcerned on the impassable distances and portentous
bonfires of the universe.  He comprehends, he designs, he tames
nature, rides the sea, ploughs, climbs the air in a balloon, makes
vast inquiries, begins interminable labours, joins himself into
federations and populous cities, spends his days to deliver the
ends of the earth or to benefit unborn posterity; and yet knows
himself for a piece of unsurpassed fragility and the creature of a
few days.  His sight, which conducts him, which takes notice of the
farthest stars, which is miraculous in every way and a thing
defying explanation or belief, is yet lodged in a piece of jelly,
and can be extinguished with a touch.  His heart, which all through
life so indomitably, so athletically labours, is but a capsule, and
may be stopped with a pin.  His whole body, for all its savage
energies, its leaping and its winged desires, may yet be tamed and
conquered by a draught of air or a sprinkling of cold dew.  What he
calls death, which is the seeming arrest of everything, and the
ruin and hateful transformation of the visible body, lies in wait
for him outwardly in a thousand accidents, and grows up in secret
diseases from within.  He is still learning to be a man when his
faculties are already beginning to decline; he has not yet
understood himself or his position before he inevitably dies.  And
yet this mad, chimerical creature can take no thought of his last
end, lives as though he were eternal, plunges with his vulnerable
body into the shock of war, and daily affronts death with
unconcern.  He cannot take a step without pain or pleasure.  His
life is a tissue of sensations, which he distinguishes as they seem
to come more directly from himself or his surroundings.  He is
conscious of himself as a joyer or a sufferer, as that which
craves, chooses, and is satisfied; conscious of his surroundings as
it were of an inexhaustible purveyor, the source of aspects,
inspirations, wonders, cruel knocks and transporting caresses.
Thus he goes on his way, stumbling among delights and agonies.

Matter is a far-fetched theory, and materialism is without a root
in man.  To him everything is important in the degree to which it
moves him.  The telegraph wires and posts, the electricity speeding
from clerk to clerk, the clerks, the glad or sorrowful import of
the message, and the paper on which it is finally brought to him at
home, are all equally facts, all equally exist for man.  A word or
a thought can wound him as acutely as a knife of steel.  If he
thinks he is loved, he will rise up and glory to himself, although
he be in a distant land and short of necessary bread.  Does he
think he is not loved?--he may have the woman at his beck, and
there is not a joy for him in all the world.  Indeed, if we are to
make any account of this figment of reason, the distinction between
material and immaterial, we shall conclude that the life of each
man as an individual is immaterial, although the continuation and
prospects of mankind as a race turn upon material conditions.  The
physical business of each man's body is transacted for him; like a
sybarite, he has attentive valets in his own viscera; he breathes,
he sweats, he digests without an effort, or so much as a consenting
volition; for the most part he even eats, not with a wakeful
consciousness, but as it were between two thoughts.  His life is
centred among other and more important considerations; touch him in
his honour or his love, creatures of the imagination which attach
him to mankind or to an individual man or woman; cross him in his
piety which connects his soul with heaven; and he turns from his
food, he loathes his breath, and with a magnanimous emotion cuts
the knots of his existence and frees himself at a blow from the web
of pains and pleasures.

It follows that man is twofold at least; that he is not a rounded
and autonomous empire; but that in the same body with him there
dwell other powers tributary but independent.  If I now behold one
walking in a garden, curiously coloured and illuminated by the sun,
digesting his food with elaborate chemistry, breathing, circulating
blood, directing himself by the sight of his eyes, accommodating
his body by a thousand delicate balancings to the wind and the
uneven surface of the path, and all the time, perhaps, with his
mind engaged about America, or the dog-star, or the attributes of
God--what am I to say, or how am I to describe the thing I see?  Is
that truly a man, in the rigorous meaning of the word? or is it not
a man and something else?  What, then, are we to count the centre-
bit and axle of a being so variously compounded?  It is a question
much debated.  Some read his history in a certain intricacy of
nerve and the success of successive digestions; others find him an
exiled piece of heaven blown upon and determined by the breath of
God; and both schools of theorists will scream like scalded
children at a word of doubt.  Yet either of these views, however
plausible, is beside the question; either may be right; and I care
not; I ask a more particular answer, and to a more immediate point.
What is the man?  There is Something that was before hunger and
that remains behind after a meal.  It may or may not be engaged in
any given act or passion, but when it is, it changes, heightens,
and sanctifies.  Thus it is not engaged in lust, where satisfaction
ends the chapter; and it is engaged in love, where no satisfaction
can blunt the edge of the desire, and where age, sickness, or
alienation may deface what was desirable without diminishing the
sentiment.  This something, which is the man, is a permanence which
abides through the vicissitudes of passion, now overwhelmed and now
triumphant, now unconscious of itself in the immediate distress of
appetite or pain, now rising unclouded above all.  So, to the man,
his own central self fades and grows clear again amid the tumult of
the senses, like a revolving Pharos in the night.  It is forgotten;
it is hid, it seems, for ever; and yet in the next calm hour he
shall behold himself once more, shining and unmoved among changes
and storm.

Mankind, in the sense of the creeping mass that is born and eats,
that generates and dies, is but the aggregate of the outer and
lower sides of man.  This inner consciousness, this lantern
alternately obscured and shining, to and by which the individual
exists and must order his conduct, is something special to himself
and not common to the race.  His joys delight, his sorrows wound
him, according as THIS is interested or indifferent in the affair;
according as they arise in an imperial war or in a broil conducted
by the tributary chieftains of the mind.  He may lose all, and THIS
not suffer; he may lose what is materially a trifle, and THIS leap
in his bosom with a cruel pang.  I do not speak of it to hardened
theorists:  the living man knows keenly what it is I mean.

'Perceive at last that thou hast in thee something better and more
divine than the things which cause the various effects, and, as it
were, pull thee by the strings.  What is that now in thy mind? is
it fear, or suspicion, or desire, or anything of that kind?'  Thus
far Marcus Aurelius, in one of the most notable passages in any
book.  Here is a question worthy to be answered.  What is in thy
mind?  What is the utterance of your inmost self when, in a quiet
hour, it can be heard intelligibly?  It is something beyond the
compass of your thinking, inasmuch as it is yourself; but is it not
of a higher spirit than you had dreamed betweenwhiles, and erect
above all base considerations?  This soul seems hardly touched with
our infirmities; we can find in it certainly no fear, suspicion, or
desire; we are only conscious--and that as though we read it in the
eyes of some one else--of a great and unqualified readiness.  A
readiness to what? to pass over and look beyond the objects of
desire and fear, for something else.  And this something else? this
something which is apart from desire and fear, to which all the
kingdoms of the world and the immediate death of the body are alike
indifferent and beside the point, and which yet regards conduct--by
what name are we to call it?  It may be the love of God; or it may
be an inherited (and certainly well concealed) instinct to preserve
self and propagate the race; I am not, for the moment, averse to
either theory; but it will save time to call it righteousness.  By
so doing I intend no subterfuge to beg a question; I am indeed
ready, and more than willing, to accept the rigid consequence, and
lay aside, as far as the treachery of the reason will permit, all
former meanings attached to the word righteousness.  What is right
is that for which a man's central self is ever ready to sacrifice
immediate or distant interests; what is wrong is what the central
self discards or rejects as incompatible with the fixed design of
righteousness.

To make this admission is to lay aside all hope of definition.
That which is right upon this theory is intimately dictated to each
man by himself, but can never be rigorously set forth in language,
and never, above all, imposed upon another.  The conscience has,
then, a vision like that of the eyes, which is incommunicable, and
for the most part illuminates none but its possessor.  When many
people perceive the same or any cognate facts, they agree upon a
word as symbol; and hence we have such words as TREE, STAR, LOVE,
HONOUR, or DEATH; hence also we have this word RIGHT, which, like
the others, we all understand, most of us understand differently,
and none can express succinctly otherwise.  Yet even on the
straitest view, we can make some steps towards comprehension of our
own superior thoughts.  For it is an incredible and most
bewildering fact that a man, through life, is on variable terms
with himself; he is aware of tiffs and reconciliations; the
intimacy is at times almost suspended, at times it is renewed again
with joy.  As we said before, his inner self or soul appears to him
by successive revelations, and is frequently obscured.  It is from
a study of these alternations that we can alone hope to discover,
even dimly, what seems right and what seems wrong to this veiled
prophet of ourself.

All that is in the man in the larger sense, what we call impression
as well as what we call intuition, so far as my argument looks, we
must accept.  It is not wrong to desire food, or exercise, or
beautiful surroundings, or the love of sex, or interest which is
the food of the mind.  All these are craved; all these should be
craved; to none of these in itself does the soul demur; where there
comes an undeniable want, we recognise a demand of nature.  Yet we
know that these natural demands may be superseded; for the demands
which are common to mankind make but a shadowy consideration in
comparison to the demands of the individual soul.  Food is almost
the first prerequisite; and yet a high character will go without
food to the ruin and death of the body rather than gain it in a
manner which the spirit disavows.  Pascal laid aside mathematics;
Origen doctored his body with a knife; every day some one is thus
mortifying his dearest interests and desires, and, in Christ's
words, entering maim into the Kingdom of Heaven.  This is to
supersede the lesser and less harmonious affections by
renunciation; and though by this ascetic path we may get to heaven,
we cannot get thither a whole and perfect man.  But there is
another way, to supersede them by reconciliation, in which the soul
and all the faculties and senses pursue a common route and share in
one desire.  Thus, man is tormented by a very imperious physical
desire; it spoils his rest, it is not to be denied; the doctors
will tell you, not I, how it is a physical need, like the want of
food or slumber.  In the satisfaction of this desire, as it first
appears, the soul sparingly takes part; nay, it oft unsparingly
regrets and disapproves the satisfaction.  But let the man learn to
love a woman as far as he is capable of love; and for this random
affection of the body there is substituted a steady determination,
a consent of all his powers and faculties, which supersedes,
adopts, and commands the other.  The desire survives, strengthened,
perhaps, but taught obedience and changed in scope and character.
Life is no longer a tale of betrayals and regrets; for the man now
lives as a whole; his consciousness now moves on uninterrupted like
a river; through all the extremes and ups and downs of passion, he
remains approvingly conscious of himself.

Now to me, this seems a type of that rightness which the soul
demands.  It demands that we shall not live alternately with our
opposing tendencies in continual see-saw of passion and disgust,
but seek some path on which the tendencies shall no longer oppose,
but serve each other to a common end.  It demands that we shall not
pursue broken ends, but great and comprehensive purposes, in which
soul and body may unite like notes in a harmonious chord.  That
were indeed a way of peace and pleasure, that were indeed a heaven
upon earth.  It does not demand, however, or, to speak in measure,
it does not demand of me, that I should starve my appetites for no
purpose under heaven but as a purpose in itself; or, in a weak
despair, pluck out the eye that I have not yet learned to guide and
enjoy with wisdom.  The soul demands unity of purpose, not the
dismemberment of man; it seeks to roll up all his strength and
sweetness, all his passion and wisdom, into one, and make of him a
perfect man exulting in perfection.  To conclude ascetically is to
give up, and not to solve, the problem.  The ascetic and the
creeping hog, although they are at different poles, have equally
failed in life.  The one has sacrificed his crew; the other brings
back his seamen in a cock-boat, and has lost the ship.  I believe
there are not many sea-captains who would plume themselves on
either result as a success.

But if it is righteousness thus to fuse together our divisive
impulses and march with one mind through life, there is plainly one
thing more unrighteous than all others, and one declension which is
irretrievable and draws on the rest.  And this is to lose
consciousness of oneself.  In the best of times, it is but by
flashes, when our whole nature is clear, strong and conscious, and
events conspire to leave us free, that we enjoy communion with our
soul.  At the worst, we are so fallen and passive that we may say
shortly we have none.  An arctic torpor seizes upon men.  Although
built of nerves, and set adrift in a stimulating world, they
develop a tendency to go bodily to sleep; consciousness becomes
engrossed among the reflex and mechanical parts of life; and soon
loses both the will and power to look higher considerations in the
face.  This is ruin; this is the last failure in life; this is
temporal damnation, damnation on the spot and without the form of
judgment.  'What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world
and LOSE HIMSELF?'

It is to keep a man awake, to keep him alive to his own soul and
its fixed design of righteousness, that the better part of moral
and religious education is directed; not only that of words and
doctors, but the sharp ferule of calamity under which we are all
God's scholars till we die.  If, as teachers, we are to say
anything to the purpose, we must say what will remind the pupil of
his soul; we must speak that soul's dialect; we must talk of life
and conduct as his soul would have him think of them.  If, from
some conformity between us and the pupil, or perhaps among all men,
we do in truth speak in such a dialect and express such views,
beyond question we shall touch in him a spring; beyond question he
will recognise the dialect as one that he himself has spoken in his
better hours; beyond question he will cry, 'I had forgotten, but
now I remember; I too have eyes, and I had forgot to use them!  I
too have a soul of my own, arrogantly upright, and to that I will
listen and conform.'  In short, say to him anything that he has
once thought, or been upon the point of thinking, or show him any
view of life that he has once clearly seen, or been upon the point
of clearly seeing; and you have done your part and may leave him to
complete the education for himself.

Now, the view taught at the present time seems to me to want
greatness; and the dialect in which alone it can be intelligibly
uttered is not the dialect of my soul.  It is a sort of
postponement of life; nothing quite is, but something different is
to be; we are to keep our eyes upon the indirect from the cradle to
the grave.  We are to regulate our conduct not by desire, but by a
politic eye upon the future; and to value acts as they will bring
us money or good opinion; as they will bring us, in one word,
PROFIT.  We must be what is called respectable, and offend no one
by our carriage; it will not do to make oneself conspicuous--who
knows? even in virtue? says the Christian parent!  And we must be
what is called prudent and make money; not only because it is
pleasant to have money, but because that also is a part of
respectability, and we cannot hope to be received in society
without decent possessions.  Received in society! as if that were
the kingdom of heaven!  There is dear Mr. So-and-so;--look at him!-
-so much respected--so much looked up to--quite the Christian
merchant!  And we must cut our conduct as strictly as possible
after the pattern of Mr. So-and-so; and lay our whole lives to make
money and be strictly decent.  Besides these holy injunctions,
which form by far the greater part of a youth's training in our
Christian homes, there are at least two other doctrines.  We are to
live just now as well as we can, but scrape at last into heaven,
where we shall be good.  We are to worry through the week in a lay,
disreputable way, but, to make matters square, live a different
life on Sunday.

The train of thought we have been following gives us a key to all
these positions, without stepping aside to justify them on their
own ground.  It is because we have been disgusted fifty times with
physical squalls, and fifty times torn between conflicting
impulses, that we teach people this indirect and tactical procedure
in life, and to judge by remote consequences instead of the
immediate face of things.  The very desire to act as our own souls
would have us, coupled with a pathetic disbelief in ourselves,
moves us to follow the example of others; perhaps, who knows? they
may be on the right track; and the more our patterns are in number,
the better seems the chance; until, if we be acting in concert with
a whole civilised nation, there are surely a majority of chances
that we must be acting right.  And again, how true it is that we
can never behave as we wish in this tormented sphere, and can only
aspire to different and more favourable circumstances, in order to
stand out and be ourselves wholly and rightly!  And yet once more,
if in the hurry and pressure of affairs and passions you tend to
nod and become drowsy, here are twenty-four hours of Sunday set
apart for you to hold counsel with your soul and look around you on
the possibilities of life.

This is not, of course, all that is to be, or even should be, said
for these doctrines.  Only, in the course of this chapter, the
reader and I have agreed upon a few catchwords, and been looking at
morals on a certain system; it was a pity to lose an opportunity of
testing the catchwords, and seeing whether, by this system as well
as by others, current doctrines could show any probable
justification.  If the doctrines had come too badly out of the
trial, it would have condemned the system.  Our sight of the world
is very narrow; the mind but a pedestrian instrument; there's
nothing new under the sun, as Solomon says, except the man himself;
and though that changes the aspect of everything else, yet he must
see the same things as other people, only from a different side.

And now, having admitted so much, let us turn to criticism.

If you teach a man to keep his eyes upon what others think of him,
unthinkingly to lead the life and hold the principles of the
majority of his contemporaries, you must discredit in his eyes the
one authoritative voice of his own soul.  He may be a docile
citizen; he will never be a man.  It is ours, on the other hand, to
disregard this babble and chattering of other men better and worse
than we are, and to walk straight before us by what light we have.
They may be right; but so, before heaven, are we.  They may know;
but we know also, and by that knowledge we must stand or fall.
There is such a thing as loyalty to a man's own better self; and
from those who have not that, God help me, how am I to look for
loyalty to others?  The most dull, the most imbecile, at a certain
moment turn round, at a certain point will hear no further
argument, but stand unflinching by their own dumb, irrational sense
of right.  It is not only by steel or fire, but through contempt
and blame, that the martyr fulfils the calling of his dear soul.
Be glad if you are not tried by such extremities.  But although all
the world ranged themselves in one line to tell you 'This is
wrong,' be you your own faithful vassal and the ambassador of God--
throw down the glove and answer 'This is right.'  Do you think you
are only declaring yourself?  Perhaps in some dim way, like a child
who delivers a message not fully understood, you are opening wider
the straits of prejudice and preparing mankind for some truer and
more spiritual grasp of truth; perhaps, as you stand forth for your
own judgment, you are covering a thousand weak ones with your body;
perhaps, by this declaration alone, you have avoided the guilt of
false witness against humanity and the little ones unborn.  It is
good, I believe, to be respectable, but much nobler to respect
oneself and utter the voice of God.  God, if there be any God,
speaks daily in a new language by the tongues of men; the thoughts
and habits of each fresh generation and each new-coined spirit
throw another light upon the universe and contain another
commentary on the printed Bibles; every scruple, every true
dissent, every glimpse of something new, is a letter of God's
alphabet; and though there is a grave responsibility for all who
speak, is there none for those who unrighteously keep silence and
conform?  Is not that also to conceal and cloak God's counsel?  And
how should we regard the man of science who suppressed all facts
that would not tally with the orthodoxy of the hour?

Wrong?  You are as surely wrong as the sun rose this morning round
the revolving shoulder of the world.  Not truth, but truthfulness,
is the good of your endeavour.  For when will men receive that
first part and prerequisite of truth, that, by the order of things,
by the greatness of the universe, by the darkness and partiality of
man's experience, by the inviolate secrecy of God, kept close in
His most open revelations, every man is, and to the end of the ages
must be, wrong?  Wrong to the universe; wrong to mankind; wrong to
God.  And yet in another sense, and that plainer and nearer, every
man of men, who wishes truly, must be right.  He is right to
himself, and in the measure of his sagacity and candour.  That let
him do in all sincerity and zeal, not sparing a thought for
contrary opinions; that, for what it is worth, let him proclaim.
Be not afraid; although he be wrong, so also is the dead, stuffed
Dagon he insults.  For the voice of God, whatever it is, is not
that stammering, inept tradition which the people holds.  These
truths survive in travesty, swamped in a world of spiritual
darkness and confusion; and what a few comprehend and faithfully
hold, the many, in their dead jargon, repeat, degrade, and
misinterpret.

So far of Respectability; what the Covenanters used to call 'rank
conformity':  the deadliest gag and wet blanket that can be laid on
men.  And now of Profit.  And this doctrine is perhaps the more
redoubtable, because it harms all sorts of men; not only the heroic
and self-reliant, but the obedient, cowlike squadrons.  A man, by
this doctrine, looks to consequences at the second, or third, or
fiftieth turn.  He chooses his end, and for that, with wily turns
and through a great sea of tedium, steers this mortal bark.  There
may be political wisdom in such a view; but I am persuaded there
can spring no great moral zeal.  To look thus obliquely upon life
is the very recipe for moral slumber.  Our intention and endeavour
should be directed, not on some vague end of money or applause,
which shall come to us by a ricochet in a month or a year, or
twenty years, but on the act itself; not on the approval of others,
but on the rightness of that act.  At every instant, at every step
in life, the point has to be decided, our soul has to be saved,
heaven has to be gained or lost.  At every step our spirits must
applaud, at every step we must set down the foot and sound the
trumpet.  'This have I done,' we must say; 'right or wrong, this
have I done, in unfeigned honour of intention, as to myself and
God.'  The profit of every act should be this, that it was right
for us to do it.  Any other profit than that, if it involved a
kingdom or the woman I love, ought, if I were God's upright
soldier, to leave me untempted.

It is the mark of what we call a righteous decision, that it is
made directly and for its own sake.  The whole man, mind and body,
having come to an agreement, tyrannically dictates conduct.  There
are two dispositions eternally opposed:  that in which we recognise
that one thing is wrong and another right, and that in which, not
seeing any clear distinction, we fall back on the consideration of
consequences.  The truth is, by the scope of our present teaching,
nothing is thought very wrong and nothing very right, except a few
actions which have the disadvantage of being disrespectable when
found out; the more serious part of men inclining to think all
things RATHER WRONG, the more jovial to suppose them RIGHT ENOUGH
FOR PRACTICAL PURPOSES.  I will engage my head, they do not find
that view in their own hearts; they have taken it up in a dark
despair; they are but troubled sleepers talking in their sleep.
The soul, or my soul at least, thinks very distinctly upon many
points of right and wrong, and often differs flatly with what is
held out as the thought of corporate humanity in the code of
society or the code of law.  Am I to suppose myself a monster?  I
have only to read books, the Christian Gospels for example, to
think myself a monster no longer; and instead I think the mass of
people are merely speaking in their sleep.

It is a commonplace, enshrined, if I mistake not, even in school
copy-books, that honour is to be sought and not fame.  I ask no
other admission; we are to seek honour, upright walking with our
own conscience every hour of the day, and not fame, the
consequence, the far-off reverberation of our footsteps.  The walk,
not the rumour of the walk, is what concerns righteousness.  Better
disrespectable honour than dishonourable fame.  Better useless or
seemingly hurtful honour, than dishonour ruling empires and filling
the mouths of thousands.  For the man must walk by what he sees,
and leave the issue with God who made him and taught him by the
fortune of his life.  You would not dishonour yourself for money;
which is at least tangible; would you do it, then, for a doubtful
forecast in politics, or another person's theory in morals?

So intricate is the scheme of our affairs, that no man can
calculate the bearing of his own behaviour even on those
immediately around him, how much less upon the world at large or on
succeeding generations!  To walk by external prudence and the rule
of consequences would require, not a man, but God.  All that we
know to guide us in this changing labyrinth is our soul with its
fixed design of righteousness, and a few old precepts which commend
themselves to that.  The precepts are vague when we endeavour to
apply them; consequences are more entangled than a wisp of string,
and their confusion is unrestingly in change; we must hold to what
we know and walk by it.  We must walk by faith, indeed, and not by
knowledge.

You do not love another because he is wealthy or wise or eminently
respectable:  you love him because you love him; that is love, and
any other only a derision and grimace.  It should be the same with
all our actions.  If we were to conceive a perfect man, it should
be one who was never torn between conflicting impulses, but who, on
the absolute consent of all his parts and faculties, submitted in
every action of his life to a self-dictation as absolute and
unreasoned as that which bids him love one woman and be true to her
till death.  But we should not conceive him as sagacious,
ascetical, playing off his appetites against each other, turning
the wing of public respectable immorality instead of riding it
directly down, or advancing toward his end through a thousand
sinister compromises and considerations.  The one man might be
wily, might be adroit, might be wise, might be respectable, might
be gloriously useful; it is the other man who would be good.

The soul asks honour and not fame; to be upright, not to be
successful; to be good, not prosperous; to be essentially, not
outwardly, respectable.  Does your soul ask profit?  Does it ask
money?  Does it ask the approval of the indifferent herd?  I
believe not.  For my own part, I want but little money, I hope; and
I do not want to be decent at all, but to be good.



CHAPTER IV



We have spoken of that supreme self-dictation which keeps varying
from hour to hour in its dictates with the variation of events and
circumstances.  Now, for us, that is ultimate.  It may be founded
on some reasonable process, but it is not a process which we can
follow or comprehend.  And moreover the dictation is not
continuous, or not continuous except in very lively and well-living
natures; and between-whiles we must brush along without it.
Practice is a more intricate and desperate business than the
toughest theorising; life is an affair of cavalry, where rapid
judgment and prompt action are alone possible and right.  As a
matter of fact, there is no one so upright but he is influenced by
the world's chatter; and no one so headlong but he requires to
consider consequences and to keep an eye on profit.  For the soul
adopts all affections and appetites without exception, and cares
only to combine them for some common purpose which shall interest
all.  Now, respect for the opinion of others, the study of
consequences, and the desire of power and comfort, are all
undeniably factors in the nature of man; and the more undeniably
since we find that, in our current doctrines, they have swallowed
up the others and are thought to conclude in themselves all the
worthy parts of man.  These, then, must also be suffered to affect
conduct in the practical domain, much or little according as they
are forcibly or feebly present to the mind of each.

Now, a man's view of the universe is mostly a view of the civilised
society in which he lives.  Other men and women are so much more
grossly and so much more intimately palpable to his perceptions,
that they stand between him and all the rest; they are larger to
his eye than the sun, he hears them more plainly than thunder, with
them, by them, and for them, he must live and die.  And hence the
laws that affect his intercourse with his fellow-men, although
merely customary and the creatures of a generation, are more
clearly and continually before his mind than those which bind him
into the eternal system of things, support him in his upright
progress on this whirling ball, or keep up the fire of his bodily
life.  And hence it is that money stands in the first rank of
considerations and so powerfully affects the choice.  For our
society is built with money for mortar; money is present in every
joint of circumstance; it might be named the social atmosphere,
since, in society, it is by that alone that men continue to live,
and only through that or chance that they can reach or affect one
another.  Money gives us food, shelter, and privacy; it permits us
to be clean in person, opens for us the doors of the theatre, gains
us books for study or pleasure, enables us to help the distresses
of others, and puts us above necessity so that we can choose the
best in life.  If we love, it enables us to meet and live with the
loved one, or even to prolong her health and life; if we have
scruples, it gives us an opportunity to be honest; if we have any
bright designs, here is what will smooth the way to their
accomplishment.  Penury is the worst slavery, and will soon lead to
death.

But money is only a means; it presupposes a man to use it.  The
rich can go where he pleases, but perhaps please himself nowhere.
He can buy a library or visit the whole world, but perhaps has
neither patience to read nor intelligence to see.  The table may be
loaded and the appetite wanting; the purse may be full, and the
heart empty.  He may have gained the world and lost himself; and
with all his wealth around him, in a great house and spacious and
beautiful demesne, he may live as blank a life as any tattered
ditcher.  Without an appetite, without an aspiration, void of
appreciation, bankrupt of desire and hope, there, in his great
house, let him sit and look upon his fingers.  It is perhaps a more
fortunate destiny to have a taste for collecting shells than to be
born a millionaire.  Although neither is to be despised, it is
always better policy to learn an interest than to make a thousand
pounds; for the money will soon be spent, or perhaps you may feel
no joy in spending it; but the interest remains imperishable and
ever new.  To become a botanist, a geologist, a social philosopher,
an antiquary, or an artist, is to enlarge one's possessions in the
universe by an incalculably higher degree, and by a far surer sort
of property, than to purchase a farm of many acres.  You had
perhaps two thousand a year before the transaction; perhaps you
have two thousand five hundred after it.  That represents your gain
in the one case.  But in the other, you have thrown down a barrier
which concealed significance and beauty.  The blind man has learned
to see.  The prisoner has opened up a window in his cell and
beholds enchanting prospects; he will never again be a prisoner as
he was; he can watch clouds and changing seasons, ships on the
river, travellers on the road, and the stars at night; happy
prisoner! his eyes have broken jail!  And again he who has learned
to love an art or science has wisely laid up riches against the day
of riches; if prosperity come, he will not enter poor into his
inheritance; he will not slumber and forget himself in the lap of
money, or spend his hours in counting idle treasures, but be up and
briskly doing; he will have the true alchemic touch, which is not
that of Midas, but which transmutes dead money into living delight
and satisfaction.  Etre et pas avoir--to be, not to possess--that
is the problem of life.  To be wealthy, a rich nature is the first
requisite and money but the second.  To be of a quick and healthy
blood, to share in all honourable curiosities, to be rich in
admiration and free from envy, to rejoice greatly in the good of
others, to love with such generosity of heart that your love is
still a dear possession in absence or unkindness--these are the
gifts of fortune which money cannot buy and without which money can
buy nothing.  For what can a man possess, or what can he enjoy,
except himself?  If he enlarge his nature, it is then that he
enlarges his estates.  If his nature be happy and valiant, he will
enjoy the universe as if it were his park and orchard.

But money is not only to be spent; it has also to be earned.  It is
not merely a convenience or a necessary in social life; but it is
the coin in which mankind pays his wages to the individual man.
And from this side, the question of money has a very different
scope and application.  For no man can be honest who does not work.
Service for service.  If the farmer buys corn, and the labourer
ploughs and reaps, and the baker sweats in his hot bakery, plainly
you who eat must do something in your turn.  It is not enough to
take off your hat, or to thank God upon your knees for the
admirable constitution of society and your own convenient situation
in its upper and more ornamental stories.  Neither is it enough to
buy the loaf with a sixpence; for then you are only changing the
point of the inquiry; and you must first have BOUGHT THE SIXPENCE.
Service for service:  how have you bought your sixpences?  A man of
spirit desires certainty in a thing of such a nature; he must see
to it that there is some reciprocity between him and mankind; that
he pays his expenditure in service; that he has not a lion's share
in profit and a drone's in labour; and is not a sleeping partner
and mere costly incubus on the great mercantile concern of mankind.

Services differ so widely with different gifts, and some are so
inappreciable to external tests, that this is not only a matter for
the private conscience, but one which even there must be leniently
and trustfully considered.  For remember how many serve mankind who
do no more than meditate; and how many are precious to their
friends for no more than a sweet and joyous temper.  To perform the
function of a man of letters it is not necessary to write; nay, it
is perhaps better to be a living book.  So long as we love we
serve; so long as we are loved by others, I would almost say that
we are indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend.
The true services of life are inestimable in money, and are never
paid.  Kind words and caresses, high and wise thoughts, humane
designs, tender behaviour to the weak and suffering, and all the
charities of man's existence, are neither bought nor sold.

Yet the dearest and readiest, if not the most just, criterion of a
man's services, is the wage that mankind pays him or, briefly, what
he earns.  There at least there can be no ambiguity.  St. Paul is
fully and freely entitled to his earnings as a tentmaker, and
Socrates fully and freely entitled to his earnings as a sculptor,
although the true business of each was not only something
different, but something which remained unpaid.  A man cannot
forget that he is not superintended, and serves mankind on parole.
He would like, when challenged by his own conscience, to reply:  'I
have done so much work, and no less, with my own hands and brain,
and taken so much profit, and no more, for my own personal
delight.'  And though St. Paul, if he had possessed a private
fortune, would probably have scorned to waste his time in making
tents, yet of all sacrifices to public opinion none can be more
easily pardoned than that by which a man, already spiritually
useful to the world, should restrict the field of his chief
usefulness to perform services more apparent, and possess a
livelihood that neither stupidity nor malice could call in
question.  Like all sacrifices to public opinion and mere external
decency, this would certainly be wrong; for the soul should rest
contented with its own approval and indissuadably pursue its own
calling.  Yet, so grave and delicate is the question, that a man
may well hesitate before he decides it for himself; he may well
fear that he sets too high a valuation on his own endeavours after
good; he may well condescend upon a humbler duty, where others than
himself shall judge the service and proportion the wage.

And yet it is to this very responsibility that the rich are born.
They can shuffle off the duty on no other; they are their own
paymasters on parole; and must pay themselves fair wages and no
more.  For I suppose that in the course of ages, and through reform
and civil war and invasion, mankind was pursuing some other and
more general design than to set one or two Englishmen of the
nineteenth century beyond the reach of needs and duties.  Society
was scarce put together, and defended with so much eloquence and
blood, for the convenience of two or three millionaires and a few
hundred other persons of wealth and position.  It is plain that if
mankind thus acted and suffered during all these generations, they
hoped some benefit, some ease, some wellbeing, for themselves and
their descendants; that if they supported law and order, it was to
secure fair-play for all; that if they denied themselves in the
present, they must have had some designs upon the future.  Now, a
great hereditary fortune is a miracle of man's wisdom and mankind's
forbearance; it has not only been amassed and handed down, it has
been suffered to be amassed and handed down; and surely in such a
consideration as this, its possessor should find only a new spur to
activity and honour, that with all this power of service he should
not prove unserviceable, and that this mass of treasure should
return in benefits upon the race.  If he had twenty, or thirty, or
a hundred thousand at his banker's, or if all Yorkshire or all
California were his to manage or to sell, he would still be morally
penniless, and have the world to begin like Whittington, until he
had found some way of serving mankind.  His wage is physically in
his own hand; but, in honour, that wage must still be earned.  He
is only steward on parole of what is called his fortune.  He must
honourably perform his stewardship.  He must estimate his own
services and allow himself a salary in proportion, for that will be
one among his functions.  And while he will then be free to spend
that salary, great or little, on his own private pleasures, the
rest of his fortune he but holds and disposes under trust for
mankind; it is not his, because he has not earned it; it cannot be
his, because his services have already been paid; but year by year
it is his to distribute, whether to help individuals whose
birthright and outfit have been swallowed up in his, or to further
public works and institutions.

At this rate, short of inspiration, it seems hardly possible to be
both rich and honest; and the millionaire is under a far more
continuous temptation to thieve than the labourer who gets his
shilling daily for despicable toils.  Are you surprised?  It is
even so.  And you repeat it every Sunday in your churches.  'It is
easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a
rich man to enter the kingdom of God.'  I have heard this and
similar texts ingeniously explained away and brushed from the path
of the aspiring Christian by the tender Great-heart of the parish.
One excellent clergyman told us that the 'eye of a needle' meant a
low, Oriental postern through which camels could not pass till they
were unloaded--which is very likely just; and then went on, bravely
confounding the 'kingdom of God' with heaven, the future paradise,
to show that of course no rich person could expect to carry his
riches beyond the grave--which, of course, he could not and never
did.  Various greedy sinners of the congregation drank in the
comfortable doctrine with relief.  It was worth the while having
come to church that Sunday morning!  All was plain.  The Bible, as
usual, meant nothing in particular; it was merely an obscure and
figurative school-copybook; and if a man were only respectable, he
was a man after God's own heart.

Alas! I fear not.  And though this matter of a man's services is
one for his own conscience, there are some cases in which it is
difficult to restrain the mind from judging.  Thus I shall be very
easily persuaded that a man has earned his daily bread; and if he
has but a friend or two to whom his company is delightful at heart,
I am more than persuaded at once.  But it will be very hard to
persuade me that any one has earned an income of a hundred
thousand.  What he is to his friends, he still would be if he were
made penniless to-morrow; for as to the courtiers of luxury and
power, I will neither consider them friends, nor indeed consider
them at all.  What he does for mankind there are most likely
hundreds who would do the same, as effectually for the race and as
pleasurably to themselves, for the merest fraction of this
monstrous wage.  Why it is paid, I am, therefore, unable to
conceive, and as the man pays it himself, out of funds in his
detention, I have a certain backwardness to think him honest.

At least, we have gained a very obvious point:  that WHAT A MAN
SPENDS UPON HIMSELF, HE SHALL HAVE EARNED BY SERVICES TO THE RACE.
Thence flows a principle for the outset of life, which is a little
different from that taught in the present day.  I am addressing the
middle and the upper classes; those who have already been fostered
and prepared for life at some expense; those who have some choice
before them, and can pick professions; and above all, those who are
what is called independent, and need do nothing unless pushed by
honour or ambition.  In this particular the poor are happy; among
them, when a lad comes to his strength, he must take the work that
offers, and can take it with an easy conscience.  But in the richer
classes the question is complicated by the number of opportunities
and a variety of considerations.  Here, then, this principle of
ours comes in helpfully.  The young man has to seek, not a road to
wealth, but an opportunity of service; not money, but honest work.
If he has some strong propensity, some calling of nature, some
over-weening interest in any special field of industry, inquiry, or
art, he will do right to obey the impulse; and that for two
reasons:  the first external, because there he will render the best
services; the second personal, because a demand of his own nature
is to him without appeal whenever it can be satisfied with the
consent of his other faculties and appetites.  If he has no such
elective taste, by the very principle on which he chooses any
pursuit at all he must choose the most honest and serviceable, and
not the most highly remunerated.  We have here an external problem,
not from or to ourself, but flowing from the constitution of
society; and we have our own soul with its fixed design of
righteousness.  All that can be done is to present the problem in
proper terms, and leave it to the soul of the individual.  Now, the
problem to the poor is one of necessity:  to earn wherewithal to
live, they must find remunerative labour.  But the problem to the
rich is one of honour:  having the wherewithal, they must find
serviceable labour.  Each has to earn his daily bread:  the one,
because he has not yet got it to eat; the other, who has already
eaten it, because he has not yet earned it.

Of course, what is true of bread is true of luxuries and comforts,
whether for the body or the mind.  But the consideration of
luxuries leads us to a new aspect of the whole question, and to a
second proposition no less true, and maybe no less startling, than
the last.

At the present day, we, of the easier classes, are in a state of
surfeit and disgrace after meat.  Plethora has filled us with
indifference; and we are covered from head to foot with the
callosities of habitual opulence.  Born into what is called a
certain rank, we live, as the saying is, up to our station.  We
squander without enjoyment, because our fathers squandered.  We eat
of the best, not from delicacy, but from brazen habit.  We do not
keenly enjoy or eagerly desire the presence of a luxury; we are
unaccustomed to its absence.  And not only do we squander money
from habit, but still more pitifully waste it in ostentation.  I
can think of no more melancholy disgrace for a creature who
professes either reason or pleasure for his guide, than to spend
the smallest fraction of his income upon that which he does not
desire; and to keep a carriage in which you do not wish to drive,
or a butler of whom you are afraid, is a pathetic kind of folly.
Money, being a means of happiness, should make both parties happy
when it changes hands; rightly disposed, it should be twice blessed
in its employment; and buyer and seller should alike have their
twenty shillings worth of profit out of every pound.  Benjamin
Franklin went through life an altered man, because he once paid too
dearly for a penny whistle.  My concern springs usually from a
deeper source, to wit, from having bought a whistle when I did not
want one.  I find I regret this, or would regret it if I gave
myself the time, not only on personal but on moral and
philanthropical considerations.  For, first, in a world where money
is wanting to buy books for eager students and food and medicine
for pining children, and where a large majority are starved in
their most immediate desires, it is surely base, stupid, and cruel
to squander money when I am pushed by no appetite and enjoy no
return of genuine satisfaction.  My philanthropy is wide enough in
scope to include myself; and when I have made myself happy, I have
at least one good argument that I have acted rightly; but where
that is not so, and I have bought and not enjoyed, my mouth is
closed, and I conceive that I have robbed the poor.  And, second,
anything I buy or use which I do not sincerely want or cannot
vividly enjoy, disturbs the balance of supply and demand, and
contributes to remove industrious hands from the production of what
is useful or pleasurable and to keep them busy upon ropes of sand
and things that are a weariness to the flesh.  That extravagance is
truly sinful, and a very silly sin to boot, in which we impoverish
mankind and ourselves.  It is another question for each man's
heart.  He knows if he can enjoy what he buys and uses; if he
cannot, he is a dog in the manger; nay, it he cannot, I contend he
is a thief, for nothing really belongs to a man which he cannot
use.  Proprietor is connected with propriety; and that only is the
man's which is proper to his wants and faculties.

A youth, in choosing a career, must not be alarmed by poverty.
Want is a sore thing, but poverty does not imply want.  It remains
to be seen whether with half his present income, or a third, he
cannot, in the most generous sense, live as fully as at present.
He is a fool who objects to luxuries; but he is also a fool who
does not protest against the waste of luxuries on those who do not
desire and cannot enjoy them.  It remains to be seen, by each man
who would live a true life to himself and not a merely specious
life to society, how many luxuries he truly wants and to how many
he merely submits as to a social propriety; and all these last he
will immediately forswear.  Let him do this, and he will be
surprised to find how little money it requires to keep him in
complete contentment and activity of mind and senses.  Life at any
level among the easy classes is conceived upon a principle of
rivalry, where each man and each household must ape the tastes and
emulate the display of others.  One is delicate in eating, another
in wine, a third in furniture or works of art or dress; and I, who
care nothing for any of these refinements, who am perhaps a plain
athletic creature and love exercise, beef, beer, flannel shirts and
a camp bed, am yet called upon to assimilate all these other tastes
and make these foreign occasions of expenditure my own.  It may be
cynical:  I am sure I shall be told it is selfish; but I will spend
my money as I please and for my own intimate personal
gratification, and should count myself a nincompoop indeed to lay
out the colour of a halfpenny on any fancied social decency or
duty.  I shall not wear gloves unless my hands are cold, or unless
I am born with a delight in them.  Dress is my own affair, and that
of one other in the world; that, in fact and for an obvious reason,
of any woman who shall chance to be in love with me.  I shall lodge
where I have a mind.  If I do not ask society to live with me, they
must be silent; and even if I do, they have no further right but to
refuse the invitation!  There is a kind of idea abroad that a man
must live up to his station, that his house, his table, and his
toilette, shall be in a ratio of equivalence, and equally imposing
to the world.  If this is in the Bible, the passage has eluded my
inquiries.  If it is not in the Bible, it is nowhere but in the
heart of the fool.  Throw aside this fancy.  See what you want, and
spend upon that; distinguish what you do not care about, and spend
nothing upon that.  There are not many people who can differentiate
wines above a certain and that not at all a high price.  Are you
sure you are one of these?  Are you sure you prefer cigars at
sixpence each to pipes at some fraction of a farthing?  Are you
sure you wish to keep a gig?  Do you care about where you sleep, or
are you not as much at your ease in a cheap lodging as in an
Elizabethan manor-house?  Do you enjoy fine clothes?  It is not
possible to answer these questions without a trial; and there is
nothing more obvious to my mind, than that a man who has not
experienced some ups and downs, and been forced to live more
cheaply than in his father's house, has still his education to
begin.  Let the experiment be made, and he will find to his
surprise that he has been eating beyond his appetite up to that
hour; that the cheap lodging, the cheap tobacco, the rough country
clothes, the plain table, have not only no power to damp his
spirits, but perhaps give him as keen pleasure in the using as the
dainties that he took, betwixt sleep and waking, in his former
callous and somnambulous submission to wealth.

The true Bohemian, a creature lost to view under the imaginary
Bohemians of literature, is exactly described by such a principle
of life.  The Bohemian of the novel, who drinks more than is good
for him and prefers anything to work, and wears strange clothes, is
for the most part a respectable Bohemian, respectable in
disrespectability, living for the outside, and an adventurer.  But
the man I mean lives wholly to himself, does what he wishes, and
not what is thought proper, buys what he wants for himself, and not
what is thought proper, works at what he believes he can do well
and not what will bring him in money or favour.  You may be the
most respectable of men, and yet a true Bohemian.  And the test is
this:  a Bohemian, for as poor as he may be, is always open-handed
to his friends; he knows what he can do with money and how he can
do without it, a far rarer and more useful knowledge; he has had
less, and continued to live in some contentment; and hence he cares
not to keep more, and shares his sovereign or his shilling with a
friend.  The poor, if they are generous, are Bohemian in virtue of
their birth.  Do you know where beggars go?  Not to the great
houses where people sit dazed among their thousands, but to the
doors of poor men who have seen the world; and it was the widow who
had only two mites, who cast half her fortune into the treasury.

