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Title: Catholic World, Vol. 14, October 1871-March 1872
       A Monthly Magazine of General Literature and Science

Author: Various

Release Date: May 6, 2015 [EBook #48889]

Language: English

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General Literature and Science.

OCTOBER, 1871, TO MARCH, 1872.

9 Warren Street.






[Pg 1] THE


VOL. XIV., No. 79.—OCTOBER, 1871.

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by Rev. I. T. Hecker, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D.C.


Dr. McCosh had acquired a considerable reputation among Presbyterians in his own country and ours, by several philosophico-theological works he had published, before he was invited to become the president of the New Jersey College at Princeton, one of the most distinguished literary institutions of the Union. It had an able president, also a Scotsman, in Dr. Witherspoon, one of the signers of the Declaration, and a devoted champion of American independence, and, though a Presbyterian, a sturdy defender of civil and religious liberty. Dr. McCosh comes to the presidency of the college with a high literary and philosophical reputation, and comes under many advantages, and its friends expect him to contribute much to raise still higher its character, and place it on a level with Harvard and Yale, perhaps even above them.

There is some ability and considerable knowledge displayed in the volume of lectures before us, though not much originality. The author professes to take the side of Christianity against the false and mischievous theories of such men as Sir William Hamilton, of Edinburgh, J. Stuart Mill, Huxley, Darwin, Herbert Spencer, and others, whom he classes as belonging to the Positivist school. We have every disposition in the world to think and speak well of the volume, and to give it full credit for every merit it may claim. It is directed against our enemy even more than against his. Positivism is the most open, frank, honest, and respectable antagonist Christianity or Catholicity has had in modern times, and, we may add, the ablest and the most logical, especially as represented by avowed Positivists. In fighting against us, positivism fights against our Presbyterian doctor, so far as he retains any element of Catholic truth, and there is no good reason why his war against it should not tend as far as it goes to the same end as ours. Positivism [Pg 2] can be opposed and Christianity defended only on Catholic ground; and so far as Dr. McCosh really does either, he must assume our ground and serve in our ranks, or at any rate be on our side; and it would be churlish in us to reject or underrate his services because in certain other matters he is against us, or is not enrolled in our ranks.

It is certain that in these lectures, which show marks of much hard mental labor, the author has said many good things, and used some good arguments; but having truth only in a mutilated form, and only his private judgment to oppose to the private judgment of Positivists, he has been unable to give a full and conclusive refutation of positivism. As a Protestant trained in Protestant schools, he has no clear, well-defined catholic principles to which he can refer the particular truths he advances, and the special arguments he urges for their unity and support. His book lacks unity, lacks the mental grasp that comprehends in its unity and universality the whole subject, under all its various aspects, or in its principle, on which it depends, and which explains and justifies it. His book is a book of particulars, of details, of general conclusions drawn from particular facts and statements, like all Protestant books. This is not so much the fault of the author perhaps as of his Protestantism, which, since it rejects catholicity and has nothing universal, is essentially illogical, and can deal only in particulars or with individual things. The contents of the book are referred to no general principle, and the particular conclusions drawn are of little value, because isolated, each standing by itself instead of being reduced to its principle and co-ordinated under its law. The author lacks the conception of unity and universality; he has particulars, but no universals—variety, but no identity—multiplicity, but no unity, except in words. This is a great defect, and renders his work inconclusive as an argument, and exceedingly tedious to the reader as well as the reviewer. This defect runs all through the author’s philosophy. In his Intuitions of the Mind, there is no unity of intuition, but a variety of isolated intuitions—no intuition of principle, of the universal, but simply intellectual apprehension of supersensible particulars, as in The Human Intellect of Prof. Porter, who is a far abler man than Dr. McCosh.

We are utterly unable to analyze these lectures, reduce their deliverances to a universal principle, which, if accepted, is decisive of the whole controversy they attempt to settle, or if rejected proves the whole worthless. Then we complain of the author for the indignity he offers to Christianity by suffering the Positivists to put it on the defensive, and in attempting to prove it against positivism. Christianity is in possession, and is not called upon to defend her right till strong reasons are adduced for ousting her. Consequently, it is for those who would oust her to prove their case, to make good their cause. The Christian controversialist at this late day does not begin with an apology or defence of Christianity, but attacks those who assail her, and puts them on their defence. It is for the scientists, or Positivists, who oppose the Christian religion, to prove their positivism or science. It is enough for the Christian to show that the positivism or alleged science is not itself proven, or, if proven, that it proves nothing against Christ and his church. Dr. McCosh seems to have some suspicion of this, and occasionally attempts to put positivism on its defence, [Pg 3] but he does it without laying down the principle which justifies it; and in doing it he renders it useless, by immediately running away after some pet speculation of his own, which gives his opponent ample opportunity to resume the offensive.

Dr. McCosh, also, more than half agrees with the Positivists, and concedes that the religious society, as such, has no right to judge of the bearings of the conclusions of the scientists on religion. “All this shows,” he says, pp. 5, 6, “that religious men qua religious men are not to be allowed to decide for us the truths of science. Conceive an Œcumenical Council at Rome, or an Assembly of Divines at Westminster, or an Episcopal Convocation at Lambeth, or a Congregational Council at Plymouth, or a Methodist Conference in Connecticut (why not say Baltimore?) taking upon it to decide for or against the discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton, or the grand doctrine established in our day of the conservation of force and the correlation of all the physical forces, on the ground of their being favorable or unfavorable to religion!” This concedes to the Positivists that science is independent of religion, and that religion is to be accepted or rejected as it does or does not accord with science, and wholly overlooks the fact that religion is the first science, and that nothing can be true, scientifically or otherwise, that is contrary or unfavorable to religion. Religion is the word of God, and every religious man says with the inspired apostle, “Let God be true, and every man a liar.”

Dr. McCosh, of course, cannot say this, for, having no infallible authority to define what is or is not religious truth or the word of God, he is obliged to place religion in the category of opinions which may or may not be true, and therefore to deny it as the law for all intelligences. Supposing God has appointed an authority, infallible through his gracious assistance, to teach all men and nations his religion, or the truth he has revealed, and the law he commands all to obey, this authority must be competent to decide whether any alleged scientific discoveries are or are not favorable to religion, and must necessarily have the right to decide prior to all scientific investigation. If this authority decides that this or that theory is unfavorable to religion, we as religious men must pronounce it false, and refuse to entertain it. Dr. McCosh, as a Presbyterian or Protestant, would have no right to say so, but the Catholic would have the right, and it is his duty to say so; because religion is absolutely true, and the supreme law for reason as well as for conscience, and what is or is not religion, the authority unerringly decides for him. Nothing that is not in accordance with the teachings of religion can be true in science any more than in religion itself, though many things may be true that are not in accordance with the opinions and theories held by religious men.

The moment the Christian allows that the authority is not catholic; that it is limited and covers only one part of truth; and that there is by its side another and an independent authority, another and independent order of truth, he ceases to be able to meet successfully the Positivists; for truth is one, and can never be in opposition to truth—that is, in opposition to itself. Religion, we concede, does not teach the sciences, or the various facts with which they are constructed, but it does judge and pronounce authoritatively on the inferences or conclusions scientific men draw from these facts, or the explanations [Pg 4] they give of them, and to decide whether they are or are not consistent with her own teachings. If they are inconsistent with the revealed word, or with what that word implies, she pronounces them false; and, if warranted by the alleged facts, she pronounces the alleged facts themselves to be misinterpreted, misapprehended, misstated, or to be no facts. Her authority is higher than any reasonings of men, than the authority even of the senses, if it comes to that, for nothing is or can be more certain than that religion is true. We cannot as Catholics, as Christians, make the concession to the Positivists the Presbyterian doctor does, that their science is an authority independent of religion, and not amenable to it.

Dr. McCosh, we think, is unwise, in a controversy with Positivists, in separating natural theology, as he calls it, from revealed theology. The two are only parts of one whole, and, in point of fact, although distinguishable, have never existed separately at any epoch of history. The existence of God, the immateriality of the soul, and the liberty of man or free-will, are provable with certainty by reason, and are therefore truths of philosophy, but they were not discovered by unassisted reason or the unassisted exercise of our natural powers before they were taught to our first parents by the Creator himself, and have never been held as simple natural truths, unconnected with supernatural instruction or some reminiscences of such instruction. Natural theology, or philosophy, and revealed theology form one indissoluble whole, and Christianity includes both in their unity and catholicity. In defending Christianity against positivism, which denies both, we should defend both as a whole; because the natural is incomplete and unable of itself alone to satisfy the demands of reason, which is never sufficient for itself; and the truths necessary to complete it and to solve the objections to the being and providence of God are not obtainable by reason alone or without the light of revelation. We may assert and prove miracles as a fact, but the objections of Positivists to them cannot be scientifically answered till we have proved that they have their law in the supernatural order. The inferences we draw from miracles will not be appreciated or allowed by men who deny the supernatural and reduce God to nature.

The author in reality has no method, but he begins by attempting to prove the being of God, then the existence of mind in man, and the reality of knowledge, and finally, in the second part, that the life of Christ was the life of a real personage, and proves the reality of his religion. He offers only one argument to prove that God is, and that is the well-known argument from design, which he bases on the principle that every effect has its cause. He does not develop this argument, which has been so fully done by Paley and the Bridgewater Treatises, but simply asserts its sufficiency. There are marks of design in adapting one thing to another throughout the universe, which can be only the effect of the action of an intelligent designer. Giving this argument all possible force, it does not carry the author in his conclusion beyond Plato or Aristotle, neither of whom was properly a theist. Plato and Aristotle both believed in an intelligent mind in the universe, operating on an eternal uncreated matter, forming all things from pre-existing materials, and arranging them in an artistic order. The argument from design can go no farther, and this is all that is proved [Pg 5] by Paley’s illustration of the watch, which would be no illustration at all to a mind that had no intuition or conception of a designer. Neither Plato nor Aristotle had any conception of a creator or supermundane God. Whether the intelligent mind has created all things from nothing, or has only formed and disposed all things from pre-existing matter, as the soul of the world, anima mundi, is what can never be determined by any induction from the alleged marks of design discoverable in the universe.

We therefore hold, and have always held, that this famous argument, the only one the Baconian philosophy admits, however valuable it may be in proving or illustrating the attributes or perfections of God, when God is once known to exist, is inconclusive when relied on alone to prove that God is, or is that by which the mind first obtains the idea. It may serve as a corroborative argument, but of itself alone it cannot originate the idea in the mind, or carry one beyond an intelligent soul of the world, or the pantheism of Plato and Aristotle, and of all Gentile philosophy, except the school of Leucippus and Democritus, followed as to physics by Epicurus—unless we must also except the sceptics, Pyrrho and Sextus Empiricus. We think, therefore, the author has damaged the cause of Christianity, instead of serving it, by risking it on a single argument, by no means conclusive to his purpose. A weak and inadequate defence is worse than no defence at all.

The principle that every effect has a cause, on which the author bases his argument, is no doubt true; but we must know that the fact is an effect before we can infer from it that it has or has had a cause. Cause and effect are correlative terms, which connote one another; but this is no proof that this or that fact is an effect; and we cannot pronounce it an effect unless we know that it has begun to exist; nor even then, unless we have the intuition of cause; and no intuition even of a particular cause suffices, unless we have intuition of a universal cause. It is not so simple a thing, then, to pronounce a given fact an effect, and to conclude that there is between it and something else, the relation of cause and effect. It is precisely this relation that Hume, Kant, Thomas Browne, Sir William Hamilton, Dr. Mansel, Auguste Comte, John Stuart Mill, Huxley, Herbert Spencer, and all the so-called Positivists deny or relegate to the region of the unknowable. Dr. McCosh does not refute them, by assuming and arguing from the principle; he simply begs the question.

Now, we venture to tell our learned and philosophic author that his whole argument for natural theology falls to the ground before a mind that has no intuition of the relation of cause and effect, that is not previously furnished with the knowledge of design and of a designing cause. Hence, from the alleged marks of design and adaptation of means to ends, it is impossible to infer a designer. When the watch was presented for the first time to the untutored savage, he looked upon it as a living thing, not as a piece of artificial mechanism constructed by a watchmaker. He must know that it is a piece of artificial mechanism before he can conclude man has made it. There falls under our observation no more perfect adaptation of means to ends than the octagonal cell of the bee. Does the bee work by design in constructing it? Does the beaver work by design, by intelligent design, in building its dam and constructing [Pg 6] its house? It is generally held that the bee as well as the beaver works by instinct, or by a law of its nature, as does the swallow in building its nest. This proves that a designer cannot be inferred from the simple facts observed in nature, as the Positivists maintain. This is the condemnation of the so-called inductive philosophy. The induction, to be valid, must be by virtue of a principle already held by the mind, intuitively or otherwise, and therefore can never of itself supply or give its principle, or by itself alone obtain its principle. God is not an induction from the facts observed in nature; and the Positivists have shown, demonstrated so much, and have therefore shown that observation and induction alone can give no principle, and, therefore, end in nescience—the termination of the so-called philosophie positive.

Dr. McCosh is not wholly insensible to this conclusion, and seeks to escape it by proving that there is a mind in man endowed with the capacity of knowing things as they are. But if the existence of the mind needs to be proved, with what can we prove it? By consciousness, the author answers; but that is a sheer paralogism, for consciousness is simply an act of the mind, and presupposes it. God can no more be an induction from the facts of consciousness than from the facts of nature. In either case, the God induced is a generalization; in the one case, the generalization of nature, and, in the other, the generalization of consciousness. The former usually goes by the name of atheism, the latter by the name of egoism.

Dr. McCosh very properly rejects Hamilton’s and Mansel’s doctrine of the pure relativity of all knowledge, and Herbert Spencer’s doctrine that all knowledge is restricted to the knowledge of phenomena or appearances, though conceding that appearances are unthinkable without a reality beyond them, but that the reality beyond them, and which appears in them, is itself unknowable; and maintains truly that we know things themselves, both sensibles and supersensibles. We know them, he contends, by intuition, or a direct looking on or beholding them by the simple intellectual force of our minds. Of this we are not so certain, for we do not ourselves know by intuition why salt is bitter and sugar sweet, and we think the doctor knows things themselves only in so far as he excepts their essence or substance, and confounds the thing with its properties, or its accidents, as say the schoolmen, in which case he makes no appreciable advance on Mr. Herbert Spencer. I know the appearances and the sensible properties of bread, but I do not know its essence or substance. Has the Presbyterian doctor, who seems to have a holy horror of Catholicity, invented a philosophy for the express purpose of combating with apparent reason the mystery of transubstantiation, by making it conflict with the positive testimony of the senses and the human intellect?

But let that pass. The intuition the doctor recognizes is empirical intuition, and intuition of particular or individual things, not of principles, causes, relations. And from the knowledge of those individual things, he holds that man rises by generalization and abstraction—that is, induction—from one degree of knowledge to another, till he finally attains to the knowledge of God distinct from the world, and clothes him with infinite perfections. Yet the good doctor claims to be a philosopher, and enjoys a high reputation as such. None of these individual things, nor [Pg 7] all of them together, are God, or contain him; how, then, from them, supposing you know them, rise scientifically to him? and what by abstraction and generalization is that to which the mind attains? Only their generalization or abstraction, which as a creation of the mind is a nullity. He, like Hamilton, in this would make philosophy end in nescience.

We, of course, hold that we apprehend and know things themselves, not phenomena merely, and as they are, not as they are not—that is, in their real relations, not to us only, but in the objective world. But to know things as they are, in their real objective relations, or to know them at all, demands intuition of them, in their contingency or in their character of creatures or effects—that is to say, as existences, not as independent, self-existent beings, which they are not. And this is not possible without the intuition of the necessary, of real being, on which they depend and from which they are derived. When I say a thing is an effect, I say it has been caused, and therefore, in order to say it, I must have intuition of cause; and if I say of a thing that it is a particular cause, I deny that it is a universal cause, which I could not do without the intuition of universal cause. So when I say of a thing it is contingent, I simply deny it to be necessary being, and I could not deny a thing to be necessary being if I had no intuition of necessary being. If the author means by abstracting and generalizing our knowledge of things or individual existence, distinguishing this ideal intuition, or the intuition of real necessary and universal being—what philosophers sometimes call necessary ideas—from the intuition of things or contingent existences, along with which it is presented in thought, and as the necessary condition of our apprehending them, and by reflection and contemplation ascertaining that this ideal, necessary and universal, is really God, though not intuitively known to be God, we do not object to the assertion that we rise from our knowledge of things to the knowledge of God himself. What we deny is that God can be concluded from the intuition or apprehension of things. We rise to him from the ideal intuition, or intuition of the real and necessary, which enters the mind with the intuition of the things, and without which we never do or could have intuition of them, any more than they could exist without the creative act of real and necessary being creating them from nothing and sustaining them in existence; but it needs to be disengaged by a mental process from the empirical intuition with which it is presented.

This ideal intuition is not immediate and direct intuition of God, as the pseudo-ontologists contend, and which the church has condemned; but is intuition under the form of necessary, universal, eternal, and immutable ideas—of that which the mind, by reasoning, reflection, and contemplation, proves really is God. What misleads the author and so many others who use the argument he uses, is that the intuition of real and necessary being, and the intuition of contingencies, are given both in the same thought, the one along with the other, and most minds fail to distinguish them—which is done, according to St. Thomas, by the intellectus agens, in distinction from the passive or receptive intellect—and hence they suppose that they conclude the ideal intuition from the empirical intuition. This is decidedly the case with Dr. McCosh. The learned doctor admits intuitions, but only intuitions of individual existences—what [Pg 8] we call empirical intuitions—whether causes or effects, not intuition of the ideal; and hence his argument for the existence of God proves nothing, for the universal is not derivable from the particular, the necessary from the contingent, nor being from existences. Had he recognized that along with, as its necessary condition, the intuition of the particular there always is the intuition of the universal, etc., he would have placed theology against positivism on an impregnable foundation. The necessary ideas, the universal, the eternal, the immutable, the necessary, connoted in all our thoughts, cannot be simply abstractions, for abstractions have no existence a parte rei, and are formed by the mind operating on the concrete object of empirical intuition. As these ideas are objects of intuition, they are real; and if real, they are either being or existences. But no existences are or can be necessary, universal, eternal, immutable, for they depend to be on another, as is implied in the very word existence, from ex-stare. Then they must be being, and identifiable in the one universal, eternal, real, and necessary being, and distinguishable from existences or things, as the creator from his creatures, the actor from the act.

We have said that the ideal intuition is not intuition of God, but of that which is God; we say now that the ideal intuition is not formally intuition of ens or being, as erroneously supposed by some to be maintained by Gioberti and Dr. Brownson, but of that which is ens. The process of demonstrating that God is consists in identifying, by reflection and reasoning, the necessary ideas or ideal intuition with real, necessary, universal, eternal, and immutable being, and real and necessary being in which they are all identified with God. This process is demonstration, not intuition. When I say, in the syllogism, the conclusion follows necessarily from the premises, I have intuition of the necessary, else I could not say it; but I have not intuition of the fact that the necessary is being, far less that it is God. This is known only by reflection and reasoning, disengaging the ideal from the empirical. The idea must be real, or there could be no intuition of it, but if real, it must be being; if being, it must be real and necessary being; and real and necessary being is God. So of all the other necessary ideas. As the intuition is of both the ideal or necessary and the contingent in its principle, and in their real relation, it gives the principles of a complete demonstration of the being of God as creator, and of the universe as the effect of his creative act, and therefore of the complete refutation of pantheism. The vice of Dr. McCosh’s argument is that it proceeds on the denial of ideal intuition, and the assumption that being, God, is obtainable by generalization and abstraction from the individual things given in empirical intuition. It is not obtained by reflection from them, but from the ideal intuition, never separable from the empirical.

This process of proving that God is may be called the ideal process, or the argument from universal and necessary ideas intuitively given. It is not a priori, because the ideal is held by intuition; nor is it an argument from innate ideas, as Descartes held; nor—since really objective, and present to the mind—is it an argument from the primitive beliefs or constituent principles of human nature, as Dr. Reid and the Scottish school maintained, and which is only another form of the Cartesian doctrine of innate ideas; or an argument drawn from [Pg 9] our own fonds, as Leibnitz imagined, or from the a priori cognitions or necessary forms of the intellect, as Kant held, and which is only the doctrine of the Scottish school of Reid and Stewart differently stated; but from principles or data really presented in intuition, and along with the empirical intuition of things. It places, therefore, the being of God on as firm a basis and renders it as certain to the understanding as our own existence, or as any fact whatever of which the human mind has cognizance; indeed, renders it absolutely certain and undeniable. But while we say this, and while we maintain that the ideal intuition is given along with the empirical intuition, with which our author confounds it, and from which philosophy or natural theology disengages it, we by no means believe that the race is indebted to this ideal or metaphysical process—which is too difficult not only for the Positivists, but for their great opponent, Dr. McCosh—for the origin of their belief in God. All ages and nations, even the most barbarous and savage tribes, have some sort of belief in God, some religious notions which imply his existence; and, hovering above the various Eastern and Western mythologies, we find the belief in one God or the divine unity, though neglected or rejected for the worship of inferior gods or demons, or the elements—that is, the worship of creatures, which is idolatry, since worshipped as God. The ignorant savage, but a grade above the beasts, has never risen to the conception of God or of the Great Spirit from the contemplation of nature, nor has he attained to religious conceptions by a law of his nature or by instinct, as the bee constructs its cell or the beaver its dam.

It is very true, nothing more true than that “the heavens show forth the glory of God, and the firmament declareth the work of his hands,” but to him only who has the idea of God or already believes that he is. Nothing more true than God can be traced in all his works, or that “the invisible things of him, even his eternal power and divinity, are clearly seen from the creation of the world, being understood by the things that are made,” but only by those who have already learned that he is, are intent on answering the question, Quid est Deus? not the question, An sit Deus? Hence we so far agree with the traditionalist, not indeed that the existence of God cannot be proved by reason prior to faith, but that, as a fact, God revealed himself to man before his expulsion from the garden; and the belief, clear and distinct or dim and confused, in the divine being, universally diffused among all races and conditions of men, originated in revelation and is due to the tradition, pure or impure, in its integrity or mutilated and corrupted, of the primitive revelation made by God himself to man. In this way the fact of the universality of the belief in some form is a valid argument for the truth of the belief, and we thus obtain a historical argument to corroborate the already conclusive ideal or metaphysical argument, the principles of which we have given.

We bear willing testimony to the good-will and laudable intention of our author, but we cannot regard him as able, with his mutilated theology and his imperfect and rather superficial philosophy—though less superficial than the philosophy generally in vogue among British and American Protestants—to carry on a successful war against the Positivists. We are almost tempted to say to him:

Non tali auxilio nec defensoribus istis
Tempus eget.

He is too near of kin to the Positivists [Pg 10] themselves, and adopts too many of their principles and conclusions, to be able to battle effectively against them. No doubt he urges much that is true against them, but his arguments, as far as effective, are inconsistent with his position as a Protestant, and are borrowed from Catholicity, or from what he has retained from Catholic instruction and Catholic tradition, not from his Protestantism. Having no authority but his own private interpretation of the Scriptures to define what is or is not Christianity, he knows not how much or how little he must defend against the Positivists, or how much or how little he is free to concede to them. He practically concedes to them the Creator. He defends God as the efficient cause, indeed, but not as Creator, producing all things by his word from nothing. He would seem to hold it enough to defend him as the organizer and disposer of materials already furnished to his hand. God does not seem to him to be his own causa materialis. He works on a pre-existing matter. He constructs, the author concedes, the existing worlds out of “star-dust,” or disintegrated stars, without telling us who made the stars that have dissolved and turned to dust, and without bearing in mind, or without knowing, that Christianity teaches us that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” and therefore could not have formed them out of “star-dust” or any other material.

The Protestant divine accepts and defends Darwin’s theory of the origin of species by “natural selection,” though he does not believe that it applies universally, or that man has been developed from the ape or the tadpole. He denies that Huxley’s protoplasm can be developed from protein, or life from dead matter; maintains that all life proceeds from a living organism, that the plant can spring only from a seed, and the animal only from a living cell or germ; and yet concedes that some of the lower forms of organic life may spring or may have sprung from spontaneous generation, and even goes so far as to tell us that some of the most eminent of the fathers held or conceded as much. What becomes, then, of the assertion that life cannot be evolved from dead matter? He would seem to hold or to concede that man lived, for an indefinite time, a purely animal life, before the Almighty breathed into his nostrils and he became a spiritual man, and quotes to prove it St. Paul’s assertion that “not first that which is spiritual, but that which is animal; afterwards that which is spiritual” (1 Cor. xv. 46). He seems, in fact, ready to concede any and everything except the intelligent Mind recognized by Plato and Aristotle, that has arranged all things according to a preconceived plan, and throughout the whole adapted means to ends. He insists on efficient causes and final causes, but hardly on God as the causa causarum or as the causa finalis of all particular final causes.

Throughout, as we have already remarked, there is a want of unity and universality in his philosophy, as there necessarily must be in his Protestant theology, and a sad lack of logical consistency and order, or co-ordination. His world is a chaos, as is and must be the Protestant world. Herbert Spencer undertakes to explain the universe without God, or, what is the same thing, with an absolutely unknowable God, which is of course an impossibility; but he has a far profounder intellect and a far more logical mind than Dr. McCosh. He is heaven-wide from the truth, yet nearer to it than his Presbyterian critic. His logic is good; [Pg 11] his principles being granted, his conclusions, though absurd, cannot be denied. His error lies in his premises, and, if you correct them, your work is done. He will correct all details, and arrive at just conclusions without further assistance. But Dr. McCosh is one who, however much he may talk about them, never reduces his doctrines to their generic principles, or reasons from principles. He is a genuine Protestant, and cannot be refuted in refuting his principles, which vary with the exigencies of his argument, and are really no principles at all, but must be refuted in detail; and when you have convinced him twice three are six, you have still to prove that three times two are also six.

Now, such a man—and he is, perhaps, above the average of Presbyterian divines—is the last man in the world to attempt the refutation of positivism. No Protestant can do it. Indeed, all the avowed Positivists we have known regard Protestant Christianity as too insignificant a matter to be counted. It is too vague and fluctuating, too uncertain and indefinite, too unsubstantial and intangible, too unsystematic and illogical, to command the least respect from them. They see at a glance that it is too little to be a religion and too much to be no-religion. It cannot, with its half affirmations and its whole denials, stand a moment before an intelligent Positivist who has a scientific cast of mind. The Positivist rejects the church, of course, but he respects Catholicity as a logical system, consistent with itself, coherent in all its parts, and for him there is no via media between it and positivism. If he were not a Positivist, he says openly, he would be a Catholic, by no means a Protestant, which he looks upon as neither one thing nor another; and we respond that, could we cease to be a Catholic, we should be a Positivist, for to a logical mind there is no medium between the church and atheism. The middle systems, as Protestantism, Rationalism, Deism, etc., are divided against themselves, and cannot stand, any more than a house divided against itself. Their denials vitiate their affirmations and their affirmations vitiate their denials. They are all too much or too little.

The Positivists reject for what they call the scientific age both theology and metaphysics. They believe in the progress of the race, and indeed in all races, as does Dr. McCosh. They distinguish in the history of the human race or of human progress three epochs or stages—first, the theological; second, the metaphysical; and third, the scientific. Theology and metaphysics each in its epoch were true and good, and served the progress of man and society. They have now passed away, and the race is now entering the scientific age, which is the final stage, though not to last forever; for when the field of science is exhausted, and all it yields is harvested, the race will expire, and the world come to an end, as having no more work to do. It will be seen there is here a remarkable difference between the real Positivists, or believers in Auguste Comte, and our author and his Protestant brethren. The Positivists never calumniate the past, but seek to appreciate its services to humanity, to acknowledge the good it did, and to bury it with honor, as the children of the New Dispensation did the Old, when it had lived its day. One of the finest appreciations from the point of view of humanity of the services of the mediæval monks we have ever read is from the pen of M. E. Littré, the chief of the French Positivists, and one of the most learned men of France. It said not all a Catholic would say, but [Pg 12] scarcely a word that could grate on a Catholic ear. Dr. McCosh also believes in progress, in the progress of our species, and, for aught we know, in the progress of all species and genera, and that we outgrow the past; but he takes pleasure only in calumniating it, and like a bad son curses the mother that bore him. Because he has outgrown his nurse, he contends the nurse was of no use in his childhood, was a great injury, and it would have been much better to leave him to himself, to toddle about at will, and toddle into the fire or the cistern, as he saw proper.

Now, we think, if one believes in the progress of the species or the perfectibility of man by development or by natural agencies, the Positivist doctrine is much the most reasonable as well as far the most amiable. Its effect, too, is far better. We—we speak personally—owed much to the doctrine, which we borrowed not from Comte, but from Comte’s master, Saint-Simon, the influence of which, under the grace of God, disposed us to return to the old church. It softened the animosity, the bitter hatred, toward the past which we had inherited from our Protestant education, and enabled us to study it with calm and gentle feelings, even with gratitude and respect, and disposed us to view it with impartiality and to appreciate it with justice. Studying the past, and especially the old church which we had complacently supposed the race had outgrown as the man has outgrown the bib and tucker of his childhood, in this new and better mood, we soon discovered that there was much more in the past than we had ever dreamed of, and that it was abundantly able to teach us much more than we or any of our Protestant contemporaries supposed; and we were not long in beginning to doubt if we had really outgrown it, nor in becoming convinced that, instead of outgrowing it, we had fallen below it; that the old church, the central institution of the world, was as needful to us now as in the beginning; and that, in comparison with the full noonday light which beamed from her divine countenance, the light in which we had hitherto walked, or stumbled, rather, was but a fading twilight, nay, midnight darkness.

Of course we differ far more from positivism than does Dr. McCosh, but we can as Catholics better discriminate than he what is true and just in them, and better understand and refute their errors or false principles, because we have the whole truth to oppose to them, not merely certain fragments or disfigured aspects of truth. It is only Catholics who can really set right the class of men Dr. McCosh wars against. Protestants cannot do it. When Theodore Parker published his Discourse of Matters pertaining to Religion, we had not—we speak personally again—outgrown the Protestantism in which we had been trained. We set about refuting him, and we saw at once we could not do it on Protestant grounds, and we planted ourselves on Catholic ground, as far as we then knew it, and our refutation was a total failure except so far as we opposed to the Discourse the principles of the Catholic Church. Dr. McCosh has tried his hand in the volume before us against Theodore Parker and the Free Religionists, and with no success save so far as he abandons his Protestantism and quietly appropriates the arguments of Catholics, to which he has no more right than he has to his neighbor’s horse. It was hardly generous in the learned doctor, while using their arguments—and they were the only arguments that availed him anything—to turn upon Catholics and twit [Pg 13] them of “ignorance and superstition.” Was he afraid that people might discover the source whence he drew the small stock of wisdom and truth he displayed?

We might have made Dr. McCosh’s lectures the occasion of presenting a formal refutation of positivism, but we had already taken up from time to time the false principles, the errors and untenable theories and hypotheses, which his lectures treat, and refuted them, so far as they are hostile to Christianity, far more effectively, in our judgment, than he has done or could do. He may be more deeply versed in the errors and absurd hypotheses of the false scientists of the day, who are laboring to explain and account for the universe without creation and Providence, than we are; but we have not found in his volume anything of any value which we have not ourselves already said, and said too, perhaps, in a style more easily understood than his, and in better English than he ordinarily uses. Our readers could learn nothing of positivism from him, and just as little of the principles and reasonings that Christianity is able to oppose to it. He writes as a man who measures the known by what he himself knows, and is now and then out in his measurement.

Dr. McCosh, also, adopts rather too depreciatory a tone in speaking of our countrymen, especially considering that he has but just come among us, and knows us at best only imperfectly. We own it was no striking indication of American intelligence and judgment the importation of him to preside over one of the best Protestant American institutions of learning and science; but men often loom up larger at a distance than they are when seen close by, and there is no country in which bubble reputations from abroad more speedily collapse than our own. The doctor will find, when he has lived longer among us, and becomes better acquainted with us, that if England is nearer Germany, German speculations are known to Americans and appreciated by them at least as soon as they are by Englishmen or Scotsmen. Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, were known to American scholars before there was much knowledge of them in England or Scotland. The English and Scotch are now just becoming acquainted with and are carried away by theories and speculations in philosophy which had been examined here, and exploded more than thirty years ago by Americans. The doctor underrates the scholarship and intelligence even of his American Presbyterian friends, and there are scholars, men of thought, of science, general intelligence, in the country many degrees above Presbyterians, respectable as they are. Presbyterians are not by any means the whole American people, nor the most advanced portion of them. They are really behind the Congregationalists, to say nothing of “the ignorant and superstitious” Catholics, whose scholars are in science and learning, philosophy, theology, especially in the history of the church, it is no boast to say, superior to either, and know and understand better the movements of the age, intellectual, moral, social, and political theories, crotchets, and tendencies of the present, than any other class of American citizens. It takes more than a Dr. McCosh, although for a time a professor in Belfast, Ireland, to teach them more than they already know.

We pass over the second part of the lectures, devoted to Apologetics, as of no importance. One needs to know what Christianity is, and to have clearly in his mind the entire Christian plan, before one can successfully [Pg 14] defend it against the class of persons the author calls Positivists. This is more than the author knows, or as a Protestant can know. His Christianity is an indefinite, vague, variable, and uncertain opinion, and he has no conception at all of the Christian plan, or what St. Paul calls “the new creation.” No doubt the miracles are provable by simple historical testimony by and to one who knows nothing of the Christian plan, or of its supernatural character; but to the unbelievers of our time it is necessary to set forth, in its unity and catholicity, the Christian schema, if we may be allowed the term, and to show that miracles themselves have their reason or law in the divine plan or decree, and are no more anomalies, in relation to that plan or decree, or ex parte Dei, than are earthquakes and volcanoes. It is only in this way we can satisfy the demand for order and regularity. The unbeliever may not be able to resist the testimony which proves the miracle a fact, but till we show him that in a miracle the natural laws are not violated, or that nature does not go out of her course, as he imagines, we cannot satisfy him that he can yield to the miracle without surrendering his natural reason, and the law and order of the universe.

Now, this the Protestant cannot do; and though he might adduce the historical evidences of Christianity satisfactory to a simpler age, or to minds, though steeped in error, yet retaining from tradition a full belief in the reality of a supernatural order, he cannot as a Protestant do it to minds that deny that there is or can be anything above nature, and that refuse utterly to admit the supernatural order, which the miracles manifest, or that reject miracles, not because the testimony is insufficient, but because they cannot be admitted without admitting the reality of the supernatural. The prejudice against the supernatural must be removed as the preliminary work, and this can be done only by presenting Christianity as a whole in its unity and catholicity, and showing that, according to it, the supernatural or Christian order enters into the original decree of God, and is necessary to complete what is initial in the cosmos, or to perfect the natural order and to enable it to fulfil the purpose for which it exists, or realize its destiny or final cause, in which is its beatitude or supreme good. This done, the prejudice against the supernatural is removed, miracles are seen to be in the order, not indeed of nature, as Carlyle pretends, but in the order of the supernatural, and demanding only ordinary historical testimony to be proved, and consequently Hume’s famous argument against miracles, refuted by no Protestant that has protested against it, shown to have no force.

Now, this requires a profound knowledge of Christianity, which is not attainable by private judgment from the Scriptures, or outside of the infallible authority of the church with which the revelation of God, the revealed word, is deposited as its guardian and interpreter. M. Migne, indeed, admits some treatises written by Protestants into his collection of works he has published under the title of Evangelical Demonstration, which are not without their merit, but are valuable only on certain points, and on those only so far as they rest on Catholic principles and use Catholic arguments. Christianity being supernatural, a revelation of the supernatural, it, of course, while addressed to natural reason, cannot be determined or defined by natural reason, and can be determined or defined, [Pg 15] preserved or presented, in its purity and integrity, only by an authority supernaturally instituted and assisted for that very purpose. Even what the author calls natural theology, since it is only initial, like the cosmos, is incomplete, and, though not above natural reason, needs the supernatural to fulfil it, and therefore the supervision and control of the same supernaturally instituted and assisted authority to preserve it from error, from a false development, or from assuming a false direction, as we see continually occurring with those who have not such an authority for guide and monitor. Hence, even in matters not above the province of natural reason, natural reason is not a sufficient guide, or else whence come those errors of the Positivists in the purely scientific order the learned doctor combats with so many words, if not thoughts—with so many assertions, if not arguments?

Hence, since Protestants have no such authority, and make it their capital point to deny that anybody has it, it follows that they are unable to present any authoritative statement, or any statement at all which an unbeliever is bound to respect, of what Christianity really is, or what is the authentic meaning of the term. They can give only their private views or opinions of what it is, and these the unbeliever is not bound to place in any respect above his own, especially since they vary with every Protestant sect, and, we may almost say, with every individual Protestant who thinks enough to have an opinion of any sort. Even if they borrow Catholic traditions, Catholic principles, and Catholic doctrines and definitions, these in their hands lose their authoritative character, and become simply opinions resting on private reason. They can present as Christianity nothing authentic to be defended by the Christian, or to be accepted or rejected by the unbeliever. Clearly, then, Protestants are in no condition to manage apologetics with acute, scientific, and logical unbelievers; and if we wanted any proof of it we could find it, and in abundance, in the volume before us.

[1] Christianity and Positivism. A Series of Lectures to the Times, on Natural Theology and Apologetics, delivered in New York, January 16 to March 20, 1871, on the “Ely Foundation” of the Union Theological Seminary. By James McCosh, D.D., LL.D., President of the College of New Jersey, Princeton. New York. Carter & Brothers. 1871. 16mo, pp. 369.



I see the clouds at eventide
All in the sunset floating wide,
Clouds now in gold and purple dyed
That hung so dark and hoary:

And my dreaming heart says, Wait!
A sunset comes, though come it late,
That shall life’s shadows dissipate,
Light up its clouds in glory.




Shortly after Mr. Rowan’s baptism, a miniature avalanche of letters reached the Yorke family. Mrs. Rowan-Williams wrote to Edith, in a very scrawly hand, in lines that sloped down, in a depressing manner, toward the southeastern corner of the page: “Do come and make me a visit, now that Dick is at home. You have no idea how handsome, and good, and smart he is. Mr. Williams thinks the world of him; and as to Ellen—well, it wouldn’t become me to say what I think. But it’s of no use for her to try. Now, do come. This is the twentieth time I have asked you. We will go everywhere, see all that is worth seeing, and you shall be waited on like a lady, as you are.

“So the old clay bank has slipped down again, and the bushes have tumbled into the mud, and the men have piled their lumber over the ashes of my poor home. O Edith! my heart is buried under those boards. Thank you, dear, for going to see it for me.”

Dick wrote: “Which is Mohammed, and which is the mountain? I must see you, and if you cannot come here, I shall go to Seaton, though that would not be easy for me to do now. Besides, I want you to see your namesake. I have not long to stay, for the ship is about ready to start, and we take our cargo in at New York. It would be almost like a soldier deserting his army on the eve of battle for me to go away now. Do come if you can. It seems to me that you must wish to.”

This young man, we may remark, has got quite beyond the model letter-writer and the practice of penmanship. He writes quite in his own way, and is a very creditable writer, too. He has also a fair education, and can converse more intelligently on most subjects of general interest than many a young man for whom education has done its best. When Dick Rowan spoke, he said something, and one never heard from his lips inanities, meanness, nor malice. Neither did he say much of such things, even in condemnation. He looked on them with a sort of wonder, a flitting expression of disgust, then forgot all about them. His time had been too much occupied, his mind too busy for trifling. He had studied constantly and methodically, and the little library in his cabin on board ship was a treasury of science, art, and belles-lettres. So far as it went, it was the library of a man of cultivated mind. His life, too, had educated him, and been a perpetual commentary on, or illustration or refutation of, his books. The phenomena of the sea he had studied not merely as a sailor, but as a student of natural history. Whatever culture can be derived from the intelligent visiting of foreign countries, without going into society there, that he had. He had not spent his time about wharves, and ships, and sailors’ boarding-houses. Aside from his own tastes, he never forgot that he was aspiring toward a girl who, if she should visit these lands, would walk in palaces. Therefore, whatever [Pg 17] was famous in nature or art in those places, he sought and examined. Many a traveller who fancied himself perfectly cultivated brought away less pleasant and valuable information than this sailor from the cities they had both visited. Moreover, Dick had studied hard to acquire something of the language of every port he stopped at, and was already able to speak French and Italian with ease, if not with elegance. The elegance he did his best to improve by reading the best authors in those languages, and by a few lessons in pronunciation, when he could find time. Therefore, Miss Edith Yorke’s friend and correspondent was by no means one whom she had reason to be ashamed of.

But the Rowans were not the only ones who insisted on Edith’s visiting Boston at this time. Miss Clinton dictated a letter to Mr. Yorke, and Carl, suppressing his laughter, wrote it: “I have sent three times for that girl, and this is my last invitation to her. Why is she not allowed to come? Has she nothing to wear? I enclose a check for a gown and a pair of shoes. When she reaches here, I will give her what she may need to make her decent. Or is it that Amy Yorke is jealous because her own daughters are not invited? If one of them must come as company for Edith, I will pay her passage up, but I don’t want her here. She can go to Hester’s or Alice Mills’s. Melicent has too ridiculous an idea of her own consequence, and Clara is too sharp and impudent. Bird has read me her book, and I think it a very disagreeable book. She had better learn to cook and mend her stockings, and let writing alone.”

“Have you finished?” the old lady asked, as Carl, with pen suspended, looked up from his writing.


“Then sign my name.”

“Shall I write ‘yours respectfully’ or ‘yours affectionately’?” Carl asked, with perfect gravity.

“Neither!” she replied curtly. “Sign my name without any compliment.”

“May I add a few lines for myself?” the young man asked, when he had signed the name as directed. “There is a whole page left.”

“Yes.” The answer was given very softly, and a smile of singular sweetness flitted across the old lady’s face as she looked at the writer. Miss Clinton was very fond of Carl, in a tyrannical, tormenting, selfish way, and liked nothing so much as to have him ask favors of her.

He wrote rapidly a few minutes, and was about closing the letter, when she stopped him. “Read me what you have written,” she said.

Carl blushed slightly, and hesitated. “It was not written to read to you,” he answered.

“No matter, it will be all the more interesting,” she persisted. “Read it! You read mine.”

Carl hesitated yet a moment longer, then, casting his eyes up to the ceiling, read, as if he saw it written, in the painting there, a preposterous eulogy of Miss Clinton, with a minute account of her cat’s health.

“I won’t have it!” she cried out. “Read what you have written there, or give it to me, and Bird shall come and read it. If you were a decent writer, I should have eyes enough left to read it myself.”

Carl dropped his laughing manner. “Miss Bird will write a letter for you,” he said, and was about holding the one he had in the flame of a taper, when she stopped him. “Oh! send it as it is, since you are so stubborn; though I haven’t a doubt that you [Pg 18] have written the most dreadful things of me.”

The Yorkes were highly amused by this letter. “You see, Edith, she is a dragon,” her uncle said. “You will have to carry yourself very gingerly.”

“I am not sure that is the best way to keep the peace with her,” Mrs. Yorke remarked. “It would do with some, but she grows more overbearing with indulgence. If she were touched by sweetness and submission, it would be different. I have thought of late years that such persons are benefited by a firm resistance.”

Clara also wrote: “Let mamma come with Edith, and stay at my house, of course. It is really a shame that she has never visited me in the city yet. Come right away, and we will all go back to Seaton together. You should come for poor Carl’s sake, to cheer him up a little, if for nothing else, for he must lead a miserable life with that awful old woman. You would not have believed he could be so patient. Indeed, he would have left long ago, if it had not been for the hope of bringing you all back here again. If he were the only one in question, he would not stay a day.”

Miss Mills also wrote in the same strain, and the result of it all was that the invitations were accepted, with a difference. “I will stop at Miss Clinton’s, since you think it better,” Edith said to her aunt. “But I must see a good deal of the Rowans.”

“Certainly, dear,” Mrs. Yorke replied. “But say as little as possible of the Rowans to Miss Clinton. It will only make her disagreeable. Hester will be happy to see the young man and his mother, and since he is a Catholic, I should think that Alice might be civil to him.”

Her invitation accepted, Miss Clinton began to look at the dark side. “Are you sure that the girl is not very green, Carl,” she asked. “I detest country manners.”

“Oh! she is very green—very!” was the reply.

Carl sat looking out into the garden, unconscious that his companion was observing him curiously.

“Are you in love with that girl?” she asked after a moment.

Bold and hardened as she was, she started and shrank at the glance he gave her. No words could have been more haughty and repelling.

“Well,” she said pettishly, “you need not look daggers at me, if the question is not to your liking. You are not obliged to answer it.”

He looked out the window again, and said nothing. “She shall learn to keep her claws off me,” he thought.

No one but himself knew what a price Carl Yorke was paying for his expected inheritance. The ceaseless irritation and annoyance, the enforced giving up of his studies, and those literary labors which now seemed to him his vocation, and the constant confinement, were almost more than he could bear. But one thought supported him, and that was that he should some day be able to restore his family to their lost home, and to pursue those plans of his own which their reverses had interrupted.

He was also, not quite unconsciously, gaining something better than gold. He was seeing all the deformity of selfishness, and the unloveliness of that wit whose chief power is to wound. In asking the bitter questions, What is this woman living for? what good does her life do the world? echo had repeated the same questions in his own soul—What are you living for? what [Pg 19] good does the world derive from your being in it? What in him and in others had been vices or faults, veiled with a certain decorum so as to look almost like virtues, in this woman’s character were stripped of the veil, and showed in all their native hatefulness. Here, too, were free-thinking and atheism au naturel, without the crown on their brows, the lustre he had fancied their faces radiated, and without their airy grace. He saw a scoffer, and it was as though he saw a devil. He had not the consolation of thinking her really worse than himself, for he could not shut his eyes to the fact that the difference between them had been in manner, not in essence. He had shown more good taste and delicacy, that was all.

“After all,” he thought, as he sat there that day, looking out the window, “however it may be with men, women need religion. I would not trust a woman without it. I will not retract my saying that religion is a strait-jacket, and intended only for those who cannot stand straight without it, but I begin to think that we are all of us partial lunatics.”

“I have heard say that parlor means a place to parle in,” remarked Miss Clinton presently.

“The orioles are building in this tree,” Carl said, quite as though nothing unpleasant had happened.

She tossed her head. What did she care about orioles?

“How blood will show, both good blood and bad,” she said with the air of one who has just discovered a great truth. “Wealth, associates, travel, occupations, education, neither will efface the signature. The original stamp remains in spite of circumstances.”

At the beginning, Carl scented battle, but he assumed an air of great cheerfulness. “You are quite right,” he said. “That great parvenu, Adam, and that still more frightfully new person, his wife, have left an indelible stain upon their progeny. We can see it to this day, faintly in some, more strongly marked in others. And, on the other hand, that prince of the ancien régime, Lucifer—”

“Nonsense!” interrupted Miss Clinton. “I was going to say, if you can stop your most disagreeable and disrespectful mocking—I was going to say that you have some of the Bohemian lounging ways of your father, though you never saw him, and though you have been under the training of Charles Yorke since your babyhood.”

“Do you think I have my father’s ways?” Carl asked, with an air of delight. “How glad I am! No one else ever told me so, and I was afraid I might be all Arnold. My mother is, of course, an angelic lady; but some of her family have had traits which—really—well, I should a little rather not inherit. And so you think me like my father? Thank you!”

“The Arnolds and the Clintons, sir, are families from whom you may be proud to inherit anything!” the old lady cried, beating the table with her fan. “They were among the élite of Boston and New York when this country was a British province. We had colonial governors and judges, sir, when your father’s people were painting signs and door-steps. It is rather late in the day, young man, for you to have to be told what my descent is!”

She stopped, choking with anger.

The young man seemed to be much interested in this recital. “Indeed!” he said, “this is very delightful to know, and it makes such a difference! Though I had always understood that your descent had been very—precipitous!”

[Pg 20] Miss Clinton glared at him, unable to utter a word, and seemed only just able to restrain herself from throwing her snuff-box at him.

He rose wearily, and went out of the room, having half a mind to run away altogether.

But ah! who met him at the door, bringing sunshine and peace in her fair face, holding out two dear little hands, and scattering with a word all his annoyance?

“Dear Carl,” Edith said, “are you really glad to see me—really glad?”

“How could you imagine such a thing?” he replied.

“Then I will go back to Seaton again. Good-by!”

She took a step toward the street-door, only a step, both her hands being strongly held.

“You forget, then, silvern speech and golden silence,” the young man said.

“No,” she replied. “But solid silver is better than airy gold. If people say kind things to you, then you are sure, and have something to remember; but looks fade, and you can think that you mistake, or mistook. Oh! I like silence, Carl, but it must be a silence that follows after speech. That is the sole golden silence.”

“I am glad to see your face and hear your voice once more, Edith,” he said seriously. “I have many a time longed for both.”

“Dear Carl!” she exclaimed. “But what is that I hear? Is it a parrot?”

Carl laughed. “Hush! It is Miss Clinton. She is calling out to know who has come. We will go in and see her.”

Miss Clinton had one pleasant expression, and that was a smile, when she was so delighted by something out of herself as to forget herself. This smile brightened her face as she watched the young couple approach her, hand in hand. She leaned back in her chair, and contemplated Edith, without thinking of returning her greeting.

“I’m sure that is a golden silence,” Carl said, laughing. “But what do you think of her, aunt? She likes to have people speak first, and look afterward.”

“You are welcome, dear!” the old lady said softly, and extended her hand, but without leaning forward. To take it, therefore, Edith had to come very near, and was drawn gently down to the footstool by Miss Clinton’s chair.

The old lady took off the girl’s hat, and dropped it on to the carpet, then studied her face with delight. She loosened one of the braids of hair wound around her head, and held it out to a sunbeam to see the sparkle of it. She pushed it back from the face. “Did you ever see such ears?” she said to Carl. “They are rose-leaves! There must be a large pearl hung in each. She drew her finger along the smooth curve of the brows. “A great artist and physiognomist once told me that such brows show a fine nature. Broken brows, he said, indicate eccentricities of character, brows bent toward the nose a tyrannical disposition, heavy brows reserve and silence, but this long, smooth brow versatility and grace. Read Lavater if you want to know all about eyebrows.” She took the cheek, now glowing with blushes, in the hollow of her hand, and held the eyelids down to admire the lashes. “They make the eyes look three shades darker than they really are. But what color are the eyes? They are no color. Did you ever see a shaded forest spring, Carl? These eyes are as limpid.”

[Pg 21] “Oh! please don’t!” the girl begged, trying to hide her face.

“My dear, I shall call you Eugénie, and shall adore you,” Miss Clinton continued. “I hope they have not told you horrible stories about me, or that, if they have, you will not believe them. People are fond of saying that I am sharp, but I quote Victor Hugo to them, ‘La rose du Bengale, pour être sans épines, est aussi sans parfum.’ A character without any sharpness would be like an ocean without salt. Temper sweetens. When any person is recommended to me as of a very mild and placid position, never getting angry, I always say, Keep that person out of my sight! Yes, I shall call you Eugénie. I dislike the Edith on account of old Mrs. Yorke. She and I always quarrelled, dear. We were what some one has called ‘intimate enemies.’ But I don’t mean to quarrel with her grand-daughter. You have your father’s eyes and hair, Eugénie, but your mother’s features. I hope you have not her disposition. She was too positive, and, besides, she ran away with another woman’s beau.”

Edith drew back, and stood up, turning to Carl.

“There! she is angry the first thing,” the old lady cried. “No danger of anybody’s thinking her sans épines. Take her down to get some breakfast, Carl.”

“Dick Rowan is here,” Edith said, as the two went down-stairs; “and he is a Catholic; and he has a new ship which he has named for me.”

There was no reply. They were going through the shady entry, and, if the young man frowned at the news, the frown was not seen.

“Aunt Amy has gone to Hester’s,” Edith went on. “She got over the journey nicely, and wants to see you very soon. She will send Hester up to see me presently. I am too tired to go out to-day, would you believe it? You see, travel was so new to me that I could not sleep. I stayed on deck as long as I could, then I listened all night. It seemed so strange to be on the water, out of sight of land.”

Later, while the young traveller was resting in the chamber assigned her, a visitor entered gently, unannounced. “I thought I might come, dear,” Miss Mills said.

Edith raised herself, and eagerly held out her arms. The lady embraced her tenderly, then dropped, rather than sat down, in a chair by the bed. She looked with a strange mingling of feelings on this child of her lost lover. When she recognized the tint of his hair and eyes in Edith’s, she bent toward her with yearning love; but then appeared some trait of the mother—a turn of the head, a smile unconsciously proud, an exquisitely fine outline of feature; and, at sight of it, that wounded heart shrank back as from a deadly enemy. The interview was friendly, and even tender, and engagements were made for future meetings; but the lady was glad to get away. The sight of Robert Yorke’s child had wakened all the sleeping past, and for a time the years that had intervened since her parting with him faded like a mist. Since that day, more than one power, at first pride, later religion, had strengthened her, had raised up new hopes and new joys; but they were not the sweet human hopes and joys that every man and woman looks naturally for; they were those born of struggle and self-denial. She had lived truly and nobly, but she was human; and to-day her humanity rose, and swept over her like a flood.

Miss Mills locked herself into her [Pg 22] room, and for once gave herself up to regret. It was no ordinary affection which she mourned. It had entered her heart silently, and been welcomed like an angel visitant; it had been held sacred. She had watched it with awe and delight as it grew, that strange, beautiful, terrible power! How complex it had become, entering into every feeling, every interest! How it had changed and given a new meaning to life, and a new idea and comprehension of herself!

Then, when it had got to seem that she alone was not a complete being, but only about to become perfect—then destruction came.

“Jove strikes the Titans down,
Not when they set about their mountain-piling,
But when another rock would crown their work.”

If the foundation merely of an edifice be overthrown, there is hope that it may be rebuilt; but destruction overtaking when the topmost height is almost attained is destruction indeed.

In the evening a knock was heard at the chamber door, which she had all day refused to open, a note was pushed under the door, and a servant waited outside for her to read it. She rose wearily, lighted the gas, and glanced over the lines. “I am sorry you have headache, sorry for you and for me. Edith is talking with Mr. Rowan, and I am, consequently, de trop. There is no one I care to see to-night but you. Send me word if you are better.”

“Tell him to wait,” she ordered, and, hastily dressing for a walk, went down. The front parlor was not lighted, but she saw him sitting by a window there. “Come out!” she said. “I wanted to go to the chapel, and you are just in time.”

Scarcely a word was spoken as they went through the streets together. They entered the chapel, and turned aside into a shady corner. Carl sat, and his companion, too exhausted to kneel, sat beside him. In a room near by, a choir was singing that most beautiful of hymns—

“Jesus, lover of my soul.”

“Alice,” Carl whispered, “that is enough to break one’s heart!”

Her tears broke forth afresh. “No, Carl, it is enough to heal a heart already broken.” She listened, and looking toward the altar, repeated over and over,

“Other refuge have I none.”

The solitude and quiet were soothing to both—the sense of a divine presence more than soothing to her who had faith in it.

They had not been there long when a gentleman came up the aisle with a firm, but light step, passed by without noticing them, and knelt down just before them. Carl sat and gazed at him in astonishment. That Dick Rowan should outwardly and publicly conform to the church, for Edith’s sake, was not surprising, but that he should come privately to the chapel to pray was inexplicable. Could it be that a brave, manly fellow like this could sincerely believe?

Utterly unconscious of observation, the sailor knelt there motionless, with his face hidden in his hands, and when Carl’s companion whispered to him, and they both went out, that figure had not stirred.

Edith Yorke’s friend began at once to show her what was notable in the city; but, as often happens, what they considered worth seeing disappointed the neophyte, and what they passed without notice she would fain have paused to look at. Inexperienced persons who have read much usually overestimate the magnitude of the wonders they have not seen. What young traveller, entering for the first time a city, ever found its houses as palatial, its streets as [Pg 23] superb, its monuments as grand, as fancy had pictured them?

“Everything looks so much smaller and more shabby,” Edith confessed privately to Dick Rowan. “Trees and waters are finer than any pictures of them that I have seen, and faces that speak and smile are more beautiful than any painted ones. Only some pictures of Italian scenes delight me. Now, Dick, please do not be shocked when I tell you that I quite long to stop and look at the organ-grinders and their monkeys, and to gaze in at the shop windows. But I can’t, you know, for that would make Carl and Hester and Miss Mills ashamed of me.”

The result of this confidence was that, dressed to attract as little attention as possible, these two friends set the others aside, and went on long tramps together. They paid not much attention to the finer sights, but dived into all sorts of byways. They looked in at shop windows, at birds and shells and jewels, and more than one shopkeeper was smilingly pleased to display his best wares at the young lady’s shy request, though informed beforehand that she did not mean to buy. They watched the organ-grinders and their monkeys to their hearts’ content; they amused themselves with the gamins, and held various conversations with them; they were bountiful to street-beggars. Ragged urchins were astonished by showers of candy that seemed to descend from heaven on their heads, poor little weeping outcasts were asked to tell their griefs, and listened to with tender sympathy, tears perhaps rising into one pair of eyes that looked at them. Sometimes a wretched pauper, walking with downcast face through the street, felt something touch his hand and leave a bit of money there, and looked up to see a lady and gentleman just passing, and one sweet face glance momentarily back with a smile at once arch and pitying. “Shall I ruin you, Dick?” Edith asks gleefully. “I have ruined myself; but that didn’t take long. My poor little money is all gone. Are you very rich?”

“Oh! immensely!” Dick replies. “I have chests of gold. Give away as much as you wish to.”

One blind man gone astray long remembered how a soft hand took one of his, and a firm hand the other, and his two guides led him home, inquiring into his misfortune by the way, and commiserating him more tenderly than brother or sister ever had.

“It is so sad to have all the beautiful world shut out,” said the sweet voice out of the dark. “But one might, I think, see heavenly things the more plainly.”

The poor man never lost himself afterward, but he looked blindly, and listened to hear once more those two voices, and to feel the clasp of those two hands, one soft as charity, the other strong as faith. And since they never came to him again, to his imprisoned soul it seemed as though heavenly visitants had led him, and spoken sacred words for him to remember. These two young creatures, out of the happy world of the rich and prosperous, were not afraid of soiling their hands or their clothes, and did not look on the poor as they did on the paving-stones.

“O Dick!” Edith said in one of those walks, “I do not wonder that the Lord could not stay in heaven when he saw the misery of earth, and knew that there was no comfort even in another world for it. What a trial it must have been for him to sit above there, and hear all the cries of pain that went up, and see all the weeping faces that were raised. Why, Dick, it seems to me that if I could see and [Pg 24] know at once all the suffering there is to-day in this one city, it would kill me. I wish we could do something besides play, as we do. Perhaps we ought to work all our lives for the wretched, you and I; who can tell?”

“Yes!” the young man replied slowly, and was silent a moment, thinking. “That idea comes into my mind sometimes,” he added. “I always fancy that the poor and the wicked look at me in an asking way, differently from what they do to others, as if they expected me to do something for them. It may be only because they see how I look at them. I never see one but I think, How should I feel if that were my father or my mother? But I don’t know what great work I could do. My life seems mapped out.”

Sometimes their expeditions were merrier. They went to the Back Bay lands, then not filled in, and stood so close to the railroad tracks that the passing trains blew in their faces. “I like strength and force,” Edith said; “and I like the wind in my face. It would be pleasant to ride in a car with an open front, and the engine on behind. Does it not seem like that in a ship at sea, Dick?”

“Better than that,” he answered, his eyes brightening. “For at sea you have a clear track, and can fly on without stopping or turning out for anything.”

“Now, let’s go and see that large building,” the girl said. “Isn’t it fine to go about in this way? You are Haroun-al-Raschid, and I am anybody, and we are exploring our capital. We are, perhaps, invisible. Stop a minute. There are fishes in this ditch. I am going to catch one with a crooked pin.”

They looked at the large building, Chickering’s piano-forte factory, and Dick described foreign buildings to his companion, and described so vividly and so simply that the structures seemed to rise before her. He was remarkably gifted in this respect. His clear eyes took in the general effect, and caught here and there a salient point to give it character and sharpness, and his descriptions were never blurred by superfluous words, or by imagination, which often destroys the outlines of tangible things by its perceptions of their intangible meaning.

One morning they went to Mass to receive communion together. The morning was lovely, the spring green all freshness, the birds singing, the sun stealing goldenly through a faint mist. Edith rose happy, and everything added to her happiness. It was delightful to have some one to go to Mass with. It only now occurred to her that she had been lonely in her religion.

“I hope that I shall make a good communion,” she said to herself, as she began to dress. “What should I do? Let me think! If I had a house of my own, rather a poor little place, and some one I loved and honored were coming to visit me, I should first make my house clean. Then I should adorn it all I could, and prepare a little feast. I have no servant, I will say, and must do everything myself. I am rather glad of that, for I can show my good-will so. I will not mind getting on my knees to scrub out the darkest corners. But I must let in light to see where to cleanse. Come, Holy Spirit! enlighten my soul, and let no darkness remain where a sin can hide itself. Then comes my confession; but what poor things confessions are! I wish I could say, I accuse myself of having broken all the ten commandments of God, and the six commandments of the church, and of having committed the seven deadly sins, and every sin that could be committed, [Pg 25] and each a thousand times over. Then I should be sure to get them all in. But Father Rasle says that, if our dispositions are good, the sins we forget, or do not understand, are included and forgiven with those we confess. As when a woman sweeps her room, she sweeps out, perhaps, some things she does not see. Well, say that my house is clean, what have I to adorn it with?” She paused with the brush half-drawn through her hair, and the first sunbeams, shining in her face, shone on gathering tears. She recollected herself, and went on with her dressing. “Such a bare reception! Nothing to offer! How about faith, hope, and charity? I believe everything, I could believe a thousand times more; but even the devils believe, Father Rasle says. I don’t know whether I hope in the right way. Hope is a hard virtue to manage. Do I love him? Yes! Even though I do wrong, still I love him. It is no sign that you do not love a person, even if you do things to vex him. What good work can I do to-day? I will read Miss Clinton to sleep, and let Bird go out. That will be something, because I would rather go out myself. And I will ask Miss Clinton if I may read a paper to her. That will be awfully hard, for she will stare at me, and then laugh in that way that makes me want to run out of the room. And I will—yes—no—will I? Yes, I will try to kiss her, if I possibly can. She would be pleased; but I shouldn’t be. Those will be like little daisies at the doorstep when he comes in. But my house is bare yet. If only I had some pain to offer!”

Her eyes chanced to fall on a coil of picture-cord, and the sight of it gave her a new and startling thought. She paused a moment, then, rising, pulled her curtains close, opened the door to assure herself that there was no one in the corridor outside, then shut the door and locked it. This done, she looped and knotted the cord into a discipline—ah! not in vain had she once asked Father Rasle what that was. Her hands trembled with eagerness while she fastened the five lashes together. Then, with one glowing upward glance, she knelt, and brought the discipline, with the full force of her arm, round across her shoulders. A faint cry followed the first blow, and the blood rushed crimson over her face and neck. “O Lord! I did not mean to cry out!” she whispered, and listened, and struck again, and yet again. “One for each of the five wounds, one for each of the times he prayed in the garden.” She paused, and dropped forward with her face on the floor, writhing in silent pain. “Now, one for each station of the way of the cross.” Tears ran down her cheeks, but her strong young arm and heart did not falter. “Now, a decade of the rosary.”

Sobbing, half-fainting, she rose after a while, and hid the precious pencil, with which she had painted a picture for the wall of her little reception-room.

“I must put on something extra, so that the blood shall not show through my dress,” she said; but, looking to wipe away the blood, behold! not a drop was there, but only long welts of red and white crossing her fair shoulders.

Edith hid her face, with a feeling of utter humiliation and grief. She had been agonizing under the blows which had produced only a few marks, and yet fancying that she imitated him whose flesh had been torn by the lash, and whose blood had flowed in streams. “I can do nothing, nothing! I am silly and presumptuous,” were the thoughts [Pg 26] with which she finished her preparation to go out.

But, trivial as her penance had been, it brought humility, and a deeper sense of the sufferings of our Lord.

A servant who was washing the steps as Edith went out, smiled gratefully to the pleasant greeting of the young lady, and looked after her as she went down the street. The servants, all Catholics, were very proud and fond of this young Catholic in their Protestant household.

“Since I cannot do anything,” Edith pursued, as she walked on toward the church, “I will ask the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph to come first, and be in my house when the Lord shall enter. He will be pleased to find them there. Then, when the time comes, I will go and meet him at the door; but how dreadfully ashamed I shall be! I shall not dare to look up, but I shall say, ‘Welcome, Lord!’ and kneel down, and kiss his feet. Then, if there is anything more to be done, he will do it, for I can do nothing. How odd it is that I should feel so ashamed at having him come to me, and yet should want him to come! I wouldn’t put it off for anything.”

Dick was waiting inside the chapel-door for her. He pointed her to a confessional, then took his place near the altar. When it came time for communion, they knelt side by side, but retired again to different seats.

How long Edith knelt there she did not know. She had covered her face with her hands, shutting out the sight of all about her, and her soul had entered a new scene. There was a simple, small room, bare save for two vague, luminous presences, one at either side, lighting the place. There was an open door, with vines swinging about it, and a half-seen picture of verdure, and deep blue heavens outside. Up through that pure, intense color stretched two lines of motionless winged forms, as if they bowed at either side of a path down which one had come. Within the door, under the vines, stood the Lord, and she was prostrate on the floor, with her arms clasped around, and her lips pressed to, his feet. She did not look up, and he did not speak nor stir, but his smile shone down through all her being. Let it last so for ever!

The tinkling of a bell awoke her as from a sound sleep—a flicker, as of flames in the wind, moved those heavenly lines of receding faces, and Edith lifted her head, and recollected where she was, seeming to be suddenly transported back there from a distance. The priest was carrying the host away from the altar of the chapel up to the church. He held the sacred burden clasped closely to his breast, and bent his head slightly toward it. He looked at it as he walked, yet chose his steps with care. He wrapped around it the golden veil, of which the fringe glistened like fire as he moved. No mother could carry a sleeping infant more tenderly.

Edith stretched out her hands, with a momentary feeling of bereavement, for the Lord was going away. “Oh! take my heart with thee!” she prayed.

The lights disappeared, the sound of the bell grew fainter up the stairs, and ceased. She sighed, then smiled again, and became aware of Dick sitting at the furthest end of the bench, and waiting for her. They went out by separate aisles, and met at the door.

“I would like to have followed up into the church, and waited till he was at rest again, and seen where [Pg 27] they lay him,” Edith said after a while.

Dick smiled quietly, and said nothing. He was looking quite pale, but bright. She made no comment on his looks, thinking that the communion was the cause of his emotion.

They went to the public gardens before going home. It was very lovely there. The mists of the morning had slowly gathered themselves into detached clouds, and they scarcely moved, the air was so still. The trees and the many pink flowers about glistened with dew.

Edith began to love her quietude, and grow merry, but with an angelic merriment. “Do you think that the Lord came down to the garden only at evening?” she asked. “I think he came at early morning, unless he stayed all night—morning is so beautiful! How alive everything is! You can almost see eyes in the flowers. See the swans on the water. They float like clouds in the sky. Fancy a pink swan in a large blue lake, throwing up sprays as white as snow over his bosom! Do you think that the earth was any more beautiful when it was first made? Is it not lovely now?”

There was no answer in words, but the young man’s eyes, glancing about, were eloquent, and his smile was one of peaceful delight.

“Come,” the girl said, “let’s play that this is really the Garden of Eden, and that you and I are just taking our first walk in it, wondering over everything. Let us look at ourselves in the water, and see if we are as beautiful as all the rest.”

He smiled at the childish fancy, took the hand she offered him, and went with her over the water. The swans passed by, and sent ripples over their mirror, but it was clear enough to give back the image of a sweet oval face with bright eyes and lips, and of another face more richly tinted, peach-colored with sun and wind, with eyes that sparkled, and white teeth that laughed through a chestnut beard.

“Adam,” said the woman, “thou art more stately than the palm, and thine eyes have beams like the sun. Let us praise the Creator who hath formed thee in his own image!”

Dick’s hand and voice trembled, his face grew red in the water, then grew pale. “Eve,” he said, “thou art whiter and more graceful than the swan, and, while thou art speaking, the birds listen. I praise him who has given thee to me to be mine alone and for ever—my mate in this world and in the next.”

Speaking, his light clasp grew tight on her hand.

The face and throat that had shown swan-white in the water grew rose-red, then disappeared as Edith started back.

“How could I look forward to anything else, Edith?” the young man exclaimed desperately. “I have never dreamed of any other life. I have worked, and studied, and hoped for you. What! will you turn away from me now, for the first time? God have mercy on me!”

She did not utter a word at first. She was too much confounded. It was to her as though the friend she had so long known had been suddenly snatched from her side, and a stranger like, and yet unlike, him put in his place. This man with the pallid face and trembling voice was not Dick Rowan. She wanted to get away from him. But after a step or two she turned back again.

“Who would have thought it?” she said, looking at him anxiously, as though half hoping that the whole was a jest.

“Who would have thought anything [Pg 28] else?” he replied, taking courage.

She turned away again, but he walked on beside her. It was too late to withdraw. Having spoken, he must say all.

“I think you were the only person who did not see what I lived for,” he said.

“But it is nonsense!” she exclaimed.

“We have always known each other. We are like brother and sister. Is it only strangers who marry?” he asked.

“Marry! Fie! I never thought of such a thing!” she said angrily.

“Won’t you please think of it now, Edith?” he asked, in a voice so gentle and controlled that it recalled her own self-possession. “This has been the great thought of my life. It made me ambitious, for your sake. I am a Catholic, thank God! and a sincere one, but it was love of you that led me to study and think on that subject. When my life hangs in the balance, I am sure you will at least stop to think, dear.”

She looked at him, but he did not return her glance. His eyes were fixed on the ground, and it really seemed as though his life did hang in the balance.

“I’d like to stop and talk about it a little while, Dick,” she said. “Sit here. Now, be reasonable, and I will not be cross again. Forgive me! I was so surprised, you know; for I have been studying all my life, and never thought about this. Now, it seems to me, Dick, that I shall never want to be married to any one whatever. I shall live with Aunt Amy, and, when she is dead, I will go into a convent, or, if I should have money, will do something for the poor, perhaps. If you want to have me with you, some time I can go on a voyage in your ship, and you can always come to see me when you come home. Won’t that do?”

He smiled faintly.

“Oh! thank you!” she said, greatly relieved.

“Has any one else ever spoken to you in this way, Edith?” he asked, looking at her searchingly.

“Oh! no,” she answered with decision. “I am not at all engaged, or anything like it. No one ever cared anything about me. And I hope you are satisfied now, Dick. It is very well for people to marry who are afraid of losing each other; but we can live close by when we grow old, or perhaps in the same house.”

“I have disturbed and troubled you, Edith,” the young man said after awhile, “but I could not help it. There must be a beginning to everything, and I had to make a beginning of this. I don’t expect you to treat it seriously now, but I want you to think of it. It seemed right that I should speak, or some one else might speak while I am gone, and take you away from me.”

“But I should never think of having any one else, if you want me,” she replied with perfect conviction. “I may not ever marry at all, but, if I do, you will have the first chance.”

Dick Rowan’s whole face caught fire. “Why, darling!” he exclaimed joyfully, “do you mean that?”

She was astonished and pleased at the effect of her words, “Truly,” she answered. “You know very little of me if you do not know that I have always considered myself to belong more to you than to any one else.”

They had now reached Miss Clinton’s door, and there they parted without more words.

But Edith’s indecision was of shorter duration than either she or her friend had anticipated. The subject [Pg 29] was so foreign to her thoughts that at first she had comprehended nothing, and had received Dick Rowan’s avowal in a most childish manner. But a few hours’ consideration had set the whole in a different light. She went down to Hester’s as soon as dinner was over, and asked for her aunt. Mrs. Yorke was in her own room, writing a letter, and she only glanced up with a smile as her niece entered.

“All well at Miss Clinton’s?” she asked, folding the letter.

“Yes, very well.”

“Anything new?”

“Miss Clinton told me last night that her will is made, leaving everything to Carl, and that, if I marry to suit her, I am to have her jewels, shawls, and laces. I do not want them, though I would rather have fresh new things for myself, if they are not so rich.”

“Whom does she wish you to marry?” Mrs. Yorke asked, directing her letter.

“She did not say,” Edith replied in a constrained voice, looking down.

Mrs. Yorke glanced at her niece, then put her arm out and drew her close. “You have something to tell me, dear,” she said.

Edith began to tremble. “Yes, Aunt Amy. Dick Rowan has been talking to me this morning, and, if you and Uncle Charles are willing, and if I should ever marry any one, I am going to marry him.”

Mrs. Yorke’s brows contracted slightly, rather with anxiety than displeasure. “Dear child, are you sure of yourself?” she asked. “One may have a very great affection for a person, and not be willing to marry him. Don’t be hasty. Take time to think of it till he shall come back again. If you promise, you may regret it. I must say, dear, I think it selfish of him to speak so when you have seen nothing but birds and books, and do not know your own mind.”

Edith raised her head from her aunt’s shoulder. “Oh! Dick isn’t selfish, and he only asked me to think of it, and to know that he wanted me.”

It was useless to oppose. After a little more talk, Mrs. Yorke promised to consent if both were of the same mind after a year. “And now, Edith, I have concluded to start for home to-morrow, and I want to see Carl right away.”

She did not say that she had only come to this conclusion since Edith had entered her room.

“And I also wish to see Mr. Rowan,” she added. “Did he not mean to consult me?”

“Oh! yes,” Edith said eagerly. “He is coming up this evening; and, Aunt Amy”—very hesitatingly—“don’t let me be married for a great while, till I am twenty-five, at least. Of course,” looking up quickly, as if some doubt had been expressed—“of course, I think the world of him, and don’t wish to marry any one else; but I cannot, cannot hurry.”

Mrs. Yorke had a long conversation with her niece’s lover, that evening, and laid down the law rather severely to him. No one but Edith, herself, and Mr. Yorke were to know of his proposal. “I do not wish her to be talked about, and assigned to any one, when nothing is decided,” she said. “It is for that purpose that I am taking her away so soon, to prevent talk. If, when you come home next year, she wishes it, and nothing has happened to raise any new objection, I shall not oppose you.”

He sat a moment silent. He asked nothing better than he had got; but his proud spirit rebelled at the manner in which the promise was given. He was tolerated because [Pg 30] they could not help themselves.

“Do you agree to that?” she asked, after waiting a moment.

“Certainly!” he replied. “I forgot to say so, and to thank you, because, excuse me! I was thinking how much poorer an offering is a man’s whole heart and faithful allegiance than a full purse.”

“If you had millions, it would make no difference, Mr. Rowan,” Mrs. Yorke said hastily, her color rising. “If I am not cordial in welcoming you into this relation, my reasons are not mercenary, nor—” her manner softened—“nor because I do not respect and like you.”

She held her hand out to him. He bent gallantly over it, murmured a word of thanks, and took leave without saying any more.

He was willing, almost glad, that Edith should go home. He welcomed any stir and progress in events which would seem to pass the time more quickly along. Let him get over his year of probation, and, during it, be separated from her, if they chose. Her doubt and trouble in their new relations troubled him. When he should come again, all would be settled. He was full of hope and triumph, and far removed from jealousy. She had said that she should not think of marrying any one but him; and what Edith said was as sure as sunrise.





(These lines express the feelings of one, now at rest, who was loved and honored by all who knew him—including, probably, those who cast him off.)


Ah me! my alienated friends,
Whose friendship, like a branch half-broke,
With all its mildewed blossoms bends,
And piecemeal rots;—how kind the stroke
That bond—your bondage—sent to sever!
Yet, can I wish it? Never, never!


I hear them tread your festal floors:
When now the lights no longer burn,
Alone I haunt your darkened doors:
The guests are gone; yet I return:
In dreamless sleep outstretched you lie:
I dream of all the days gone by.

Against myself your part I take:
“I was of those whose spring is fair;
Whom men but love in hope, and wake
To find (youth flown) the worse for wear:
’Gainst the defaulter judgment goes:
I lived on trust, and they foreclose.”

And many times I say: “They feel
In me the faults they spare to name;
Nor flies unjust the barbèd steel,
Though loosened with a random aim.”
Officious zeal! for them I plead
Who neither seek such aid, nor need.

Give up thy summer wealth at last,
Sad tree; and praise the frost that bares
Thy boughs, ere comes that wintry blast
Which fells the grove that autumn spares.
There where thou lov’st thou liv’st! Bequeath,
Except thy bones, no spoils to death!

To others sovereign Faith exalts
Her voice from temple and from shrine:
For me she rears from funeral vaults
A cross that bleeds with drops divine;
And Hope—above a tombstone—lifts
Her latest, yet her best of gifts.
Aubrey de Vere.

[Pg 32]



When was this liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius first seen by men? It is not easy to answer the question. Some Neapolitan writers have maintained that it occurred probably on the very day when the remains of the sainted bishop were first solemnly transferred to Naples. For then, naturally and as a matter of course, the vials of the blood must have been brought into close proximity with the relics of the head. And this proximity, now intentionally brought about at each exposition, seems to be ordinarily the necessary and sufficient condition for the occurrence of the liquefaction. Others, however, prefer to be guided by positive historical evidence, and have come to a different conclusion. There is in existence a life of the saint written in or near Naples, about the year 920. It combines historical accounts and later legends, and evidently omits nothing which the writer thought would promote veneration toward the saint. It is diffuse on the subject of miracles. There is also in existence a panegyric of the saint, written perhaps half a century earlier still. No mention whatever is made in either of them of this Liquefaction. We may, therefore, conclude that in the year 920 it was not known. Four hundred and fifty years later, it was known, and had been known so long as to be reputed of ancient standing. About 1380, Lupus dello Specchio wrote the life of St. Peregrine of Scotland, who came to Naples about the year 1100, and died there probably about 1130. In that life it is stated that St. Peregrine came to witness this celebrated and continual miracle—quotidianum et insigne miraculum. Now, it may well be that the author, writing about two hundred and fifty years after the death of St. Peregrine, had access to documents and evidences clearly establishing this fact, although such documents do not now exist, five hundred years later, or, at least, have not as yet been exhumed from some dusty library, where they may be lying unnoticed. Or, on the contrary, it may possibly be that in 1380 Lupus believed that the miracle, so regular in its occurrence at his day, had regularly occurred since the year of the translation of the body, and took it as a matter of course that St. Peregrine had witnessed it; and so put that down among the facts of his life. But this, even though a harsh criticism, and one we think unwarranted, if not excluded, by the words of the life, would imply at least that, in 1380, the Liquefaction had occurred for so long a time that men had ordinarily lost the memory of its commencement.

Maraldus the Carthusian, who accompanied his abbot Rudolph to the coronation of Roger, King of Sicily, as historiographer, tells us in his Chronicon—or perhaps his continuator—how, in 1140, Roger visited Naples, and how there he venerated the relics of the head and of the blood of St. Januarius. The Liquefaction is not mentioned in so many words. But these relics would not have been singled out from all others in the city, and made so prominent, without [Pg 33] some special reason—a reason, perhaps, so well known and so obvious that it did not occur to the writer to state it explicitly, any more than to say that the king venerated the relics in the daytime and not at night.

The learned and critical Bollandists, who have carefully weighed all that can be said on this question, incline to hold that the Liquefaction commenced somewhere between the years 900 and 1000. Prior to the century between those years, St. Januarius had been ranked among the minor patrons of the church of Naples. After that century, he holds the most prominent place and rank in their calendar. This change is unusual and important, and must have been based on some sufficient reason. The most probable one under the circumstances—if not the only one that can be assigned—is that during that century the Liquefactions became known. The contemporary records of Naples for that time were very few; for it was a period of incessant warrings, devastations, and tumults. Those that did exist probably perished in the not unfrequent destruction of the monastic libraries. Still, some venerable manuscript may even yet come to light, telling us how on some festival day, or day of supplication, the relics were all on the altar, the vials of the blood near to the head; how some of the crowd that prayed before the altar saw that the blood in the vial had become liquid; how the wonderful thing was spoken of and seen by many; how, on other occasions, it occurred again and again; until at last it came to be regularly looked for, as a part, and the most wonderful part, of the celebration.

After 1400, the notices of the Liquefaction are more frequent. Æneas Sylvius Piccolomini (afterwards Pope Pius II.) gives an account of it. Robert Gaguin, the old French historian, narrating the journey of Charles VIII. into Italy, mentions his visiting Naples in 1495, and his witnessing and examining this miracle of the Liquefaction.

In 1470, Angelo Catone, a physician of Salerno, who devoted the later years of his life to literature and to travelling, has written a brief but clear account of it. Picus de la Mirandola, the wonder of his age, has also left his testimony as an eye-witness.

It is needless to say that, since the invention of printing and the multiplication of books, we have numberless accounts of it from travellers and authors, in Latin, Italian, German, Polish, English, French, Spanish, and every language of Europe.

Ever since September, 1659—ten years after the opening of the new Tesoro chapel—an official diary has been kept in it, recording day by day the expositions of the relics; in what state and condition the blood was found when extracted from the armoire, or closet; after the lapse of what length of time the change, if any, occurred; what was its course and character; in what condition the blood was, when safely replaced in its closet in the evening; and, generally, any other facts of the day which the officers charged with this duty deemed worthy of note.

There are also printed forms in blank to the same effect, which one of them fills out and signs in the sacristy attached to the Tesoro, and distributes each day of exposition to those who desire them. We have several in our possession.

Another diary is kept in the archiepiscopal archives. It was commenced long before that of the Tesoro. We had an opportunity of looking over it. Down to the year 1526, it seems to be made up from previous [Pg 34] documents and extracts from various authors. In 1526, it assumes the character of an original diary. Here and there come intervals during which it appears not to have been regularly kept on. These omissions would be supplied from other sources, when, after a time, the diary would be resumed. From 1632 it is complete. We have before us a manuscript abstract of it, from which we will quote hereafter.

The church of Naples celebrates three festivals of St. Januarius each year; the feast proper of the saint, commemorating his martyrdom; the feast of the translation, commemorating the transfer of his body from Marcian to Naples; and the feast of the patronage, a votive one of thanksgiving. We take them up in the order of time as they occur each year.

I. The first Sunday of May is the feast of the translation. On the preceding Saturday—the vigil, as it is termed—a solemn procession, during the forenoon, bears the bust containing the relics of the head of the saint from the cathedral to the church of Santa Chiara, or St. Clare. In the afternoon, another more imposing procession conveys the reliquary of the blood to the same church, in which the liquefaction is then looked for. About sunset, both relics are borne back in procession to the cathedral and Tesoro chapel, and at the proper hour are duly locked up. On the next day, Sunday, they are brought out, first to the altar of the Tesoro chapel, and thence, after a couple of hours, to the high altar of the cathedral. In the afternoon, at the appointed hour, they are again brought back to the Tesoro chapel, and are duly replaced in their closet, or armoire. The same is repeated on Monday, and on each succeeding day of the octave up to the following Sunday, inclusive. Thus, for this festival in May there are nine successive days of exposition. And, inasmuch as in the mind of the church the vigil, the feast, and the octave are all united together, as the celebration of one festival in a more solemn form, so we naturally look on those nine expositions not as isolated and distinct, one from the other, but as in some way connected together and united to compose a single group.

The feast and its vigil are found in ancient calendars of the church of Naples. The octave was added about the year 1646, on the occasion of completing and consecrating the new Tesoro chapel, the work and the pride of the city. The processions on the vigil were at first directed to such churches as the ecclesiastical authorities might from time to time select, to meet the convenience or the wishes of the faithful. In 1337, eight special churches were designated to which in an established order of succession the processions would thereafter go in turn each year. In 1526, it was stipulated between the city authorities and the archbishop that they should instead go in turn to six municipal halls, or seggie, as the Neapolitans styled them, belonging to as many civic bodies or corporations, which united, in some complex and ancient way, in the municipal government of the city: that is, to the chapels or churches attached to these seggie. This regulation was strictly followed until the year 1800. The old mediæval usages and liberties had by that time become weakened or had died out under the influence of modern centralization. The several old civic corporations of Naples, if they existed at all, existed only in name. The halls or seggie had lost their original importance and standing. A new regulation seemed necessary. From 1800 [Pg 35] down, the procession of the vigil has gone each year to the church of Santa Chiara.

II. On the 19th of September occurs the Feast of St. Januarius, the chief or proper festival of the saint, commemorating his life of virtue and his glorious death by martyrdom under Diocletian. It is traced back to the earliest martyrologies and calendars of the church; even those of the Greek schismatic church have preserved it. In Naples, St. Januarius being the patron saint of the city, this festival is, of course, one of high rank, and has an octave. Opening on the nineteenth, and closing on the twenty-sixth of September, it gives each year eight days more, on each one of which the relics are brought forth about 9 A.M., and are placed on the main altar of the Tesoro chapel, and, about 11 A.M., are carried thence out to the high altar of the cathedral, whence again in the evening they are regularly brought back to the Tesoro chapel, to be replaced for the night in their proper closets. On each day, the liquefaction is looked for. The reason already given in the case of the May octave applies here also. These eight days of exposition are not eight isolated or distinct days, without any connection. They should rather be looked on as forming a second group.

III. On the 16th of December is celebrated the feast of the Patronage of St. Januarius. This is a single day festival in annual thanksgiving for many favors received, and especially for the preservation of Naples, two centuries and a half ago, from the fate of Herculaneum and Pompeii.

Naples lies almost under the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, that terrible volcano which, after slumbering peacefully for an unknown number of ages, renewed its fearful and destructive eruptions in A.D. 79, 203, 462, 512, and more than fifty times since. The burning gas or the smoke from its crater has risen miles into the air, and has spread like a dark cloud scores of miles on one side or the other. It has thrown up stones, which fell in showers of lapilli ten miles away. Its ashes have been borne to Tunis and Algiers in Africa, and to Tuscany, to Illyria, and to Greece in other directions. Once they clouded the sky and filled the air even in Constantinople. Streams of molten lava have flowed down its sides, filling valleys that were broad and deep, and sending in advance a sulphurous atmosphere and a glowing heat which destroyed all animal and vegetable life, even before the fiery stream itself touched plant, tree, or animal. They roll on slowly, but so inflexible and irresistible that no work or art of man can stay the movement or control its course. Everything in its path is doomed to utter destruction. Resina, between Naples and the mountain, has been destroyed and rebuilt, it is said, seven times; Torre del Greco, near by, nine times. Other places have perished as did Herculaneum and Pompeii. On every side of the mountain, so fair to look on when peaceful, so terrible in its wrath, one may follow for miles on miles these ancient currents, radiating from the centre. Here the hard, dark rock rings, as iron would, under your horse’s hoof. There, what was once a death-bearing stream of lava has been covered by time with a rich soil, on which vines and olives flourish. By the shore, you may see where they reached the water, and have added leagues of rough volcanic rock to the land.

Naples has often been violently shaken, and sometimes seriously injured; has often been in imminent [Pg 36] peril, but never was utterly destroyed. This brilliant capital, uniting in herself all that Italian taste admires of beauty and luxury—“Vedi Napoli, e muori”—lives with a sword of Damocles ever suspended over her. Each night as they retire the Neapolitans may shudder if they cast a thought on the possible horrors of the night they have entered on or what the morrow may bring them.

But men become callous even to such dangers as these, when often threatened and seldom felt. We can conceive how thoroughly all thought of them had died out in 1631, when Vesuvius, in a long unbroken sleep of one hundred and ninety-four years, had allowed six generations of Neapolitans to grow up and pass to their graves without any experience of its power. Earthquakes, explosions, flames, smoke, and streams of fire were all forgotten. Towns and villages, and gardens and vineyards, were dotting the base of the mountain or climbing its pleasant and fertile slopes. And among the many charming scenes in the neighborhood of Naples, there were then none more sweet and charming than those of the narrow tract between the city and Mount Vesuvius.

So it was on the morning of Tuesday, the 16th of December, 1631. Yet fair as was the scene on which the sun rose that day, it was to be greatly changed ere night. Early in the morning, the citizens were startled and somewhat alarmed by a very perceptible tremulousness of the earth under their feet. It increased in violence as the hours rolled on, and the atmosphere too, December though it was, became sultry and close. The inhabitants of the beautiful villas and the farmers and country laborers, who had felt the trembling of the earth and the closeness of the atmosphere more sensibly than the citizens, and who saw at once that it was caused by the mountain, commenced to flee with their families for safety into the city. About 9 A.M. a cry of affright went up from the city and the country, as suddenly the mountain shook and roared as if in agony. All eyes turned to the summit of Vesuvius, only yesterday so fair and green. A huge turbid column of smoke was seen swiftly springing upward from its cone toward the sky. High up, it spread out like the top of a mighty pine or palm. The lightning flashed through this rolling, surging, ever-increasing mass as it rapidly expanded on every side. By 11 A.M., Naples lay under the dark and fearful cloud which shut out the heavens and darkened the day. The incessant trembling of the earth was perceptibly increasing in violence. Men felt that they were at the beginning of they knew not what terrible tragedy, before which they felt themselves utterly powerless.

The ever-open churches were soon crowded with fear-stricken suppliants. The cardinal archbishop at once directed religious services to be commenced in them all, and to be continued without intermission. In the hours of the afternoon there would be a procession through the streets near the cathedral, in which the relics of St. Januarius would be borne. Men prayed to be spared from the impending doom. The trembling earth might open to swallow them; the tottering houses might fall and crush them; or the mountain, whose sullen roar, like that of an angry monster, they heard amid and above all other sounds, might destroy them in some other more fearful way. They prayed and did penance, like the Ninivites of old. They sought to prepare their souls [Pg 37] for the death which might come to many of them.

To the gloom and horrors of the dark cloud of smoke, spread as a funeral pall over the city, was added, later in the day, a pouring rain. The water came down heated and charged with volcanic ashes. Night arrived, more terrible than the day. The continuous trembling of the earth had indeed ceased; but, instead, there came sharp, quick shocks of earthquake, four or five of them every hour, vastly increasing the danger of those who remained in their houses. Out-of-doors was the pouring rain and the intense darkness, rendered more fearful by the intermittent electric flashings of the cloud overhead. The few oil-lamps in the streets gave little light; some had not been lighted, others had been extinguished. The narrow streets sounded with shrieks of alarm and prayers for mercy. They were filled with those who chose rather the darkness, the rain, and the mud under foot, than the danger within their own chambers. And all through the city might be descried entire families grouped together, and, by the light of torches or lanterns, making their way to some church—for, all through the terrible hours of that long night, the churches still remained open and thronged, and the services still continued. Day came at length, if the dim, misty light could be called day. It brought no relief beyond its saddening twilight. All hearts were depressed and filled with gloomy forebodings. All felt that only by the mercy of God could they be rescued.

At 10 A.M. there came two shocks of earthquake severer than any that had preceded them. The waters of the bay twice receded, leaving a portion of the harbor bare, and twice rolled back furiously, rushing over the piers and quays, and passing into the lower streets of the city. A hoarse and violent roar was heard from the mountain. It was soon known that the sea of lava within its bowels had burst for itself a channel-way out through the northern side, and was pouring down in a rapid stream, widening its front as it spread into seven branches, and advancing directly towards the city. Portici and Resina, near the mountain, or, rather, on its lower slope, were seen quickly to perish. Portions of Torre del Greco and of Torre dell’Annunziata shared the same fate. It seemed to the affrighted Neapolitans, as they looked on the fiery streams pouring onward, resistless and inflexible, in their course of destruction, that death was coming to them by fire, more terrible far than death by water or by earthquake.

Meanwhile, the hour at last arrived fixed for this day’s procession. The archbishop was to take part in it, and would himself bear the reliquary of the blood of St. Januarius. The clergy of the city would precede and accompany him, and the municipal authorities would walk in procession behind. Thousands were in the cathedral and would follow after, and tens of thousands crowded the streets through which its route lay. A common feeling filled all hearts alike; they prayed earnestly, if ever they did—for their lives, and their homes, their all was at stake.

The rain had ceased, but the dark cloud still hung overhead, and the ashes were still falling, and the air was close and sulphurous. As the procession issued from the cathedral, and while the archbishop stood yet in the square in front of it, a blaze of sunlight beamed around. The sun itself they did not see, but his beams found some rift in the mass of smoke surging overhead, and struggled through, throwing, for a few [Pg 38] moments, a glow of golden effulgence down on the cathedral and the square, and the groups that stood or knelt within it. The effect was electric. “It is a miracle! our prayers are heard!” was the cry that burst from the multitude. In a few moments the light was gone; but, with cheered and hopeful hearts, the procession moved on through the crowded streets to the gate of the city, looking directly towards Vesuvius and the advancing streams of lava. Here an altar had been prepared in the open air, psalms were chanted, prayers and litanies succeeded, and the archbishop, ascending the steps of the altar, stood on the platform, and, holding aloft the reliquary of the blood, made with it the sign of the cross towards the blazing mountain, and all prayed that God, through the intercession of their great patron saint, would avert the dreaded and dreadful calamity.