But a young man who elects to save on dress or on lodging, or who
in any way falls out of the level of expenditure which is common to
his level in society, falls out of society altogether.  I suppose
the young man to have chosen his career on honourable principles;
he finds his talents and instincts can be best contented in a
certain pursuit; in a certain industry, he is sure that he is
serving mankind with a healthy and becoming service; and he is not
sure that he would be doing so, or doing so equally well, in any
other industry within his reach.  Then that is his true sphere in
life; not the one in which he was born to his father, but the one
which is proper to his talents and instincts.  And suppose he does
fall out of society, is that a cause of sorrow?  Is your heart so
dead that you prefer the recognition of many to the love of a few?
Do you think society loves you?  Put it to the proof.  Decline in
material expenditure, and you will find they care no more for you
than for the Khan of Tartary.  You will lose no friends.  If you
had any, you will keep them.  Only those who were friends to your
coat and equipage will disappear; the smiling faces will disappear
as by enchantment; but the kind hearts will remain steadfastly
kind.  Are you so lost, are you so dead, are you so little sure of
your own soul and your own footing upon solid fact, that you prefer
before goodness and happiness the countenance of sundry diners-out,
who will flee from you at a report of ruin, who will drop you with
insult at a shadow of disgrace, who do not know you and do not care
to know you but by sight, and whom you in your turn neither know
nor care to know in a more human manner?  Is it not the principle
of society, openly avowed, that friendship must not interfere with
business; which being paraphrased, means simply that a
consideration of money goes before any consideration of affection
known to this cold-blooded gang, that they have not even the honour
of thieves, and will rook their nearest and dearest as readily as a
stranger?  I hope I would go as far as most to serve a friend; but
I declare openly I would not put on my hat to do a pleasure to
society.  I may starve my appetites and control my temper for the
sake of those I love; but society shall take me as I choose to be,
or go without me.  Neither they nor I will lose; for where there is
no love, it is both laborious and unprofitable to associate.

But it is obvious that if it is only right for a man to spend money
on that which he can truly and thoroughly enjoy, the doctrine
applies with equal force to the rich and to the poor, to the man
who has amassed many thousands as well as to the youth precariously
beginning life.  And it may be asked, Is not this merely preparing
misers, who are not the best of company?  But the principle was
this:  that which a man has not fairly earned, and, further, that
which he cannot fully enjoy, does not belong to him, but is a part
of mankind's treasure which he holds as steward on parole.  To
mankind, then, it must be made profitable; and how this should be
done is, once more, a problem which each man must solve for
himself, and about which none has a right to judge him.  Yet there
are a few considerations which are very obvious and may here be
stated.  Mankind is not only the whole in general, but every one in
particular.  Every man or woman is one of mankind's dear
possessions; to his or her just brain, and kind heart, and active
hands, mankind intrusts some of its hopes for the future; he or she
is a possible well-spring of good acts and source of blessings to
the race.  This money which you do not need, which, in a rigid
sense, you do not want, may therefore be returned not only in
public benefactions to the race, but in private kindnesses.  Your
wife, your children, your friends stand nearest to you, and should
be helped the first.  There at least there can be little imposture,
for you know their necessities of your own knowledge.  And
consider, if all the world did as you did, and according to their
means extended help in the circle of their affections, there would
be no more crying want in times of plenty and no more cold,
mechanical charity given with a doubt and received with confusion.
Would not this simple rule make a new world out of the old and
cruel one which we inhabit?


[After two more sentences the fragment breaks off.]




FATHER DAMIEN
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE REVEREND
DR. HYDE OF HONOLULU




SYDNEY,
February 25, 1890.


Sir,--It may probably occur to you that we have met, and visited,
and conversed; on my side, with interest.  You may remember that
you have done me several courtesies, for which I was prepared to be
grateful.  But there are duties which come before gratitude, and
offences which justly divide friends, far more acquaintances.  Your
letter to the Reverend H. B. Gage is a document which, in my sight,
if you had filled me with bread when I was starving, if you had sat
up to nurse my father when he lay a-dying, would yet absolve me
from the bonds of gratitude.  You know enough, doubtless, of the
process of canonisation to be aware that, a hundred years after the
death of Damien, there will appear a man charged with the painful
office of the DEVIL'S ADVOCATE.  After that noble brother of mine,
and of all frail clay, shall have lain a century at rest, one shall
accuse, one defend him.  The circumstance is unusual that the
devil's advocate should be a volunteer, should be a member of a
sect immediately rival, and should make haste to take upon himself
his ugly office ere the bones are cold; unusual, and of a taste
which I shall leave my readers free to qualify; unusual, and to me
inspiring.  If I have at all learned the trade of using words to
convey truth and to arouse emotion, you have at last furnished me
with a subject.  For it is in the interest of all mankind, and the
cause of public decency in every quarter of the world, not only
that Damien should be righted, but that you and your letter should
be displayed at length, in their true colours, to the public eye.

To do this properly, I must begin by quoting you at large:  I shall
then proceed to criticise your utterance from several points of
view, divine and human, in the course of which I shall attempt to
draw again, and with more specification, the character of the dead
saint whom it has pleased you to vilify:  so much being done, I
shall say farewell to you for ever.


'HONOLULU,
'August 2, 1889.


'Rev. H. B. GAGE.

'Dear Brother,--In answer to your inquiries about Father Damien, I
can only reply that we who knew the man are surprised at the
extravagant newspaper laudations, as if he was a most saintly
philanthropist.  The simple truth is, he was a coarse, dirty man,
head-strong and bigoted.  He was not sent to Molokai, but went
there without orders; did not stay at the leper settlement (before
he became one himself), but circulated freely over the whole island
(less than half the island is devoted to the lepers), and he came
often to Honolulu.  He had no hand in the reforms and improvements
inaugurated, which were the work of our Board of Health, as
occasion required and means were provided.  He was not a pure man
in his relations with women, and the leprosy of which he died
should be attributed to his vices and carelessness.  Others have
done much for the lepers, our own ministers, the government
physicians, and so forth, but never with the Catholic idea of
meriting eternal life.--Yours, etc.,

'C. M. HYDE.' {1}


To deal fitly with a letter so extraordinary, I must draw at the
outset on my private knowledge of the signatory and his sect.  It
may offend others; scarcely you, who have been so busy to collect,
so bold to publish, gossip on your rivals.  And this is perhaps the
moment when I may best explain to you the character of what you are
to read:  I conceive you as a man quite beyond and below the
reticences of civility:  with what measure you mete, with that
shall it be measured you again; with you, at last, I rejoice to
feel the button off the foil and to plunge home.  And if in aught
that I shall say I should offend others, your colleagues, whom I
respect and remember with affection, I can but offer them my
regret; I am not free, I am inspired by the consideration of
interests far more large; and such pain as can be inflicted by
anything from me must be indeed trifling when compared with the
pain with which they read your letter.  It is not the hangman, but
the criminal, that brings dishonour on the house.

You belong, sir, to a sect--I believe my sect, and that in which my
ancestors laboured--which has enjoyed, and partly failed to
utilise, an exceptional advantage in the islands of Hawaii.  The
first missionaries came; they found the land already self-purged of
its old and bloody faith; they were embraced, almost on their
arrival, with enthusiasm; what troubles they supported came far
more from whites than from Hawaiians; and to these last they stood
(in a rough figure) in the shoes of God.  This is not the place to
enter into the degree or causes of their failure, such as it is.
One element alone is pertinent, and must here be plainly dealt
with.  In the course of their evangelical calling, they--or too
many of them--grew rich.  It may be news to you that the houses of
missionaries are a cause of mocking on the streets of Honolulu.  It
will at least be news to you, that when I returned your civil
visit, the driver of my cab commented on the size, the taste, and
the comfort of your home.  It would have been news certainly to
myself, had any one told me that afternoon that I should live to
drag such matter into print.  But you see, sir, how you degrade
better men to your own level; and it is needful that those who are
to judge betwixt you and me, betwixt Damien and the devil's
advocate, should understand your letter to have been penned in a
house which could raise, and that very justly, the envy and the
comments of the passers-by.  I think (to employ a phrase of yours
which I admire) it 'should be attributed' to you that you have
never visited the scene of Damien's life and death.  If you had,
and had recalled it, and looked about your pleasant rooms, even
your pen perhaps would have been stayed.

Your sect (and remember, as far as any sect avows me, it is mine)
has not done ill in a worldly sense in the Hawaiian Kingdom.  When
calamity befell their innocent parishioners, when leprosy descended
and took root in the Eight Islands, a quid pro quo was to be looked
for.  To that prosperous mission, and to you, as one of its
adornments, God had sent at last an opportunity.  I know I am
touching here upon a nerve acutely sensitive.  I know that others
of your colleagues look back on the inertia of your Church, and the
intrusive and decisive heroism of Damien, with something almost to
be called remorse.  I am sure it is so with yourself; I am
persuaded your letter was inspired by a certain envy, not
essentially ignoble, and the one human trait to be espied in that
performance.  You were thinking of the lost chance, the past day;
of that which should have been conceived and was not; of the
service due and not rendered.  Time was, said the voice in your
ear, in your pleasant room, as you sat raging and writing; and if
the words written were base beyond parallel, the rage, I am happy
to repeat--it is the only compliment I shall pay you--the rage was
almost virtuous.  But, sir, when we have failed, and another has
succeeded; when we have stood by, and another has stepped in; when
we sit and grow bulky in our charming mansions, and a plain,
uncouth peasant steps into the battle, under the eyes of God, and
succours the afflicted, and consoles the dying, and is himself
afflicted in his turn, and dies upon the field of honour--the
battle cannot be retrieved as your unhappy irritation has
suggested.  It is a lost battle, and lost for ever.  One thing
remained to you in your defeat--some rags of common honour; and
these you have made haste to cast away.

Common honour; not the honour of having done anything right, but
the honour of not having done aught conspicuously foul; the honour
of the inert:  that was what remained to you.  We are not all
expected to be Damiens; a man may conceive his duty more narrowly,
he may love his comforts better; and none will cast a stone at him
for that.  But will a gentleman of your reverend profession allow
me an example from the fields of gallantry?  When two gentlemen
compete for the favour of a lady, and the one succeeds and the
other is rejected, and (as will sometimes happen) matter damaging
to the successful rival's credit reaches the ear of the defeated,
it is held by plain men of no pretensions that his mouth is, in the
circumstance, almost necessarily closed.  Your Church and Damien's
were in Hawaii upon a rivalry to do well:  to help, to edify, to
set divine examples.  You having (in one huge instance) failed, and
Damien succeeded, I marvel it should not have occurred to you that
you were doomed to silence; that when you had been outstripped in
that high rivalry, and sat inglorious in the midst of your
wellbeing, in your pleasant room--and Damien, crowned with glories
and horrors, toiled and rotted in that pigsty of his under the
cliffs of Kalawao--you, the elect who would not, were the last man
on earth to collect and propagate gossip on the volunteer who would
and did.

I think I see you--for I try to see you in the flesh as I write
these sentences--I think I see you leap at the word pigsty, a
hyperbolical expression at the best.  'He had no hand in the
reforms,' he was 'a coarse, dirty man'; these were your own words;
and you may think it possible that I am come to support you with
fresh evidence.  In a sense, it is even so.  Damien has been too
much depicted with a conventional halo and conventional features;
so drawn by men who perhaps had not the eye to remark or the pen to
express the individual; or who perhaps were only blinded and
silenced by generous admiration, such as I partly envy for myself--
such as you, if your soul were enlightened, would envy on your
bended knees.  It is the least defect of such a method of
portraiture that it makes the path easy for the devil's advocate,
and leaves for the misuse of the slanderer a considerable field of
truth.  For the truth that is suppressed by friends is the readiest
weapon of the enemy.  The world, in your despite, may perhaps owe
you something, if your letter be the means of substituting once for
all a credible likeness for a wax abstraction.  For, if that world
at all remember you, on the day when Damien of Molokai shall be
named Saint, it will be in virtue of one work:  your letter to the
Reverend H. B. Gage.

You may ask on what authority I speak.  It was my inclement destiny
to become acquainted, not with Damien, but with Dr. Hyde.  When I
visited the lazaretto, Damien was already in his resting grave.
But such information as I have, I gathered on the spot in
conversation with those who knew him well and long:  some indeed
who revered his memory; but others who had sparred and wrangled
with him, who beheld him with no halo, who perhaps regarded him
with small respect, and through whose unprepared and scarcely
partial communications the plain, human features of the man shone
on me convincingly.  These gave me what knowledge I possess; and I
learnt it in that scene where it could be most completely and
sensitively understood--Kalawao, which you have never visited,
about which you have never so much as endeavoured to inform
yourself; for, brief as your letter is, you have found the means to
stumble into that confession.  'LESS THAN ONE-HALF of the island,'
you say, 'is devoted to the lepers.'  Molokai--'Molokai ahina,' the
'grey,' lofty, and most desolate island--along all its northern
side plunges a front of precipice into a sea of unusual profundity.
This range of cliff is, from east to west, the true end and
frontier of the island.  Only in one spot there projects into the
ocean a certain triangular and rugged down, grassy, stony, windy,
and rising in the midst into a hill with a dead crater:  the whole
bearing to the cliff that overhangs it somewhat the same relation
as a bracket to a wall.  With this hint you will now be able to
pick out the leper station on a map; you will be able to judge how
much of Molokai is thus cut off between the surf and precipice,
whether less than a half, or less than a quarter, or a fifth, or a
tenth--or, say, a twentieth; and the next time you burst into print
you will be in a position to share with us the issue of your
calculations.

I imagine you to be one of those persons who talk with cheerfulness
of that place which oxen and wain-ropes could not drag you to
behold.  You, who do not even know its situation on the map,
probably denounce sensational descriptions, stretching your limbs
the while in your pleasant parlour on Beretania Street.  When I was
pulled ashore there one early morning, there sat with me in the
boat two sisters, bidding farewell (in humble imitation of Damien)
to the lights and joys of human life.  One of these wept silently;
I could not withhold myself from joining her.  Had you been there,
it is my belief that nature would have triumphed even in you; and
as the boat drew but a little nearer, and you beheld the stairs
crowded with abominable deformations of our common manhood, and saw
yourself landing in the midst of such a population as only now and
then surrounds us in the horror of a nightmare--what a haggard eye
you would have rolled over your reluctant shoulder towards the
house on Beretania Street!  Had you gone on; had you found every
fourth face a blot upon the landscape; had you visited the hospital
and seen the butt-ends of human beings lying there almost
unrecognisable, but still breathing, still thinking, still
remembering; you would have understood that life in the lazaretto
is an ordeal from which the nerves of a man's spirit shrink, even
as his eye quails under the brightness of the sun; you would have
felt it was (even to-day) a pitiful place to visit and a hell to
dwell in.  It is not the fear of possible infection.  That seems a
little thing when compared with the pain, the pity, and the disgust
of the visitor's surroundings, and the atmosphere of affliction,
disease, and physical disgrace in which he breathes.  I do not
think I am a man more than usually timid; but I never recall the
days and nights I spent upon that island promontory (eight days and
seven nights), without heartfelt thankfulness that I am somewhere
else.  I find in my diary that I speak of my stay as a 'grinding
experience':  I have once jotted in the margin, 'HARROWING is the
word'; and when the Mokolii bore me at last towards the outer
world, I kept repeating to myself, with a new conception of their
pregnancy, those simple words of the song -


''Tis the most distressful country that ever yet was seen.'


And observe:  that which I saw and suffered from was a settlement
purged, bettered, beautified; the new village built, the hospital
and the Bishop-Home excellently arranged; the sisters, the doctor,
and the missionaries, all indefatigable in their noble tasks.  It
was a different place when Damien came there and made his great
renunciation, and slept that first night under a tree amidst his
rotting brethren:  alone with pestilence; and looking forward (with
what courage, with what pitiful sinkings of dread, God only knows)
to a lifetime of dressing sores and stumps.

You will say, perhaps, I am too sensitive, that sights as painful
abound in cancer hospitals and are confronted daily by doctors and
nurses.  I have long learned to admire and envy the doctors and the
nurses.  But there is no cancer hospital so large and populous as
Kalawao and Kalaupapa; and in such a matter every fresh case, like
every inch of length in the pipe of an organ, deepens the note of
the impression; for what daunts the onlooker is that monstrous sum
of human suffering by which he stands surrounded.  Lastly, no
doctor or nurse is called upon to enter once for all the doors of
that gehenna; they do not say farewell, they need not abandon hope,
on its sad threshold; they but go for a time to their high calling,
and can look forward as they go to relief, to recreation, and to
rest.  But Damien shut-to with his own hand the doors of his own
sepulchre.

I shall now extract three passages from my diary at Kalawao.

A.  'Damien is dead and already somewhat ungratefully remembered in
the field of his labours and sufferings.  "He was a good man, but
very officious," says one.  Another tells me he had fallen (as
other priests so easily do) into something of the ways and habits
of thought of a Kanaka; but he had the wit to recognise the fact,
and the good sense to laugh at' [over] 'it.  A plain man it seems
he was; I cannot find he was a popular.'

B.  'After Ragsdale's death' [Ragsdale was a famous Luna, or
overseer, of the unruly settlement] 'there followed a brief term of
office by Father Damien which served only to publish the weakness
of that noble man.  He was rough in his ways, and he had no
control.  Authority was relaxed; Damien's life was threatened, and
he was soon eager to resign.'

C.  'Of Damien I begin to have an idea.  He seems to have been a
man of the peasant class, certainly of the peasant type:  shrewd,
ignorant and bigoted, yet with an open mind, and capable of
receiving and digesting a reproof if it were bluntly administered;
superbly generous in the least thing as well as in the greatest,
and as ready to give his last shirt (although not without human
grumbling) as he had been to sacrifice his life; essentially
indiscreet and officious, which made him a troublesome colleague;
domineering in all his ways, which made him incurably unpopular
with the Kanakas, but yet destitute of real authority, so that his
boys laughed at him and he must carry out his wishes by the means
of bribes.  He learned to have a mania for doctoring; and set up
the Kanakas against the remedies of his regular rivals:  perhaps
(if anything matter at all in the treatment of such a disease) the
worst thing that he did, and certainly the easiest.  The best and
worst of the man appear very plainly in his dealings with Mr.
Chapman's money; he had originally laid it out' [intended to lay it
out] 'entirely for the benefit of Catholics, and even so not
wisely; but after a long, plain talk, he admitted his error fully
and revised the list.  The sad state of the boys' home is in part
the result of his lack of control; in part, of his own slovenly
ways and false ideas of hygiene.  Brother officials used to call it
"Damien's Chinatown."  "Well," they would say, "your China-town
keeps growing."  And he would laugh with perfect good-nature, and
adhere to his errors with perfect obstinacy.  So much I have
gathered of truth about this plain, noble human brother and father
of ours; his imperfections are the traits of his face, by which we
know him for our fellow; his martyrdom and his example nothing can
lessen or annul; and only a person here on the spot can properly
appreciate their greatness.'

I have set down these private passages, as you perceive, without
correction; thanks to you, the public has them in their bluntness.
They are almost a list of the man's faults, for it is rather these
that I was seeking:  with his virtues, with the heroic profile of
his life, I and the world were already sufficiently acquainted.  I
was besides a little suspicious of Catholic testimony; in no ill
sense, but merely because Damien's admirers and disciples were the
least likely to be critical.  I know you will be more suspicious
still; and the facts set down above were one and all collected from
the lips of Protestants who had opposed the father in his life.
Yet I am strangely deceived, or they build up the image of a man,
with all his weaknesses, essentially heroic, and alive with rugged
honesty, generosity, and mirth.

Take it for what it is, rough private jottings of the worst sides
of Damien's character, collected from the lips of those who had
laboured with and (in your own phrase) 'knew the man';--though I
question whether Damien would have said that he knew you.  Take it,
and observe with wonder how well you were served by your gossips,
how ill by your intelligence and sympathy; in how many points of
fact we are at one, and how widely our appreciations vary.  There
is something wrong here; either with you or me.  It is possible,
for instance, that you, who seem to have so many ears in Kalawao,
had heard of the affair of Mr. Chapman's money, and were singly
struck by Damien's intended wrong-doing.  I was struck with that
also, and set it fairly down; but I was struck much more by the
fact that he had the honesty of mind to be convinced.  I may here
tell you that it was a long business; that one of his colleagues
sat with him late into the night, multiplying arguments and
accusations; that the father listened as usual with 'perfect good-
nature and perfect obstinacy'; but at the last, when he was
persuaded--'Yes,' said he, 'I am very much obliged to you; you have
done me a service; it would have been a theft.'  There are many
(not Catholics merely) who require their heroes and saints to be
infallible; to these the story will be painful; not to the true
lovers, patrons, and servants of mankind.

And I take it, this is a type of our division; that you are one of
those who have an eye for faults and failures; that you take a
pleasure to find and publish them; and that, having found them, you
make haste to forget the overvailing virtues and the real success
which had alone introduced them to your knowledge.  It is a
dangerous frame of mind.  That you may understand how dangerous,
and into what a situation it has already brought you, we will (if
you please) go hand-in-hand through the different phrases of your
letter, and candidly examine each from the point of view of its
truth, its appositeness, and its charity.

Damien was COARSE.

It is very possible.  You make us sorry for the lepers, who had
only a coarse old peasant for their friend and father.  But you,
who were so refined, why were you not there, to cheer them with the
lights of culture?  Or may I remind you that we have some reason to
doubt if John the Baptist were genteel; and in the case of Peter,
on whose career you doubtless dwell approvingly in the pulpit, no
doubt at all he was a 'coarse, headstrong' fisherman!  Yet even in
our Protestant Bibles Peter is called Saint.

Damien was DIRTY.

He was.  Think of the poor lepers annoyed with this dirty comrade!
But the clean Dr. Hyde was at his food in a fine house.

Damien was HEADSTRONG.

I believe you are right again; and I thank God for his strong head
and heart.

Damien was BIGOTED.

I am not fond of bigots myself, because they are not fond of me.
But what is meant by bigotry, that we should regard it as a blemish
in a priest?  Damien believed his own religion with the simplicity
of a peasant or a child; as I would I could suppose that you do.
For this, I wonder at him some way off; and had that been his only
character, should have avoided him in life.  But the point of
interest in Damien, which has caused him to be so much talked about
and made him at last the subject of your pen and mine, was that, in
him, his bigotry, his intense and narrow faith, wrought potently
for good, and strengthened him to be one of the world's heroes and
exemplars.

Damien WAS NOT SENT TO MOLOKAI, BUT WENT THERE WITHOUT ORDERS.

Is this a misreading? or do you really mean the words for blame?  I
have heard Christ, in the pulpits of our Church, held up for
imitation on the ground that His sacrifice was voluntary.  Does Dr.
Hyde think otherwise?

Damien DID NOT STAY AT THE SETTLEMENT, ETC.

It is true he was allowed many indulgences.  Am I to understand
that you blame the father for profiting by these, or the officers
for granting them?  In either case, it is a mighty Spartan standard
to issue from the house on Beretania Street; and I am convinced you
will find yourself with few supporters.

Damien HAD NO HAND IN THE REFORMS, ETC.

I think even you will admit that I have already been frank in my
description of the man I am defending; but before I take you up
upon this head, I will be franker still, and tell you that perhaps
nowhere in the world can a man taste a more pleasurable sense of
contrast than when he passes from Damien's 'Chinatown' at Kalawao
to the beautiful Bishop-Home at Kalaupapa.  At this point, in my
desire to make all fair for you, I will break my rule and adduce
Catholic testimony.  Here is a passage from my diary about my visit
to the Chinatown, from which you will see how it is (even now)
regarded by its own officials:  'We went round all the dormitories,
refectories, etc.--dark and dingy enough, with a superficial
cleanliness, which he' [Mr. Dutton, the lay-brother] 'did not seek
to defend.  "It is almost decent," said he; "the sisters will make
that all right when we get them here."'  And yet I gathered it was
already better since Damien was dead, and far better than when he
was there alone and had his own (not always excellent) way.  I have
now come far enough to meet you on a common ground of fact; and I
tell you that, to a mind not prejudiced by jealousy, all the
reforms of the lazaretto, and even those which he most vigorously
opposed, are properly the work of Damien.  They are the evidence of
his success; they are what his heroism provoked from the reluctant
and the careless.  Many were before him in the field; Mr. Meyer,
for instance, of whose faithful work we hear too little:  there
have been many since; and some had more worldly wisdom, though none
had more devotion, than our saint.  Before his day, even you will
confess, they had effected little.  It was his part, by one
striking act of martyrdom, to direct all men's eyes on that
distressful country.  At a blow, and with the price of his life, he
made the place illustrious and public.  And that, if you will
consider largely, was the one reform needful; pregnant of all that
should succeed.  It brought money; it brought (best individual
addition of them all) the sisters; it brought supervision, for
public opinion and public interest landed with the man at Kalawao.
If ever any man brought reforms, and died to bring them, it was he.
There is not a clean cup or towel in the Bishop-Home, but dirty
Damien washed it.

Damien WAS NOT A PURE MAN IN HIS RELATIONS WITH WOMEN, ETC.

How do you know that?  Is this the nature of the conversation in
that house on Beretania Street which the cabman envied, driving
past?--racy details of the misconduct of the poor peasant priest,
toiling under the cliffs of Molokai?

Many have visited the station before me; they seem not to have
heard the rumour.  When I was there I heard many shocking tales,
for my informants were men speaking with the plainness of the
laity; and I heard plenty of complaints of Damien.  Why was this
never mentioned? and how came it to you in the retirement of your
clerical parlour?

But I must not even seem to deceive you.  This scandal, when I read
it in your letter, was not new to me.  I had heard it once before;
and I must tell you how.  There came to Samoa a man from Honolulu;
he, in a public-house on the beach, volunteered the statement that
Damien had 'contracted the disease from having connection with the
female lepers'; and I find a joy in telling you how the report was
welcomed in a public-house.  A man sprang to his feet; I am not at
liberty to give his name, but from what I heard I doubt if you
would care to have him to dinner in Beretania Street.  'You
miserable little--' (here is a word I dare not print, it would so
shock your ears).  'You miserable little--,' he cried, 'if the
story were a thousand times true, can't you see you are a million
times a lower--for daring to repeat it?'  I wish it could be told
of you that when the report reached you in your house, perhaps
after family worship, you had found in your soul enough holy anger
to receive it with the same expressions; ay, even with that one
which I dare not print; it would not need to have been blotted
away, like Uncle Toby's oath, by the tears of the recording angel;
it would have been counted to you for your brightest righteousness.
But you have deliberately chosen the part of the man from Honolulu,
and you have played it with improvements of your own.  The man from
Honolulu--miserable, leering creature--communicated the tale to a
rude knot of beach-combing drinkers in a public-house, where (I
will so far agree with your temperance opinions) man is not always
at his noblest; and the man from Honolulu had himself been
drinking--drinking, we may charitably fancy, to excess.  It was to
your 'Dear Brother, the Reverend H. B. Gage,' that you chose to
communicate the sickening story; and the blue ribbon which adorns
your portly bosom forbids me to allow you the extenuating plea that
you were drunk when it was done.  Your 'dear brother'--a brother
indeed--made haste to deliver up your letter (as a means of grace,
perhaps) to the religious papers; where, after many months, I found
and read and wondered at it; and whence I have now reproduced it
for the wonder of others.  And you and your dear brother have, by
this cycle of operations, built up a contrast very edifying to
examine in detail.  The man whom you would not care to have to
dinner, on the one side; on the other, the Reverend Dr. Hyde and
the Reverend H. B. Gage:  the Apia bar-room, the Honolulu manse.

But I fear you scarce appreciate how you appear to your fellow-men;
and to bring it home to you, I will suppose your story to be true.
I will suppose--and God forgive me for supposing it--that Damien
faltered and stumbled in his narrow path of duty; I will suppose
that, in the horror of his isolation, perhaps in the fever of
incipient disease, he, who was doing so much more than he had
sworn, failed in the letter of his priestly oath--he, who was so
much a better man than either you or me, who did what we have never
dreamed of daring--he too tasted of our common frailty.  'O, Iago,
the pity of it!'  The least tender should be moved to tears; the
most incredulous to prayer.  And all that you could do was to pen
your letter to the Reverend H. B. Gage!

Is it growing at all clear to you what a picture you have drawn of
your own heart?  I will try yet once again to make it clearer.  You
had a father:  suppose this tale were about him, and some informant
brought it to you, proof in hand:  I am not making too high an
estimate of your emotional nature when I suppose you would regret
the circumstance? that you would feel the tale of frailty the more
keenly since it shamed the author of your days? and that the last
thing you would do would be to publish it in the religious press?
Well, the man who tried to do what Damien did, is my father, and
the father of the man in the Apia bar, and the father of all who
love goodness; and he was your father too, if God had given you
grace to see it.




THE PENTLAND RISING
A PAGE OF HISTORY
1666




'A cloud of witnesses lyes here,
Who for Christ's interest did appear.'
Inscription on Battlefield at Rullion Green.



CHAPTER I--THE CAUSES OF THE REVOLT



'Halt, passenger; take heed what thou dost see,
This tomb doth show for what some men did die.'
Monument, Greyfriars' Churchyard, Edinburgh,
1661-1668. {2a}


Two hundred years ago a tragedy was enacted in Scotland, the memory
whereof has been in great measure lost or obscured by the deep
tragedies which followed it.  It is, as it were, the evening of the
night of persecution--a sort of twilight, dark indeed to us, but
light as the noonday when compared with the midnight gloom which
followed.  This fact, of its being the very threshold of
persecution, lends it, however, an additional interest.

The prejudices of the people against Episcopacy were 'out of
measure increased,' says Bishop Burnet, 'by the new incumbents who
were put in the places of the ejected preachers, and were generally
very mean and despicable in all respects.  They were the worst
preachers I ever heard; they were ignorant to a reproach; and many
of them were openly vicious.  They . . . were indeed the dreg and
refuse of the northern parts.  Those of them who arose above
contempt or scandal were men of such violent tempers that they were
as much hated as the others were despised.' {2b}  It was little to
be wondered at, from this account that the country-folk refused to
go to the parish church, and chose rather to listen to outed
ministers in the fields.  But this was not to be allowed, and their
persecutors at last fell on the method of calling a roll of the
parishioners' names every Sabbath, and marking a fine of twenty
shillings Scots to the name of each absenter.  In this way very
large debts were incurred by persons altogether unable to pay.
Besides this, landlords were fined for their tenants' absences,
tenants for their landlords', masters for their servants', servants
for their masters', even though they themselves were perfectly
regular in their attendance.  And as the curates were allowed to
fine with the sanction of any common soldier, it may be imagined
that often the pretexts were neither very sufficient nor well
proven.

When the fines could not be paid at once, Bibles, clothes, and
household utensils were seized upon, or a number of soldiers,
proportionate to his wealth, were quartered on the offender.  The
coarse and drunken privates filled the houses with woe; snatched
the bread from the children to feed their dogs; shocked the
principles, scorned the scruples, and blasphemed the religion of
their humble hosts; and when they had reduced them to destitution,
sold the furniture, and burned down the roof-tree which was
consecrated to the peasants by the name of Home.  For all this
attention each of these soldiers received from his unwilling
landlord a certain sum of money per day--three shillings sterling,
according to Naphtali.  And frequently they were forced to pay
quartering money for more men than were in reality 'cessed on
them.'  At that time it was no strange thing to behold a strong man
begging for money to pay his fines, and many others who were deep
in arrears, or who had attracted attention in some other way, were
forced to flee from their homes, and take refuge from arrest and
imprisonment among the wild mosses of the uplands. {2c}

One example in particular we may cite:

John Neilson, the Laird of Corsack, a worthy man, was,
unfortunately for himself, a Nonconformist.  First he was fined in
four hundred pounds Scots, and then through cessing he lost
nineteen hundred and ninety-three pounds Scots.  He was next
obliged to leave his house and flee from place to place, during
which wanderings he lost his horse.  His wife and children were
turned out of doors, and then his tenants were fined till they too
were almost ruined.  As a final stroke, they drove away all his
cattle to Glasgow and sold them. {2d}  Surely it was time that
something were done to alleviate so much sorrow, to overthrow such
tyranny.

About this time too there arrived in Galloway a person calling
himself Captain Andrew Gray, and advising the people to revolt.  He
displayed some documents purporting to be from the northern
Covenanters, and stating that they were prepared to join in any
enterprise commenced by their southern brethren.  The leader of the
persecutors was Sir James Turner, an officer afterwards degraded
for his share in the matter.  'He was naturally fierce, but was mad
when he was drunk, and that was very often,' said Bishop Burnet.
'He was a learned man, but had always been in armies, and knew no
other rule but to obey orders.  He told me he had no regard to any
law, but acted, as he was commanded, in a military way.' {2e}

This was the state of matters, when an outrage was committed which
gave spirit and determination to the oppressed countrymen, lit the
flame of insubordination, and for the time at least recoiled on
those who perpetrated it with redoubled force.



CHAPTER II--THE BEGINNING



I love no warres,
I love no jarres,
Nor strife's fire.
May discord cease,
Let's live in peace:
This I desire.

If it must be
Warre we must see
(So fates conspire),
May we not feel
The force of steel:
This I desire.

T. JACKSON, 1651 {3a}


Upon Tuesday, November 13th, 1666, Corporal George Deanes and three
other soldiers set upon an old man in the clachan of Dalry and
demanded the payment of his fines.  On the old man's refusing to
pay, they forced a large party of his neighbours to go with them
and thresh his corn.  The field was a certain distance out of the
clachan, and four persons, disguised as countrymen, who had been
out on the moors all night, met this mournful drove of slaves,
compelled by the four soldiers to work for the ruin of their
friend.  However, chided to the bone by their night on the hills,
and worn out by want of food, they proceeded to the village inn to
refresh themselves.  Suddenly some people rushed into the room
where they were sitting, and told them that the soldiers were about
to roast the old man, naked, on his own girdle.  This was too much
for them to stand, and they repaired immediately to the scene of
this gross outrage, and at first merely requested that the captive
should be released.  On the refusal of the two soldiers who were in
the front room, high words were given and taken on both sides, and
the other two rushed forth from an adjoining chamber and made at
the countrymen with drawn swords.  One of the latter, John M'Lellan
of Barscob, drew a pistol and shot the corporal in the body.  The
pieces of tobacco-pipe with which it was loaded, to the number of
ten at least, entered him, and he was so much disturbed that he
never appears to have recovered, for we find long afterwards a
petition to the Privy Council requesting a pension for him.  The
other soldiers then laid down their arms, the old man was rescued,
and the rebellion was commenced. {3b}

And now we must turn to Sir James Turner's memoirs of himself; for,
strange to say, this extraordinary man was remarkably fond of
literary composition, and wrote, besides the amusing account of his
own adventures just mentioned, a large number of essays and short
biographies, and a work on war, entitled Pallas Armata.  The
following are some of the shorter pieces 'Magick,' 'Friendship,'
'Imprisonment,' 'Anger,' 'Revenge,' 'Duells,' 'Cruelty,' 'A Defence
of some of the Ceremonies of the English Liturgie--to wit--Bowing
at the Name of Jesus, The frequent repetition of the Lord's Prayer
and Good Lord deliver us, Of the Doxologie, Of Surplesses,
Rotchets, Canonnicall Coats,' etc.  From what we know of his
character we should expect 'Anger' and 'Cruelty' to be very full
and instructive.  But what earthly right he had to meddle with
ecclesiastical subjects it is hard to see.

Upon the 12th of the month he had received some information
concerning Gray's proceedings, but as it was excessively indefinite
in its character, he paid no attention to it.  On the evening of
the 14th, Corporal Deanes was brought into Dumfries, who affirmed
stoutly that he had been shot while refusing to sign the Covenant--
a story rendered singularly unlikely by the after conduct of the
rebels.  Sir James instantly dispatched orders to the cessed
soldiers either to come to Dumfries or meet him on the way to
Dalry, and commanded the thirteen or fourteen men in the town with
him to come at nine next morning to his lodging for supplies.

On the morning of Thursday the rebels arrived at Dumfries with 50
horse and 150 foot.  Neilson of Corsack, and Gray, who commanded,
with a considerable troop, entered the town, and surrounded Sir
James Turner's lodging.  Though it was between eight and nine
o'clock, that worthy, being unwell, was still in bed, but rose at
once and went to the window.

Neilson and some others cried, 'You may have fair quarter.'

'I need no quarter,' replied Sir James; 'nor can I be a prisoner,
seeing there is no war declared.'  On being told, however, that he
must either be a prisoner or die, he came down, and went into the
street in his night-shirt.  Here Gray showed himself very desirous
of killing him, but he was overruled by Corsack.  However, he was
taken away a prisoner, Captain Gray mounting him on his own horse,
though, as Turner naively remarks, 'there was good reason for it,
for he mounted himself on a farre better one of mine.'  A large
coffer containing his clothes and money, together with all his
papers, were taken away by the rebels.  They robbed Master
Chalmers, the Episcopalian minister of Dumfries, of his horse,
drank the King's health at the market cross, and then left
Dumfries. {3c}



CHAPTER III--THE MARCH OF THE REBELS



'Stay, passenger, take notice what thou reads,
At Edinburgh lie our bodies, here our heads;
Our right hands stood at Lanark, these we want,
Because with them we signed the Covenant.'
Epitaph on a Tombstone at Hamilton. {4a}


On Friday the 16th, Bailie Irvine of Dumfries came to the Council
at Edinburgh, and gave information concerning this 'horrid
rebellion.'  In the absence of Rothes, Sharpe presided--much to the
wrath of some members; and as he imagined his own safety
endangered, his measures were most energetic.  Dalzell was ordered
away to the West, the guards round the city were doubled, officers
and soldiers were forced to take the oath of allegiance, and all
lodgers were commanded to give in their names.  Sharpe, surrounded
with all these guards and precautions, trembled--trembled as he
trembled when the avengers of blood drew him from his chariot on
Magus Muir,--for he knew how he had sold his trust, how he had
betrayed his charge, and he felt that against him must their
chiefest hatred be directed, against him their direst thunder-bolts
be forged.  But even in his fear the apostate Presbyterian was
unrelenting, unpityingly harsh; he published in his manifesto no
promise of pardon, no inducement to submission.  He said, 'If you
submit not you must die,' but never added, 'If you submit you may
live!' {4b}

Meantime the insurgents proceeded on their way.  At Carsphairn they
were deserted by Captain Gray, who, doubtless in a fit of oblivion,
neglected to leave behind him the coffer containing Sir James's
money.  Who he was is a mystery, unsolved by any historian; his
papers were evidently forgeries--that, and his final flight, appear
to indicate that he was an agent of the Royalists, for either the
King or the Duke of York was heard to say, 'That, if he might have
his wish, he would have them all turn rebels and go to arms.' {4c}

Upon the 18th day of the month they left Carsphairn and marched
onwards.

Turner was always lodged by his captors at a good inn, frequently
at the best of which their halting-place could boast.  Here many
visits were paid to him by the ministers and officers of the
insurgent force.  In his description of these interviews he
displays a vein of satiric severity, admitting any kindness that
was done to him with some qualifying souvenir of former harshness,
and gloating over any injury, mistake, or folly, which it was his
chance to suffer or to hear.  He appears, notwithstanding all this,
to have been on pretty good terms with his cruel 'phanaticks,' as
the following extract sufficiently proves:

'Most of the foot were lodged about the church or churchyard, and
order given to ring bells next morning for a sermon to be preached
by Mr. Welch.  Maxwell of Morith, and Major M'Cullough invited me
to heare "that phanatick sermon" (for soe they merrilie called it).
They said that preaching might prove an effectual meane to turne
me, which they heartilie wished.  I answered to them that I was
under guards, and that if they intended to heare that sermon, it
was probable I might likewise, for it was not like my guards wold
goe to church and leave me alone at my lodgeings.  Bot to what they
said of my conversion, I said it wold be hard to turne a Turner.
Bot because I founde them in a merrie humour, I said, if I did not
come to heare Mr. Welch preach, then they might fine me in fortie
shillings Scots, which was double the suome of what I had exacted
from the phanatics.' {4d}

This took place at Ochiltree, on the 22nd day of the month.  The
following is recounted by this personage with malicious glee, and
certainly, if authentic, it is a sad proof of how chaff is mixed
with wheat, and how ignorant, almost impious, persons were engaged
in this movement; nevertheless we give it, for we wish to present
with impartiality all the alleged facts to the reader:

'Towards the evening Mr. Robinsone and Mr. Crukshank gaue me a
visite; I called for some ale purposelie to heare one of them
blesse it.  It fell Mr. Robinsone to seeke the blessing, who said
one of the most bombastick graces that ever I heard in my life.  He
summoned God Allmightie very imperiouslie to be their secondarie
(for that was his language).  "And if," said he, "thou wilt not be
our Secondarie, we will not fight for thee at all, for it is not
our cause bot thy cause; and if thou wilt not fight for our cause
and thy oune cause, then we are not obliged to fight for it.  They
say," said he, "that Dukes, Earles, and Lords are coming with the
King's General against us, bot they shall be nothing bot a
threshing to us."  This grace did more fullie satisfie me of the
folly and injustice of their cause, then the ale did quench my
thirst.' {4e}

Frequently the rebels made a halt near some roadside alehouse, or
in some convenient park, where Colonel Wallace, who had now taken
the command, would review the horse and foot, during which time
Turner was sent either into the alehouse or round the shoulder of
the hill, to prevent him from seeing the disorders which were
likely to arise.  He was, at last, on the 25th day of the month,
between Douglas and Lanark, permitted to behold their evolutions.
'I found their horse did consist of four hundreth and fortie, and
the foot of five hundreth and upwards. . . . The horsemen were
armed for most part with suord and pistoll, some onlie with suord.
The foot with musket, pike, sith (scythe), forke, and suord; and
some with suords great and long.'  He admired much the proficiency
of their cavalry, and marvelled how they had attained to it in so
short a time. {4f}

At Douglas, which they had just left on the morning of this great
wapinshaw, they were charged--awful picture of depravity!--with the
theft of a silver spoon and a nightgown.  Could it be expected that
while the whole country swarmed with robbers of every description,
such a rare opportunity for plunder should be lost by rogues--that
among a thousand men, even though fighting for religion, there
should not be one Achan in the camp?  At Lanark a declaration was
drawn up and signed by the chief rebels.  In it occurs the
following:

'The just sense whereof '--the sufferings of the country--'made us
choose, rather to betake ourselves to the fields for self-defence,
than to stay at home, burdened daily with the calamities of others,
and tortured with the fears of our own approaching misery.' {4g}

The whole body, too, swore the Covenant, to which ceremony the
epitaph at the head of this chapter seems to refer.

A report that Dalzell was approaching drove them from Lanark to
Bathgate, where, on the evening of Monday the 26th, the wearied
army stopped.  But at twelve o'clock the cry, which served them for
a trumpet, of 'Horse! horse!' and 'Mount the prisoner!' resounded
through the night-shrouded town, and called the peasants from their
well-earned rest to toil onwards in their march.  The wind howled
fiercely over the moorland; a close, thick, wetting rain descended.
Chilled to the bone, worn out with long fatigue, sinking to the
knees in mire, onward they marched to destruction.  One by one the
weary peasants fell off from their ranks to sleep, and die in the
rain-soaked moor, or to seek some house by the wayside wherein to
hide till daybreak.  One by one at first, then in gradually
increasing numbers, at every shelter that was seen, whole troops
left the waning squadrons, and rushed to hide themselves from the
ferocity of the tempest.  To right and left nought could be
descried but the broad expanse of the moor, and the figures of
their fellow-rebels, seen dimly through the murky night, plodding
onwards through the sinking moss.  Those who kept together--a
miserable few--often halted to rest themselves, and to allow their
lagging comrades to overtake them.  Then onward they went again,
still hoping for assistance, reinforcement, and supplies; onward
again, through the wind, and the rain, and the darkness--onward to
their defeat at Pentland, and their scaffold at Edinburgh.  It was
calculated that they lost one half of their army on that disastrous
night-march.

Next night they reached the village of Colinton, four miles from
Edinburgh, where they halted for the last time. {4h}



CHAPTER IV--RULLION GREEN



'From Covenanters with uplifted hands,
From Remonstrators with associate bands,
Good Lord, deliver us!'
Royalist Rhyme, KIRKTON, p. 127.


Late on the fourth night of November, exactly twenty-four days
before Rullion Green, Richard and George Chaplain, merchants in
Haddington, beheld four men, clad like West-country Whigamores,
standing round some object on the ground.  It was at the two-mile
cross, and within that distance from their homes.  At last, to
their horror, they discovered that the recumbent figure was a livid
corpse, swathed in a blood-stained winding-sheet. {5a}  Many
thought that this apparition was a portent of the deaths connected
with the Pentland Rising.