Ere the archbishop descended from the altar, all were aware that an east wind had sprung up, and that the smoke and cinders and ashes were being blown away over the sea. The mountain grew calmer, and at once ceased to pour forth such immense supplies of molten lava. The dreaded stream, no longer fed from the copious fount, soon slackened its movement—ceased to advance towards them—and, before their eyes, was seen to grow cold, and solid, and dark. When that procession, on its return, reached the cathedral, the sun was shining brightly and cheerfully. Well might they close with a solemn Te Deum, for Naples was saved. Outside of the city, five thousand men, women, and children had perished, and ruin was spread everywhere; within the city, not one building had fallen, not one life had been lost.

The eruption continued for some months after, but in a moderated form. The danger to the city was not renewed.

Therefore, in 1632, and in each year since, the sixteenth of December has been a memorable and a sacred day for Naples. It became the festival of the Patrocinio, or Patronage of St. Januarius. For a century and a half, it was kept as a religious holy-day of strictest obligation. But the sense of gratitude dies out equally with the sense of dangers from which we escaped in the distant past. Whether this was the cause, or whether it was deemed proper to yield to the so-called industrial notions that have prevailed in more modern times, we cannot say; but, for three-quarters of a century back, if we err not, this festival in Naples ranks only as one of devotion. For a number of years, its celebration was even transferred to the Sunday following. In 1858, it was transferred back to the day itself, and is now celebrated invariably on the sixteenth of December. On that day, the relics are taken from their closet and borne to the altar of the Tesoro, and thence to the high altar of the cathedral. After Mass, and the recitation of a portion of the divine office, they are borne in solemn procession through several streets in the vicinity of the cathedral, and, on the return, are brought again to the high altar, where there is the exposition of the relics with the usual prayers; and the liquefaction is looked for for the eighteenth regular time each year.

If the weather be rainy, the procession goes merely through the aisles and nave of the large cathedral and back to the high altar.

This feast has taken the place of another single-day festival, formerly celebrated on the fourteenth of January, [Pg 39] and now merged in this votive feast a month earlier.

Beyond these ordinary and regularly established expositions, other special or extraordinary ones have been occasionally allowed, sometimes at the request of distinguished strangers, who visited Naples mostly in winter, and could not wait for the recurrence of the regular festival; sometimes to allow learned and scientific men, earnest in the cause of religion, to examine the liquefaction more closely and quietly than they could do amid the concourse of so many thousands on the regular days; and, sometimes, for special and urgent reasons of devotion or public need, as was that of December 16, 1631, of which we have just given the account. These extraordinary expositions were more frequent and more easily allowed two or three centuries ago than in later years. In fact, the latest one of which we can find any record occurred in 1702. Pope Pius IX. himself, during his exile in Gaeta, near Naples, waited for a regular day—September 20, 1849—to witness the liquefaction.

On a number of religious festivals during the year, it is customary to take out the bust of St. Januarius, containing the relics of his head, and to place it, with other relics of the saints kept in the cathedral, on the altar. To do this, it is, of course, necessary that the city delegate with his keys should be in attendance, and should co-operate with the canon or clergyman sent by the archbishop with his keys. Together they open the closet in which, under two locks, is kept the bust, and which, our readers will remember, is built in the massive masonry wall of the Tesoro chapel, immediately behind its main altar, and adjoining the similar closet in which is preserved the reliquary with the ampullæ, or vials, of the blood. As this reliquary of the blood is not to be taken out on these occasions, its closet is ordinarily left untouched. But, in some rare instances, it has been opened, and due record made of the state in which the blood was then seen to be. At some other times, also, the door has been opened by special favor, that strangers might at least take a similar view, if they could not be present at an exposition. We have the record of nineteen times altogether since 1648, when the door was opened for one or the other of these reasons, the last time being June 11, 1775, when the blood was seen hard. However, as to the number of such minor examinations, we apprehend that we should speak with some hesitation. There may have been many more of which we have not just now at hand sufficient information.

We have spoken of the official diary of the Tesoro chapel, commencing in 1659, and of the archiepiscopal diary, commencing as a diary in 1526, and both continuing, the latter with some lacunæ in its earlier portions, down to the present time. Of course, different hands have penned its pages as years rolled on; and it is curious and amusing to note their differences of character as shown in their styles. Even in so plain a matter as recording, day after day and year after year, the state and condition of the blood when extracted from its closet, the occurrence and character of the liquefaction, the prominent or important facts of each day, and in what condition the blood was when replaced at night in its closet—points which it was the duty of all to record—personal traits are unwittingly manifested. One writer evidently was fond of ecclesiastical ceremonies, and [Pg 40] he is exact in recording the character of the High Mass and of the processions: who and how many walked in them, how many altars were erected on the route through the streets, etc. Another was more of a courtier, and he carefully mentions the presence of cardinals, viceroys, ambassadors, princes, and eminent personages. A third was devoted to prayer, and his entries breathe his spirit of devotion in many a pious ejaculation. One tells you of a new musical Te Deum that was sung. Another had a painter’s eye, and never fails to name, with minute precision, the varying shades of color seen in the blood. Another still, with more of a mathematical turn, is equally exact in setting forth to the very minute the times of the liquefactions which he records; while others, again, performed their duty in a more perfunctory style.

On the whole, these diaries are to us most interesting and unique, as well for the length of time they cover, and the evident sincerity and earnestness of the writers in stating faithfully what they saw—sometimes to their own astonishment or sorrow, sometimes with joy—as also for the wonderful character of the facts themselves which are recorded.

Of the archiepiscopal diary, we possess a manuscript abstract, kindly written out for us. From its pages we have made a summary of all the expositions of the blood of St. Januarius at Naples from the year 1648 to 1860, which we present to our readers in tabular form. We group them together in octaves, for the reasons already given, and because in that form several peculiarities are clearly seen which, perhaps, otherwise would disappear.

We give, first, three tables for the vigil, feast, and octave in May. The first one shows the state of the blood when taken out from its closet, giving to each day a column, and recording in each column the various conditions of the blood, distinguishing them as: 1. Very hard; 2. Hard; 3. Soft; 4. Liquid, with a hard lump in the liquid; 5. Hard and full; 6. Full, when, on account of that fulness, it could not be known whether the dark mass of blood within was solid or fluid; 7. Liquid. A second table will set forth, under a similar arrangement, the various lengths of time which elapsed from the taking out of the reliquary of the ampulla from its closet until the liquefaction was seen to commence. After enumerating the instances in which the time is clearly determinable, another line indicates the times when the liquefaction is set down as gradual, sometimes because the time was not clearly seen, sometimes, perhaps, because the recording was perfunctory. We add another line, embracing the various occasions when the diary either omits recording or indicating the time, or does so, vaguely or in such terms as “regular, very regular, promptly, punctually, most punctually, without unusual delay, without anything new.” We subjoin to this table other lines, showing on what days and how often the blood remained always fluid; or always fluid with a hard floating lump; or always hard; or always full, and so full that liquefaction was not detected. A third table, similarly arranged, will show in what condition the blood was when locked up at night in its closet. We also give three similar tables for the feast and octave of September, and similar accounts for the December festival and for the extraordinary expositions.

[Pg 41] May, 1648, to May, 1860, inclusive—213 Years.


State of Blood at the Opening of the Closet.


Very hard2112222
Liquid, with hard lump40741
Hard and full3169131517
Liquid 812412341


Times of the Liquefactions.


Under 10 minutes886785442723181616
Under 30   ”492863734646443537
Under 60   ”1898364225191713
Under 2 hours5421565117
Under 5   ”1722233
Over 5   ”11224
Vague or omitted264554555452515356
Always liquid, with hard lump171
Always full43356687573
Always hard1
Always liquid61243312


State of the Blood when Locked Up at Night.


Liquid, with hard lump77104
Liquid and full535332521148
Hard and full111

These tables present the course of the expositions for two hundred and thirteen times each of the nine days, in all, 1,917 expositions. They do not set forth the changes in color, in frothing and ebullition, in minor increases or diminutions of volume, and in occasional hardenings, of all which we shall treat further on.

[Pg 42] From September, 1648, to September, 1860—212 Years.


State of the Blood on Opening the Closet.

September.19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 

Hard and full, (probable)24
Hard and full58211


Times of the Liquefactions.


Under 10 minutes3532625959515155
Under 30   ” 64101787678837984
Under 60   ” 1924172110182115
Under 2 hours 19454 8 4 8 7
Under 5   ” 27 1 1 2 2
Over 5   ” 13
Vague or omitted2330283032353335
Always liquid 1221212022181714
Always full 1 1 2 1 1 2


State of the Blood when Locked Up at Night.


Liquid 212211211210206208209202
Liquid and full 1 1 3 3 2 8
Always full 1 1 2 1 1 2
Hard 1

These tables give two hundred and twelve expositions for each day, and thus for the whole group a second aggregate of 1,696 expositions. They do not, any more than the preceding ones, give an account of the changes to which the blood is subject, in color, frothing, or minor increase or decrease of volume. These points will be considered in their proper place.

The festival of the patronage on the 16th of December, established in 1632, has been celebrated 228 times down to 1860.

I. On opening the closet or safe the blood was found as follows:

Very hard,2
Hard and full,10

II. The variations as to times of liquefaction were as follows:

Immediately or under half-hour,26
Under 1 hour,29
  ”  2  ”41
  ”  5  ”42
Over 5 hours,26
Always hard,43
  ”  full,3
  ”  liquid,1
Vague or omitted,17-228

[Pg 43] III. The condition of the blood, when put up, was as follows:

  ”   with lump,46
Hard as found,43

The extraordinary expositions were 43 in number. Of these 20 may be grouped with the December exposition, having occurred in the months of November, December, January, and February.

The blood was found: Very hard, 1; hard, 13; soft, 5; and liquid, 1. The times of liquefaction were: Under 10 minutes, 15 times; under 30 minutes, 1; under 5 hours, 1; remaining liquid, 1. Of course, on all the 20 days it was put up liquid.

Nineteen days may be in the same way connected with the May celebration, as they are distributed through the months of March, April, May, and June.

The blood was found: Very hard, 1; hard, 13; soft, 4; liquid, 1. The times of the liquefaction were: Under 10 minutes, 10 times; under 30 minutes, 3; under 60 minutes, 1; under 2 hours, 1; under 5 hours, 1; time not indicated in the diary, 2; and it remained liquid, 1. On every occasion it was put up in a liquid condition.

Four other times there were extraordinary expositions in July and September. Twice the blood was found hard and liquefied within half an hour each time, and twice it was found liquid.

Nineteen instances are recorded in which for various reasons the closet was opened and the reliquary seen in its place. Four times the blood was found very hard; six times it was hard; twice it was soft; four times it was liquid, and three times the condition is not recorded.

These tables present an aggregate of no less than 3,884 expositions within a little more than two centuries, of which number no less than 3,331 were marked by a complete or partial liquefaction. The exceptions are of various classes. The most numerous one comprises 320 cases, in which the ampulla, or vial, was found in the morning and continued during the entire exposition of that day so completely full, that it was impossible for an ordinary observer to say whether the blood liquefied or not.

The writer of the diary says on this point, A.D. 1773: “When the vial is full, some signs are at times observed indicative of a liquefaction, chiefly a wave-like motion when the vial is moved. But as this can only be seen from the rear (that is, as the light shines on it or through it from the opposite side), and only on close inspection and by practised eyes, and is not visible to ordinary observers standing in front, it is not here noted down as a liquefaction.” In the diary of the Tesoro chapel, which we cannot now consult, they are probably recorded as liquefactions.

The next largest class of exceptions consists of the 171 cases in which the blood was found liquid in the morning, and was replaced in the closet in the evening still in a liquid condition. We should observe that not unfrequently in such cases the fluid mass became congealed or even hard during the day and liquefied again. Even when this does not happen, there are so many other and frequent changes as to color, to frothing, or to ebullition, and to change of volume by increase or decrease, that, even without the occurrence of liquefaction, the fluid blood presents many wonderful characteristics. Thus in our synopsis we have counted the octave of September, 1659, as presenting seven days during which the blood was found and remained liquid. [Pg 44] The diary, taking up that octave day by day, states, that on the 19th of September the blood was found liquid, and, the reliquary being placed near the bust, there commenced an ebullition of the blood marked with froth. This continued, off and on, during the day. On the 20th the blood was again found liquid, and the ebullition and the frothing were repeatedly renewed as on the preceding day. On the 21st the blood was a third time found liquid, and on this day the ebullition was more continuous and violent. The 22d and the 23d and the 24th were marked by the same phases. The blood was always found liquid, and each day the ebullition was repeatedly resumed and sometimes was violent. On the 26th the blood was found in a soft or jelly-like state. It soon liquefied entirely, and during the day became covered with froth. The 26th—the eighth and last day—was like the first. The blood was again found liquid, and the ebullition was resumed, yet more moderately.

The two remaining classes, which our tables present as exceptions, will also suffer diminution if accurately examined. There are 44 instances in which the blood was found hard, and continued hard to the end of the exposition. Yet the diary records on several occasions the presence of one or more fluid drops, sometimes of yellowish serum, sometimes of reddish blood, which could be made to run to and fro on the surface of the hardened mass, and continued to be seen for hours, or sometimes even until the close of the day.

As for the 18 other instances in which the blood was found partly liquid and partly solid, the solid part floating as a globe in the fluid portion, and in which the same state of things was seen during the day and lasted until the closing, it must be observed that generally, if not always, this floating solid mass gradually diminishes by a partial liquefaction or increases in bulk by a partial hardening. Sometimes both these changes succeed each other during the day. In view of these facts, it would seem that these 18 cases, so far from being looked on as exceptions, should on the contrary be rather set down as special forms of the liquefaction.

No mere tabular summaries, like those presented above, can give the salience which they demand to certain unusual facts and to many ordinary but striking characteristics which should not be overlooked. For this it is necessary to go back to the diaries themselves, and to trustworthy historical notices of the miracle.

On Saturday, May 5, 1526, the vigil of the feast of the translation, the liquefaction is recorded to have taken place as usual in the Seggia Capuana, to which the processions were directed that day. On the next day, the feast, the blood was found hard, and it continued hard during the entire exposition. The octave had not yet been established. It continued hard all through the octave of the succeeding September, as also in January, May, and September of 1527, and again in January, May, and September of 1528, and in January, 1529. The liquefactions were resumed on Saturday, May 1, and continued on the next day, the feast, and regularly during the September celebration. Thus, for nearly three years the blood remained hard and solid, without liquefying at any time.

The Neapolitans connect this unusual fact with the anger of God and his judgments, as manifested in the terrible pestilence which broke out in their city in 1526, and came to an end only in the early months of 1529, after causing 60,000 deaths in the [Pg 45] single year 1527, and, together with the war then raging, as many more in the ensuing year 1528.

Again, in 1551, in 1558, and in 1569, there was no liquefaction. On the contrary, for the two years 1556 and 1557, and again for the two years 1599 and 1600, and a third time for the single year 1631, the blood was always found liquid when brought forth for exposition, and never at any time was seen to become solid. Since the last-named year, it has occurred, in ten different years, that the blood was found and continued liquid during the whole of a single octave in a year; but never in both octaves. It never continued hard for an entire octave at any time, although at some few times the liquefaction occurred only on the second, the third, or the fourth day of the celebration; or, on the contrary, it was found and continued liquid for one, two, or three days at the commencement, and was found hard only on the second, third, or fourth morning. At the votive festival of December 16, it has repeatedly remained hard. The table numbers 44 such cases. Of these only 5 occurred in the first 150 years after the institution of the feast; the remaining 39 all occur in the last 78 years. This the Neapolitans explain by the special character of the festival. The other festivals have been instituted in honor of the saint; this one, to show their gratitude as a city for favors received repeatedly through his intercession. Hence, when vice is rife in the city, and especially when sins against religion abound, their professions of gratitude are wanting in the most necessary quality to make them acceptable; and the displeasure of heaven is marked by the withholding of the miraculous liquefaction.

Departures like these from the ordinary course, or any extraordinary delay in the liquefaction, or certain appearances of color in the blood, which they traditionally dread, fill the people with alarm and sorrow. From the many instances in the diary we give two, as showing this practical connection between the liquefaction and the religious feelings of the Neapolitans.

“1732, Dec. 16.—The blood was taken out, hard. Hard it continued until after compline (the afternoon service). The people were waiting for the miracle with great anxiety. Wherefore, instead of taking back the relics (to the Tesoro chapel) at the usual hour, they remained on the high altar (of the cathedral) until after 21 o’clock (2.30 P.M.); and the church being crowded with people, they recited the litanies several times. Rosaries were said, and sermons were preached. But the saint did not yield, which caused great terror; and everybody was weeping. So things were up to 24 o’clock (5.30 P.M.) At that hour, a Capuchin father in the church again stirred up the people to sincere contrition for their sins, and to acts of penance. While they were doing this, all saw that the blood was of a sudden entirely liquefied—a great consolation to all. The Te Deum was sung; and then, only at half-past one of the night (7 P.M.), the relics were taken to the Tesoro chapel.”

“1748, May 7, Tuesday.—The blood was brought out hard. After 16 minutes, it liquefied. During the day it rose so high as to fill the vial completely. From the 8th to the 12th, the vial was always full, and the blood was seen to be one-half black, the other half ash-colored, for which reasons his majesty came a second time to see it, on Sunday afternoon (12th). When the king had left the Tesoro, his eminence returned to pray to the saint to vouchsafe some sign of the [Pg 46] miracle before the closing up (it was the last day of the octave). In the meantime the vast crowd strove to melt him by their cries and their tears. His eminence, having made his way out of the chapel with great difficulty, sent for a noble Capuchin, called Father Gregorio of Naples, who, in a most fervent sermon, exhorted the people to acts of faith and of sorrow for their sins. He then commenced reciting with them the Litany of the Blessed Virgin. During the recitation thereof, the blood was seen to sink half a finger, and to commence to move. Who can describe the weeping and the fervor? The Te Deum was sung; and the blood was put up, being at nearly its normal level, of its natural color, and with some froth.”

No wonder the Neapolitans love St. Januarius as their patron saint when he thus yields to their fervent entreaties and prayers what was not granted to the pious curiosity of the king; nor, for this occasion at least, to the prayers of his eminence the cardinal archbishop.

The following briefer entries of our diary breathe the same spirit:

“1714, May 5, Saturday.—The miracle took place at once. On Sunday, after an hour and a half. During this octave, the blood showed a thousand changes, liquefying, hardening, and increasing in volume many times a day, in an unusual manner. God knows what will happen!”

“1718, Sept. 19.—The blood was taken out hard. After a quarter of an hour, it completely liquefied. During all this octave the miracle never delayed as much as an hour. This was truly a happy octave. There were no great changes; only a slight increase in volume.”

It is tantalizing to pore over the diary. At times you almost fancy that you have seized the very process of liquefaction. Thus on one day you read: “The blood was brought out, being hard and at its ordinary level. After fifteen minutes, a drop of serous humor, of a light-yellow color, was seen to move about on the hard mass. At the expiration of an hour and fifty-six minutes, the blood became liquid, with a large spherical lump floating in it. There was the usual procession through the streets, his eminence joining in. At 21½ o’clock (about 3 P.M.) the lump liquefied. The blood was put up, entirely liquid and at its ordinary level.” (Dec., 1771.) You think you see the steps of the process. First the drop of yellowish serum; then a partial liquefaction, leaving a lump of solid matter; this gradually decreasing for three hours and a half, until it entirely disappears, and the whole mass is fluid. If you read the following, you may feel surer that you are on the right track: “The blood came out hard and at its ordinary level. At the end of half an hour, there was seen to run about on the hard mass a particle of serous matter, inclining to a yellowish color. So it stood during the procession, which was outside, through the streets, his eminence the cardinal archbishop taking his place in it. So it was when the reliquary was brought back to the Tesoro. At 23½ o’clock (about 5 P.M.) this serous matter changed into blood. But the mass still remained hard. Words cannot tell with what earnestness and fervor the ecclesiastics and the people continued at prayer. Finally, at 24¼ o’clock (5.45 P.M.) the mass loosened in the vial; and half an hour later, that is, after eight hours and fifty minutes of waiting, the liquefaction took place, a small lump remaining solid and floating. [Pg 47] So it was put up.” (Dec., 1768.) Notwithstanding the change of the character of the yellowish serous drop in the last cited instance into red blood, and the great difference of the times when the liquefaction took place, there is a certain degree of correspondence between the two cases—enough perhaps to arrest the attention and excite expectations. But all to no purpose. Such a drop was seen on seven or eight other days, lasting a couple of hours or for the entire day, without any liquefaction following. And in three thousand three hundred and odd cases of liquefaction, we have failed to find a third one in which such a drop is noted to have preceded the liquefaction.

In fact, the modes of liquefaction are as various as we can imagine, and as remarkable as the fact itself. Sometimes the liquefaction occurs or commences at once, with little or no delay. At other times, it is delayed for a quarter or for half an hour, for one, two, or three hours or more. Sometimes, though very rarely, it has been delayed nine or ten hours. All this is clearly seen in the tables.

Not unfrequently the change from solidity to fluidity, whether occurring early or late, has been instantaneous, and for the whole mass at once—in un colpo d’occhio. Sometimes it is gradual, lasting before its completion over many hours; nay, sometimes the ampulla is replaced in the closet for the night before its entire completion, a greater or a smaller portion still remaining solid.

Sometimes the entire mass liquefies; at other times, only a portion. When this is the case, the unliquefied portion generally floats as a solid lump or globe in the liquid part. Sometimes, however, one side of the mass was liquefied; while the other remained solid, and firmly attached to the glass. Sometimes again, as in May, 1710, the portion next to the glass all around remained solid, thus forming, as it were, an inner cup, inside of which the other portion moved about in quite a fluid condition. Sometimes, during the process of gradual liquefaction, the upper part is quite liquid, while the lower part remains for a time hard and immovable in the bottom of the vial; or, again, the lower part liquefies first, and the upper portion, remaining hard, is seen either as a floating globe or as a lump attached for a time to the sides of the ampulla. And once, at least, the upper portion and the lower portion both remained solid and attached to the vial, while the middle portion was quite fluid.

We have already said something of the various degrees of liquefaction. Sometimes the blood is as fluid as water, flowing readily and leaving no coating after it on the glass. And, at other times, it may be somewhat viscous; and, if the reliquary be inclined from side to side, may leave behind a dark or a vermilion film on the inner sides of the ampulla.

There are likewise degrees of hardness. Sometimes the blood is only very viscous and grumous, or jelly-like. In the tables we call it soft. At other times, the diary notes it as hard, duro; very hard, durissimo; or even hard as iron, duro come ferro. When hard, it is attached firmly to the glass ampulla. Yet on two occasions, at least, the hard lump could move within, showing that it was then detached.

After having become liquid, or even when the blood was found liquid in the morning, it has often hardened during the ceremonial of the day, and then liquefied anew. One of the extracts we have quoted above refers to the frequent occurrence [Pg 48] of this variation in 1714. But throughout the diary we find similar instances, where it hardened and remained hard for a few moments only or for one or two hours, during the public ceremony. This was sometimes repeated two or three times in a single day.

There is a special case, in which the mass hardens so frequently, and with such regularity, that it must not be omitted. We refer to the custom of suspending the ceremony for a few hours during the middle of the day. The Italians are very fond of a siesta in the early afternoon of a hot and oppressive summer day. Accordingly, unless there be something unusual to excite them, they are accustomed, on the later days of the octave in May, and sometimes of September, to yield to their beloved habit. The church grows very thin soon after mid-day. A few dozen pious souls may perhaps remain for their private devotions—about the number one would almost always find in the ever-open churches of an Italian city. Under these circumstances, the exposition is suspended. The reliquary, if on the high altar of the cathedral, is carried back to the Tesoro chapel, and is placed on an ornamental stand or tabernacle on the altar; and a silk veil is thrown over the whole. The door in the metal-work railing under the arch leading out into the cathedral is locked; and the clergy may retire, one or two remaining on watch. The reliquary continues on the stand, unapproached, but still visible, through the railing, to those in the cathedral. At 3½ or 4 P.M. the clergy return to resume the exposition; and the church is again full. The blood is very frequently found hard at that hour, and liquefies anew, as in the morning. This intermission and the attendant hardening and liquefaction seem to the Neapolitans so much a matter of course that we find no mention whatever of it in the diary, save the single notice that, on one day, although the veil had been omitted, the hardening nevertheless took place. The scientific men from Italy and from France and Belgium who have studied the liquefaction at various dates, all unite in commenting on this fact of the hardening of the blood during these mid-day intermissions, and in considering it, under a physical point of view, as a fact of the highest importance in deciding the character of the liquefaction.

There are other special circumstances under which the blood has not liquefied, or, having liquefied, has suddenly hardened again. The presence of open scoffers, or of declared enemies of the church, has sometimes seemed to have this effect. In 1719, Count Ulric Daun was viceroy in Naples. On Saturday, May 6, he came with many German officers lately arrived in Naples to witness the liquefaction, in one of the churches to which the procession went, as we have already explained, and in which the liquefaction was first expected. The viceroy with his personal staff was of course in his official loggia or gallery. The foreign officers were clustered together within the sanctuary. Some of them were Catholics, some Protestants. The blood was hard when brought to the altar, and remained hard and unliquefied for a long time. The viceroy at length sent an aid, with a command to all the officers to withdraw and stand outside the sanctuary. They obeyed, of course. “Scarcely was this done—the heretic officers thus withdrawing—when, in an instant, the entire mass became perfectly liquid, to the great joy of all. It was a miracle of miracles!” Some [Pg 49] of the Protestants became Catholics immediately.

Putignani and Celano mention another fact. We quote from the former, who was a canon of the cathedral and present at the time on service. “While the relics were out at the high altar of the cathedral, there came many nobles from beyond the Alps, who wished to do homage to the saint and to witness the liquefaction. The blood was extremely fluid just then, and the reliquary was being presented to those around, in turn, to be kissed. In an instant the blood became hard and dry in the hands of the canon. Those near by, stupefied by this new prodigy, stood, as it were, nailed to the floor. Then the canon, moved by an interior impulse, raised his voice, and said aloud: ‘Gentlemen, if there be any heretic among you, let him retire.’ Immediately, one of the strangers quietly withdrew. Scarcely had he withdrawn, when the blood was liquid again, and was bubbling.” Putignani adds: “The same thing is said to have happened on other occasions.”





Seven years passed in this manner. Lucia was fifteen, and had blossomed into one of those exquisite and fragile creatures that, in hot climates, appear so rarely and vanish so soon. Lucas, who was twenty, had developed admirably. He was a youth of manly appearance, and so judicious and industrious that farmers and managers of haciendas employed him in preference to others. Both inherited their mother’s type—the oval face, fine aquiline nose, large and expressive black eyes, small mouth, adorned with perfect teeth, broad high forehead, and the bearing of mingled grace and nobility that distinguish the Andalusian.

Their father had yielded completely to the influence of La Leona, who absorbed his living, and had made him a drunkard in order to rule him the more effectually. Too enervated and lazy to enter upon a new path, he went on selling his possessions to satisfy the woman’s exactions, as an exhausted stream continues to flow in the channel it made when it was full and strong, without either the will or the force to open another. From the time that Lucas was able to work, he had maintained the house alone, with that mysterious day’s wages of the laborer which God seems to bless, as he did the loaves and fishes destined to feed so many poor people. Else, how the peseta, sometimes two reals[2] a day can support husband, wife, generally half a dozen robust children; an old father or mother, or widowed mother-in-law, clothe them all and the head of the family in a very expensive [Pg 50] manner,[3] pay house-rent and the costs of child-birth, sickness, and unemployed days; and still yield the copper they never refuse to God’s-namers,[4] is a thing past comprehension, and belongs to the list of those in which, if we see not the finger of God or his immediate intervention, is because we are very thoughtless or voluntarily blind.

Lucas, who loved his sister above all things, seeing her entirely neglected by her father, had assumed over her the sort of tutelage, recognized and incontestable among the people, which belongs to the eldest brother—a tutelage which is annexed to the obligation of maintaining younger brothers and sisters if they are fatherless. This obligation and right instinctive do not constitute a law, nor are they laid down in any code, but are impressed by tradition on the heart, and have, no doubt, given rise to the institution of entails.[5] Lucas presented, also, the uncultivated type of those chivalrous and poetical brothers that Calderon, Lope, and other contemporary writers have given us in their delightful pictures of Spanish manners as models of nobility, delicacy, and punctilious honor.

As for Lucia, she was, as her mother had been, loving, impressible, and yielding. She regarded her brother with the deepest affection, in which respect mingled, without lessening its tenderness.

One evening, when several neighbors, who tenanted Juan Garcia’s house, were met together in the yard, one of them—it was the kinswoman of the departed Ana—said:

“Have you heard the news? It is reported that La Leona’s husband is dead. What do you say to it?”

“That La Leona is just now singing:

‘My spouse is dead, and to heaven has flown,
Wearing the thorns of a martyr’s crown,’”

replied one of the neighbors.

“There will be talk enough, woman, if it is true,” replied the first speaker.

“Well, what do you want me to say? I feel it for one.”

“I feel it for two,” added a third, laughing.

“That is what I feel most,” continued the kinswoman. “It is reported already that Juan Garcia is going to marry with the rag of a widow.”

Woman! will you hold your tongue?”

“No; and I say more: I say that I don’t doubt it; for the wretch has him down, and holds him from beneath, so that she can put him to the torture with “thou must swallow this, or I will lay on thee with that.’”

“True enough,” observed the other, “she has made a fool of him with drink; and, not satisfied with giving him wine, which is natural [Pg 51] and the legitimate child of the soil, she poisons him with bad brandy.”

“The kite will get everything away from him by degrees, till she leaves him stuck, like a star lizard, to the bare wall,” added another; “for she is more covetous than greediness, that ‘walks one hand along the ground, and the other in the sky, and, with its mouth wide open, that nothing may go by.’”

“She’ll be Juan’s third wife, and may die like the other two, and the four children he has under the sod. He must have some deadly exhalation about him, like a snake.”

“Kill La Leona! As if that would be possible! It’s my opinion that Death himself couldn’t do it, with a century to help him. There was the cholera, that carried off so many good people; it never approached her door.”

“The she-rake has no end of luck.”

At this moment Lucas entered. It was Saturday evening, and he had come to spend the Sunday at home.

“Lucas,” asked his kinswoman, “do you know that La Leona is a widow, and they say that your father is going to marry her?”

A thunder-bolt could not have hurt Lucas more suddenly than did these words; nevertheless, he maintained his composure while he answered:

“Either you are dreaming awake, Aunt Manuela, or age is getting the better of your understanding.”

“Don’t fling my age into my face, Luquecillo,”[6] said the good woman, who was jocose. “I would rather you called me sly fox; it is permitted to say old only in the company of wines and parchments.”

“Well, then, why were you born so long ago? But don’t come to me with your troubles.”

“Publish your decrees in time, my son, for this one is in everybody’s mouth.”

“They may say what they please behind my back. Regiments can’t capture tongues and thoughts, but no one is going to speak against my father when I am present.”

“I’ll lay you something, Lucas, that he’ll marry!”

“That will do, Aunt Manuela; you know the saying, ‘Stop jesting while jesting is pleasant.’”

Like all men of stem nature, Lucas, when in earnest, had in him a something that imposed respect: the women were silent, and he went into his own dwelling.

He did not speak to his sister of the matter that occupied his thoughts so painfully, but, after giving her the money he had brought, remained a while talking cheerfully and affectionately with her, and then went in search of his neighbor, Uncle Bartolo.

He knew that the guerilla, on account of his age and good judgment, and because he had been his grandfather’s friend, exercised great influence over his father, and could think of no one so suitable to confide in, and implore to interfere in the matter, and dissuade Juan Garcia, if, indeed, he entertained it, from such an outrageous project.

“Hola! What brings Luquillo with the step of a Catalan and face of a blacksmith?” exclaimed the old man, as Lucas entered.

The youth told his errand.

Uncle Bartolo, having heard him to the end, shook his head, as he remarked: “Lucas, the proverb says, ‘Between two millstones one had best not put his thumbs;’ but—well, for your sake and Lucia’s, the pretty dove! I will do what you ask, even if I lose—and I shall, for certain—your [Pg 52] father’s friendship. I tell you though, beforehand, that interference will do no good.”

“But, uncle, that which is never attempted is never done.”

“Have I not told you I would try? You shall never say that you sought me and did not find me. I only want to remind you that counsels are thrown away upon the foolhardy, and perfumes upon swine. And to tell the truth, I would rather tackle one of those highwaymen of last year than your father; notwithstanding that the she-bandit has taken and done for him as easily as a spider would vanquish a fly.”

Our old warrior went, the next day, to see Juan Garcia, whom he found indisposed.

“Hola! Juan,” he cried, as he entered, how are you?”

“Not so well as I might be, uncle,” responded the invalid. “And you?”

“As well as can be, since I am a man of the old times, and not sorry for it: better suited beneath white hairs than white sheets. But,” continued the guerilla, who in his long career had never studied diplomacy nor learned the art of preambling, “let us come to the point; for one needn’t go by the bush where there’s a high-road; they tell me, though I don’t want to believe it, that you are going to marry.”

Juan contracted his brows, and replied:

“And if I have never told any one so, how could they tell it to you?”

“Answer one question with another, to avoid committing thyself,” is a rule of rustic grammar that the people have at their fingers’ ends. Uncle Bartolo proceeded:

“It’s easy to see how; you are thinking of it; and people nowadays are so sharp that they divine the thoughts. So that we may as well be plain—it is what you mean to do. Tell the truth, now.”

“The truth!” responded Juan, availing himself of another subterfuge. “Then, though—because I was not prepared to tell it—I have not complied with the church this year, I am to tell it to you! No, sir! ‘He that reveals his secret, remains without it.’”

“It is plain enough from your crafty answer that your mind is made up. So you needn’t deny it, nor put me off with palaver.”

“The thing is yet in the blade, and to be nibbled at,” replied Juan.

“Do you know, Christian, what you are about? For the beginning of a cure is a knowledge of the sickness.”

“Yes, sir, I have my five senses counted.”

“Yes, Juan, four of them useless, and one empty. But, my son, you know me well, is it not so?”

“Yes, sir.”

“You are sure that I am your friend?”

“I don’t say no to that, Uncle Bartolo.”

“And you know the proverb says, ‘An old ox draws a straight furrow’?”

“Agreed, Uncle Bartolo; we know that kind of wisdom years give, for we are told that the devil is knowing not because of his devilship, but because he is the old one.”

“Well, that being so, you will heed what I say.”

“That remains to be seen.”

“And you will consider my advice?”

“What is the meaning of all this advanced guard, Uncle Bartolo? Why do you sift and sift without falling through the sieve?”

“To fall with all my weight in saying this, and no more: ‘Don’t you marry, Juan Garcia!’”

[Pg 53] “Why not? if you would please tell me.”

“Don’t marry, Juan Garcia!”

“Uncle Bartolo, don’t leave your counsels like foundlings in the hospital, without father or mother. I must not marry-the reason?”

“Juan, ‘where there has been familiarity, let there be no contract.’”

“If it were as you intimate, I ought to marry; for, if this woman has lost respect through me—”

“Stop, Juan; that’ll do! Don’t come to me with your ‘mea culpas.’ There is always a pretext for wrong-doing. But you know very well that the woman has not lost respect through you. Nobody loses what he never had.”

“Uncle Bartolo, by what I shave off, but that you comb gray hairs, and were my father’s friend—Vive Dios!—”

“Tut, tut, man! Don’t get excited, and talk nonsense! I did not come here to poke you up, nor to pick a quarrel, but with a very good intention; and, as the friend I am to you, to prevent your making an atrocious fool of yourself. Have you considered your children, and the kind of step-mother you are going to give them?”

“If she will be a wife good enough for their father, it appears to me that she will be a good enough step-mother for them; especially as, where they are concerned, what I do is right.”

“Right! Now you are like the Englishman, Don ‘Turo, that killed an urraca for a partridge, and then said ‘all right.’ Take notice, Juan, that they are not likely to be willing to live under that woman’s flag. You are going to alienate them from you, and, ‘withdraw thyself from thine own, God will leave thee alone.’”

“They will not be willing to live under her! What are you saying, sir? We shall see, however. ‘Where the sea goes, the waves go.’”

“Well, Juan, we shall see that Lucas, who is high-minded, will not consent to let his sister live with a woman of evil note.”

“The note I have put upon her, I will take from her. Do you comprehend? And Lucas will be very careful not to set himself up to crow while I live. There cannot be two heads, and, ‘in sight of the public stocks, street-criers keep their mouths shut.’”

“Think, Juan, that your son should be the staff of your old age. You may provoke him so far that he will leave you some day without warning.”

“Let him go; I have the means to maintain myself, and my wife and daughter.”

“Ah! Juan, what have you left? Juice don’t run out of a sucked orange. As if that woman had not swallowed your slice of field and olive-yard, leaving you nothing but the house; and that will go the same way the field and orchard went. As for making a living—you have thrown yourself away; your back is getting stiff already, and ‘to old age comes no fairy godmother.’ Where, then, are those ‘means’ to come from? What you are going to do is get entangled in debts; and, let a man be as honest as he will, ‘if he owes and doesn’t pay, all his credit flies away.’”

La Leona has a gossip at the port that is a contrabandist; he is going to take me for a partner.”

Only this was wanting!” exclaimed the old man indignantly. “You! you take to the path![7] Does Barabbas tempt you, Juan Garcia? Have you lost your senses entirely, or are you fooling me? Sure enough, [Pg 54] ‘he that goes with wolves will learn to howl.’ Don’t you know that the devil takes honest gains and dishonest, and the gainer with them? But let us keep to the matter in hand. Juan, the woman has a bad name that neither you nor the king, if he tried, could take from her. She is bad of herself; and neither you nor the bishop, if he set his heart on doing it, could make her good. Moreover, ‘a rotten apple spoils its company.’”

“Go on with the bad! ‘Against evil-speaking there’s nothing strong’; but, if she appears good to me, we are all paid.”

“Juan, ‘look before you leap.’ You have not the excuse of youth for your indiscretion; you are more than forty years old.”

“And have more than forty arrobas[8] of patience, Uncle Bartolo. Candela! I have long sought and never found a friend that would offer me a sixpence, and have found, without seeking, one that gives me advice.”

“Well, my son, your soul is in your palm,” said Uncle Bartolo, rising. “Remember that there was not wanting a friend to give you good advice—a man of ripe brain, who warned you of the future—for this marriage is going to be the perdition of your house. And, remember what I tell you now, a day is coming when you will have eyes left you only that you may weep.” With these words, Uncle Bartolo went his way.

“Son,” said he to Lucas, who had waited for him in his house, “it was lost labor, as I foretold. But go, now, and mind what I say. Submit to what can’t be helped, and don’t be stiff-necked, for you’ll surely come out loser. The rope breaks where it is slenderest. You are his son, and the authority belongs to him. You will only be kicking against the goad.”

Lucas went back to the country and to work with a heavy heart. When he returned home on the following Saturday, he learned that the bans of his father’s marriage were to be published the next morning for the first time. Grief made him desperate, and he resolved, as a last recourse, to speak himself.

We have already hinted at the cool and formal relation that existed between these two—thanks to the neglect the abandoned man had shown his children. For some time past, the excellent character of Lucas and the good name it had gained him had inspired Juan Garcia with that bitter sentiment which rises in the heart of a man who possesses the legal and material superiority, against the subordinate to whom he feels himself morally inferior—a sentiment of hostility that is apt to manifest itself in despotism.

“Sir,” said the son, speaking with firm moderation, “they have been telling me that you are going to marry.”

“They have been telling you what is quite true.”

“I hoped that it was not true.”

“And why? if I might ask.”

“On account of the woman they say you are going to have.”

“She is not, then, to your taste; and you think, perhaps, that I ought to have advised with you?”

“No, sir, not with me—I am of small account; but with some one that has more knowledge and judgment than I.”

“So, then, it appears to you,” said Juan, with repressed ire, “that your father needs counsel?”

“Yes, sir,” answered Lucas calmly, “when he has a young daughter, and is going to give her a step-mother.”

[Pg 55] “For fear he might give her one that would eat her up, like the Cancon?”[9]

“No, sir, no; we understand now that people are not swallowed like sugared anises.”

“Or make her work, being herself industrious, and not willing to sit hand upon hand like a notary’s wife?”

“It is not that, sir; Lucia is not afraid of work. She knows that work is the honor of the poor.”

“Or, perhaps, keep her at home like a chained dog?”

“No, sir; I am not thinking of that; for my sister, though brought up without a mother, is modest, and not a girl to be seen at the street door or with a hole in her stocking. She is used to the shade, but—”

“But what? Have done!”

“That which this woman will give her is evil, and may be her ruin.”

Juan Garcia, who had with difficulty restrained himself, rushed upon his son, as the latter uttered these words, with his hand uplifted to strike. Lucas, perceiving the action, quickly inclined his head, and received upon it the blow that had been aimed at his face.

“God help me, father! what have I done to be chastised? Have I said anything wrong? Have I been wanting in respect to you? Father, just before my mother—heaven rest her!—died, she said to me, ‘Lucas, watch over your sister.’ I promised her that I would, and have kept my promise.”

“She meant,” replied Juan, somewhat softened by the memory of the mother evoked by her son, “she meant in case Lucia should be left without me. But, while I live, which is it that has the authority over my daughter?”

“Father, for the love of the Blessed Virgin, leave her to me! I will support her.”

“Are you in your senses?”

“For God’s sake, don’t separate us! I will work with all my might to maintain us both.”

“Separate you! Nobody has thought of doing it. You will come with her to my house.”

“No, sir.”

“How is that? What do you mean by ‘no, sir’? Do you think you have a right to call your father to account? Is it not enough for you to know what his hands decide? Perhaps you would like to have another proof of what they are able to do?”

“My father may kill me, and I shall neither open my lips nor forget my duty; but—make me live with that woman—never!”

“We shall see about that, insolent upstart!”

“Yes, we shall see,” said Lucas, as he went sorrowfully out.

Lucas was gifted with one of those noble and delicate natures that humble themselves in victory and grow firm in defeat; that is alike incapable of noisy elation in triumph, or pusillanimous abjection when prostrate. But the determination of his character was degenerating into stubbornness, as it always happens when will forsakes the guidance of reason to follow the promptings of pride. Therefore, though he had not, in the slightest degree, failed in the strict respect that morality enforces, neither the threats of his father nor love for his sister could shake the resolution he had taken in that decisive interview. On leaving his father’s presence, he went in search of Lucia, whom he found weeping. For a long while neither spoke: brother and sister mutually comprehending the cause of the profound depression [Pg 56] of the one and the tears of the other.

“If mother could open her eyes!” at last exclaimed Lucia.

“They whose eyes God has closed have no wish to open them again in the world,” replied Lucas; “but remember, that from heaven she always has hers fixed upon her daughter. I cannot help you; for, though I have tried my best to keep you under my flag, I have not succeeded: because, heart’s dearest, there is no power in the world that can oppose a father’s.”

“But I am to do only what you tell me, Lucas, for my mother left me to you,” sobbed the girl.

“Well, then, pay attention to what I am going to say.

“Bear your cross with patience; for that is the only way to make it lighter. Be a reed to all storms, but an oak to temptation. Never turn from the right path, though it be steep and sown with thorns. Always look straight before you, for he that does not do this never knows where he will stop. As for this woman who is going to be your father’s wife, give her the wall; but remember that she is bad, and neither join yourself to her nor talk with her, except with reserve and when you must.”

“Shall you do the same, Lucas?”

“I—I shall act as God gives me understanding.”

Nothing was seen of Lucas on the day of Juan’s marriage, and it was in vain that they looked for him: he had disappeared. Juan, who left no means untried to ascertain his son’s whereabouts, learned some days later, from a muleteer who come from Tevilla, that he had enlisted. The father felt indignant at the contempt thus shown for his authority, and sorry to lose an assistant in his son: but found consolation in freedom from the immediate presence of an interested witness whose censure like the fog, without form, voice, or action, penetrated him with an uncomfortableness from which there was no escape.

Lucia went to live with her stepmother, and it is hardly necessary to relate what she had to endure; in particular from the daughters of the latter, who, being both foolish and ugly, naturally disliked one who was beautiful and wise; for she had commenced by playing with sweetness the role of Cinderella that her brother had recommended. But, little by little, the continual friction was wasting her patience, and indignation, repressed discontent, and rancor were beginning to find place in her heart. She wished, sometimes, to humiliate, by her advantages, those who were continually humiliating her, and grew presuming and fond of admiration. So it is that evil seeds spread and multiply with prodigious rapidity: one suffices to open the way and prepare the ground for the rest.

While these things were passing, a regiment of cavalry, commanded by one Colonel Gallardo, came, and took up its quarters in Arcos.

Gallardo was rich, well-born, had been good-looking, and a great coxcomb. He was still the latter; with the kind of conceit that is often the result of living in the atmosphere of adulation that surrounds the possessors of money and command—an atmosphere that intoxicates many, making them overbearing and insolent, and apt to do, with great impertinence, things that would not be tolerated in others. While authority is thus misunderstood, it is hardly to be wondered at that it has lost its ancient prestige, and is hated and set at naught. Authority should be consecrated to its mission, and, with its advantages, accept its responsibilities, [Pg 57] the first of which is to give good example. Do those in place really think they owe the masses nothing?—that these are, at once, mothers to nourish, and incensories to deify them? Shall we ever go back, morally, to those remote times when men were both worthy and self-respecting, and neither admitted flattery nor refused to rule its reverence; for the latter was never so despised as it is at present; the former never so cringing.

But to return to Colonel Gallardo, who has given margin to those reflections.

This admirable person added to his other pretensions that of youth in its flower. His own having already gone to seed, the result was that, instead of appearing the young cock, he suggested the idea of a very old chicken. By grace of the peruke-maker, which, as everybody knows, consists in creating ringlets where there is no hair, he wore curled locks. He encased himself in a French corset, which gave him a slenderness a sylph might have envied. It was an article of his belief that amorous conquests were as creditable to a soldier as military ones; and he considered a little hare-brainedness in a man and a spice of coquetry in a woman the proper seasoning, for each respectively. These things, united with vanity enough to fill the space left vacant in his heart and brain by the absence of other qualities, made of Colonel Gallardo one of those characters that are detestable, without being malevolent and ridiculous, though they do not provoke mirth.