On the morning of Wednesday, the 28th of November 1666, they left
Colinton and marched to Rullion Green.  There they arrived about
sunset.  The position was a strong one.  On the summit of a bare,
heathery spur of the Pentlands are two hillocks, and between them
lies a narrow band of flat marshy ground.  On the highest of the
two mounds--that nearest the Pentlands, and on the left hand of the
main body--was the greater part of the cavalry, under Major
Learmont; on the other Barscob and the Galloway gentlemen; and in
the centre Colonel Wallace and the weak, half-armed infantry.
Their position was further strengthened by the depth of the valley
below, and the deep chasm-like course of the Rullion Burn.

The sun, going down behind the Pentlands, cast golden lights and
blue shadows on their snow-clad summits, slanted obliquely into the
rich plain before them, bathing with rosy splendour the leafless,
snow-sprinkled trees, and fading gradually into shadow in the
distance.  To the south, too, they beheld a deep-shaded
amphitheatre of heather and bracken; the course of the Esk, near
Penicuik, winding about at the foot of its gorge; the broad, brown
expanse of Maw Moss; and, fading into blue indistinctness in the
south, the wild heath-clad Peeblesshire hills.  In sooth, that
scene was fair, and many a yearning glance was cast over that
peaceful evening scene from the spot where the rebels awaited their
defeat; and when the fight was over, many a noble fellow lifted his
head from the blood-stained heather to strive with darkening
eyeballs to behold that landscape, over which, as over his life and
his cause, the shadows of night and of gloom were falling and
thickening.

It was while waiting on this spot that the fear-inspiring cry was
raised:  'The enemy!  Here come the enemy!'

Unwilling to believe their own doom--for our insurgents still hoped
for success in some negotiations for peace which had been carried
on at Colinton--they called out, 'They are some of our own.'

'They are too blacke ' (i.e. numerous), 'fie! fie! for ground to
draw up on,' cried Wallace, fully realising the want of space for
his men, and proving that it was not till after this time that his
forces were finally arranged. {5b}

First of all the battle was commenced by fifty Royalist horse sent
obliquely across the hill to attack the left wing of the rebels.
An equal number of Learmont's men met them, and, after a struggle,
drove them back.  The course of the Rullion Burn prevented almost
all pursuit, and Wallace, on perceiving it, dispatched a body of
foot to occupy both the burn and some ruined sheep-walls on the
farther side.

Dalzell changed his position, and drew up his army at the foot of
the hill, on the top of which were his foes.  He then dispatched a
mingled body of infantry and cavalry to attack Wallace's outpost,
but they also were driven back.  A third charge produced a still
more disastrous effect, for Dalzell had to check the pursuit of his
men by a reinforcement.

These repeated checks bred a panic in the Lieutenant-General's
ranks, for several of his men flung down their arms.  Urged by such
fatal symptoms, and by the approaching night, he deployed his men,
and closed in overwhelming numbers on the centre and right flank of
the insurgent army.  In the increasing twilight the burning matches
of the firelocks, shimmering on barrel, halbert, and cuirass, lent
to the approaching army a picturesque effect, like a huge, many-
armed giant breathing flame into the darkness.

Placed on an overhanging hill, Welch and Semple cried aloud, 'The
God of Jacob! The God of Jacob!' and prayed with uplifted hands for
victory. {5c}

But still the Royalist troops closed in.

Captain John Paton was observed by Dalzell, who determined to
capture him with his own hands.  Accordingly he charged forward,
presenting his pistols.  Paton fired, but the balls hopped off
Dalzell's buff coat and fell into his boot.  With the superstition
peculiar to his age, the Nonconformist concluded that his adversary
was rendered bullet-proof by enchantment, and, pulling some small
silver coins from his pocket, charged his pistol therewith.
Dalzell, seeing this, and supposing, it is likely, that Paton was
putting in larger balls, hid behind his servant, who was killed.
{5d}

Meantime the outposts were forced, and the army of Wallace was
enveloped in the embrace of a hideous boa-constrictor--tightening,
closing, crushing every semblance of life from the victim enclosed
in his toils.  The flanking parties of horse were forced in upon
the centre, and though, as even Turner grants, they fought with
desperation, a general flight was the result.

But when they fell there was none to sing their coronach or wail
the death-wail over them.  Those who sacrificed themselves for the
peace, the liberty, and the religion of their fellow-countrymen,
lay bleaching in the field of death for long, and when at last they
were buried by charity, the peasants dug up their bodies,
desecrated their graves, and cast them once more upon the open
heath for the sorry value of their winding-sheets!


Inscription on stone at Rullion Green:


HERE
AND NEAR TO
THIS PLACE LYES THE
REVEREND MR JOHN CROOKSHANK
AND MR ANDREW MCCORMICK
MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL AND
ABOUT FIFTY OTHER TRUE COVENANTED
PRESBYTERIANS WHO WERE
KILLED IN THIS PLACE IN THEIR OWN
INOCENT SELF DEFENCE AND DEFFENCE
OF THE COVENANTED WORK OF
REFORMATION BY THOMAS DALZEEL OF BINS
UPON THE 28 OF NOVEMBER
1666.  REV. 12. 11. ERECTED
SEPT. 28 1738.


Back of stone:


A Cloud of Witnesses lyes here,
Who for Christ's Interest did appear,
For to restore true Liberty,
O'erturned then by tyranny.
And by proud Prelats who did Rage
Against the Lord's Own heritage.
They sacrificed were for the laws
Of Christ their king, his noble cause.
These heroes fought with great renown;
By falling got the Martyr's crown. {5e}



CHAPTER V--A RECORD OF BLOOD



'They cut his hands ere he was dead,
And after that struck of his head.
His blood under the altar cries
For vengeance on Christ's enemies.'
Epitaph on Tomb at Longcross of Clermont. {6a}


Master Andrew Murray, an outed minister, residing in the Potterrow,
on the morning after the defeat, heard the sounds of cheering and
the march of many feet beneath his window.  He gazed out.  With
colours flying, and with music sounding, Dalzell, victorious,
entered Edinburgh.  But his banners were dyed in blood, and a band
of prisoners were marched within his ranks.  The old man knew it
all.  That martial and triumphant strain was the death-knell of his
friends and of their cause, the rust-hued spots upon the flags were
the tokens of their courage and their death, and the prisoners were
the miserable remnant spared from death in battle to die upon the
scaffold.  Poor old man! he had outlived all joy.  Had he lived
longer he would have seen increasing torment and increasing woe; he
would have seen the clouds, then but gathering in mist, cast a more
than midnight darkness over his native hills, and have fallen a
victim to those bloody persecutions which, later, sent their red
memorials to the sea by many a burn.  By a merciful Providence all
this was spared to him--he fell beneath the first blow; and ere
four days had passed since Rullion Green, the aged minister of God
was gathered to is fathers. {6b}

When Sharpe first heard of the rebellion, he applied to Sir
Alexander Ramsay, the Provost, for soldiers to guard his house.
Disliking their occupation, the soldiers gave him an ugly time of
it.  All the night through they kept up a continuous series of
'alarms and incursions,' 'cries of "Stand!" "Give fire!"' etc.,
which forced the prelate to flee to the Castle in the morning,
hoping there to find the rest which was denied him at home. {6c}
Now, however, when all danger to himself was past, Sharpe came out
in his true colours, and scant was the justice likely to be shown
to the foes of Scottish Episcopacy when the Primate was by.  The
prisoners were lodged in Haddo's Hole, a part of St. Giles'
Cathedral, where, by the kindness of Bishop Wishart, to his credit
be it spoken, they were amply supplied with food. {6d}

Some people urged, in the Council, that the promise of quarter
which had been given on the field of battle should protect the
lives of the miserable men.  Sir John Gilmoure, the greatest
lawyer, gave no opinion--certainly a suggestive circumstance--but
Lord Lee declared that this would not interfere with their legal
trial, 'so to bloody executions they went.' {6e}  To the number of
thirty they were condemned and executed; while two of them, Hugh
M'Kail, a young minister, and Neilson of Corsack, were tortured
with the boots.

The goods of those who perished were confiscated, and their bodies
were dismembered and distributed to different parts of the country;
'the heads of Major M'Culloch and the two Gordons,' it was
resolved, says Kirkton, 'should be pitched on the gate of
Kirkcudbright; the two Hamiltons and Strong's head should be
affixed at Hamilton, and Captain Arnot's sett on the Watter Gate at
Edinburgh.  The armes of all the ten, because they hade with
uplifted hands renewed the Covenant at Lanark, were sent to the
people of that town to expiate that crime, by placing these arms on
the top of the prison.' {6f}  Among these was John Neilson, the
Laird of Corsack, who saved Turner's life at Dumfries; in return
for which service Sir James attempted, though without success, to
get the poor man reprieved.  One of the condemned died of his
wounds between the day of condemnation and the day of execution.  '
None of them,' says Kirkton, 'would save their life by taking the
declaration and renouncing the Covenant, though it was offered to
them. . . . But never men died in Scotland so much lamented by the
people, not only spectators, but those in the country.  When
Knockbreck and his brother were turned over, they clasped each
other in their armes, and so endured the pangs of death.  When
Humphrey Colquhoun died, he spoke not like an ordinary citizen, but
like a heavenly minister, relating his comfortable Christian
experiences, and called for his Bible, and laid it on his wounded
arm, and read John iii. 8, and spoke upon it to the admiration of
all.  But most of all, when Mr. M'Kail died, there was such a
lamentation as was never known in Scotland before; not one dry
cheek upon all the street, or in all the numberless windows in the
mercate place.' {6g}

The following passage from this speech speaks for itself and its
author:

'Hereafter I will not talk with flesh and blood, nor think on the
world's consolations.  Farewell to all my friends, whose company
hath been refreshful to me in my pilgrimage.  I have done with the
light of the sun and the moon; welcome eternal light, eternal life,
everlasting love, everlasting praise, everlasting glory.  Praise to
Him that sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever!  Bless the
Lord, O my soul, that hath pardoned all my iniquities in the blood
of His Son, and healed all my diseases.  Bless Him, O all ye His
angels that excel in strength, ye ministers of His that do His
pleasure.  Bless the Lord, O my soul!' {6h}

After having ascended the gallows ladder he again broke forth in
the following words of touching eloquence:  'And now I leave off to
speak any more to creatures, and begin my intercourse with God,
which shall never be broken off.  Farewell father and mother,
friends and relations!  Farewell the world and all delights!
Farewell meat and drink!  Farewell sun, moon, and stars!--Welcome
God and Father!  Welcome sweet Jesus Christ, the Mediator of the
new covenant!  Welcome blessed Spirit of grace and God of all
consolation!  Welcome glory!  Welcome eternal life!  Welcome
Death!' {6i}

At Glasgow, too, where some were executed, they caused the soldiers
to beat the drums and blow the trumpets on their closing ears.
Hideous refinement of revenge!  Even the last words which drop from
the lips of a dying man--words surely the most sincere and the most
unbiassed which mortal mouth can utter--even these were looked upon
as poisoned and as poisonous.  'Drown their last accents,' was the
cry, 'lest they should lead the crowd to take their part, or at the
least to mourn their doom!' {6j}  But, after all, perhaps it was
more merciful than one would think--unintentionally so, of course;
perhaps the storm of harsh and fiercely jubilant noises, the
clanging of trumpets, the rattling of drums, and the hootings and
jeerings of an unfeeling mob, which were the last they heard on
earth, might, when the mortal fight was over, when the river of
death was passed, add tenfold sweetness to the hymning of the
angels, tenfold peacefulness to the shores which they had reached.

Not content with the cruelty of these executions, some even of the
peasantry, though these were confined to the shire of Mid-Lothian,
pursued, captured, plundered, and murdered the miserable fugitives
who fell in their way.  One strange story have we of these times of
blood and persecution:  Kirkton the historian and popular tradition
tell us alike of a flame which often would arise from the grave, in
a moss near Carnwath, of some of those poor rebels:  of how it
crept along the ground; of how it covered the house of their
murderer; and of how it scared him with its lurid glare.

Hear Daniel Defoe:  {6k}

'If the poor people were by these insupportable violences made
desperate, and driven to all the extremities of a wild despair, who
can justly reflect on them when they read in the Word of God "That
oppression makes a wise man mad"?  And therefore were there no
other original of the insurrection known by the name of the Rising
of Pentland, it was nothing but what the intolerable oppressions of
those times might have justified to all the world, nature having
dictated to all people a right of defence when illegally and
arbitrarily attacked in a manner not justifiable either by laws of
nature, the laws of God, or the laws of the country.'

Bear this remonstrance of Defoe's in mind, and though it is the
fashion of the day to jeer and to mock, to execrate and to contemn,
the noble band of Covenanters--though the bitter laugh at their
old-world religious views, the curl of the lip at their merits, and
the chilling silence on their bravery and their determination, are
but too rife through all society--be charitable to what was evil
and honest to what was good about the Pentland insurgents, who
fought for life and liberty, for country and religion, on the 28th
of November 1666, now just two hundred years ago.


EDINBURGH, 28th November 1866.




THE DAY AFTER TO-MORROW



History is much decried; it is a tissue of errors, we are told, no
doubt correctly; and rival historians expose each other's blunders
with gratification.  Yet the worst historian has a clearer view of
the period he studies than the best of us can hope to form of that
in which we live.  The obscurest epoch is to-day; and that for a
thousand reasons of inchoate tendency, conflicting report, and
sheer mass and multiplicity of experience; but chiefly, perhaps, by
reason of an insidious shifting of landmarks.  Parties and ideas
continually move, but not by measurable marches on a stable course;
the political soil itself steals forth by imperceptible degrees,
like a travelling glacier, carrying on its bosom not only political
parties but their flag-posts and cantonments; so that what appears
to be an eternal city founded on hills is but a flying island of
Laputa.  It is for this reason in particular that we are all
becoming Socialists without knowing it; by which I would not in the
least refer to the acute case of Mr. Hyndman and his horn-blowing
supporters, sounding their trumps of a Sunday within the walls of
our individualist Jericho--but to the stealthy change that has come
over the spirit of Englishmen and English legislation.  A little
while ago, and we were still for liberty; 'crowd a few more
thousands on the bench of Government,' we seemed to cry; 'keep her
head direct on liberty, and we cannot help but come to port.'  This
is over; laisser faire declines in favour; our legislation grows
authoritative, grows philanthropical, bristles with new duties and
new penalties, and casts a spawn of inspectors, who now begin,
note-book in hand, to darken the face of England.  It may be right
or wrong, we are not trying that; but one thing it is beyond doubt:
it is Socialism in action, and the strange thing is that we
scarcely know it.

Liberty has served us a long while, and it may be time to seek new
altars.  Like all other principles, she has been proved to be self-
exclusive in the long run.  She has taken wages besides (like all
other virtues) and dutifully served Mammon; so that many things we
were accustomed to admire as the benefits of freedom and common to
all were truly benefits of wealth, and took their value from our
neighbours' poverty.  A few shocks of logic, a few disclosures (in
the journalistic phrase) of what the freedom of manufacturers,
landlords, or shipowners may imply for operatives, tenants, or
seamen, and we not unnaturally begin to turn to that other pole of
hope, beneficent tyranny.  Freedom, to be desirable, involves
kindness, wisdom, and all the virtues of the free; but the free man
as we have seen him in action has been, as of yore, only the master
of many helots; and the slaves are still ill-fed, ill-clad, ill-
taught, ill-housed, insolently treated, and driven to their mines
and workshops by the lash of famine.  So much, in other men's
affairs, we have begun to see clearly; we have begun to despair of
virtue in these other men, and from our seat in Parliament begin to
discharge upon them, thick as arrows, the host of our inspectors.
The landlord has long shaken his head over the manufacturer; those
who do business on land have lost all trust in the virtues of the
shipowner; the professions look askance upon the retail traders and
have even started their co-operative stores to ruin them; and from
out the smoke-wreaths of Birmingham a finger has begun to write
upon the wall the condemnation of the landlord.  Thus, piece by
piece, do we condemn each other, and yet not perceive the
conclusion, that our whole estate is somewhat damnable.  Thus,
piece by piece, each acting against his neighbour, each sawing away
the branch on which some other interest is seated, do we apply in
detail our Socialistic remedies, and yet not perceive that we are
all labouring together to bring in Socialism at large.  A tendency
so stupid and so selfish is like to prove invincible; and if
Socialism be at all a practicable rule of life, there is every
chance that our grand-children will see the day and taste the
pleasures of existence in something far liker an ant-heap than any
previous human polity.  And this not in the least because of the
voice of Mr. Hyndman or the horns of his followers; but by the mere
glacier movement of the political soil, bearing forward on its
bosom, apparently undisturbed, the proud camps of Whig and Tory.
If Mr. Hyndman were a man of keen humour, which is far from my
conception of his character, he might rest from his troubling and
look on:  the walls of Jericho begin already to crumble and
dissolve.  That great servile war, the Armageddon of money and
numbers, to which we looked forward when young, becomes more and
more unlikely; and we may rather look to see a peaceable and
blindfold evolution, the work of dull men immersed in political
tactics and dead to political results.

The principal scene of this comedy lies, of course, in the House of
Commons; it is there, besides, that the details of this new
evolution (if it proceed) will fall to be decided; so that the
state of Parliament is not only diagnostic of the present but
fatefully prophetic of the future.  Well, we all know what
Parliament is, and we are all ashamed of it.  We may pardon it some
faults, indeed, on the ground of Irish obstruction--a bitter trial,
which it supports with notable good humour.  But the excuse is
merely local; it cannot apply to similar bodies in America and
France; and what are we to say of these?  President Cleveland's
letter may serve as a picture of the one; a glance at almost any
paper will convince us of the weakness of the other.  Decay appears
to have seized on the organ of popular government in every land;
and this just at the moment when we begin to bring to it, as to an
oracle of justice, the whole skein of our private affairs to be
unravelled, and ask it, like a new Messiah, to take upon itself our
frailties and play for us the part that should be played by our own
virtues.  For that, in few words, is the case.  We cannot trust
ourselves to behave with decency; we cannot trust our consciences;
and the remedy proposed is to elect a round number of our
neighbours, pretty much at random, and say to these:  'Be ye our
conscience; make laws so wise, and continue from year to year to
administer them so wisely, that they shall save us from ourselves
and make us righteous and happy, world without end.  Amen.'  And
who can look twice at the British Parliament and then seriously
bring it such a task?  I am not advancing this as an argument
against Socialism:  once again, nothing is further from my mind.
There are great truths in Socialism, or no one, not even Mr.
Hyndman, would be found to hold it; and if it came, and did one-
tenth part of what it offers, I for one should make it welcome.
But if it is to come, we may as well have some notion of what it
will be like; and the first thing to grasp is that our new polity
will be designed and administered (to put it courteously) with
something short of inspiration.  It will be made, or will grow, in
a human parliament; and the one thing that will not very hugely
change is human nature.  The Anarchists think otherwise, from which
it is only plain that they have not carried to the study of history
the lamp of human sympathy.

Given, then, our new polity, with its new waggon-load of laws, what
headmarks must we look for in the life?  We chafe a good deal at
that excellent thing, the income-tax, because it brings into our
affairs the prying fingers, and exposes us to the tart words, of
the official.  The official, in all degrees, is already something
of a terror to many of us.  I would not willingly have to do with
even a police-constable in any other spirit than that of kindness.
I still remember in my dreams the eye-glass of a certain attache at
a certain embassy--an eyeglass that was a standing indignity to all
on whom it looked; and my next most disagreeable remembrance is of
a bracing, Republican postman in the city of San Francisco.  I
lived in that city among working folk, and what my neighbours
accepted at the postman's hands--nay, what I took from him myself--
it is still distasteful to recall.  The bourgeois, residing in the
upper parts of society, has but few opportunities of tasting this
peculiar bowl; but about the income-tax, as I have said, or perhaps
about a patent, or in the halls of an embassy at the hands of my
friend of the eye-glass, he occasionally sets his lips to it; and
he may thus imagine (if he has that faculty of imagination, without
which most faculties are void) how it tastes to his poorer
neighbours, who must drain it to the dregs.  In every contact with
authority, with their employer, with the police, with the School
Board officer, in the hospital, or in the workhouse, they have
equally the occasion to appreciate the light-hearted civility of
the man in office; and as an experimentalist in several out-of-the-
way provinces of life, I may say it has but to be felt to be
appreciated.  Well, this golden age of which we are speaking will
be the golden age of officials.  In all our concerns it will be
their beloved duty to meddle, with what tact, with what obliging
words, analogy will aid us to imagine.  It is likely these
gentlemen will be periodically elected; they will therefore have
their turn of being underneath, which does not always sweeten men's
conditions.  The laws they will have to administer will be no
clearer than those we know to-day, and the body which is to
regulate their administration no wiser than the British Parliament.
So that upon all hands we may look for a form of servitude most
galling to the blood--servitude to many and changing masters, and
for all the slights that accompany the rule of jack-in-office.  And
if the Socialistic programme be carried out with the least fulness,
we shall have lost a thing, in most respects not much to be
regretted, but as a moderator of oppression, a thing nearly
invaluable--the newspaper.  For the independent journal is a
creature of capital and competition; it stands and falls with
millionaires and railway bonds and all the abuses and glories of
to-day; and as soon as the State has fairly taken its bent to
authority and philanthropy, and laid the least touch on private
property, the days of the independent journal are numbered.  State
railways may be good things and so may State bakeries; but a State
newspaper will never be a very trenchant critic of the State
officials.

But again, these officials would have no sinecure.  Crime would
perhaps be less, for some of the motives of crime we may suppose
would pass away.  But if Socialism were carried out with any
fulness, there would be more contraventions.  We see already new
sins ringing up like mustard--School Board sins, factory sins,
Merchant Shipping Act sins--none of which I would be thought to
except against in particular, but all of which, taken together,
show us that Socialism can be a hard master even in the beginning.
If it go on to such heights as we hear proposed and lauded, if it
come actually to its ideal of the ant-heap, ruled with iron
justice, the number of new contraventions will be out of all
proportion multiplied.  Take the case of work alone.  Man is an
idle animal.  He is at least as intelligent as the ant; but
generations of advisers have in vain recommended him the ant's
example.  Of those who are found truly indefatigable in business,
some are misers; some are the practisers of delightful industries,
like gardening; some are students, artists, inventors, or
discoverers, men lured forward by successive hopes; and the rest
are those who live by games of skill or hazard--financiers,
billiard-players, gamblers, and the like.  But in unloved toils,
even under the prick of necessity, no man is continually sedulous.
Once eliminate the fear of starvation, once eliminate or bound the
hope of riches, and we shall see plenty of skulking and
malingering.  Society will then be something not wholly unlike a
cotton plantation in the old days; with cheerful, careless,
demoralised slaves, with elected overseers, and, instead of the
planter, a chaotic popular assembly.  If the blood be purposeful
and the soil strong, such a plantation may succeed, and be, indeed,
a busy ant-heap, with full granaries and long hours of leisure.
But even then I think the whip will be in the overseer's hands, and
not in vain.  For, when it comes to be a question of each man doing
his own share or the rest doing more, prettiness of sentiment will
be forgotten.  To dock the skulker's food is not enough; many will
rather eat haws and starve on petty pilferings than put their
shoulder to the wheel for one hour daily.  For such as these, then,
the whip will be in the overseer's hand; and his own sense of
justice and the superintendence of a chaotic popular assembly will
be the only checks on its employment.  Now, you may be an
industrious man and a good citizen, and yet not love, nor yet be
loved by, Dr. Fell the inspector.  It is admitted by private
soldiers that the disfavour of a sergeant is an evil not to be
combated; offend the sergeant, they say, and in a brief while you
will either be disgraced or have deserted.  And the sergeant can no
longer appeal to the lash.  But if these things go on, we shall
see, or our sons shall see, what it is to have offended an
inspector.

This for the unfortunate.  But with the fortunate also, even those
whom the inspector loves, it may not be altogether well.  It is
concluded that in such a state of society, supposing it to be
financially sound, the level of comfort will be high.  It does not
follow:  there are strange depths of idleness in man, a too-easily-
got sufficiency, as in the case of the sago-eaters, often quenching
the desire for all besides; and it is possible that the men of the
richest ant-heaps may sink even into squalor.  But suppose they do
not; suppose our tricksy instrument of human nature, when we play
upon it this new tune, should respond kindly; suppose no one to be
damped and none exasperated by the new conditions, the whole
enterprise to be financially sound--a vaulting supposition--and all
the inhabitants to dwell together in a golden mean of comfort:  we
have yet to ask ourselves if this be what man desire, or if it be
what man will even deign to accept for a continuance.  It is
certain that man loves to eat, it is not certain that he loves that
only or that best.  He is supposed to love comfort; it is not a
love, at least, that he is faithful to.  He is supposed to love
happiness; it is my contention that he rather loves excitement.
Danger, enterprise, hope, the novel, the aleatory, are dearer to
man than regular meals.  He does not think so when he is hungry,
but he thinks so again as soon as he is fed; and on the hypothesis
of a successful ant-heap, he would never go hungry.  It would be
always after dinner in that society, as, in the land of the Lotos-
eaters, it was always afternoon; and food, which, when we have it
not, seems all-important, drops in our esteem, as soon as we have
it, to a mere prerequisite of living.

That for which man lives is not the same thing for all individuals
nor in all ages; yet it has a common base; what he seeks and what
he must have is that which will seize and hold his attention.
Regular meals and weatherproof lodgings will not do this long.
Play in its wide sense, as the artificial induction of sensation,
including all games and all arts, will, indeed, go far to keep him
conscious of himself; but in the end he wearies for realities.
Study or experiment, to some rare natures, is the unbroken pastime
of a life.  These are enviable natures; people shut in the house by
sickness often bitterly envy them; but the commoner man cannot
continue to exist upon such altitudes:  his feet itch for physical
adventure; his blood boils for physical dangers, pleasures, and
triumphs; his fancy, the looker after new things, cannot continue
to look for them in books and crucibles, but must seek them on the
breathing stage of life.  Pinches, buffets, the glow of hope, the
shock of disappointment, furious contention with obstacles:  these
are the true elixir for all vital spirits, these are what they seek
alike in their romantic enterprises and their unromantic
dissipations.  When they are taken in some pinch closer than the
common, they cry, 'Catch me here again!' and sure enough you catch
them there again--perhaps before the week is out.  It is as old as
Robinson Crusoe; as old as man.  Our race has not been strained for
all these ages through that sieve of dangers that we call Natural
Selection, to sit down with patience in the tedium of safety; the
voices of its fathers call it forth.  Already in our society as it
exists, the bourgeois is too much cottoned about for any zest in
living; he sits in his parlour out of reach of any danger, often
out of reach of any vicissitude but one of health; and there he
yawns.  If the people in the next villa took pot-shots at him, he
might be killed indeed, but so long as he escaped he would find his
blood oxygenated and his views of the world brighter.  If Mr.
Mallock, on his way to the publishers, should have his skirts
pinned to a wall by a javelin, it would not occur to him--at least
for several hours--to ask if life were worth living; and if such
peril were a daily matter, he would ask it never more; he would
have other things to think about, he would be living indeed--not
lying in a box with cotton, safe, but immeasurably dull.  The
aleatory, whether it touch life, or fortune, or renown--whether we
explore Africa or only toss for halfpence--that is what I conceive
men to love best, and that is what we are seeking to exclude from
men's existences.  Of all forms of the aleatory, that which most
commonly attends our working men--the danger of misery from want of
work--is the least inspiriting:  it does not whip the blood, it
does not evoke the glory of contest; it is tragic, but it is
passive; and yet, in so far as it is aleatory, and a peril sensibly
touching them, it does truly season the men's lives.  Of those who
fail, I do not speak--despair should be sacred; but to those who
even modestly succeed, the changes of their life bring interest:  a
job found, a shilling saved, a dainty earned, all these are wells
of pleasure springing afresh for the successful poor; and it is not
from these but from the villa-dweller that we hear complaints of
the unworthiness of life.  Much, then, as the average of the
proletariat would gain in this new state of life, they would also
lose a certain something, which would not be missed in the
beginning, but would be missed progressively and progressively
lamented.  Soon there would be a looking back:  there would be
tales of the old world humming in young men's ears, tales of the
tramp and the pedlar, and the hopeful emigrant.  And in the stall-
fed life of the successful ant-heap--with its regular meals,
regular duties, regular pleasures, an even course of life, and fear
excluded--the vicissitudes, delights, and havens of to-day will
seem of epic breadth.  This may seem a shallow observation; but the
springs by which men are moved lie much on the surface.  Bread, I
believe, has always been considered first, but the circus comes
close upon its heels.  Bread we suppose to be given amply; the cry
for circuses will be the louder, and if the life of our descendants
be such as we have conceived, there are two beloved pleasures on
which they will be likely to fall back:  the pleasures of intrigue
and of sedition.

In all this I have supposed the ant-heap to be financially sound.
I am no economist, only a writer of fiction; but even as such, I
know one thing that bears on the economic question--I know the
imperfection of man's faculty for business.  The Anarchists, who
count some rugged elements of common sense among what seem to me
their tragic errors, have said upon this matter all that I could
wish to say, and condemned beforehand great economical polities.
So far it is obvious that they are right; they may be right also in
predicting a period of communal independence, and they may even be
right in thinking that desirable.  But the rise of communes is none
the less the end of economic equality, just when we were told it
was beginning.  Communes will not be all equal in extent, nor in
quality of soil, nor in growth of population; nor will the surplus
produce of all be equally marketable.  It will be the old story of
competing interests, only with a new unit; and, as it appears to
me, a new, inevitable danger.  For the merchant and the
manufacturer, in this new world, will be a sovereign commune; it is
a sovereign power that will see its crops undersold, and its
manufactures worsted in the market.  And all the more dangerous
that the sovereign power should be small.  Great powers are slow to
stir; national affronts, even with the aid of newspapers, filter
slowly into popular consciousness; national losses are so unequally
shared, that one part of the population will be counting its gains
while another sits by a cold hearth.  But in the sovereign commune
all will be centralised and sensitive.  When jealousy springs up,
when (let us say) the commune of Poole has overreached the commune
of Dorchester, irritation will run like quicksilver throughout the
body politic; each man in Dorchester will have to suffer directly
in his diet and his dress; even the secretary, who drafts the
official correspondence, will sit down to his task embittered, as a
man who has dined ill and may expect to dine worse; and thus a
business difference between communes will take on much the same
colour as a dispute between diggers in the lawless West, and will
lead as directly to the arbitrament of blows.  So that the
establishment of the communal system will not only reintroduce all
the injustices and heart-burnings of economic inequality, but will,
in all human likelihood, inaugurate a world of hedgerow warfare.
Dorchester will march on Poole, Sherborne on Dorchester, Wimborne
on both; the waggons will be fired on as they follow the highway,
the trains wrecked on the lines, the ploughman will go armed into
the field of tillage; and if we have not a return of ballad
literature, the local press at least will celebrate in a high vein
the victory of Cerne Abbas or the reverse of Toller Porcorum.  At
least this will not be dull; when I was younger, I could have
welcomed such a world with relief; but it is the New-Old with a
vengeance, and irresistibly suggests the growth of military powers
and the foundation of new empires.




COLLEGE PAPERS




CHAPTER I--EDINBURGH STUDENTS IN 1824



On the 2nd of January 1824 was issued the prospectus of the Lapsus
Linguae; or, the College Tatler; and on the 7th the first number
appeared.  On Friday the 2nd of April 'Mr. Tatler became
speechless.'  Its history was not all one success; for the editor
(who applies to himself the words of Iago, 'I am nothing if I am
not critical') overstepped the bounds of caution, and found himself
seriously embroiled with the powers that were.  There appeared in
No. XVI. a most bitter satire upon Sir John Leslie, in which he was
compared to Falstaff, charged with puffing himself, and very
prettily censured for publishing only the first volume of a class-
book, and making all purchasers pay for both.  Sir John Leslie took
up the matter angrily, visited Carfrae the publisher, and
threatened him with an action, till he was forced to turn the
hapless Lapsus out of doors.  The maltreated periodical found
shelter in the shop of Huie, Infirmary Street; and No. XVII. was
duly issued from the new office.  No. XVII. beheld Mr. Tatler's
humiliation, in which, with fulsome apology and not very credible
assurances of respect and admiration, he disclaims the article in
question, and advertises a new issue of No. XVI. with all
objectionable matter omitted.  This, with pleasing euphemism, he
terms in a later advertisement, 'a new and improved edition.'  This
was the only remarkable adventure of Mr. Tatler's brief existence;
unless we consider as such a silly Chaldee manuscript in imitation
of Blackwood, and a letter of reproof from a divinity student on
the impiety of the same dull effusion.  He laments the near
approach of his end in pathetic terms.  'How shall we summon up
sufficient courage,' says he, 'to look for the last time on our
beloved little devil and his inestimable proof-sheet?  How shall we
be able to pass No. 14 Infirmary Street and feel that all its
attractions are over?  How shall we bid farewell for ever to that
excellent man, with the long greatcoat, wooden leg and wooden
board, who acts as our representative at the gate of Alma Mater?'
But alas! he had no choice:  Mr. Tatler, whose career, he says
himself, had been successful, passed peacefully away, and has ever
since dumbly implored 'the bringing home of bell and burial.'

Alter et idem.  A very different affair was the Lapsus Linguae from
the Edinburgh University Magazine.  The two prospectuses alone,
laid side by side, would indicate the march of luxury and the
repeal of the paper duty.  The penny bi-weekly broadside of session
1828-4 was almost wholly dedicated to Momus.  Epigrams, pointless
letters, amorous verses, and University grievances are the
continual burthen of the song.  But Mr. Tatler was not without a
vein of hearty humour; and his pages afford what is much better:
to wit, a good picture of student life as it then was.  The
students of those polite days insisted on retaining their hats in
the class-room.  There was a cab-stance in front of the College;
and 'Carriage Entrance' was posted above the main arch, on what the
writer pleases to call 'coarse, unclassic boards.'  The benches of
the 'Speculative' then, as now, were red; but all other Societies
(the 'Dialectic' is the only survivor) met downstairs, in some
rooms of which it is pointedly said that 'nothing else could
conveniently be made of them.'  However horrible these dungeons may
have been, it is certain that they were paid for, and that far too
heavily for the taste of session 1823-4, which found enough calls
upon its purse for porter and toasted cheese at Ambrose's, or
cranberry tarts and ginger-wine at Doull's.  Duelling was still a
possibility; so much so that when two medicals fell to fisticuffs
in Adam Square, it was seriously hinted that single combat would be
the result.  Last and most wonderful of all, Gall and Spurzheim
were in every one's mouth; and the Law student, after having
exhausted Byron's poetry and Scott's novels, informed the ladies of
his belief in phrenology.  In the present day he would dilate on
'Red as a rose is she,' and then mention that he attends Old
Greyfriars', as a tacit claim to intellectual superiority.  I do
not know that the advance is much.

But Mr. Tatler's best performances were three short papers in which
he hit off pretty smartly the idiosyncrasies of the 'Divinity,' the
'Medical,' and the 'Law' of session 1823-4.  The fact that there
was no notice of the 'Arts' seems to suggest that they stood in the
same intermediate position as they do now--the epitome of student-
kind.  Mr. Tatler's satire is, on the whole, good-humoured, and has
not grown superannuated in ALL its limbs.  His descriptions may
limp at some points, but there are certain broad traits that apply
equally well to session 1870-1.  He shows us the DIVINITY of the
period--tall, pale, and slender--his collar greasy, and his coat
bare about the seams--'his white neckcloth serving four days, and
regularly turned the third'--'the rim of his hat deficient in
wool'--and 'a weighty volume of theology under his arm.'  He was
the man to buy cheap 'a snuff-box, or a dozen of pencils, or a six-
bladed knife, or a quarter of a hundred quills,' at any of the
public sale-rooms.  He was noted for cheap purchases, and for
exceeding the legal tender in halfpence.  He haunted 'the darkest
and remotest corner of the Theatre Gallery.'  He was to be seen
issuing from 'aerial lodging-houses.'  Withal, says mine author,
'there were many good points about him:  he paid his landlady's
bill, read his Bible, went twice to church on Sunday, seldom swore,
was not often tipsy, and bought the Lapsus Linguae.'

The MEDICAL, again, 'wore a white greatcoat, and consequently
talked loud'--(there is something very delicious in that
CONSEQUENTLY).  He wore his hat on one side.  He was active,
volatile, and went to the top of Arthur's Seat on the Sunday
forenoon.  He was as quiet in a debating society as he was loud in
the streets.  He was reckless and imprudent:  yesterday he insisted
on your sharing a bottle of claret with him (and claret was claret
then, before the cheap-and-nasty treaty), and to-morrow he asks you
for the loan of a penny to buy the last number of the Lapsus.

The student of LAW, again, was a learned man.  'He had turned over
the leaves of Justinian's Institutes, and knew that they were
written in Latin.  He was well acquainted with the title-page of
Blackstone's Commentaries, and argal (as the gravedigger in Hamlet
says) he was not a person to be laughed at.'  He attended the
Parliament House in the character of a critic, and could give you
stale sneers at all the celebrated speakers.  He was the terror of
essayists at the Speculative or the Forensic.  In social qualities
he seems to have stood unrivalled.  Even in the police-office we
find him shining with undiminished lustre.  'If a CHARLIE should
find him rather noisy at an untimely hour, and venture to take him
into custody, he appears next morning like a Daniel come to
judgment.  He opens his mouth to speak, and the divine precepts of
unchanging justice and Scots law flow from his tongue.  The
magistrate listens in amazement, and fines him only a couple of
guineas.'

Such then were our predecessors and their College Magazine.
Barclay, Ambrose, Young Amos, and Fergusson were to them what the
Cafe, the Rainbow, and Rutherford's are to us.  An hour's reading
in these old pages absolutely confuses us, there is so much that is
similar and so much that is different; the follies and amusements
are so like our own, and the manner of frolicking and enjoying are
so changed, that one pauses and looks about him in philosophic
judgment.  The muddy quadrangle is thick with living students; but
in our eyes it swarms also with the phantasmal white greatcoats and
tilted hats of 1824.  Two races meet:  races alike and diverse.
Two performances are played before our eyes; but the change seems
merely of impersonators, of scenery, of costume.  Plot and passion
are the same.  It is the fall of the spun shilling whether seventy-
one or twenty-four has the best of it.

In a future number we hope to give a glance at the individualities
of the present, and see whether the cast shall be head or tail--
whether we or the readers of the Lapsus stand higher in the
balance.



CHAPTER II--THE MODERN STUDENT CONSIDERED GENERALLY



We have now reached the difficult portion of our task.  Mr. Tatler,
for all that we care, may have been as virulent as he liked about
the students of a former; but for the iron to touch our sacred
selves, for a brother of the Guild to betray its most privy
infirmities, let such a Judas look to himself as he passes on his
way to the Scots Law or the Diagnostic, below the solitary lamp at
the corner of the dark quadrangle.  We confess that this idea
alarms us.  We enter a protest.  We bind ourselves over verbally to
keep the peace.  We hope, moreover, that having thus made you
secret to our misgivings, you will excuse us if we be dull, and set
that down to caution which you might before have charged to the
account of stupidity.

The natural tendency of civilisation is to obliterate those
distinctions which are the best salt of life.  All the fine old
professional flavour in language has evaporated.  Your very
gravedigger has forgotten his avocation in his electorship, and
would quibble on the Franchise over Ophelia's grave, instead of
more appropriately discussing the duration of bodies under ground.
From this tendency, from this gradual attrition of life, in which
everything pointed and characteristic is being rubbed down, till
the whole world begins to slip between our fingers in smooth
undistinguishable sands, from this, we say, it follows that we must
not attempt to join Mr. Taller in his simple division of students
into LAW, DIVINITY, and MEDICAL.  Nowadays the Faculties may shake
hands over their follies; and, like Mrs. Frail and Mrs. Foresight
(in Love for Love) they may stand in the doors of opposite class-
rooms, crying:  'Sister, Sister--Sister everyway!'  A few
restrictions, indeed, remain to influence the followers of
individual branches of study.  The Divinity, for example, must be
an avowed believer; and as this, in the present day, is unhappily
considered by many as a confession of weakness, he is fain to
choose one of two ways of gilding the distasteful orthodox bolus.
Some swallow it in a thin jelly of metaphysics; for it is even a
credit to believe in God on the evidence of some crack-jaw
philosopher, although it is a decided slur to believe in Him on His
own authority.  Others again (and this we think the worst method),
finding German grammar a somewhat dry morsel, run their own little
heresy as a proof of independence; and deny one of the cardinal
doctrines that they may hold the others without being laughed at.

Besides, however, such influences as these, there is little more
distinction between the faculties than the traditionary ideal,
handed down through a long sequence of students, and getting
rounder and more featureless at each successive session.  The
plague of uniformity has descended on the College.  Students (and
indeed all sorts and conditions of men) now require their faculty
and character hung round their neck on a placard, like the scenes
in Shakespeare's theatre.  And in the midst of all this weary
sameness, not the least common feature is the gravity of every
face.  No more does the merry medical run eagerly in the clear
winter morning up the rugged sides of Arthur's Seat, and hear the
church bells begin and thicken and die away below him among the
gathered smoke of the city.  He will not break Sunday to so little
purpose.  He no longer finds pleasure in the mere output of his
surplus energy.  He husbands his strength, and lays out walks, and
reading, and amusement with deep consideration, so that he may get
as much work and pleasure out of his body as he can, and waste none
of his energy on mere impulse, or such flat enjoyment as an
excursion in the country.

See the quadrangle in the interregnum of classes, in those two or
three minutes when it is full of passing students, and we think you
will admit that, if we have not made it 'an habitation of dragons,'
we have at least transformed it into 'a court for owls.'  Solemnity
broods heavily over the enclosure; and wherever you seek it, you
will find a dearth of merriment, an absence of real youthful
enjoyment.  You might as well try


'To move wild laughter in the throat of death'


as to excite any healthy stir among the bulk of this staid company.

The studious congregate about the doors of the different classes,
debating the matter of the lecture, or comparing note-books.  A
reserved rivalry sunders them.  Here are some deep in Greek
particles:  there, others are already inhabitants of that land


'Where entity and quiddity,
'Like ghosts of defunct bodies fly -
Where Truth in person does appear
Like words congealed in northern air.'


But none of them seem to find any relish for their studies--no
pedantic love of this subject or that lights up their eyes--science
and learning are only means for a livelihood, which they have
considerately embraced and which they solemnly pursue.  'Labour's
pale priests,' their lips seem incapable of laughter, except in the
way of polite recognition of professorial wit.  The stains of ink
are chronic on their meagre fingers.  They walk like Saul among the
asses.

The dandies are not less subdued.  In 1824 there was a noisy dapper
dandyism abroad.  Vulgar, as we should now think, but yet genial--a
matter of white greatcoats and loud voices--strangely different
from the stately frippery that is rife at present.  These men are
out of their element in the quadrangle.  Even the small remains of
boisterous humour, which still clings to any collection of young
men, jars painfully on their morbid sensibilities; and they beat a
hasty retreat to resume their perfunctory march along Princes
Street.  Flirtation is to them a great social duty, a painful
obligation, which they perform on every occasion in the same chill
official manner, and with the same commonplace advances, the same
dogged observance of traditional behaviour.  The shape of their
raiment is a burden almost greater than they can bear, and they
halt in their walk to preserve the due adjustment of their trouser-
knees, till one would fancy he had mixed in a procession of Jacobs.
We speak, of course, for ourselves; but we would as soon associate
with a herd of sprightly apes as with these gloomy modern beaux.
Alas, that our Mirabels, our Valentines, even our Brummels, should
have left their mantles upon nothing more amusing!

Nor are the fast men less constrained.  Solemnity, even in
dissipation, is the order of the day; and they go to the devil with
a perverse seriousness, a systematic rationalism of wickedness that
would have surprised the simpler sinners of old.  Some of these men
whom we see gravely conversing on the steps have but a slender
acquaintance with each other.  Their intercourse consists
principally of mutual bulletins of depravity; and, week after week,
as they meet they reckon up their items of transgression, and give
an abstract of their downward progress for approval and
encouragement.  These folk form a freemasonry of their own.  An
oath is the shibboleth of their sinister fellowship.  Once they
hear a man swear, it is wonderful how their tongues loosen and
their bashful spirits take enlargement, under the consciousness of
brotherhood.  There is no folly, no pardoning warmth of temper
about them; they are as steady-going and systematic in their own
way as the studious in theirs.