This cavalier, a bachelor, of course, like all of his stamp, had lodgings opposite the house of La Leona, whose daughters were not long in becoming acquainted with his attendants.

The preludes to acquaintanceship were couplets worded and sung with the evident intention of opening a flirtation. The soldiers took the initiative, singing to the music of their guitarillos:[10]

“If your person can be won
By valor in the field,
Here’s a man with sword in hand
Will sooner die than yield.”

Another followed:

“If for a rustic’s love
You slight a soldier bold,
Base metal you will have
Instead of shining gold.”

To which the girls replied in a similar strain, declaring that they found it difficult to have patience with “these men of the fields,” whom they describe as “persecutors of the ground” and “sepulchres of gazpacho.”

Neither was the colonel behindhand in becoming enamored of the beauty of Lucia; nor was he the man to dissimulate his sentiments. And, alas! Lucia herself had ceased to be the discreet and modest maiden, who would once have shrunk offended from demonstrations that could not fail to give occasion for scandal.

The hopes of our decorated aspirant, who soon learned the interior circumstances of this family, rose high in view of the antecedents of the step-mother and the unhappy lot of the young girl. But he deceived himself. For, though vanity had led Lucia beyond the limits of prudence, she receded from corruption with all the energy of the honorable blood she had inherited from her mother. This resistance exasperated the step-sisters, who, wishing both to be rid of Lucia and to see her undone, hoped that the colonel would take her away with him, and laid a plan to accomplish the result they [Pg 58] desired. Having previously concerted with the lover, they carried out their project in the following manner: One night, when Lucia had gone to her room, and sat combing down her beautiful hair, the door opened suddenly, and admitted the colonel, hidden to the eyes in cloak and slouched hat, and accompanied by the daughters of La Leona in giggling triumph. They had hardly introduced him into the chamber, when, with jests and bursts of laughter, they turned and ran out, closing the door behind them and drawing the bolt.

Too much overwhelmed with indignation, terror, and shame to think of any means of escape, the unfortunate girl covered her face with her hands and remained silent. The colonel, also, who had been led by La Leona to think that it would not be difficult to propitiate Lucia by tender and gallant speeches, found himself without words in the presence of grief so real and so mute. For, unless a man is totally base, no amount of daring will enable him wholly to overcome the respect that innocence inspires.

“Am I, then, so disagreeable to you,” said Gallardo at last, drawing nearer to Lucia—“I who have no wish but to please you?”

“Lucas! Lucas! O my brother!” cried the girl, bursting into sobs.

“I will go! I am going!” said the colonel, half-offended, half-compassionate; and he approached the door, but it was locked.

“You see that I cannot get out,” said he, turning again toward Lucia.

“I know it,” she exclaimed. “They wanted to ruin me, and they have done it! Have locked me in here alone with you! How can I ever bear to have any one look me in the face again! What will Lucas say? Ah, my heart’s brother!”

“You are not ruined, child!” said the colonel, irritated. “I am no friend to tragedies; heroic Lucretias frighten me. Believe me, I desire to go, and, to prove it, since I cannot leave by the door, I will get out by this window.” With these words, the colonel wrapped himself again in his cloak, and, mounting the window-seat, sprang into the yard, which was enclosed only by a low paling.

Hardly had his feet touched the ground when he felt himself attacked by an infuriated man, who apostrophized him with the most violent insults. At the same moment, La Leona and her daughters ran shrieking from the house, while the unhappy Lucia called from the window in a voice of anguish: “Don’t hurt him! It is my father!”

The man had drawn a knife but Gallardo, who was vigorous and wished to escape from the adventure without hurting Lucia’s father and without being recognized, pushed the assailant from him with such force as to throw him upon his back; ran to the paling, leaped it, and disappeared.

Juan Garcia rose from the ground in that state of blind rage in which men of his uncultivated nature stop at no obstacle and hesitate at no crime. Violently repulsing his wife and step-daughters, who, alarmed at the result of their work, would have detained him, he hastened to the house, and was making directly for Lucia’s room.

“Lucia! Lucia! jump from the window!” screamed La Leona, foreseeing a catastrophe. “Your father is going to kill you!”

Wild with terror, Lucia, who heard the enraged and drunken voice of her father approaching her chamber, precipitated herself into the yard.

“Run to the colonel’s!” urged the step-mother, with no intention then but that of saving her life. “He is [Pg 59] the last one your father will suspect. It is the nearest house, and you can be hidden there better than anywhere else.”

Lucia obeyed mechanically, guided by the instinct of self-preservation, the only motive that rules weak natures in moments of supreme peril.

Gallardo was excitedly pacing his room when she rushed in, pale as death, covered with her long black hair, cold and helpless with fear and desperation, and, sinking upon a chair, exclaimed:

“You have been my ruin! At least save my life!”

It is to be supposed that even the dry and sterile heart of this man would find, in such circumstances, sentiments and words to soothe the wretched creature thus forced to seek his protection. It is certain that, at the vision of her youthful and innocent beauty, seen through the prism of her tears, he became more enamored than ever, and took advantage of the distress, of which he was the cause, to advance his suit.

And the poor child, bereft of affection and support, having nowhere to lay her head, lacking firmness to resist and energy to act, unsustained by principle duly and constantly inculcated, which would have made her prefer misery to shame, allowed herself to be persuaded and retained, drawn by a love that began with the promise and conviction that it was to be unchanging and eternal.

The colonel soon left, taking with him, secretly, Lucia, who had already begun to feel contented in the atmosphere of tenderness and luxury that surrounded her.

The fit of passion that Juan Garcia had experienced, united with grief, shame, and remorse, so affected his constitution, already spent and worn by the life he had been leading, that he fell into an inflammatory fever, from which he never recovered. A little while before he died, he said to his old friend: “Uncle Bartolo, you hit the mark when you told me that the day would come when I should have eyes left only to weep. It has come, and—well, better to close them for ever.”

* * * * *

Two years had passed since the events last narrated, and five since Lucas left home. His regiment was in Cordova, where a general recently arrived from Madrid was going to review the troops of the garrison.

The evening before the parade, Lucas was in the quarters with several other soldiers from Arcos, one of whom, with the careless and constant gayety which characterizes the Spanish soldier, and proves, to the extreme scandal and disgust of the votaries of utility, the non-material genius of the nation, was alternately touching his guitar, and singing:

“Oh! ‘tis gay to be a soldier.
Standing guard with tired feet,
And head erect, in stiff cravat,
And nothing at all to eat.

“And, for the bread of munition,
He gets from the King of Spain,
To be ‘Alert there, sentinel!’
All night, and never complain.

“This is the life of a soldier.
To march wherever he’s led,
To sleep under alien shelter,
And die in a hospital bed.”

At this moment the picket-guard, which had just been relieved from duty at the general’s quarters, came up.

“Oh!” said one of the newly-arrived, “if the general’s wife isn’t a fine one! In all my travels I have never seen her equal.”

“She is not his wife,” replied another, “so drop the ‘fine.’”

“And why should I drop it? Good words neither add to beauty nor take from it; but what do you know?”

“What they tell me; and, besides, [Pg 60] if she was his wife, he wouldn’t keep her so grand; for that is the way with the You-Sirs, they spend more money upon their dears than they do upon their wives.”

“Because they are afraid their mistresses will leave them for other lovers. What do you say, Lucas?”

“That it’s like keeping a lead knife in a golden sheath,” answered Lucas.

“The soul of this one may be of lead, or something cheaper, but her person—by the Moors of Barbary!”

“We hear enough,” replied Lucas; “dress up a block, and it will look like a shopman. I tell you, these good-for-nothing she vagabonds appear to me more like bedraggled rags than women.”

“Get away! If this Lucas hasn’t always the rod of justice lifted! He has entered the uniform, but the uniform hasn’t entered him. If you had been born king, they would have called you the Justiciero.”[11]

The next morning the troops were drawn up in splendid array, the bands were playing, and the general, magnificently mounted, came galloping upon the field, followed, at a little distance, by an elegant open carriage, in which was seated a beautiful and richly dressed woman.

The carriage stopped near where Lucas and his townsmen were formed at the end of a line.

“That is the general’s mistress,” said the man at Lucas’s right in a low tone. “Did I not tell you she was a sun?”

Lucas raised his eyes, and fixed them upon the woman, at the same instant starting so perceptibly as to attract the notice of his companions.

“What ails you, Lucas?”

“Nothing,” he answered calmly.

But the glances of the occupant of the carriage had fallen upon the gallant-looking soldier who stood so near her, and a cry of delighted surprise burst from her lips.

“Lucas,” said his other neighbor in line, “that lady is looking this way, and making signs to you.”

Lucas, pale but perfectly composed, neither looked up nor replied.

“Lucas, who can it be? She knows you; she is waving her handkerchief, and seems as if she would spring out of the carriage. Look at her! Say! who is she?”

“I do not know her,” answered Lucas.

“By the very cats!” exclaimed the first who had spoken, in an ecstasy, “may my end be a bad one if it isn’t your sister Lucia! Look at her, man! it is she!”

“I have looked at her, and I tell you that I do not know her,” responded Lucas.

“Look, now, look! the poor little thing is crying. She is not much changed, only handsomer. You must be blind not to see that it is your sister!”

“I do not know her,” repeated the young man, with the same composure.

There are men who feel profoundly, but exercise such self-control that they succeed in covering with a mantle of indifference the most violent and agonizing emotions—moral Scævolas, who astonish without attracting us. We like neither the motive nor the effects of a stoicism that parades itself so disdainfully. For, if in order to judge of all things human, it is necessary to compare them with the example of the ideal of humanity—the God-Man—we cannot fail to be repelled by such arrogance when we reflect that the most holy passion would have lacked its tender and sublime sanctity, if in it bravado had taken the place of meekness.

[Pg 61] The voice of the commanding officer was now heard prescribing the evolutions. When these were concluded, the troops marched to their quarters, where, gathered in groups, they made their comments upon the beautiful lady of the carriage, some of the soldiers from Arcos declaring that it was Lucia, others, who had not seen her so near, maintaining the contrary.

“Her brother will know,” they exclaimed, running to find him.

“Lucas, is that grand, fine You-Madam your sister Lucia?”

“I don’t know the woman. And now, comrades, no more questions; for I am not a repeating-clock, and am tired of answering.”

Before half an hour had passed, an orderly arrived from the general in search of a soldier named Lucas Garcia.

Interiorly shaken by the indignation which he would not allow his face to betray, Lucas followed the messenger to a house of good appearance, and was shown into an elegant and luxuriously furnished cabinet. As he entered, a fair young girl robed in silk rose from a sofa, and ran towards him with open arms.

“I do not know you, my lady,” said Lucas, quickly repulsing her with his right hand.

“Lucas, my brother!” she exclaimed, bursting into tears.

“I have no sister,” he replied, in the same tone as before.

“Lucas, my own brother, listen, and I will tell you what happened!”

At this moment, the colonel—that had been, and was now general—entered.

“Ah! Lucia,” said he, with ostentatious condescension, “so, then, you have already seen your brother.”

“He will not know me,” sobbed the girl.

“How is that?” asked the general, turning toward the soldier. “And why?”

“Because it would be a deceit, my general,” answered Lucas, lifting his open hand to his temple. “I am the only one left of my house, and have no sister.”

“I sent for you,” proceeded the general, “to make you one of my orderlies, to keep you near me, have you taught to write, and fit you for a career. You will mount rapidly. I know already that you are intelligent and brave.”

“I do not wish to learn to write, my general.”

“And why?” asked the general, repressing his ill-humor, “since without knowing how to write, you cannot rise?”

“I do not want to rise, my general.”

“The reason is evident,” said the general, with a mocking laugh. “It is not strange that the heir of such a house should disdain the service of the king.”

“He that sees not the king is king to himself,” answered Lucas.

“What is there that you want, brother?” asked Lucia.

“I desire nothing but to serve my time out and return home.”

“But who calls you there, if, as you say, you have no one?” questioned she.

“Love for my native place,” he answered. “God give me rest in the soil that gave me birth!”

“Valiant goose!” exclaimed the general.

Lucas neither opened his lips nor moved an eyelid.

“Dearest brother! by our mother’s memory, don’t make as if you did not know me! You break my heart! Stay here.”

“It would not suit me to be a stranger anywhere, madam.”

“Enough!” said the general. “Let [Pg 62] the clown go, he will think better of it.”

“I do not think twice of things,” replied Lucas, saluting as he went out.

Lucia ran after him into the anteroom, caught his arm, and, pressing it against her bosom, cried in a voice of passionate and tender entreaty:

“Lucas! my brother! for God’s sake stay! The general has promised me that he will do all he can for you; and he can do a great deal.”

“The sack is not big enough to hold both honor and profit,” responded Lucas, hurling his sister from him with all the loftiness of a proud nature and the brute force of an angry churl.

Lucia fell overwhelmed upon the nearest chair, and her brother went his way to the quarters with clinched fists and lips compressed—pale with lividness that ire stamps upon the faces of children of the south. Ire was suffocating him; for he could neither express it nor follow its vengeful impulses, which would not have been satisfied short of the commission of a crime; and of this he was incapable.

But, oh! for a war. The private soldier would have given in it a hundred lives if he had had them for a pair of epaulets that would lift him to the rank required, in order to enable him to demand satisfaction of the villain who, after having seduced his sister, had insulted him so impudently—epaulets that he would have thrown away the next hour, like flattened orange skins; for Lucas was not aspiring; neither fortune nor show attracted him. He clung to his condition, loved the labors of the field; was attached to his town and its customs, and would not have renounced the things that suited his taste, and in which he excelled, for the sake of hoisting himself upon a platform where he must always have been an unwelcome stranger and intruder. The very words were antipathetic to his innate devotion, to his country, his province, the place where he was born, his lares, and his class.—And the effort of the age is to destroy this beautiful instinct of the heart, by continually saying to the poor, “Rise, rise! the summit is your goal: the heights are common to all,” thus infusing a vain arrogance into the wholesome minds of those who are so worthy and respectable in the place they occupy.


[2] From 10d. to 10½d. sterling.

[3] We have thought it worth while to give the exact cost of the simplest dress—such a one as the poorest laborer is never without—of an Andalusian peasant:

Cloth jacket,60
Cloth breeches,60
Set of buttons (silver),60
Idem for jacket,36
Woollen sash,50
Linen shirt,20
Linen drawers,15
Calf-skin shoes,22

—without the making, which is done by the men of the household.

What will be said to this by those who are all for utility, economy, and savings-banks, when the Andalusian rustic might, without inconvenience, go clad in a frieze sack, a pair of hempen sandals, and a rush hat?—Authoress.

[4] Pordioseros, those who ask in God’s name—that is to say, beggars. For this and other delicate and tender epithets that the Spanish poor apply to the unfortunate, our stern language has no equivalents.

[5] The actual organization of the family throughout the kingdom of Aragon, the Basque provinces, and the mountains of Santander. It is this that makes the mania for codification that at present exists in Spain so much to be dreaded.—Spanish Ed.

[6] Big Lucas.

[7] Tomar la vereda—Take another than the high or legalized way. Said of contrabandists.

[8] An arroba is twenty-five pounds.

[9] A monster they frighten children with.

[10] Small guitars.

[11] The doer of justice.

[Pg 63]





Egyptian civilization had its source in the priesthood. There is reason to believe that at first they exercised sovereign authority. “After the reign of the demigods and the Manes,” says Manethon, “came the first dynasty, consisting of eight kings, who reigned for the space of two hundred and fifty-two years. Menes was the first of these kings. He carried war into foreign lands, and made himself renowned.”

Menes, the chief of the military forces, effected a revolution which substituted a civil government for a theocracy. He was the first to assume the title of king, and he founded the hereditary monarchy of Egypt.

The separation of the sovereign power from the priesthood was maintained for a long time, for it is not till the twenty-second dynasty that we meet Pahôr-Amonsé, high-priest of Amon-Ra, whose name is still to be seen in the inscriptions at Thebes on a royal cartouche. Pihmé, another high-priest, also figures in the royal legendes among the historical representations with which the pronaos of the temple of Khons at Thebes is decorated. This sacerdotal revolution doubtless took place at the end of the seven generations of sluggish kings of whom Diodorus speaks. The twenty-second dynasty in fact left no traces in history. It is only known by its downfall. “And this leads us to remark,” says Champollion-Figeac, “that there was perhaps some admirable conception, or profound combination, or happy inspiration in the monarchical establishment of a powerful nation in which the loss of the crown was the inevitable effect of the incapacity or the negligence of the family that had received it by the will of the nation. A Theban family preserved it for thirteen consecutive centuries, and furnished six dynasties of more than fifty kings. The first suffered from foreign invasion, and achieved the arduous labor of sustaining the government, finally restoring all the branches of public administration, and re-establishing the temples and the public works. They rebuilt Thebes, Memphis, and the principal cities, Lake Moeris, and the canals of Lower Egypt. They and their successors bore their victorious arms over distant lands and seas. The arts developed under the wing of victory. Public prosperity seemed to keep pace with these heroic achievements, and the reigning family to become more powerful and more firmly established by such great undertakings. Inaction succeeded to so much zeal. Ten inglorious kings ascended the throne, the last of whom were deposed by the priests. [Pg 64] The constitution of the country, favored by the state of affairs, provided for this disorder. A new family was called to reign.”

Modern historians have represented the ancient monarchy of Egypt as subjected to the despotism of the sacerdotal caste. This assertion seems difficult to reconcile with the numerous inscriptions attesting that the principal functions of the priesthood were constantly assumed by the sons of the Pharaohs. An inscription in relief on the façade of the tomb of Koufou Schaf, whom M. Mariette believes to be the oldest son of Cheops, the builder of the great pyramid, depicts that prince wearing a panther’s skin—a distinctive sign of high sacerdotal functions—and among his titles is found that of priest of Apis. According to a papyrus published by Baron Denon, the sons of the two Pharaohs must have filled the office of the high-priest of Ammon.

It is true these last-named princes belonged to the twenty-second dynasty, and at that epoch they had not had time to forget the usurpation by the high-priests Pahôr-Amonsé and Pihmé. It is probable that the king in causing this high function to be assumed by his nearest relatives wished to take precautions against the reaction of the sacerdotal class, always so powerful. But the monuments almost always show the priesthood living in strict and intimate alliance with the royal authority. Thus, while the younger sons of the Pharaohs performed the priestly functions, the children of the high-priests attended the royal children, and were employed in the highest offices in the king’s palace. The office of high-priest of Ammon at Thebes, the sacerdotal city, was hereditary, as Herodotus attests in the following passage: “As Hecatæus, the historian, gave his genealogy at Thebes, and made himself to be a descendant of a god, through sixteen generations, the priests of Jupiter (Ammon) treated him as they did me, except that I did not give my genealogy. After conducting me into a vast interior apartment, they counted, as they showed them to me, the large wooden statues of the high-priests, each of whom, while alive, placed his image there. Commencing with that of the last deceased and going back, the priests made me remark that each of the high-priests was the son of his predecessor.... Each one of these statues represented, they said, a piromis, the son of a piromis. They showed me three hundred and forty-five, and invariably a piromis was the son of a piromis.”

It is not necessary to remark to what degree the priests of Ammon took advantage of the credulity of Herodotus. Doubtless, the office of high-priest in Egypt was hereditary as well as the throne, but it was no less subject to the influence of dynastic revolutions. We have just seen, for example, the two sons of the king filling the office of the high-priest of Amon-Ra, king of the gods.

The sacerdotal class was truly the soul of the Egyptian nation. It so completely embodied the genius, character, and traditions of the people that they may be said to have lived by their priests. They formed the most powerful body of men that ever existed in the world before the Catholic clergy.

As we have seen in a preceding chapter, the independence of this corporation was ensured by a large territorial endowment. According to Diodorus, “the largest part of the land belonged to the college of priests.... They transmit their [Pg 65] profession to their descendants and are exempt from taxation.”[12]

“Thus secure in the possession of their lands,” says Champollion-Figeac, “the entire sacerdotal class was like a family with a vast heritage transmissible, according to known conditions, from generation to generation. It was this right of inheriting the lands that necessarily rendered their office hereditary, because the nature of their functions determined the part of the land inherited by each member of the family, and on this fundamental principle the whole constitution of the sacerdotal caste of Egypt depended.”

The hereditary transmission of each sacerdotal function, and the part of the landed property attached to this function, could only take effect in favor of one of the children, and probably the oldest, as in the royal family. The other children remained to be supported by the head of the family, or easily found a means of subsistence in the perquisites of the numerous sacred or civil employments. The number of the temples, their rich endowments and rents, spoken of in the Rosetta inscription, explains how so large a number of priests could live at their ease. To this income must be added the subsidies from the royal treasury, and the fees of the numerous salaried functions which embraced every part of the public administration, apart from the military sphere. But in Egypt, as elsewhere, families sometimes became extinct for want of descendants, and thus a new path was opened for capacity without employment.

To form an exact idea of the influence exercised by the priesthood over Egyptian society, it is necessary to enter into some details upon their manners and kind of life, the duties which occupied them, and the extent of their knowledge of all kinds which they made use of to promote the civilization of their country.

Plutarch relates that the Egyptian priests abstained from mutton and pork, and on days of purification they ordered their meat to be served without salt, because, among other reasons, it whetted the appetite, inciting them to eat and drink more. He says: “They have a well apart, where they water their bull Apis, and carefully abstain from drinking the Nile water, not that they regard it as unclean, on account of the crocodiles, as some suppose—on the contrary, there is nothing the Egyptians reverence so much as the Nile—but they think its effect is to render them more corpulent. They are unwilling for Apis to become too fat, or to become so themselves, but wish their souls to be sustained by slight, active, nimble bodies, and that the divine part within may not be oppressed and weighed down by the burden of what is mortal.

“In the city of Heliopolis, or the City of the Sun, those who worship the divinity never carry any wine into the temple, because it is not suitable to drink in the presence of their lord and king. The priests take it in small quantities, but they have several days of purification and sanctification, during which they abstain entirely from wine, and do nothing but study and teach holy things.”

Who would have expected to find among the priests of a pagan nation [Pg 66] the rules of abstinence now practised by the Catholic Church?—“that the soul may be sustained by slight, active, nimble bodies, that the divine part within may not be oppressed and weighed down by the burden of what is mortal.” Was it not in these temperate habits, so in accordance with their spiritualistic doctrines, that lay, to a great degree, the secret of the moral influence of the priests, the real aristocracy of the country?

The prestige of the sacerdotal class was partly due to their costume and appearance. “In other places,” says Herodotus, “the priests of the gods wear their hair long; in Egypt they shave.... Every three days the priests shave the whole body, that no vermin may defile them while ministering to the gods. They wear only garments of linen and slippers of the papyrus. They are not allowed to wear other kinds. They wash themselves in fresh water twice a day and twice by night. Their rites are almost innumerable.” On the Egyptian monuments of every age the priests of various ranks are easily recognized by their heads entirely shaven. They could only wear linen garments; woollen were forbidden. Besides the religious motives that induced them to adopt linen tissues, this preference was justified by its advantages. From linen could be made light robes of dazzling whiteness, which would reflect the sun’s rays and engender nothing unclean.

All the ancient authors testify to the effect produced upon the popular mind by the imposing exterior of the Egyptian priests; their gleaming white robes, the habitual gravity of their deportment, their exquisite neatness, and the images of the gods worn on rich collars—all conspired to excite respect and veneration.

The most important duty of the priests, next to the functions of their office, was that of giving advice to the king. “The priests,” says Diodorus, in a passage already cited, “are the chief counsellors of the king. They aid him by their labors, advice, and knowledge.” In alluding to the regulations for the education of the king, and facilitating the accomplishment of their duties, we have shown how their application, so important to the happiness of the people, was confided to the wisdom and patriotism of the chief priests. But did they not render this task impossible by allowing the kings to receive divine honors, exalting their pride by the ceremonies of actual worship, as attested by all the monuments, and officially recognized, as we shall presently see, by the sacerdotal body itself, in the Rosetta inscription?

In subjecting the Egyptians to the humiliation of this worship, and to superstitions still more shameful, did not the priests degrade them, and facilitate the despotism of the king? The more enlightened and powerful the sacerdotal class, the more responsible before history for the destiny of a nation which was the first-born of civilization.

“In Greece,” says Champollion-Figeac, “the service of the temple was the sole occupation of the priests; in Egypt, they were statesmen governing, so to speak, kings and people in the name of the gods, and monopolizing the administration of justice, the culture of the sciences and their diffusion. We, therefore, find members of this caste everywhere, in all ranks of Egyptian society, and we see by the grants to the lowest grades that they were attached by their titles or office to religion and its ministrants. We find in ancient writings the proper qualifications for the different classes [Pg 67] of the priesthood. The monuments show that this class, with its infinite ramifications, was of every grade, the lowest of which was not despised. It was everywhere present by means of a vast hierarchy, which had every gradation from the all-powerful chief pontiff down to the humble porter of the temple and palace, and, perhaps, even their servant.[13]

In addition to their religious duties, the learned priests taught in the schools of the temples the arts and sciences, writing, drawing, music, literature, cosmogony, natural and moral philosophy, natural history, and the requirements of religion. The priest had charge of the finances, the assessment and collection of the taxes; priests administered justice, interpreted the laws, and in the king’s name decided all civil and criminal cases. Another sacerdotal division practised medicine and surgery. It is known that the Egyptians were the first to make medicine an art founded on the data of experience and observation.[14]

One of the most numerous and most important of the sacerdotal divisions was the scribes, who transcribed the sacred books, the national annals, the documents of all kinds relating to the civil condition of families, property, justice, the administration, and, finally, the ritual of the dead, more or less extended, which piety deposited in the coffins of deceased relatives. Writing in Egypt dates from extreme antiquity. There are inscriptions still to be seen, perfectly legible, in the sepulchral chambers of the great pyramid, constructed by one of the first kings of the fourth dynasty.

Champollion-Figeac says the three kinds of writing, hieroglyphic, hieratic, and demotic, were in general use. He adds that “the hieroglyphic alone was used on the public monuments. The humblest workman could make use of it for the most common purposes, as may be seen by the utensils and instruments of the most common kinds, which, it may be observed, contradicts the incorrect assertions respecting the pretended mystery of this writing, which the Egyptian priests, according to them, made use of as a means of oppressing the common people and keeping them in ignorance.”

No learned body ever understood the wants of its country as well as the Egyptian priesthood. And never was a public administration more solicitous of availing themselves of this knowledge for the general benefit. It is true, the annual uniformity of physical phenomena singularly facilitated the study and application of the laws necessary for the well-being of the people. The great and wonderful inundation of the Nile, occurring every year at the same time, covering the land with water for the same length of time, then subsiding to give a new face to the country and a fresh stimulus to the activity of the inhabitants, naturally imprinted on the nation habits of order and foresight which made it easy to govern.

The members of the sacerdotal class, then, were most intimately connected with the individual interests of the nation; they were the necessary intermediaries between the gods and man, and between the king and his subjects. Their concurrence in all public business was not less constant or less necessary. The religious nature of the inhabitants led them to offer invocations to the gods amid all their occupations, in peace and war, in public and private duties, at the ebb of inundating waters, the preparation of the land for the seed, [Pg 68] and the harvesting of the fruits of the earth. The gods, manifesting themselves through the priests, directed the most important decisions, and sanctified by the expression of their satisfaction the possession of the harvest, the first-fruits of which were received as offerings.[15]

But that which gives a more just idea of the sublime rôle played by the Egyptian priests is the Rosetta inscription.[16] It is well known that this famous inscription is the reproduction of a decree made in 196 B.C. by the representatives of the sacerdotal body gathered at Memphis for the coronation and enthronement of Ptolemy Epiphanes. On account of its importance, we think ourselves justified in giving it almost entirely: “In the year IX.,[17] the tenth of the month of Mechir, the pontiffs and prophets, those who enter the sanctuary to clothe the gods, the pterophores, the hierogrammatists, and all the other priests, who from all the temples in the country have assembled before the king at Memphis for the solemnity of taking possession of that crown which Ptolemy, still living, the well-beloved of Pthah, the divine Epiphanes, a most gracious prince, has inherited from his father, being assembled in the temple of Memphis, have pronounced this same day the following decree:

“Considering that King Ptolemy, still living, the well-beloved of Pthah, the divine Epiphanes, son of King Ptolemy and Queen Arsinoë, gods philopatores, has conferred all kinds of benefits on the temples as well as those who dwell in them, and in general on all those who are under his dominion: that being a god, the offspring of a god and goddess, like Horus the son of Isis and Osiris, the avenger of Osiris, his father, and, eager to manifest his zeal for the things that pertain to the gods, he has consecrated great revenues to the service of the temple, in money as well as grain, and expended large sums in restoring tranquillity to Egypt, and constructing temples therein:

“That he has neglected no means in his power of performing humane deeds; that in order that in his kingdom the people and all the citizens generally might possess an abundance, he has repealed some of the tributes and taxes established in Egypt, and diminished the weight of the remainder; that he has, besides, remitted all that was due him from the rents of the crown, either from his subjects, the people of Egypt, or those of his other kingdoms, though these rents were of considerable amount; that he has released all those who were imprisoned and condemned for a long time;

“That he has ordered that the revenues of the temples, and the rents paid them annually in grain, as well as in money, together with the portions reserved for the gods from the vineyards, the orchards, and all other places to which they had a right from the time of his father, should continue to be collected in the country;

“That he has dispensed those who belong to the sacerdotal tribes from making an annual journey to Alexandria [Pg 69] (the seat of royalty after the accession of the Lagides);

“That he has bestowed many gifts on Apis, Mnevis, and other sacred animals of Egypt;...

“It has, therefore, pleased the priests of all the temples of the land to decree that all the honors due King Ptolemy, still living, the well-beloved of Pthah, the divine Epiphanes, most gracious, as well as those which are due to his father and mother, gods, philopatores, and those which are due to his ancestors, should be considerably augmented; that the statue of King Ptolemy, still living, be erected in every temple and placed in the most conspicuous spot, which shall be called the statue of Ptolemy, the avenger of Egypt. This statue shall be placed near the principal god of the temple, who shall present him with the arms of victory, and all things shall be arranged in the most appropriate manner; that the priests shall perform three times a day religious service before these statues; that they adorn them with sacred ornaments; and that they have care to render them, in the great solemnities, all the honors which, according to usage, should be paid the other gods....

“And in order that it may be known why in Egypt we glorify and honor, as is just, the god Epiphanes, most gracious monarch, the present decree shall be engraved on a stela of hard stone, in sacred characters and in Greek characters, and this stela shall be placed in every temple of the first, second, and third classes existing in all the kingdom.”[18]

When we remember that the rule of the Greek conquerors had already been established in Egypt one hundred and thirty-six years, we judge, from the manner the Egyptian priests expressed themselves, of the persistent strength of this social organization imposed on the successors of Alexander in spite of all their power.

Therefore, says Champollion-Figeac, “the monuments of the times of the Ptolemies may be considered a key to the times of the Pharaohs, and the account of the ceremonies celebrated at the coronation of these Greek kings may very suitably be applied, by changing the names, to the kings of the ancient dynasties.”



As we have already seen (Book I., chap. ii.), the profession of arms, as well as all other pursuits, was hereditary in Egypt, and those who followed it formed a distinct body still more numerous than that of the priests. They owned a part of the land, but were forbidden to cultivate it or to pursue any industrial labor. The fertile land assigned to every head of a family in the division which, according to Herodotus, was made under the first kings, was tilled by the laborers. It is easy to perceive the evils of this system, which for ever withheld from agriculture a multitude of young and vigorous arms. Herodotus estimates the number of the calasiries and hermotybies (the names of the warriors) at 410,000. We should doubtless modify the information given Herodotus by the priests, who had motives for exaggerating before a stranger the military forces of the country. But it is no less true that the number of able men withheld from agriculture by the Egyptian system must have been considerable. On the other hand, notwithstanding the numerous gymnastic exercises to which they were subjected, these exercises could not [Pg 70] have been as efficacious as agricultural pursuits in developing strength.

Wishing to elevate the noble profession of arms, they disparaged manual labor, and gradually left to slaves not only the trades, but even the agricultural pursuits so necessary to the existence and prosperity of a nation. Thanks to the salutary rule of hereditary professions, agriculture and other labor could not be entirely left to slaves, but labor alone attaches man to the soil; and there came a day when the military class was rooted out and transplanted beyond Egypt, which was left defenceless to its enemies. This is an important point in the history of the country which has not been sufficiently remarked.

Psammetichus, the head of the Saïte dynasty, was, it is said, the first king of Egypt who dared shake off the yoke of the laws imposed from time immemorial on royalty.[19] Relying on an army of foreign mercenaries, Arabians, Carians, and Ionian Greeks, he was not afraid of violating the privileges of the military class, and thus a revolution was effected in Egypt which became fatal to the country. “Two hundred and forty thousand Egyptian warriors revolted.... They therefore conferred together, and with one accord abandoned Psammetichus to go among the Ethiopians. Psammetichus, hearing of it, pursued them. When he overtook them, he implored them for a long time not to abandon their gods, their wives, and their children. Then one of them replied that everywhere ... they could find wives and children.”[20]

There are such bold colors in the picture of Herodotus that modesty requires us to efface them, but we may say that he depicts to the life the brutal cynicism into which idleness had caused the military class to fall. Whatever their wrongs on the part of the king, it is difficult to allow they were right in carrying their resentment so far as to abandon their religion, their families, and their country. When, less than a century after, the Persians, led by Cambyses, invaded the land, the unarmed nation could offer no resistance, and Egypt was devastated. It had not recovered from this disaster when it fell into the power of Alexander.

The military system of ancient Egypt possessed, nevertheless, several advantages which should be noticed.

First: Exemption from military service ensured the tillers of the soil complete stability to their occupation, so that war did not, as among modern nations, hinder the cultivation of the land by enrolling the ablest part of the population and endangering the subsistence of the country.

On the other hand, the possession of landed property guaranteed the patriotism of the soldiers, who, as Diodorus justly remarks, defended their country with all the more ardor that they were at the same time the safeguards of their own property. Finally, the perpetuity of the military service in the [Pg 71] same families must have singularly favored the development of the art of war, respect for discipline, and the maintenance of an esprit de corps in the army. After the expulsion of the Hyksos, the Egyptians, inured to war by their long struggles against these foreign invaders, obtained great victories in Asia, under their kings, Ahmes (Amosis), Thothmes III., and Rameses II., called the great Sesostris by the Greeks. The military pre-eminence of Egypt is attested by the Holy Scriptures in the prophecies of Isaiah respecting her downfall.

It was by war and the public works that the Pharaohs shed so brilliant a glory over Egypt, but we know how dearly this glory cost the nation, whose traditional characteristic was eminently pacific. Nevertheless, it would be unjust to make the king solely responsible for the ruinous wars that ended in the conquest of Egypt. The defect we have referred to in the constitution of the military class must have greatly contributed to this fatal result. The forced inactivity of its families made them a ready instrument for the ambition of the kings, who found a benefit in turning their attention from internal affairs and directing the activity of so powerful a body to distant expeditions.

Under the eighteenth dynasty, and particularly under the reign of Thothmes III., Egypt extended the power of its arms to a great distance. We see this prince, according to a contemporary inscription, “establishing his frontiers where he pleased.” The pictures graven on the walls of two chambers recently discovered in the temple of Deir-el-Bahari, at Thebes, a monument erected by the regent Hatasou, sister of Thothmes III. (the eighteenth dynasty), show the conquered people putting on board the Egyptian fleet the booty taken after battle. Here are giraffes, monkeys, leopards, arms, ingots of copper, rings of gold. There are entire trees, probably of a rare species, the roots of which are enclosed in large boxes filled with earth. The vessels themselves merit our attention. They are large, solidly built, and impelled either by sails or oars. A numerous crew covers the deck. Thanks to the care which the Egyptian artist took to indicate the disposition of the masts, sails, and even the knots of the complicated cordage which bound together the different parts of the vessel, we have a clear idea what a vessel belonging to the Egyptian navy was four thousand years ago.

“In another chamber of the same temple are scenes of as great an interest. The Egyptian regiments are advancing with gymnastic steps and entering Thebes triumphantly. Each soldier has a palm in his left hand; in his right is a spear or battle-axe. Before them sound the trumpets. Officers are bearing the standards, surmounted by the name of the victorious regiment.”[21]

It was from the military class, according to Manethon, that sprang the first dynasty, which commences with Menes, the leader of the armies. From this king to Psammetichus, the founder of the twenty-sixth dynasty—that is, for more than two thousand years—a strict alliance existed between the army and the throne. This makes the following passage from Herodotus worthy of attention: “They (the warriors) enjoy by turns the following advantages: Every year a thousand calasiries and as many hermotybies form the king’s guard. They daily receive, besides their lands, five mines of baked bread, two mines of beef, and four cups of [Pg 72] wine. This is what the guards receive.”

By this truly monarchical system, to which we venture to call the attention of the sovereigns who wish to retain their crowns, the whole army corps, and all the members of the military class, were successively admitted to the honor of guarding the sacred person of the king, which must have singularly augmented their devotedness and fidelity. This system had the great advantage of dissipating all feelings of envy with which privileged corps are regarded.

The Egyptian monarch doubtless found a solid support in this intimate union with the military class from which it sprang. King Psammetichus, the founder of the Saïte dynasty, was guilty of the capital fault of employing foreign troops, and violating the civil rights of the native soldiers. He thus caused the emigration of the entire national forces which we have already signalized as one of the principal causes of the downfall of Egypt.

From the time of the Persian conquest, the glorious rôle of the great Egyptian army was ended. History only mentions after this the exploits of the navy. Herodotus relates that Egypt furnished two hundred vessels for the fleet assembled by Xerxes for the subjugation of Greece. “The Egyptians,” says he, “had barred helmets, convex bucklers with a wide bordure, spears for naval combats, and great battle-axes. Most of them wore cuirasses and long swords. Such was their equipment.”

This fleet valiantly sustained the national honor, for the same historian adds a little further on: “In this combat (that of Artemisium, which preceded the great naval battle of Salamis) the Egyptians made themselves conspicuous among the troops of Xerxes; they did great things, and took five Greek vessels with their equipages.”



The wisdom of the Egyptian laws was everywhere admired in ancient times. “I would remind the reader, accustomed, perhaps, to regard the early history of Egypt as fabulous or somewhat uncertain, that obscurity rests on some points of its chronology, and the name and succession of some of the kings, but not on its legislation, the wisdom of which was admired by antiquity; and its effect on the power and genius of the Egyptian nation is attested by the monuments still in existence.[22] Holy Scripture itself seems to ratify this eulogium in saying that “Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was powerful in his words and in his deeds.”[23]

Unfortunately, all the Egyptian laws have not come down to us, and we have to resort to the incomplete testimony of Herodotus and Diodorus. But, as M. de Bonald states, it is easy to recognize the general spirit of this legislation, which constantly contributed to stability by the maintenance of ancient customs, evidently borrowed from patriarchal traditions, and by the widest application of the hereditary principle extending to every grade of society. The details we have given concerning the constitution of the family and about property, the distinction between the sacerdotal, military, agricultural, and working classes, as well as concerning royalty, appear sufficient to give the reader an approximate [Pg 73] idea of the civil and political laws of the ancient Egyptian monarchy.

No trace has yet been found of the municipal rights in ancient Egypt, but there is reason to believe that cities as powerful as Thebes, Memphis, Elephantine, Tanis, etc., had institutions suited to the genius of their inhabitants.

Each dynasty took for its capital the city from which it sprang. Thus the two first dynasties established the seat of government at Thinis and Memphis; the fifth at Elephantine; and the sixth at Memphis. Thebes only became the capital from the time of the eleventh dynasty.[24] Owing to this excellent custom, no city, under the ancient monarchy, could preserve its ascendency and attract all the sources of power in the country. Thinis, Memphis, Elephantine, Thebes, Tanis, Saïs, etc., were by turns the capitals of the kingdom, the centres of national activity, and the seats of sovereign power.

As to the financial laws, history has transmitted several the wisdom of which makes us regret the more those that have not come down to us. The object of the first was to proscribe idleness, which the Egyptians rightly regarded as a social evil. “Amasis,” says Herodotus, “is the author of the law which obliges every Egyptian to show annually to the governor of his nome (province) his means of subsistence, and they who did not obey, or did not appear to live on legitimate resources, were punished with death. Solon, the Athenian, having borrowed this law from the Egyptians, imposed it on his fellow-citizens, who still observe it and think it faultless.”

The Egyptians, then, recognized this fundamental law—that man should live by the fruit of his labor, and we see with what rigor they enforced it.[25] In a well-regulated nation, where there is work for every one, no one, indeed, should be allowed to live at the expense of the community. The protection afforded human life in Egypt allows us to suppose that capital punishment was reserved for those who obstinately refused to gain their livelihood by labor or other honest means. We know from Herodotus that woman, as well as man, was subjected to the great law of labor. “The women go to market and traffic, the men remain at home and weave. Everywhere else the woof is brought up, the Egyptians carry it under. The men carry burdens on their heads, the women on their shoulders.”[26]

The weaker sex was better protected from the violence of human passions than among other nations. “The laws concerning women were very severe. Those who violated a free woman were mutilated, for this crime was considered inclusive of three great evils, insult, corruption of morals, and confusion of children. For adultery without violence, the man was condemned to receive a thousand stripes, and the woman to have her nose cut off—the lawgiver wishing her to be deprived of the attractions she had availed herself of to allure.”[27]

We see the powerful protection assured to the family by the Egyptian laws in making woman respected and obliging her to respect herself.

Human life was equally protected. “He who saw on the way a man struggling with an assassin, or enduring violent treatment, and did not aid him when in his power, was condemned [Pg 74] to death.” “He who had wilfully murdered a free man or a slave was punished with death, for the laws wished to punish not according to the degree of rank, but the intention of the evil-doer. At the same time, their care in the management of the slaves kept them from ever offending a free man.[28]

The law respecting loans was no less remarkable. It was forbidden those who lent by contract to allow the principal to more than double by the accumulation of the interest. Creditors who demanded pay could only seize the goods of the debtor. Bodily restraint was never allowed. For the legislator considered goods as belonging to those who acquired them by labor, by transmission, or by gift, but the individual belonged to the state, which, at any moment, might claim his services in war or in peace. It would, indeed, be absurd if a warrior, at the moment of battle, could be carried off by his creditor, and the safety of all endangered by the cupidity of one. It appears that Solon introduced this law at Athens, giving it the name of seisactheia,[29] and remitted all debts contracted under restraint. Most of the Greek legislators are blamed, and not without reason, for forbidding the seizure of arms, ploughs, and other necessary utensils, as pledges of debts, and for permitting, on the other hand, the privation of the liberty of those who made use of these instruments.

It is evident that civilized nations, from the earliest times, sought to oppose and repress the dangerous evil of usury, which inevitably leads to the oppression of the laborer and the degradation of labor. But the Egyptians had an efficacious means of ensuring the payment of debts—in depriving those of sepulture who died without satisfying their creditors. In such a case the body, after being embalmed, was simply deposited in the house of the deceased and left to the children. “It sometimes happens,” says Diodorus, “that, owing to the prevailing respect for the memory of parents, the grandchildren, becoming wealthier, paid the debts of their ancestor, had the decree of condemnation revoked, and gave him a magnificent funeral.” The same author adds, “It is common to give the body of a deceased parent as the guarantee of a debt. The greatest infamy and privation of sepulture awaited those who did not redeem such a pledge.”

“Under the reign of Asychis,” says Herodotus, “the Egyptians made a law allowing a person to borrow by giving in pledge the body of his father. An additional clause allowed the lender to dispose of the sepulchral chamber of the borrower, and, in case of refusal to pay the debt, he who had given such a pledge incurred the following punishment: in case of death, the impossibility of obtaining burial either in the paternal sepulchre or in any other, and the interdiction of burying any one belonging to him.”

This singular custom of pledging a dead body could only exist in Egypt, where it was a religious obligation to preserve the body, and an infamy not to give funeral honors to deceased parents.

The administration of justice in Egypt excited the admiration of the philosophers and legislators of antiquity. Diodorus, who studied their system, found it superior to that of other countries. To enable the reader to judge for himself, we shall give the essential details concerning [Pg 75] it. “The Egyptians,” says he, “have carefully considered the judicial power, persuaded that the acts of a tribunal have a twofold influence upon social life. It is evident that the punishment of the guilty and the protection of the injured are the best means of repressing crime. They knew, if the fear of justice could be done away with by bribes and corruption, it would lead to the ruin of society. They therefore chose judges from the chief inhabitants of the most celebrated cities, Heliopolis, Thebes, and Memphis. Each of these cities furnished ten, who composed the tribunal, which might be compared to the Areopagus of Athens or the Senate of Lacedæmon. These thirty judges chose a president from their number, and the city to which he belonged sent another judge to replace him. These judges were supported at the expense of the king, and their salary was very considerable....”

The plaintiff in person stated his grievances, and the accused defended himself. There were no counsellors, “the Egyptians being of the opinion that they only obscure a cause by their pleadings.... In fact, it is not rare,” adds Diodorus, “to see the most experienced magistrates swayed by the power of a deceitful tongue, aiming at effect, and seeking only to excite compassion.”

This organization seems adapted to secure the equity and impartiality desirable in the administration of justice. The selection of the judges from the principal citizens of the country, and their large salaries, guaranteed their ability and independence. At the same time, the restricted number of judges shows how rare lawsuits were in Egypt. It must have been so in a nation so wisely governed, in which order and peace reigned among all classes and in all families, and where the interests of every one were guaranteed and protected.

The study of the inscriptions shows that the civil offices were filled by citizens belonging to the sacerdotal and military classes.[30] Were these functions hereditary? The stability of the Egyptian institutions allows us to believe the transmission of the public duties must have been generally by inheritance.

A monument in the museum of Leyden shows us a family of the beginning of the twelfth dynasty, which for many successive generations was employed in the distribution of water in the district of Abydos.[31] But more important duties, requiring greater personal capacity or a special commission from public authority, must have been at the nomination of the kings or the governors of the nomes.

“A great number of administrative reports and fragments of registers of the public accounts are found in the papyri still preserved.

“The services employing the greatest number, and the most able men, were those of the public works, the army, and the administration of the revenues of the kingdom. Coined money was unknown,[32] all the taxes were collected in kind. There were three divisions on the land according to the nature of the rents: the canal (maou) paid its tribute in fish, the arable land (ouou) in cereals, and the marshes (pehou) in heads of cattle. A register was carefully kept, with an account of the changes, a statement of all the kinds of land in each district, and the names of the owners.

“... Many contracts of [Pg 76] sales and rents of land and houses, drawn up on papyrus, have been found among the family papers of the dead. They show with what guarantees and careful formalities property was protected in ancient Egypt.”[33]

By this sketch, however incomplete, of the laws and institutions of ancient Egypt, we see they were, as Bossuet says,[34] “simple, full of justice, and of a kind to unite the nation. The best thing among all these excellent laws was—that every one was trained to observe them. A new custom was a wonder in Egypt. Everything was done in the same manner, and their exactness in little things made them exact in great ones. Therefore, there never was a people that preserved its laws and customs a longer time.”



We shall now give a brief review of the social and political institutions of ancient Egypt.

The priesthood, the guardian of religion and the laws, and the promoter of morality, was rendered perpetual by hereditary transmission in the sacerdotal families.

The army, the guardian of civil and political life, and the maintainer of order, was rendered perpetual by hereditary transmission in the military families.

Labor, the source of national and individual vigor, was rendered perpetual by the hereditary transmission of the agricultural or industrial pursuits in the families of the agriculturists and artisans.

Authority, the organ of the national will, was maintained in its unity and perpetuity, by hereditary transmission in the royal family.

And all these classes, all these families, were guaranteed in their independence by the unchangeableness of their members, and the proprietorship of the soil and the trades.

Such were the foundations of the social constitution of Egypt.

With such fine order, to borrow the language of Bossuet, there was no place for anarchy or oppression. In fact, society was preserved from the abuse of power by the fundamental law of hereditary professions, which, ensuring to each family a fixed employment and an independent existence, prevented the arbitrary changes of men and property, so that opposition was not, as M. de Bonald happily says, in men, but in the institutions.[35]

It was by this combined action of the different social grades, that is, of royalty, the priesthood, the army, and the corporations devoted to manual labor, that Egypt attained such a degree of civilization, which left so great an impress on the ancient world, and the vestiges of which still appear so worthy of attention.

In consequence of this wise and powerful organization, peace and harmony seemed to have a long and unbroken reign in Egypt. The first symptoms of disorder and tyranny only appear under the kings of the fourth dynasty. When the knowledge of the true God was almost effaced from the memory of man, the kings, regarded with religious veneration, set themselves up for gods, and [Pg 77] pride, the source of despotism, entered their hearts. After overthrowing, or at least changing, the nature of the national religion, they favored with all their might the introduction of polytheism, which placed them on the altars, and gave a divine authority to their power. “The priests informed me,” says Herodotus, “that, until Rhamsinite, equity prevailed in Egypt, and the prosperity of the country was great. But after him Cheops (Khoufou, the builder of the great pyramid) reigned, and the people suffered all kinds of miseries. First, he closed the temples and forbade the offering of sacrifices; then he forced the Egyptians to labor for him.” This tradition of the impiety of the first designer of the pyramids is found in the extracts from Manethon, but with an important addition: “Suphis, who built the largest pyramid, attributed by Herodotus to Cheops, was at first a despiser of the gods, but he afterward repented and wrote a sacred book, greatly esteemed by the Egyptians.”[36]

This assertion of the national historian is confirmed by the discoveries of modern science. A stone found near the great pyramids contains a valuable inscription respecting the ancient history of Egypt. “It appears from this inscription,” says Mariette, “that Cheops restored a temple already standing (dedicated to Isis), assigning revenues to it in sacred offerings, and replaced the statues of gold, silver, bronze, and wood, which adorned the sanctuary....

“We see by this,” adds the learned archæologist, “that, even at that extremely remote period, Egyptian civilization shone forth with the greatest brilliancy.”[37]

We also see that the royal despotism could not long prevail against the powerful social organization of which we have given a sketch, for, in re-establishing the worship of Isis, Cheops doubtless restored at the same time the national institutions, the violation of which has left so marked a trace in the historic traditions of Egypt.

To show our impartiality, we ought to state that many modern historians have judged Egyptian royalty much more severely than we. Among them, M. François Lenormant may be particularly mentioned.

“From the time of the oldest dynasties,” says he, “we see existing this boundless respect for royalty, which became a genuine worship, and made Pharaoh the visible god of his subjects. The Egyptian monarchs were more than sovereign pontiffs, they were real divinities.... They identified themselves with the great divinity Horus because, as an inscription says: ‘The king is the image of Ra (the sun-god) among the living.’

“It is easily understood what a prestige was given to the sovereign power in Egypt by such an explanation of royalty. This power, already so great among the Asiatic nations adjoining that country, assumed the character of genuine idolatry. The Egyptians were, with respect to their king, only trembling slaves, obliged by religion even to blindly execute his orders. The highest and most powerful functionaries were only the humble servants of Pharaoh.... For this régime to last so many ages with no notable modification, the Egyptians must have been profoundly convinced that the government they were under emanated from the divine will.[38]

[Pg 78] Egyptian society stood on so firm a basis that it could be oppressed, but not overthrown, by the despotism of its kings. Property was so well secured by the general law of inheritance, the sacerdotal and military aristocracy was so firmly established in its independence, that the first excess of power only affected the laboring classes. Unable to dispose of the property of their subjects, the kings appropriated, as J. J. Rousseau justly remarks, “rather men’s arms than their purse.” It was thus they effected the gigantic work of erecting the pyramids by the enforced labors of a whole nation. Property was spared, but humanity was oppressed.


[12] Diodorus. History thus confirms the Scriptures: “From that time unto this day, in the whole land of Egypt, the fifth part is paid to the king, and it is become as a law, except the land of the priests, which was free from this covenant” (Gen. xlvii. 26). This privilege was not always preserved. The Rosetta inscription informs us that the sacred lands paid annually into the royal treasury an artabe for each aroure of land, and an amphora of wine for every aroure of vineyard.

[13] Egypte ancienne, p. 111.

[14] Chemistry comes from Chemi—which means Egypt.—Tr.

[15] We have borrowed from Champollion most of this account of the services rendered by the priesthood to the Egyptian nation. It is true, it only gives the favorable side of that class, but, in speaking of the religion of the country, we shall endeavor to complete the picture and present it in its true light.

[16] The Rosetta Stone was among the valuable antiquities collected by the French expedition into Egypt, and given up to the English at the surrender at Alexandria. It was of black basalt, about three feet by two. The inscription on it was in three kinds of writing: the hieroglyphic, the demotic or enchorial, and the Greek. The upper and lower portions of the stone were broken and injured, but the demotic inscription was perfect. The Greek inscription was a key to the others, from which a complete hieroglyphic alphabet was composed.—Tr.

[17] Of the reign of Ptolemy.—Tr.

[18] From Champollion-Figeac’s translation.

[19] “The priests represented Psammetichus as the first Egyptian king to violate the sacerdotal rule limiting the king’s ration of wine.”—Strabo, Geogr. xvii.

[20] Herodotus, ii. Diodorus confirms this account, but its authenticity has been disputed by declaring that “the garrison of Elephantine, comprising only some hundreds or thousands of warriors, was the only one that could escape into Ethiopia.” It was doubtless easier for this garrison to cross the frontier which it was appointed to guard; but, supposing the Egyptian soldiers, dissatisfied with the violation of their privileges, had concerted among themselves, as Herodotus declares, we do not see how King Psammetichus could have hindered the departure of so formidable an army. Besides, Herodotus adds that he saw in Ethiopia a people known under the name of Automoles (deserters), descendants of these Egyptian warriors. This testimony is the more credible because Herodotus made the journey not more than 150 or 160 years after the death of Psammetichus.

[21] Mariette.

[22] De Bonald, Théorie du Pouvoir, i. 170.

[23] Acts of the Apostles, vii. 22.

[24] Mariette: Aperçu de l’Histoire d’Egypte, pp. 10 and 19.

[25] St. Paul says: “Qui non laborat non manducet.”

[26] Herodotus, lib. ii.

[27] Diodorus, lib. i.

[28] Diodorus, lib. i.

[29] From σείω, I shake off, and ἄχθος, burden. See Plutarch, Life of Solon, xiv.

[30] Ampère, Des Castes, etc., dans l’ancienne Egypte.

[31] Letter from M. de Rougé à M. Leemans, Revue Archéol., vol. xii.

[32] We have seen by the law respecting loans, attributed to King Bocchoris, that coined money was known to the Egyptians at least eight centuries B.C.

[33] F. Lenormant, Manuel d’Hist. ancienne.

[34] Discours sur l’Hist. univ.: “The Egyptians observe the customs of their fathers, and adopt no new ones,” says Herodotus.

[35] Théorie du Pouvoir, vol. i. book 1. From this work, now consulted so little, but nevertheless full of remarkable views respecting the different systems of social organization, we have taken the plan of this étude of the political institutions of ancient Egypt.

[36] Eusebius, apud Sync. vol.

[37] Notice du Musée de Boulaq, p. 185.

[38] F. Lenormant, Manuel d’Hist. anc., vol. i. p. 334.


Most of our merchant readers will be able to recall a thousand pleasant reminiscences or anecdotes of the firm of Hawkins & Smith, wholesale cloth dealers, of our great metropolis. Mr. Hawkins is the dapper, fluent, old English gentleman, who meets all callers upon the house. He appears to be the very life of the firm, and sells the counters and shelves as clean as his own smoothly shaved, fair little face. He is fond of boasting that he never kept a piece of goods through two whole seasons. He is the only member of the firm with whom our agents and correspondents are acquainted. Rarely, indeed, does it enter anybody’s head to inquire for Mr. Smith. But a silent, squarely-built, gray-eyed man, never to be seen in the salesroom, and only in the office at the earliest hours, looks as if he might be called Smith, or any other practically-sounding name; and on closer inspection this same individual appears to possess those qualities which would fit one to do and endure the grinding, screwing, and pounding, the stern refusing and energetic demanding, connected with the business of such a distinguished firm. Smith never boasts. He has a disagreeable way of chuckling, when he observes, before dismissing an idle employee, that he (Smith) came here (to New York) in his own schooner from home (Rhode Island) and, in six months, bought his share in the present business. Mr. Hawkins never alludes to him in conversation, but always greets him with marked respect, and, when late to business, with a nervous flush quite unpleasant to witness. It has been said by enemies of the firm that Hawkins is a first-class salesman because Smith does all the buying; and many quaint expressions have arisen regarding the fate of the American eagle whenever a certain coin passes between old Smith’s thumb and forefinger.

Any one who has so far penetrated the nether gloom of our first story salesroom as to peep behind the little railing on the high desk, has seen a tall, pale, blue-eyed young man, with closely-trimmed whiskers, bending over the gas-lit figures and folios, the mysteries of Hawkins & Smith. Five years in this Hades, wearing and [Pg 79] puzzling over the perpetual riddle before him, have worked a slight wrinkle just between his brows, and bent his thin figure, and even blanched his delicate hands and hollow cheeks; but he is no more a demon or ghost than you or I, or even Mr. Hawkins himself, but the jolliest and best of jolly good fellows. If you have long known Jack Peters, and acknowledged this, be civil to me, dear reader, henceforth, for his sake, for I am this book-keeper’s first cousin, George Peters.

Ask the boys in the first floor whom old Smith watches most. They will tell you, with a laugh, the new clerk at the first counter. Ask Mr. Hawkins whom he put at the first counter because he likes Jack Peters. He will answer, George Peters, his cousin. Ask Mr. Smith who the clerk at the first counter is. He will answer, “An infernal fool that Hawkins picked up, because he always wants a good-looking figure-head.”

This last remark is historical, and I quote it to illustrate many subjects which vanity, modesty, and respect for my employers alike render delicate to me, George Peters.

On a certain Monday evening in July last, Jack and I stood in the dread presence of Hawkins and Smith, in the inner circle of the gloom.

“Mr. Peters,” said Hawkins, looking at both of us as blandly as man could look in such a place, “we have both concluded that we can better spare you this week than next. Nothing will be going on, and so you had better be going off. Ah! ha! And you, my young friend, although it is not customary to grant vacation to such recent employees, had better go off, too, on account of your cousin—entirely on his account!” added the little gentleman, dexterously, glancing the last part of his speech from me to his partner.

Jack nodded his thanks, and I endeavored to thaw the cold stare of the junior partner by a warm burst of gratitude, not altogether feigned. His glance, indeed, altered, but only to a sneer, and the labials of the word “puppy” were so distinctly formed that I could scarcely keep from disarranging them by a hearty slap.

Feeling checked and snubbed, I walked with Jack out of the store, but soon these feelings gave place to the excitement of our vacation.

“Jack, are the ‘traps’ all packed?”

“Everything is ready; all we have to do is to get aboard the boat. Hawkins told me on Saturday that I might get ready, but that it was necessary to stay over Monday in order to get you off with me. So I left word at home to have everything sent down by the boy.”

We turned the corner, and, in a few minutes, were wandering through the cabins and gangways of the Albany boat. The “boy” on whom Jack had relied so confidently did not make his appearance until the last moment, and then professed utter ignorance of any lunch-basket. Jack was certain that he had put it with the trunk and satchels, and was but partially convinced when he found it, on our return, in the wardrobe of his bedroom. But we were on board of the St. John, and it only made a difference of two dollars in the cost of our supper.

Yes, dear reader, we were on board of the St. John, and moving up the Hudson; and, if you are pleased at finding us on our way at last, judge with what feelings we turned from the brick and stone of the great Babylon behind us to the towering palisades, the groves, and hills, and happy rural [Pg 80] sights about us. Jack and I were unable to get a state-room; all had been secured before the boat left the wharf. This, however, afforded little matter for regret, as we sailed through moonlight and a warm breeze beneath the gloomy Highlands, and watched the lights of the barges and tow-boats, like floating cities on the inky river. Scraps of history and romance were suggested at almost every turn of the winding channel, and as we passed old Cro’ Nest, the opening lines of the Culprit Fay were forcibly recalled:

“’Tis the middle watch of a summer night,
Earth is dark, but the heavens are bright,
And naught is seen in the vault on high
But the moon and stars, and the cloudless sky,
And the flood which rolls its milky hue,
As a river of light, o’er the welkin blue.
The moon looks down on old Cro’ Nest;
She mellows the shades on his shaggy breast;
And seems his huge gray form to throw
In a silver cone on the wave below.”

The white schooners went through their ghostly parts in a way that would have shamed Wallack himself. We thought the performance of the sturgeons fully equal, from an artistic point of view, and, certainly, less objectionable from every point of view, when compared with anything we ever saw at the ballet; and, yet, we remembered that men and women were sitting wide awake through these late hours in the hot and crowded theatres of the city. Thus we were consoled for the loss of a state-room. But even in this peaceful enjoyment of nature we were not without drawbacks, and in the chapter of accidents must be recorded how and why we lost our places on the forward deck.

Scarcely had the steamer left her dock, when we were startled by a voice inquiring “if there would be any intrusion in case a party of ladies and gentlemen desired to while away time by singing a few hymns?” Jack and I turned in our seats. The inquiry had proceeded from an elderly individual, of general clerical appearance, and certain marks strongly indicating the specific character of the “Evangelical” school. A pair of “sisters” hung upon either arm, and all three settled into chairs in the middle of the deck. His question had been addressed to about two hundred ladies and gentlemen who crowded the forward deck. There were evident marks of dissatisfaction, but, as nobody spoke, our “Evangelical” friend thought proper to conclude that nobody was offended, and the hymn-singing commenced. Gradually congenial spirits, drawn by the sound, were to be seen approaching from various parts of the boat, and when Jack and I returned from supper, we found about twenty or thirty in various stages of excitement, and our clerical friend wrought up to a high pitch. Another minister, with a strong but wheezy bass voice, announced and intoned the hymns. At intervals in the singing, our friend arose and addressed the spectators. At one time he informed them that the feeling which animated the present assembly was love to the Saviour. At another, he thought that perhaps there might be some present who knew nothing about the Saviour; to such he would apply the words of the apostle, “Be ye followers of me, as I am of Christ.” He said that he had been a child of God for thirty years, and knew by a certain assurance that he was a saved man. Hallelujah!

“Evangelical” blood was up, and our friend turned from the contemplation of his own happy lot to worry something or somebody. Jack’s cigar caught his eye. It was the red rag to the bull.

“Young man! there ain’t no [Pg 81] smokin’-car in heaven. There ain’t no for’ard deck where you can puff that stinkin’ weed of your’n!”

Jack expressed a forcible denial in an undertone, and, before I could nudge him, broke out with:

“I’d like to know what the Bible says against smoking?”

“You would, young man, would ye? Well, I’m glad you would. I’m glad you have asked that question. Well, sir, the Bible says, ‘Let no filthy communication proceed out of thy mouth’; and if that ar smoke ain’t a ‘filthy communication,’ I’d like to know what is.”

There was a general roar. “Come along, Jack,” said I, “you are a Papist, and can’t argue against a ‘free Bible.’” So, retiring to the after-deck, which was covered, and concealed much of the landscape, we left our Methodist friends triumphantly shouting and keeping folks awake up to a late hour.

As the night passed, and our fellow-travellers dropped off one by one to doze in their state-rooms or on the sofas of the cabins, we were left alone. Gradually we retired within ourselves, and shut the doors of our senses.

“Wake up, old fellow, we are nearly in!”

I opened my eyes, and saw Jack’s pale face smiling over my shoulders.

We landed at Albany, and after breakfast found ourselves settled in the Rensselaer and Saratoga cars, and, changing trains at Fort Edward, arrived at Glenn’s Falls in about three hours.

Jack, who had often made the trip before, had set me reading The Leather Stocking Series, and I positively refused to budge from the town of Glenn’s Falls until we had visited the rapids and descended into the cave which Cooper has immortalized in the first chapters of his most interesting romance, The Last of the Mohicans. The falling in of the rock at different periods, and the low stage of the water in the summer season, prevented us from recognizing the old shelter of Hawkeye and his party.

But there is the cave, and there are the rapids—both are shrines of American legend; and we felt better pleased with ourselves for our pilgrimage. Of course we had missed the stage which takes passengers from the station to Caldwell at the head of Lake George. We wandered a short time about town, found out that there were a number of Catholics in it, and that its president, Mr. Keenan, was a well-known Irish Catholic. We also visited a beautiful church, the finest in the town, recently completed by Father McDermott, the pastor of the English-speaking Catholic congregation, there being also a French-Canadian parish in the place.

As may be easily imagined, we had no mind to walk over to the lake, or to pay ten dollars for a vehicle to carry us as many miles, and Jack was beginning to grumble at my curiosity when we met a farmer’s wagon—with a farmer in it, of course. The latter offered to take us over for fifty cents a head, as he was going in the same direction. Never was there a better piece of good luck. There are several Scotch families settled on French Mountain, at the head of the lake; our driver was one of their patriarchs. He literally poured out funny stories of the “kirk” and “dominie”; and although some of the jokes were very nearly as broad as they were long, Jack and I were forced to hold our sides while the “gudeman” sparkled and foamed, like a certain brown export from his native country.

During a momentary lull in the conversation, I took occasion to inquire with respect to a black woolly-coated [Pg 82] dog, who followed the wagon, if he were a good hunter. “Yes,” said Jack, with a contemptuous smile at the subject of my inquiry. “He is what is called a beef-hound.”

“Hoot, mon,” said his owner, “that dog would tree a grasshopper up a mullen-stalk.”

It was in no sad or poetical mood that we passed by “Williams’s Monument” and the scene of Hendrick’s death and Dieskau’s defeat, or saw at “Bloody Pond” the lilies bending over the sedge and ooze which served of old as the last resting-place of many a brave young son of France. We did not think of the fierce struggle which had here confirmed our Anglo-Saxon forefathers in possession of this soil. All this comes up now as I write; for, certainly no sober thought entered our brains until, as we turned round a mountain-side, I saw Jack take off his hat. I looked in the direction of his respectful nod, and—oh! what a vision!—the deep blue lake sank from view in the embrace of the distant mountains. Its winding shores and secret bays, curtained with veils of mist hanging in festoons from boughs of cedar, birch, maple, and chestnut, were like enchantment in their endless variety of form and shade. No less the work of magic were the islands. These, owing to the reflection of the water, appeared to hang over its surface as the clouds seemed to hang over the peaks above. To stand suddenly in view of such a sight might have startled and awed even lighter souls than ours. Here, indeed, our hearts were lifted up and thrilled as we thought of the gray-haired apostle and martyr, the first European who sailed upon the water before us—the Jesuit Father Jogues, who also gave it on the eve of Corpus Christi its original name—Lac du Saint-Sacrament. Our Protestant tradition, following the courtier taste of Sir William Johnson, has handed down the name of Lake George, but we trust that the hope of every lover of American antiquity who has visited its shores may not prove vain, and that time, in doing justice to all, will restore to the lake its first true and lovely title.

A few small sails on the water, and the smoke from the village at our feet, broke the spell and reminded us that we were still among the haunts of man.

Caldwell is made up of a courthouse, several churches, stores, hotels, and shops, a saw-mill, and a few streets of separated dwelling-houses. The grand hotel is near the site once occupied by Fort William Henry, and is called by that name, and looks towards Ticonderoga, although the view is cut off midway by the windings of the lake. Old Fort George is overgrown with cedars and shrubs, and only a few feet of ruined bastion remain. The scene of the massacre of Fort William Henry is now, as nearly as we could reckon from Mr. Cooper’s description, a swamp. Time, however, is said to have greatly altered the topography of the shore at this point, and certainly it is hard to locate Montcalm’s old camping-ground during the siege described in The Last of the Mohicans.

Leaving such questions to the antiquarian, perhaps, dear reader, you will ask one with a practical regard for the present and future, namely, How do they provide for their guests at the Fort William Henry? Alas! that were indeed an ill-timed question for us. Perhaps, if I had asked the proprietor to allow me to report upon his fare in the pages of The Catholic World, he would have done so in a manner satisfactory to all parties; but, as no such brilliant idea occurred at that time, I am forced [Pg 83] to confess that I was afraid that it was too good. Be it said to our shame, we did not promenade upon the magnificent piazza, nor did we stop to taste the alluring fare of the Fort William Henry. What else did we come for? Why, to see Lake George, of course, and to have a good time; and we did both, although we went without lunch for some hours that day.

Scarcely had I claimed our baggage at the stage-office, when Jack came up from the beach with a radiant countenance. “It’s all right!” said he, “I’ve got just the boat we want. Five dollars for the rest of the week. Take hold of that trunk, and we’ll get under way as soon as possible.”

Perhaps, dear reader, in your wanderings through life it has never been your happy lot to be absolute master of the craft on which you are sailing. Do you think that you have fathomed the mystery of such lives as those of Captain Kidd and Admiral Semmes?

Do you imagine that life on the ocean wave means sleeping in a berth and pacing a quarter-deck? Ah! that was truly independence day to us. The wind blew fresh and strong. We hoisted our india-rubber blanket on an oar. Coats and collars were packed away in the satchel, our “worst” straw hats were pulled down over our eyes, and, as we sat with loosened flannel in the bottom of our heavy skiff, and listened to the rippling water, we quite forgot that it was past lunch-time. The warm south breeze, and that peculiar fragrance which popular fancy has associated with the name of cavendish, brought us in full sympathy with the naval adventurers of other days, and we blessed the memory of Sir Walter Raleigh, “as we sailed.”

The upper portion of the lake, through which we are now passing, though surrounded by hills, has enough farming land and farm-houses on their slopes to give it that placid, tranquil beauty which is always associated with views on the English waters. As it widened from three-quarters to as many full miles, we passed several beautiful residences, two of them belonging to Messrs. Price and Hayden of New York City. Opposite these, on the eastern shore, is a handsome property belonging to Charles O’Conor, Esq., one of the most distinguished members of the New York bar, and well known throughout the United States. Just abreast Diamond Island is the residence of Mr. Cramer, president of the Rensselaer and Saratoga Railroad, and while sailing past the lovely group of islands known as the “Three Sisters,” the property of Judge Edmonds, we saw beyond them the white walls of his cottage peeping out from the green foliage of the western shore, about three miles and a half from Caldwell.

As the sun sank below Mount Cathead, back of the pretty little village of Bolton, we landed on a little islet in the Narrows near Fourteen Mile Island.

I was quite curious to find out what preparations Jack had made, and lent a willing hand at the long narrow trunk. In the tray was a small cotton tent, made according to Jack’s own order, and slightly larger than the soldier’s “dog-house.” A keen little axe in Jack’s quick hand soon provided a pair of forked uprights and four little pins, an oar served for a ridge-pole, and our shelter was up before the sun was fairly below the real horizon. Out of the same tray came a quilt and two pairs of blankets, which I was ordered to spread on the india-rubber. My task accomplished, the smell of [Pg 84] something very much like ham and eggs recalled me to the beach. We supped, that night, by the light of our camp-fire, and it was only after a night’s heavy sleep that I was able to examine the rest of Jack’s outfit. A small mess-chest, which bore marks of his own clever fingers, occupied one division of the bottom of the trunk. The rest of it was shared by apartments for clothing, provisions, and a humble assortment of fishing-tackle and shooting material. The gun lay strapped to one side of the trunk, and a couple of rods on the other.

“Very neat, Jack,” said I.

“You are right; I built it myself, all except the walls and roof, seven years ago.”

I am sorry to confess that I did not get up that morning until breakfast was ready. Jack did not complain, but I saw by his quiet smile that some kind of an apology was necessary.

“Jack, I’m as stiff as a clotheshorse, and sore from head to foot.”

“Why,” he asked, “didn’t you dig holes for your hips and shoulders, as the Indians do?”

“The holes were all made, only they were in the wrong places.”

After breakfast, we broke up our camp and rowed over to Fourteen Mile Island. On the way we had another view of Bolton, behind us, and the countless islands in the Narrows, through which we were shortly to sail. The little village of Bolton lies on the western shore opposite Fourteen Mile Island. It contains a hotel, several boarding-houses, a pretty little P. E. church, and a forest of flags, every house seeming to have its own staff. One of the islands, near Bolton, was shown us as the point of view from which Kensett’s picture of the Narrows was painted. At Fourteen Mile Island we found a quiet little hotel, which serves as a dining-place for excursionists from Caldwell. A few regular boarders seemed to be enjoying themselves, and I noticed an artist’s easel and umbrella on the porch.

We soon left with a good supply of butter, eggs, milk, and fresh bread. After rowing a few miles through the maze of islands in the Narrows, one of which is occupied by a hermit artist named Hill, a “transcendentalist,” the wind arose, and we sailed under the shadow of Black Mountain through the wildest portion of the lake. On the western shore, savage cliffs were piled in utter confusion, now rising, like the Hudson River Palisades, in solid walls above a mass of débris, now hanging in gigantic masses over the crystal abyss below. On the eastern shore, Black Mountain rises above any other height on the lake, and the view which we beheld as we passed from Fourteen Mile Island down the Narrows is one of the finest in the world. Now we were drifting under the cliffs at the base of the mountain, and, looking up its abrupt sides—a series of rocky spurs covered principally with hemlocks and cedar—we saw two eagles soaring above the thin clouds which floated half-way up. Throughout this portion the lake varies from one to two miles in width.

Oh! what a cozy little nest in the hills at the northern end of Black Mountain! A few farms, and a sleepy old mill that looks as if it never was made to run, lie on the sunny slope retiring into the hills which forms a pass over to Whitehall. No wonder they call it the “Bosom!”

Here, in a little graveyard, we saw the tombstone of a Revolutionary soldier, and the old farm-house, at which we stopped for dinner, with its loom and spindle and bustling old housewife, formed a good specimen of that [Pg 85] phase of American life which is rapidly passing away for ever.

While our meal was being cooked, Jack disappeared with his rod. I had a long talk with the mistress of the house. She was a “Free-will Baptist” and very much opposed to the Irish and Catholics generally. Her objections to the former were thus curtly summed up, “The critters get rich off a rock, and have sich litters of children.”

During the ensuing conversation she remarked, “I have four sons, and every one of them professors.”

“Ah!” said I, in all simplicity, “they must be doing very well; but what do they teach?”

“Teach?—they don’t teach nothing. I said they were professors.”

“Well, then,” I asked, “what do they profess?”

“Why, professors of religion, of course,” answered the good dame—“every one of ‘em baptized in yon lake. Oh! it was a glor’ous sight!”

The good old lady—for she was past eighty—showed me her dairy, and apartments of the house which she said were usually occupied by boarders at this time of the year. She had woven all the carpets, quilts, towels, napkins, and table-cloths of the whole establishment, and everything looked very neat and old-fashioned.

“I’m mighty sorry you have to hurry off,” said she, “I could make you the nicest chowder you ever tasted. My man knows just where to get the fish. A few years ago we sent off, at once, one hundred and fifty pounds of clean lake trout.”

I, too, was sorry that we were obliged to hasten on our journey, as I thought, for the first time since we started, of Hawkins & Smith and a long year in the gloomy salesroom.

Jack came late for dinner with five small brook-trout in his hand.

“Hulloa, old fellow, where did you get those?”

“Oh! there’s a little pool on the hillside up yonder,” answered Jack, pointing as he spoke, “I always find two or three there.”

After paying for our dinner, visiting an Indian family who claim to be the genuine “Last of the Mohicans,” we bade farewell to our hostess and one of the “professors,” who had appeared in the meanwhile, and were again afloat. We passed Sabbath Day Point, about two miles above “The Bosom” on the opposite shore. The former derived its name from having served as a resting-place to Abercrombie’s expedition; it was the scene of several bloody skirmishes during the French and Indian war and also during the Revolution.

The lake now widens somewhat, and the mountains decrease in height. Two points of land overlapping from opposite sides close up the northern view and form a large circular basin opposite the little village of Hague, situated on the western shore about six or seven miles from the lower end of the lake. One of the points alluded to is a craggy spur which seems to spring directly out of the depths of the water; it is on the eastern shore, and is called Anthony’s Nose. The western point is a well-shaded lawn of about one hundred and fifty acres, with a winding irregular shore, and containing a number of large hickory and chestnut trees.

The robins were hopping about the lawn as we landed; the thrush, singing his vesper, made a special commemoration of the faithful newly arrived; the greedy cat-bird, a sleek-coated sharper, approached to see what was to be made off the strangers; while the politic red-squirrels, scampering off at sight of our tent to discuss the object and intent of this invasion, remained at a respectful distance [Pg 86] while Jack’s trout were frying over the little camp-fire now gleaming in the twilight.

Supper having been despatched, I heard Jack approaching, while engaged in washing the dishes on the beach—an occupation which time and place can often rob of all its offensiveness, wherefore, most delicate of readers, I am bold enough to mention it.

I looked at Jack from my towel and tin plates, and great was my astonishment to behold him in complete hunting-dress, gun in hand, and all accoutred for the chase.

“Why, Jack! what’s afoot?”

“No game yet,” he answered, smiling; “but I’m to leave you to-night.”

“What! to sleep here all by myself?”

“Why, yes—you are not afraid, are you?”

“No, not afraid exactly.”

“The fact is,” said Jack, “a fellow over at Hague promised me a deer-hunt last year, and if I can find him to-night I shall go out with him to-morrow. You can’t shoot, have no gun, and are not much of a walker, so I am sure you would be bored to death.” (I nodded.) Jack continued, “I will walk over to-night, and if I do not meet the hunter will be back bright and early to-morrow morning. If I do not come then, please row over for me to-morrow evening.”

“All right, mon capitaine.” And, with a wave of the hand, Jack departed, and I was alone.

The embers of the camp-fire began to brighten as the darkness fell. The birds and squirrels disappeared. The trunk was stowed safely together with its mess-chest and provisions, and the blankets were spread in the little tent; the milk-jug and butter-bowl were secured by stones in the water, in order to keep them cool. I began my rosary for night prayers, and roamed through the grove over to the northern side of the point, in full view of the steep promontory on the opposite shore. Beyond our own smooth camping-ground the western shore surged up again in all its former wildness. The beads passed slowly through my fingers, and it seemed as if the beauty and loneliness of the scene were absorbing all my faculties, and withdrawing me from instead of raising my thoughts to God and heaven.

Finally the moon arose. A thousand scattered beams shot through the dark foliage, and lit up patches of the lawn over which I had just passed. The wind had died away, and the light fell in unbroken splendor upon the broad mirror before me. The few thin clouds, veiling small groups of stars, the frowning cliffs and sombre woods—all were reduplicated in the unruffled water. Far to the south, Black Mountain closed up the view, which sank in the east behind the low ranges of hills, all dark below the rising moon. The last bead fell from my fingers, and praying God to forgive anything inordinate in my enjoyment of his creatures, I gave up to the intoxication of the scene. The hours passed rapidly while I dreamed of the days of Montcalm and Abercrombie, and saw in fancy the fleets of canoes and batteaux passing and repassing in victory and defeat the rocks upon which I was sitting. Had my mind ever reverted to the possibility of being obliged to give a public account of itself, I might have composed some lines, had some “thoughts,” or done something worth recording. Alas, dear reader, do not consider me rude if I confess that I did not think of you at that time. For, indeed, I did not think of anything, but left my fancy to be sported with by impressions [Pg 87] past and present of the lovely region in which I found myself a happy visitor. The cool night air brought the blood to my sunburnt cheeks. The landscape swam before me, the past mingled with the present; finally, the mist seemed to shroud everything. My watch was run down past midnght when I awoke, finding myself stretched at full length on the rock. I started—where was I? what had disturbed my slumber? Was it the war-whoop of the Mingoes, or the friendly greeting of Uncas and Chingacgook; but if so, where were the canoes? I raised myself slowly on my elbow, all wet with dew, dazed by sleep and the strange scene about me—when suddenly, under the shadow of the trees, and not one hundred feet distant, there rose from the water a shrill, fierce, devilish laugh, so wild and startling that I bounded to my feet and fairly screamed with fright. The next instant, a large bird appeared fluttering on the moonlit water beyond. “Pshaw!” said I, “didn’t you ever hear a loon before?” Thus addressing myself, I returned to the tent, and, stripping off my wet clothes, fell asleep in the blankets.

I do not know exactly what time of the day it was when I awoke the next morning. The sun was high, and my clothes and the tent perfectly dry; but I saw through its open door the steamer which leaves Caldwell at eight o’clock, and hence concluded that it was now between ten and eleven. I was glad enough that Jack did not appear to rebuke my laziness until I came to try my hand at cooking breakfast. The fire would smoke, and I could not hinder it; the ham would not broil, and I could not force it. The eggs, of course, were scorched, and so was my tongue when I tasted the coffee, which resembled a decoction of shavings and bitter almonds. Quietly emptying the coffee-pot on the grass, I contented myself with a cup of milk, which, however, showed strong premonitory symptoms of sourness; and after bolting a huge stock of raw ham and scorched eggs, made up my mind that this was to be the last meal without Jack.

It was very warm in the tent, so, taking the quilt and a certain small pouch of buckskin decked with wampum, I sought the shelter of the grove. Chestnut-burrs did not prevent me from choosing the shadiest spot, for my quilt afforded ample protection.

Here, with my back to the tree, I fell into a state which might easily have proved a continuation of my already protracted nap. It was not so, however. The bag of the medicine-man contains an antidote for prosiness after meals. Blue clouds of the inspiring fragrance curled in the still air, and the brain which might have succumbed to the vulgar humors of digesting pork maintained itself in a gentle, subdued, intellectual state. Had I some favorite author in my hand, some volume of pithy sentences furnishing themes for my morning meditation, or somebody’s “confessions”? Alas, dear reader, I am forced to make a confession myself, to wit, that there was not a line of printed matter in all our luggage.

Day-dreams and night-dreams are pretty much alike with me unless there be a trifle of brilliant imagination in favor of the latter. Still, if any stray thoughts wandered through my brain at this time, they must have been something like these: Why was it that the law of rest had to be superadded to the law of labor, if not because man has turned his wholesome penance into a debauchery? Avarice and ambition have gradually [Pg 88] mastered the human race, and he who would eat or hold his own must sweat and fight, or others will snatch it from him. By degrees, the struggle has grown and deepened. First, we were shepherds and tillers of the soil. Childhood passed in plenty and obedience. Ploughing and reaping came only in their seasons, and, while kings and princes tended flocks, labor was worship and life was not all drudgery—there was some time for happiness and God. Then came the curse of cunning and trade and cities. Here began a fiercer strife, and, instead of the accidental miseries of drought and famine, men learned to fear beggary. And, now that craft and commerce are supreme, slavery is universal. No more days of festival, no more years of jubilee! You, George Peters, wretch that you are, are the bond-slave of Hawkins & Smith. What! will you rebel? Well, it is only a choice of masters—serve you must. This pitiful vacation is only a device of old Smith to make you feel your real bondage. If, dear reader, you should perceive any other explanation of the facts which I so loosely jumbled together, remember that this was the reverie of a lazy youth, escaped from the thraldom of his counter, and basking in the fresh air and beauty of Lake George. If, branching off from the great labor question, I thought of anything else, it was to compare that beauty with what I had seen in pictures or read in books of other lakes. I have before alluded to the placid and tranquil English character of the scenery between Caldwell and Fourteen Mile Island. The farms and villas, and the town of Bolton, although lying on the western shore, add much to this effect, and serve to rob the eastern bank almost entirely of its natural air of uninhabited wildness. The sail-boats and skiffs and three little steamers continually plying about this portion of the lake, complete the impression that it is a place of pleasure, ease, and holiday. The Narrows, completely filled with islands, where every stroke of the oar reveals new vistas and endless changes of scene, I can compare with nothing, and, indeed, it would seem as if they were a unique creation. These extend for two or three miles to where Black Mountain begins. And as for the rest, my ignorance is also at a loss for a comparison, and I can only think of what Lake Como might have been if adorned with islands, if its peaks were lower and covered with foliage, and if the hand of man had never wrought upon its native beauty.

That evening I rowed over for Jack. He had not yet arrived, although the sun had set when I arrived, as agreed, at the little hotel at Hague. Something unusual was going on, and I made various guesses as to the reason why so many well-dressed maids and shaven yeomen were gathered on the porch. Seven o’clock came, and yet no Jack. I eagerly inquired after supper, resolved not to risk the chance of being obliged to depend upon myself for a cook. The dining-room had been cleared of every table save the one which I occupied, and shortly after I had come out from supper I saw the young people crowding into it. I had now begun to suspect what was the matter, when an honest-looking young gentleman, fresh and fragrant from a process to which he shortly afterwards urged and invited me, approached and said: “Stranger, you’re camping on the p’int?” To this piece of information I nodded a genial assent.

“Lookin’ for your pardner?” asked the pleasant young man. I nodded again. “Well, he’ll be in soon. [Pg 89] He’s gone out with a fellow that never misses this sort of thing.” I had previously formed my own notion of Jack’s companion, and a jolly flourish on a neighboring violin forestalled the necessity of inquiring as to the nature of the “thing” which exercised such an influence over him. The pleasant young man, however, became confidential, and added with an ingenuous air: “The fact is, we are going to shuffle the hoof a little to-night, and he never misses anything like that. You’d better come in and try it yourself.”

Then, becoming confidential in turn and glancing at my unpolished extremities, I suggested that perhaps the articles in question were not in a condition to be shuffled. Here it was that our sympathy culminated, and my friend, in a burst of intimacy, proffered the invitation before alluded to, with the words: “Come along and slick up.” I do not know into what folly I might have been seduced if my good angel Jack had not just then appeared and rescued me.

“How many deer, Jack?”

“Oh! we did not so much as start one,” he answered. And then asked, “Have you had anything to eat?”

On my reply, Jack said that he was glad, for he had just had his own supper in the kitchen. As we rowed back to camp, Jack fell asleep in the stern of the boat, while telling me how he had tramped in vain from early dawn till night.

Oh! how proud I felt next morning, when, after kindling the fire and putting on the kettle, I came back and found Jack still sleeping in the tent.

Dear old nervous Jack! who ever saw you asleep in daytime before?

Quick as the thought in my mind, he bounded up as freshly as one of the deer of which he had been dreaming.

“Caught!” he said, the old quiet smile lighting up his face as he came out and fell to work getting breakfast.

When we had finished our meal and laughed over the adventures of the precious day, Jack set me to catching grasshoppers, while he prepared the fishing tackle.

I found my occupation quite lively for a sultry morning, and not without a certain amount of adventure, as I also discovered, for one ignorant of the precise difference between a grasshopper and a hornet.

Finally, enough were caught and imprisoned in an empty wine-bottle to serve for bait, and Jack was sure we were going to catch a load of fish. My confidence in fishing was only in proportion to my experience, very meagre, and after several hours fruitlessly spent in trying various places, great was my astonishment when the lance-wood rod bent double in my hands, and the next instant a large fish appeared struggling on the surface of the water.

“Don’t lose him!” shouted Jack as he came forward, and snatched the rod out of my hands and landed the fish.

“A fool for luck!” said my cousin. “I beg your pardon, old boy, but there won’t be a better fish caught here this summer.” It proved to be a splendid specimen of black bass, and weighed, according to Jack’s estimate, every ounce of six pounds. Several smaller fish of the same species, together with a few small perch, were the result of our day’s sport. The big bass made a sufficiently large Friday dinner and supper; the other fish we saved for our last breakfast.

Alas! for some episode, before we row down to Ticonderoga and take the steamer on Lake Champlain to [Pg 90] Whitehall, and the cars thence to Albany and New York. Our tent did not blow away that night; and, although the storm beat fiercely, not a drop of water touched us, thanks to the little furrow which Jack had traced with a sharp stick, to carry off the drippings from the tent-cloth.

Starting bright and early next morning, we rowed past a steep smooth cliff running almost perpendicularly for about four hundred feet and then down into the lake.

“That’s ‘Rogers’s Slide,’” said Jack.

“The deuce it is! He must have worn a stout pair of pantaloons!”

“Oh! but he didn’t actually slide, you know!” replied Jack, and then proceeded to recount the famous escape of Major Rogers in 1758, who here eluded the pursuit of the Indians, and, having thrown his knapsack over the precipice, turned his snow-shoes and made off by another route.

In a few hours, we had left our little boat attached to the steamer to be taken back to Caldwell. A stage ride of several miles brought us to Ticonderoga and Lake Champlain. That same evening, at ten o’clock, we snuffed the hot and fetid breath of the great metropolis, and Monday morning saw us re-entering the shades of Hawkins & Smith. A word to Jack and a stare at me were the only greetings of the junior partner, as he passed through the salesroom.

“Ah, boys!” said the cheery Hawkins, “glad to see you; look as if you’ve been having a good time. Plenty of bone, muscle, and brown skin, eh? I guess Mr. Smith will think that it pays to give you such a rest. You haven’t been wasting your money at Long Branch or Saratoga, I’ll bet.”

Thus ended our summer vacation; and if we did not have enough adventure to pass for heroes, or bag enough game for sportsmen, or see enough sights for artists, or recall enough of the past for antiquarians, or measure miles and heights enough for the scientific—in short, if we appear as two vulgar and thoroughly commonplace clerks, smoking and boating through our holiday—take note, dear reader, that even such as we can take delight in Lake George; then, go and make the trip after your own fashion, and see if you can enjoy it more or better.

[Pg 91]


The diversity of race to be found in this republic, like its rapid and stupendous physical and mental development, is unparalleled in history. Great nations, such as Austria, Prussia, and Russia, it is true, have been called into existence in times comparatively modern, but they have been aggregations of smaller kindred states already established, attracted towards each other by mutual interests and tastes, or coerced into union by force of arms. With us, growth and greatness, originating at different times and at places widely separated, have been the result in the first instance of the establishment of a wise and comprehensive system of government, the benefits of which we were willing to share generously with the people of all nations; and next, to the alacrity and sincerity with which those people, acting on an impulse common to humanity, have accepted the advantages thus presented.

Looking back to the history of the migration of mankind from the cradle of the human race, we find that colonies, afterwards to become nations and the nuclei of distinct families, thrown off from the centre, presented each a unity of language and affinity of which the originators of our country had not the advantage. Even Greece, the graceful daughter of dusky Egypt, soon ceased to be Hellenic, and became, notwithstanding her many subdivisions, thoroughly Greek, and her colonies in Europe and Asia, when they ceased their connection with the mother country, were quickly absorbed in the surrounding peoples. The Roman Empire had no nationality, being simply the creature of force, and no matter how widely its boundaries were spread, all authority was lodged in Rome, and its subjects outside the walls of that city were comparatively or positively slaves, without any voice in the management of their own affairs, or a nationality to which they could lay claim. As the legions were withdrawn to the capital, the empire crumbled, and the disintegrated parts gradually resumed their original character. So with the splendid but short-lived empire of Charlemagne, The Goths, Vandals, Huns, and other European and Asiatic conquerors who from time to time overran different parts of Europe and founded dynasties, were simply waves of conquest overcoming and enslaving the previous inhabitants, subjecting them to the yoke of their own crude customs and laws, and building upon the ruins of one nation the greatness of another.

Far different was the origin of our republic. At the beginning, we had on our shores voluntary immigrants from the then four great maritime nations of Europe—Spain, France, Holland, and England. The colonists of each, from fortuitous circumstances, or led by peculiar predilections, selected for settlement certain portions of the continent, established themselves therein, and, while adhering to their parent country and following its laws, speaking its language, and practising its religion, early assumed a state of semi-independence.

These representatives of distinct nationalities, though few in numbers, grew prosperous each in its own territory, [Pg 92] for the reason that there was no idea of nationality, and consequently no unity of action, among the aborigines in their resistance to the new-comers. Supported by their home governments respectively, they grew from mere settlements to be important colonies, at peace with each other as far as their own individual relation was concerned, but always liable to be embroiled in the incessant quarrels of their countrymen at home. The sturdy Hollanders were the first to succumb to what might be called foreign influence; then the French settlers, deserted by France, laid down their arms before their English conquerors, who, in their turn, by the Revolution of ‘76, yielded their dominion to the Thirteen Colonies, which embraced within their limits much of the territory and most of the descendants of the original colonists of at least three of the nationalities which first effected settlements on the Atlantic coast. From this period we may date the origin of American nationality. In its infancy, it included nearly four millions of men of various races, creeds, opinions, and sentiments. For the first time in history was proclaimed the perfect equality before the law of all persons of European origin, as has since been extended that grand principle of human equality to men from every part of the earth. In forming a code for itself, it rejected what was contrary to this dogma, and adopted everything that was beneficial in all other forms of government. From Holland, it took the Declaration of Independence, that great manifesto of popular rights; from England, the writ of habeas corpus and trial by jury; from France and Spain, many of those equitable constructions of the civil law which regulate the rights of property and the domestic status of individuals. To all these were added the beneficent constitution under which we have the good fortune to live, and the many excellent laws, local and national, which, in conformity with that instrument, have been enacted from time to time.