Not that we are without merry men.  No.  We shall not be ungrateful
to those, whose grimaces, whose ironical laughter, whose active
feet in the 'College Anthem' have beguiled so many weary hours and
added a pleasant variety to the strain of close attention.  But
even these are too evidently professional in their antics.  They go
about cogitating puns and inventing tricks.  It is their vocation,
Hal.  They are the gratuitous jesters of the class-room; and, like
the clown when he leaves the stage, their merriment too often sinks
as the bell rings the hour of liberty, and they pass forth by the
Post-Office, grave and sedate, and meditating fresh gambols for the
morrow.

This is the impression left on the mind of any observing student by
too many of his fellows.  They seem all frigid old men; and one
pauses to think how such an unnatural state of matters is produced.
We feel inclined to blame for it the unfortunate absence of
UNIVERSITY FEELING which is so marked a characteristic of our
Edinburgh students.  Academical interests are so few and far
between--students, as students, have so little in common, except a
peevish rivalry--there is such an entire want of broad college
sympathies and ordinary college friendships, that we fancy that no
University in the kingdom is in so poor a plight.  Our system is
full of anomalies.  A, who cut B whilst he was a shabby student,
curries sedulously up to him and cudgels his memory for anecdotes
about him when he becomes the great so-and-so.  Let there be an end
of this shy, proud reserve on the one hand, and this shuddering
fine ladyism on the other; and we think we shall find both
ourselves and the College bettered.  Let it be a sufficient reason
for intercourse that two men sit together on the same benches.  Let
the great A be held excused for nodding to the shabby B in Princes
Street, if he can say, 'That fellow is a student.'  Once this could
be brought about, we think you would find the whole heart of the
University beat faster.  We think you would find a fusion among the
students, a growth of common feelings, an increasing sympathy
between class and class, whose influence (in such a heterogeneous
company as ours) might be of incalculable value in all branches of
politics and social progress.  It would do more than this.  If we
could find some method of making the University a real mother to
her sons--something beyond a building of class-rooms, a Senatus and
a lottery of somewhat shabby prizes--we should strike a death-blow
at the constrained and unnatural attitude of our Society.  At
present we are not a united body, but a loose gathering of
individuals, whose inherent attraction is allowed to condense them
into little knots and coteries.  Our last snowball riot read us a
plain lesson on our condition.  There was no party spirit--no unity
of interests.  A few, who were mischievously inclined, marched off
to the College of Surgeons in a pretentious file; but even before
they reached their destination the feeble inspiration had died out
in many, and their numbers were sadly thinned.  Some followed
strange gods in the direction of Drummond Street, and others slunk
back to meek good-boyism at the feet of the Professors.  The same
is visible in better things.  As you send a man to an English
University that he may have his prejudices rubbed off, you might
send him to Edinburgh that he may have them ingrained--rendered
indelible--fostered by sympathy into living principles of his
spirit.  And the reason of it is quite plain.  From this absence of
University feeling it comes that a man's friendships are always the
direct and immediate results of these very prejudices.  A common
weakness is the best master of ceremonies in our quadrangle:  a
mutual vice is the readiest introduction.  The studious associate
with the studious alone--the dandies with the dandies.  There is
nothing to force them to rub shoulders with the others; and so they
grow day by day more wedded to their own original opinions and
affections.  They see through the same spectacles continually.  All
broad sentiments, all real catholic humanity expires; and the mind
gets gradually stiffened into one position--becomes so habituated
to a contracted atmosphere, that it shudders and withers under the
least draught of the free air that circulates in the general field
of mankind.

Specialism in Society then is, we think, one cause of our present
state.  Specialism in study is another.  We doubt whether this has
ever been a good thing since the world began; but we are sure it is
much worse now than it was.  Formerly, when a man became a
specialist, it was out of affection for his subject.  With a
somewhat grand devotion he left all the world of Science to follow
his true love; and he contrived to find that strange pedantic
interest which inspired the man who


'Settled Hoti's business--let it be -
Properly based Oun -
Gave us the doctrine of the enclitic De,
Dead from the waist down.'


Nowadays it is quite different.  Our pedantry wants even the saving
clause of Enthusiasm.  The election is now matter of necessity and
not of choice.  Knowledge is now too broad a field for your Jack-
of-all-Trades; and, from beautifully utilitarian reasons, he makes
his choice, draws his pen through a dozen branches of study, and
behold--John the Specialist.  That this is the way to be wealthy we
shall not deny; but we hold that it is NOT the way to be healthy or
wise.  The whole mind becomes narrowed and circumscribed to one
'punctual spot' of knowledge.  A rank unhealthy soil breeds a
harvest of prejudices.  Feeling himself above others in his one
little branch--in the classification of toadstools, or Carthaginian
history--he waxes great in his own eyes and looks down on others.
Having all his sympathies educated in one way, they die out in
every other; and he is apt to remain a peevish, narrow, and
intolerant bigot.  Dilettante is now a term of reproach; but there
is a certain form of dilettantism to which no one can object.  It
is this that we want among our students.  We wish them to abandon
no subject until they have seen and felt its merit--to act under a
general interest in all branches of knowledge, not a commercial
eagerness to excel in one.

In both these directions our sympathies are constipated.  We are
apostles of our own caste and our own subject of study, instead of
being, as we should, true men and LOVING students.  Of course both
of these could be corrected by the students themselves; but this is
nothing to the purpose:  it is more important to ask whether the
Senatus or the body of alumni could do nothing towards the growth
of better feeling and wider sentiments.  Perhaps in another paper
we may say something upon this head.

One other word, however, before we have done.  What shall we be
when we grow really old?  Of yore, a man was thought to lay on
restrictions and acquire new deadweight of mournful experience with
every year, till he looked back on his youth as the very summer of
impulse and freedom.  We please ourselves with thinking that it
cannot be so with us.  We would fain hope that, as we have begun in
one way, we may end in another; and that when we are in fact the
octogenarians that we SEEM at present, there shall be no merrier
men on earth.  It is pleasant to picture us, sunning ourselves in
Princes Street of a morning, or chirping over our evening cups,
with all the merriment that we wanted in youth.



CHAPTER III--DEBATING SOCIETIES



A debating society is at first somewhat of a disappointment.  You
do not often find the youthful Demosthenes chewing his pebbles in
the same room with you; or, even if you do, you will probably think
the performance little to be admired.  As a general rule, the
members speak shamefully ill.  The subjects of debate are heavy;
and so are the fines.  The Ballot Question--oldest of dialectic
nightmares--is often found astride of a somnolent sederunt.  The
Greeks and Romans, too, are reserved as sort of GENERAL-UTILITY
men, to do all the dirty work of illustration; and they fill as
many functions as the famous waterfall scene at the 'Princess's,'
which I found doing duty on one evening as a gorge in Peru, a haunt
of German robbers, and a peaceful vale in the Scottish borders.
There is a sad absence of striking argument or real lively
discussion.  Indeed, you feel a growing contempt for your fellow-
members; and it is not until you rise yourself to hawk and hesitate
and sit shamefully down again, amid eleemosynary applause, that you
begin to find your level and value others rightly.  Even then, even
when failure has damped your critical ardour, you will see many
things to be laughed at in the deportment of your rivals.

Most laughable, perhaps, are your indefatigable strivers after
eloquence.  They are of those who 'pursue with eagerness the
phantoms of hope,' and who, since they expect that 'the
deficiencies of last sentence will be supplied by the next,' have
been recommended by Dr. Samuel Johnson to 'attend to the History of
Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia.'  They are characterised by a hectic
hopefulness.  Nothing damps them.  They rise from the ruins of one
abortive sentence, to launch forth into another with unabated
vigour.  They have all the manner of an orator.  From the tone of
their voice, you would expect a splendid period--and lo! a string
of broken-backed, disjointed clauses, eked out with stammerings and
throat-clearings.  They possess the art (learned from the pulpit)
of rounding an uneuphonious sentence by dwelling on a single
syllable--of striking a balance in a top-heavy period by
lengthening out a word into a melancholy quaver.  Withal, they
never cease to hope.  Even at last, even when they have exhausted
all their ideas, even after the would-be peroration has finally
refused to perorate, they remain upon their feet with their mouths
open, waiting for some further inspiration, like Chaucer's widow's
son in the dung-hole, after


'His throat was kit unto the nekke bone,'


in vain expectation of that seed that was to be laid upon his
tongue, and give him renewed and clearer utterance.

These men may have something to say, if they could only say it--
indeed they generally have; but the next class are people who,
having nothing to say, are cursed with a facility and an unhappy
command of words, that makes them the prime nuisances of the
society they affect.  They try to cover their absence of matter by
an unwholesome vitality of delivery.  They look triumphantly round
the room, as if courting applause, after a torrent of diluted
truism.  They talk in a circle, harping on the same dull round of
argument, and returning again and again to the same remark with the
same sprightliness, the same irritating appearance of novelty.

After this set, any one is tolerable; so we shall merely hint at a
few other varieties.  There is your man who is pre-eminently
conscientious, whose face beams with sincerity as he opens on the
negative, and who votes on the affirmative at the end, looking
round the room with an air of chastened pride.  There is also the
irrelevant speaker, who rises, emits a joke or two, and then sits
down again, without ever attempting to tackle the subject of
debate.  Again, we have men who ride pick-a-back on their family
reputation, or, if their family have none, identify themselves with
some well-known statesman, use his opinions, and lend him their
patronage on all occasions.  This is a dangerous plan, and serves
oftener, I am afraid, to point a difference than to adorn a speech.

But alas! a striking failure may be reached without tempting
Providence by any of these ambitious tricks.  Our own stature will
be found high enough for shame.  The success of three simple
sentences lures us into a fatal parenthesis in the fourth, from
whose shut brackets we may never disentangle the thread of our
discourse.  A momentary flush tempts us into a quotation; and we
may be left helpless in the middle of one of Pope's couplets, a
white film gathering before our eyes, and our kind friends
charitably trying to cover our disgrace by a feeble round of
applause.  Amis lecteurs, this is a painful topic.  It is possible
that we too, we, the 'potent, grave, and reverend' editor, may have
suffered these things, and drunk as deep as any of the cup of
shameful failure.  Let us dwell no longer on so delicate a subject.

In spite, however, of these disagreeables, I should recommend any
student to suffer them with Spartan courage, as the benefits he
receives should repay him an hundredfold for them all.  The life of
the debating society is a handy antidote to the life of the
classroom and quadrangle.  Nothing could be conceived more
excellent as a weapon against many of those PECCANT HUMOURS that we
have been railing against in the jeremiad of our last 'College
Paper'--particularly in the field of intellect.  It is a sad sight
to see our heather-scented students, our boys of seventeen, coming
up to College with determined views--roues in speculation--having
gauged the vanity of philosophy or learned to shun it as the
middle-man of heresy--a company of determined, deliberate
opinionists, not to be moved by all the sleights of logic.  What
have such men to do with study?  If their minds are made up
irrevocably, why burn the 'studious lamp' in search of further
confirmation?  Every set opinion I hear a student deliver I feel a
certain lowering of my regard.  He who studies, he who is yet
employed in groping for his premises, should keep his mind fluent
and sensitive, keen to mark flaws, and willing to surrender
untenable positions.  He should keep himself teachable, or cease
the expensive farce of being taught.  It is to further this docile
spirit that we desire to press the claims of debating societies.
It is as a means of melting down this museum of premature
petrifactions into living and impressionable soul that we insist on
their utility.  If we could once prevail on our students to feel no
shame in avowing an uncertain attitude towards any subject, if we
could teach them that it was unnecessary for every lad to have his
opinionette on every topic, we should have gone a far way towards
bracing the intellectual tone of the coming race of thinkers; and
this it is which debating societies are so well fitted to perform.

We there meet people of every shade of opinion, and make friends
with them.  We are taught to rail against a man the whole session
through, and then hob-a-nob with him at the concluding
entertainment.  We find men of talent far exceeding our own, whose
conclusions are widely different from ours; and we are thus taught
to distrust ourselves.  But the best means of all towards
catholicity is that wholesome rule which some folk are most
inclined to condemn--I mean the law of OBLIGED SPEECHES.  Your
senior member commands; and you must take the affirmative or the
negative, just as suits his best convenience.  This tends to the
most perfect liberality.  It is no good hearing the arguments of an
opponent, for in good verity you rarely follow them; and even if
you do take the trouble to listen, it is merely in a captious
search for weaknesses.  This is proved, I fear, in every debate;
when you hear each speaker arguing out his own prepared specialite
(he never intended speaking, of course, until some remarks of,
etc.), arguing out, I say, his own COACHED-UP subject without the
least attention to what has gone before, as utterly at sea about
the drift of his adversary's speech as Panurge when he argued with
Thaumaste, and merely linking his own prelection to the last by a
few flippant criticisms.  Now, as the rule stands, you are saddled
with the side you disapprove, and so you are forced, by regard for
your own fame, to argue out, to feel with, to elaborate completely,
the case as it stands against yourself; and what a fund of wisdom
do you not turn up in this idle digging of the vineyard!  How many
new difficulties take form before your eyes? how many superannuated
arguments cripple finally into limbo, under the glance of your
enforced eclecticism!

Nor is this the only merit of Debating Societies.  They tend also
to foster taste, and to promote friendship between University men.
This last, as we have had occasion before to say, is the great
requirement of our student life; and it will therefore be no waste
of time if we devote a paragraph to this subject in its connection
with Debating Societies.  At present they partake too much of the
nature of a clique.  Friends propose friends, and mutual friends
second them, until the society degenerates into a sort of family
party.  You may confirm old acquaintances, but you can rarely make
new ones.  You find yourself in the atmosphere of your own daily
intercourse.  Now, this is an unfortunate circumstance, which it
seems to me might readily be rectified.  Our Principal has shown
himself so friendly towards all College improvements that I cherish
the hope of seeing shortly realised a certain suggestion, which is
not a new one with me, and which must often have been proposed and
canvassed heretofore--I mean, a real University Debating Society,
patronised by the Senatus, presided over by the Professors, to
which every one might gain ready admittance on sight of his
matriculation ticket, where it would be a favour and not a
necessity to speak, and where the obscure student might have
another object for attendance besides the mere desire to save his
fines:  to wit, the chance of drawing on himself the favourable
consideration of his teachers.  This would be merely following in
the good tendency, which has been so noticeable during all this
session, to increase and multiply student societies and clubs of
every sort.  Nor would it be a matter of much difficulty.  The
united societies would form a nucleus:  one of the class-rooms at
first, and perhaps afterwards the great hall above the library,
might be the place of meeting.  There would be no want of
attendance or enthusiasm, I am sure; for it is a very different
thing to speak under the bushel of a private club on the one hand,
and, on the other, in a public place, where a happy period or a
subtle argument may do the speaker permanent service in after life.
Such a club might end, perhaps, by rivalling the 'Union' at
Cambridge or the 'Union' at Oxford.



CHAPTER IV--THE PHILOSOPHY OF UMBRELLAS {7}



It is wonderful to think what a turn has been given to our whole
Society by the fact that we live under the sign of Aquarius--that
our climate is essentially wet.  A mere arbitrary distinction, like
the walking-swords of yore, might have remained the symbol of
foresight and respectability, had not the raw mists and dropping
showers of our island pointed the inclination of Society to another
exponent of those virtues.  A ribbon of the Legion of Honour or a
string of medals may prove a person's courage; a title may prove
his birth; a professorial chair his study and acquirement; but it
is the habitual carriage of the umbrella that is the stamp of
Respectability.  The umbrella has become the acknowledged index of
social position.

Robinson Crusoe presents us with a touching instance of the
hankering after them inherent in the civilised and educated mind.
To the superficial, the hot suns of Juan Fernandez may sufficiently
account for his quaint choice of a luxury; but surely one who had
borne the hard labour of a seaman under the tropics for all these
years could have supported an excursion after goats or a peaceful
CONSTITUTIONAL arm in arm with the nude Friday.  No, it was not
this:  the memory of a vanished respectability called for some
outward manifestation, and the result was--an umbrella.  A pious
castaway might have rigged up a belfry and solaced his Sunday
mornings with the mimicry of church-bells; but Crusoe was rather a
moralist than a pietist, and his leaf-umbrella is as fine an
example of the civilised mind striving to express itself under
adverse circumstances as we have ever met with.

It is not for nothing, either, that the umbrella has become the
very foremost badge of modern civilisation--the Urim and Thummim of
respectability.  Its pregnant symbolism has taken its rise in the
most natural manner.  Consider, for a moment, when umbrellas were
first introduced into this country, what manner of men would use
them, and what class would adhere to the useless but ornamental
cane.  The first, without doubt, would be the hypochondriacal, out
of solicitude for their health, or the frugal, out of care for
their raiment; the second, it is equally plain, would include the
fop, the fool, and the Bobadil.  Any one acquainted with the growth
of Society, and knowing out of what small seeds of cause are
produced great revolutions, and wholly new conditions of
intercourse, sees from this simple thought how the carriage of an
umbrella came to indicate frugality, judicious regard for bodily
welfare, and scorn for mere outward adornment, and, in one word,
all those homely and solid virtues implied in the term
RESPECTABILITY.  Not that the umbrella's costliness has nothing to
do with its great influence.  Its possession, besides symbolising
(as we have already indicated) the change from wild Esau to plain
Jacob dwelling in tents, implies a certain comfortable provision of
fortune.  It is not every one that can expose twenty-six shillings'
worth of property to so many chances of loss and theft.  So
strongly do we feel on this point, indeed, that we are almost
inclined to consider all who possess really well-conditioned
umbrellas as worthy of the Franchise.  They have a qualification
standing in their lobbies; they carry a sufficient stake in the
common-weal below their arm.  One who bears with him an umbrella--
such a complicated structure of whalebone, of silk, and of cane,
that it becomes a very microcosm of modern industry--is necessarily
a man of peace.  A half-crown cane may be applied to an offender's
head on a very moderate provocation; but a six-and-twenty shilling
silk is a possession too precious to be adventured in the shock of
war.

These are but a few glances at how umbrellas (in the general) came
to their present high estate.  But the true Umbrella-Philosopher
meets with far stranger applications as he goes about the streets.

Umbrellas, like faces, acquire a certain sympathy with the
individual who carries them:  indeed, they are far more capable of
betraying his trust; for whereas a face is given to us so far ready
made, and all our power over it is in frowning, and laughing, and
grimacing, during the first three or four decades of life, each
umbrella is selected from a whole shopful, as being most consonant
to the purchaser's disposition.  An undoubted power of diagnosis
rests with the practised Umbrella-Philosopher.  O you who lisp, and
amble, and change the fashion of your countenances--you who conceal
all these, how little do you think that you left a proof of your
weakness in our umbrella-stand--that even now, as you shake out the
folds to meet the thickening snow, we read in its ivory handle the
outward and visible sign of your snobbery, or from the exposed
gingham of its cover detect, through coat and waistcoat, the hidden
hypocrisy of the 'DICKEY'!  But alas! even the umbrella is no
certain criterion.  The falsity and the folly of the human race
have degraded that graceful symbol to the ends of dishonesty; and
while some umbrellas, from carelessness in selection, are not
strikingly characteristic (for it is only in what a man loves that
he displays his real nature), others, from certain prudential
motives, are chosen directly opposite to the person's disposition.
A mendacious umbrella is a sign of great moral degradation.
Hypocrisy naturally shelters itself below a silk; while the fast
youth goes to visit his religious friends armed with the decent and
reputable gingham.  May it not be said of the bearers of these
inappropriate umbrellas that they go about the streets 'with a lie
in their right hand'?

The kings of Siam, as we read, besides having a graduated social
scale of umbrellas (which was a good thing), prevented the great
bulk of their subjects from having any at all, which was certainly
a bad thing.  We should be sorry to believe that this Eastern
legislator was a fool--the idea of an aristocracy of umbrellas is
too philosophic to have originated in a nobody--and we have
accordingly taken exceeding pains to find out the reason of this
harsh restriction.  We think we have succeeded; but, while admiring
the principle at which he aimed, and while cordially recognising in
the Siamese potentate the only man before ourselves who had taken a
real grasp of the umbrella, we must be allowed to point out how
unphilosophically the great man acted in this particular.  His
object, plainly, was to prevent any unworthy persons from bearing
the sacred symbol of domestic virtues.  We cannot excuse his
limiting these virtues to the circle of his court.  We must only
remember that such was the feeling of the age in which he lived.
Liberalism had not yet raised the war-cry of the working classes.
But here was his mistake:  it was a needless regulation.  Except in
a very few cases of hypocrisy joined to a powerful intellect, men,
not by nature UMBRELLARIANS, have tried again and again to become
so by art, and yet have failed--have expended their patrimony in
the purchase of umbrella after umbrella, and yet have
systematically lost them, and have finally, with contrite spirits
and shrunken purses, given up their vain struggle, and relied on
theft and borrowing for the remainder of their lives.  This is the
most remarkable fact that we have had occasion to notice; and yet
we challenge the candid reader to call it in question.  Now, as
there cannot be any MORAL SELECTION in a mere dead piece of
furniture--as the umbrella cannot be supposed to have an affinity
for individual men equal and reciprocal to that which men certainly
feel toward individual umbrellas--we took the trouble of consulting
a scientific friend as to whether there was any possible physical
explanation of the phenomenon.  He was unable to supply a plausible
theory, or even hypothesis; but we extract from his letter the
following interesting passage relative to the physical
peculiarities of umbrellas:  'Not the least important, and by far
the most curious property of the umbrella, is the energy which it
displays in affecting the atmospheric strata.  There is no fact in
meteorology better established--indeed, it is almost the only one
on which meteorologists are agreed--than that the carriage of an
umbrella produces desiccation of the air; while if it be left at
home, aqueous vapour is largely produced, and is soon deposited in
the form of rain.  No theory,' my friend continues, 'competent to
explain this hygrometric law has been given (as far as I am aware)
by Herschel, Dove, Glaisher, Tait, Buchan, or any other writer; nor
do I pretend to supply the defect.  I venture, however, to throw
out the conjecture that it will be ultimately found to belong to
the same class of natural laws as that agreeable to which a slice
of toast always descends with the buttered surface downwards.'

But it is time to draw to a close.  We could expatiate much longer
upon this topic, but want of space constrains us to leave
unfinished these few desultory remarks--slender contributions
towards a subject which has fallen sadly backward, and which, we
grieve to say, was better understood by the king of Siam in 1686
than by all the philosophers of to-day.  If, however, we have
awakened in any rational mind an interest in the symbolism of
umbrellas--in any generous heart a more complete sympathy with the
dumb companion of his daily walk--or in any grasping spirit a pure
notion of respectability strong enough to make him expend his six-
and-twenty shillings--we shall have deserved well of the world, to
say nothing of the many industrious persons employed in the
manufacture of the article.



CHAPTER V--THE PHILOSOPHY OF NOMENCLATURE



'How many Caesars and Pompeys, by mere inspirations of the names,
have been rendered worthy of them?  And how many are there, who
might have done exceeding well in the world, had not their
characters and spirits been totally depressed and Nicodemus'd into
nothing?'--Tristram Shandy, vol. I. chap xix.


Such were the views of the late Walter Shandy, Esq., Turkey
merchant.  To the best of my belief, Mr. Shandy is the first who
fairly pointed out the incalculable influence of nomenclature upon
the whole life--who seems first to have recognised the one child,
happy in an heroic appellation, soaring upwards on the wings of
fortune, and the other, like the dead sailor in his shotted
hammock, haled down by sheer weight of name into the abysses of
social failure.  Solomon possibly had his eye on some such theory
when he said that 'a good name is better than precious ointment';
and perhaps we may trace a similar spirit in the compilers of the
English Catechism, and the affectionate interest with which they
linger round the catechumen's name at the very threshold of their
work.  But, be these as they may, I think no one can censure me for
appending, in pursuance of the expressed wish of his son, the
Turkey merchant's name to his system, and pronouncing, without
further preface, a short epitome of the 'Shandean Philosophy of
Nomenclature.'

To begin, then:  the influence of our name makes itself felt from
the very cradle.  As a schoolboy I remember the pride with which I
hailed Robin Hood, Robert Bruce, and Robert le Diable as my name-
fellows; and the feeling of sore disappointment that fell on my
heart when I found a freebooter or a general who did not share with
me a single one of my numerous praenomina.  Look at the delight
with which two children find they have the same name.  They are
friends from that moment forth; they have a bond of union stronger
than exchange of nuts and sweetmeats.  This feeling, I own, wears
off in later life.  Our names lose their freshness and interest,
become trite and indifferent.  But this, dear reader, is merely one
of the sad effects of those 'shades of the prison-house' which come
gradually betwixt us and nature with advancing years; it affords no
weapon against the philosophy of names.

In after life, although we fail to trace its working, that name
which careless godfathers lightly applied to your unconscious
infancy will have been moulding your character, and influencing
with irresistible power the whole course of your earthly fortunes.
But the last name, overlooked by Mr. Shandy, is no whit less
important as a condition of success.  Family names, we must
recollect, are but inherited nicknames; and if the sobriquet were
applicable to the ancestor, it is most likely applicable to the
descendant also.  You would not expect to find Mr. M'Phun acting as
a mute, or Mr. M'Lumpha excelling as a professor of dancing.
Therefore, in what follows, we shall consider names, independent of
whether they are first or last.  And to begin with, look what a
pull Cromwell had over Pym--the one name full of a resonant
imperialism, the other, mean, pettifogging, and unheroic to a
degree.  Who would expect eloquence from Pym--who would read poems
by Pym--who would bow to the opinion of Pym?  He might have been a
dentist, but he should never have aspired to be a statesman.  I can
only wonder that he succeeded as he did.  Pym and Habakkuk stand
first upon the roll of men who have triumphed, by sheer force of
genius, over the most unfavourable appellations.  But even these
have suffered; and, had they been more fitly named, the one might
have been Lord Protector, and the other have shared the laurels
with Isaiah.  In this matter we must not forget that all our great
poets have borne great names.  Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare,
Milton, Pope, Wordsworth, Shelley--what a constellation of lordly
words!  Not a single common-place name among them--not a Brown, not
a Jones, not a Robinson; they are all names that one would stop and
look at on a door-plate.  Now, imagine if Pepys had tried to
clamber somehow into the enclosure of poetry, what a blot would
that word have made upon the list!  The thing was impossible.  In
the first place a certain natural consciousness that men would have
held him down to the level of his name, would have prevented him
from rising above the Pepsine standard, and so haply withheld him
altogether from attempting verse.  Next, the booksellers would
refuse to publish, and the world to read them, on the mere evidence
of the fatal appellation.  And now, before I close this section, I
must say one word as to PUNNABLE names, names that stand alone,
that have a significance and life apart from him that bears them.
These are the bitterest of all.  One friend of mine goes bowed and
humbled through life under the weight of this misfortune; for it is
an awful thing when a man's name is a joke, when he cannot be
mentioned without exciting merriment, and when even the intimation
of his death bids fair to carry laughter into many a home.

So much for people who are badly named.  Now for people who are TOO
well named, who go top-heavy from the font, who are baptized into a
false position, and find themselves beginning life eclipsed under
the fame of some of the great ones of the past.  A man, for
instance, called William Shakespeare could never dare to write
plays.  He is thrown into too humbling an apposition with the
author of Hamlet.  Its own name coming after is such an anti-
climax.  'The plays of William Shakespeare'? says the reader--'O
no!  The plays of William Shakespeare Cockerill,' and he throws the
book aside.  In wise pursuance of such views, Mr. John Milton
Hengler, who not long since delighted us in this favoured town, has
never attempted to write an epic, but has chosen a new path, and
has excelled upon the tight-rope.  A marked example of triumph over
this is the case of Mr. Dante Gabriel Rossetti.  On the face of the
matter, I should have advised him to imitate the pleasing modesty
of the last-named gentleman, and confine his ambition to the
sawdust.  But Mr. Rossetti has triumphed.  He has even dared to
translate from his mighty name-father; and the voice of fame
supports him in his boldness.

Dear readers, one might write a year upon this matter.  A lifetime
of comparison and research could scarce suffice for its
elucidation.  So here, if it please you, we shall let it rest.
Slight as these notes have been, I would that the great founder of
the system had been alive to see them.  How he had warmed and
brightened, how his persuasive eloquence would have fallen on the
ears of Toby; and what a letter of praise and sympathy would not
the editor have received before the month was out!  Alas, the thing
was not to be.  Walter Shandy died and was duly buried, while yet
his theory lay forgotten and neglected by his fellow-countrymen.
But, reader, the day will come, I hope, when a paternal government
will stamp out, as seeds of national weakness, all depressing
patronymics, and when godfathers and godmothers will soberly and
earnestly debate the interest of the nameless one, and not rush
blindfold to the christening.  In these days there shall be written
a 'Godfather's Assistant,' in shape of a dictionary of names, with
their concomitant virtues and vices; and this book shall be
scattered broadcast through the land, and shall be on the table of
every one eligible for godfathership, until such a thing as a
vicious or untoward appellation shall have ceased from off the face
of the earth.




CRITICISMS



CHAPTER I--LORD LYTTON'S 'FABLES IN SONG'



It seems as if Lord Lytton, in this new book of his, had found the
form most natural to his talent.  In some ways, indeed, it may be
held inferior to Chronicles and Characters; we look in vain for
anything like the terrible intensity of the night-scene in Irene,
or for any such passages of massive and memorable writing as
appeared, here and there, in the earlier work, and made it not
altogether unworthy of its model, Hugo's Legend of the Ages.  But
it becomes evident, on the most hasty retrospect, that this earlier
work was a step on the way towards the later.  It seems as if the
author had been feeling about for his definite medium, and was
already, in the language of the child's game, growing hot.  There
are many pieces in Chronicles and Characters that might be detached
from their original setting, and embodied, as they stand, among the
Fables in Song.

For the term Fable is not very easy to define rigorously.  In the
most typical form some moral precept is set forth by means of a
conception purely fantastic, and usually somewhat trivial into the
bargain; there is something playful about it, that will not support
a very exacting criticism, and the lesson must be apprehended by
the fancy at half a hint.  Such is the great mass of the old
stories of wise animals or foolish men that have amused our
childhood.  But we should expect the fable, in company with other
and more important literary forms, to be more and more loosely, or
at least largely, comprehended as time went on, and so to
degenerate in conception from this original type.  That depended
for much of its piquancy on the very fact that it was fantastic:
the point of the thing lay in a sort of humorous inappropriateness;
and it is natural enough that pleasantry of this description should
become less common, as men learn to suspect some serious analogy
underneath.  Thus a comical story of an ape touches us quite
differently after the proposition of Mr. Darwin's theory.
Moreover, there lay, perhaps, at the bottom of this primitive sort
of fable, a humanity, a tenderness of rough truths; so that at the
end of some story, in which vice or folly had met with its destined
punishment, the fabulist might be able to assure his auditors, as
we have often to assure tearful children on the like occasions,
that they may dry their eyes, for none of it was true.

But this benefit of fiction becomes lost with more sophisticated
hearers and authors:  a man is no longer the dupe of his own
artifice, and cannot deal playfully with truths that are a matter
of bitter concern to him in his life.  And hence, in the
progressive centralisation of modern thought, we should expect the
old form of fable to fall gradually into desuetude, and be
gradually succeeded by another, which is a fable in all points
except that it is not altogether fabulous.  And this new form, such
as we should expect, and such as we do indeed find, still presents
the essential character of brevity; as in any other fable also,
there is, underlying and animating the brief action, a moral idea;
and as in any other fable, the object is to bring this home to the
reader through the intellect rather than through the feelings; so
that, without being very deeply moved or interested by the
characters of the piece, we should recognise vividly the hinges on
which the little plot revolves.  But the fabulist now seeks
analogies where before he merely sought humorous situations.  There
will be now a logical nexus between the moral expressed and the
machinery employed to express it.  The machinery, in fact, as this
change is developed, becomes less and less fabulous.  We find
ourselves in presence of quite a serious, if quite a miniature
division of creative literature; and sometimes we have the lesson
embodied in a sober, everyday narration, as in the parables of the
New Testament, and sometimes merely the statement or, at most, the
collocation of significant facts in life, the reader being left to
resolve for himself the vague, troublesome, and not yet definitely
moral sentiment which has been thus created.  And step by step with
the development of this change, yet another is developed:  the
moral tends to become more indeterminate and large.  It ceases to
be possible to append it, in a tag, to the bottom of the piece, as
one might write the name below a caricature; and the fable begins
to take rank with all other forms of creative literature, as
something too ambitious, in spite of its miniature dimensions, to
be resumed in any succinct formula without the loss of all that is
deepest and most suggestive in it.

Now it is in this widest sense that Lord Lytton understands the
term; there are examples in his two pleasant volumes of all the
forms already mentioned, and even of another which can only be
admitted among fables by the utmost possible leniency of
construction.  'Composure,' 'Et Caetera,' and several more, are
merely similes poetically elaborated.  So, too, is the pathetic
story of the grandfather and grandchild:  the child, having
treasured away an icicle and forgotten it for ten minutes, comes
back to find it already nearly melted, and no longer beautiful:  at
the same time, the grandfather has just remembered and taken out a
bundle of love-letters, which he too had stored away in years gone
by, and then long neglected; and, behold! the letters are as faded
and sorrowfully disappointing as the icicle.  This is merely a
simile poetically worked out; and yet it is in such as these, and
some others, to be mentioned further on, that the author seems at
his best.  Wherever he has really written after the old model,
there is something to be deprecated:  in spite of all the spirit
and freshness, in spite of his happy assumption of that cheerful
acceptation of things as they are, which, rightly or wrongly, we
come to attribute to the ideal fabulist, there is ever a sense as
of something a little out of place.  A form of literature so very
innocent and primitive looks a little over-written in Lord Lytton's
conscious and highly-coloured style.  It may be bad taste, but
sometimes we should prefer a few sentences of plain prose
narration, and a little Bewick by way of tail-piece.  So that it is
not among those fables that conform most nearly to the old model,
but one had nearly said among those that most widely differ from
it, that we find the most satisfactory examples of the author's
manner.

In the mere matter of ingenuity, the metaphysical fables are the
most remarkable; such as that of the windmill who imagined that it
was he who raised the wind; or that of the grocer's balance
('Cogito ergo sum') who considered himself endowed with free-will,
reason, and an infallible practical judgment; until, one fine day,
the police made a descent upon the shop, and find the weights false
and the scales unequal; and the whole thing is broken up for old
iron.  Capital fables, also, in the same ironical spirit, are
'Prometheus Unbound,' the tale of the vainglorying of a champagne-
cork, and 'Teleology,' where a nettle justifies the ways of God to
nettles while all goes well with it, and, upon a change of luck,
promptly changes its divinity.

In all these there is still plenty of the fabulous if you will,
although, even here, there may be two opinions possible; but there
is another group, of an order of merit perhaps still higher, where
we look in vain for any such playful liberties with Nature.  Thus
we have 'Conservation of Force'; where a musician, thinking of a
certain picture, improvises in the twilight; a poet, hearing the
music, goes home inspired, and writes a poem; and then a painter,
under the influence of this poem, paints another picture, thus
lineally descended from the first.  This is fiction, but not what
we have been used to call fable.  We miss the incredible element,
the point of audacity with which the fabulist was wont to mock at
his readers.  And still more so is this the case with others.  'The
Horse and the Fly' states one of the unanswerable problems of life
in quite a realistic and straightforward way.  A fly startles a
cab-horse, the coach is overset; a newly-married pair within and
the driver, a man with a wife and family, are all killed.  The
horse continues to gallop off in the loose traces, and ends the
tragedy by running over an only child; and there is some little
pathetic detail here introduced in the telling, that makes the
reader's indignation very white-hot against some one.  It remains
to be seen who that some one is to be:  the fly?  Nay, but on
closer inspection, it appears that the fly, actuated by maternal
instinct, was only seeking a place for her eggs:  is maternal
instinct, then, 'sole author of these mischiefs all'?  'Who's in
the Right?' one of the best fables in the book, is somewhat in the
same vein.  After a battle has been won, a group of officers
assemble inside a battery, and debate together who should have the
honour of the success; the Prince, the general staff, the cavalry,
the engineer who posted the battery in which they then stand
talking, are successively named:  the sergeant, who pointed the
guns, sneers to himself at the mention of the engineer; and, close
by, the gunner, who had applied the match, passes away with a smile
of triumph, since it was through his hand that the victorious blow
had been dealt.  Meanwhile, the cannon claims the honour over the
gunner; the cannon-ball, who actually goes forth on the dread
mission, claims it over the cannon, who remains idly behind; the
powder reminds the cannon-ball that, but for him, it would still be
lying on the arsenal floor; and the match caps the discussion;
powder, cannon-ball, and cannon would be all equally vain and
ineffectual without fire.  Just then there comes on a shower of
rain, which wets the powder and puts out the match, and completes
this lesson of dependence, by indicating the negative conditions
which are as necessary for any effect, in their absence, as is the
presence of this great fraternity of positive conditions, not any
one of which can claim priority over any other.  But the fable does
not end here, as perhaps, in all logical strictness, it should.  It
wanders off into a discussion as to which is the truer greatness,
that of the vanquished fire or that of the victorious rain.  And
the speech of the rain is charming:


'Lo, with my little drops I bless again
And beautify the fields which thou didst blast!
Rend, wither, waste, and ruin, what thou wilt,
But call not Greatness what the Gods call Guilt.
Blossoms and grass from blood in battle spilt,
And poppied corn, I bring.
'Mid mouldering Babels, to oblivion built,
My violets spring.
Little by little my small drops have strength
To deck with green delights the grateful earth.'


And so forth, not quite germane (it seems to me) to the matter in
hand, but welcome for its own sake.

Best of all are the fables that deal more immediately with the
emotions.  There is, for instance, that of 'The Two Travellers,'
which is profoundly moving in conception, although by no means as
well written as some others.  In this, one of the two, fearfully
frost-bitten, saves his life out of the snow at the cost of all
that was comely in his body; just as, long before, the other, who
has now quietly resigned himself to death, had violently freed
himself from Love at the cost of all that was finest and fairest in
his character.  Very graceful and sweet is the fable (if so it
should be called) in which the author sings the praises of that
'kindly perspective,' which lets a wheat-stalk near the eye cover
twenty leagues of distant country, and makes the humble circle
about a man's hearth more to him than all the possibilities of the
external world.  The companion fable to this is also excellent.  It
tells us of a man who had, all his life through, entertained a
passion for certain blue hills on the far horizon, and had promised
himself to travel thither ere he died, and become familiar with
these distant friends.  At last, in some political trouble, he is
banished to the very place of his dreams.  He arrives there
overnight, and, when he rises and goes forth in the morning, there
sure enough are the blue hills, only now they have changed places
with him, and smile across to him, distant as ever, from the old
home whence he has come.  Such a story might have been very
cynically treated; but it is not so done, the whole tone is kindly
and consolatory, and the disenchanted man submissively takes the
lesson, and understands that things far away are to be loved for
their own sake, and that the unattainable is not truly
unattainable, when we can make the beauty of it our own.  Indeed,
throughout all these two volumes, though there is much practical
scepticism, and much irony on abstract questions, this kindly and
consolatory spirit is never absent.  There is much that is cheerful
and, after a sedate, fireside fashion, hopeful.  No one will be
discouraged by reading the book; but the ground of all this
hopefulness and cheerfulness remains to the end somewhat vague.  It
does not seem to arise from any practical belief in the future
either of the individual or the race, but rather from the profound
personal contentment of the writer.  This is, I suppose, all we
must look for in the case.  It is as much as we can expect, if the
fabulist shall prove a shrewd and cheerful fellow-wayfarer, one
with whom the world does not seem to have gone much amiss, but who
has yet laughingly learned something of its evil.  It will depend
much, of course, upon our own character and circumstances, whether
the encounter will be agreeable and bracing to the spirits, or
offend us as an ill-timed mockery.  But where, as here, there is a
little tincture of bitterness along with the good-nature, where it
is plainly not the humour of a man cheerfully ignorant, but of one
who looks on, tolerant and superior and smilingly attentive, upon
the good and bad of our existence, it will go hardly if we do not
catch some reflection of the same spirit to help us on our way.
There is here no impertinent and lying proclamation of peace--none
of the cheap optimism of the well-to-do; what we find here is a
view of life that would be even grievous, were it not enlivened
with this abiding cheerfulness, and ever and anon redeemed by a
stroke of pathos.

It is natural enough, I suppose, that we should find wanting in
this book some of the intenser qualities of the author's work; and
their absence is made up for by much happy description after a
quieter fashion.  The burst of jubilation over the departure of the
snow, which forms the prelude to 'The Thistle,' is full of spirit
and of pleasant images.  The speech of the forest in 'Sans Souci'
is inspired by a beautiful sentiment for nature of the modern sort,
and pleases us more, I think, as poetry should please us, than
anything in Chronicles and Characters.  There are some admirable
felicities of expression here and there; as that of the hill, whose
summit


   'Did print
The azure air with pines.'


Moreover, I do not recollect in the author's former work any
symptom of that sympathetic treatment of still life, which is
noticeable now and again in the fables; and perhaps most
noticeably, when he sketches the burned letters as they hover along
the gusty flue, 'Thin, sable veils, wherein a restless spark Yet
trembled.'  But the description is at its best when the subjects
are unpleasant, or even grisly.  There are a few capital lines in
this key on the last spasm of the battle before alluded to.  Surely
nothing could be better, in its own way, than the fish in 'The Last
Cruise of the Arrogant,' 'the shadowy, side-faced, silent things,'
that come butting and staring with lidless eyes at the sunken
steam-engine.  And although, in yet another, we are told,
pleasantly enough, how the water went down into the valleys, where
it set itself gaily to saw wood, and on into the plains, where it
would soberly carry grain to town; yet the real strength of the
fable is when it dealt with the shut pool in which certain
unfortunate raindrops are imprisoned among slugs and snails, and in
the company of an old toad.  The sodden contentment of the fallen
acorn is strangely significant; and it is astonishing how
unpleasantly we are startled by the appearance of her horrible
lover, the maggot.

And now for a last word, about the style.  This is not easy to
criticise.  It is impossible to deny to it rapidity, spirit, and a
full sound; the lines are never lame, and the sense is carried
forward with an uninterrupted, impetuous rush.  But it is not
equal.  After passages of really admirable versification, the
author falls back upon a sort of loose, cavalry manner, not unlike
the style of some of Mr. Browning's minor pieces, and almost
inseparable from wordiness, and an easy acceptation of somewhat
cheap finish.  There is nothing here of that compression which is
the note of a really sovereign style.  It is unfair, perhaps, to
set a not remarkable passage from Lord Lytton side by side with one
of the signal masterpieces of another, and a very perfect poet; and
yet it is interesting, when we see how the portraiture of a dog,
detailed through thirty odd lines, is frittered down and finally
almost lost in the mere laxity of the style, to compare it with the
clear, simple, vigorous delineation that Burns, in four couplets,
has given us of the ploughman's collie.  It is interesting, at
first, and then it becomes a little irritating; for when we think
of other passages so much more finished and adroit, we cannot help
feeling, that with a little more ardour after perfection of form,
criticism would have found nothing left for her to censure.  A
similar mark of precipitate work is the number of adjectives
tumultuously heaped together, sometimes to help out the sense, and
sometimes (as one cannot but suspect) to help out the sound of the
verses.  I do not believe, for instance, that Lord Lytton himself
would defend the lines in which we are told how Laocoon 'Revealed
to Roman crowds, now Christian grown, That Pagan anguish which, in
Parian stone, The Rhodian artist,' and so on.  It is not only that
this is bad in itself; but that it is unworthy of the company in
which it is found; that such verses should not have appeared with
the name of a good versifier like Lord Lytton.  We must take
exception, also, in conclusion, to the excess of alliteration.
Alliteration is so liable to be abused that we can scarcely be too
sparing of it; and yet it is a trick that seems to grow upon the
author with years.  It is a pity to see fine verses, such as some
in 'Demos,' absolutely spoiled by the recurrence of one wearisome
consonant.