But custom is said to be stronger even than law, and hence we can understand that the vivifying principle of the government itself was generated from the peculiar circumstances amid which the first settlers of America and their children found themselves, without local monarchical traditions, an hereditary aristocracy, or laws of primogeniture. With, as a general rule, little private fortune or means of subsistence other than that derived from manual labor and individual enterprise, the American colonist, no matter of what nation, was naturally disposed towards popular government, and to proclaim and admit general equality. It is undoubtedly to the existence of these robust social and economical habits in the early settlers—which, finding expression in their new-found political power, were embodied in the fundamental laws of the new nation by the fathers of the republic—that we are primarily indebted for the wise and moderate scheme of government we enjoy, and which it is our duty to preserve and perpetuate unimpaired to posterity.

It was thus by a combination of circumstances hitherto unknown that our country became clothed with all the attributes of nationality peculiar to itself—its subsequent progress, as we may presume its future greatness, having no parallel in the annals of other lands. That we are a nation, possessing an appropriate autonomy, capable of sustaining all the relations of war and peace with other countries, and exercising supreme authority over all our integral parts and individual members, no sane man uninfluenced [Pg 93] by the quibbles of mere lawyers or unswayed by the political passions of the day, will deny. Who would so deny, and maintain that this republic is a bundle of petty sovereignties in which the power of one is coequal to that of all the others combined, would reject the axiom of Euclid, that the whole is greater than its part. The true American, then, is he who keeps this principle of unity always in view. It gives dignity and strength to his country abroad, and assures peace, concord, and security at home. While allowing all possible latitude to subordinate members in the management of their domestic affairs, it reconciles and harmonizes the conflicting and sometimes antagonistic interests of different sections, concentrates on works of vast commercial and national importance the collective powers of all, directs the foreign policy of the government for the general good, and arrays the power of the people for the common protection and defence. True, some years ago, many persons held contrary opinions, and in the attempt to carry them out unhappily caused one of the most calamitous civil wars of modern times; but, like the tempest which sweeps over the gigantic oak, swaying its trunk and loosening the ground around it only that its roots may strike deeper and firmer into the earth, our country has passed through the storm unscathed and now rests on a basis firmer than ever. The past and its errors, however, we can easily forget; the future is ours; and who shall hold us harmless if we profit not by our dearly-bought experience and the lessons which every day teaches us?

One, and not the least potent, of the causes which led to that fratricidal struggle was the advocacy of what was called “manifest destiny,” which is simply a delusive, dangerous, and, in its application, very often a dishonest doctrine. It is not unnatural that in a young and sanguine republic, whose short history is so full of successes, many ardent propagandists of freedom should be found, who without calculating consequences would like to extend the benefits of our political system not only to the utmost confines of this continent, but over all Christendom; but this feeling, though creditable, is hardly one to be encouraged. It leads, as we have often seen, to a national lust for the acquisition of our neighbor’s territory, to the undue extension of our boundaries, disproportionate to even our ever-increasing population, and to the weakening of the bonds that hold together the comparatively settled states of the Union, by the bodily introduction of foreign elements into our polity at variance with our real interests. The annexation of Texas and the acquisition of our Pacific territory, though productive of many tangible advantages, were undoubtedly some of the remote, but, nevertheless, very important, influences which, operating on the public mind, tended to unfix our loyalty to the whole country, and to induce us to view the recent forcible attempt on its integrity with feelings somewhat akin to indifference. That enlargement of the national domain was so sudden and immense that men’s minds, accustomed to defined limits, failed to realize it. Patriotism is not a mere sentiment, but a love of something of which we have some accurate knowledge, whether associated with a particular race, locality, or historical record, or all together; and hence, when we could not understand how in one moment what we had thought was our country, the object of our affection and source of our pride, was extended thousands of miles and millions of acres, our imaginations [Pg 94] could not keep pace with the monstrous growth of the country, and we fell back on our native or adopted states, and felt prouder of being known as Virginians or Vermonters than of being United States citizens.

It is not at all improbable that posterity will see the whole of North America united under one government, but this consummation, so devoutly to be wished, to be permanent and salutary, must be the result of time and the observance of the laws of right and justice, for nations as well as individuals flourish or fade in proportion as they follow or despise virtue. It must also be when our population is not forty millions, as it now is, but quadruple that number, and when our sparsely settled territories are well filled with citizens, their resources in full process of development, and their varied interests assimilated with those of other portions of the country. Steam and electricity may do much to bring about such results, foreign immigration more, but a proper administration of our own laws, and a judicious, liberal, and conciliatory policy towards our American neighbors, most of all.

Happily for us, we are at present on terms of friendship with all nations, and, remote from Europe and Asia, we are not likely to become involved in the complications and disputes of the Old World. Still, no human penetration can foresee how long such a desirable state of accord will exist. The monarchical states of Europe are not very sincere friends of republicanism, and, should war occur between us and them, our greatest difficulty would be to defend our already too extensive frontiers from their attacks. Why, then, should we increase our danger by enlarging them? A good general never lengthens his lines unless he has proportionate reinforcements to maintain them.

As to becoming propagandists of republicanism in Europe, we think the attempt, in this century at least, would be both injudicious and useless. The impious atrocities and dark designs of the secret societies there, who profane the word liberty and blaspheme against all religion, have put so far back the cause of true freedom in the old countries that they who sincerely desire a more liberal system of laws are glad to seek under the shadow of despotism protection and security even at the sacrifice of their political liberties. If we truly wish for the spread of free institutions, let us use example rather than precept, and prove, by the honest administration of our own concerns, respect for the doctrines of Christianity, and, by proper regard for the rules laid down by the church, that republicanism has ceased to be an experiment, and has become a practical and glorious reality. Such a result would be an argument so cogent that no sophistry could refute it and no force could combat its logic. We must remember, also, that the greatest enemies of free government are not, after all, kings and nobles, but those deluded men who have banded themselves in every part of Europe, ostensibly as republicans, but secretly as the destroyers of all law and order. These men, it is well known, mock the inspired word of God and deny his very existence, contemn truth, ignore the first principles of justice, and scoff at the beautiful domestic virtues which bind the wife in affectionate duty to the husband, and the child in love and gratitude to the parent. Empires are governed mainly by force, republics through obedience, and yet those pretended apostles of freedom acknowledge no law except their own and that of their passions. [Pg 95] Human laws, no matter by whom made, or how just they may be in letter and spirit, are mere pieces of paper or parchment if the people are not disposed to obey them, and this disposition can only come through religion. For, as man is constituted, he becomes amenable to the operation of the divine law of obedience before he comes under the edicts of human legislation; in other words, he is a Christian or the reverse before he is a lawyer or responsible to the temporal law. “The characteristics of a democracy,” says Blackstone, “are public virtue and goodness as to its intentions;” and Napoleon I., though by no means as good a Christian as he was a far-seeing statesman, when about to reduce chaotic France to order and decency, found it necessary first to restore religion and recall her exiled priesthood.

Unfortunately for us, this spirit of irreligion is not confined to the other side of the Atlantic. We find it already making its way into American society, though as yet it assumes more the character of indifferentism. We call ourselves a Christian people, yet less than one-half of the entire community ever enter a church for devotional purposes from one year’s end to another. Recently, too, we notice, in our larger cities particularly, exhibitions of the same wicked spirit which animated the Carbonari and Socialists of Europe, and which reveals itself in many expressions of sympathy for the infamous Communists of Paris in the columns of some of our newspapers and the speeches of more than one prominent politician. This insidious danger to our venerated institutions ought to be closely watched and sternly repressed. It is opposed alike to private virtue and public morals, and, if ever allowed a controlling influence in the state, would sweep away every safeguard that stands between the citizen and the passions of the mob. No person who values the blessings of domestic peace or venerates the memories of our ancestors, no true American, can tolerate for a moment these communistic and socialistic designs which are creeping in amongst us, utterly foreign as they are to our soil and the genius of our people and government.

While thus excluding vicious principles from our shores, we ought to, as we have ever done, continue to welcome the oppressed and impoverished people of the Old World, and, as far as is consistent with the public safety, to extend to them every facility to a participation in the political as well as the material prosperity of the country. They are our relations. Very few of us, going back two or three generations, but will find that his ancestors were also immigrants, like those who to-day seek our protection and hospitality. Since the formation of our government, eight millions of them have made their homes in the young republic, helping to develop our resources, commerce, and manufactures, and always proving faithful to their obligations of allegiance in peace as well as in war. An enlightened and tolerant treatment of our immigrants is both charitable and wise; and the best evidence that we have profited by our superior political and educational advantages, is our readiness to make allowance for the intellectual defects and antiquated habits of those who have left home and country to join their lot with ours. The exclusion of any class of citizens from a participation in the benefits of our government, on account of religion or previous nationality, never has had, and is never likely to have, the countenance of the people of this country. The spasmodic efforts of those [Pg 96] fanatics, vulgarly but not inappropriately called Know-nothings, which have been made occasionally, were directed against Catholics, but they never reached the dignity of national movements, and, being the offspring of disappointed ambition and blind prejudice, withered before the scorn and contempt of all good men. Politically, there can be little possible danger arising from the exercise of the elective franchise by all citizens of foreign birth, even conceding their inferiority in some respects to the native-born, as the former number less than one-eighth of our entire population, and these, in the natural course of events, will disappear from among us, their children born here growing up thoroughly imbued with the spirit and liberality of our institutions. Even to-day the immediate descendants of adopted citizens hold, under both the great parties that divide the country, many high places of honor and trust, and perform their duties with an ability and patriotism that reflect credit on the American name. The nationality that would deal harshly or jealously with friends or neighbors because they were born in a foreign land, or are poor in the world’s goods, is not American, and is more fitted for the latitude of London or Peking than of New York or Washington.

We are well aware that there are many things in the conduct of some of our adopted citizens that we find difficulty in understanding, and which require all our good-nature to overlook or palliate. A great famine, we might say a succession of famines, the misgovernment of England, and the oppression of the worst class of alien landlords with which a people ever were afflicted, have driven among us, within a quarter of a century, over two millions of the inhabitants of Ireland. Having been denied practically all participation in the government of their own country, they never have had an opportunity of acquiring that steady habit of thought and reflection necessary to qualify them to judge of the relative merits or demerits of the manifold political measures which the exigencies of a free nation are, from time to time, presenting for popular endorsement; and having unlimited confidence in those who profess to be their friends in their new homes, they fall an easy prey to the demagogue and the political charlatan. The victims of long, cruel, and unrelenting tyranny, and ardent lovers of their fatherland, their hatred of England is, if possible, stronger than their love for Ireland. In fact, those two engrossing passions sometimes so absorb their minds that prudence, toleration, and even self-interest are forgotten. This circumstance, while it may be creditable to themselves, cannot but be regretted by us for many reasons, but more particularly because it renders their assimilation with the vast majority of our people more slow and difficult, and operates against their material advancement, and consequently against the welfare of their children. In the abstract, we do not blame our Irish immigrants for this fond devotion to their natal country, nor for their hatred of her oppressor; on the contrary, we admire it as long as it works no injustice to them or to the country they have selected as their future home; but we do most emphatically deprecate the conduct of those among them who, trading on such natural and generous feelings for selfish purposes, turn them aside from their duty as parents and citizens, and, assuming to be their leaders, have swayed them in the interest of this or that faction, wholly neglecting at the same time the performance of duties to the execution [Pg 97] of which any one might be proud to devote his life.

Let us illustrate what we mean. There are, at least, two and a half millions of Irish in the United States, the great majority of whom, for very sufficient, if not obvious, reasons occupy socially and pecuniarily a very inferior position to that which their natural abilities would entitle them, yet we see how little effort is being made by their countrymen, of more education or larger wealth, to assist them. The Catholic Church has done much, but the church, necessarily, can only attend to their spiritual wants and to the education of their children; the temperance and benevolent societies are good in their way, but their power is limited, and their sphere of action very restricted; but we look in vain for an organization that will take by the hand the bewildered and uncertain stranger as he lands at Castle Garden or in the harbor of Boston, shield him from the temptations and villany which mark him out as a victim from the moment his foot touches the firm earth and his battle of life commences, find him employment in the great centres of trade and commerce, or conduct him safely to the broad spreading fields of the free and fruitful West. If he be a farmer or agricultural laborer, as the majority of Irish immigrants are, what society of his countrymen is prepared to defray his expenses to the rural districts, where labor is always in demand, and wages high, or help him to locate on the Western lands, which can be had almost for the asking, and where he can bring up his family in comfort and happiness? If half the money and one-quarter the time and labor which were recently so foolishly expended in futile efforts to free Ireland and invade the British dependencies had been used for the benefit of the poorer class of our Irish immigrants, how many thousands of them might now be enjoying happy homes in our fertile Western states and territories, instead of infesting the purlieus of New York, underbidding each other for precarious and unhealthy employment. How many victims of disappointed hope or mistaken confidence might have been rescued from the slough of despondency and degradation into which they have fallen, and placed in a position of at least comparative independence. The liberation of Ireland through the instrumentality of her exiled children is an old and a splendid dream, but it is only a dream so long as the present relations exist between this country and England. We yield to no one in appreciation of all that is noble in that pious and gallant nation, and would, perhaps, sacrifice as much as the most enthusiastic of her sons to see her not only independent, but in the enjoyment of the fullest liberty; but no person who has ever casually studied the relative strength and resources of England and Ireland, and who has had any practical experience of the enormous expenditure of life and money so unsuccessfully incurred by the people of the South, even when military training and available population were so evenly balanced, can for a moment believe in the success of any attempt of the people themselves to separate forcibly one from the other.

But whatever the people in Ireland may see fit to do or dare, the organization of armed men in this country to assist in that purpose is most reprehensible and fraught with the greatest mischiefs. For any person within our limits to attempt to levy war on a country at peace with the United States is clearly illegal. If he be a stranger, it is a criminal [Pg 98] abuse of our hospitality; if a citizen, he disregards his oath of allegiance. Such a movement gives color to the assertions of the worst enemies of all foreigners, the Know-nothings, who accuse Irishmen of not becoming citizens in the true spirit of their oath, but merely pretended ones, whose object is to use this country as their point d’appui for ulterior objects. Besides, such societies have a tendency to unsettle the minds of the people, and divert them from the main objects of their self-expatriation—free homes and altars. But even if Ireland were to-day independent, not one-tenth of the Irish in America could or would return. The mass of them are permanently attached to America by affection, association, or interest; their children are growing up around them, naturally imbued with a love for this, the country of their birth; their property and business are here; some are too old to be retransplanted, and others young enough to prefer seeking fortunes in our stupendous and but yet only partially developed commonwealth, to spending a lifetime in the necessarily limited sphere of enterprise presented by so small a country as Ireland under the most favorable auspices. True patriotism should, therefore, dictate to the Irish-American the wisdom of promoting the welfare of this large majority of his countrymen who, for good or evil, must pass their lives with us. And what a vast and enticing field is thus presented to the successful merchant and ardent Irish nationalist! If they cannot free Ireland, they can by their money and their intelligence free tens of thousands of their countrymen from the slavery of poverty and dependence, from the vices of the cities and the degradation of the factories and the coal-mines. Such an effort, judiciously made, apart from the benefits it would confer on so many poor and deserving citizens, and the unanswerable argument it would present of practical, disinterested sympathy, would, if the occasion should ever present itself, enable the persons so benefited to assist in their turn the cause of true Irish nationality. There is nothing so successful, it is said, as success, and while the sympathies of most nations, particularly of our own, are easily enlisted in favor of an oppressed nation like Ireland, there is generally observable an implied doubt that she is misgoverned because her people have not the capacity to properly govern themselves. At home, they certainly have not been allowed to try the experiment, but here, with free institutions already firmly established, vast mineral, agricultural, and commercial industries to invite their labor and excite their ambition, and with an area of unoccupied land almost beyond conception, a people incapable of profiting by these advantages, either as individuals or by mutual co-operation, expose themselves to the suspicion of being deficient in that organizing faculty and mental grasp which create and sustain independent governments.

Without intending to draw an invidious distinction between one class of citizens and another, we may point to the German immigration to this country as an admirable example of the benefits arising from organization and mutual support. It is this harmony of purpose that has given to the Teutonic element, though by no means the strongest in our population, a preponderating influence in several of the Western states, and the proprietorship of innumerable farms on both sides of the Mississippi River. Coming from a self-governing country, and leaving behind an extensive trading and manufacturing connection, [Pg 99] the German immigrant has of course many advantages over his Irish fellow-voyager, but those who have closely watched the progress of both races in America assert that it is to the admirable system of mutual help and protection enjoyed by the former that his great industrial progress is mainly due.

We are satisfied that there are many wealthy citizens of Irish birth in this city and elsewhere who would gladly contribute of their super-abundant means to assist their less fortunate fellow-countrymen, were any feasible project inaugurated by which they could do so practically and efficiently, and we trust that there are among us adopted citizens themselves—persons who, abandoning chimerical schemes of conquest and invasion, would devote their time and ability to assist those of their helpless countrymen who have come and are coming among us. Every intelligent agriculturist that can be planted on the virgin soil of our now waste public lands, every ingenious mechanic that is furnished with employment in our workshops, and, we may say, every stalwart laborer that is removed from the overstocked labor market of the East and assisted to the towns and smaller cities of the South and West, adds to the general wealth of the community, increases the strength and glory of our republic, and conduces to its growing intelligence and morality.

The pursuit of wealth, however important, is not of course the primary duty of man, considered either as an individual responsible being or as a citizen. Religion, in its proper practical sense, is not only the source of happiness for mankind in this world and the next, but is absolutely necessary for the preservation of all well-regulated society, and it is on this account among others that so many admirers of American institutions have seen with regret that a large portion of our immigrants from the continental countries of Europe evince a complete disregard for the plainest forms of Christianity. Now, the founders of this government were essentially a religious people. The Catholics of Maryland and the Puritans of New England; the Virginia Episcopalians and the Pennsylvania Quakers, feared God and revered his laws, as far at least as they understood them; and the excellent institutions which those men of diverse opinions, but honest intentions, originated and transmitted to us, are but the reflex of that reverential and devotional spirit. We admire the thrift and enterprise of our German fellow-citizens, we admit their general good order, taste, and proficiency in art, particularly the beautiful one of music, and we know how many fine churches and hospitals they have built and are sustaining, but it cannot be denied that there is a great deal of indifferentism, and even worse, among the anti-Catholic portion of them, the outward evidence of which may be found in the complete disregard that is so generally manifested for the holiness of the Sunday. We are not of those who would deny to the hard-working and hard-faring classes their proper share of innocent and healthful amusement on the only day in the week that they can escape from labor, but this recreation should be preceded by some act of devotion, some solemn and open recognition of our dependence on the great Giver of life and happiness. Still, whoever visits our saloons and pleasure gardens on a Sunday will find them thronged with persons of all ages and both sexes from early morning till midnight, while churches that would gladly receive them are comparatively deserted. Luther’s revolt [Pg 100] against the church has much of this to answer for, but Kant, Fichte, and other so-called philosophers of more modern times have much more; for while the “Reformers” only unsettled the religious mind of Germany, and partially succeeded in alienating it from the Catholic Church, the schoolmen succeeded in making atheism fashionable among the intelligent classes by covering it with a thin veil of learned mysticism. This want of proper deference for the day set apart by the church, and by all Christian sects, for special reverence, and the observance of which is even enjoined by our common and statute law, is, we maintain, not only un-American, but is likely to produce a general contempt for all law, and lead to a weakening of the sense of that obedience which every individual citizen owes to the public authority.

In thus alluding to the characteristics of some of our adopted citizens, we have touched only on those of the two most numerous representatives of European nationalities, not because there are not others whose deficiencies, from an American point of view, are not as apparent, but from the fact that we consider, from their numerical strength and intrinsic qualities, they are destined to exercise a marked and extensive influence on the future character of the country. In feeling or temperament, they are not opposed to us nor to each other. The vivacity and even excitability of one race find their complement in the solidity and matter-of-fact disposition of the other—a union of qualities which, governed and properly managed by the practical genius of Americans, will in all human probability lead to results in the distant future of the magnitude of which we scarcely dare to dream. No people ever possessed the advantages that we, native and adopted, enjoy. Let us avail ourselves of them in such manner that posterity may look back to us, as we to the Revolutionary fathers, with unmingled feelings of gratitude and admiration.






Another episode.

There are, in civil life, men whose appearance is precisely that of a soldier. Though they have never seen service, every one who meets them and does not know them takes them without hesitation for veterans. They have the rather stiff carriage, firm step, disciplined appearance, and concealed good-fellowship belonging to the profession. They are specially common in the mixed services, such as the customs, the waters and forests, which, though purely civil in their nature, borrow their degrees of rank and their methods from the system [Pg 101] adopted for the army. On the one hand, these men have, like private citizens, a family and a domestic life; on the other, they are bound in a thousand ways by the manifold requirements of an entirely military rule. To this is due the peculiar appearance of which I speak, and with which every one is familiar.

If, then, you have ever seen a brave cavalry officer in citizen’s dress, with his short hair and his bristly moustache beginning to turn gray; if you have noticed in his energetic features those straight and vertical lines which are hardly as yet wrinkles, and which seem peculiar to these military faces; if you have gazed upon that forehead, rebellious to the hat, and which seems made expressly for the kepi or tricorne, upon those firm eyes which by day are accustomed to brave danger, but by night become gentle at the fireside as they rest upon the children’s heads; if you remember this characteristic type, I have no need to introduce you to M. Roger Lacassagne, officer in the custom-house at Bordeaux—you know him as well as I.

When, about two years ago, I had the honor of visiting him at his house, Rue du Chai des Farines, No. 6, at Bordeaux, I was struck at first by his severe appearance and his air of reserve.

He asked me, with the somewhat brusque politeness habitual to men of discipline, what was the object of my visit.

“Monsieur,” said I, “I have heard the story of your journey to the Grotto of Lourdes, and for the profit of some inquiries I am just now making, I have come to have it from your own mouth.”

At the words “the Grotto of Lourdes,” this stern countenance became tender, and a dear remembrance softened its rigid lines.

“Be seated,” said he, “and excuse the disorder of our establishment. My family leaves to-day for Arcachou, and everything is topsy-turvy.”

“Do not mention it. Tell me all about these interesting events of which I have already heard, but only confusedly.”

“For my part,” said he in a voice choked by emotion, “I shall never in my life forget their smallest details.

“Monsieur,” he continued after a moment of silence, “I have only two sons. The youngest, about whom I am going to tell you, is called Jules. He will come in before long. You will see how sweet, pure, and good he is.”

M. Lacassagne did not tell me all his affection for this youngest son. But the accent of his voice, which became gentle and as it were caressing in speaking of this child, showed me all the depth of his paternal love. I understood that in that strong and tender feeling was concentrated all the force of this manly soul.

“His health,” continued he, “was excellent until the age of ten.

“At that period there came on unexpectedly, and without apparent physical cause, a disease the importance of which I did not at first appreciate. On the 25th of January, 1865, when we were sitting down to supper, Jules complained of a trouble in his throat which prevented him from swallowing any solid food. He had to limit himself to a little soup.

“This state of things continuing next day, I called in Dr. Noguès, one of the most distinguished physicians of Toulouse.

“‘The difficulty comes from the nerves,’ said he—which gave me hopes of a speedy cure.

“In fact, a few days afterwards, the boy was able to eat, and I thought all was over, when the trouble returned, [Pg 102] and continued with occasional intermissions till the end of April. It then became fixed. The poor child had to live entirely on liquids; on milk, the juice of meat, and broth. Even the broth had to be very clear, for such was the narrowness of the orifice that it was absolutely impossible for him to swallow anything solid, even tapioca.

“The poor boy, reduced to such miserable diet, was becoming visibly emaciated, and was dying slowly.

“The physicians, for there were two—as I had from the outset requested a celebrated practitioner, Dr. Roques, to consult with Dr. Noguès—the physicians, I say, astonished by the peculiarity and the persistence of this difficulty, tried vainly to discover its precise nature, that they might apply a remedy. One day, it was the tenth of May—for I suffered so much, sir, and thought so much about this illness that I remembered every date—one day, I saw Jules in the garden running with unusual haste, and as it were precipitately. Now I dreaded the least agitation for him.

“‘Stop, Jules!’ cried I, going to him and taking his hand.

“He broke away immediately.

“‘Father, I cannot,’ said he. ‘I must run. It is stronger than I.’

“I took him in my lap, but his legs moved convulsively. Soon after the movement passed to his head and face.

“The true character of his disease had at last declared itself. My poor child was attacked by chorea. You are no doubt aware, sir, by what horrible contortions this disease is usually marked.”

“No,” said I, interrupting him, “I do not even know what it is.”

“It is what is often called St. Vitus’s dance.”

“Yes, I have heard of that. Go on.”

“The principal seat of the disease was in the œsophagus. The convulsions which I had just witnessed, and which were continued at all hours from that time, put an end to the perplexities of the physicians.

“But though they now understood the difficulty, they could not overcome it. After fifteen months of treatment, the most they could do was control these violent external symptoms; or really, in my own opinion, these disappeared of themselves by the efforts of nature alone. But as to the contraction of the throat, it had become chronic and resisted all appliances. Remedies of every kind, the country, the baths of Luchon, were successively and uselessly employed for about two years. All the treatment seemed only to increase the disease.

“Our last trial had been one season at the sea-side. My wife had taken our poor child to St. Jean-de-Luz. I need hardly say that in the state in which he was, the care of his body was everything. Our only object was to keep him alive. We had from the first suspended his studies and stopped all labor on his part, whether of body or mind; we treated him like a plant. Now, his mind was naturally active and inquiring, and this privation of intellectual occupation gave him much ennui. The poor boy was also ashamed of his trouble; he saw other children in good health, and he felt himself as it were disgraced and under a ban; so he kept apart.”

The father, deeply moved by these memories, stopped a moment to check a rising sob, and continued:

“He kept apart. He was sad. When he found some interesting book, he would read it to distract his mind. At St. Jean-de-Luz, he saw one day on the table of a lady who lived in the neighborhood a little notice of the [Pg 103] apparition at Lourdes. He read it, and seems to have been very much impressed by it. He said that evening to his mother that the Blessed Virgin could very easily cure him; but she paid no attention to his proposal, considering it as only a childish whim.

“On our return to Bordeaux—for a little while before this my station had been changed, and we had come to live here—on our return to Bordeaux the child was absolutely in the same condition.

“That was last August.

“So many vain efforts, so much science employed without success by the best physicians, so much lost trouble, had by this time, as you will easily imagine, discouraged us most completely. Disheartened by the failure of all our endeavors, we gave up all kinds of remedies, letting nature act alone, and resigning ourselves to the inevitable evil which God was pleased to send us. It seemed to us that so much suffering had in a certain way redoubled our love for this child. Our poor Jules was tended by his mother and myself with equal tenderness and solicitude continually. Grief added many years to our lives. You would hardly believe it, sir, but I am only forty-six years old.”

I looked at the poor father; and at the sight of his manly face, upon which grief had left such visible traces, my heart was moved. I took his hand and pressed it with cordial sympathy and real compassion.

“Meanwhile,” said he, “the strength of the child decreased perceptibly. For two years he had taken no solid food. It was only at great expense, by means of a liquid nourishment in preparing which all our ingenuity had been taxed that it might be substantial, and by most extraordinary care, that we had been able to prolong his life. He had become frightfully thin. His pallor was extreme; he had no blood showing under his skin; you would have said he was a statue of wax. It was evident that death was coming on apace. It was not only certain, but imminent. And, though the uselessness of medical science in the case had certainly been clearly shown, I could not help knocking once again at its door. I knew of no other in this world.

“I applied to the most eminent physician in Bordeaux, Dr. Gintrac. Dr. Gintrac examined his throat, sounded it, and found, besides the mere contraction which had almost entirely closed the alimentary canal, some most threatening roughnesses or small swellings.

“He shook his head, and gave me little hope. He saw my terrible anxiety.

“‘I do not say that his cure is impossible,’ said he; ‘but he is very ill.’

“These were his exact words.

“He considered it absolutely necessary to employ local remedies; first injections, then the application of a cloth soaked in ether. But this treatment prostrated the child; in view of the result, the surgeon himself, M. Sentex, employed in the hospital, advised us to discontinue it.

“In one of my visits to Dr. Gintrac, I communicated to him an idea which had occurred to me.

“‘It seems to me,’ said I, ‘that if Jules had the will, he could swallow. Does not this difficulty perhaps come from fear? Is it not perhaps that he does not swallow to-day merely because he did not yesterday? If so, it is a mental malady, which can only be cured by moral means.’

“But the doctor dispelled this my last illusion.

“‘You are mistaken,’ said he. ‘The disease is in the organs themselves, which are only too really and seriously [Pg 104] affected. I have not contented myself with looking at them, for the eye may easily be deceived; but I have sounded them with an instrument, and felt of them carefully with my fingers. The œsophagus is covered with little swellings, and the passage has become so small that it is materially impossible for the boy to take any food whatever, except liquids, which can accommodate themselves to the size of the opening, and pass through the pin-hole, as I may call it, which still remains. If the enlargement of the tissues proceeds a few millimetres further, the patient cannot live. The beginning of the trouble, the alternations which characterized it, and its occasional interruptions also bear out the result of my examination. Your child, having once recovered, would have continued well if the difficulty had been in his imagination. Unfortunately, it is organic.’

“These remarks, which had been already made to me at Toulouse, but which I had gladly forgotten, were too conclusive not to convince me. I returned home, with death in my soul.

“What could now be done? We had applied to the most distinguished physicians both of Toulouse and Bordeaux, and all had been unavailing. The fatal evidence was before my eyes; our poor child was condemned, and that without appeal.

“But, monsieur, such cruel conclusions cannot easily remain in a father’s heart. I still tried to deceive myself; my wife and I continued to consult; I was thinking of hydropathy.

“It was in this desperate state of things that Jules said to his mother, with an air of confidence and absolute certitude which strongly impressed her:

“‘Mamma, neither Dr. Gintrac nor any other doctor can do anything for my trouble. It is the Holy Virgin who will cure me. Send me to the Grotto of Lourdes, and you will see that I shall be cured. I am sure of it.’

“My wife reported this proposal to me.

“‘We must not hesitate!’ cried I. ‘He must go to Lourdes. And that as soon as possible.’

“It was not, sir, that I was full of faith. I did not believe in miracles, and I hardly considered such extraordinary interventions of divine power as possible. But I was a father, and any chance, no matter how insignificant, seemed to me not to be slighted. Besides, I hoped that, without any supernatural occurrence, the possibility of which I did not wish to admit, this journey might have a salutary moral effect on the child. As for a complete cure, I did not entertain the slightest idea of such a thing.

“It was in winter, at the beginning of February; the weather was bad, and I wished to wait for a fine day, on Jules’s account.

“Since he had read the little notice, eight months before, at St. Jean-de-Luz, the idea which he had just expressed to us had never left him. Having expressed it once without any attention being paid to it, he had not introduced the subject again; but the thought had remained in him, and worked there while he was undergoing all the medical treatment with a patience that had to be seen to be appreciated.

“This faith, so full and complete, was the more extraordinary because we had not brought up the child to any unusual practices of piety. My wife attended to her religious duties, but that was all; and, as for myself, I had, as you have just heard, philosophic [Pg 105] ideas tending quite the other way.

“On the 12th of February, the weather promised to be magnificent. We took the train for Tarbes.

“During the whole journey, Jules was gay, and full of the most positive faith that he would be cured; his faith was overpowering.

“As for myself, I encouraged, but did not share, this confidence; it was so great that I should call it exaggerated, did I not fear to be wanting in respect for the God who inspired it.

“At Tarbes, at the Hôtel Dupont, where we put up, every one noticed the poor child, so pale and wasted, and yet with such a sweet and attractive expression. I mentioned at the hotel the object of our journey, and in the good wishes and prayers which these good people made for us there seemed to be a presentiment of success. And when we set out, I saw plainly that they would await our return with impatience.

“Notwithstanding my doubts, I took with me a small box of biscuits.

“When we arrived at the crypt above the Grotto, Mass was being said. Jules prayed with a faith which shone out in all his features, with a truly celestial ardor.

“The priest noticed his fervor, and when he had left the altar, he came out of the sacristy almost immediately, and approached us. A good idea had occurred to him on seeing the poor little one. He proposed it to me, and, turning to Jules, who was still on his knees, said:

“‘My child, would you like to have me consecrate you to the Blessed Virgin?’

“‘Indeed I would,’ answered he.

“The priest immediately proceeded with the very simple ceremony, and recited over my child the sacred formulas.

“‘Now,’ said Jules, in a tone which impressed me by its perfect confidence, ‘I am going to be cured.’

“We went to the Grotto. Jules knelt before the statue and prayed. I looked at him, and can still see the expression of his face, his attitude, and his joined hands.

“He rose, and we went to the fountain.

“It was a terrible moment.

“He bathed his neck and chest. Then he took the glass and drank several mouthfuls of the miraculous water.

“He was calm and happy, gay in fact, and radiant with confidence.

“For my part, I trembled and almost fainted at this last trial. But I restrained my emotion, though with difficulty. I did not want to let him see my doubt.

“‘Try now to eat,’ said I, handing him a biscuit.

“He took it, and I turned away my head, not feeling able to look at him. It was, in fact, the question of the life or death of my child which was to be decided. In putting this question, such a fearful one for a father’s heart, I was playing, as it were, my last card. If I failed, my dear boy would have to die. This test was a decisive one, and I could not see it tried.

“But I was soon relieved of my agony.

“Jules’s voice, joyous and sweet, called me:

“‘Papa! I have swallowed it. I can eat, I knew I could—I had faith!’

“What a surprise it was! My child, who had been at death’s door, was saved, and that instantly. And I, his father, was a witness to this astonishing resurrection.

“But, that I might not disturb the faith of my son, I checked any appearance of astonishment.

[Pg 106] “‘Yes, Jules, it was certain, and could not have been otherwise,’ said I, in a voice which I made calm by great effort.

“There was in my breast, however, a whirlwind of excitement. If it could have been opened, it would have been found burning as if full of fire.

“We repeated our experiment. He ate some more biscuits, not only without difficulty, but with an increasing appetite. I was obliged to restrain him.

“But I could not refrain from proclaiming my happiness, and thanking God.

“‘Wait for me,’ said I to Jules, ‘and pray to the Blessed Virgin. I am going to the chapel.’

“And leaving him for a moment kneeling at the Grotto, I ran to tell the priest the wonderful news. I was quite bewildered. Besides my happiness, so unexpected and sudden that it was terrible, besides the confusion of my heart, I felt in my soul and mind an inexpressible disturbance. A revolution was going on in my agitated and tumultuous thoughts. All my ‘philosophical’ ideas were tottering and crumbling away.

“The priest came down immediately and saw Jules finishing his last biscuit. The Bishop of Tarbes happened to be that day at the chapel, and he wished to see my son. I told him of the cruel illness which had just had such a happy end. Every one caressed the child, and rejoiced with him.

“But I meanwhile was thinking of his mother, and of the joy in store for her. Before going to the hotel, I ran to the telegraph office. My despatch contained only one word: ‘Cured!’

“Hardly had it gone before I wanted to recall it.

“‘Perhaps,’ said I, ‘I have been too hasty. Who knows if he will not have a relapse?’

“I did not dare to believe in the blessing I had received; and when I did believe in it, it seemed that it was going to escape from me.

“As for the child, he was happy without the least mixture of disquietude. He was exuberant in his joy and perfect security.

“‘You see now, papa,’ said he to me every moment, ‘it was only the Blessed Virgin who could cure me. When I told you so before, I was sure of it.’

“At the hotel, he ate with an excellent appetite; and how I enjoyed watching him!

“He wanted to return on foot to the Grotto to give thanks for his deliverance, and actually did so.

“‘You will be very grateful to the Holy Virgin, will you not?’ said a priest to him.

“‘Ah! I shall never forget,’ said he.

“At Tarbes, we stopped at the hotel where we had put up the day before. They were on the lookout for us. They seem to have had (as I think I told you) a feeling that we would be successful. There was a great rejoicing. People gathered around us to see him eat with a relish everything that was served upon the table; to see him eat heartily who the day before could only swallow a few spoonfuls of liquid. That time seemed to me long gone by.

“This illness, against which the science of the most able physicians had failed, and which had just been so miraculously cured, had lasted two years and nineteen days.

“We were in haste to return to his mother, and took the express train for Bordeaux. The child was overcome with fatigue by the journey, and I should also say by his emotions, [Pg 107] were it not for his peaceable and constant calmness in spite of his sudden cure, which overwhelmed him with joy, but did not astonish him. He wanted to go to bed on reaching home. He was extremely sleepy, and took no supper. His mother, who had nearly died of joy before our return, when she saw him so exhausted and refusing to eat, was seized by a horrible doubt. She told me that I had deceived her, and I had the greatest difficulty in making myself believed. But how she rejoiced when, the next morning, Jules sat down at our table, and breakfasted with a better appetite than ourselves. It was not till then that she became reassured.”

“And since then,” I asked him, “has there been no relapse?”

“No, sir, absolutely none. I may say that the cure progressed, or rather consolidated itself, considering that it had been as complete as it was instantaneous. The transition from a disease so fixed and obstinate to a perfect cure was made without the least gradation, though it was without apparent disturbance. But his general health improved visibly, under the influence of a restorative regimen, the salutary effects of which it was full time for him to experience.”

“And the physicians? Have they testified to Jules’s previous condition? Certainly they should have done so.”

“I thought so too, sir, and mentioned the subject to the Bordeaux doctor who had been the last to attend my child; but he maintained a reserve which prevented me from insisting. As for Dr. Roques of Toulouse, to whom I wrote immediately, he hastened to recognize in the clearest terms the miraculous nature of the fact which had occurred, and which was entirely beyond the powers of medicine. ‘In view of this cure, so long desired and so promptly effected,’ he said to me, ‘why not quit the narrow sphere of scientific explanations, and open one’s mind to gratitude for so strange an event, in which Providence seems to obey the voice of a child?’ He rejected most decidedly, as a physician, the theories which are always produced on such occasions of ‘moral excitement,’ ‘the effect of the imagination,’ etc., and confessed frankly in this event the clear and positive action of a superior Being revealing himself and imposing himself on the conscience. Such, sir, was the opinion of M. Roques, physician of Toulouse, who knew as well as myself the previous condition and the illness of my son. There is his own letter, dated February 24.

“But the facts which I have just related are also so well known that no one would care to contest them. It is superabundantly proved that science was absolutely powerless against the strange disease by which Jules had been attacked. As for the cause of his cure, every one can place it differently, according to the point of view which he chooses to assume. I, who had previously believed only in purely natural phenomena, saw clearly that its explanation must be sought in a higher order of things; and every day I gave thanks to God, who, putting an end to my long and cruel trial in such an unexpected way, had approached me in the way most adapted to make me bow before him.”

“I understand you, and it seems also to me that such was the divine plan.”

After these words, I remained some time silent and absorbed in my reflections.

The conversation returned to the boy so wonderfully cured. The father’s [Pg 108] heart came back to him, as the needle does to the pole.

“Since that time,” said he, “his piety is angelic. You will see him soon. The nobleness of his feelings is visible in his face. He is well-born, his character is honest and dignified. He is incapable of lies or meanness. And his piety has not been at the expense of his natural qualities. He is studying in a school close by, kept by M. Conangle, in the Rue du Mirail. The poor child has quickly made up for his lost time. He loves his studies. He is the first in his class. At the last examination, he took the highest prize. But, above all, he is the best and most amiable. He is the favorite of his teachers and schoolmates. He is our joy, our consolation, and—”

At this moment the door opened, and Jules came with his mother into the room where we were sitting. I embraced him affectionately. The glow of health was on his face. His forehead is large, high, and magnificent; his attitude has a modesty and gentle firmness which inspires a secret respect. His eyes, large and bright, show a rare intelligence, and absolute purity and a beautiful soul.

“You are happy to have such a son,” said I to M. Lacassagne.

“Yes, sir, I am happy. But my poor wife and I have suffered a great deal.”

“Do not be sorry for that,” said I, going a little away from Jules. “This path of grief was the way which led you from darkness to light, from death to life, from yourself to God. The Blessed Virgin has shown herself twice in this event as the mother of life. She has given your son his temporal life in order to give you the true life which knows no end.”

I left this family, so greatly blessed by our Lord, and, still under the impression of what I had heard and seen, I wrote, with my heart full of the feelings produced, what you have just read.



Let us return to Lourdes. Time had passed, and human industry had been at work. The surroundings of the Grotto, where the Blessed Virgin had appeared, had changed their former aspect. Without losing anything of its grandeur, this savage spot had put on a pleasing aspect. Yet unfinished, but fairly alive with workmen, a superb church, proudly crowning the Massabielle rocks, was rising joyously to heaven. The lofty heights, so abrupt and uncultivated, where formerly the feet of the mountaineers could scarcely descend, were covered with a greensward and planted with shrubs and flowers. Among dahlias and roses, daisies and violets, beneath the shade of acacias and cytisuses, a path, broad as the highway, wound in sinuous curves from the church to the Grotto.

The Grotto was enclosed like a chancel by an iron railing. From the roof a golden lamp had been suspended. On the rocks, which had been pressed by Mary’s sacred feet, clusters of tapers burned day and night. Outside the enclosure the miraculous spring fed three bronze lavers. A canal, screened from sight by a little building, afforded a chance for those invalids who wished to be bathed in this blessed water. The mill-race of Savy had changed its bed, having been led into the Gave, further up. The Gave itself had withdrawn somewhat, to give room for a fine road which leads to the Massabielle Rocks. Below, on the banks of the river, the ground had been levelled, and formed [Pg 109] an extensive lawn and walk, shaded by elms and poplars.

All these changes had been accomplished and were still going on amid the incessant concourse of the faithful. The copper coin, thrown by popular faith into the grotto—the ex-votos of so many invalids who had been cured, of so many hearts who had been consoled, of so many souls reawakened to truth and life, alone defrayed the cost of these gigantic labors, which approaches the sum of two million francs. When God, in his bounty, vouchsafes to call men to co-operate in any of his works, he does not employ soldiers, or tax-gatherers, or constables to collect the impost—he accepts from his creatures only a voluntary assistance. The Master of the universe repudiates constraint, for he is the God of free souls; he does not consent to receive anything which is not spontaneous and offered with a cheerful heart.

Thus the church was gradually rising, thus the river and the millstream gave way, hillsides were levelled, trees were planted, and pathways traced around the now famous rocks where the Mother of Christ had manifested her glory to the eyes of mortals.


Encouraging the laborers, superintending everything, suggesting ideas, sometimes putting his own hands to the work to set a misplaced stone or straighten a badly-planted tree, recalling, by his ardor and holy enthusiasm, the grand figures of Esdras and Nehemiah, occupied, by God’s order, with the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, a tall man, of marked features, seemed to make himself everywhere present. His powerful stature and black cassock rendered him conspicuous to all eyes. His name will be speedily guessed. It was the chief pastor of the town of Lourdes, the Abbé Peyramale.

Every hour of the day he thought of the message which the Blessed Virgin had addressed to him; every hour he thought of the miraculous cures which had followed the apparition; he was a daily witness of countless miracles. He had devoted his life to execute the orders of his powerful Queen, and raise to her glory a splendid monument. All idleness, all delay, every moment wasted, seemed to his eyes a token of ingratitude, and his heart, devoured by zeal for the house of God, often broke forth in warnings and admonitions. His faith was perfect, and full of confidence. He had a horror of the wretched narrowness of human prudence, and scouted it with the disdain of one who looks upon all things from that holy mount whereon the Son of God preached the nothingness of earth and the reality of heaven, when he said: “Be not solicitous ... seek first the kingdom of heaven, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

One day, while standing before the miraculous fountain amid a group of ecclesiastics and laymen, the architect offered him a plan for a pretty chapel which he proposed to build above the Grotto. The curé looked at it, and a flush rose to his cheek. With a gesture of impatience he tore the drawing into bits, and tossed it into the Gave.

“What are you doing?” cried the astonished architect.

“Look you,” answered the priest, “I am ashamed of what human meanness would offer to the Mother of my God, and I have treated the wretched plan as it deserved. We [Pg 110] do not want a country chapel to commemorate the great events which have taken place here. Go, give us a temple of marble as large and as high as these rocks can sustain—as magnificent as your soul can conceive! Go, and do not check your genius till you have given us a chef-d’œuvre; and understand that, if you were Michael Angelo himself, it would all be unworthy of her who has appeared in this spot.”

“But, monsieur le curé,” observed everybody, “it will cost millions to carry out your ideas!”

“She who has made this barren rock send forth its living stream—she will know how to make faithful hearts generous,” answered the priest. “Go, do what I tell you. Why are you afraid, O ye of little faith?”

The temple rose in the proportions designed by the man of God.

The good pastor, as he watched the progress of the various works, often used to say:

“When will it be granted me to assist, with my priests and people, at the first procession which goes to inaugurate in these hallowed precincts the public worship of the Catholic Church? It seems to me that then I could sing my Nunc dimittis, and die of joy.” His eyes filled with tears at the thought. Never was there a deeper or warmer desire than this innocent wish of a heart given wholly to God.

Sometimes, at hours when the crowd was thin at the Massabielle Rocks, a little girl used to come and kneel before the place of the apparition, and drink of the miraculous spring. She was a poor child, and meanly clad—nothing marked out from the common people about. And if the pilgrims were all strangers to the place, no one suspected that it was Bernadette. This privileged soul had withdrawn into silence and concealment. She went daily to the sisters’ school, where she was the simplest, and strove to be the most unnoticed. The numerous visitors whom she was called upon to receive never disturbed her peace of mind, which ever retained the memory of its glimpse at heaven and the incomparable Virgin. Bernadette kept all these things in her heart. People came from all quarters, miracles were being worked, the temple was rising. Bernadette and the holy pastor of Lourdes awaited, as their crowning joy, the day which was to bring to their eyes the sight of priests of the true God leading their people, with cross advanced and flying banners, to the spot of the apparitions.


In spite of the bishop’s decree, the church in fact had not yet taken possession, by any public ceremony, of this spot, consecrated for ever. It was not till the 4th of April, 1864, that this was done, by the inauguration and blessing of the superb statue of the Blessed Virgin, which was placed with all the pomp customary on such occasions in the rustic niche, bordered with wild flowers, where the Mother of God had appeared to the child of man.[39]

The weather was magnificent. The young spring sun had risen, and advanced in a blue and cloudless sky.

The streets of Lourdes were adorned with flowers, banners, garlands, and triumphal arches. The bells of the parish church, the chapels, and [Pg 111] the churches of the neighborhood, rang out joyous peals. Immense numbers of people flocked together to this great festival of earth and heaven. A procession, such as had never been seen by the oldest inhabitant, moved from the church of Lourdes to the Grotto. Troops, in all the splendor of military attire, led the way. Following them were the confraternities of Lourdes, the societies for mutual aid, and other associations, with their banners and crosses; the Congregation of the Children of Mary, whose long robes were white as snow; the Sisters of Nevers, with their long black veil; the Daughters of Charity, with their great white hoods; the Sisters of St. Joseph, in dark mantles; the religious orders of men, the Carmelites, the Brothers of Instruction and of the Christian schools, and prodigious numbers of pilgrims, men and women, young and old—fifty or sixty thousand persons in all—wound along the flowery road leading to the Massabielle rocks. Here and there, choirs and instrumental bands gave a voice to the popular enthusiasm. Last, surrounded by four hundred priests in choir dress, his vicars-general, and the dignitaries of his cathedral chapter, came his lordship, Mgr. Bertrand-Sévère Laurence, Bishop of Tarbes, in his mitre and pontifical robes, with one hand blessing the people, and bearing his crosier in the other.

An indescribable emotion, an exaltation of feeling, such as only Christian people assembled before God can know, filled every heart. The day of solemn triumph had at last come, after so many difficulties, struggles, and disasters. Tears of joy, enthusiasm, and love ran down the cheeks of the people, moved by an impulse from God.

What indescribable joy must have filled the heart of Bernadette on this day, as she led the Congregation of the Children of Mary! What overwhelming happiness must have inundated the soul of the venerable curé of Lourdes, who was no doubt at the side of the bishop, singing the hosanna of the victory of God! Having both had to labor, the time was certainly come for them to enter into their reward.

Alas! one would have sought in vain among the Children of Mary for Bernadette: among the clergy surrounding the bishop, the Abbé Peyramale would not have been found. There are joys too sweet for earth, which are reserved for heaven. Here below, God refuses them to his dearest children.

At this time of rejoicing, when the bright sun was shining on the triumph of the faithful, the curé of Lourdes, laboring under a disease which was expected to result fatally, was a victim to intense physical sufferings. He was stretched on his bed of pain, at the head of which two religious watched and prayed night and day. He wished to rise to see the grand cortége pass, but his strength failed him, and he had not even a momentary glimpse of its splendor. Through the closed shutters of his room, the joyous sound of the silvery bells came to him only as a funeral knell.

As for Bernadette, God showed her his predilection, as usual with his elect, by giving her the bitter trial of pain. While Mgr. Laurence was going, accompanied by countless numbers of his flock, to take possession of the Massabielle rocks in the name of the church, and to inaugurate solemnly the devotion to the Virgin who had appeared there, Bernadette, like the eminent priest of whom we have just spoken, was prostrated by illness; Providence, perhaps, fearing for this well-beloved child a temptation to vainglory, deprived [Pg 112] her of the sight of this unprecedented festivity, where she would have heard her name on the lips of thousands, and extolled from the pulpit by the voice of enthusiastic preachers. Too poor to be taken care of in her own home, where neither she nor her family would ever receive any gift, Bernadette had been carried to the hospital, where she lay upon the humble bed provided by public charity, in the midst of those poor whom the world calls unfortunate, but whom Jesus Christ has blessed in declaring them the possessors of his eternal kingdom.


Eleven years have now elapsed since the apparitions of the most Holy Virgin. The great church is almost finished; it has only to be roofed, and the holy sacrifice has long since been celebrated at all the altars of the crypt below. Diocesan missionaries of the house of Garaison have been stationed by the bishop near the grotto and the church, to distribute to the pilgrims the apostolic word, the sacraments, and the body of our Lord.

The pilgrimage has taken dimensions perhaps quite without precedent, for before our day these vast movements of popular faith did not have the assistance of the means of transportation invented by modern science. The course of the Pyrenees Railroad, for which a straighter and cheaper route had been previously marked out between Tarbes and Pau, was changed so as to pass through Lourdes, and innumerable travellers continually come from every quarter to invoke the Virgin who has appeared at the Grotto, and to seek at the miraculous fountain the healing of all their ills. They come not only from the different provinces of France, but also from England, Belgium, Spain, Russia, and Germany. Even from the midst of far America, pious Christians have set out, and crossed the ocean to come to the Grotto of Lourdes, to kneel before these sacred rocks, which the Mother of God has sanctified by her touch. And often those who cannot come write to the missionaries, and beg that a little of the miraculous water may be sent to their homes. It is thus distributed throughout the world.

Although Lourdes is a small town, there is a continual passing to and fro upon the road to the grotto, a stream of men, women, priests, and carriages, as in the streets of a large city.

When the pleasant weather comes, and the sun, overcoming the cold of winter, opens in the midst of flowers the gates of spring, the faithful of the neighborhood begin to bestir themselves for the pilgrimage to Massabielle, no longer one by one, but in large parties. From ten, twelve, or fifteen leagues’ distance, these strong mountaineers come on foot in bodies of one or two thousand. They set out in the evening and walk all night by starlight, like the shepherds of Judea, when they went to the crib of Bethlehem to adore the new-born infant God. They descend from high peaks, they traverse deep valleys, they cross foaming torrents, or follow their course, singing the praises of God. And on their way the sleeping herds of cattle or of sheep awake, and diffuse through these desert wilds the melancholy sound of their sonorous bells. At daybreak, they arrive at Lourdes; they spread their banners, and form in procession to go to the Grotto. The men, with their blue caps and great shoes covered with dust from their long night march, rest upon a knotty stick, and usually carry upon their [Pg 113] shoulders the provisions for their journey. The women wear a white or red capulet. Some carry the precious burden of a child. And they move on slowly, quiet and recollected, singing the litanies of the Blessed Virgin.

At Massabielle they hear Mass, kneel at the holy table, and drink at the miraculous spring. Then they distribute themselves, in groups according to family or friendship, upon the grass around the Grotto, and spreading out on the sod the provisions they have brought, they sit down upon the green carpet of the fields. And, on the bank of the Gave, in the shade of those hallowed rocks, they realize in their frugal repast those fraternal agapes of which tradition tells us. Then, having received a last blessing and said a parting prayer, they set out with joyful hearts upon their homeward way.

Thus do the people of the Pyrenees visit the Grotto. But the greatest numbers are not from there. From sixty or eighty leagues’ distance come continually immense processions, brought from these great distances upon the rapid wings of steam. They come from Bayonne, from Peyrehorade, from La Teste, from Arcachon, from Bordeaux, and even from Paris. At the request of the faithful, the Southern Railroad has established special trains, trains of pilgrimage, intended exclusively for this great and pious movement of Catholic faith. At the arrival of these trains, the bells of Lourdes ring out their fullest peals. And from these sombre carriages the pilgrims come out and form in procession in the square by the station; young girls dressed in white, married women, widows, children, full-grown men, the old people, and the clergy in their sacred robes. Their banners are flung to the breeze; the crucifix and the statues of the Blessed Virgin and the saints are displayed. The praises of the Mother of God are upon every lip. The innumerable procession passes through the town—which seems, on such occasions, like a holy city, like Rome or Jerusalem. One’s heart is elated at the sight; it rises toward God, and attains without effort that elevation of feeling in which the eyes fill with tears and the soul is overwhelmed by the sensible presence of our Lord. One seems to enjoy for a moment a vision of paradise.

The hand of the Almighty does not weary in shedding all kinds of graces at the spot where his Mother has appeared. Miracles are still frequent. Not long ago Fr. Hermann recovered his sight there.


God has accomplished his work.

He says to the flake of snow, resting hidden upon the lonely peak, “Thou must come from Me to Me. Thou must pass from the inaccessible heights of the mountain to the unfathomable caves of the deep.” And he sends his servant the sun with its brilliant rays to collect and draw along this shining dust, changing it first into limpid pearls. The drops of water run through the snow, they roll down the side of the mountain, they leap over the rocks, they break upon the pebbles, they reunite, they collect in a mass, and run together, now gently, now rapidly, toward the wonderful ocean, that striking image of eternal movement in eternal rest—and thus they reach the valleys where the race of Adam dwells.

“We will stop these drops of water,” says this race of man, as proud now as in the days of Babel.

And they undertake to dam up this weak and quiet stream as it [Pg 114] gently crosses their fields. But the stream laughs at their dikes of wood, earth, and pebbles.

“We will stop these drops of water,” the fools repeat in their delirium.

And they heap up enormous rocks; they join them together with impenetrable cement. And notwithstanding, the water does leak through in a thousand places. But the men are numerous—they have a force greater than the armies of Darius. They stop up the thousand fissures, they fill up the cracks, they replace the fallen stones; and at last a time comes when the stream cannot pass by. It has before it a barrier higher than the pyramids, and thicker than the famous walls of Babylon. Beyond this gigantic obstacle, the pebbles of its dry bed are shining in the sun.

Human pride shouts its pæan of triumph.

Meanwhile the water continues to descend from those eternal heights where it has heard the voice of God; and millions of drops, coming one by one, stop before the barrier and rise silently against this granite wall which millions of men have built.

“Look,” say the men, “at the immense power of our race. See this enormous wall. Raise your eyes to its summit; admire its astonishing height. We have for ever conquered this stream which comes from the mountains.”

At this moment, a thin sheet of water passes over the cyclopean barrier. They run up; but the sheet has thickened—it is a river which is now falling, scattering on all sides the upper rocks of the wall.

“What is the matter?” they cry on all sides in the doomed city.

It is the drop of water to which God has spoken, and which proceeds invincibly on its way.

What has your Babel-like wall accomplished? What have you done with your herculean efforts? You have changed a quiet stream into a formidable cataract. You tried to stop the drop of water; but it now resumes its course with the violence of Niagara.

How humble was this drop of water, this word of a child to which God had said, “Pursue thy course!” How insignificant was this drop of water—this shepherdess burning a candle at the Grotto—this poor woman praying and offering a bouquet to the Blessed Virgin—this old peasant on his knees! And how strong, how apparent, impassable, and invincible was this enormous wall, upon which all the force of a great nation, from the policeman and the gendarme to the prefect and the minister, had labored for eight months!

But the child, the poor woman, the old peasant, have resumed their course. Only now it is not a stray candle or a poor bouquet that testifies to the popular faith; it is a magnificent monument which the faithful are erecting; they are spending millions upon this temple, already celebrated throughout Christendom. Their opposers thought to put down some scattered believers; but now they come in crowds, in immense processions, displaying their banners and singing their hymns. There is a pilgrimage without precedent; whole peoples now come, borne upon their iron roads by chariots of fire and steam. It is not now a little neighborhood which believes—it is Europe; it is the Christian world which is coming from all directions. The drop of water which men tried to stop has become a Niagara.

God has finished his work. And now, as on the seventh day, when he entered into his rest, he has resigned to men the duty of profiting [Pg 115] by this work, and the formidable responsibility of developing or compromising it. He has given them a germ of abundant grace, as of other things; the burden remains on them of cultivating and maturing it. They can multiply it a hundredfold by walking humbly and holily in the order of his providence; they can make it unfruitful by refusing to enter into this order. Every good thing from on high is entrusted to human liberty, as the terrestrial paradise was at the outset, on the condition of laboring for and keeping it—“ut operaretur et custodiret illum.” Let us beseech God that men may not reject what he has done for them, and that they may not by earthly ideas or irreligious acts break in their guilty or awkward hands the sacred vessel of divine grace which they have received in trust.


Most of the persons mentioned in the course of this long history are still alive. The prefect, Baron Massy, Judge Duprat, Mayor Lacadé, and Minister Fould are dead.

Some of them have made several steps in advance on the road to fortune. M. Rouland has left the Ministry of Public Worship (for which he does not seem to have been well fitted), to take care of the Bank of France. M. Dutour, the procureur-imperial, has become counsellor of the court; M. Jacomet is the chief commissary of police in one of the largest cities of the empire.

Bourriette, Croisine Bouhohorts and her son, Mme. Rizan, Henri Busquet, Mlle. Moreau de Sazenay, the widow Crozat, Jules Lacassagne, and all those whose cures we have recorded, are still full of life, and testify by their recovered health and strength to the powerful mercy of the apparition at the Grotto.

Dr. Dozous continues to be the most eminent physician of Lourdes. Dr. Vergez is at the spring of Barèges and attests to the visitors at this celebrated resort the miracles which he formerly witnessed. M. Estrade, whose impartial observations we have several times given, is receiver of indirect contributions at Bordeaux. He lives at No. 14 Rue Ducau.

Now, as formerly, Mgr. Laurence is Bishop of Tarbes. Age has not diminished his faculties. He is to-day what we have represented him in this work. He has near the Grotto a house to which he sometimes retires, to meditate in this spot, beloved by the Virgin, on the great duties and the grave responsibilities of a Christian bishop who has received so wonderful a grace in his diocese.[40]

The Abbé Peyramale recovered from the severe illness of which we spoke above. He is still the venerated pastor of this Christian town of Lourdes, where his record is left in ineffaceable characters. Long after he is gone, when he rests under the sod in the midst of the generation which he has formed to the Lord; when the successors of his successors live in his house and occupy the great wooden chair in his church, his memory will be living in the minds of all; and when the “Curé of Lourdes” is mentioned, every one will think of him.

Louise Soubirous, the mother of Bernadette, died on the 8th of December, 1866, the very day of the feast of the Immaculate Conception. In choosing this festival to take the mother from the miseries of the world, she who had said to the child, “I am the Immaculate Conception,” seems [Pg 116] to have intended to temper the bitterness of the loss to the heart of her survivors, and to show them as a Certain pledge of hope and of a happy resurrection the sign of her radiant appearance.

While thousands go to the Grotto to contribute to the splendid church, Bernadette’s father has remained a poor miller, subsisting with difficulty by manual labor. Mary, the daughter, who was with Bernadette at the time of the first apparition, has married a good peasant, who has become a miller and works with his father-in-law. The other companion, Jane Abbadie, is a servant at Bordeaux.


Bernadette is no longer at Lourdes. We have seen how she had, on many occasions, refused gifts freely offered, and repelled the good fortune which was knocking at the door of her humble cottage. She was dreaming of other riches. “We shall know some fine day,” the unbelievers had said at the outset, “what her pay is going to be.” Bernadette had in fact chosen her pay, and put her hand on her reward. She has become a Sister of Charity. She has devoted herself to tend in the hospitals the poor and the sick collected by public benevolence.

After having seen with her own eyes the resplendent face of the thrice holy Mother of God, what could she do but become the compassionate servant of those of whom the Virgin’s Son has said: “As long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.”

It is among the Sisters of Charity and Christian Instruction at Nevers that Bernadette has taken the veil. She is called Sister Marie-Bernard. We have lately seen her in her religious habit at the mother-house of this congregation. Though she is now twenty-five, her face has kept the character and the charm of childhood. In her presence, the heart feels moved in its better part by an indescribable religious sentiment, and one leaves it embalmed in the perfume of this peaceful innocence. One understands that the Holy Virgin has specially loved her. Otherwise, there is nothing extraordinary, nothing which would make her conspicuous, or would make one suspect the important part she has filled in this communication from heaven to earth. Her simplicity has not been touched by the unexampled interest which has been taken in her. The concourse and enthusiasm of the multitude have no more troubled her soul than the turbid water of a torrent would tarnish the imperishable purity of a diamond.

God visits her still, not now by bright visions, but by the sacred trial of suffering. She is often ill, and suffers cruelly; but she bears her pains with a sweet and almost playful patience. Sometimes they have thought her dead. “I shall not die just yet,” she would say, smiling.

She never speaks, unless questioned, of the favors which she has received.

She was the Blessed Virgin’s messenger. Now that she has given her message, she has retired into the shade of religious life, wishing to be unnoticed among a number of companions.

It is a trouble to her when the world comes to seek her in the depth of her retreat, and when some circumstance obliges her to appear before it again. She fears the glory of this life. She lives in the humility of the Lord, and is dead to the vanities of the earth. And this book which we have written, and which speaks so much of Bernadette, Sister Marie-Bernard will never read.

[39] This statue, made of fine Carrara marble, of life-size, was presented to the Grotto of Lourdes by two noble and pious sisters of the diocese of Lyons, Mesdames de Lacour. It was executed according to Bernadette’s particular instructions, by M. Fabish, the eminent Lyonnese sculptor. The Blessed Virgin is represented as Bernadette described her, with scrupulous regard to the smallest details, and rare talent in execution.

[40] Mgr. Laurence died at the Vatican Council in the winter of 1869-70.

[Pg 117]


We are late in our comments on the riot of the 12th of July last in this city, occasioned by the Orange procession in commemoration of the Battle of the Boyne; but as what we have to say relates to general principles rather than to particular facts, our remarks will have suffered little from the delay, and will stand a chance of being more carefully read and duly weighed than if made at an earlier day. The tragic event is not likely to be soon forgotten.

The secular press of the city have, as far as we have observed, with scarcely an exception, taken the ground that, however ill-advised might be the Orange procession, it was a right of the Orangemen, and the liberty of the citizen was infringed by the police order prohibiting it. The order was also an act of cowardice, as dictated by fear of a Catholic mob; and hence its revocation by the governor, and his excellency’s resolution to sustain the majesty of the law, and to protect the Orange procession by all the force, if necessary, at his command, was a firm and manly interference in behalf of liberty and law. The sectarian press of city and country see in the police order prohibiting the procession—dictated, it is assumed, by the Catholic clergy—only a proof of the hatred of the Catholic Church to liberty and republican institutions, and in the action of the governor, and the bravery of the military in firing on the crowd, and killing and wounding a large number of citizens, for the most part innocent, except of idle curiosity, an assurance much needed, that Protestants have as yet even in this country some rights which Catholics are bound and can be compelled to respect.

The view taken by the sectarian press is ridiculous, as well as malicious. The Catholic Church was the victim of the riot, but her only responsibility for it was in warning her children against it, and bidding them to let the procession alone, and not to go near it. If she had been heeded, there would have been no riot, no disturbance. The question was not a Catholic question, and the church had nothing to gain by preventing the procession, still less by a riot to break it up. The pretence that the rights of Protestants are in danger from Catholics in this country, where the Protestants outnumber the Catholics as eight or ten to one, is too absurd to be even a passable joke. Do the sectarian journals count one Catholic more than a match for eight or ten Protestants? That were a greater compliment to us than we deserve. We are afraid the sectarian leaders have bad consciences, which make them cowards. Catholics cannot show the least sign of vitality, or make the slightest move for the practical possession of the equal rights guaranteed them by the constitution and laws, but they take fright, tremble in their shoes, and cry out: “Liberty is in danger!” the Pope is going to suppress American republicanism, strip Protestants of their rights, cut their throats, or reduce them to be “hewers of wood and drawers of water” to—the Jesuits. [Pg 118] They are dreadfully alarmed, or affect to be, and create a panic throughout the whole country. But, dear frightened souls, there is no occasion for your alarm, unless you suppose you cannot be free if everybody else is not enslaved. Even if we were the majority of the American people, as we are not, nor likely to be to-day, to-morrow, or the day after, you would be in no danger, for we understand liberty as well as you do, appreciate it more highly, love it better, and have made greater sacrifices for it than you can imagine. Not a few of us have fled hither from the tyranny and oppression of Protestant governments, expatriated ourselves for the sake of liberty, and do you believe us such fools as to destroy it the moment we have found it?

This talk about the hostility of the church to liberty and American republicanism, when not malicious, is sheer nonsense. The acts Protestants allege to prove that the church is hostile to liberty, prove the contrary; for they were acts done against tyrants and despots in defence of liberty, both civil and religious. What were her long struggles against the Franconian and Suabian emperors, but struggles on her part for the freedom of religion, the basis and principle of all true liberty? Why did the popes deny to kings and emperors in the middle ages the right of investiture by the cross and ring, but because to have conceded it would have enslaved the church to Cæsar, and destroyed the independence of religion and the freedom of conscience? Know you not that it was under the fostering care and protection of the church that grew up the freedom and independence of all modern nations? What nation, state, or people has she ever deprived of independence or liberty? If she has asserted the rights of sovereigns, and condemned sedition, turbulence, conspiracies, insurrections, rebellions, on the part of the people, she has been equally prompt and determined in asserting the rights and franchises of subjects, and in censuring, excommunicating, and even deposing, when professing to be Catholic, the tyrant who despoiled and oppressed them. The great principles of justice and equality on which American republicanism is founded were taught by hooded friars in their monasteries, and proclaimed from the Papal throne ages before the landing at Plymouth of the Pilgrims from the Mayflower, or the settlement of English colonists on the banks of the James. Do, dear friends, read and try to understand a little of history, and dismiss your idle fears, or, if fear you must, fear for the salvation of your own souls hereafter.

The fact is, we are a little impatient when we hear Protestants expressing in grave tones and with a serious face their apprehensions that the spread of Catholicity will tend to the destruction of American liberty. Considering what Protestantism is, and by what means it was introduced and has been sustained, it is too much as if Satan should express serious apprehensions that the spread of the Gospel may tend to the destruction of Christian piety and humility. We find among Protestants men, and not a few, who, when they speak of liberty, mean liberty for all men, for Catholics as well as for non-Catholics; but your true-blue Protestant, who is imbued with the original and genuine spirit of Protestantism, would seem unable to understand by liberty anything but his right to govern, or by religious liberty anything but his right to reject the papacy, abuse the Pope, calumniate and despoil [Pg 119] the church, and exterminate or enslave Catholics. Who has not heard of Tyburn, and who went there—of the infamous penal laws against Catholics of England and Ireland, to say nothing of other countries? And were not these same penal laws enacted and enforced in the colony of Virginia, and was it not a capital offence in Massachusetts for a priest to set his foot within the colony, or for an inhabitant to harbor or give him even a meal of victuals? Did not Massachusetts fit out and send from Boston an armed body of men, who shot down Father Rasle, a missionary to the Norridgewock Indians, at the head of his congregation as they came forth from Mass, and massacred them? Did not an American Provincial Congress enumerate among their grave charges against George III. the fact that he had granted freedom of worship to Catholics in the neighboring province of Canada? Was not Guy Fawkes’ Day celebrated in Boston with the usual anti-popery demonstrations down to the epoch of the Revolution, until protested against by some French officers, who came with the army from France to aid us in gaining our national independence? Yet Protestants do not blush to call Protestantism the friend, and Catholicity the enemy, of liberty!

Protestants have very short memories if they have forgotten these things, or else they suppose that Catholics have no memories at all if they suppose that we can permit them to claim, unchallenged, to be and always to have been the party of liberty. It is not, however, the strangest delusion of Protestants, and is only of a piece with their delusion that Protestantism is Christianity and sustained by the Holy Scriptures. But let this pass. We yield to no one in our devotion to liberty or in our readiness to defend the rights of the citizen. We have no sympathy with the rioters of the Twelfth of July and not one word to offer in their defence. They broke both the law of the church and the law of the land, sinned against God, and committed a crime against the state. But we venture to deny that the police order forbidding the Orange procession infringed the liberty of any citizen or deprived the Orangemen of any right they had or could have on American soil. No men or class of men have the right, in the performance of no civil or religious duty, but for their own pleasure or gratification of their own passions, to do any act or make any display in the judgment of the police certain or very likely to provoke a riot or breach of the peace. This is common sense, and, we presume, common law.

The Orangemen were required by no duty, civil or religious, to celebrate the battle of the Boyne by a public procession in the streets of our city, nor were they called to do it by any sentiment of patriotism—not of Irish patriotism, for the battle of the Boyne resulted in the subjugation, not the liberation, of Ireland—not American patriotism, for the event was foreign to American nationality. No foreign patriotism has any right on American soil. The event commemorated is wholly foreign to our patriotism. It occurred in a foreign country before our nationality was born, and has no relation whatever to any American sentiment. No precession not in honor of religion or some religious event, and wholly disconnected with American interests or sentiments, has any right on American soil, and can only take place by courtesy or sufferance, indifference or connivance. The prohibition of the Orange procession by [Pg 120] the police would have deprived the Orangemen of no right which they had or could pretend to have in this country; and if the procession was designed or even likely to irritate a portion of our citizens, and to provoke a riot, it was not only the right but the duty of the police, as conservators of the peace, to prohibit it, and as far as possible to prevent it.

But the right and the duty of the police do not stop here. There is another side to the question. Every peaceable citizen has the right to walk the streets without being insulted or having his feelings outraged. Processions, banners, songs, tunes offensive, and really intended to be offensive, to any portion of the community, and in commemoration of no American event, in satisfaction of no American sentiment, or in the performance of no civil, military, or religious duty incumbent on American citizens, are never allowable, for the insult and outrage offered to the feelings and sentiments, no matter of what class of the population, is purely wanton, malicious, and wholly unjustifiable. Of this sort is manifestly the insult and outrage offered by Orange processions, banners, songs, and tunes to all of our Irish fellow-citizens not of the Orange party; and these fellow-citizens of Irish birth or extraction, though they have no right to take the law into their own hands, have undoubtedly the right, on American soil, to be protected by the American authorities from insult and outrage to their feelings and sentiments, just as much as persons have the right to be protected from indecent sights in the public streets, or the display of obscene pictures and images in the shop-windows.

But these Orangemen—very few, if any, of whom, we are told, are American citizens—outrage American as well as Irish manhood. Their celebrations here are an insult to every true American, for they are in honor of principles and deeds abhorrent to every American heart. For them to bring their old quarrels hither from a foreign land would be reprehensible, even if their quarrels were not utterly disgraceful to them, but they become a gross outrage when the real character of their quarrel with their loyal countrymen is considered. The deeds of the party in Ireland they represent are such as are condemned by every distinctive American principle, and a more infamous party it would be difficult to find in any country on earth. They represent the party that in Ireland fought for a foreign invader and a chief of rebels against their own country, and were at once traitors to their king and nation. They represent the party that enacted the infamous and brutalizing penal laws which deprived the loyal Irish—who in the battle of the Boyne fought for and at the command of their rightful king against rebels, traitors, foreign invaders, and enemies—of every vestige of civil and religious liberty, even making it a crime for a father to teach his own child letters, and doomed their descendants, till within our own memory, to the most cruel, heartless, and hopeless oppression ever endured by any people in the world; they represent the party that, after the Presbyterian and Jacobin movement of 1798, into which some Catholics had been inveigled by the promise of freedom for their religion, and left to do the fighting and to bear almost alone the penalty of defeat, were the authors of the savage butcheries inflicted by the Orange yeomanry on the Catholic peasantry, even on those who had taken no part in the movement, and were innocent of all offence except that of sighing to be delivered from bondage, and treated as men [Pg 121] made in God’s image, not as wild beasts, whom it is a merit to hunt out and shoot down wherever they can be found. They commemorate in their processions, their banners, their songs and tunes, the triumph of treachery, baseness, bigotry, persecution, oppression, murder, rapine, and wholesale massacres, unsurpassed in the history of the most barbarous and heathenish nations.

Never was there a more cruel and bloodthirsty party, one redeemed by fewer virtues or blackened by more or greater crimes, or more deserving the execration of mankind, than that which these Orangemen represent and delight to honor. Is it no insult to us free-born Americans for them to come here and flaunt in our faces their banners stained with the blood of the innocent and the good, branded by the widow’s curse, and wet with the orphan’s tears—symbols of ages of wrong, oppression, and religious intolerance and persecution? Is it here, in free America, they dare come to boast in public of their crimes, and glory in their infamy? Do not we Americans profess to abhor persecution, tyranny, and oppression? Do we not, as a sovereign people, proclaim to the world that we have opened an asylum to the wronged, the oppressed, the downtrodden of every land and of every belief? Where, then, is our manhood when we allow the tyrant, the oppressor, the persecutor, to come here and insult and outrage his victims in the very asylum we profess to have opened to them? What greater insult to all that is noble and manly can be offered Americans than to be even asked to protect those who will not respect even the right of asylum?

No, no; the press has taken only a one-sided view in calling the prohibition of the Orange procession a violation of freedom and a cowardly yielding to Irish or Catholic dictation. It was no such thing. The Orangemen had no right on their side, and were entitled to no protection. Liberty was on the other side, and its vindication and the right of asylum required us as Americans to protect the victims of the Orange party who had sought refuge with us from Orange insult and outrage on our own soil. His excellency the governor of the state also took only a hasty and a very incorrect view of the case in revoking the very proper order of the police. We are as far as he can be from yielding to the dictation of the mob. When a mob has collected, it must be admitted to no parley, and the only answer to be given to its demands is the reading of the riot act, and a whiff of grape-shot or a shower of musket-balls. But no threats of violence should ever deter authority from doing what is right, and, in this case, right was not on the side of the Orangemen. Authority must be just as well as firm. The threats of violence were wrong, but they did not put the Orangemen in the right. Authority was bound to protect the Orangemen from actual violence, but it was not bound to protect them in the performance of acts which they had no moral or legal right to perform, and which it was foreseen, if permitted, would lead to violence. One wrong is not redressed by permitting another that must provoke it.

His excellency’s revocation of the order of the police prohibiting the Orange procession, and promise to protect the procession by all the force at his command, cannot be defended on the ground that the party opposed threatened violence in case the procession took place, unless it be assumed that the Orangemen had a perfect moral or legal right to [Pg 122] march in procession through our streets in their regalia, and with their insulting banners flying and bands playing offensive marches. But they had no such right, as we have seen, and the party making the threats, however wrong the threats were, had the right to be protected from the insult and outrage offered to their feelings by such a display. The vindication of liberty did not require the procession to take place, for liberty is not infringed where no right is violated or abridged; and the assertion of the majesty of the law never requires protection of a wrong because they who would be aggrieved by it have threatened, if permitted, they will attempt by violence to right themselves. Neither American liberty nor law required the Orange procession to be permitted, and if both liberty and law required a mob, when collected, to be dispersed and the violence suppressed, they both also required the protection of American citizens from public insult and outrage. His excellency forgot the duty of protecting American citizens from wrong, and thought only of protecting a foreign and wholly un-American party in committing it.

Yet we have no doubt that the mistaken conduct of the governor—an able man, a good lawyer, and for the most part a worthy chief magistrate of the state—was chiefly prompted by the clamor against Catholics, and the charge brought against his party by its opponents of acting under the dictation of Catholics, who, of course, it is assumed, act always under the dictation of their clergy, and was intended to refute the charge by showing his readiness to protect even Protestant Orangemen, and shoot down their hereditary enemies, though Catholics. The charge, we know, was made against the party now in power in this state; but his excellency should not have allowed it to move him. It is no doubt true that, but for the votes of citizens who happen to be Catholics, he would never have been governor of the state, and his party would be, at least for the present, in a hopeless minority; but we cannot allow that Catholics have presumed upon the fact, or asked anything not their right as simple American citizens, and we know that they have obtained less than their equal rights, even in this city, where they can probably count not much less than one-half of the population. But the charge is a mere party trick, designed, through the sectarian prejudice against Catholicity, to throw the party now in out of power. The governor seems to us to have fallen into the trap his political enemies set for him, and has not unlikely damaged the political prospects both of himself and of his party.

The clamor against the party on account of its Catholic leaders and supporters means only that the outs are anxious to become the ins. The party out of power in the State would as willingly receive the votes of Catholic citizens as does the party in power, and when in power it did, we believe, more for Catholics than the party now in power has ever yet done, though it, doubtless, promised less. Catholics have never had any reason for giving their votes to the Democratic party but that, in doing so, they followed, very disinterestedly, their honest political convictions.

The pretence of Protestants that Catholics in or out of office act politically under the dictation of their clergy, and in reference to Catholic interests as such, is too notoriously false to mislead anybody. Those prominent politicians, in or out of office, who happen to be Catholics, [Pg 123] are the last men in the world to listen to the dictation of the clergy or to act in obedience to the orders of their church, and they take infinite pains to prove that their religion has nothing to do with their politics, in order, we suppose, to escape the suspicion of being influenced in their political conduct by regard for Catholic interests. Their party standing is more to them than their Catholic standing, and they consult rarely the wishes or interests of their church, and usually only the wishes and interests of their party and its leaders. All the offices in the state or nation might be filled by Catholics, the constituencies remaining unchanged, without any more advantage accruing to the church than if they were all filled by Protestants. Catholics and Protestants alike, when in office, consult their constituencies, and act in the way and manner they judge most likely to secure votes to themselves or their party.

The fact is, Catholicity has never placed any man in city, state, or nation in office, and never yet has any man in our country been elected to office because he is Catholic. The Catholics who are in office under the municipal, state, or federal government, in congress, in the state senate, or the assembly, are there not because they are Catholics, but because they are Democrats or Republicans, or because they are of Irish, German, or some other foreign origin, and have or are supposed to have influence in securing the so-called “Irish vote,” the “German vote,” or the “foreign vote”—distinctions which should have no place in American politics—not because they are Catholics, and supposed to be devoted to Catholic interests. There is an “Irish vote,” a “German vote,” a “foreign vote,” but no “Catholic vote,” and, the constituencies remaining the same, Catholic interests would be just as safe in the hands of American Protestants as in the hands of Catholics elected to office, not for their Catholicity, but for their real or supposed influence with our naturalized fellow-citizens; and perhaps safer, because Protestants would be less likely to be suspected of acting under Catholic influence, and therefore could act more independently.

It is, we think, a mistake on the part of our politicians who are Catholics, whether in or out of office, to be so anxious not to be suspected of acting under Catholic influence and in view of Catholic interests. The church asks only what is just, only to be protected in the possession of the equal rights before the state, guaranteed to her by the constitution of the state, and which are not always respected by the popular sentiment of the country. The care which politicians take to show themselves independent in their political action, if Catholics, gains them no credit, and a frank, open, straightforward, and manly course would gain much more respect for themselves and for their religion. Indeed, their sensitiveness and over-caution on this point tend to excite the very suspicion they would guard against, or the suspicion that their conduct is diplomatic, and that they have some ulterior purpose in reserve which they artfully and adroitly conceal. The church is supposed by Protestants to be the very embodiment of craftiness and dissimulation, always and everywhere intriguing to get the control of the secular power, and to wield it in her own interest regardless of all rights and interests of the citizen who happens not to be Catholic. Hence, every Catholic politician is suspected beforehand of craft, intrigue, of crooked and underhand ways, lacking frankness, openness, and straightforward [Pg 124] honesty. The only way to repel this false and unjust suspicion is for such Catholics as are politicians to show in an open and manly manner that neither they nor their church have any sinister purpose, and that in being devoted to her interests and acting under influence as good Catholics, they have nothing to conceal, and no ends to gain for her incompatible with their plain duty as American citizens, or which they fear or hesitate to avow in the face of all men. The best way to quell a wild beast is to look him steadily in the eye, and show that you do not fear him.

But to return to the question more immediately before us. If the press and the executive had looked at the subject from the point of view of common sense, as a simple question of right and wrong, without prejudice against Catholics or in favor of Protestants, and without any wish to charge or acquit any party of being under Catholic influence, they could not, it seems to us, have failed to see that liberty was violated in permitting, not in prohibiting, the Orange procession. Party or sectarian prejudices obscured the judgment, and many lives of innocent persons were lost in consequence.

It is contended by some that if a procession of Catholic Irish in honor of St. Patrick is allowed, the Orange procession of the Protestant Irish should also be allowed; either permit both, or prohibit both. The celebration of St. Patrick’s Day as a festival of the Catholic Church, which it is, even by a public procession through our streets, if peaceable and orderly, is a right guaranteed in the freedom of the Catholic religion under our constitution and laws, and so far differs totally from the Orange procession. As a purely Irish national festival, it can be celebrated here only by courtesy, as is St. George’s Day by the English, St. Nicholas’s Day by the Dutch, or St. Andrew’s Day by the Scotch; for no foreign nationality has any right on American soil; otherwise, American nationality would not be independent and supreme on American territory. No foreign national festivals in commemoration or honor of events and interests or sentiments foreign to American nationality and interests and sentiments, can be publicly celebrated here except by indifference, courtesy, sufferance, connivance, national comity, or international treaty.

This rule, however, does not apply to religious festivals and celebrations, whether Catholic or Protestant, because in the eye of the state all religion is catholic, and not national, and, therefore, never a foreigner in any nation. Protestants cannot claim Orange celebrations as a right, though the Orangemen are all good Protestants, because the event celebrated is a foreign political, not a religious event; yet they have the right to institute and celebrate festivals in honor of Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, and other Protestant reformers; for these being the founders of their religion are as such not foreigners. Catholics may also celebrate here any of the festivals of the church in the way and manner she prescribes, because they are religious festivals, and the right to celebrate them is included in the freedom of conscience; so may they celebrate publicly the birthday of the Holy Father, his return to Rome from his exile at Gaëta and Portici, the completion of the twenty-fifth year of his pontificate, or his liberation, when effected, from his present imprisonment, and the recovery for the Holy See of the possessions of which she has been sacrilegiously despoiled—because, as the chief of their religion, he is no foreigner in America.

[Pg 125] The German peace celebration, as it was called, but really the celebration of the German conquest and humiliation of France, our ancient ally, was by sufferance, not by right. The Fenian organizations, marches and countermarches, parades and processions in honor of victories not won, are absolutely illegal, and take place only by the connivance—we might say the culpable connivance—of the government, if Great Britain, against whom they are directed, did not herself allow demonstrations on her own soil against foreign sovereigns. The celebrations of Italian unity, since effected by fraud, violence, sacrilege, and robbery, the spoliation of the Holy See, and the imprisonment of the Pope, perhaps should be regarded as the celebrations of the successes of Protestant principles, and therefore, by a right secured in the civil freedom of Protestantism, and if peaceable and orderly, not prohibitable by the police. They may be annoying to Catholics, but so is Protestantism itself; but Protestants have, so far as the secular authorities go, the same right to be Protestants that we have to be Catholics.

We have already shown that it is ridiculous to attempt to hold the church responsible for the riot. The rioters may have been nominal Catholics; but, if so, they were bad Catholics, for they acted contrary to the principles of their church, and the advice and direction of their pastors, and the church cannot be held responsible for acts done contrary to her orders and in violation of her principles. The rioters, themselves, knew and owned that they were disobeying their church, and defended themselves on the ground that the question was a national not a religious question, and, therefore, not within the jurisdiction of the clergy. Their defence was a lame one, and proved they were no true Catholics; for the church, without assuming to decide the national, party, or political question, had full jurisdiction of the morality of their acts, and was quite competent to condemn the passions of anger and revenge that actuated them and their riotous proceedings, as condemned by the law of God.

But there are Catholics in this city of fifteen or twenty different nationalities, and yet the rioters were exclusively of Irish origin, which is full proof that the riot was not Catholic, but Irish. Had it been a Catholic riot, inspired by the church and for a Catholic object, for which the church could be held responsible, Catholics, irrespective of their nationality, would have been engaged in it, and it would not have been confined to persons of one nationality alone. It was, as everybody knows, an Irish riot, occasioned by an old Irish feud between two Irish parties, not an American or a Catholic riot. These hot-headed, disobedient Irishmen, even if Catholics, could not commit the church to their disorderly and criminal proceedings.

It is only fair to add that this handful of Irish rioters could not any more commit the great body of our Irish fellow-citizens. According to the last census, there were 201,000 souls in this city who were born in Ireland, to say nothing of their children and grandchildren born here. There probably was not over five hundred, if so many, actively engaged in the riot; but double the number, say there were a thousand, and they are quite too few, even if they were of reputable character, which they were not, to commit so large a body as that of our Irish population, most of whom remained quietly engaged in their ordinary avocations. That the Irish furnish their full quota of rowdies, [Pg 126] roughs, and disorderly persons in our large towns, nobody denies; but we must remember that there are plenty of the same class not of Irish origin, and there have been riots, and riots of a very grave character, in which the Irish had no hand, though of some of them they were the victims. We have seen more than one American mob in which the chief actors were respectable, well-dressed Protestant American citizens.

There are Irishmen who are wealthy and wear fine clothes that are no credit to their race or their religion, but the Catholic Irish as a body constitute a sober, quiet, peaceable, intelligent, religious, industrious, and thriving portion of our population, and no American-born citizen has any right to say a word in disparagement of them. Indeed, we may say of the Catholic population of the city generally, that it is that portion of the population that it can least afford to spare. Were the city to lose them, it would lose the very population that has contributed, and contributes, the most to its high moral and religious character, to its industry and wealth, and on which its prosperity chiefly depends. With all their faults, and they are many, and many more in the eyes of the Catholic than of the Protestant, they are, as they should be, decidedly the best people going. Their vices are on the surface; their virtues lie deeper, and are many, solid, and durable. We bless God that we are permitted to call them brethren, and that we are with them in the unity of faith and communion, though we happen to be an American of the seventh generation, and it was our misfortune to be reared a Protestant.

We think the conduct of the Democratic party towards their Catholic supporters is discreditable. Any party may feel itself honored that secures the votes of the great body of our Catholic citizens, whether naturalized or native-born citizens, and no party will suffer in the end by insisting on justice to Catholics and to Catholic interests. Any party, by frankly and fearlessly sustaining the equal rights of Catholics with Protestants, and maintaining the freedom and independence of religion, will not only serve truly their country, and respond to the demands of American patriotism, but they will best ensure its own permanent prosperity, power, and influence. They who scorn and trample on the church may flourish for a time like the green bay tree, but in the end they will wither and die, and their places be sought, and not found. It is well for every political party to remember that God reigns, and that they who scorn his church, whom he hath purchased with his own blood, will in turn be scorned by the “King of kings, and Lord of lords.”

[Pg 127]




It would be difficult to find in the history of human revolutions a spectacle at once as burlesque and terrible as that just presented by the too celebrated Commune of Paris. It began with a long trail of blood at the entrance of the Place Vendôme, and signalized its wretched end by the horrible massacre of La Roquette. A witness of these two bloody scenes, I shall depict them with but few comments, but with perfect exactness of detail. At the risk of being incomplete, I shall only relate what I saw. In speaking of the confinement at Mazas and the massacres at La Roquette, I shall barely add some incidents, the truth of which was vouched for by the companions of my cruel captivity. Comments would only weaken the impressiveness of these facts. I leave my readers to draw their own conclusions from a moral and social point of view, only remarking that the first account, relating to the events that transpired in the Place Vendôme during the latter half of March, was drawn up a few days after they occurred.

Though the first essays of the Commune were not marked by the nameless horrors that drew upon its end the reprobation of all civilized nations, I have thought it right not to alter my first account. Perhaps some observations may not appear sufficiently severe, and others not wholly justified by the events. I give them to the public as they were noted down at the time. By comparing the account written at the end of March with that of the end of May, an exact idea may be formed—I was going to say a faithful photograph may be had—of the revolutionary condition of Paris at the beginning and the end of the Commune. We may thereby be enabled to judge of the development, during this short interval, of a brutal revolution—the implacable enemy of all institutions, human and divine.

In spite of the mingled emotions of horror and disgust I feel in recalling the men and the deeds I speak of, I may be permitted to manifest two feelings that prevail over all others in the depths of my soul—a redoubling of constant sympathy for the unhappy city of Paris, only rendered dearer by its misfortunes, and an ardent gratitude for the infinite mercy of God, which preserved me, contrary to all human expectation, from the bullets of a herd of assassins more shameless and lower than their predecessors of 1793.



I passed a great part of Tuesday, the twenty-first of March, in discussing with some political friends the intolerable situation of things at Paris, effected by the triumphal mob of Saturday, the eighteenth. We all [Pg 128] deplored and denounced that unjustifiable attempt at the national sovereignty which suddenly drew on us the danger of Prussian occupation of the city and the horrors of civil war—perhaps both of these scourges. Our indignation was profound. One blamed the government for having too readily abandoned Paris to the danger of insurrection; another maintained that by establishing itself at Versailles with the national assembly, and defending the environs of Paris, it saved France. Another declaimed with bitterness, sometimes against the culpable indifference of the national guards, which left everything to be done, and sometimes against the audacity and wickedness of the leaders of the mob that, without any pretext, was dragging France, all bleeding from the wounds incurred in war, into a bottomless abyss. We all felt there was something beneath all this: it was the shameful defection of a part of the troops of the line which had rendered such cruel misfortunes possible. If the army were to countenance the insurrection, that would decide the fate of France—Galliæ finis!

It was easier to deplore the gravity of the evil than to point out a practical means of remedying it. There was great diversity of opinion respecting the latter. Should recourse be had to material force or to a spirit of persuasion and conciliation? The use of material force might inflame the rebellious party still more, and cover Paris with blood and ruins. The success of moral influence was hardly possible with insurgents who began by assassinating Generals Lecomte and Clément Thomas, and deliberately advocated a social revolution.

At three o’clock, a well-known inhabitant of the Place Vendôme, who had already distinguished himself by his courage in the insurrection of June, 1848, in which he was one of the first wounded, came to announce to me the formal intention of the national guards of his battalion to retake the place from the insurgents come from the faubourgs. He thought that by a bold stroke they might effect their object without a shot. It is sure that the friends of order wished by all means to avoid the shedding of blood. Some moments after, one of my friends, who bears one of the great political names of France, and is destined to render his country eminent service, after the example of his family, because he is at once a man of superior intelligence and disinterestedness, very liberal and very religious, announced to me that the national guards of his arrondissement were animated with the best intentions, and comprehended the urgent necessity of maintaining order in the midst of the inextricable chaos into which we had fallen. He was himself a powerful example of the resolution and self-sacrifice inspired by an enlightened and generous patriotism. A retired officer from the time of his marriage, he had organized, at the beginning of the war, the national guards of that section of the country in which his estate was. Later, when the army of General Chanzy made his evolution from the Loire toward the Sarthe, he resumed his military life, and took an active part as captain of the staff in the operations and struggles of the army of the west. The very day he returned to civil life, he took the cars to spend some days at Paris, where several members of his family awaited him. He arrived there on the eve of the eighteenth of March. Instead of returning to the country, like so many other Parisians, he enrolled his name the following day as a simple member of the national guards, resolved [Pg 129] to recede before no danger or fatigue, and to serve the cause of order at Paris as he had been serving the cause of the national honor in his province. We should not despair of the future prosperity of a country in which there is still a great number of examples of similar devotedness. He did not think of returning to the country till the day after the mayors and deputies of Paris, doubtless unwittingly serving the interests of demagogism much more than the demagogues themselves, thought they were making a conciliatory move by yielding to their wishes, inviting the Parisian electors to illegal elections, disbanding the battalions of the national guard, wholly devoted to the cause of order, and thus destroying the sole material and moral support that still remained to the better portion of Paris. These mayors and deputies, whose imprudence and want of foresight no human tongue could express, declared they had saved everything, and they had lost everything. They ascended to the Capitol as in triumph, and they had led us to the Tarpeian Rock. They pretended to avoid the shedding of blood, and chose the surest means of shedding it in torrents. My friend agreed with me that next to the hideous stand of the battalions of the line that had entered into a pact with the mob, nothing could be more disastrous than the inexplicable compromise entered into by these mayors and deputies. There was not a day on which I did not apply to them the dilemma that I formerly applied to the government of the emperor in the guêt-à-pens of Castelfidardo: “Either dupes or accomplices.”[41]

At five o’clock, an old deputy who had been brutally excluded from the legislative body in the favorable time of official candidature, because he would not renounce his opinions of freedom and control, gave me some interesting details respecting the pacific manifestations that had just met with an unhoped-for success. A great number of citizens, of all ages and of every rank, had traversed the principal quarters unarmed, crying, “Vive l’Ordre! Vive la France! Vive l’Assemblée Nationale!” They everywhere meet with cordial sympathy. The battalion that guarded the Bourse presented arms as they passed. The battalions of the faubourgs, that held the Place Vendôme, endeavored in vain to prevent their passing, and the person who from the balcony of the staff wished to address them in order to justify the insurrectionary movement, was interrupted by enthusiastic acclamations in favor of order and the national assembly.