CHAPTER II--SALVINI'S MACBETH



Salvini closed his short visit to Edinburgh by a performance of
Macbeth.  It was, perhaps, from a sentiment of local colour that he
chose to play the Scottish usurper for the first time before
Scotsmen; and the audience were not insensible of the privilege.
Few things, indeed, can move a stronger interest than to see a
great creation taking shape for the first time.  If it is not
purely artistic, the sentiment is surely human.  And the thought
that you are before all the world, and have the start of so many
others as eager as yourself, at least keeps you in a more
unbearable suspense before the curtain rises, if it does not
enhance the delight with which you follow the performance and see
the actor 'bend up each corporal agent' to realise a masterpiece of
a few hours' duration.  With a player so variable as Salvini, who
trusts to the feelings of the moment for so much detail, and who,
night after night, does the same thing differently but always well,
it can never be safe to pass judgment after a single hearing.  And
this is more particularly true of last week's Macbeth; for the
whole third act was marred by a grievously humorous misadventure.
Several minutes too soon the ghost of Banquo joined the party, and
after having sat helpless a while at a table, was ignominiously
withdrawn.  Twice was this ghostly Jack-in-the-box obtruded on the
stage before his time; twice removed again; and yet he showed so
little hurry when he was really wanted, that, after an awkward
pause, Macbeth had to begin his apostrophe to empty air.  The
arrival of the belated spectre in the middle, with a jerk that made
him nod all over, was the last accident in the chapter, and
worthily topped the whole.  It may be imagined how lamely matters
went throughout these cross purposes.

In spite of this, and some other hitches, Salvini's Macbeth had an
emphatic success.  The creation is worthy of a place beside the
same artist's Othello and Hamlet.  It is the simplest and most
unsympathetic of the three; but the absence of the finer lineaments
of Hamlet is redeemed by gusto, breadth, and a headlong unity.
Salvini sees nothing great in Macbeth beyond the royalty of muscle,
and that courage which comes of strong and copious circulation.
The moral smallness of the man is insisted on from the first, in
the shudder of uncontrollable jealousy with which he sees Duncan
embracing Banquo.  He may have some northern poetry of speech, but
he has not much logical understanding.  In his dealings with the
supernatural powers he is like a savage with his fetich, trusting
them beyond bounds while all goes well, and whenever he is crossed,
casting his belief aside and calling 'fate into the list.'  For his
wife, he is little more than an agent, a frame of bone and sinew
for her fiery spirit to command.  The nature of his feeling towards
her is rendered with a most precise and delicate touch.  He always
yields to the woman's fascination; and yet his caresses (and we
know how much meaning Salvini can give to a caress) are singularly
hard and unloving.  Sometimes he lays his hand on her as he might
take hold of any one who happened to be nearest to him at a moment
of excitement.  Love has fallen out of this marriage by the way,
and left a curious friendship.  Only once--at the very moment when
she is showing herself so little a woman and so much a high-
spirited man--only once is he very deeply stirred towards her; and
that finds expression in the strange and horrible transport of
admiration, doubly strange and horrible on Salvini's lips--'Bring
forth men-children only!'

The murder scene, as was to be expected, pleased the audience best.
Macbeth's voice, in the talk with his wife, was a thing not to be
forgotten; and when he spoke of his hangman's hands he seemed to
have blood in his utterance.  Never for a moment, even in the very
article of the murder, does he possess his own soul.  He is a man
on wires.  From first to last it is an exhibition of hideous
cowardice.  For, after all, it is not here, but in broad daylight,
with the exhilaration of conflict, where he can assure himself at
every blow he has the longest sword and the heaviest hand, that
this man's physical bravery can keep him up; he is an unwieldy
ship, and needs plenty of way on before he will steer.

In the banquet scene, while the first murderer gives account of
what he has done, there comes a flash of truculent joy at the
'twenty trenched gashes' on Banquo's head.  Thus Macbeth makes
welcome to his imagination those very details of physical horror
which are so soon to turn sour in him.  As he runs out to embrace
these cruel circumstances, as he seeks to realise to his mind's eye
the reassuring spectacle of his dead enemy, he is dressing out the
phantom to terrify himself; and his imagination, playing the part
of justice, is to 'commend to his own lips the ingredients of his
poisoned chalice.'  With the recollection of Hamlet and his
father's spirit still fresh upon him, and the holy awe with which
that good man encountered things not dreamt of in his philosophy,
it was not possible to avoid looking for resemblances between the
two apparitions and the two men haunted.  But there are none to be
found.  Macbeth has a purely physical dislike for Banquo's spirit
and the 'twenty trenched gashes.'  He is afraid of he knows not
what.  He is abject, and again blustering.  In the end he so far
forgets himself, his terror, and the nature of what is before him,
that he rushes upon it as he would upon a man.  When his wife tells
him he needs repose, there is something really childish in the way
he looks about the room, and, seeing nothing, with an expression of
almost sensual relief, plucks up heart enough to go to bed.  And
what is the upshot of the visitation?  It is written in
Shakespeare, but should be read with the commentary of Salvini's
voice and expression:- 'O! siam nell' opra ancor fanciulli'-- 'We
are yet but young in deed.'  Circle below circle.  He is looking
with horrible satisfaction into the mouth of hell.  There may still
be a prick to-day; but to-morrow conscience will be dead, and he
may move untroubled in this element of blood.

In the fifth act we see this lowest circle reached; and it is
Salvini's finest moment throughout the play.  From the first he was
admirably made up, and looked Macbeth to the full as perfectly as
ever he looked Othello.  From the first moment he steps upon the
stage you can see this character is a creation to the fullest
meaning of the phrase; for the man before you is a type you know
well already.  He arrives with Banquo on the heath, fair and red-
bearded, sparing of gesture, full of pride and the sense of animal
wellbeing, and satisfied after the battle like a beast who has
eaten his fill.  But in the fifth act there is a change.  This is
still the big, burly, fleshly, handsome-looking Thane; here is
still the same face which in the earlier acts could be
superficially good-humoured and sometimes royally courteous.  But
now the atmosphere of blood, which pervades the whole tragedy, has
entered into the man and subdued him to its own nature; and an
indescribable degradation, a slackness and puffiness, has overtaken
his features.  He has breathed the air of carnage, and supped full
of horrors.  Lady Macbeth complains of the smell of blood on her
hand:  Macbeth makes no complaint--he has ceased to notice it now;
but the same smell is in his nostrils.  A contained fury and
disgust possesses him.  He taunts the messenger and the doctor as
people would taunt their mortal enemies.  And, indeed, as he knows
right well, every one is his enemy now, except his wife.  About her
he questions the doctor with something like a last human anxiety;
and, in tones of grisly mystery, asks him if he can 'minister to a
mind diseased.'  When the news of her death is brought him, he is
staggered and falls into a seat; but somehow it is not anything we
can call grief that he displays.  There had been two of them
against God and man; and now, when there is only one, it makes
perhaps less difference than he had expected.  And so her death is
not only an affliction, but one more disillusion; and he redoubles
in bitterness.  The speech that follows, given with tragic cynicism
in every word, is a dirge, not so much for her as for himself.
From that time forth there is nothing human left in him, only 'the
fiend of Scotland,' Macduff's 'hell-hound,' whom, with a stern
glee, we see baited like a bear and hunted down like a wolf.  He is
inspired and set above fate by a demoniacal energy, a lust of
wounds and slaughter.  Even after he meets Macduff his courage does
not fail; but when he hears the Thane was not born of woman, all
virtue goes out of him; and though he speaks sounding words of
defiance, the last combat is little better than a suicide.

The whole performance is, as I said, so full of gusto and a
headlong unity; the personality of Macbeth is so sharp and
powerful; and within these somewhat narrow limits there is so much
play and saliency that, so far as concerns Salvini himself, a third
great success seems indubitable.  Unfortunately, however, a great
actor cannot fill more than a very small fraction of the boards;
and though Banquo's ghost will probably be more seasonable in his
future apparitions, there are some more inherent difficulties in
the piece.  The company at large did not distinguish themselves.
Macduff, to the huge delight of the gallery, out-Macduff'd the
average ranter.  The lady who filled the principal female part has
done better on other occasions, but I fear she has not metal for
what she tried last week.  Not to succeed in the sleep-walking
scene is to make a memorable failure.  As it was given, it
succeeded in being wrong in art without being true to nature.

And there is yet another difficulty, happily easy to reform, which
somewhat interfered with the success of the performance.  At the
end of the incantation scene the Italian translator has made
Macbeth fall insensible upon the stage.  This is a change of
questionable propriety from a psychological point of view; while in
point of view of effect it leaves the stage for some moments empty
of all business.  To remedy this, a bevy of green ballet-girls came
forth and pointed their toes about the prostrate king.  A dance of
High Church curates, or a hornpipe by Mr. T. P. Cooke, would not be
more out of the key; though the gravity of a Scots audience was not
to be overcome, and they merely expressed their disapprobation by a
round of moderate hisses, a similar irruption of Christmas fairies
would most likely convulse a London theatre from pit to gallery
with inextinguishable laughter.  It is, I am told, the Italian
tradition; but it is one more honoured in the breach than the
observance.  With the total disappearance of these damsels, with a
stronger Lady Macbeth, and, if possible, with some compression of
those scenes in which Salvini does not appear, and the spectator is
left at the mercy of Macduffs and Duncans, the play would go twice
as well, and we should be better able to follow and enjoy an
admirable work of dramatic art.



CHAPTER III--BAGSTER'S 'PILGRIM'S PROGRESS'



I have here before me an edition of the Pilgrim's Progress, bound
in green, without a date, and described as 'illustrated by nearly
three hundred engravings, and memoir of Bunyan.'  On the outside it
is lettered 'Bagster's Illustrated Edition,' and after the author's
apology, facing the first page of the tale, a folding pictorial
'Plan of the Road' is marked as 'drawn by the late Mr. T. Conder,'
and engraved by J. Basire.  No further information is anywhere
vouchsafed; perhaps the publishers had judged the work too
unimportant; and we are still left ignorant whether or not we owe
the woodcuts in the body of the volume to the same hand that drew
the plan.  It seems, however, more than probable.  The literal
particularity of mind which, in the map, laid down the flower-plots
in the devil's garden, and carefully introduced the court-house in
the town of Vanity, is closely paralleled in many of the cuts; and
in both, the architecture of the buildings and the disposition of
the gardens have a kindred and entirely English air.  Whoever he
was, the author of these wonderful little pictures may lay claim to
be the best illustrator of Bunyan.  They are not only good
illustrations, like so many others; but they are like so few, good
illustrations of Bunyan.  Their spirit, in defect and quality, is
still the same as his own.  The designer also has lain down and
dreamed a dream, as literal, as quaint, and almost as apposite as
Bunyan's; and text and pictures make but the two sides of the same
homespun yet impassioned story.  To do justice to the designs, it
will be necessary to say, for the hundredth time, a word or two
about the masterpiece which they adorn.

All allegories have a tendency to escape from the purpose of their
creators; and as the characters and incidents become more and more
interesting in themselves, the moral, which these were to show
forth, falls more and more into neglect.  An architect may command
a wreath of vine-leaves round the cornice of a monument; but if, as
each leaf came from the chisel, it took proper life and fluttered
freely on the wall, and if the vine grew, and the building were
hidden over with foliage and fruit, the architect would stand in
much the same situation as the writer of allegories.  The Faery
Queen was an allegory, I am willing to believe; but it survives as
an imaginative tale in incomparable verse.  The case of Bunyan is
widely different; and yet in this also Allegory, poor nymph,
although never quite forgotten, is sometimes rudely thrust against
the wall.  Bunyan was fervently in earnest; with 'his fingers in
his ears, he ran on,' straight for his mark.  He tells us himself,
in the conclusion to the first part, that he did not fear to raise
a laugh; indeed, he feared nothing, and said anything; and he was
greatly served in this by a certain rustic privilege of his style,
which, like the talk of strong uneducated men, when it does not
impress by its force, still charms by its simplicity.  The mere
story and the allegorical design enjoyed perhaps his equal favour.
He believed in both with an energy of faith that was capable of
moving mountains.  And we have to remark in him, not the parts
where inspiration fails and is supplied by cold and merely
decorative invention, but the parts where faith has grown to be
credulity, and his characters become so real to him that he forgets
the end of their creation.  We can follow him step by step into the
trap which he lays for himself by his own entire good faith and
triumphant literality of vision, till the trap closes and shuts him
in an inconsistency.  The allegories of the Interpreter and of the
Shepherds of the Delectable Mountains are all actually performed,
like stage-plays, before the pilgrims.  The son of Mr. Great-grace
visibly 'tumbles hills about with his words.'  Adam the First has
his condemnation written visibly on his forehead, so that Faithful
reads it.  At the very instant the net closes round the pilgrims,
'the white robe falls from the black man's body.'  Despair 'getteth
him a grievous crab-tree cudgel'; it was in 'sunshiny weather' that
he had his fits; and the birds in the grove about the House
Beautiful, 'our country birds,' only sing their little pious verses
'at the spring, when the flowers appear and the sun shines warm.'
'I often,' says Piety, 'go out to hear them; we also ofttimes keep
them tame on our house.'  The post between Beulah and the Celestial
City sounds his horn, as you may yet hear in country places.  Madam
Bubble, that 'tall, comely dame, something of a swarthy complexion,
in very pleasant attire, but old,' 'gives you a smile at the end of
each sentence'--a real woman she; we all know her.  Christiana
dying 'gave Mr. Stand-fast a ring,' for no possible reason in the
allegory, merely because the touch was human and affecting.  Look
at Great-heart, with his soldierly ways, garrison ways, as I had
almost called them; with his taste in weapons; his delight in any
that 'he found to be a man of his hands'; his chivalrous point of
honour, letting Giant Maul get up again when he was down, a thing
fairly flying in the teeth of the moral; above all, with his
language in the inimitable tale of Mr. Fearing:  'I thought I
should have lost my man'--'chicken-hearted'--'at last he came in,
and I will say that for my lord, he carried it wonderful lovingly
to him.'  This is no Independent minister; this is a stout, honest,
big-busted ancient, adjusting his shoulder-belts, twirling his long
moustaches as he speaks.  Last and most remarkable, 'My sword,'
says the dying Valiant-for-Truth, he in whom Great-heart delighted,
'my sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, AND
MY COURAGE AND SKILL TO HIM THAT CAN GET IT.'  And after this
boast, more arrogantly unorthodox than was ever dreamed of by the
rejected Ignorance, we are told that 'all the trumpets sounded for
him on the other side.'

In every page the book is stamped with the same energy of vision
and the same energy of belief.  The quality is equally and
indifferently displayed in the spirit of the fighting, the
tenderness of the pathos, the startling vigour and strangeness of
the incidents, the natural strain of the conversations, and the
humanity and charm of the characters.  Trivial talk over a meal,
the dying words of heroes, the delights of Beulah or the Celestial
City, Apollyon and my Lord Hate-good, Great-heart, and Mr. Worldly-
Wiseman, all have been imagined with the same clearness, all
written of with equal gusto and precision, all created in the same
mixed element, of simplicity that is almost comical, and art that,
for its purpose, is faultless.

It was in much the same spirit that our artist sat down to his
drawings.  He is by nature a Bunyan of the pencil.  He, too, will
draw anything, from a butcher at work on a dead sheep, up to the
courts of Heaven.  'A Lamb for Supper' is the name of one of his
designs, 'Their Glorious Entry' of another.  He has the same
disregard for the ridiculous, and enjoys somewhat of the same
privilege of style, so that we are pleased even when we laugh the
most.  He is literal to the verge of folly.  If dust is to be
raised from the unswept parlour, you may be sure it will 'fly
abundantly' in the picture.  If Faithful is to lie 'as dead' before
Moses, dead he shall lie with a warrant--dead and stiff like
granite; nay (and here the artist must enhance upon the symbolism
of the author), it is with the identical stone tables of the law
that Moses fells the sinner.  Good and bad people, whom we at once
distinguish in the text by their names, Hopeful, Honest, and
Valiant-for-Truth, on the one hand, as against By-ends, Sir Having
Greedy, and the Lord Old-man on the other, are in these drawings as
simply distinguished by their costume.  Good people, when not armed
cap-a-pie, wear a speckled tunic girt about the waist, and low
hats, apparently of straw.  Bad people swagger in tail-coats and
chimney-pots, a few with knee-breeches, but the large majority in
trousers, and for all the world like guests at a garden-party.
Worldly-Wiseman alone, by some inexplicable quirk, stands before
Christian in laced hat, embroidered waistcoat, and trunk-hose.  But
above all examples of this artist's intrepidity, commend me to the
print entitled 'Christian Finds it Deep.'  'A great darkness and
horror,' says the text, have fallen on the pilgrim; it is the
comfortless deathbed with which Bunyan so strikingly concludes the
sorrows and conflicts of his hero.  How to represent this worthily
the artist knew not; and yet he was determined to represent it
somehow.  This was how he did:  Hopeful is still shown to his neck
above the water of death; but Christian has bodily disappeared, and
a blot of solid blackness indicates his place.

As you continue to look at these pictures, about an inch square for
the most part, sometimes printed three or more to the page, and
each having a printed legend of its own, however trivial the event
recorded, you will soon become aware of two things:  first, that
the man can draw, and, second, that he possesses the gift of an
imagination.  'Obstinate reviles,' says the legend; and you should
see Obstinate reviling.  'He warily retraces his steps'; and there
is Christian, posting through the plain, terror and speed in every
muscle.  'Mercy yearns to go' shows you a plain interior with
packing going forward, and, right in the middle, Mercy yearning to
go--every line of the girl's figure yearning.  In 'The Chamber
called Peace' we see a simple English room, bed with white
curtains, window valance and door, as may be found in many thousand
unpretentious houses; but far off, through the open window, we
behold the sun uprising out of a great plain, and Christian hails
it with his hand:


'Where am I now! is this the love and care
Of Jesus, for the men that pilgrims are!
Thus to provide!  That I should be forgiven!
And dwell already the next door to heaven!'


A page or two further, from the top of the House Beautiful, the
damsels point his gaze toward the Delectable Mountains:  'The
Prospect,' so the cut is ticketed--and I shall be surprised, if on
less than a square inch of paper you can show me one so wide and
fair.  Down a cross road on an English plain, a cathedral city
outlined on the horizon, a hazel shaw upon the left, comes Madam
Wanton dancing with her fair enchanted cup, and Faithful, book in
hand, half pauses.  The cut is perfect as a symbol; the giddy
movement of the sorceress, the uncertain poise of the man struck to
the heart by a temptation, the contrast of that even plain of life
whereon he journeys with the bold, ideal bearing of the wanton--the
artist who invented and portrayed this had not merely read Bunyan,
he had also thoughtfully lived.  The Delectable Mountains--I
continue skimming the first part--are not on the whole happily
rendered.  Once, and once only, the note is struck, when Christian
and Hopeful are seen coming, shoulder-high, through a thicket of
green shrubs--box, perhaps, or perfumed nutmeg; while behind them,
domed or pointed, the hills stand ranged against the sky.  A little
further, and we come to that masterpiece of Bunyan's insight into
life, the Enchanted Ground; where, in a few traits, he has set down
the latter end of such a number of the would-be good; where his
allegory goes so deep that, to people looking seriously on life, it
cuts like satire.  The true significance of this invention lies, of
course, far out of the way of drawing; only one feature, the great
tedium of the land, the growing weariness in well-doing, may be
somewhat represented in a symbol.  The pilgrims are near the end:
'Two Miles Yet,' says the legend.  The road goes ploughing up and
down over a rolling heath; the wayfarers, with outstretched arms,
are already sunk to the knees over the brow of the nearest hill;
they have just passed a milestone with the cipher two; from
overhead a great, piled, summer cumulus, as of a slumberous summer
afternoon, beshadows them:  two miles! it might be hundreds.  In
dealing with the Land of Beulah the artist lags, in both parts,
miserably behind the text, but in the distant prospect of the
Celestial City more than regains his own.  You will remember when
Christian and Hopeful 'with desire fell sick.'  'Effect of the
Sunbeams' is the artist's title.  Against the sky, upon a cliffy
mountain, the radiant temple beams upon them over deep, subjacent
woods; they, behind a mound, as if seeking shelter from the
splendour--one prostrate on his face, one kneeling, and with hands
ecstatically lifted--yearn with passion after that immortal city.
Turn the page, and we behold them walking by the very shores of
death; Heaven, from this nigher view, has risen half-way to the
zenith, and sheds a wider glory; and the two pilgrims, dark against
that brightness, walk and sing out of the fulness of their hearts.
No cut more thoroughly illustrates at once the merit and the
weakness of the artist.  Each pilgrim sings with a book in his
grasp--a family Bible at the least for bigness; tomes so recklessly
enormous that our second, impulse is to laughter.  And yet that is
not the first thought, nor perhaps the last.  Something in the
attitude of the manikins--faces they have none, they are too small
for that--something in the way they swing these monstrous volumes
to their singing, something perhaps borrowed from the text, some
subtle differentiation from the cut that went before and the cut
that follows after--something, at least, speaks clearly of a
fearful joy, of Heaven seen from the deathbed, of the horror of the
last passage no less than of the glorious coming home.  There is
that in the action of one of them which always reminds me, with a
difference, of that haunting last glimpse of Thomas Idle,
travelling to Tyburn in the cart.  Next come the Shining Ones,
wooden and trivial enough; the pilgrims pass into the river; the
blot already mentioned settles over and obliterates Christian.  In
two more cuts we behold them drawing nearer to the other shore; and
then, between two radiant angels, one of whom points upward, we see
them mounting in new weeds, their former lendings left behind them
on the inky river.  More angels meet them; Heaven is displayed, and
if no better, certainly no worse, than it has been shown by others-
-a place, at least, infinitely populous and glorious with light--a
place that haunts solemnly the hearts of children.  And then this
symbolic draughtsman once more strikes into his proper vein.  Three
cuts conclude the first part.  In the first the gates close, black
against the glory struggling from within.  The second shows us
Ignorance--alas! poor Arminian!--hailing, in a sad twilight, the
ferryman Vain-Hope; and in the third we behold him, bound hand and
foot, and black already with the hue of his eternal fate, carried
high over the mountain-tops of the world by two angels of the anger
of the Lord.  'Carried to Another Place,' the artist enigmatically
names his plate--a terrible design.

Wherever he touches on the black side of the supernatural his
pencil grows more daring and incisive.  He has many true inventions
in the perilous and diabolic; he has many startling nightmares
realised.  It is not easy to select the best; some may like one and
some another; the nude, depilated devil bounding and casting darts
against the Wicket Gate; the scroll of flying horrors that hang
over Christian by the Mouth of Hell; the horned shade that comes
behind him whispering blasphemies; the daylight breaking through
that rent cave-mouth of the mountains and falling chill adown the
haunted tunnel; Christian's further progress along the causeway,
between the two black pools, where, at every yard or two, a gin, a
pitfall, or a snare awaits the passer-by--loathsome white devilkins
harbouring close under the bank to work the springes, Christian
himself pausing and pricking with his sword's point at the nearest
noose, and pale discomfortable mountains rising on the farther
side; or yet again, the two ill-favoured ones that beset the first
of Christian's journey, with the frog-like structure of the skull,
the frog-like limberness of limbs--crafty, slippery, lustful-
looking devils, drawn always in outline as though possessed of a
dim, infernal luminosity.  Horrid fellows are they, one and all;
horrid fellows and horrific scenes.  In another spirit that Good-
Conscience 'to whom Mr. Honest had spoken in his lifetime,' a
cowled, grey, awful figure, one hand pointing to the heavenly
shore, realises, I will not say all, but some at least of the
strange impressiveness of Bunyan's words.  It is no easy nor
pleasant thing to speak in one's lifetime with Good-Conscience; he
is an austere, unearthly friend, whom maybe Torquemada knew; and
the folds of his raiment are not merely claustral, but have
something of the horror of the pall.  Be not afraid, however; with
the hand of that appearance Mr. Honest will get safe across.

Yet perhaps it is in sequences that this artist best displays
himself.  He loves to look at either side of a thing:  as, for
instance, when he shows us both sides of the wall--'Grace
Inextinguishable' on the one side, with the devil vainly pouring
buckets on the flame, and 'The Oil of Grace' on the other, where
the Holy Spirit, vessel in hand, still secretly supplies the fire.
He loves, also, to show us the same event twice over, and to repeat
his instantaneous photographs at the interval of but a moment.  So
we have, first, the whole troop of pilgrims coming up to Valiant,
and Great-heart to the front, spear in hand and parleying; and
next, the same cross-roads, from a more distant view, the convoy
now scattered and looking safely and curiously on, and Valiant
handing over for inspection his 'right Jerusalem blade.'  It is
true that this designer has no great care after consistency:
Apollyon's spear is laid by, his quiver of darts will disappear,
whenever they might hinder the designer's freedom; and the fiend's
tail is blobbed or forked at his good pleasure.  But this is not
unsuitable to the illustration of the fervent Bunyan, breathing
hurry and momentary inspiration.  He, with his hot purpose, hunting
sinners with a lasso, shall himself forget the things that he has
written yesterday.  He shall first slay Heedless in the Valley of
the Shadow, and then take leave of him talking in his sleep, as if
nothing had happened, in an arbour on the Enchanted Ground.  And
again, in his rhymed prologue, he shall assign some of the glory of
the siege of Doubting Castle to his favourite Valiant-for-the-
Truth, who did not meet with the besiegers till long after, at that
dangerous corner by Deadman's Lane.  And, with all inconsistencies
and freedoms, there is a power shown in these sequences of cuts:  a
power of joining on one action or one humour to another; a power of
following out the moods, even of the dismal subterhuman fiends
engendered by the artist's fancy; a power of sustained continuous
realisation, step by step, in nature's order, that can tell a
story, in all its ins and outs, its pauses and surprises, fully and
figuratively, like the art of words.

One such sequence is the fight of Christian and Apollyon--six cuts,
weird and fiery, like the text.  The pilgrim is throughout a pale
and stockish figure; but the devil covers a multitude of defects.
There is no better devil of the conventional order than our
artist's Apollyon, with his mane, his wings, his bestial legs, his
changing and terrifying expression, his infernal energy to slay.
In cut the first you see him afar off, still obscure in form, but
already formidable in suggestion.  Cut the second, 'The Fiend in
Discourse,' represents him, not reasoning, railing rather, shaking
his spear at the pilgrim, his shoulder advanced, his tail writhing
in the air, his foot ready for a spring, while Christian stands
back a little, timidly defensive.  The third illustrates these
magnificent words:  'Then Apollyon straddled quite over the whole
breadth of the way, and said, I am void of fear in this matter:
prepare thyself to die; for I swear by my infernal den that thou
shalt go no farther:  here will I spill thy soul!  And with that he
threw a flaming dart at his breast.'  In the cut he throws a dart
with either hand, belching pointed flames out of his mouth,
spreading his broad vans, and straddling the while across the path,
as only a fiend can straddle who has just sworn by his infernal
den.  The defence will not be long against such vice, such flames,
such red-hot nether energy.  And in the fourth cut, to be sure, he
has leaped bodily upon his victim, sped by foot and pinion, and
roaring as he leaps.  The fifth shows the climacteric of the
battle; Christian has reached nimbly out and got his sword, and
dealt that deadly home-thrust, the fiend still stretched upon him,
but 'giving back, as one that had received his mortal wound.'  The
raised head, the bellowing mouth, the paw clapped upon the sword,
the one wing relaxed in agony, all realise vividly these words of
the text.  In the sixth and last, the trivial armed figure of the
pilgrim is seen kneeling with clasped hands on the betrodden scene
of contest and among the shivers of the darts; while just at the
margin the hinder quarters and the tail of Apollyon are whisking
off, indignant and discounted.

In one point only do these pictures seem to be unworthy of the
text, and that point is one rather of the difference of arts than
the difference of artists.  Throughout his best and worst, in his
highest and most divine imaginations as in the narrowest sallies of
his sectarianism, the human-hearted piety of Bunyan touches and
ennobles, convinces, accuses the reader.  Through no art beside the
art of words can the kindness of a man's affections be expressed.
In the cuts you shall find faithfully parodied the quaintness and
the power, the triviality and the surprising freshness of the
author's fancy; there you shall find him out-stripped in ready
symbolism and the art of bringing things essentially invisible
before the eyes:  but to feel the contact of essential goodness, to
be made in love with piety, the book must be read and not the
prints examined.

Farewell should not be taken with a grudge; nor can I dismiss in
any other words than those of gratitude a series of pictures which
have, to one at least, been the visible embodiment of Bunyan from
childhood up, and shown him, through all his years, Great-heart
lungeing at Giant Maul, and Apollyon breathing fire at Christian,
and every turn and town along the road to the Celestial City, and
that bright place itself, seen as to a stave of music, shining afar
off upon the hill-top, the candle of the world.




SKETCHES




THE SATIRIST



My companion enjoyed a cheap reputation for wit and insight.  He
was by habit and repute a satirist.  If he did occasionally condemn
anything or anybody who richly deserved it, and whose demerits had
hitherto escaped, it was simply because he condemned everything and
everybody.  While I was with him he disposed of St. Paul with an
epigram, shook my reverence for Shakespeare in a neat antithesis,
and fell foul of the Almighty Himself, on the score of one or two
out of the ten commandments.  Nothing escaped his blighting
censure.  At every sentence he overthrew an idol, or lowered my
estimation of a friend.  I saw everything with new eyes, and could
only marvel at my former blindness.  How was it possible that I had
not before observed A's false hair, B's selfishness, or C's boorish
manners?  I and my companion, methought, walked the streets like a
couple of gods among a swarm of vermin; for every one we saw seemed
to bear openly upon his brow the mark of the apocalyptic beast.  I
half expected that these miserable beings, like the people of
Lystra, would recognise their betters and force us to the altar; in
which case, warned by the late of Paul and Barnabas, I do not know
that my modesty would have prevailed upon me to decline.  But there
was no need for such churlish virtue.  More blinded than the
Lycaonians, the people saw no divinity in our gait; and as our
temporary godhead lay more in the way of observing than healing
their infirmities, we were content to pass them by in scorn.

I could not leave my companion, not from regard or even from
interest, but from a very natural feeling, inseparable from the
case.  To understand it, let us take a simile.  Suppose yourself
walking down the street with a man who continues to sprinkle the
crowd out of a flask of vitriol.  You would be much diverted with
the grimaces and contortions of his victims; and at the same time
you would fear to leave his arm until his bottle was empty, knowing
that, when once among the crowd, you would run a good chance
yourself of baptism with his biting liquor.  Now my companion's
vitriol was inexhaustible.

It was perhaps the consciousness of this, the knowledge that I was
being anointed already out of the vials of his wrath, that made me
fall to criticising the critic, whenever we had parted.

After all, I thought, our satirist has just gone far enough into
his neighbours to find that the outside is false, without caring to
go farther and discover what is really true.  He is content to find
that things are not what they seem, and broadly generalises from it
that they do not exist at all.  He sees our virtues are not what
they pretend they are; and, on the strength of that, he denies us
the possession of virtue altogether.  He has learnt the first
lesson, that no man is wholly good; but he has not even suspected
that there is another equally true, to wit, that no man is wholly
bad.  Like the inmate of a coloured star, he has eyes for one
colour alone.  He has a keen scent after evil, but his nostrils are
plugged against all good, as people plugged their nostrils before
going about the streets of the plague-struck city.

Why does he do this?  It is most unreasonable to flee the knowledge
of good like the infection of a horrible disease, and batten and
grow fat in the real atmosphere of a lazar-house.  This was my
first thought; but my second was not like unto it, and I saw that
our satirist was wise, wise in his generation, like the unjust
steward.  He does not want light, because the darkness is more
pleasant.  He does not wish to see the good, because he is happier
without it.  I recollect that when I walked with him, I was in a
state of divine exaltation, such as Adam and Eve must have enjoyed
when the savour of the fruit was still unfaded between their lips;
and I recognise that this must be the man's habitual state.  He has
the forbidden fruit in his waist-coat pocket, and can make himself
a god as often and as long as he likes.  He has raised himself upon
a glorious pedestal above his fellows; he has touched the summit of
ambition; and he envies neither King nor Kaiser, Prophet nor
Priest, content in an elevation as high as theirs, and much more
easily attained.  Yes, certes, much more easily attained.  He has
not risen by climbing himself, but by pushing others down.  He has
grown great in his own estimation, not by blowing himself out, and
risking the fate of AEsop's frog, but simply by the habitual use of
a diminishing glass on everybody else.  And I think altogether that
his is a better, a safer, and a surer recipe than most others.

After all, however, looking back on what I have written, I detect a
spirit suspiciously like his own.  All through, I have been
comparing myself with our satirist, and all through, I have had the
best of the comparison.  Well, well, contagion is as often mental
as physical; and I do not think my readers, who have all been under
his lash, will blame me very much for giving the headsman a
mouthful of his own sawdust.



NUITS BLANCHES



If any one should know the pleasure and pain of a sleepless night,
it should be I.  I remember, so long ago, the sickly child that
woke from his few hours' slumber with the sweat of a nightmare on
his brow, to lie awake and listen and long for the first signs of
life among the silent streets.  These nights of pain and weariness
are graven on my mind; and so when the same thing happened to me
again, everything that I heard or saw was rather a recollection
than a discovery.

Weighed upon by the opaque and almost sensible darkness, I listened
eagerly for anything to break the sepulchral quiet.  But nothing
came, save, perhaps, an emphatic crack from the old cabinet that
was made by Deacon Brodie, or the dry rustle of the coals on the
extinguished fire.  It was a calm; or I know that I should have
heard in the roar and clatter of the storm, as I have not heard it
for so many years, the wild career of a horseman, always scouring
up from the distance and passing swiftly below the window; yet
always returning again from the place whence first he came, as
though, baffled by some higher power, he had retraced his steps to
gain impetus for another and another attempt.

As I lay there, there arose out of the utter stillness the rumbling
of a carriage a very great way off, that drew near, and passed
within a few streets of the house, and died away as gradually as it
had arisen.  This, too, was as a reminiscence.

I rose and lifted a corner of the blind.  Over the black belt of
the garden I saw the long line of Queen Street, with here and there
a lighted window.  How often before had my nurse lifted me out of
bed and pointed them out to me, while we wondered together if,
there also, there were children that could not sleep, and if these
lighted oblongs were signs of those that waited like us for the
morning.

I went out into the lobby, and looked down into the great deep well
of the staircase.  For what cause I know not, just as it used to be
in the old days that the feverish child might be the better served,
a peep of gas illuminated a narrow circle far below me.  But where
I was, all was darkness and silence, save the dry monotonous
ticking of the clock that came ceaselessly up to my ear.

The final crown of it all, however, the last touch of reproduction
on the pictures of my memory, was the arrival of that time for
which, all night through, I waited and longed of old.  It was my
custom, as the hours dragged on, to repeat the question, 'When will
the carts come in?' and repeat it again and again until at last
those sounds arose in the street that I have heard once more this
morning.  The road before our house is a great thoroughfare for
early carts.  I know not, and I never have known, what they carry,
whence they come, or whither they go.  But I know that, long ere
dawn, and for hours together, they stream continuously past, with
the same rolling and jerking of wheels and the same clink of
horses' feet.  It was not for nothing that they made the burthen of
my wishes all night through.  They are really the first throbbings
of life, the harbingers of day; and it pleases you as much to hear
them as it must please a shipwrecked seaman once again to grasp a
hand of flesh and blood after years of miserable solitude.  They
have the freshness of the daylight life about them.  You can hear
the carters cracking their whips and crying hoarsely to their
horses or to one another; and sometimes even a peal of healthy,
harsh horse-laughter comes up to you through the darkness.  There
is now an end of mystery and fear.  Like the knocking at the door
in Macbeth, {8} or the cry of the watchman in the Tour de Nesle,
they show that the horrible caesura is over and the nightmares have
fled away, because the day is breaking and the ordinary life of men
is beginning to bestir itself among the streets.

In the middle of it all I fell asleep, to be wakened by the
officious knocking at my door, and I find myself twelve years older
than I had dreamed myself all night.



THE WREATH OF IMMORTELLES



It is all very well to talk of death as 'a pleasant potion of
immortality', but the most of us, I suspect, are of 'queasy
stomachs,' and find it none of the sweetest. {9a}  The graveyard
may be cloak-room to Heaven; but we must admit that it is a very
ugly and offensive vestibule in itself, however fair may be the
life to which it leads.  And though Enoch and Elias went into the
temple through a gate which certainly may be called Beautiful, the
rest of us have to find our way to it through Ezekiel's low-bowed
door and the vault full of creeping things and all manner of
abominable beasts.  Nevertheless, there is a certain frame of mind
to which a cemetery is, if not an antidote, at least an
alleviation.  If you are in a fit of the blues, go nowhere else.
It was in obedience to this wise regulation that the other morning
found me lighting my pipe at the entrance to Old Greyfriars',
thoroughly sick of the town, the country, and myself.

Two of the men were talking at the gate, one of them carrying a
spade in hands still crusted with the soil of graves.  Their very
aspect was delightful to me; and I crept nearer to them, thinking
to pick up some snatch of sexton gossip, some 'talk fit for a
charnel,' {9b} something, in fine, worthy of that fastidious
logician, that adept in coroner's law, who has come down to us as
the patron of Yaughan's liquor, and the very prince of
gravediggers.  Scots people in general are so much wrapped up in
their profession that I had a good chance of overhearing such
conversation:  the talk of fish-mongers running usually on
stockfish and haddocks; while of the Scots sexton I could repeat
stories and speeches that positively smell of the graveyard.  But
on this occasion I was doomed to disappointment.  My two friends
were far into the region of generalities.  Their profession was
forgotten in their electorship.  Politics had engulfed the narrower
economy of grave-digging.  'Na, na,' said the one, 'ye're a'
wrang.'  'The English and Irish Churches,' answered the other, in a
tone as if he had made the remark before, and it had been called in
question--'The English and Irish Churches have IMPOVERISHED the
country.'

'Such are the results of education,' thought I as I passed beside
them and came fairly among the tombs.  Here, at least, there were
no commonplace politics, no diluted this-morning's leader, to
distract or offend me.  The old shabby church showed, as usual, its
quaint extent of roofage and the relievo skeleton on one gable,
still blackened with the fire of thirty years ago.  A chill dank
mist lay over all.  The Old Greyfriars' churchyard was in
perfection that morning, and one could go round and reckon up the
associations with no fear of vulgar interruption.  On this stone
the Covenant was signed.  In that vault, as the story goes, John
Knox took hiding in some Reformation broil.  From that window Burke
the murderer looked out many a time across the tombs, and perhaps
o' nights let himself down over the sill to rob some new-made
grave.  Certainly he would have a selection here.  The very walks
have been carried over forgotten resting-places; and the whole
ground is uneven, because (as I was once quaintly told) 'when the
wood rots it stands to reason the soil should fall in,' which, from
the law of gravitation, is certainly beyond denial.  But it is
round the boundary that there are the finest tombs.  The whole
irregular space is, as it were, fringed with quaint old monuments,
rich in death's-heads and scythes and hour-glasses, and doubly rich
in pious epitaphs and Latin mottoes--rich in them to such an extent
that their proper space has run over, and they have crawled end-
long up the shafts of columns and ensconced themselves in all sorts
of odd corners among the sculpture.  These tombs raise their backs
against the rabble of squalid dwelling-houses, and every here and
there a clothes-pole projects between two monuments its fluttering
trophy of white and yellow and red.  With a grim irony they recall
the banners in the Invalides, banners as appropriate perhaps over
the sepulchres of tailors and weavers as these others above the
dust of armies.  Why they put things out to dry on that particular
morning it was hard to imagine.  The grass was grey with drops of
rain, the headstones black with moisture.  Yet, in despite of
weather and common sense, there they hung between the tombs; and
beyond them I could see through open windows into miserable rooms
where whole families were born and fed, and slept and died.  At one
a girl sat singing merrily with her back to the graveyard; and from
another came the shrill tones of a scolding woman.  Every here and
there was a town garden full of sickly flowers, or a pile of
crockery inside upon the window-seat.  But you do not grasp the
full connection between these houses of the dead and the living,
the unnatural marriage of stately sepulchres and squalid houses,
till, lower down, where the road has sunk far below the surface of
the cemetery, and the very roofs are scarcely on a level with its
wall, you observe that a proprietor has taken advantage of a tall
monument and trained a chimney-stack against its back.  It startles
you to see the red, modern pots peering over the shoulder of the
tomb.

A man was at work on a grave, his spade clinking away the drift of
bones that permeates the thin brown soil; but my first
disappointment had taught me to expect little from Greyfriars'
sextons, and I passed him by in silence.  A slater on the slope of
a neighbouring roof eyed me curiously.  A lean black cat, looking
as if it had battened on strange meats, slipped past me.  A little
boy at a window put his finger to his nose in so offensive a manner
that I was put upon my dignity, and turned grandly off to read old
epitaphs and peer through the gratings into the shadow of vaults.

Just then I saw two women coming down a path, one of them old, and
the other younger, with a child in her arms.  Both had faces eaten
with famine and hardened with sin, and both had reached that stage
of degradation, much lower in a woman than a man, when all care for
dress is lost.  As they came down they neared a grave, where some
pious friend or relative had laid a wreath of immortelles, and put
a bell glass over it, as is the custom.  The effect of that ring of
dull yellow among so many blackened and dusty sculptures was more
pleasant than it is in modern cemeteries, where every second mound
can boast a similar coronal; and here, where it was the exception
and not the rule, I could even fancy the drops of moisture that
dimmed the covering were the tears of those who laid it where it
was.  As the two women came up to it, one of them kneeled down on
the wet grass and looked long and silently through the clouded
shade, while the second stood above her, gently oscillating to and
fro to lull the muling baby.  I was struck a great way off with
something religious in the attitude of these two unkempt and
haggard women; and I drew near faster, but still cautiously, to
hear what they were saying.  Surely on them the spirit of death and
decay had descended; I had no education to dread here:  should I
not have a chance of seeing nature?  Alas! a pawnbroker could not
have been more practical and commonplace, for this was what the
kneeling woman said to the woman upright--this and nothing more:
'Eh, what extravagance!'

O nineteenth century, wonderful art thou indeed--wonderful, but
wearisome in thy stale and deadly uniformity.  Thy men are more
like numerals than men.  They must bear their idiosyncrasies or
their professions written on a placard about their neck, like the
scenery in Shakespeare's theatre.  Thy precepts of economy have
pierced into the lowest ranks of life; and there is now a decorum
in vice, a respectability among the disreputable, a pure spirit of
Philistinism among the waifs and strays of thy Bohemia.  For lo!
thy very gravediggers talk politics; and thy castaways kneel upon
new graves, to discuss the cost of the monument and grumble at the
improvidence of love.

Such was the elegant apostrophe that I made as I went out of the
gates again, happily satisfied in myself, and feeling that I alone
of all whom I had seen was able to profit by the silent poem of
these green mounds and blackened headstones.



NURSES



I knew one once, and the room where, lonely and old, she waited for
death.  It was pleasant enough, high up above the lane, and looking
forth upon a hill-side, covered all day with sheets and yellow
blankets, and with long lines of underclothing fluttering between
the battered posts.  There were any number of cheap prints, and a
drawing by one of 'her children,' and there were flowers in the
window, and a sickly canary withered into consumption in an
ornamental cage.  The bed, with its checked coverlid, was in a
closet.  A great Bible lay on the table; and her drawers were full
of 'scones,' which it was her pleasure to give to young visitors
such as I was then.

You may not think this a melancholy picture; but the canary, and
the cat, and the white mouse that she had for a while, and that
died, were all indications of the want that ate into her heart.  I
think I know a little of what that old woman felt; and I am as sure
as if I had seen her, that she sat many an hour in silent tears,
with the big Bible open before her clouded eyes.

If you could look back upon her life, and feel the great chain that
had linked her to one child after another, sometimes to be wrenched
suddenly through, and sometimes, which is infinitely worse, to be
torn gradually off through years of growing neglect, or perhaps
growing dislike!  She had, like the mother, overcome that natural
repugnance--repugnance which no man can conquer--towards the infirm
and helpless mass of putty of the earlier stage.  She had spent her
best and happiest years in tending, watching, and learning to love
like a mother this child, with which she has no connection and to
which she has no tie.  Perhaps she refused some sweetheart (such
things have been), or put him off and off, until he lost heart and
turned to some one else, all for fear of leaving this creature that
had wound itself about her heart.  And the end of it all--her
month's warning, and a present perhaps, and the rest of the life to
vain regret.  Or, worse still, to see the child gradually
forgetting and forsaking her, fostered in disrespect and neglect on
the plea of growing manliness, and at last beginning to treat her
as a servant whom he had treated a few years before as a mother.
She sees the Bible or the Psalm-book, which with gladness and love
unutterable in her heart she had bought for him years ago out of
her slender savings, neglected for some newer gift of his father,
lying in dust in the lumber-room or given away to a poor child, and
the act applauded for its unfeeling charity.  Little wonder if she
becomes hurt and angry, and attempts to tyrannise and to grasp her
old power back again.  We are not all patient Grizzels, by good
fortune, but the most of us human beings with feelings and tempers
of our own.

And so, in the end, behold her in the room that I described.  Very
likely and very naturally, in some fling of feverish misery or
recoil of thwarted love, she has quarrelled with her old employers
and the children are forbidden to see her or to speak to her; or at
best she gets her rent paid and a little to herself, and now and
then her late charges are sent up (with another nurse, perhaps) to
pay her a short visit.  How bright these visits seem as she looks
forward to them on her lonely bed!  How unsatisfactory their
realisation, when the forgetful child, half wondering, checks with
every word and action the outpouring of her maternal love!  How
bitter and restless the memories that they leave behind!  And for
the rest, what else has she?--to watch them with eager eyes as they
go to school, to sit in church where she can see them every Sunday,
to be passed some day unnoticed in the street, or deliberately cut
because the great man or the great woman are with friends before
whom they are ashamed to recognise the old woman that loved them.

When she goes home that night, how lonely will the room appear to
her!  Perhaps the neighbours may hear her sobbing to herself in the
dark, with the fire burnt out for want of fuel, and the candle
still unlit upon the table.

And it is for this that they live, these quasi-mothers--mothers in
everything but the travail and the thanks.  It is for this that
they have remained virtuous in youth, living the dull life of a
household servant.  It is for this that they refused the old
sweetheart, and have no fireside or offspring of their own.

I believe in a better state of things, that there will be no more
nurses, and that every mother will nurse her own offspring; for
what can be more hardening and demoralising than to call forth the
tenderest feelings of a woman's heart and cherish them yourself as
long as you need them, as long as your children require a nurse to
love them, and then to blight and thwart and destroy them, whenever
your own use for them is at an end.  This may be Utopian; but it is
always a little thing if one mother or two mothers can be brought
to feel more tenderly to those who share their toil and have no
part in their reward.



CHAPTER V--A CHARACTER



The man has a red, bloated face, and his figure is short and squat.
So far there is nothing in him to notice, but when you see his
eyes, you can read in these hard and shallow orbs a depravity
beyond measure depraved, a thirst after wickedness, the pure,
disinterested love of Hell for its own sake.  The other night, in
the street, I was watching an omnibus passing with lit-up windows,
when I heard some one coughing at my side as though he would cough
his soul out; and turning round, I saw him stopping under a lamp,
with a brown greatcoat buttoned round him and his whole face
convulsed.  It seemed as if he could not live long; and so the
sight set my mind upon a train of thought, as I finished my cigar
up and down the lighted streets.

He is old, but all these years have not yet quenched his thirst for
evil, and his eyes still delight themselves in wickedness.  He is
dumb; but he will not let that hinder his foul trade, or perhaps I
should say, his yet fouler amusement, and he has pressed a slate
into the service of corruption.  Look at him, and he will sign to
you with his bloated head, and when you go to him in answer to the
sign, thinking perhaps that the poor dumb man has lost his way, you
will see what he writes upon his slate.  He haunts the doors of
schools, and shows such inscriptions as these to the innocent
children that come out.  He hangs about picture-galleries, and
makes the noblest pictures the text for some silent homily of vice.
His industry is a lesson to ourselves.  Is it not wonderful how he
can triumph over his infirmities and do such an amount of harm
without a tongue?  Wonderful industry--strange, fruitless,
pleasureless toil?  Must not the very devil feel a soft emotion to
see his disinterested and laborious service?  Ah, but the devil
knows better than this:  he knows that this man is penetrated with
the love of evil and that all his pleasure is shut up in
wickedness:  he recognises him, perhaps, as a fit type for mankind
of his satanic self, and watches over his effigy as we might watch
over a favourite likeness.  As the business man comes to love the
toil, which he only looked upon at first as a ladder towards other
desires and less unnatural gratifications, so the dumb man has felt
the charm of his trade and fallen captivated before the eyes of
sin.  It is a mistake when preachers tell us that vice is hideous
and loathsome; for even vice has her Horsel and her devotees, who
love her for her own sake.




THE GREAT NORTH ROAD




CHAPTER I--NANCE AT THE 'GREEN DRAGON'



Nance Holdaway was on her knees before the fire blowing the green
wood that voluminously smoked upon the dogs, and only now and then
shot forth a smothered flame; her knees already ached and her eyes
smarted, for she had been some while at this ungrateful task, but
her mind was gone far away to meet the coming stranger.  Now she
met him in the wood, now at the castle gate, now in the kitchen by
candle-light; each fresh presentment eclipsed the one before; a
form so elegant, manners so sedate, a countenance so brave and
comely, a voice so winning and resolute--sure such a man was never
seen!  The thick-coming fancies poured and brightened in her head
like the smoke and flames upon the hearth.

Presently the heavy foot of her uncle Jonathan was heard upon the
stair, and as he entered the room she bent the closer to her work.
He glanced at the green fagots with a sneer, and looked askance at
the bed and the white sheets, at the strip of carpet laid, like an
island, on the great expanse of the stone floor, and at the broken
glazing of the casement clumsily repaired with paper.

'Leave that fire a-be,' he cried.  'What, have I toiled all my life
to turn innkeeper at the hind end?  Leave it a-be, I say.'

'La, uncle, it doesn't burn a bit; it only smokes,' said Nance,
looking up from her position.

'You are come of decent people on both sides,' returned the old
man.  'Who are you to blow the coals for any Robin-run-agate?  Get
up, get on your hood, make yourself useful, and be off to the
"Green Dragon."'

'I thought you was to go yourself,' Nance faltered.

'So did I,' quoth Jonathan; 'but it appears I was mistook.'

The very excess of her eagerness alarmed her, and she began to hang
back.  'I think I would rather not, dear uncle,' she said.  'Night
is at hand, and I think, dear, I would rather not.'

'Now you look here,' replied Jonathan, 'I have my lord's orders,
have I not?  Little he gives me, but it's all my livelihood.  And
do you fancy, if I disobey my lord, I'm likely to turn round for a
lass like you?  No, I've that hell-fire of pain in my old knee, I
wouldn't walk a mile, not for King George upon his bended knees.'
And he walked to the window and looked down the steep scarp to
where the river foamed in the bottom of the dell.

Nance stayed for no more bidding.  In her own room, by the glimmer
of the twilight, she washed her hands and pulled on her Sunday
mittens; adjusted her black hood, and tied a dozen times its cherry
ribbons; and in less than ten minutes, with a fluttering heart and
excellently bright eyes, she passed forth under the arch and over
the bridge, into the thickening shadows of the groves.  A well-
marked wheel-track conducted her.  The wood, which upon both sides
of the river dell was a mere scrambling thicket of hazel, hawthorn,
and holly, boasted on the level of more considerable timber.
Beeches came to a good growth, with here and there an oak; and the
track now passed under a high arcade of branches, and now ran under
the open sky in glades.  As the girl proceeded these glades became
more frequent, the trees began again to decline in size, and the
wood to degenerate into furzy coverts.  Last of all there was a
fringe of elders; and beyond that the track came forth upon an
open, rolling moorland, dotted with wind-bowed and scanty bushes,
and all golden brown with the winter, like a grouse.  Right over
against the girl the last red embers of the sunset burned under
horizontal clouds; the night fell clear and still and frosty, and
the track in low and marshy passages began to crackle under foot
with ice.

Some half a mile beyond the borders of the wood the lights of the
'Green Dragon' hove in sight, and running close beside them, very
faint in the dying dusk, the pale ribbon of the Great North Road.
It was the back of the post-house that was presented to Nance
Holdaway; and as she continued to draw near and the night to fall
more completely, she became aware of an unusual brightness and
bustle.  A post-chaise stood in the yard, its lamps already
lighted:  light shone hospitably in the windows and from the open
door; moving lights and shadows testified to the activity of
servants bearing lanterns.  The clank of pails, the stamping of
hoofs on the firm causeway, the jingle of harness, and, last of
all, the energetic hissing of a groom, began to fall upon her ear.
By the stir you would have thought the mail was at the door, but it
was still too early in the night.  The down mail was not due at the
'Green Dragon' for hard upon an hour; the up mail from Scotland not
before two in the black morning.

Nance entered the yard somewhat dazzled.  Sam, the tall ostler, was
polishing a curb-chain wit sand; the lantern at his feet letting up
spouts of candle-light through the holes with which its conical
roof was peppered.

'Hey, miss,' said he jocularly, 'you won't look at me any more, now
you have gentry at the castle.'

Her cheeks burned with anger.

'That's my lord's chay,' the man continued, nodding at the chaise,
'Lord Windermoor's.  Came all in a fluster--dinner, bowl of punch,
and put the horses to. For all the world like a runaway match, my
dear--bar the bride.  He brought Mr. Archer in the chay with him.'

'Is that Holdaway?' cried the landlord from the lighted entry,
where he stood shading his eyes.

'Only me, sir,' answered Nance.

'O, you, Miss Nance,' he said.  'Well, come in quick, my pretty.
My lord is waiting for your uncle.'

And he ushered Nance into a room cased with yellow wainscot and
lighted by tall candles, where two gentlemen sat at a table
finishing a bowl of punch.  One of these was stout, elderly, and
irascible, with a face like a full moon, well dyed with liquor,
thick tremulous lips, a short, purple hand, in which he brandished
a long pipe, and an abrupt and gobbling utterance.  This was my
Lord Windermoor.  In his companion Nance beheld a younger man,
tall, quiet, grave, demurely dressed, and wearing his own hair.
Her glance but lighted on him, and she flushed, for in that second
she made sure that she had twice betrayed herself--betrayed by the
involuntary flash of her black eyes her secret impatience to behold
this new companion, and, what was far worse, betrayed her
disappointment in the realisation of her dreams.  He, meanwhile, as
if unconscious, continued to regard her with unmoved decorum.

'O, a man of wood,' thought Nance.

'What--what?' said his lordship.  'Who is this?'

'If you please, my lord, I am Holdaway's niece,' replied Nance,
with a curtsey.

'Should have been here himself,' observed his lordship.  'Well, you
tell Holdaway that I'm aground, not a stiver--not a stiver.  I'm
running from the beagles--going abroad, tell Holdaway.  And he need
look for no more wages:  glad of 'em myself, if I could get 'em.
He can live in the castle if he likes, or go to the devil.  O, and
here is Mr. Archer; and I recommend him to take him in--a friend of
mine--and Mr. Archer will pay, as I wrote.  And I regard that in
the light of a precious good thing for Holdaway, let me tell you,
and a set-off against the wages.'

'But O, my lord!' cried Nance, 'we live upon the wages, and what
are we to do without?'

'What am I to do?--what am I to do?' replied Lord Windermoor with
some exasperation.  'I have no wages.  And there is Mr. Archer.
And if Holdaway doesn't like it, he can go to the devil, and you
with him!--and you with him!'

'And yet, my lord,' said Mr. Archer, 'these good people will have
as keen a sense of loss as you or I; keener, perhaps, since they
have done nothing to deserve it.'

'Deserve it?' cried the peer.  'What?  What?  If a rascally
highwayman comes up to me with a confounded pistol, do you say that
I've deserved it?  How often am I to tell you, sir, that I was
cheated--that I was cheated?'

'You are happy in the belief,' returned Mr. Archer gravely.

'Archer, you would be the death of me!' exclaimed his lordship.
'You know you're drunk; you know it, sir; and yet you can't get up
a spark of animation.'

'I have drunk fair, my lord,' replied the younger man; 'but I own I
am conscious of no exhilaration.'

'If you had as black a look-out as me, sir,' cried the peer, 'you
would be very glad of a little innocent exhilaration, let me tell
you.  I am glad of it--glad of it, and I only wish I was drunker.
For let me tell you it's a cruel hard thing upon a man of my time
of life and my position, to be brought down to beggary because the
world is full of thieves and rascals--thieves and rascals.  What?
For all I know, you may be a thief and a rascal yourself; and I
would fight you for a pinch of snuff--a pinch of snuff,' exclaimed
his lordship.

Here Mr. Archer turned to Nance Holdaway with a pleasant smile, so
full of sweetness, kindness, and composure that, at one bound, her
dreams returned to her.  'My good Miss Holdaway,' said he, 'if you
are willing to show me the road, I am even eager to be gone.  As
for his lordship and myself, compose yourself; there is no fear;
this is his lordship's way.'

'What? what?' cried his lordship.  'My way?  Ish no such a thing,
my way.'

'Come, my lord,' cried Archer; 'you and I very thoroughly
understand each other; and let me suggest, it is time that both of
us were gone.  The mail will soon be due.  Here, then, my lord, I
take my leave of you, with the most earnest assurance of my
gratitude for the past, and a sincere offer of any services I may
be able to render in the future.'

'Archer,' exclaimed Lord Windermoor, 'I love you like a son.  Le'
's have another bowl.'

'My lord, for both our sakes, you will excuse me,' replied Mr.
Archer.  'We both require caution; we must both, for some while at
least, avoid the chance of a pursuit.'

'Archer,' quoth his lordship, 'this is a rank ingratishood.  What?
I'm to go firing away in the dark in the cold po'chaise, and not so
much as a game of ecarte possible, unless I stop and play with the
postillion, the postillion; and the whole country swarming with
thieves and rascals and highwaymen.'

'I beg your lordship's pardon,' put in the landlord, who now
appeared in the doorway to announce the chaise, 'but this part of
the North Road is known for safety.  There has not been a robbery,
to call a robbery, this five years' time.  Further south, of
course, it's nearer London, and another story,' he added.

'Well, then, if that's so,' concluded my lord, 'le' 's have t'other
bowl and a pack of cards.'

'My lord, you forget,' said Archer, 'I might still gain; but it is
hardly possible for me to lose.'

'Think I'm a sharper?' inquired the peer.  'Gen'leman's parole's
all I ask.'

But Mr. Archer was proof against these blandishments, and said
farewell gravely enough to Lord Windermoor, shaking his hand and at
the same time bowing very low.  'You will never know,' says he,
'the service you have done me.'  And with that, and before my lord
had finally taken up his meaning, he had slipped about the table,
touched Nance lightly but imperiously on the arm, and left the
room.  In face of the outbreak of his lordship's lamentations she
made haste to follow the truant.



CHAPTER II--IN WHICH MR. ARCHER IS INSTALLED



The chaise had been driven round to the front door; the courtyard
lay all deserted, and only lit by a lantern set upon a window-sill.
Through this Nance rapidly led the way, and began to ascend the
swellings of the moor with a heart that somewhat fluttered in her
bosom.  She was not afraid, but in the course of these last
passages with Lord Windermoor Mr. Archer had ascended to that
pedestal on which her fancy waited to instal him.  The reality, she
felt, excelled her dreams, and this cold night walk was the first
romantic incident in her experience.

It was the rule in these days to see gentlemen unsteady after
dinner, yet Nance was both surprised and amused when her companion,
who had spoken so soberly, began to stumble and waver by her side
with the most airy divagations.  Sometimes he would get so close to
her that she must edge away; and at others lurch clear out of the
track and plough among deep heather.  His courtesy and gravity
meanwhile remained unaltered.  He asked her how far they had to go;
whether the way lay all upon the moorland, and when he learned they
had to pass a wood expressed his pleasure.  'For,' said he, 'I am
passionately fond of trees.  Trees and fair lawns, if you consider
of it rightly, are the ornaments of nature, as palaces and fine
approaches--'  And here he stumbled into a patch of slough and
nearly fell.  The girl had hard work not to laugh, but at heart she
was lost in admiration for one who talked so elegantly.

They had got to about a quarter of a mile from the 'Green Dragon,'
and were near the summit of the rise, when a sudden rush of wheels
arrested them.  Turning and looking back, they saw the post-house,
now much declined in brightness; and speeding away northward the
two tremulous bright dots of my Lord Windermoor's chaise-lamps.
Mr. Archer followed these yellow and unsteady stars until they
dwindled into points and disappeared.

'There goes my only friend,' he said.  'Death has cut off those
that loved me, and change of fortune estranged my flatterers; and
but for you, poor bankrupt, my life is as lonely as this moor.'

The tone of his voice affected both of them.  They stood there on
the side of the moor, and became thrillingly conscious of the void
waste of the night, without a feature for the eye, and except for
the fainting whisper of the carriage-wheels without a murmur for
the ear.  And instantly, like a mockery, there broke out, very far
away, but clear and jolly, the note of the mail-guard's horn.
'Over the hills' was his air.  It rose to the two watchers on the
moor with the most cheerful sentiment of human company and travel,
and at the same time in and around the 'Green Dragon' it woke up a
great bustle of lights running to and fro and clattering hoofs.
Presently after, out of the darkness to southward, the mail grew
near with a growing rumble.  Its lamps were very large and bright,
and threw their radiance forward in overlapping cones; the four
cantering horses swarmed and steamed; the body of the coach
followed like a great shadow; and this lit picture slid with a sort
of ineffectual swiftness over the black field of night, and was
eclipsed by the buildings of the 'Green Dragon.'

Mr. Archer turned abruptly and resumed his former walk; only that
he was now more steady, kept better alongside his young conductor,
and had fallen into a silence broken by sighs.  Nance waxed very
pitiful over his fate, contrasting an imaginary past of courts and
great society, and perhaps the King himself, with the tumbledown
ruin in a wood to which she was now conducting him.

'You must try, sir, to keep your spirits up,' said she.  'To be
sure this is a great change for one like you; but who knows the
future?'

Mr. Archer turned towards her in the darkness, and she could
clearly perceive that he smiled upon her very kindly.  'There spoke
a sweet nature,' said he, 'and I must thank you for these words.
But I would not have you fancy that I regret the past for any
happiness found in it, or that I fear the simplicity and hardship
of the country.  I am a man that has been much tossed about in
life; now up, now down; and do you think that I shall not be able
to support what you support--you who are kind, and therefore know
how to feel pain; who are beautiful, and therefore hope; who are
young, and therefore (or am I the more mistaken?) discontented?'

'Nay, sir, not that, at least,' said Nance; 'not discontented.  If
I were to be discontented, how should I look those that have real
sorrows in the face?  I have faults enough, but not that fault; and
I have my merits too, for I have a good opinion of myself.  But for
beauty, I am not so simple but that I can tell a banter from a
compliment.'

'Nay, nay,' said Mr. Archer, 'I had half forgotten; grief is
selfish, and I was thinking of myself and not of you, or I had
never blurted out so bold a piece of praise.  'Tis the best proof
of my sincerity.  But come, now, I would lay a wager you are no
coward?'

'Indeed, sir, I am not more afraid than another,' said Nance.
'None of my blood are given to fear.'

'And you are honest?' he returned.

'I will answer for that,' said she.

'Well, then, to be brave, to be honest, to be kind, and to be
contented, since you say you are so--is not that to fill up a great
part of virtue?'

'I fear you are but a flatterer,' said Nance, but she did not say
it clearly, for what with bewilderment and satisfaction, her heart
was quite oppressed.

There could be no harm, certainly, in these grave compliments; but
yet they charmed and frightened her, and to find favour, for
reasons however obscure, in the eyes of this elegant, serious, and
most unfortunate young gentleman, was a giddy elevation, was almost
an apotheosis, for a country maid.

But she was to be no more exercised; for Mr. Archer, disclaiming
any thought of flattery, turned off to other subjects, and held her
all through the wood in conversation, addressing her with an air of
perfect sincerity, and listening to her answers with every mark of
interest.  Had open flattery continued, Nance would have soon found
refuge in good sense; but the more subtle lure she could not
suspect, much less avoid.  It was the first time she had ever taken
part in a conversation illuminated by any ideas.  All was then true
that she had heard and dreamed of gentlemen; they were a race
apart, like deities knowing good and evil.  And then there burst
upon her soul a divine thought, hope's glorious sunrise:  since she
could understand, since it seemed that she too, even she, could
interest this sorrowful Apollo, might she not learn? or was she not
learning?  Would not her soul awake and put forth wings?  Was she
not, in fact, an enchanted princess, waiting but a touch to become
royal?  She saw herself transformed, radiantly attired, but in the
most exquisite taste:  her face grown longer and more refined; her
tint etherealised; and she heard herself with delighted wonder
talking like a book.

Meanwhile they had arrived at where the track comes out above the
river dell, and saw in front of them the castle, faintly shadowed
on the night, covering with its broken battlements a bold
projection of the bank, and showing at the extreme end, where were
the habitable tower and wing, some crevices of candle-light.  Hence
she called loudly upon her uncle, and he was seen to issue, lantern
in hand, from the tower door, and, where the ruins did not
intervene, to pick his way over the swarded courtyard, avoiding
treacherous cellars and winding among blocks of fallen masonry.
The arch of the great gate was still entire, flanked by two
tottering bastions, and it was here that Jonathan met them,
standing at the edge of the bridge, bent somewhat forward, and
blinking at them through the glow of his own lantern.  Mr. Archer
greeted him with civility; but the old man was in no humour of
compliance.  He guided the newcomer across the court-yard, looking
sharply and quickly in his face, and grumbling all the time about
the cold, and the discomfort and dilapidation of the castle.  He
was sure he hoped that Mr. Archer would like it; but in truth he
could not think what brought him there.  Doubtless he had a good
reason--this with a look of cunning scrutiny--but, indeed, the
place was quite unfit for any person of repute; he himself was
eaten up with the rheumatics.  It was the most rheumaticky place in
England, and some fine day the whole habitable part (to call it
habitable) would fetch away bodily and go down the slope into the
river.  He had seen the cracks widening; there was a plaguy issue
in the bank below; he thought a spring was mining it; it might be
to-morrow, it might be next day; but they were all sure of a come-
down sooner or later.  'And that is a poor death,' said he, 'for
any one, let alone a gentleman, to have a whole old ruin dumped
upon his belly.  Have a care to your left there; these cellar
vaults have all broke down, and the grass and hemlock hide 'em.
Well, sir, here is welcome to you, such as it is, and wishing you
well away.'

And with that Jonathan ushered his guest through the tower door,
and down three steps on the left hand into the kitchen or common
room of the castle.  It was a huge, low room, as large as a meadow,
occupying the whole width of the habitable wing, with six barred
windows looking on the court, and two into the river valley.  A
dresser, a table, and a few chairs stood dotted here and there upon
the uneven flags.  Under the great chimney a good fire burned in an
iron fire-basket; a high old settee, rudely carved with figures and
Gothic lettering, flanked it on either side; there was a hinge
table and a stone bench in the chimney corner, and above the arch
hung guns, axes, lanterns, and great sheaves of rusty keys.

Jonathan looked about him, holding up the lantern, and shrugged his
shoulders, with a pitying grimace.  'Here it is,' he said.  'See
the damp on the floor, look at the moss; where there's moss you may
be sure that it's rheumaticky.  Try and get near that fire for to
warm yourself; it'll blow the coat off your back.  And with a young
gentleman with a face like yours, as pale as a tallow-candle, I'd
be afeard of a churchyard cough and a galloping decline,' says
Jonathan, naming the maladies with gloomy gusto, 'or the cold might
strike and turn your blood,' he added.

Mr. Archer fairly laughed.  'My good Mr. Holdaway,' said he, 'I was
born with that same tallow-candle face, and the only fear that you
inspire me with is the fear that I intrude unwelcomely upon your
private hours.  But I think I can promise you that I am very little
troublesome, and I am inclined to hope that the terms which I can
offer may still pay you the derangement.'

'Yes, the terms,' said Jonathan, 'I was thinking of that.  As you
say, they are very small,' and he shook his head.

'Unhappily, I can afford no more,' said Mr. Archer.  'But this we
have arranged already,' he added with a certain stiffness; 'and as
I am aware that Miss Holdaway has matter to communicate, I will, if
you permit, retire at once.  To-night I must bivouac; to-morrow my
trunk is to follow from the "Dragon."  So if you will show me to my
room I shall wish you a good slumber and a better awakening.'

Jonathan silently gave the lantern to Nance, and she, turning and
curtseying in the doorway, proceeded to conduct their guest up the
broad winding staircase of the tower.  He followed with a very
brooding face.

'Alas!' cried Nance, as she entered the room, 'your fire black
out,' and, setting down the lantern, she clapped upon her knees
before the chimney and began to rearrange the charred and still
smouldering remains.  Mr. Archer looked about the gaunt apartment
with a sort of shudder.  The great height, the bare stone, the
shattered windows, the aspect of the uncurtained bed, with one of
its four fluted columns broken short, all struck a chill upon his
fancy.  From this dismal survey his eyes returned to Nance
crouching before the fire, the candle in one hand and artfully
puffing at the embers; the flames as they broke forth played upon
the soft outline of her cheek--she was alive and young, coloured
with the bright hues of life, and a woman.  He looked upon her,
softening; and then sat down and continued to admire the picture.

'There, sir,' said she, getting upon her feet, 'your fire is doing
bravely now.  Good-night.'

He rose and held out his hand.  'Come,' said he, 'you are my only
friend in these parts, and you must shake hands.'

She brushed her hand upon her skirt and offered it, blushing.

'God bless you, my dear,' said he.

And then, when he was alone, he opened one of the windows, and
stared down into the dark valley.  A gentle wimpling of the river
among stones ascended to his ear; the trees upon the other bank
stood very black against the sky; farther away an owl was hooting.
It was dreary and cold, and as he turned back to the hearth and the
fine glow of fire, 'Heavens!' said he to himself, 'what an
unfortunate destiny is mine!'

He went to bed, but sleep only visited his pillow in uneasy
snatches.  Outbreaks of loud speech came up the staircase; he heard
the old stones of the castle crack in the frosty night with sharp
reverberations, and the bed complained under his tossings.  Lastly,
far on into the morning, he awakened from a doze to hear, very far
off, in the extreme and breathless quiet, a wailing flourish on the
horn.  The down mail was drawing near to the 'Green Dragon.'  He
sat up in bed; the sound was tragical by distance, and the
modulation appealed to his ear like human speech.  It seemed to
call upon him with a dreary insistence--to call him far away, to
address him personally, and to have a meaning that he failed to
seize.  It was thus, at least, in this nodding castle, in a cold,
miry woodland, and so far from men and society, that the traffic on
the Great North Road spoke to him in the intervals of slumber.



CHAPTER III-- JONATHAN HOLDAWAY



Nance descended the tower stair, pausing at every step.  She was in
no hurry to confront her uncle with bad news, and she must dwell a
little longer on the rich note of Mr. Archer's voice, the charm of
his kind words, and the beauty of his manner and person.  But, once
at the stair-foot, she threw aside the spell and recovered her
sensible and workaday self.

Jonathan was seated in the middle of the settle, a mug of ale
beside him, in the attitude of one prepared for trouble; but he did
not speak, and suffered her to fetch her supper and eat of it, with
a very excellent appetite, in silence.  When she had done, she,
too, drew a tankard of home-brewed, and came and planted herself in
front of him upon the settle.

'Well?' said Jonathan.

'My lord has run away,' said Nance.

'What?' cried the old man.

'Abroad,' she continued; 'run away from creditors.  He said he had
not a stiver, but he was drunk enough.  He said you might live on
in the castle, and Mr. Archer would pay you; but you was to look
for no more wages, since he would be glad of them himself.'

Jonathan's face contracted; the flush of a black, bilious anger
mounted to the roots of his hair; he gave an inarticulate cry,
leapt upon his feet, and began rapidly pacing the stone floor.  At
first he kept his hands behind his back in a tight knot; then he
began to gesticulate as he turned.

'This man--this lord,' he shouted, 'who is he?  He was born with a
gold spoon in his mouth, and I with a dirty straw.  He rolled in
his coach when he was a baby.  I have dug and toiled and laboured
since I was that high--that high.'  And he shouted again.  'I'm
bent and broke, and full of pains.  D' ye think I don't know the
taste of sweat?  Many's the gallon I've drunk of it--ay, in the
midwinter, toiling like a slave.  All through, what has my life
been?  Bend, bend, bend my old creaking back till it would ache
like breaking; wade about in the foul mire, never a dry stitch;
empty belly, sore hands, hat off to my Lord Redface; kicks and
ha'pence; and now, here, at the hind end, when I'm worn to my poor
bones, a kick and done with it.'  He walked a little while in
silence, and then, extending his hand, 'Now you, Nance Holdaway,'
says he, 'you come of my blood, and you're a good girl.  When that
man was a boy, I used to carry his gun for him.  I carried the gun
all day on my two feet, and many a stitch I had, and chewed a
bullet for.  He rode upon a horse, with feathers in his hat; but it
was him that had the shots and took the game home.  Did I complain?
Not I.  I knew my station.  What did I ask, but just the chance to
live and die honest?  Nance Holdaway, don't let them deny it to me-
-don't let them do it.  I've been as poor as Job, and as honest as
the day, but now, my girl, you mark these words of mine, I'm
getting tired of it.'

'I wouldn't say such words, at least,' said Nance.

'You wouldn't?' said the old man grimly.  'Well, and did I when I
was your age?  Wait till your back's broke and your hands tremble,
and your eyes fail, and you're weary of the battle and ask no more
but to lie down in your bed and give the ghost up like an honest
man; and then let there up and come some insolent, ungodly fellow--
ah! if I had him in these hands!  "Where's my money that you
gambled?" I should say.  "Where's my money that you drank and
diced?"  "Thief!" is what I would say; "Thief!"' he roared,
'"Thief"'

'Mr. Archer will hear you if you don't take care,' said Nance, 'and
I would be ashamed, for one, that he should hear a brave, old,
honest, hard-working man like Jonathan Holdaway talk nonsense like
a boy.'

'D' ye think I mind for Mr. Archer?' he cried shrilly, with a clack
of laughter; and then he came close up to her, stooped down with
his two palms upon his knees, and looked her in the eyes, with a
strange hard expression, something like a smile.  'Do I mind for
God, my girl?' he said; 'that's what it's come to be now, do I mind
for God?'

'Uncle Jonathan,' she said, getting up and taking him by the arm;
'you sit down again, where you were sitting.  There, sit still;
I'll have no more of this; you'll do yourself a mischief.  Come,
take a drink of this good ale, and I'll warm a tankard for you.
La, we'll pull through, you'll see.  I'm young, as you say, and
it's my turn to carry the bundle; and don't you worry your bile, or
we'll have sickness, too, as well as sorrow.'

'D' ye think that I'd forgotten you?' said Jonathan, with something
like a groan; and thereupon his teeth clicked to, and he sat silent
with the tankard in his hand and staring straight before him.

'Why,' says Nance, setting on the ale to mull, 'men are always
children, they say, however old; and if ever I heard a thing like
this, to set to and make yourself sick, just when the money's
failing.  Keep a good heart up; you haven't kept a good heart these
seventy years, nigh hand, to break down about a pound or two.
Here's this Mr. Archer come to lodge, that you disliked so much.
Well, now you see it was a clear Providence.  Come, let's think
upon our mercies.  And here is the ale mulling lovely; smell of it;
I'll take a drop myself, it smells so sweet.  And, Uncle Jonathan,
you let me say one word.  You've lost more than money before now;
you lost my aunt, and bore it like a man.  Bear this.'

His face once more contracted; his fist doubled, and shot forth
into the air, and trembled.  'Let them look out!' he shouted.
'Here, I warn all men; I've done with this foul kennel of knaves.
Let them look out!'

'Hush, hush! for pity's sake,' cried Nance.

And then all of a sudden he dropped his face into his hands, and
broke out with a great hiccoughing dry sob that was horrible to
hear.  'O,' he cried, 'my God, if my son hadn't left me, if my Dick
was here!' and the sobs shook him; Nance sitting still and watching
him, with distress.  'O, if he were here to help his father!' he
went on again.  'If I had a son like other fathers, he would save
me now, when all is breaking down; O, he would save me!  Ay, but
where is he?  Raking taverns, a thief perhaps.  My curse be on
him!' he added, rising again into wrath.

'Hush!' cried Nance, springing to her feet:  'your boy, your dead
wife's boy--Aunt Susan's baby that she loved--would you curse him?
O, God forbid!'

The energy of her address surprised him from his mood.  He looked
upon her, tearless and confused.  'Let me go to my bed,' he said at
last, and he rose, and, shaking as with ague, but quite silent,
lighted his candle, and left the kitchen.

Poor Nance! the pleasant current of her dreams was all diverted.
She beheld a golden city, where she aspired to dwell; she had
spoken with a deity, and had told herself that she might rise to be
his equal; and now the earthly ligaments that bound her down had
been tightened.  She was like a tree looking skyward, her roots
were in the ground.  It seemed to her a thing so coarse, so rustic,
to be thus concerned about a loss in money; when Mr. Archer, fallen
from the sky-level of counts and nobles, faced his changed destiny
with so immovable a courage.  To weary of honesty; that, at least,
no one could do, but even to name it was already a disgrace; and
she beheld in fancy her uncle, and the young lad, all laced and
feathered, hand upon hip, bestriding his small horse.  The
opposition seemed to perpetuate itself from generation to
generation; one side still doomed to the clumsy and the servile,
the other born to beauty.

She thought of the golden zones in which gentlemen were bred, and
figured with so excellent a grace; zones in which wisdom and smooth
words, white linen and slim hands, were the mark of the desired
inhabitants; where low temptations were unknown, and honesty no
virtue, but a thing as natural as breathing.



CHAPTER IV--MINGLING THREADS



It was nearly seven before Mr. Archer left his apartment.  On the
landing he found another door beside his own opening on a roofless
corridor, and presently he was walking on the top of the ruins.  On
one hand he could look down a good depth into the green court-yard;
on the other his eye roved along the downward course of the river,
the wet woods all smoking, the shadows long and blue, the mists
golden and rosy in the sun, here and there the water flashing
across an obstacle.  His heart expanded and softened to a grateful
melancholy, and with his eye fixed upon the distance, and no
thought of present danger, he continued to stroll along the
elevated and treacherous promenade.

A terror-stricken cry rose to him from the courtyard.  He looked
down, and saw in a glimpse Nance standing below with hands clasped
in horror and his own foot trembling on the margin of a gulf.  He
recoiled and leant against a pillar, quaking from head to foot, and
covering his face with his hands; and Nance had time to run round
by the stair and rejoin him where he stood before he had changed a
line of his position.

'Ah!' he cried, and clutched her wrist; 'don't leave me.  The place
rocks; I have no head for altitudes.'

'Sit down against that pillar,' said Nance.  'Don't you be afraid;
I won't leave you, and don't look up or down:  look straight at me.
How white you are!'

'The gulf,' he said, and closed his eyes again and shuddered.

'Why,' said Nance, 'what a poor climber you must be!  That was
where my cousin Dick used to get out of the castle after Uncle
Jonathan had shut the gate.  I've been down there myself with him
helping me.  I wouldn't try with you,' she said, and laughed
merrily.

The sound of her laughter was sincere and musical, and perhaps its
beauty barbed the offence to Mr. Archer.  The blood came into his
face with a quick jet, and then left it paler than before.  'It is
a physical weakness,' he said harshly, 'and very droll, no doubt,
but one that I can conquer on necessity.  See, I am still shaking.
Well, I advance to the battlements and look down.  Show me your
cousin's path.'

'He would go sure-foot along that little ledge,' said Nance,
pointing as she spoke; 'then out through the breach and down by
yonder buttress.  It is easier coming back, of course, because you
see where you are going.  From the buttress foot a sheep-walk goes
along the scarp--see, you can follow it from here in the dry grass.
And now, sir,' she added, with a touch of womanly pity, 'I would
come away from here if I were you, for indeed you are not fit.'

Sure enough Mr. Archer's pallor and agitation had continued to
increase; his cheeks were deathly, his clenched fingers trembled
pitifully.  'The weakness is physical,' he sighed, and had nearly
fallen.  Nance led him from the spot, and he was no sooner back in
the tower-stair, than he fell heavily against the wall and put his
arm across his eyes.  A cup of brandy had to be brought him before
he could descend to breakfast; and the perfection of Nance's dream
was for the first time troubled.

Jonathan was waiting for them at table, with yellow, blood-shot
eyes and a peculiar dusky complexion.  He hardly waited till they
found their seats, before, raising one hand, and stooping with his
mouth above his plate, he put up a prayer for a blessing on the
food and a spirit of gratitude in the eaters, and thereupon, and
without more civility, fell to.  But it was notable that he was no
less speedily satisfied than he had been greedy to begin.  He
pushed his plate away and drummed upon the table.

'These are silly prayers,' said he, 'that they teach us.  Eat and
be thankful, that's no such wonder.  Speak to me of starving--
there's the touch.  You're a man, they tell me, Mr. Archer, that
has met with some reverses?'

'I have met with many,' replied Mr. Archer.

'Ha!' said Jonathan.  'None reckons but the last.  Now, see; I
tried to make this girl here understand me.'

'Uncle,' said Nance, 'what should Mr. Archer care for your
concerns?  He hath troubles of his own, and came to be at peace, I
think.'

'I tried to make her understand me,' repeated Jonathan doggedly;
'and now I'll try you.  Do you think this world is fair?'

'Fair and false!' quoth Mr. Archer.

The old man laughed immoderately.  'Good,' said he, 'very good, but
what I mean is this:  do you know what it is to get up early and go
to bed late, and never take so much as a holiday but four:  and one
of these your own marriage day, and the other three the funerals of
folk you loved, and all that, to have a quiet old age in shelter,
and bread for your old belly, and a bed to lay your crazy bones
upon, with a clear conscience?'

'Sir,' said Mr. Archer, with an inclination of his head, 'you
portray a very brave existence.'

'Well,' continued Jonathan, 'and in the end thieves deceive you,
thieves rob and rook you, thieves turn you out in your old age and
send you begging.  What have you got for all your honesty?  A fine
return!  You that might have stole scores of pounds, there you are
out in the rain with your rheumatics!'

Mr. Archer had forgotten to eat; with his hand upon his chin he was
studying the old man's countenance.  'And you conclude?' he asked.

'Conclude!' cried Jonathan.  'I conclude I'll be upsides with
them.'

'Ay,' said the other, 'we are all tempted to revenge.'

'You have lost money?' asked Jonathan.

'A great estate,' said Archer quietly.

'See now!' says Jonathan, 'and where is it?'

'Nay, I sometimes think that every one has had his share of it but
me,' was the reply.  'All England hath paid his taxes with my
patrimony:  I was a sheep that left my wool on every briar.'

'And you sit down under that?' cried the old man.  'Come now, Mr.
Archer, you and me belong to different stations; and I know mine--
no man better--but since we have both been rooked, and are both
sore with it, why, here's my hand with a very good heart, and I ask
for yours, and no offence, I hope.'

'There is surely no offence, my friend,' returned Mr. Archer, as
they shook hands across the table; 'for, believe me, my sympathies
are quite acquired to you.  This life is an arena where we fight
with beasts; and, indeed,' he added, sighing, 'I sometimes marvel
why we go down to it unarmed.'

In the meanwhile a creaking of ungreased axles had been heard
descending through the wood; and presently after, the door opened,
and the tall ostler entered the kitchen carrying one end of Mr.
Archer's trunk.  The other was carried by an aged beggar man of
that district, known and welcome for some twenty miles about under
the name of 'Old Cumberland.'  Each was soon perched upon a settle,
with a cup of ale; and the ostler, who valued himself upon his
affability, began to entertain the company, still with half an eye
on Nance, to whom in gallant terms he expressly dedicated every sip
of ale.  First he told of the trouble they had to get his Lordship
started in the chaise; and how he had dropped a rouleau of gold on
the threshold, and the passage and doorstep had been strewn with
guinea-pieces.  At this old Jonathan looked at Mr. Archer.  Next
the visitor turned to news of a more thrilling character:  how the
down mail had been stopped again near Grantham by three men on
horseback--a white and two bays; how they had handkerchiefs on
their faces; how Tom the guard's blunderbuss missed fire, but he
swore he had winged one of them with a pistol; and how they had got
clean away with seventy pounds in money, some valuable papers, and
a watch or two.

'Brave! brave!' cried Jonathan in ecstasy.  'Seventy pounds!  O,
it's brave!'

'Well, I don't see the great bravery,' observed the ostler,
misapprehending him.  'Three men, and you may call that three to
one.  I'll call it brave when some one stops the mail single-
handed; that's a risk.'

'And why should they hesitate?' inquired Mr. Archer.  'The poor
souls who are fallen to such a way of life, pray what have they to
lose?  If they get the money, well; but if a ball should put them
from their troubles, why, so better.'

'Well, sir,' said the ostler, 'I believe you'll find they won't
agree with you.  They count on a good fling, you see; or who would
risk it?--And here's my best respects to you, Miss Nance.'

'And I forgot the part of cowardice,' resumed Mr. Archer.  'All men
fear.'

'O, surely not!' cried Nance.

'All men,' reiterated Mr. Archer.

'Ay, that's a true word,' observed Old Cumberland, 'and a thief,
anyway, for it's a coward's trade.'

'But these fellows, now,' said Jonathan, with a curious, appealing
manner--'these fellows with their seventy pounds!  Perhaps, Mr.
Archer, they were no true thieves after all, but just people who
had been robbed and tried to get their own again.  What was that
you said, about all England and the taxes?  One takes, another
gives; why, that's almost fair.  If I've been rooked and robbed,
and the coat taken off my back, I call it almost fair to take
another's.'

'Ask Old Cumberland,' observed the ostler; 'you ask Old Cumberland,
Miss Nance!' and he bestowed a wink upon his favoured fair one.

'Why that?' asked Jonathan.

'He had his coat taken--ay, and his shirt too,' returned the
ostler.

'Is that so?' cried Jonathan eagerly.  'Was you robbed too?'

'That was I,' replied Cumberland, 'with a warrant!  I was a well-
to-do man when I was young.'

'Ay!  See that!' says Jonathan.  'And you don't long for a
revenge?'

'Eh!  Not me!' answered the beggar.  'It's too long ago.  But if
you'll give me another mug of your good ale, my pretty lady, I
won't say no to that.'

'And shalt have!  And shalt have!' cried Jonathan.  'Or brandy
even, if you like it better.'

And as Cumberland did like it better, and the ostler chimed in, the
party pledged each other in a dram of brandy before separating.

As for Nance, she slipped forth into the ruins, partly to avoid the
ostler's gallantries, partly to lament over the defects of Mr.
Archer.  Plainly, he was no hero.  She pitied him; she began to
feel a protecting interest mingle with and almost supersede her
admiration, and was at the same time disappointed and yet drawn to
him.  She was, indeed, conscious of such unshaken fortitude in her
own heart, that she was almost tempted by an occasion to be bold
for two.  She saw herself, in a brave attitude, shielding her
imperfect hero from the world; and she saw, like a piece of heaven,
his gratitude for her protection.



CHAPTER V--LIFE IN THE CASTLE



From that day forth the life of these three persons in the ruin ran
very smoothly.  Mr. Archer now sat by the fire with a book, and now
passed whole days abroad, returning late, dead weary.  His manner
was a mask; but it was half transparent; through the even tenor of
his gravity and courtesy profound revolutions of feeling were
betrayed, seasons of numb despair, of restlessness, of aching
temper.  For days he would say nothing beyond his usual courtesies
and solemn compliments; and then, all of a sudden, some fine
evening beside the kitchen fire, he would fall into a vein of
elegant gossip, tell of strange and interesting events, the secrets
of families, brave deeds of war, the miraculous discovery of crime,
the visitations of the dead.  Nance and her uncle would sit till
the small hours with eyes wide open:  Jonathan applauding the
unexpected incidents with many a slap of his big hand; Nance,
perhaps, more pleased with the narrator's eloquence and wise
reflections; and then, again, days would follow of abstraction, of
listless humming, of frequent apologies and long hours of silence.
Once only, and then after a week of unrelieved melancholy, he went
over to the 'Green Dragon,' spent the afternoon with the landlord
and a bowl of punch, and returned as on the first night, devious in
step but courteous and unperturbed of speech.

If he seemed more natural and more at his ease it was when he found
Nance alone; and, laying by some of his reserve, talked before her
rather than to her of his destiny, character and hopes.  To Nance
these interviews were but a doubtful privilege.  At times he would
seem to take a pleasure in her presence, to consult her gravely, to
hear and to discuss her counsels; at times even, but these were
rare and brief, he would talk of herself, praise the qualities that
she possessed, touch indulgently on her defects, and lend her books
to read and even examine her upon her reading; but far more often
he would fall into a half unconsciousness, put her a question and
then answer it himself, drop into the veiled tone of voice of one
soliloquising, and leave her at last as though he had forgotten her
existence.  It was odd, too, that in all this random converse, not
a fact of his past life, and scarce a name, should ever cross his
lips.  A profound reserve kept watch upon his most unguarded
moments.  He spoke continually of himself, indeed, but still in
enigmas; a veiled prophet of egoism.

The base of Nance's feelings for Mr. Archer was admiration as for a
superior being; and with this, his treatment, consciously or not,
accorded happily.  When he forgot her, she took the blame upon
herself.  His formal politeness was so exquisite that this
essential brutality stood excused.  His compliments, besides, were
always grave and rational; he would offer reason for his praise,
convict her of merit, and thus disarm suspicion.  Nay, and the very
hours when he forgot and remembered her alternately could by the
ardent fallacies of youth be read in the light of an attention.
She might be far from his confidence; but still she was nearer it
than any one.  He might ignore her presence, but yet he sought it.

Moreover, she, upon her side, was conscious of one point of
superiority.  Beside this rather dismal, rather effeminate man, who
recoiled from a worm, who grew giddy on the castle wall, who bore
so helplessly the weight of his misfortunes, she felt herself a
head and shoulders taller in cheerful and sterling courage.  She
could walk head in air along the most precarious rafter; her hand
feared neither the grossness nor the harshness of life's web, but
was thrust cheerfully, if need were, into the briar bush, and could
take hold of any crawling horror.  Ruin was mining the walls of her
cottage, as already it had mined and subverted Mr. Archer's palace.
Well, she faced it with a bright countenance and a busy hand.  She
had got some washing, some rough seamstress work from the 'Green
Dragon,' and from another neighbour ten miles away across the moor.
At this she cheerfully laboured, and from that height she could
afford to pity the useless talents and poor attitude of Mr. Archer.
It did not change her admiration, but it made it bearable.  He was
above her in all ways; but she was above him in one.  She kept it
to herself, and hugged it.  When, like all young creatures, she
made long stories to justify, to nourish, and to forecast the
course of her affection, it was this private superiority that made
all rosy, that cut the knot, and that, at last, in some great
situation, fetched to her knees the dazzling but imperfect hero.
With this pretty exercise she beguiled the hours of labour, and
consoled herself for Mr. Archer's bearing.

Pity was her weapon and her weakness.  To accept the loved one's
faults, although it has an air of freedom, is to kiss the chain,
and this pity it was which, lying nearer to her heart, lent the one
element of true emotion to a fanciful and merely brain-sick love.

Thus it fell out one day that she had gone to the 'Green Dragon'
and brought back thence a letter to Mr. Archer.  He, upon seeing
it, winced like a man under the knife:  pain, shame, sorrow, and
the most trenchant edge of mortification cut into his heart and
wrung the steady composure of his face.

'Dear heart! have you bad news?' she cried.

But he only replied by a gesture and fled to his room, and when,
later on, she ventured to refer to it, he stopped her on the
threshold, as if with words prepared beforehand.  'There are some
pains,' said he, 'too acute for consolation, or I would bring them
to my kind consoler.  Let the memory of that letter, if you please,
be buried.'  And then as she continued to gaze at him, being, in
spite of herself, pained by his elaborate phrase, doubtfully
sincere in word and manner:  'Let it be enough,' he added
haughtily, 'that if this matter wring my heart, it doth not touch
my conscience.  I am a man, I would have you to know, who suffers
undeservedly.'

He had never spoken so directly:  never with so convincing an
emotion; and her heart thrilled for him.  She could have taken his
pains and died of them with joy.

Meanwhile she was left without support.  Jonathan now swore by his
lodger, and lived for him.  He was a fine talker.  He knew the
finest sight of stories; he was a man and a gentleman, take him for
all in all, and a perfect credit to Old England.  Such were the old
man's declared sentiments, and sure enough he clung to Mr. Archer's
side, hung upon his utterance when he spoke, and watched him with
unwearing interest when he was silent.  And yet his feeling was not
clear; in the partial wreck of his mind, which was leaning to
decay, some after-thought was strongly present.  As he gazed in Mr.
Archer's face a sudden brightness would kindle in his rheumy eyes,
his eye-brows would lift as with a sudden thought, his mouth would
open as though to speak, and close again on silence.  Once or twice
he even called Mr. Archer mysteriously forth into the dark
courtyard, took him by the button, and laid a demonstrative finger
on his chest; but there his ideas or his courage failed him; he
would shufflingly excuse himself and return to his position by the
fire without a word of explanation.  'The good man was growing
old,' said Mr. Archer with a suspicion of a shrug.  But the good
man had his idea, and even when he was alone the name of Mr. Archer
fell from his lips continually in the course of mumbled and
gesticulative conversation.



CHAPTER VI--THE BAD HALF-CROWN



However early Nance arose, and she was no sluggard, the old man,
who had begun to outlive the earthly habit of slumber, would
usually have been up long before, the fire would be burning
brightly, and she would see him wandering among the ruins, lantern
in hand, and talking assiduously to himself.  One day, however,
after he had returned late from the market town, she found that she
had stolen a march upon that indefatigable early riser.  The
kitchen was all blackness.  She crossed the castle-yard to the
wood-cellar, her steps printing the thick hoarfrost.  A scathing
breeze blew out of the north-east and slowly carried a regiment of
black and tattered clouds over the face of heaven, which was
already kindled with the wild light of morning, but where she
walked, in shelter of the ruins, the flame of her candle burned
steady.  The extreme cold smote upon her conscience.  She could not
bear to think this bitter business fell usually to the lot of one
so old as Jonathan, and made desperate resolutions to be earlier in
the future.

The fire was a good blaze before he entered, limping dismally into
the kitchen.  'Nance,' said he, 'I be all knotted up with the
rheumatics; will you rub me a bit?'  She came and rubbed him where
and how he bade her.  'This is a cruel thing that old age should be
rheumaticky,' said he.  'When I was young I stood my turn of the
teethache like a man! for why? because it couldn't last for ever;
but these rheumatics come to live and die with you.  Your aunt was
took before the time came; never had an ache to mention.  Now I lie
all night in my single bed and the blood never warms in me; this
knee of mine it seems like lighted up with rheumatics; it seems as
though you could see to sew by it; and all the strings of my old
body ache, as if devils was pulling 'em.  Thank you kindly; that's
someways easier now, but an old man, my dear, has little to look
for; it's pain, pain, pain to the end of the business, and I'll
never be rightly warm again till I get under the sod,' he said, and
looked down at her with a face so aged and weary that she had
nearly wept.

'I lay awake all night,' he continued; 'I do so mostly, and a long
walk kills me.  Eh, deary me, to think that life should run to such
a puddle!  And I remember long syne when I was strong, and the
blood all hot and good about me, and I loved to run, too--deary me,
to run!  Well, that's all by.  You'd better pray to be took early,
Nance, and not live on till you get to be like me, and are robbed
in your grey old age, your cold, shivering, dark old age, that's
like a winter's morning'; and he bitterly shuddered, spreading his
hands before the fire.

'Come now,' said Nance, 'the more you say the less you'll like it,
Uncle Jonathan; but if I were you I would be proud for to have
lived all your days honest and beloved, and come near the end with
your good name:  isn't that a fine thing to be proud of?  Mr.
Archer was telling me in some strange land they used to run races
each with a lighted candle, and the art was to keep the candle
burning.  Well, now, I thought that was like life:  a man's good
conscience is the flame he gets to carry, and if he comes to the
winning-post with that still burning, why, take it how you will,
the man's a hero--even if he was low-born like you and me.'

'Did Mr. Archer tell you that?' asked Jonathan.

'No, dear,' said she, 'that's my own thought about it.  He told me
of the race.  But see, now,' she continued, putting on the
porridge, 'you say old age is a hard season, but so is youth.
You're half out of the battle, I would say; you loved my aunt and
got her, and buried her, and some of these days soon you'll go to
meet her; and take her my love and tell her I tried to take good
care of you; for so I do, Uncle Jonathan.'

Jonathan struck with his fist upon the settle.  'D' ye think I want
to die, ye vixen?' he shouted.  'I want to live ten hundred years.'

This was a mystery beyond Nance's penetration, and she stared in
wonder as she made the porridge.

'I want to live,' he continued, 'I want to live and to grow rich.
I want to drive my carriage and to dice in hells and see the ring,
I do.  Is this a life that I lived?  I want to be a rake, d' ye
understand?  I want to know what things are like.  I don't want to
die like a blind kitten, and me seventy-six.'

'O fie!' said Nance.

The old man thrust out his jaw at her, with the grimace of an
irreverent schoolboy.  Upon that aged face it seemed a blasphemy.
Then he took out of his bosom a long leather purse, and emptying
its contents on the settle, began to count and recount the pieces,
ringing and examining each, and suddenly he leapt like a young man.
'What!' he screamed.  'Bad?  O Lord!  I'm robbed again!'  And
falling on his knees before the settle he began to pour forth the
most dreadful curses on the head of his deceiver.  His eyes were
shut, for to him this vile solemnity was prayer.  He held up the
bad half-crown in his right hand, as though he were displaying it
to Heaven, and what increased the horror of the scene, the curses
he invoked were those whose efficacy he had tasted--old age and
poverty, rheumatism and an ungrateful son.  Nance listened
appalled; then she sprang forward and dragged down his arm and laid
her hand upon his mouth.

'Whist!' she cried.  'Whist ye, for God's sake!  O my man, whist
ye!  If Heaven were to hear; if poor Aunt Susan were to hear!
Think, she may be listening.'  And with the histrionism of strong
emotion she pointed to a corner of the kitchen.

His eyes followed her finger.  He looked there for a little,
thinking, blinking; then he got stiffly to his feet and resumed his
place upon the settle, the bad piece still in his hand.  So he sat
for some time, looking upon the half-crown, and now wondering to
himself on the injustice and partiality of the law, now computing
again and again the nature of his loss.  So he was still sitting
when Mr. Archer entered the kitchen.  At this a light came into his
face, and after some seconds of rumination he dispatched Nance upon
an errand.

'Mr. Archer,' said he, as soon as they were alone together, 'would
you give me a guinea-piece for silver?'

'Why, sir, I believe I can,' said Mr. Archer.

And the exchange was just effected when Nance re-entered the
apartment.  The blood shot into her face.

'What's to do here?' she asked rudely.

'Nothing, my dearie,' said old Jonathan, with a touch of whine.

'What's to do?' she said again.

'Your uncle was but changing me a piece of gold,' returned Mr.
Archer.

'Let me see what he hath given you, Mr. Archer,' replied the girl.
'I had a bad piece, and I fear it is mixed up among the good.'

'Well, well,' replied Mr. Archer, smiling, 'I must take the
merchant's risk of it.  The money is now mixed.'

'I know my piece,' quoth Nance.  'Come, let me see your silver, Mr.
Archer.  If I have to get it by a theft I'll see that money,' she
cried.

'Nay, child, if you put as much passion to be honest as the world
to steal, I must give way, though I betray myself,' said Mr.
Archer.  'There it is as I received it.'

Nance quickly found the bad half-crown.

'Give him another,' she said, looking Jonathan in the face; and
when that had been done, she walked over to the chimney and flung
the guilty piece into the reddest of the fire.  Its base
constituents began immediately to run; even as she watched it the
disc crumbled, and the lineaments of the King became confused.
Jonathan, who had followed close behind, beheld these changes from
over her shoulder, and his face darkened sorely.

'Now,' said she, 'come back to table, and to-day it is I that shall
say grace, as I used to do in the old times, day about with Dick';
and covering her eyes with one hand, 'O Lord,' said she with deep
emotion, 'make us thankful; and, O Lord, deliver us from evil!  For
the love of the poor souls that watch for us in heaven, O deliver
us from evil.'



CHAPTER VII--THE BLEACHING-GREEN



The year moved on to March; and March, though it blew bitter keen
from the North Sea, yet blinked kindly between whiles on the river
dell.  The mire dried up in the closest covert; life ran in the
bare branches, and the air of the afternoon would be suddenly sweet
with the fragrance of new grass.

Above and below the castle the river crooked like the letter 'S.'
The lower loop was to the left, and embraced the high and steep
projection which was crowned by the ruins; the upper loop enclosed
a lawny promontory, fringed by thorn and willow.  It was easy to
reach it from the castle side, for the river ran in this part very
quietly among innumerable boulders and over dam-like walls of rock.
The place was all enclosed, the wind a stranger, the turf smooth
and solid; so it was chosen by Nance to be her bleaching-green.

One day she brought a bucketful of linen, and had but begun to
wring and lay them out when Mr. Archer stepped from the thicket on
the far side, drew very deliberately near, and sat down in silence
on the grass.  Nance looked up to greet him with a smile, but
finding her smile was not returned, she fell into embarrassment and
stuck the more busily to her employment.  Man or woman, the whole
world looks well at any work to which they are accustomed; but the
girl was ashamed of what she did.  She was ashamed, besides, of the
sun-bonnet that so well became her, and ashamed of her bare arms,
which were her greatest beauty.

'Nausicaa,' said Mr. Archer at last, 'I find you like Nausicaa.'

'And who was she?' asked Nance, and laughed in spite of herself, an
empty and embarrassed laugh, that sounded in Mr. Archer's ears,
indeed, like music, but to her own like the last grossness of
rusticity.

'She was a princess of the Grecian islands,' he replied.  'A king,
being shipwrecked, found her washing by the shore.  Certainly I,
too, was shipwrecked,' he continued, plucking at the grass.  'There
was never a more desperate castaway--to fall from polite life,
fortune, a shrine of honour, a grateful conscience, duties
willingly taken up and faithfully discharged; and to fall to this--
idleness, poverty, inutility, remorse.'  He seemed to have
forgotten her presence, but here he remembered her again.  'Nance,'
said he, 'would you have a man sit down and suffer or rise up and
strive?'

'Nay,' she said.  'I would always rather see him doing.'

'Ha!' said Mr. Archer, 'but yet you speak from an imperfect
knowledge.  Conceive a man damned to a choice of only evil--
misconduct upon either side, not a fault behind him, and yet naught
before him but this choice of sins.  How would you say then?'

'I would say that he was much deceived, Mr. Archer,' returned
Nance.  'I would say there was a third choice, and that the right
one.'

'I tell you,' said Mr. Archer, 'the man I have in view hath two
ways open, and no more.  One to wait, like a poor mewling baby,
till Fate save or ruin him; the other to take his troubles in his
hand, and to perish or be saved at once.  It is no point of morals;
both are wrong.  Either way this step-child of Providence must
fall; which shall he choose, by doing or not doing?'

'Fall, then, is what I would say,' replied Nance.  'Fall where you
will, but do it!  For O, Mr. Archer,' she continued, stooping to
her work, 'you that are good and kind, and so wise, it doth
sometimes go against my heart to see you live on here like a sheep
in a turnip-field!  If you were braver--' and here she paused,
conscience-smitten.

'Do I, indeed, lack courage?' inquired Mr. Archer of himself.
'Courage, the footstool of the virtues, upon which they stand?
Courage, that a poor private carrying a musket has to spare of;
that does not fail a weasel or a rat; that is a brutish faculty?  I
to fail there, I wonder?  But what is courage, then?  The constancy
to endure oneself or to see others suffer?  The itch of ill-advised
activity:  mere shuttle-wittedness, or to be still and patient?  To
inquire of the significance of words is to rob ourselves of what we
seem to know, and yet, of all things, certainly to stand still is
the least heroic.  Nance,' he said, 'did you ever hear of Hamlet?'

'Never,' said Nance.

''Tis an old play,' returned Mr. Archer, 'and frequently enacted.
This while I have been talking Hamlet.  You must know this Hamlet
was a Prince among the Danes,' and he told her the play in a very
good style, here and there quoting a verse or two with solemn
emphasis.

'It is strange,' said Nance; 'he was then a very poor creature?'

'That was what he could not tell,' said Mr. Archer.  'Look at me,
am I as poor a creature?'

She looked, and what she saw was the familiar thought of all her
hours; the tall figure very plainly habited in black, the spotless
ruffles, the slim hands; the long, well-shapen, serious, shaven
face, the wide and somewhat thin-lipped mouth, the dark eyes that
were so full of depth and change and colour.  He was gazing at her
with his brows a little knit, his chin upon one hand and that elbow
resting on his knee.

'Ye look a man!' she cried, 'ay, and should be a great one!  The
more shame to you to lie here idle like a dog before the fire.'

'My fair Holdaway,' quoth Mr. Archer, 'you are much set on action.
I cannot dig, to beg I am ashamed.'  He continued, looking at her
with a half-absent fixity, ''Tis a strange thing, certainly, that
in my years of fortune I should never taste happiness, and now when
I am broke, enjoy so much of it, for was I ever happier than to-
day?  Was the grass softer, the stream pleasanter in sound, the air
milder, the heart more at peace?  Why should I not sink?  To dig--
why, after all, it should be easy.  To take a mate, too?  Love is
of all grades since Jupiter; love fails to none; and children'--but
here he passed his hand suddenly over his eyes.  'O fool and
coward, fool and coward!' he said bitterly; 'can you forget your
fetters?  You did not know that I was fettered, Nance?' he asked,
again addressing her.

But Nance was somewhat sore.  'I know you keep talking,' she said,
and, turning half away from him, began to wring out a sheet across
her shoulder.  'I wonder you are not wearied of your voice.  When
the hands lie abed the tongue takes a walk.'

Mr. Archer laughed unpleasantly, rose and moved to the water's
edge.  In this part the body of the river poured across a little
narrow fell, ran some ten feet very smoothly over a bed of pebbles,
then getting wind, as it were, of another shelf of rock which
barred the channel, began, by imperceptible degrees, to separate
towards either shore in dancing currents, and to leave the middle
clear and stagnant.  The set towards either side was nearly equal;
about one half of the whole water plunged on the side of the
castle, through a narrow gullet; about one half ran ripping past
the margin of the green and slipped across a babbling rapid.

'Here,' said Mr. Archer, after he had looked for some time at the
fine and shifting demarcation of these currents, 'come here and see
me try my fortune.'

'I am not like a man,' said Nance; 'I have no time to waste.'

'Come here,' he said again.  'I ask you seriously, Nance.  We are
not always childish when we seem so.'

She drew a little nearer.

'Now,' said he, 'you see these two channels--choose one.'

'I'll choose the nearest, to save time,' said Nance.

'Well, that shall be for action,' returned Mr. Archer.  'And since
I wish to have the odds against me, not only the other channel but
yon stagnant water in the midst shall be for lying still.  You see
this?' he continued, pulling up a withered rush.  'I break it in
three.  I shall put each separately at the top of the upper fall,
and according as they go by your way or by the other I shall guide
my life.'

'This is very silly,' said Nance, with a movement of her shoulders.

'I do not think it so,' said Mr. Archer.

'And then,' she resumed, 'if you are to try your fortune, why not
evenly?'

'Nay,' returned Mr. Archer with a smile, 'no man can put complete
reliance in blind fate; he must still cog the dice.'

By this time he had got upon the rock beside the upper fall, and,
bidding her look out, dropped a piece of rush into the middle of
the intake.  The rusty fragment was sucked at once over the fall,
came up again far on the right hand, leaned ever more and more in
the same direction, and disappeared under the hanging grasses on
the castle side.

'One,' said Mr. Archer, 'one for standing still.'

But the next launch had a different fate, and after hanging for a
while about the edge of the stagnant water, steadily approached the
bleaching-green and danced down the rapid under Nance's eyes.

'One for me,' she cried with some exultation; and then she observed
that Mr. Archer had grown pale, and was kneeling on the rock, with
his hand raised like a person petrified.  'Why,' said she, 'you do
not mind it, do you?'

'Does a man not mind a throw of dice by which a fortune hangs?'
said Mr. Archer, rather hoarsely.  'And this is more than fortune.
Nance, if you have any kindness for my fate, put up a prayer before
I launch the next one.'

'A prayer,' she cried, 'about a game like this?  I would not be so
heathen.'

'Well,' said he, 'then without,' and he closed his eyes and dropped
the piece of rush.  This time there was no doubt.  It went for the
rapid as straight as any arrow.

'Action then!' said Mr. Archer, getting to his feet; 'and then God
forgive us,' he added, almost to himself.

'God forgive us, indeed,' cried Nance, 'for wasting the good
daylight!  But come, Mr. Archer, if I see you look so serious I
shall begin to think you was in earnest.'

'Nay,' he said, turning upon her suddenly, with a full smile; 'but
is not this good advice?  I have consulted God and demigod; the
nymph of the river, and what I far more admire and trust, my blue-
eyed Minerva.  Both have said the same.  My own heart was telling
it already.  Action, then, be mine; and into the deep sea with all
this paralysing casuistry.  I am happy to-day for the first time.'



CHAPTER VIII--THE MAIL GUARD



Somewhere about two in the morning a squall had burst upon the
castle, a clap of screaming wind that made the towers rock, and a
copious drift of rain that streamed from the windows.  The wind
soon blew itself out, but the day broke cloudy and dripping, and
when the little party assembled at breakfast their humours appeared
to have changed with the change of weather.  Nance had been
brooding on the scene at the river-side, applying it in various
ways to her particular aspirations, and the result, which was
hardly to her mind, had taken the colour out of her cheeks.  Mr.
Archer, too, was somewhat absent, his thoughts were of a mingled
strain; and even upon his usually impassive countenance there were
betrayed successive depths of depression and starts of exultation,
which the girl translated in terms of her own hopes and fears.  But
Jonathan was the most altered:  he was strangely silent, hardly
passing a word, and watched Mr. Archer with an eager and furtive
eye.  It seemed as if the idea that had so long hovered before him
had now taken a more solid shape, and, while it still attracted,
somewhat alarmed his imagination.

At this rate, conversation languished into a silence which was only
broken by the gentle and ghostly noises of the rain on the stone
roof and about all that field of ruins; and they were all relieved
when the note of a man whistling and the sound of approaching
footsteps in the grassy court announced a visitor.  It was the
ostler from the 'Green Dragon' bringing a letter for Mr. Archer.
Nance saw her hero's face contract and then relax again at sight of
it; and she thought that she knew why, for the sprawling, gross
black characters of the address were easily distinguishable from
the fine writing on the former letter that had so much disturbed
him.  He opened it and began to read; while the ostler sat down to
table with a pot of ale, and proceeded to make himself agreeable
after his fashion.

'Fine doings down our way, Miss Nance,' said he.  'I haven't been
abed this blessed night.'

Nance expressed a polite interest, but her eye was on Mr. Archer,
who was reading his letter with a face of such extreme indifference
that she was tempted to suspect him of assumption.

'Yes,' continued the ostler, 'not been the like of it this fifteen
years:  the North Mail stopped at the three stones.'

Jonathan's cup was at his lip, but at this moment he choked with a
great splutter; and Mr. Archer, as if startled by the noise, made
so sudden a movement that one corner of the sheet tore off and
stayed between his finger and thumb.  It was some little time
before the old man was sufficiently recovered to beg the ostler to
go on, and he still kept coughing and crying and rubbing his eyes.
Mr. Archer, on his side, laid the letter down, and, putting his
hands in his pocket, listened gravely to the tale.

'Yes,' resumed Sam, 'the North Mail was stopped by a single
horseman; dash my wig, but I admire him!  There were four insides
and two out, and poor Tom Oglethorpe, the guard.  Tom showed
himself a man; let fly his blunderbuss at him; had him covered,
too, and could swear to that; but the Captain never let on, up with
a pistol and fetched poor Tom a bullet through the body.  Tom, he
squelched upon the seat, all over blood.  Up comes the Captain to
the window.  "Oblige me," says he, "with what you have."  Would you
believe it?  Not a man says cheep!--not them.  "Thy hands over thy
head."  Four watches, rings, snuff-boxes, seven-and-forty pounds
overhead in gold.  One Dicksee, a grazier, tries it on:  gives him
a guinea.  "Beg your pardon," says the Captain, "I think too highly
of you to take it at your hand.  I will not take less than ten from
such a gentleman."  This Dicksee had his money in his stocking, but
there was the pistol at his eye.  Down he goes, offs with his
stocking, and there was thirty golden guineas.  "Now," says the
Captain, "you've tried it on with me, but I scorns the advantage.
Ten I said," he says, "and ten I take."  So, dash my buttons, I
call that man a man!' cried Sam in cordial admiration.

'Well, and then?' says Mr. Archer.

'Then,' resumed Sam, 'that old fat fagot Engleton, him as held the
ribbons and drew up like a lamb when he was told to, picks up his
cattle, and drives off again.  Down they came to the "Dragon," all
singing like as if they was scalded, and poor Tom saying nothing.
You would 'a' thought they had all lost the King's crown to hear
them.  Down gets this Dicksee.  "Postmaster," he says, taking him
by the arm, "this is a most abominable thing," he says.  Down gets
a Major Clayton, and gets the old man by the other arm.  "We've
been robbed," he cries, "robbed!"  Down gets the others, and all
around the old man telling their story, and what they had lost, and
how they was all as good as ruined; till at last Old Engleton says,
says he, "How about Oglethorpe?" says he.  "Ay," says the others,
"how about the guard?"  Well, with that we bousted him down, as
white as a rag and all blooded like a sop.  I thought he was dead.
Well, he ain't dead; but he's dying, I fancy.'

'Did you say four watches?' said Jonathan.

'Four, I think.  I wish it had been forty,' cried Sam.  'Such a
party of soused herrings I never did see--not a man among them bar
poor Tom.  But us that are the servants on the road have all the
risk and none of the profit.'

'And this brave fellow,' asked Mr. Archer, very quietly, 'this
Oglethorpe--how is he now?'

'Well, sir, with my respects, I take it he has a hole bang through
him,' said Sam.  'The doctor hasn't been yet.  He'd 'a' been bright
and early if it had been a passenger.  But, doctor or no, I'll make
a good guess that Tom won't see to-morrow.  He'll die on a Sunday,
will poor Tom; and they do say that's fortunate.'

'Did Tom see him that did it?' asked Jonathan.

'Well, he saw him,' replied Sam, 'but not to swear by.  Said he was
a very tall man, and very big, and had a 'ankerchief about his
face, and a very quick shot, and sat his horse like a thorough
gentleman, as he is.'

'A gentleman!' cried Nance.  'The dirty knave!'

'Well, I calls a man like that a gentleman,' returned the ostler;
'that's what I mean by a gentleman.'

'You don't know much of them, then,' said Nance.

'A gentleman would scorn to stoop to such a thing.  I call my uncle
a better gentleman than any thief.'

'And you would be right,' said Mr. Archer.

'How many snuff-boxes did he get?' asked Jonathan.

'O, dang me if I know,' said Sam; 'I didn't take an inventory.'

'I will go back with you, if you please,' said Mr. Archer.  'I
should like to see poor Oglethorpe.  He has behaved well.'

'At your service, sir,' said Sam, jumping to his feet.  'I dare to
say a gentleman like you would not forget a poor fellow like Tom--
no, nor a plain man like me, sir, that went without his sleep to
nurse him.  And excuse me, sir,' added Sam, 'you won't forget about
the letter neither?'

'Surely not,' said Mr. Archer.

Oglethorpe lay in a low bed, one of several in a long garret of the
inn.  The rain soaked in places through the roof and fell in minute
drops; there was but one small window; the beds were occupied by
servants, the air of the garret was both close and chilly.  Mr.
Archer's heart sank at the threshold to see a man lying perhaps
mortally hurt in so poor a sick-room, and as he drew near the low
bed he took his hat off.  The guard was a big, blowsy, innocent-
looking soul with a thick lip and a broad nose, comically turned
up; his cheeks were crimson, and when Mr. Archer laid a finger on
his brow he found him burning with fever.

'I fear you suffer much,' he said, with a catch in his voice, as he
sat down on the bedside.

'I suppose I do, sir,' returned Oglethorpe; 'it is main sore.'

'I am used to wounds and wounded men,' returned the visitor.  'I
have been in the wars and nursed brave fellows before now; and, if
you will suffer me, I propose to stay beside you till the doctor
comes.'

'It is very good of you, sir, I am sure,' said Oglethorpe.  'The
trouble is they won't none of them let me drink.'

'If you will not tell the doctor,' said Mr. Archer, 'I will give
you some water.  They say it is bad for a green wound, but in the
Low Countries we all drank water when we found the chance, and I
could never perceive we were the worse for it.'

'Been wounded yourself, sir, perhaps?' called Oglethorpe.

'Twice,' said Mr. Archer, 'and was as proud of these hurts as any
lady of her bracelets.  'Tis a fine thing to smart for one's duty;
even in the pangs of it there is contentment.'

'Ah, well!' replied the guard, 'if you've been shot yourself, that
explains.  But as for contentment, why, sir, you see, it smarts, as
you say.  And then, I have a good wife, you see, and a bit of a
brat--a little thing, so high.'

'Don't move,' said Mr. Archer.

'No, sir, I will not, and thank you kindly,' said Oglethorpe.  'At
York they are.  A very good lass is my wife--far too good for me.
And the little rascal--well, I don't know how to say it, but he
sort of comes round you.  If I were to go, sir, it would be hard on
my poor girl--main hard on her!'

'Ay, you must feel bitter hardly to the rogue that laid you here,'
said Archer.

'Why, no, sir, more against Engleton and the passengers,' replied
the guard.  'He played his hand, if you come to look at it; and I
wish he had shot worse, or me better.  And yet I'll go to my grave
but what I covered him,' he cried.  'It looks like witchcraft.
I'll go to my grave but what he was drove full of slugs like a
pepper-box.'

'Quietly,' said Mr. Archer, 'you must not excite yourself.  These
deceptions are very usual in war; the eye, in the moment of alert,
is hardly to be trusted, and when the smoke blows away you see the
man you fired at, taking aim, it may be, at yourself.  You should
observe, too, that you were in the dark night, and somewhat dazzled
by the lamps, and that the sudden stopping of the mail had jolted
you.  In such circumstances a man may miss, ay, even with a
blunder-buss, and no blame attach to his marksmanship.' . . .




THE YOUNG CHEVALIER




PROLOGUE--THE WINE-SELLER'S WIFE



There was a wine-seller's shop, as you went down to the river in
the city of the Anti-popes.  There a man was served with good wine
of the country and plain country fare; and the place being clean
and quiet, with a prospect on the river, certain gentlemen who
dwelt in that city in attendance on a great personage made it a
practice (when they had any silver in their purses) to come and eat
there and be private.

They called the wine-seller Paradou.  He was built more like a
bullock than a man, huge in bone and brawn, high in colour, and
with a hand like a baby for size.  Marie-Madeleine was the name of
his wife; she was of Marseilles, a city of entrancing women, nor
was any fairer than herself.  She was tall, being almost of a
height with Paradou; full-girdled, point-device in every form, with
an exquisite delicacy in the face; her nose and nostrils a delight
to look at from the fineness of the sculpture, her eyes inclined a
hair's-breadth inward, her colour between dark and fair, and laid
on even like a flower's.  A faint rose dwelt in it, as though she
had been found unawares bathing, and had blushed from head to foot.
She was of a grave countenance, rarely smiling; yet it seemed to be
written upon every part of her that she rejoiced in life.  Her
husband loved the heels of her feet and the knuckles of her
fingers; he loved her like a glutton and a brute; his love hung
about her like an atmosphere; one that came by chance into the
wine-shop was aware of that passion; and it might be said that by
the strength of it the woman had been drugged or spell-bound.  She
knew not if she loved or loathed him; he was always in her eyes
like something monstrous--monstrous in his love, monstrous in his
person, horrific but imposing in his violence; and her sentiment
swung back and forward from desire to sickness.  But the mean,
where it dwelt chiefly, was an apathetic fascination, partly of
horror; as of Europa in mid ocean with her bull.

On the 10th November 1749 there sat two of the foreign gentlemen in
the wine-seller's shop.  They were both handsome men of a good
presence, richly dressed.  The first was swarthy and long and lean,
with an alert, black look, and a mole upon his cheek.  The other
was more fair.  He seemed very easy and sedate, and a little
melancholy for so young a man, but his smile was charming.  In his
grey eyes there was much abstraction, as of one recalling fondly
that which was past and lost.  Yet there was strength and swiftness
in his limbs; and his mouth set straight across his face, the under
lip a thought upon side, like that of a man accustomed to resolve.
These two talked together in a rude outlandish speech that no
frequenter of that wine-shop understood.  The swarthy man answered
to the name of Ballantrae; he of the dreamy eyes was sometimes
called Balmile, and sometimes MY LORD, or MY LORD GLADSMUIR; but
when the title was given him, he seemed to put it by as if in
jesting, not without bitterness.

The mistral blew in the city.  The first day of that wind, they say
in the countries where its voice is heard, it blows away all the
dust, the second all the stones, and the third it blows back others
from the mountains.  It was now come to the third day; outside the
pebbles flew like hail, and the face of the river was puckered, and
the very building-stones in the walls of houses seemed to be
curdled with the savage cold and fury of that continuous blast.  It
could be heard to hoot in all the chimneys of the city; it swept
about the wine-shop, filling the room with eddies; the chill and
gritty touch of it passed between the nearest clothes and the bare
flesh; and the two gentlemen at the far table kept their mantles
loose about their shoulders.  The roughness of these outer hulls,
for they were plain travellers' cloaks that had seen service, set
the greater mark of richness on what showed below of their laced
clothes; for the one was in scarlet and the other in violet and
white, like men come from a scene of ceremony; as indeed they were.

It chanced that these fine clothes were not without their influence
on the scene which followed, and which makes the prologue of our
tale.  For a long time Balmile was in the habit to come to the
wine-shop and eat a meal or drink a measure of wine; sometimes with
a comrade; more often alone, when he would sit and dream and drum
upon the table, and the thoughts would show in the man's face in
little glooms and lightenings, like the sun and the clouds upon a
water.  For a long time Marie-Madeleine had observed him apart.
His sadness, the beauty of his smile when by any chance he
remembered her existence and addressed her, the changes of his mind
signalled forth by an abstruse play of feature, the mere fact that
he was foreign and a thing detached from the local and the
accustomed, insensibly attracted and affected her.  Kindness was
ready in her mind; it but lacked the touch of an occasion to
effervesce and crystallise.  Now Balmile had come hitherto in a
very poor plain habit; and this day of the mistral, when his mantle
was just open, and she saw beneath it the glancing of the violet
and the velvet and the silver, and the clustering fineness of the
lace, it seemed to set the man in a new light, with which he shone
resplendent to her fancy.

The high inhuman note of the wind, the violence and continuity of
its outpouring, and the fierce touch of it upon man's whole
periphery, accelerated the functions of the mind.  It set thoughts
whirling, as it whirled the trees of the forest; it stirred them up
in flights, as it stirred up the dust in chambers.  As brief as
sparks, the fancies glittered and succeeded each other in the mind
of Marie-Madeleine; and the grave man with the smile, and the
bright clothes under the plain mantle, haunted her with incongruous
explanations.  She considered him, the unknown, the speaker of an
unknown tongue, the hero (as she placed him) of an unknown romance,
the dweller upon unknown memories.  She recalled him sitting there
alone, so immersed, so stupefied; yet she was sure he was not
stupid.  She recalled one day when he had remained a long time
motionless, with parted lips, like one in the act of starting up,
his eyes fixed on vacancy.  Any one else must have looked foolish;
but not he.  She tried to conceive what manner of memory had thus
entranced him; she forged for him a past; she showed him to herself
in every light of heroism and greatness and misfortune; she brooded
with petulant intensity on all she knew and guessed of him.  Yet,
though she was already gone so deep, she was still unashamed, still
unalarmed; her thoughts were still disinterested; she had still to
reach the stage at which--beside the image of that other whom we
love to contemplate and to adorn--we place the image of ourself and
behold them together with delight.

She stood within the counter, her hands clasped behind her back,
her shoulders pressed against the wall, her feet braced out.  Her
face was bright with the wind and her own thoughts; as a fire in a
similar day of tempest glows and brightens on a hearth, so she
seemed to glow, standing there, and to breathe out energy.  It was
the first time Ballantrae had visited that wine-seller's, the first
time he had seen the wife; and his eyes were true to her.

'I perceive your reason for carrying me to this very draughty
tavern,' he said at last.

'I believe it is propinquity,' returned Balmile.

'You play dark,' said Ballantrae, 'but have a care!  Be more frank
with me, or I will cut you out.  I go through no form of qualifying
my threat, which would be commonplace and not conscientious.  There
is only one point in these campaigns:  that is the degree of
admiration offered by the man; and to our hostess I am in a posture
to make victorious love.'

'If you think you have the time, or the game worth the candle,'
replied the other with a shrug.

'One would suppose you were never at the pains to observe her,'
said Ballantrae.

'I am not very observant,' said Balmile.  'She seems comely.'

'You very dear and dull dog!' cried Ballantrae; 'chastity is the
most besotting of the virtues.  Why, she has a look in her face
beyond singing!  I believe, if you was to push me hard, I might
trace it home to a trifle of a squint.  What matters?  The height
of beauty is in the touch that's wrong, that's the modulation in a
tune.  'Tis the devil we all love; I owe many a conquest to my
mole'--he touched it as he spoke with a smile, and his eyes
glittered;--'we are all hunchbacks, and beauty is only that kind of
deformity that I happen to admire.  But come!  Because you are
chaste, for which I am sure I pay you my respects, that is no
reason why you should be blind.  Look at her, look at the delicious
nose of her, look at her cheek, look at her ear, look at her hand
and wrist--look at the whole baggage from heels to crown, and tell
me if she wouldn't melt on a man's tongue.'

As Ballantrae spoke, half jesting, half enthusiastic, Balmile was
constrained to do as he was bidden.  He looked at the woman,
admired her excellences, and was at the same time ashamed for
himself and his companion.  So it befell that when Marie-Madeleine
raised her eyes, she met those of the subject of her contemplations
fixed directly on herself with a look that is unmistakable, the
look of a person measuring and valuing another--and, to clench the
false impression, that his glance was instantly and guiltily
withdrawn.  The blood beat back upon her heart and leaped again;
her obscure thoughts flashed clear before her; she flew in fancy
straight to his arms like a wanton, and fled again on the instant
like a nymph.  And at that moment there chanced an interruption,
which not only spared her embarrassment, but set the last
consecration on her now articulate love.

Into the wine-shop there came a French gentleman, arrayed in the
last refinement of the fashion, though a little tumbled by his
passage in the wind.  It was to be judged he had come from the same
formal gathering at which the others had preceded him; and perhaps
that he had gone there in the hope to meet with them, for he came
up to Ballantrae with unceremonious eagerness.

'At last, here you are!' he cried in French.  'I thought I was to
miss you altogether.'

The Scotsmen rose, and Ballantrae, after the first greetings, laid
his hand on his companion's shoulder.

'My lord,' said he, 'allow me to present to you one of my best
friends and one of our best soldiers, the Lord Viscount Gladsmuir.'

The two bowed with the elaborate elegance of the period.

'Monseigneur,' said Balmile, 'je n'ai pas la pretention de
m'affubler d'un titre que la mauvaise fortune de mon roi ne me
permet pas de porter comma il sied.  Je m'appelle, pour vous
servir, Blair de Balmile tout court.'  [My lord, I have not the
effrontery to cumber myself with a title which the ill fortunes of
my king will not suffer me to bear the way it should be.  I call
myself, at your service, plain Blair of Balmile.]

'Monsieur le Vicomte ou monsieur Bler' de Balmail,' replied the
newcomer, 'le nom n'y fait rien, et l'on connait vos beaux faits.'
[The name matters nothing, your gallant actions are known.]

A few more ceremonies, and these three, sitting down together to
the table, called for wine.  It was the happiness of Marie-
Madeleine to wait unobserved upon the prince of her desires.  She
poured the wine, he drank of it; and that link between them seemed
to her, for the moment, close as a caress.  Though they lowered
their tones, she surprised great names passing in their
conversation, names of kings, the names of de Gesvre and Belle-
Isle; and the man who dealt in these high matters, and she who was
now coupled with him in her own thoughts, seemed to swim in mid air
in a transfiguration.  Love is a crude core, but it has singular
and far-reaching fringes; in that passionate attraction for the
stranger that now swayed and mastered her, his harsh
incomprehensible language, and these names of grandees in his talk,
were each an element.

The Frenchman stayed not long, but it was plain he left behind him
matter of much interest to his companions; they spoke together
earnestly, their heads down, the woman of the wine-shop totally
forgotten; and they were still so occupied when Paradou returned.

This man's love was unsleeping.  The even bluster of the mistral,
with which he had been combating some hours, had not suspended,
though it had embittered, that predominant passion.  His first look
was for his wife, a look of hope and suspicion, menace and humility
and love, that made the over-blooming brute appear for the moment
almost beautiful.  She returned his glance, at first as though she
knew him not, then with a swiftly waxing coldness of intent; and at
last, without changing their direction, she had closed her eyes.

There passed across her mind during that period much that Paradou
could not have understood had it been told to him in words:
chiefly the sense of an enlightening contrast betwixt the man who
talked of kings and the man who kept a wine-shop, betwixt the love
she yearned for and that to which she had been long exposed like a
victim bound upon the altar.  There swelled upon her, swifter than
the Rhone, a tide of abhorrence and disgust.  She had succumbed to
the monster, humbling herself below animals; and now she loved a
hero, aspiring to the semi-divine.  It was in the pang of that
humiliating thought that she had closed her eyes.

Paradou--quick as beasts are quick, to translate silence--felt the
insult through his blood; his inarticulate soul bellowed within him
for revenge.  He glanced about the shop.  He saw the two
indifferent gentlemen deep in talk, and passed them over:  his
fancy flying not so high.  There was but one other present, a
country lout who stood swallowing his wine, equally unobserved by
all and unobserving--to him he dealt a glance of murderous
suspicion, and turned direct upon his wife.  The wine-shop had lain
hitherto, a space of shelter, the scene of a few ceremonial
passages and some whispered conversation, in the howling river of
the wind; the clock had not yet ticked a score of times since
Paradou's appearance; and now, as he suddenly gave tongue, it
seemed as though the mistral had entered at his heels.

'What ails you, woman?' he cried, smiting on the counter.

'Nothing ails me,' she replied.  It was strange; but she spoke and
stood at that moment like a lady of degree, drawn upward by her
aspirations.

'You speak to me, by God, as though you scorned me!' cried the
husband.

The man's passion was always formidable; she had often looked on
upon its violence with a thrill, it had been one ingredient in her
fascination; and she was now surprised to behold him, as from afar
off, gesticulating but impotent.  His fury might be dangerous like
a torrent or a gust of wind, but it was inhuman; it might be feared
or braved, it should never be respected.  And with that there came
in her a sudden glow of courage and that readiness to die which
attends so closely upon all strong passions.

'I do scorn you,' she said.

'What is that?' he cried.

'I scorn you,' she repeated, smiling.

'You love another man!' said he.

'With all my soul,' was her reply.

The wine-seller roared aloud so that the house rang and shook with
it.

'Is this the--?' he cried, using a foul word, common in the South;
and he seized the young countryman and dashed him to the ground.
There he lay for the least interval of time insensible; thence fled
from the house, the most terrified person in the county.  The heavy
measure had escaped from his hands, splashing the wine high upon
the wall.  Paradou caught it.  'And you?' he roared to his wife,
giving her the same name in the feminine, and he aimed at her the
deadly missile.  She expected it, motionless, with radiant eyes.

But before it sped, Paradou was met by another adversary, and the
unconscious rivals stood confronted.  It was hard to say at that
moment which appeared the more formidable.  In Paradou, the whole
muddy and truculent depths of the half-man were stirred to frenzy;
the lust of destruction raged in him; there was not a feature in
his face but it talked murder.  Balmile had dropped his cloak:  he
shone out at once in his finery, and stood to his full stature;
girt in mind and body all his resources, all his temper, perfectly
in command in his face the light of battle.  Neither spoke; there
was no blow nor threat of one; it was war reduced to its last
element, the spiritual; and the huge wine-seller slowly lowered his
weapon.  Balmile was a noble, he a commoner; Balmile exulted in an
honourable cause.  Paradou already perhaps began to be ashamed of
his violence.  Of a sudden, at least, the tortured brute turned and
fled from the shop in the footsteps of his former victim, to whose
continued flight his reappearance added wings.

So soon as Balmile appeared between her husband and herself, Marie-
Madeleine transferred to him her eyes.  It might be her last
moment, and she fed upon that face; reading there inimitable
courage and illimitable valour to protect.  And when the momentary
peril was gone by, and the champion turned a little awkwardly
towards her whom he had rescued, it was to meet, and quail before,
a gaze of admiration more distinct than words.  He bowed, he
stammered, his words failed him; he who had crossed the floor a
moment ago, like a young god, to smite, returned like one
discomfited; got somehow to his place by the table, muffled himself
again in his discarded cloak, and for a last touch of the
ridiculous, seeking for anything to restore his countenance, drank
of the wine before him, deep as a porter after a heavy lift.  It
was little wonder if Ballantrae, reading the scene with malevolent
eyes, laughed out loud and brief, and drank with raised glass, 'To
the champion of the Fair.'

Marie-Madeleine stood in her old place within the counter; she
disdained the mocking laughter; it fell on her ears, but it did not
reach her spirit.  For her, the world of living persons was all
resumed again into one pair, as in the days of Eden; there was but
the one end in life, the one hope before her, the one thing
needful, the one thing possible--to be his.



CHAPTER I--THE PRINCE



That same night there was in the city of Avignon a young man in
distress of mind.  Now he sat, now walked in a high apartment, full
of draughts and shadows.  A single candle made the darkness
visible; and the light scarce sufficed to show upon the wall, where
they had been recently and rudely nailed, a few miniatures and a
copper medal of the young man's head.  The same was being sold that
year in London, to admiring thousands.  The original was fair; he
had beautiful brown eyes, a beautiful bright open face; a little
feminine, a little hard, a little weak; still full of the light of
youth, but already beginning to be vulgarised; a sordid bloom come
upon it, the lines coarsened with a touch of puffiness.  He was
dressed, as for a gala, in peach-colour and silver; his breast
sparkled with stars and was bright with ribbons; for he had held a
levee in the afternoon and received a distinguished personage
incognito.  Now he sat with a bowed head, now walked precipitately
to and fro, now went and gazed from the uncurtained window, where
the wind was still blowing, and the lights winked in the darkness.

The bells of Avignon rose into song as he was gazing; and the high
notes and the deep tossed and drowned, boomed suddenly near or were
suddenly swallowed up, in the current of the mistral.  Tears sprang
in the pale blue eyes; the expression of his face was changed to
that of a more active misery, it seemed as if the voices of the
bells reached, and touched and pained him, in a waste of vacancy
where even pain was welcome.  Outside in the night they continued
to sound on, swelling and fainting; and the listener heard in his
memory, as it were their harmonies, joy-bells clashing in a
northern city, and the acclamations of a multitude, the cries of
battle, the gross voices of cannon, the stridor of an animated
life.  And then all died away, and he stood face to face with
himself in the waste of vacancy, and a horror came upon his mind,
and a faintness on his brain, such as seizes men upon the brink of
cliffs.

On the table, by the side of the candle, stood a tray of glasses, a
bottle, and a silver bell.  He went thither swiftly, then his hand
lowered first above the bell, then settled on the bottle.  Slowly
he filled a glass, slowly drank it out; and, as a tide of animal
warmth recomforted the recesses of his nature, stood there smiling
at himself.  He remembered he was young; the funeral curtains rose,
and he saw his life shine and broaden and flow out majestically,
like a river sunward.  The smile still on his lips, he lit a second
candle and a third; a fire stood ready built in a chimney, he lit
that also; and the fir-cones and the gnarled olive billets were
swift to break in flame and to crackle on the hearth, and the room
brightened and enlarged about him like his hopes.  To and fro, to
and fro, he went, his hands lightly clasped, his breath deeply and
pleasurably taken.  Victory walked with him; he marched to crowns
and empires among shouting followers; glory was his dress.  And
presently again the shadows closed upon the solitary.  Under the
gilt of flame and candle-light, the stone walls of the apartment
showed down bare and cold; behind the depicted triumph loomed up
the actual failure:  defeat, the long distress of the flight,
exile, despair, broken followers, mourning faces, empty pockets,
friends estranged.  The memory of his father rose in his mind:  he,
too, estranged and defied; despair sharpened into wrath.  There was
one who had led armies in the field, who had staked his life upon
the family enterprise, a man of action and experience, of the open
air, the camp, the court, the council-room; and he was to accept
direction from an old, pompous gentleman in a home in Italy, and
buzzed about by priests?  A pretty king, if he had not a martial
son to lean upon!  A king at all?

'There was a weaver (of all people) joined me at St. Ninians; he
was more of a man than my papa!' he thought.  'I saw him lie
doubled in his blood and a grenadier below him--and he died for my
papa!  All died for him, or risked the dying, and I lay for him all
those months in the rain and skulked in heather like a fox; and now
he writes me his advice! calls me Carluccio--me, the man of the
house, the only king in that king's race.'  He ground his teeth.
'The only king in Europe!'  Who else?  Who has done and suffered
except me? who has lain and run and hidden with his faithful
subjects, like a second Bruce?  Not my accursed cousin, Louis of
France, at least, the lewd effeminate traitor!'  And filling the
glass to the brim, he drank a king's damnation.  Ah, if he had the
power of Louis, what a king were here!

The minutes followed each other into the past, and still he
persevered in this debilitating cycle of emotions, still fed the
fire of his excitement with driblets of Rhine wine:  a boy at odds
with life, a boy with a spark of the heroic, which he was now
burning out and drowning down in futile reverie and solitary
excess.

From two rooms beyond, the sudden sound of a raised voice attracted
him.

'By . . .




HEATHERCAT




CHAPTER I--TRAQUAIRS OF MONTROYMONT



The period of this tale is in the heat of the KILLING-TIME; the
scene laid for the most part in solitary hills and morasses,
haunted only by the so-called Mountain Wanderers, the dragoons that
came in chase of them, the women that wept on their dead bodies,
and the wild birds of the moorland that have cried there since the
beginning.  It is a land of many rain-clouds; a land of much mute
history, written there in prehistoric symbols.  Strange green raths
are to be seen commonly in the country, above all by the kirkyards;
barrows of the dead, standing stones; beside these, the faint,
durable footprints and handmarks of the Roman; and an antiquity
older perhaps than any, and still living and active--a complete
Celtic nomenclature and a scarce-mingled Celtic population.  These
rugged and grey hills were once included in the boundaries of the
Caledonian Forest.  Merlin sat here below his apple-tree and
lamented Gwendolen; here spoke with Kentigern; here fell into his
enchanted trance.  And the legend of his slumber seems to body
forth the story of that Celtic race, deprived for so many centuries
of their authentic speech, surviving with their ancestral
inheritance of melancholy perversity and patient, unfortunate
courage.

The Traquairs of Montroymont (Mons Romanus, as the erudite expound
it) had long held their seat about the head-waters of the Dule and
in the back parts of the moorland parish of Balweary.  For two
hundred years they had enjoyed in these upland quarters a certain
decency (almost to be named distinction) of repute; and the annals
of their house, or what is remembered of them, were obscure and
bloody.  Ninian Traquair was 'cruallie slochtered' by the Crozers
at the kirk-door of Balweary, anno 1482.  Francis killed Simon
Ruthven of Drumshoreland, anno 1540; bought letters of slayers at
the widow and heir, and, by a barbarous form of compounding,
married (without tocher) Simon's daughter Grizzel, which is the way
the Traquairs and Ruthvens came first to an intermarriage.  About
the last Traquair and Ruthven marriage, it is the business of this
book, among many other things, to tell.

The Traquairs were always strong for the Covenant; for the King
also, but the Covenant first; and it began to be ill days for
Montroymont when the Bishops came in and the dragoons at the heels
of them.  Ninian (then laird) was an anxious husband of himself and
the property, as the times required, and it may be said of him,
that he lost both.  He was heavily suspected of the Pentland Hills
rebellion.  When it came the length of Bothwell Brig, he stood his
trial before the Secret Council, and was convicted of talking with
some insurgents by the wayside, the subject of the conversation not
very clearly appearing, and of the reset and maintenance of one
Gale, a gardener man, who was seen before Bothwell with a musket,
and afterwards, for a continuance of months, delved the garden at
Montroymont.  Matters went very ill with Ninian at the Council;
some of the lords were clear for treason; and even the boot was
talked of.  But he was spared that torture; and at last, having
pretty good friendship among great men, he came off with a fine of
seven thousand marks, that caused the estate to groan.  In this
case, as in so many others, it was the wife that made the trouble.
She was a great keeper of conventicles; would ride ten miles to
one, and when she was fined, rejoiced greatly to suffer for the
Kirk; but it was rather her husband that suffered.  She had their
only son, Francis, baptized privately by the hands of Mr. Kidd;
there was that much the more to pay for!  She could neither be
driven nor wiled into the parish kirk; as for taking the sacrament
at the hands of any Episcopalian curate, and tenfold more at those
of Curate Haddo, there was nothing further from her purposes; and
Montroymont had to put his hand in his pocket month by month and
year by year.  Once, indeed, the little lady was cast in prison,
and the laird, worthy, heavy, uninterested man, had to ride up and
take her place; from which he was not discharged under nine months
and a sharp fine.  It scarce seemed she had any gratitude to him;
she came out of gaol herself, and plunged immediately deeper in
conventicles, resetting recusants, and all her old, expensive
folly, only with greater vigour and openness, because Montroymont
was safe in the Tolbooth and she had no witness to consider.  When
he was liberated and came back, with his fingers singed, in
December 1680, and late in the black night, my lady was from home.
He came into the house at his alighting, with a riding-rod yet in
his hand; and, on the servant-maid telling him, caught her by the
scruff of the neck, beat her violently, flung her down in the
passageway, and went upstairs to his bed fasting and without a
light.  It was three in the morning when my lady returned from that
conventicle, and, hearing of the assault (because the maid had sat
up for her, weeping), went to their common chamber with a lantern
in hand and stamping with her shoes so as to wake the dead; it was
supposed, by those that heard her, from a design to have it out
with the good man at once.  The house-servants gathered on the
stair, because it was a main interest with them to know which of
these two was the better horse; and for the space of two hours they
were heard to go at the matter, hammer and tongs.  Montroymont
alleged he was at the end of possibilities; it was no longer within
his power to pay the annual rents; she had served him basely by
keeping conventicles while he lay in prison for her sake; his
friends were weary, and there was nothing else before him but the
entire loss of the family lands, and to begin life again by the
wayside as a common beggar.  She took him up very sharp and high:
called upon him, if he were a Christian? and which he most
considered, the loss of a few dirty, miry glebes, or of his soul?
Presently he was heard to weep, and my lady's voice to go on
continually like a running burn, only the words indistinguishable;
whereupon it was supposed a victory for her ladyship, and the
domestics took themselves to bed.  The next day Traquair appeared
like a man who had gone under the harrows; and his lady wife
thenceforward continued in her old course without the least
deflection.

Thenceforward Ninian went on his way without complaint, and
suffered his wife to go on hers without remonstrance.  He still
minded his estate, of which it might be said he took daily a fresh
farewell, and counted it already lost; looking ruefully on the
acres and the graves of his fathers, on the moorlands where the
wild-fowl consorted, the low, gurgling pool of the trout, and the
high, windy place of the calling curlews--things that were yet his
for the day and would be another's to-morrow; coming back again,
and sitting ciphering till the dusk at his approaching ruin, which
no device of arithmetic could postpone beyond a year or two.  He
was essentially the simple ancient man, the farmer and landholder;
he would have been content to watch the seasons come and go, and
his cattle increase, until the limit of age; he would have been
content at any time to die, if he could have left the estates
undiminished to an heir-male of his ancestors, that duty standing
first in his instinctive calendar.  And now he saw everywhere the
image of the new proprietor come to meet him, and go sowing and
reaping, or fowling for his pleasure on the red moors, or eating
the very gooseberries in the Place garden; and saw always, on the
other hand, the figure of Francis go forth, a beggar, into the
broad world.

It was in vain the poor gentleman sought to moderate; took every
test and took advantage of every indulgence; went and drank with
the dragoons in Balweary; attended the communion and came regularly
to the church to Curate Haddo, with his son beside him.  The mad,
raging, Presbyterian zealot of a wife at home made all of no avail;
and indeed the house must have fallen years before if it had not
been for the secret indulgence of the curate, who had a great
sympathy with the laird, and winked hard at the doings in
Montroymont.  This curate was a man very ill reputed in the
countryside, and indeed in all Scotland.  'Infamous Haddo' is
Shield's expression.  But Patrick Walker is more copious.  'Curate
Hall Haddo,' says he, sub voce Peden, 'or Hell Haddo, as he was
more justly to be called, a pokeful of old condemned errors and the
filthy vile lusts of the flesh, a published whore-monger, a common
gross drunkard, continually and godlessly scraping and skirling on
a fiddle, continually breathing flames against the remnant of
Israel.  But the Lord put an end to his piping, and all these
offences were composed into one bloody grave.'  No doubt this was
written to excuse his slaughter; and I have never heard it claimed
for Walker that he was either a just witness or an indulgent judge.
At least, in a merely human character, Haddo comes off not wholly
amiss in the matter of these Traquairs:  not that he showed any
graces of the Christian, but had a sort of Pagan decency, which
might almost tempt one to be concerned about his sudden, violent,
and unprepared fate.



CHAPTER II--FRANCIE



Francie was eleven years old, shy, secret, and rather childish of
his age, though not backward in schooling, which had been pushed on
far by a private governor, one M'Brair, a forfeited minister
harboured in that capacity at Montroymont.  The boy, already much
employed in secret by his mother, was the most apt hand conceivable
to run upon a message, to carry food to lurking fugitives, or to
stand sentry on the skyline above a conventicle.  It seemed no
place on the moorlands was so naked but what he would find cover
there; and as he knew every hag, boulder, and heather-bush in a
circuit of seven miles about Montroymont, there was scarce any spot
but what he could leave or approach it unseen.  This dexterity had
won him a reputation in that part of the country; and among the
many children employed in these dangerous affairs, he passed under
the by-name of Heathercat.

How much his father knew of this employment might be doubted.  He
took much forethought for the boy's future, seeing he was like to
be left so poorly, and would sometimes assist at his lessons,
sighing heavily, yawning deep, and now and again patting Francie on
the shoulder if he seemed to be doing ill, by way of a private,
kind encouragement.  But a great part of the day was passed in
aimless wanderings with his eyes sealed, or in his cabinet sitting
bemused over the particulars of the coming bankruptcy; and the boy
would be absent a dozen times for once that his father would
observe it.

On 2nd of July 1682 the boy had an errand from his mother, which
must be kept private from all, the father included in the first of
them.  Crossing the braes, he hears the clatter of a horse's shoes,
and claps down incontinent in a hag by the wayside.  And presently
he spied his father come riding from one direction, and Curate
Haddo walking from another; and Montroymont leaning down from the
saddle, and Haddo getting on his toes (for he was a little, ruddy,
bald-pated man, more like a dwarf), they greeted kindly, and came
to a halt within two fathoms of the child.

'Montroymont,' the curate said, 'the deil's in 't but I'll have to
denunciate your leddy again.'

'Deil's in 't indeed!' says the laird.

'Man! can ye no induce her to come to the kirk?' pursues Haddo; 'or
to a communion at the least of it?  For the conventicles, let be!
and the same for yon solemn fule, M'Brair:  I can blink at them.
But she's got to come to the kirk, Montroymont.'

'Dinna speak of it,' says the laird.  'I can do nothing with her.'

'Couldn't ye try the stick to her? it works wonders whiles,'
suggested Haddo.  'No?  I'm wae to hear it.  And I suppose ye ken
where you're going?'

'Fine!' said Montroymont.  'Fine do I ken where:  bankrup'cy and
the Bass Rock!'

'Praise to my bones that I never married!' cried the curate.
'Well, it's a grievous thing to me to see an auld house dung down
that was here before Flodden Field.  But naebody can say it was
with my wish.'

'No more they can, Haddo!' says the laird.  'A good friend ye've
been to me, first and last.  I can give you that character with a
clear conscience.'

Whereupon they separated, and Montroymont rode briskly down into
the Dule Valley.  But of the curate Francis was not to be quit so
easily.  He went on with his little, brisk steps to the corner of a
dyke, and stopped and whistled and waved upon a lassie that was
herding cattle there.  This Janet M'Clour was a big lass, being
taller than the curate; and what made her look the more so, she was
kilted very high.  It seemed for a while she would not come, and
Francie heard her calling Haddo a 'daft auld fule,' and saw her
running and dodging him among the whins and hags till he was fairly
blown.  But at the last he gets a bottle from his plaid-neuk and
holds it up to her; whereupon she came at once into a composition,
and the pair sat, drinking of the bottle, and daffing and laughing
together, on a mound of heather.  The boy had scarce heard of these
vanities, or he might have been minded of a nymph and satyr, if
anybody could have taken long-leggit Janet for a nymph.  But they
seemed to be huge friends, he thought; and was the more surprised,
when the curate had taken his leave, to see the lassie fling stones
after him with screeches of laughter, and Haddo turn about and
caper, and shake his staff at her, and laugh louder than herself.
A wonderful merry pair, they seemed; and when Francie had crawled
out of the hag, he had a great deal to consider in his mind.  It
was possible they were all fallen in error about Mr. Haddo, he
reflected--having seen him so tender with Montroymont, and so kind
and playful with the lass Janet; and he had a temptation to go out
of his road and question her herself upon the matter.  But he had a
strong spirit of duty on him; and plodded on instead over the braes
till he came near the House of Cairngorm.  There, in a hollow place
by the burnside that was shaded by some birks, he was aware of a
barefoot boy, perhaps a matter of three years older than himself.
The two approached with the precautions of a pair of strange dogs,
looking at each other queerly.

'It's ill weather on the hills,' said the stranger, giving the
watchword.

'For a season,' said Francie, 'but the Lord will appear.'

'Richt,' said the barefoot boy; 'wha're ye frae?'

'The Leddy Montroymont,' says Francie.

'Ha'e, then!' says the stranger, and handed him a folded paper, and
they stood and looked at each other again.  'It's unco het,' said
the boy.

'Dooms het,' says Francie.

'What do they ca' ye?' says the other.

'Francie,' says he.  'I'm young Montroymont.  They ca' me
Heathercat.'

'I'm Jock Crozer,' said the boy.  And there was another pause,
while each rolled a stone under his foot.

'Cast your jaiket and I'll fecht ye for a bawbee,' cried the elder
boy with sudden violence, and dramatically throwing back his
jacket.

'Na, I've nae time the now,' said Francie, with a sharp thrill of
alarm, because Crozer was much the heavier boy.

'Ye're feared.  Heathercat indeed!' said Crozer, for among this
infantile army of spies and messengers, the fame of Crozer had gone
forth and was resented by his rivals.  And with that they
separated.

On his way home Francie was a good deal occupied with the
recollection of this untoward incident.  The challenge had been
fairly offered and basely refused:  the tale would be carried all
over the country, and the lustre of the name of Heathercat be
dimmed.  But the scene between Curate Haddo and Janet M'Clour had
also given him much to think of:  and he was still puzzling over
the case of the curate, and why such ill words were said of him,
and why, if he were so merry-spirited, he should yet preach so dry,
when coming over a knowe, whom should he see but Janet, sitting
with her back to him, minding her cattle!  He was always a great
child for secret, stealthy ways, having been employed by his mother
on errands when the same was necessary; and he came behind the lass
without her hearing.

'Jennet,' says he.

'Keep me,' cries Janet, springing up.  'O, it's you, Maister
Francie!  Save us, what a fricht ye gied me.'

'Ay, it's me,' said Francie.  'I've been thinking, Jennet; I saw
you and the curate a while back--'

'Brat!' cried Janet, and coloured up crimson; and the one moment
made as if she would have stricken him with a ragged stick she had
to chase her bestial with, and the next was begging and praying
that he would mention it to none.  It was 'naebody's business,
whatever,' she said; 'it would just start a clash in the country';
and there would be nothing left for her but to drown herself in
Dule Water.

'Why?' says Francie.

The girl looked at him and grew scarlet again.

'And it isna that, anyway,' continued Francie.  'It was just that
he seemed so good to ye--like our Father in heaven, I thought; and
I thought that mebbe, perhaps, we had all been wrong about him from
the first.  But I'll have to tell Mr. M'Brair; I'm under a kind of
a bargain to him to tell him all.'

'Tell it to the divil if ye like for me!' cried the lass.  'I've
naething to be ashamed of.  Tell M'Brair to mind his ain affairs,'
she cried again:  'they'll be hot eneugh for him, if Haddie likes!'
And so strode off, shoving her beasts before her, and ever and
again looking back and crying angry words to the boy, where he
stood mystified.

By the time he had got home his mind was made up that he would say
nothing to his mother.  My Lady Montroymont was in the keeping-
room, reading a godly book; she was a wonderful frail little wife
to make so much noise in the world and be able to steer about that
patient sheep her husband; her eyes were like sloes, the fingers of
her hands were like tobacco-pipe shanks, her mouth shut tight like
a trap; and even when she was the most serious, and still more when
she was angry, there hung about her face the terrifying semblance
of a smile.

'Have ye gotten the billet, Francie said she; and when he had
handed it over, and she had read and burned it, 'Did you see
anybody?' she asked.

'I saw the laird,' said Francie.

'He didna see you, though?' asked his mother.

'Deil a fear,' from Francie.

'Francie!' she cried.  'What's that I hear? an aith?  The Lord
forgive me, have I broughten forth a brand for the burning, a fagot
for hell-fire?'

'I'm very sorry, ma'am,' said Francie.  'I humbly beg the Lord's
pardon, and yours, for my wickedness.'

'H'm,' grunted the lady.  'Did ye see nobody else?'

'No, ma'am,' said Francie, with the face of an angel, 'except Jock
Crozer, that gied me the billet.'

'Jock Crozer!' cried the lady.  'I'll Crozer them!  Crozers indeed!
What next?  Are we to repose the lives of a suffering remnant in
Crozers?  The whole clan of them wants hanging, and if I had my way
of it, they wouldna want it long.  Are you aware, sir, that these
Crozers killed your forebear at the kirk-door?'

'You see, he was bigger 'n me,' said Francie.

'Jock Crozer!' continued the lady.  'That'll be Clement's son, the
biggest thief and reiver in the country-side.  To trust a note to
him!  But I'll give the benefit of my opinions to Lady Whitecross
when we two forgather.  Let her look to herself!  I have no
patience with half-hearted carlines, that complies on the Lord's
day morning with the kirk, and comes taigling the same night to the
conventicle.  The one or the other! is what I say:  hell or heaven-
-Haddie's abominations or the pure word of God dreeping from the
lips of Mr. Arnot,


'"Like honey from the honeycomb
That dreepeth, sweeter far."'


My lady was now fairly launched, and that upon two congenial
subjects:  the deficiencies of the Lady Whitecross and the
turpitudes of the whole Crozer race--which, indeed, had never been
conspicuous for respectability.  She pursued the pair of them for
twenty minutes on the clock with wonderful animation and detail,
something of the pulpit manner, and the spirit of one possessed.
'O hellish compliance!' she exclaimed.  'I would not suffer a
complier to break bread with Christian folk.  Of all the sins of
this day there is not one so God-defying, so Christ-humiliating, as
damnable compliance':  the boy standing before her meanwhile, and
brokenly pursuing other thoughts, mainly of Haddo and Janet, and
Jock Crozer stripping off his jacket.  And yet, with all his
distraction, it might be argued that he heard too much:  his father
and himself being 'compliers'--that is to say, attending the church
of the parish as the law required.

Presently, the lady's passion beginning to decline, or her flux of
ill words to be exhausted, she dismissed her audience.  Francie
bowed low, left the room, closed the door behind him:  and then
turned him about in the passage-way, and with a low voice, but a
prodigious deal of sentiment, repeated the name of the evil one
twenty times over, to the end of which, for the greater efficacy,
he tacked on 'damnable' and 'hellish.'  Fas est ab hoste doceri--
disrespect is made more pungent by quotation; and there is no doubt
but he felt relieved, and went upstairs into his tutor's chamber
with a quiet mind.  M'Brair sat by the cheek of the peat-fire and
shivered, for he had a quartan ague and this was his day.  The
great night-cap and plaid, the dark unshaven cheeks of the man, and
the white, thin hands that held the plaid about his chittering
body, made a sorrowful picture.  But Francie knew and loved him;
came straight in, nestled close to the refugee, and told his story.
M'Brair had been at the College with Haddo; the Presbytery had
licensed both on the same day; and at this tale, told with so much
innocency by the boy, the heart of the tutor was commoved.

'Woe upon him!  Woe upon that man!' he cried.  'O the unfaithful
shepherd!  O the hireling and apostate minister!  Make my matters
hot for me? quo' she! the shameless limmer!  And true it is, that
he could repose me in that nasty, stinking hole, the Canongate
Tolbooth, from which your mother drew me out--the Lord reward her
for it!--or to that cold, unbieldy, marine place of the Bass Rock,
which, with my delicate kist, would be fair ruin to me.  But I will
be valiant in my Master's service.  I have a duty here:  a duty to
my God, to myself, and to Haddo:  in His strength, I will perform
it.'

Then he straitly discharged Francie to repeat the tale, and bade
him in the future to avert his very eyes from the doings of the
curate.  'You must go to his place of idolatry; look upon him
there!' says he, 'but nowhere else.  Avert your eyes, close your
ears, pass him by like a three days' corp.  He is like that
damnable monster Basiliscus, which defiles--yea, poisons!--by the
sight.'--All which was hardly claratory to the boy's mind.

Presently Montroymont came home, and called up the stairs to
Francie.  Traquair was a good shot and swordsman:  and it was his
pleasure to walk with his son over the braes of the moorfowl, or to
teach him arms in the back court, when they made a mighty comely
pair, the child being so lean, and light, and active, and the laird
himself a man of a manly, pretty stature, his hair (the periwig
being laid aside) showing already white with many anxieties, and
his face of an even, flaccid red.  But this day Francie's heart was
not in the fencing.

'Sir,' says he, suddenly lowering his point, 'will ye tell me a
thing if I was to ask it?'

'Ask away,' says the father.

'Well, it's this,' said Francie:  'Why do you and me comply if it's
so wicked?'

'Ay, ye have the cant of it too!' cries Montroymont.  'But I'll
tell ye for all that.  It's to try and see if we can keep the
rigging on this house, Francie.  If she had her way, we would be
beggar-folk, and hold our hands out by the wayside.  When ye hear
her--when ye hear folk,' he corrected himself briskly, 'call me a
coward, and one that betrayed the Lord, and I kenna what else, just
mind it was to keep a bed to ye to sleep in and a bite for ye to
eat.--On guard!' he cried, and the lesson proceeded again till they
were called to supper.

'There's another thing yet,' said Francie, stopping his father.
'There's another thing that I am not sure that I am very caring
for.  She--she sends me errands.'

'Obey her, then, as is your bounden duty,' said Traquair.

'Ay, but wait till I tell ye,' says the boy.  'If I was to see you
I was to hide.'

Montroymont sighed.  'Well, and that's good of her too,' said he.
'The less that I ken of thir doings the better for me; and the best
thing you can do is just to obey her, and see and be a good son to
her, the same as ye are to me, Francie.'

At the tenderness of this expression the heart of Francie swelled
within his bosom, and his remorse was poured out.  'Faither!' he
cried, 'I said "deil" to-day; many's the time I said it, and
DAMNABLE too, and HELLITSH.  I ken they're all right; they're
beeblical.  But I didna say them beeblically; I said them for sweir
words--that's the truth of it.'

'Hout, ye silly bairn!' said the father, 'dinna do it nae mair, and
come in by to your supper.'  And he took the boy, and drew him
close to him a moment, as they went through the door, with
something very fond and secret, like a caress between a pair of
lovers.

The next day M'Brair was abroad in the afternoon, and had a long
advising with Janet on the braes where she herded cattle.  What
passed was never wholly known; but the lass wept bitterly, and fell
on her knees to him among the whins.  The same night, as soon as it
was dark, he took the road again for Balweary.  In the Kirkton,
where the dragoons quartered, he saw many lights, and heard the
noise of a ranting song and people laughing grossly, which was
highly offensive to his mind.  He gave it the wider berth, keeping
among fields; and came down at last by the water-side, where the
manse stands solitary between the river and the road.  He tapped at
the back door, and the old woman called upon him to come in, and
guided him through the house to the study, as they still called it,
though there was little enough study there in Haddo's days, and
more song-books than theology.

'Here's yin to speak wi' ye, Mr. Haddie!' cries the old wife.

And M'Brair, opening the door and entering, found the little,
round, red man seated in one chair and his feet upon another.  A
clear fire and a tallow dip lighted him barely.  He was taking
tobacco in a pipe, and smiling to himself; and a brandy-bottle and
glass, and his fiddle and bow, were beside him on the table.

'Hech, Patey M'Briar, is this you?' said he, a trifle tipsily.
'Step in by, man, and have a drop brandy:  for the stomach's sake!
Even the deil can quote Scripture--eh, Patey?'

'I will neither eat nor drink with you,' replied M'Brair.  'I am
come upon my Master's errand:  woe be upon me if I should anyways
mince the same.  Hall Haddo, I summon you to quit this kirk which
you encumber.'

'Muckle obleeged!' says Haddo, winking.

'You and me have been to kirk and market together,' pursued
M'Brair; 'we have had blessed seasons in the kirk, we have sat in
the same teaching-rooms and read in the same book; and I know you
still retain for me some carnal kindness.  It would be my shame if
I denied it; I live here at your mercy and by your favour, and
glory to acknowledge it.  You have pity on my wretched body, which
is but grass, and must soon be trodden under:  but O, Haddo! how
much greater is the yearning with which I yearn after and pity your
immortal soul!  Come now, let us reason together!  I drop all
points of controversy, weighty though these be; I take your defaced
and damnified kirk on your own terms; and I ask you, Are you a
worthy minister?  The communion season approaches; how can you
pronounce thir solemn words, "The elders will now bring forrit the
elements," and not quail?  A parishioner may be summoned to-night;
you may have to rise from your miserable orgies; and I ask you,
Haddo, what does your conscience tell you?  Are you fit?  Are you
fit to smooth the pillow of a parting Christian?  And if the
summons should be for yourself, how then?'

Haddo was startled out of all composure and the better part of his
temper.  'What's this of it?' he cried.  'I'm no waur than my
neebours.  I never set up to be speeritual; I never did.  I'm a
plain, canty creature; godliness is cheerfulness, says I; give me
my fiddle and a dram, and I wouldna hairm a flee.'

'And I repeat my question,' said M'Brair:  'Are you fit--fit for
this great charge? fit to carry and save souls?'

'Fit?  Blethers!  As fit's yoursel',' cried Haddo.

'Are you so great a self-deceiver?' said M'Brair.  'Wretched man,
trampler upon God's covenants, crucifier of your Lord afresh.  I
will ding you to the earth with one word:  How about the young
woman, Janet M'Clour?'

'Weel, what about her? what do I ken?' cries Haddo.  'M'Brair, ye
daft auld wife, I tell ye as true's truth, I never meddled her.  It
was just daffing, I tell ye:  daffing, and nae mair:  a piece of
fun, like!  I'm no denying but what I'm fond of fun, sma' blame to
me!  But for onything sarious--hout, man, it might come to a
deposeetion!  I'll sweir it to ye.  Where's a Bible, till you hear
me sweir?'

'There is nae Bible in your study,' said M'Brair severely.

And Haddo, after a few distracted turns, was constrained to accept
the fact.

'Weel, and suppose there isna?' he cried, stamping.  'What mair can
ye say of us, but just that I'm fond of my joke, and so's she?  I
declare to God, by what I ken, she might be the Virgin Mary--if she
would just keep clear of the dragoons.  But me! na, deil haet o'
me!'

'She is penitent at least,' says M'Brair.

'Do you mean to actually up and tell me to my face that she accused
me?' cried the curate.

'I canna just say that,' replied M'Brair.  'But I rebuked her in
the name of God, and she repented before me on her bended knees.'

'Weel, I daursay she's been ower far wi' the dragoons,' said Haddo.
'I never denied that.  I ken naething by it.'

'Man, you but show your nakedness the more plainly,' said M'Brair.
'Poor, blind, besotted creature--and I see you stoytering on the
brink of dissolution:  your light out, and your hours numbered.
Awake, man!' he shouted with a formidable voice, 'awake, or it be
ower late.'

'Be damned if I stand this!' exclaimed Haddo, casting his tobacco-
pipe violently on the table, where it was smashed in pieces.  'Out
of my house with ye, or I'll call for the dragoons.'

'The speerit of the Lord is upon me,' said M'Brair with solemn
ecstasy.  'I sist you to compear before the Great White Throne, and
I warn you the summons shall be bloody and sudden.'

And at this, with more agility than could have been expected, he
got clear of the room and slammed the door behind him in the face
of the pursuing curate.  The next Lord's day the curate was ill,
and the kirk closed, but for all his ill words, Mr. M'Brair abode
unmolested in the house of Montroymont.



CHAPTER III--THE HILL-END OF DRUMLOWE



This was a bit of a steep broken hill that overlooked upon the west
a moorish valley, full of ink-black pools.  These presently drained
into a burn that made off, with little noise and no celerity of
pace, about the corner of the hill.  On the far side the ground
swelled into a bare heath, black with junipers, and spotted with
the presence of the standing stones for which the place was famous.
They were many in that part, shapeless, white with lichen--you
would have said with age:  and had made their abode there for
untold centuries, since first the heathens shouted for their
installation.  The ancients had hallowed them to some ill religion,
and their neighbourhood had long been avoided by the prudent before
the fall of day; but of late, on the upspringing of new
requirements, these lonely stones on the moor had again become a
place of assembly.  A watchful picket on the Hill-end commanded all
the northern and eastern approaches; and such was the disposition
of the ground, that by certain cunningly posted sentries the west
also could be made secure against surprise:  there was no place in
the country where a conventicle could meet with more quiet of mind
or a more certain retreat open, in the case of interference from
the dragoons.  The minister spoke from a knowe close to the edge of
the ring, and poured out the words God gave him on the very
threshold of the devils of yore.  When they pitched a tent (which
was often in wet weather, upon a communion occasion) it was rigged
over the huge isolated pillar that had the name of Anes-Errand,
none knew why.  And the congregation sat partly clustered on the
slope below, and partly among the idolatrous monoliths and on the
turfy soil of the Ring itself.  In truth the situation was well
qualified to give a zest to Christian doctrines, had there been any
wanted.  But these congregations assembled under conditions at once
so formidable and romantic as made a zealot of the most cold.  They
were the last of the faithful; God, who had averted His face from
all other countries of the world, still leaned from heaven to
observe, with swelling sympathy, the doings of His moorland
remnant; Christ was by them with His eternal wounds, with dropping
tears; the Holy Ghost (never perfectly realised nor firmly adopted
by Protestant imaginations) was dimly supposed to be in the heart
of each and on the lips of the minister.  And over against them was
the army of the hierarchies, from the men Charles and James Stuart,
on to King Lewie and the Emperor; and the scarlet Pope, and the
muckle black devil himself, peering out the red mouth of hell in an
ecstasy of hate and hope.  'One pull more!' he seemed to cry; 'one
pull more, and it's done.  There's only Clydesdale and the
Stewartry, and the three Bailiaries of Ayr, left for God.'  And
with such an august assistance of powers and principalities looking
on at the last conflict of good and evil, it was scarce possible to
spare a thought to those old, infirm, debile, ab agendo devils
whose holy place they were now violating.

There might have been three hundred to four hundred present.  At
least there were three hundred horses tethered for the most part in
the ring; though some of the hearers on the outskirts of the crowd
stood with their bridles in their hand, ready to mount at the first
signal.  The circle of faces was strangely characteristic; long,
serious, strongly marked, the tackle standing out in the lean brown
cheeks, the mouth set and the eyes shining with a fierce
enthusiasm; the shepherd, the labouring man, and the rarer laird,
stood there in their broad blue bonnets or laced hats, and
presenting an essential identity of type.  From time to time a
long-drawn groan of adhesion rose in this audience, and was
propagated like a wave to the outskirts, and died away among the
keepers of the horses.  It had a name; it was called 'a holy
groan.'

A squall came up; a great volley of flying mist went out before it
and whelmed the scene; the wind stormed with a sudden fierceness
that carried away the minister's voice and twitched his tails and
made him stagger, and turned the congregation for a moment into a
mere pother of blowing plaid-ends and prancing horses; and the rain
followed and was dashed straight into their faces.  Men and women
panted aloud in the shock of that violent shower-bath; the teeth
were bared along all the line in an involuntary grimace; plaids,
mantles, and riding-coats were proved vain, and the worshippers
felt the water stream on their naked flesh.  The minister,
reinforcing his great and shrill voice, continued to contend
against and triumph over the rising of the squall and the dashing
of the rain.

'In that day ye may go thirty mile and not hear a crawing cock,' he
said; 'and fifty mile and not get a light to your pipe; and an
hundred mile and not see a smoking house.  For there'll be naething
in all Scotland but deid men's banes and blackness, and the living
anger of the Lord.  O, where to find a bield--O sirs, where to find
a bield from the wind of the Lord's anger?  Do ye call THIS a wind?
Bethankit!  Sirs, this is but a temporary dispensation; this is but
a puff of wind, this is but a spit of rain and by with it.  Already
there's a blue bow in the west, and the sun will take the crown of
the causeway again, and your things'll be dried upon ye, and your
flesh will be warm upon your bones.  But O, sirs, sirs! for the day
of the Lord's anger!'

His rhetoric was set forth with an ear-piercing elocution, and a
voice that sometimes crashed like cannon.  Such as it was, it was
the gift of all hill-preachers, to a singular degree of likeness or
identity.  Their images scarce ranged beyond the red horizon of the
moor and the rainy hill-top, the shepherd and his sheep, a fowling-
piece, a spade, a pipe, a dunghill, a crowing cock, the shining and
the withdrawal of the sun.  An occasional pathos of simple
humanity, and frequent patches of big Biblical words, relieved the
homely tissue.  It was a poetry apart; bleak, austere, but genuine,
and redolent of the soil.

A little before the coming of the squall there was a different
scene enacting at the outposts.  For the most part, the sentinels
were faithful to their important duty; the Hill-end of Drumlowe was
known to be a safe meeting-place; and the out-pickets on this
particular day had been somewhat lax from the beginning, and grew
laxer during the inordinate length of the discourse.  Francie lay
there in his appointed hiding-hole, looking abroad between two
whin-bushes.  His view was across the course of the burn, then over
a piece of plain moorland, to a gap between two hills; nothing
moved but grouse, and some cattle who slowly traversed his field of
view, heading northward:  he heard the psalms, and sang words of
his own to the savage and melancholy music; for he had his own
design in hand, and terror and cowardice prevailed in his bosom
alternately, like the hot and the cold fit of an ague.  Courage was
uppermost during the singing, which he accompanied through all its
length with this impromptu strain:


'And I will ding Jock Crozer down
No later than the day.'


Presently the voice of the preacher came to him in wafts, at the
wind's will, as by the opening and shutting of a door; wild spasms
of screaming, as of some undiscerned gigantic hill-bird stirred
with inordinate passion, succeeded to intervals of silence; and
Francie heard them with a critical ear.  'Ay,' he thought at last,
'he'll do; he has the bit in his mou' fairly.'

He had observed that his friend, or rather his enemy, Jock Crozer,
had been established at a very critical part of the line of
outposts; namely, where the burn issues by an abrupt gorge from the
semicircle of high moors.  If anything was calculated to nerve him
to battle it was this.  The post was important; next to the Hill-
end itself, it might be called the key to the position; and it was
where the cover was bad, and in which it was most natural to place
a child.  It should have been Heathercat's; why had it been given
to Crozer?  An exquisite fear of what should be the answer passed
through his marrow every time he faced the question.  Was it
possible that Crozer could have boasted? that there were rumours
abroad to his--Heathercat's--discredit? that his honour was
publicly sullied?  All the world went dark about him at the
thought; he sank without a struggle into the midnight pool of
despair; and every time he so sank, he brought back with him--not
drowned heroism indeed, but half-drowned courage by the locks.  His
heart beat very slowly as he deserted his station, and began to
crawl towards that of Crozer.  Something pulled him back, and it
was not the sense of duty, but a remembrance of Crozer's build and
hateful readiness of fist.  Duty, as he conceived it, pointed him
forward on the rueful path that he was travelling.  Duty bade him
redeem his name if he were able, at the risk of broken bones; and
his bones and every tooth in his head ached by anticipation.  An
awful subsidiary fear whispered him that if he were hurt, he should
disgrace himself by weeping.  He consoled himself, boy-like, with
the consideration that he was not yet committed; he could easily
steal over unseen to Crozer's post, and he had a continuous private
idea that he would very probably steal back again.  His course took
him so near the minister that he could hear some of his words:
'What news, minister, of Claver'se?  He's going round like a
roaring rampaging lion. . . .




Footnotes:


{1} From the Sydney Presbyterian, October 26, 1889.

{2a}  Theater of Mortality, p. 10; Edin. 1713.

{2b}  History of My Own Times, beginning 1660, by Bishop Gilbert
Burnet, p. 158.

{2c}  Wodrow's Church History, Book II. chap. i. sect. I.

{2d}  Crookshank's Church History, 1751, second ed. p. 202.

{2e}  Burnet, p. 348.

{3a}  Fuller's Historie of the Holy Warre, fourth ed. 1651.

{3b}  Wodrow, vol. ii. p. 17.

{3c}  Sir J. Turner's Memoirs, pp. 148-50.

{4a}  A Cloud of Witnesses, p. 376.

{4b}  Wodrow, pp. 19, 20.

{4c}  A Hind Let Loose, p. 123.

{4d}  Turner, p. 163.

{4e}  Turner, p. 198.

{4f}  Ibid. p. 167.

{4g}  Wodrow, p. 29.

{4h}  Turner, Wodrow, and Church History by James Kirkton, an outed
minister of the period.

{5a}  Kirkton, p. 244.

{5b}  Kirkton.

{5c}  Turner.

{5d}  Kirkton.

{5e}  Kirkton.

{6a}  Cloud of Witnesses, p. 389; Edin. 1765.

{6b}  Kirkton, p. 247.

{6c}  Ibid. p. 254.

{6d}  Ibid. p. 247.

{6e}  Ibid. pp. 247, 248.

{6f}  Kirkton, p. 248.

{6g}  Kirkton, p. 249.

{6h}  Naphtali, p. 205; Glasgow, 1721.

{6i}  Wodrow, p. 59.

{6j}  Kirkton, p. 246.

{6k}  Defoe's History of the Church of Scotland.

{7}  'This paper was written in collaboration with James Waiter
Ferrier, and if reprinted this is to be stated, though his
principal collaboration was to lie back in an easy-chair and
laugh.'--[R.L.S., Oct. 25, 1894.]

{8}  See a short essay of De Quincey's.

{9a}  Religio Medici, Part ii.

{9b}  Duchess of Malfi.




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