The central committee at the Hôtel de Ville understood so well the bearing of this manifestation that they hastened to take energetic measures to remain masters of the Place Vendôme, and not to allow in it any new manifestations from the friends of order. They sent thither several battalions. Travel was forbidden there and in the neighboring streets; the approaches were rigorously guarded: four pieces of cannon, with cannoneers ready to fire, were set up in the Rue de la Paix and the Rue Castiglione.

At nine o’clock, the wife of one of [Pg 130] the employees of the minister of justice came to beg me to carry to her brother the final consolations of religion. I had seen him some days previous, and his end seemed near. It was with the greatest difficulty she had left the Ministère and the Place Vendôme, and she feared it would be impossible for me to return with her. But, unwilling her brother should die without the sacraments of the church, she succeeded by her prayers and tears in reaching me, and was willing to brave everything again in order to enable me to go to him.

I assured her I would unite my efforts to hers, and, though conscious that the ecclesiastical costume had, since the downfall of the empire, been disagreeable to the Parisian revolutionists, I added that we should succeed. I set out that very instant with one of the employees of the church.

The Place and the Boulevard de la Madeleine were quiet and nearly deserted. The Rue Neuve-des-Capucines was livelier. At the entrance of the Place Vendôme, I found myself in presence of the national guards, who did not much resemble those belonging to that quarter. They were very numerous. Their language was in the main rather noisy than threatening. The words “citizen” and “republic” were constantly on their lips. They allowed no one to stop, and showed themselves severely rigid towards the passers-by that wished to contemplate a spectacle so new in this pacific and wealthy quarter.

I had not yet arrived at the angle of the Rue Neuve-des-Capucines and the Place Vendôme, when an outpost of the national guards, arms in hand, cried to me in somewhat rough tone: “Citizen, no one is allowed to stop!” It was the very place and the time to stop to accomplish my holy mission. I explained briefly, but politely, the motive that led me to the Place Vendôme: it was a question of giving a dying person the last succor of religion; and, to leave no doubt of the truth of my statement, I pointed out the lady, bathed in tears, at my side, and the employee of the Madeleine. “It is impossible, citizen,” was uttered on all sides, “the consigne has forbidden it.” I asked to see one of the officers, for I saw plainly I should be obliged to parley, but, in view of a duty so grave and urgent, I resolved to use every means. A sergeant presented himself with that important and somewhat ridiculous air which carries the conviction among the lower ranks that public affairs could not be sustained without him. I explained my wish. “You cannot pass.” I mildly insisted. “The consigne has forbidden it, and to-day he is very rigorous.” I asked the reason of this exceptional severity. “It is, you see, citizen, because the bourgeoisie of this quarter have been making a racket to-day, and this must not be repeated.”

This observation, one of the most characteristic I ever heard in my life, was made with a seriousness which would have dispelled mine at another time less distressing to my heart as a priest and a Frenchman.

Convinced that nothing was to be effected with this sergeant, who was more self-sufficient than wicked, I asked to see the captain. He came to me with a dry and lofty air that the mildness of my language and doubtless the sad motive also that led me to the Place Vendôme speedily modified. After refusing me, and listening to renewed entreaties, he gave me permission to enter the Place Vendôme, on condition that I should remain all night. That was the extent of the right allowed him by the [Pg 131] consigne. Tired of constantly hearing of a consigne who, according to the graphic avowal of the sergeant, was only influenced by his dissatisfaction at the racket that the bourgeoisie of the quarter had been making that day, I replied that I could not accept the condition, that I was very sorry not to be able to understand a refusal which affected a dying person and a family in affliction, and that I would leave the public to judge this fact, since there was no other authority to appeal to.

These words, uttered with an emotion but little restrained, changed the mind of the captain, who vainly sought plausible pretexts to oppose me. He appeared, besides, to be greatly preoccupied with the command he exercised: others were constantly coming to him for orders, and it was evident from his embarrassed manner that he had been more accustomed to receive than to give orders. He ordered one of the national guards to accompany me to the house of the minister of justice, not to lose sight of me for an instant, and to bring me back to the entrance of the Rue Neuve-des-Capucines. Notwithstanding the pacific character of my costume, I was treated like one of the suspicious bourgeoisie of the quarter, who could not be pardoned for having made a racket during the day. The insurgents had strengthened their position in the Place Vendôme, to prevent henceforth the manifestations of honest people. They appeared resolved to allow it to be entered only with extreme circumspection, and by persons who resided here.

I proceeded, accompanied by my national guardsman, who was armed.

The Place was poorly lighted. We had scarcely left behind us the group of national guards that barricaded the entrance, than he addressed me these words in a confused but very respectful tone: “How sad all this is, monsieur l’abbé, and how wrong not to arrange everything so every one can remain at home and quietly attend to his business!” I evidently had with me one of the too numerous workmen of Paris who love order and peace, but who dare not, or who do not know how to, resist the bold ringleaders who take them from their work and lead them astray. The fear of not speaking with sufficient calmness and caution, while I was at once afflicted and exasperated, induced me to be reserved. I merely replied that I shared his sentiments, and that very probably reason would prevail in the end.

Every moment we met armed groups. As far as I could judge, from rapid glances over the Place, some were discussing with vivacity the events of the day: others, like mercenaries, without dignity and without conscience, appeared to have no other care than to smoke and drink. The insurgents I met did not conceal the suprise that the presence of a priest in their midst during the night caused them. Those who thought I had been arrested, and was on my way to the post of the état-major, where I had seen more than one spy or Prussian led during the siege, did not deprive themselves of the pleasure of aiming a joke or an insult at me. Those who thought I was going to fulfil the duties of the holy ministry saluted me with respect. They were far from resembling in their equipments and deportment the national guards of the quarter of St. Roch or the Madeleine, but when I compared them with those I found the next day in the same place, after the criminal and bloody fusillade upon citizens only guilty of calmly expressing their love of order and their devotedness to the national assembly, [Pg 132] they were comparatively disciplined and civilized.

The ante-room of the minister of justice’s residence was guarded by insurgents, who allowed no one to enter or go out without particular scrutiny. I quickly made known to the leader the object of my mission. He listened to me with evident curiosity and self-sufficiency, and, after affecting to consider, he motioned me to proceed. The court was occupied by another post that watched the entrance to the offices and hôtel of the minister, and the avenue that led through the gardens to the Rue de Luxembourg. No light was to be seen in the apartments. A profound silence reigned everywhere. No other employee remained at the minister’s than the brother-in-law of the young man to whom I was carrying the last consolations of religion. He received them with more calmness and serenity than might have been expected, humanly speaking, of a young man of twenty-two years of age, when one looks forward to a long life; but what a double grief for a family to find themselves at once in the presence of death and a band of insurgents!

A quarter of an hour after, I left the ministère with my national guard, who treated me with a respect more and more deferential. The lady who had gone to the Rue de la Ville-l’Evêque to find me was also struck with his excellent appearance, and commissioned me to give him a small sum of money. I begged him, as delicately as possible, to accept it in aid of his family, who might be in need for want of employment. He seemed very much touched by this generous attention, and, as much to satisfy my curiosity as to prevent the difficulty of expressing his gratitude at a time when he was officially charged with guarding me, I concluded to address him some questions.

“From what quarter of Paris are you?”

“I am from Bercy, monsieur l’abbé. They sounded the rappel this evening. I set out with my company. They told us we were appointed to a very important patriotic mission. Arrived at the Place Vendôme, we were ordered to guard it rigorously.”

“But why so rigorous a guard in a quarter where there are only very excellent people, who love order and peace above all things?”

“Ma foi, monsieur l’abbé, I know nothing at all about it. Bercy is perfectly quiet. This quarter is no less so. I do not understand it. They ordered us to come, and we had to obey.”

“But did you not at Bercy have confidence in M. Thiers as well as we? Do you prefer Assi, Flourens, Blanqui, and Felix Pyat to him?”

“Our employers have always spoken very highly of him. The good workmen call him a great patriot, and not a mere pretender like so many others. He promised us liberty and work, and would certainly have kept his word. So we have committed a great piece of foolishness in allowing him to go to Versailles. God grant it may not be for a long time!”

“But what becomes of your work all this time? Do you think this state of thing favorable to the interests of the workman?”

“Ah, monsieur l’abbé, work is a thing but little thought of now, and yet the longer we delay resuming it, the more unfortunate we are. There are among us so many sluggards and madcaps!...”

My excellent guard was explaining to me in his own way how the bad workmen, who wished in 1848 to obtain the right to labor, had, since the [Pg 133] siege of Paris, wished to retain the right of doing nothing, when I found myself at the spot whence we had set out. Immediately resuming his most official and patronizing air—“Citizen,” said he to the patrol that guarded the entrance to the Place Vendôme, “let this citizen pass!”

I had promised the family of the poor sick man to visit him again in two or three days. Complicated as the situation of Paris was, and in particular that of the Place Vendôme, treated and occupied as a place taken by storm, in defiance of all right and all decency, by the national guards of the faubourgs in revolt against the laws, I was far from anticipating that I should hasten the next day to the same place in the midst of all the horrors of civil war, to carry the consolations of religion to the honorable inhabitants of Paris, smitten down without any provocation, without any motive, by the bullets of their fellow-citizens.



The next day, the twenty-second of March—henceforth one of the saddest dates in the history of Paris—I was on duty at the church of the Madeleine—that is to say, appointed to receive, from six o’clock in the morning till ten at night, those persons who sought the religious or charitable ministry of the priest, and to afford them all the satisfaction within the limits of possibility.

As the pacific manifestations on the eve had produced a favorable moral effect, it was proposed to renew them during the day, as I learned from some of my friends, known to be devoted to the cause of liberty and order, so strangely compromised. The aim they had in view and the means to which they had recourse were not only incontestably legal, but also in conformity with the interests and dignity of all the inhabitants of Paris. Therefore, far from concealing them, they openly discussed them, hoping they would be understood and appreciated as they deserved to be. They desired to promote, by means of persuasion and conciliation, respect for order and the laws, disregarded by the bold ringleaders and a part of the national guards led astray. In the midst of ruins accumulated by an unfortunate war, they wished to declare the assembly of the representatives of the country in session at Versailles to be the sole power charged to watch over our destinies, that we should rally around them and await their solution of the inextricable difficulties of the moment. The inhabitants of the Place Vendôme and the neighboring streets, wounded, and not without reason, at seeing their quarter invaded and occupied by the national guards from other quarters, who prevented travel, terrified their families, and paralyzed all commercial transactions, proposed to claim their rights, as inhabitants of the first arrondissement, to become the police of their own quarter. They violated no right, they were not lacking any propriety, in begging the citizens of the arrondissements of Montmartre and Belleville, who were installed there without any notice, to leave it to their own care. Not only are those who live in the Place Vendôme Parisians as well as the inhabitants of Belleville and Montmartre, but it was evident to those who knew Paris that four-fifths of the national guards that held possession of the Place Vendôme on the twenty-first, and especially on the twenty-second of March, had never seen Paris three [Pg 134] years previously. Paris is rather the theatre than the author of the revolutions that take place there.

Revolutionists and rioters belong to all parts of France and Europe, and in disastrous times they hasten to Paris, hoping to catch fish in the troubled waters.

I have studied all the large cities of Europe from a political and social point of view. For reasons too extended to be enumerated here, not one is like Paris, the rendezvous of all suspicious and corrupt characters—of the unfortunate who are at variance with the laws of their own country, and of men of no class who are ready to become revolutionary agents—and these are the worst of all. After the siege it had endured, the state of agitation and prostration resulting from so great a struggle, so much suffering, and so many deceptions, could not fail to attract the leading charlatans and rogues of all parts of Europe. It is not to the honor of the popular class at Paris, the most frivolous and the most credulous in the world, that these new-comers met with a success beyond their expectations, for they became in a moment our masters. Thanks to this cosmopolitan invasion, and also to the departure of too large a number of genuine Parisians who feared the Prussian bombardment less than the mob of international agents, Paris, the brilliant centre of elegance, art, and of intellect, as well as a financial and political centre, became, according to the expressive comparison of the Times, an infernal caldron, which terrified all Europe, and in which mingled and seethed all human passions.

The party that was playing its part at Paris was not Parisian or French, but exclusively social. It was a flock of birds of prey, a herd of roaming wild beasts, who had hastened from the four cardinal points to fall on the capital of France, which a five months’ siege had weakened. The International agents wished to found the Commune, and, to realize the idea of the Commune, which especially clings to locality, home, the fireside, the steeple, the associations and traditions of domestic interest, they summoned to Paris all their boon companions of the Old and the New World, and forced the real inhabitants of Paris to take refuge in the provinces or abroad. It was a revolting cynicism, pregnant with disaster.

At half-past two, some persons, filled with terror and indignation, entered the Madeleine to inform me of a sinister catastrophe. The agents of the pacific manifestation, who had proposed on the eve to traverse the principal streets of the city, crying, Vive la République! Vive l’Ordre! Vive l’Assemblée Nationale! had become the victims of a horrible ambuscade. After passing through the Rue de la Paix, a large number of respected citizens of Paris, unarmed, and influenced only by the patriotic desire of securing, by the most inoffensive means and for the benefit of all good citizens, the triumph of equity, law, and a spirit of conciliation, had been met at the entrance of the Place Vendôme by a murderous fusillade from the insurgent national guards. The reports of the number of the killed and wounded varied, but it must have been considerable.

At the same time, I saw from the outer colonnade of the Madeleine the shops hastily shut up and people fleeing in disorder from the direction of the Place Vendôme. Every face expressed wrath and consternation. Some national guards of the eighth arrondissement hastened to rally around the church to watch over the public security.

I made inquiries about the condition [Pg 135] of the wounded, and was told they were being carried home, and that several belonged to the parish of the Madeleine, which includes the Rue de la Paix and the Place Vendôme. As I did not know the address of the victims, and knew from an experience of ten years that the members of the parish had the Christian habit of summoning the priest to the aid of the dying, I waited with emotion for them to have recourse to my ministry.

At four o’clock no one had come, and I was ignorant of the name and address of any of the wounded. At half-past four there was a report that some of the killed and wounded remained on the Place Vendôme, and that there were detained there some of those engaged in the pacific manifestation, among others, the father of a young man from the Rue Tronchet, whose skull had been fractured by a ball, and whom the insurgents refused to deliver up. Other details were added of such a revolting character that I could scarcely credit them. I ordered the Madeleine to be closed—took with me all that was necessary for the administration of the sacraments, and went by way of the boulevards towards the Place Vendôme, resolved, as on the preceding night, to recede before no obstacle to my reaching the victims who might need religious aid. The Boulevard de la Madeleine, generally so lively and brilliant, was almost deserted. The inhabitants were inquiring in a low tone, and in terror, about the incidents of the bloody drama that had just taken place in the neighborhood. Some soldiers only, who had joined the insurgents four days previously, were passing along with a careless and almost satisfied air. If these unhappy men were aware of the frightful event that then preoccupied all Paris, they only retained a glimmering of moral sense. Already unworthy to bear the name of a soldier, they would no longer merit to bear that of man.

At the entrance of the Rue Neuve-des-Capucines, which leads from the Boulevard de la Madeleine to the Place Vendôme, I was stopped by a group of people, who from a distance were regarding with mingled sentiments of curiosity and terror the patrols of the mob scattered along the street. “Do not go any further, monsieur l’abbé,” cried several persons to me in trembling voices, more charitable than brave. “If you go among those wretches, you are lost! We have seen them fire upon inoffensive men who were bearing away the wounded at the entrance of the Rue de la Paix.” I made no reply to what was dictated more by fear than reason, and came to the first patrol stationed before the Crédit Foncier. All the houses of the Rue Neuve-des-Capucines were closed, and this street, one of the liveliest of the quarter, seemed like a tomb. The head patrol, a jolly young fellow, with a face as red as blood, advanced towards me, and, solemnly raising his sabre to attest his authority, which I had no intention of disputing, ordered me to stop. I explained to him, without concealing my sadness, the object of my mission: “I am going as a priest belonging to the parish of the Madeleine to see the wounded on the Place Vendôme.” He immediately motioned with his sabre for me to pass; this was his only reply. Was he aware of the effect of this sinister beginning of civil war upon the condition of Paris? I doubt it—to parade and appear important seemed to be his principal care. The other national guards, vigilant and with their hands on their loaded arms, resembled sentinels in face of the enemy, without their discipline and proper carriage.

[Pg 136] The second patrol, stationed in the middle of the street, allowed me to pass without objection. It was composed, like the first, of national guards of all ages, but not of all conditions: they were from the most uncivilized class of the faubourgs. Their accoutrements were not uniform or neat. Some appeared quite satisfied; they were the youngest; others had a less blustering manner; but all felt an instinctive joy to rule over the most brilliant part of Paris, and inspire the citizens with a lively terror.

Before I came to the third patrol, placed at the opposite end of the street, I noticed on the pavement many stains of blood. It was in fact only a few steps distant that, only a short time before, the victims of the fusillade fell. I will not attempt to describe the anguish that filled my soul at the sight of this blood of my countrymen, shed by insurgents without country and without God. In the midst of my great distress I recalled the sublime cry of Monseigneur Affre: “Let my blood be the last shed!” I ardently prayed in my turn that the blood of these innocent and peaceful victims might be the last poured out, but it was to be feared that the revolutionary and social crisis, that weighed on Paris like a horrible nightmare, would only end, as it had commenced, by a terrible effusion of blood.

There was no difference between this patrol and the preceding, except that it was more actively vigilant. The chief of the national guards that formed it, and who seemed surprised to behold me, having asked where I was going, and what I was going to do, sent two men to conduct me to the post that guarded the entrance to the Place Vendôme. During the siege of Paris, I one day passed along the formidable defences of the Point-du-Jour at Auteuil. The consigne there was of a different degree of mildness and condescension from that at the entrance of the Place Vendôme, which the insurgents evidently wished to make their headquarters, and where they were entrenching themselves. The national guards that defended the entrance were less blustering, but more numerous and more decided, than those of the evening before. They allowed me to pass without hindrance; many of them must have felt that where the dead and dying are to be found is the proper place for a minister of Jesus Christ. A sentinel was ordered to accompany me to the Ministère de la Justice, where I intended to go first. He possessed neither the intelligence nor the politeness of the national guard that escorted me the night before. He was rather an animated machine than a man. Not a word, not a gesture, not a change in his features! After wondering what he was thinking of, I ended by doubting if he thought at all. I should render him this justice—that, from a material point of view, he discharged his commission with irreproachable exactitude.

I experienced an undefinable impression in the Place Vendôme, produced by a twofold contrast, the remembrance of which will not be effaced to the latest moment of my life.

This Place, with which Louis XIV. adorned Paris, was first called the Place des Conquêtes, to recall the brilliant victories which had secured to France the fine provinces which we have just lost a large part of, after most lamentable reverses. The sumptuous edifices, built according to Mansard’s plans, which form the contour, render it in an architectural point of view the finest Place in Europe. Destined by Louis XIV. to bring together the royal library and imprimerie, the academies, the [Pg 137] mint, and the hôtel of foreign ambassadors; now inhabited by wealthy families, rich travellers, and some of the government officials; situated between the garden of the Tuileries and the Boulevards des Capucines and des Italiens; entered at its two extremities by the Rues de Castiglione and de la Paix, through which pour wealthy merchants and elegant promenaders, it became on the twenty-second of March the theatre of uproar and civil war: it was covered with blood, and occupied by an armed crowd, in which prevailed the most sinister faces from the worst quarters of Paris.

The national guards of Bercy that I had seen the night before were models of civilization and distinction compared with these. Some were rather boys than men. They appeared to be only sixteen or seventeen years of age. As proud as they were surprised to carry a gun, they only sought for an opportunity or a pretext to use it. Those who have witnessed the revolutions of Paris know that armed children are capable of atrocious misdeeds. Sprung from the lowest grades of society, destitute of all moral sense, they care but little what cause they have to defend or what enemy to attack: their highest ambition is to display their audacity and to fire off their guns. As I am only relating the things I witnessed myself, I shall not speak of the fiendish part taken, according to some spectators, by a boy in the fusillade which had just shot down too great a number of pacific and honorable citizens. Many of the insurgents were in a state of overexcitement, proceeding less from their political and social opinions than from a too copious absorption of wine and other liquors: this is on days of revolutionary storms another category of insurgents capable of everything because they have lost all moral sense. There was but little care and uniformity about their accoutrements. Some had on only a part of the uniform of the national guards: others wore a képi and a blouse. A great number of the képis were not numbered. Here and there were to be seen some red sashes.

In this nameless multitude might also be remarked men of fifty or sixty years, whose ferocious and degraded faces excited the worst suspicions respecting their moral instincts and their previous relations with the legal authorities. I at once saw that many of them were foreigners, particularly Italians and Poles. What a contrast between such insurgents, hardly to be found in June, 1848, in the lowest parts of Paris, and the imposing architectural splendor of one of the finest squares in the world! I could not express the effect of this mingling of poetic beauty and foul deformity upon me.

Another contrast no less sad rent my heart. The side of the Place Vendôme toward the Rue de la Paix was sprinkled with blood; now and then the wounded and dead were carried by; and over these spots of human blood, by the side of these unfortunate victims of civil war, a great number of insurgents, perhaps the very ones who without any motive or provocation had shot them down, were laughing, eating, drinking, and amusing themselves, as if they were celebrating the happiest event of their lives.

In going to the Ministère de la Justice, I had to pass through several groups of varied physiognomy. They were generally astonished to see the ecclesiastical garb among them. I acknowledge that, if I had not had a mission of sacerdotal obligation to accomplish, I should hardly have procured them this surprise, [Pg 138] notwithstanding my natural love of observation. Some—a small number, however—received me with coarse insults and horrid laughter. A few steps from the Ministère de la Justice, a national guardsman, who was talking and gesticulating with uncommon vivacity, stopped to address me, while shaking his fist at me, this singular apostrophe: “When shall we be delivered from those wretches?” I will not relate other pleasantries of this nature of which I was the butt: this one is only too much. Their authors had doubtless learned to know and judge the clergy by the violent diatribes of citizens Blanqui and Félix Pyat.

Others, on the contrary, saluted me with a respect and cordiality which I was careful to return politely. They were honest workmen who had doubtless had intercourse with their parish priests, or whose children attended the catechism classes or the schools of the religious congregations, and received a benefit which they understood how to appreciate. There were strange contrasts in this mixture. Not to forget a single characteristic detail, I caught some observations that denoted on the part of their authors serious regrets for the dreadful catastrophe which terrified the whole city.

If, among the insurgent battalions chosen to fire on the inoffensive inhabitants of Paris, there were some to deplore the horrors of civil war, how many might not have been found in the other battalions! If the ringleaders could be separated from those whom they lead, and the deceivers from the deceived, the number of the latter would be considerable, and the former somewhat modified. One of the most serious faults of the workman of Paris is the incredible facility with which he enters into all the hollow schemes of the rogue and the charlatan who tempt him, and sacrifices to their mad ambition and culpable projects his peace, his property, his honor, and his life.

My guide, or rather my guard, appeared insensible to the insults as well as to the salutations I received on the way. Arms in hand, always impassible and solemn, it was only now and then he cast toward me an inquisitorial glance, as if to assert his authority and my dependence.

I made known the object of my mission to the leader of the post at the Ministère de la Justice. He was a young and well-bred officer. He listened to me with attention, and replied, after saluting me twice with a politeness full of respect, that I was at liberty to do all I wished.

I found the sick person I had seen the evening before in the hôtel of the minister of justice, exhausted by excitement that was hastening his end. He could see from his sick-bed all that occurred on the Place. In one corner of the apartment his sister, endowed with the higher Christian virtues, and an aged lady whom I did not know, but who was probably their mother, were weeping over the public as well as their own private woes. I had promised the sick person the night before to visit him again in three or four days, but as I could not enter the Place Vendôme without indicating the precise place I wished to go to, and could not have a better means of ascertaining where the victims of the fusillade had been transported, I briefly explained the reason of my unexpected call and gave him some religious encouragement, which was to be the last. I learned that the dead and wounded removed from the Place had been carried to one of the neighboring houses occupied by the administration [Pg 139] and the ambulance of the Crédit Mobilier. I hurried thither.

The Ministère de la Justice was as silent and deserted as on the preceding night. Four sentinels were posted between the court and garden; a fifth at the door of the hôtel had the air of guarding most conscientiously an absent excellency.

In going out, I sought with a discreet glance for my solemn guard, to become anew his prisoner. The officer who had received me a few moments before informed me he had sent him back to his post. From that moment I could go where I pleased.

At the Crédit Mobilier I met two bodies that were being carried to their relatives. I was told that one was M. Molinet, one of the most pious and exemplary young men of the parish. He had been shot down by the side of his father, who, notwithstanding his inexpressible grief, had been torn from the body of his only son and carried as a prisoner to the staff-officer of the Place. After offering up a prayer for these two unfortunate victims, I inquired for the apartment to which the wounded had been carried.

The consternation and terror that reigned among the inhabitants of the Place Vendôme may be imagined from the sinister events that had occurred before their eyes, and the dangers of all kinds with which they were threatened. Stupor was depicted on the faces of the concierges of the Crédit Mobilier. These good people were hardly willing to half-open the door of their lodge, and muttered something vague which was not an answer to my question. At last they sent with me to the salle of the wounded a charming child of eight or ten years of age. He examined with more curiosity than fear the strange features of the citizens of Montmartre and Belleville who occupied the vestibule.

The number of the wounded in the ambulance was six. They were still on the litter on which they had been brought. Two infirmarians, who wore the red cross of the International society, were zealously attending to them: a cantinière of somewhat free manners also manifested an equal desire to aid them. The insurgents that frequented the rooms behaved with propriety; they spoke in low tones, and instead of the care which they were not fitted to bestow, the most of them manifested a sympathy mingled with curiosity. Beyond this, their faces displayed no emotion; my presence did not astonish them; they discreetly retired when I approached the sufferers. No one appeared to me mortally wounded. Nevertheless, I administered religious aid to one of them at his own request, and confined myself to giving the rest as much encouragement as possible, for which they earnestly thanked me. They all belonged to the bourgeoisie. The last to arrive lived in the Rue Meyerbeer, and did not appear to be more than thirty years old. He told me he was to have set out that very evening to join his wife and children in the country, but wished before leaving to perform the part of a good citizen by joining in the manifestation. He had been wounded three times, but not dangerously.

At the entrance of the room a young man seized with frightful convulsions had been laid down on the parquet. He was partly dressed as a soldier of the line, and partly as a national guardsman. He was doubtless one of the too numerous soldiers who had united with the insurgents, and been drawn into serving their sad cause. The fusillade from the ranks of his new colleagues, and the numerous victims they had just shot down, must have caused a violent fit [Pg 140] of remorse. He was not wounded, but only had a sudden nervous attack, that affected him in a manner painful to behold. He did not appear to understand anything, and was suffering from contractions and contorsions of a truly frightful character. I approached him—tried to calm him with some kind words, and then recommended him aloud to the care of the two infirmarians of the International society. The national guards who surrounded him appeared touched to see manifested for one of their number an interest equal to that I had just shown for the victims of devotedness to the cause of law and order.

Before leaving the Place Vendôme I wished to ascertain if any of the victims had been taken to the ambulance of M. Constant Say. This was one of the six ambulances I was appointed to visit during the siege, to administer religious aid and awaken the moral sense of the soldiers who were sick or wounded. This ambulance was kept in perfect order. More than once, in observing the meals of the wounded, I envied them the healthful and abundant nourishment served up to them during the interminable months of December and January. They were treated as real members of the family, and were truly the spoiled children of the house. They were daily visited by one of the most celebrated physicians of Paris, who lavished on them the most intelligent care, and by the minister of Jesus Christ, who no less kindly spoke to them of God, their souls, their absent mothers, and of their temporal and eternal welfare. It could not be otherwise in a family whose extensive industrial establishment and inexhaustible charity are such a benefit to the laboring classes of Paris. I had the consolation of seeing all the soldiers who were taken to this ambulance leave it better Christians and better Frenchmen.

As to the rest, during the entire siege, the solicitude of the Parisians for the sick and wounded soldiers was truly admirable, and the praise I am bound in justice to accord to the ambulance of M. Constant Say, may be equally given to the rest I was appointed to visit: the ambulances of M. Frottin, formerly mayor of the first arrondissement, in the Rue St. Honoré; that of M. Jourdain, a member of the Institute, in the Rue du Luxembourg; of Dr. Moissenet, a physician of the Hôtel Dieu, in the Rue Richepanse; of Madame Dognin, of the Point-du-Jour at Auteuil; and, finally, the ambulance bravely founded and directed at Grenelle by some laboring women of ardent faith, and a devotedness that works wonders, and transferred after the bombardment of Grenelle to the magnificent hôtel of M. le Comte Mercy d’Argenteau on the Rue de Suresne.

I was also aware that there were still some wounded soldiers in M. Say’s ambulance. The brutal invasion of the Place Vendôme had prevented me from visiting them the two days previous. To go there, I was obliged to cross the entire Place. It seemed more like a field of battle than a Place. Here were stacks of arms, there were caissons full of supplies, further on were delegates of the central committee of the Hôtel de Ville, who where transmitting orders with feverish haste, and everywhere were the insurgents who had just fired, and who were ready to take fresh aim.

I had no longer an armed guard to accompany me. During my walk, which I frankly acknowledge would have seemed much shorter on ordinary occasions, I was again an object of insult and sarcasms not highly seasoned with wit from some, of respect [Pg 141] and sympathy from others, and of astonishment or indifference from the greatest part. I had never seen so great a number of persons eating and drinking. Their appetite only gave out after complete exhaustion of the means of gratifying it. It is true that, to the demoralized workmen who abound in Paris, the word riot signifies the time for good eating, and still better drinking, and no work at all.

Against the railing that surrounds the column were squatting several national guardsmen, to whom a cantinière dealt out liquor. The oldest was certainly not eighteen. At my approach one of them, who had doubtless been a chorister in some church, instinctively made a respectful bow. A second, who made some pretensions to delicate wit, pointed at me with his sabre, uttering a laugh more stupid than malicious. A third, and this became more serious, loaded, or pretended to load, his musket, which he pointed at me. At the same time the cantinière encouraged him with atrocious words, that no delicate ear would pardon me for relating. I had had for seven months so many occasions to recommend my soul to God, that I thought it opportune to do so once more. Nevertheless, not to take things too seriously, I recalled the amusing reply made me by an excellent man, from the neighborhood of St. Sulpice, who was obliged, after the three first days of bombardment on the left side by the Prussians, to seek refuge in the vicinity of the Madeleine. When I approved of his prudent decision, he replied, “In fact, I could not reasonably pass every night in recommending my soul to God!”

I arrived at my ambulance without any harm but a momentary fright. None of the victims of the fusillade had been brought here. I found my dear wounded ones in a fair way to be healed, but very much depressed by what was passing around them, and humiliated especially by the shameful defection of a part of the troops on the deplorable day of Saturday, the eighteenth.

My sacerdotal mission was ended. In returning across the Place Vendôme, I was not the witness or the object of any occurrence that merits attention. The dense line of insurgents that guarded the entrance of the Place from the Rue de la Paix opened for me to pass. The patrol, who remembered having allowed me to enter, asked no questions in permitting me to go out. I met a man in the Rue Neuve-des-Capucines who was covering a real pool of blood with sand. There was no change in the manner of the patrols: the street was still like a tomb. Nearly in front of the Crédit Foncier, a shop-keeper of respectable appearance timidly opened one of the doors of his shop, and asked permission to pass from the last patrol toward the boulevard, which was not more than fifty yards from me. He appeared so alarmed, and his face was so extremely pale, that the patrol, proud of the fear he inspired, did not fail to avail himself of so favorable an opportunity of amusing himself at the other’s expense. He questioned him with an affected solemnity which would have excited my laughter in less tragical times, addressed him a long and severe recommendation, and when the man turned, more dead than alive, toward the boulevard, the youngest of the band, who hid the malicious hilarity of a gamin under the gravity of a judge, took his gun, and pointing it toward the shop-keeper, who happily was not aware of such a salute, had the air [Pg 142] of saying: “If the rest of the bourgeoisie resemble this one, Paris is certainly ours.”

I was as much saddened at the dejected and disconcerted appearance of most of the inhabitants of this quarter, as I had been alarmed by the boldness and audacity displayed on the Place Vendôme by the workmen of the faubourgs, old criminals and revolutionists from all countries, who held possession of it. There was more stupor than indignation among the former. They hardly ventured to the doors of their houses, they spoke in low tones for fear of being compromised. This unfortunate attitude of the lovers of order only encouraged the energy and boldness of the enemies of society. I comprehended for the first time how a handful of factionists had been able in 1793 to terrify and decimate the better part of the community, who were ten times as numerous. The very day when the lovers of order will say to those of disorder, with the same energy and firmness as God to the waves of the sea, “Thou shalt go no further!” Paris will have no more to fear from anarchy and revolution, and France will no longer oscillate between the equally deplorable extremes of despotism and license.

If this simple and impartial account, intended to cast a little light upon one of the saddest and most execrable episodes of the revolution of the eighteenth of March, could also have the effect of calling the more particular attention of the lovers of order and stability, of whatever nation and party, to the dark aims of the International league of demagogues who, under the mask of workingmen’s associations, prudential interests, and mutual protection, aim at the denial of God, the destruction of family and country, of public capital and private savings, of the domestic and political hierarchy—in a word, the destruction of all those principles which are the foundation of society; and also of thoroughly convincing the better classes of Paris and all the larger cities of France, that the promoters of disorder and anarchy, though now recruiting from the lowest social grades of Europe, are only strong in consequence of their own inaction and regard for self; that such power is only derived from their own want of discipline and energy; that they would only have to enroll, organize, and assert themselves to utterly destroy it—I shall have realized one of my most ardent wishes, and labored in my sphere of action for the consolidation of the social edifice and of public order, so profoundly shaken.

It was nearly six o’clock when I reached home. I had passed a little more than three-quarters of an hour among the insurgents and the wounded of the Place Vendôme. God alone knows with what emotion and earnestness I implored him that I might never be subjected again to such a trial to my heart as a priest and a Frenchman.

Here ends my first account, drawn up at the end of March. I need not add that my prayer was not granted. The Commune was founded in blood and terror, and was to end in a fiendish debauchery of madness and crime.


[41] Here is what, according to the Paris Journal of Versailles for the 18th of May, citizen Raoul Rigault wrote from the préfecture of police to citizen Floquet, one of the unhappy instigators of this pretended compromise:

“My dear Floquet, you have decided then to set out with Villeneuve and the prefect Lechevalier for Bordeaux. We are too much united in our sentiments for you not to feel the importance of your mission. The league of the republican union, in pleading its own cause, pleads ours. As to your 9,500 francs, I will endeavor to furnish them, though it is difficult to procure remittances.”

[Pg 143]


Biographical Sketch of Mother Margaret Mary Hallahan, O.S.D. 1 vol. 12mo. New York: The Catholic Publication Society. 1871.

The great success of the original life of Mother Margaret Mary Hallahan, foundress of the Third Order of Dominican Nuns in England, and the edification it has given to thousands of readers everywhere, have induced her sisters and admirers to prepare an abridged life for more general reading.

The abridgment is in every respect a creditable performance. In beauty of diction, as well as in the subject-matter treated, superior ability in biographical style is very discernible. The paper, printing, and binding are also of the first class.

All who are interested, either from motives of faith or even of curiosity, in the surprising revival of the Catholic religion in England within the last half-century, will be cheered and delighted by the perusal of this new edition, as it may be called, of the life of one of the greatest agents in this wonderful work of God. The cheapness of the work, moreover, puts it within easy reach of all Catholic readers.

School-Houses. By James Johonnot. Architectural Designs by S. E. Hewes. New York: J. W. Schermerhorn & Co. 1871.

Undoubtedly the subject treated in this work is one of considerable importance, involving, as it does, the health and future prospects as well as the present comfort of the rising generation. No doubt, also, there is immense room for improvement in the internal arrangements of the buildings in which so large a portion of the time of the young, and especially of children, is to be passed; above all, as regards the points of light, heating, and ventilation. The construction particularly of country school-houses is also certainly open to change for the better, and many good suggestions are made and designs furnished by the authors. Some of these designs, however, strike us as being unnecessarily ornate. The latter part is occupied with the questions of furniture, apparatus, grounds, etc., and with many illustrations of chairs, desks, globes, and other appliances, which will be found useful and interesting. The book is finely printed, and beautifully bound.

Of Adoration in Spirit and Truth. Written in four books. By John Eusebius Nieremberg, S.J., native of Madrid, and translated into English by R. S., S.J., with a Preface by the Rev. Peter Gallwey, S.J. London: Burns, Oates & Co. 1871.

This beautiful volume forms the first of a series of works, under the title of “St. Joseph’s Ascetical Library,” undertaken by the Fathers of the Society of Jesus in England. It is no novelty in itself, though it will probably be new to almost all who see it in its present form. The author was born at Madrid in 1590, and died in 1658; and this translation of his work was made nearly two hundred years ago, in 1673, and has that charm of quaintness and simplicity which it is now in vain to imitate.

The title might convey the idea that the treatise before us was a very abstract and mystical one, unsuited to the generality of readers. But such an idea would be soon dispelled by a glance at some of the headings of its chapters, such as, “How Incommodious a Thing Sleep is,” “How Penances and Corporal Afflictions help Us,” and “That we [Pg 144] must rise Fervorously to our Morning Prayer.” It is practical enough for any one, perfectly clear, intelligible, and interesting; and, at the same time, no one can find in it any want of devotion or spirituality.

It is divided into four books, as stated in the title; the first, second, and fourth treating of the purgative, illuminative, and unitive ways respectively; the third being concerned with “What Belongs to a most Perfect Practical Performance of Our Actions,” which illustrates in detail the general principles laid down in what precedes.

We are under great obligations to the editors for having brought into notice, and into general use, as we trust, this treasure of Catholic piety. It will be of inestimable value to all who desire to lead a really spiritual life and to practice the “adoration” of which it treats, which is nothing else than complete self-renunciation and devotion, in the true sense of the word, to God and to his service.

Ignatius Loyola, and the Early Jesuits. By Stewart Rose. London: Longmans, Green & Co.

We have several excellent biographies of St. Ignatius in the English language, but the present one is likely, we think, to become the most popular. It is carefully compiled, written in that literary style and with those graphic sketches of surrounding circumstances which modern taste demands, and published in an elegant manner. Its principal distinctive excellence consists in the portraiture of the early life of Ignatius as the accomplished, valiant, and Christian knight, whose noble and chivalrous character formed the basis of his future heroic sanctity. We welcome any work which may make the illustrious founder of the Society of Jesus and his Institute better known both to Catholics and Protestants, and we hope for a wide circulation for this ably and charmingly written biography.

Mount Benedict; or, The Violated Tomb. By Peter McCorry. Boston: Patrick Donahoe.

The burning of the convent in Charlestown, and the accompanying horrors of that fearful night, are subjects worthy of a graphic description, well calculated to point a moral and adorn a tale. We confess our disappointment in this volume, written, no doubt, with a good design. The conversations are weak and pointless, and too much of the book is occupied with the irrelevant talk of the “conspirators.” We protest against the introduction of oaths into story-books. The interest of the story is marred by these faults.

Mr. P. Donahoe, Boston, announces as in press an account of the “Passion Play” at Oberammergau, Bavaria, from the pen of the Rev. George W. Doane, Chancellor of the Diocese of Newark. It will be dedicated to the Rt. Rev. J. R. Bayley, D.D., Bishop of Newark.

The Catholic Publication Society will publish, early in November, Mary, Queen of Scots, and her Latest Historian, by James F. Meline. This book will contain the articles which appeared in The Catholic World on Mr. Froude, as well as a great deal of new matter. In fact, the articles as they appeared in The Catholic World are almost entirely rewritten, and many new facts produced. It will be a complete refutation of Mr. Froude’s romance of history.

* * * * *

Erratum.—In the article on “The Reformation not Conservative,” p. 733, 1st column, 16th line from the bottom, for French sovereigns read Frank sovereigns. Christendom was founded some centuries before there was a French sovereign or a French kingdom, in the modern sense of the word French, or France. The Franks were a Germanic race, and the German was their mother-tongue.

[Pg 145] THE


VOL. XIV., No. 80.—NOVEMBER, 1871.

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by Rev. I. T. Hecker, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.


The question we propose to discuss in this article is opened in the note we introduce, answering an objection to the infallibility of the church, made by a lawyer through a third person, and by an elaborate note from the lawyer in reply, and urging another and, in his judgment, a still more serious objection. The editor’s note is:

“The objection of your friend against the infallible Bible interpreted by a fallible reason, as a sure rule of faith, is unanswerable. Nothing stronger could be said against the Protestant position.

“His objection against the church, so far as it goes, if I understand it correctly, is also unanswerable. It is quite evident that no agglomeration of fallible men can make an infallible church, either by the personal authority of the individuals or in virtue of their agglomeration. But that is by no means the question with us.

“We deny that the church is simply an agglomeration of men; and we deny that the infallibility comes by the authority of its members in any way.

“As Christ is a Theanthropical person, so also the church is a Theanthropical society, of which Christ is the head, the Holy Ghost the soul, and the regenerated men the body. The infallibility comes from the Holy Ghost, through Christ, to the body.

If it is so, it is evident that the infallibility will remain as long as the union shall last. And in that supposition the learned lawyer cannot fail to see that infallibility does not, in any way, come to the body by the authority of its members, but from God, the only authoritative and absolute power in the world, which can bind the minds as well as the wills of men.

“That is the Catholic question, and the real position we maintain.

“If each man is his own authority, according to the preceding remarks in this book (and that is conceded), then an authoritative church is impossible, because it presents an authority external to me, and then asks me to accept it. I admit that, if there is to be any church, it must be of divine origin. Even were the Bible inspired and infallible, I, being fallible, must interpret it fallibly, and therefore it must be the same to me for all intents and purposes as if it were a fallible book. The same argument applies to the church as a divine, authoritative institution—what is outside of the man—that is, the so-called fact is not an authority for him; but he is the authority for it; if not an absolute authority, at any rate, the only authority possible. The trouble arises from the Baconian philosophy, which has attempted to build up a system on facts so-called—without rejecting the authority for those facts—as if the authority were in the fact itself.”

This speaks for itself, and the position [Pg 146] it takes is not controverted. But the lawyer says it does not meet the question, that is, we presume, the question as it is in his mind, though he had not previously expressed it. He says:

“The note given me does not meet the question. It is claimed that the church is infallible because a divine institution—that is, because established by God.

“Now, admit it to be a divine institution, if it is to be presented for our acceptance, it must be for the acceptance of our fallible reason.

“For example, when the missionary carries the church to the heathen, does he not present it for their rational acceptance? And if so, does he not ask their finite judgment to pass upon and accept the infinite and the absolute?

“Now, the point is this: if the thing or truth presented be infinite and absolute, and the person to whom it is presented be imperfect, fallible, and conditioned, how can the truth—or the church, if you please—appear otherwise to him than according to his finite and partial interpretation of it?

“The question in respect to the absolute is, not whether it be really true and absolute or not, but to what extent does the normal affirmation go respecting it. In short, must not the same argument obtain against the church as against the Bible?

“It comes to the question of authority; and, if all intelligent authority resides in the person (and certainly each one must, from the nature of his constitution, be his own authority), then it follows that no authority whatever can reside in the state, the church, or in any mere institution or being outside of the person, whether that church or institution assume divinity or not.

“The authority is not in the so-called fact, but in the person to whom the so-called fact is presented, and who is called upon to pass upon it.

“The Baconian system is false, because it makes the so-called fact the authority for itself; when plainly the very existence or comprehension of the so-called fact depends wholly on the person to whom it is presented.”

The objection is, apparently, the objection we ourselves bring to the Protestant rule of faith, namely, the Bible interpreted by private judgment. The Bible may be the word of God and infallible, but my interpretation of it, or my private judgment in interpreting it, is fallible, and therefore I have in it and with it only a fallible rule of faith. So the church may be a divine institution, and by the assistance of the Holy Ghost infallible; but her teaching is addressed to my intelligence, and must be passed upon by my private judgment, which is finite and fallible, therefore incompetent to pass upon the infinite and absolute. Hence, the Catholic rule no more gives infallible faith than does the Protestant rule. The principle of the objection the lawyer urges is that authority is intrinsic, not extrinsic; comes not from without, but from within, from the mind, and can never be greater than the mind itself; and as that is fallible, there is and can be no infallible authority for faith or belief. The objection is simply that an infallible authority for the mind in matters of faith is impossible, because the mind is not itself infallible, and therefore incapable of an infallible act or assent. This, we believe, is the objection in all its force.

The objection rests on two principles, neither of which is tenable: first, that the mind or intellect is universally fallible; and, second, that the authority in matters of faith is in the mind itself, not out of it, and, therefore, belief in anything on extrinsic authority is impossible.

1. The intellect is not universal or infinite, and does not and cannot know all things; but it is never false in what it knows, and in its own sphere is infallible; that is, the intellect is not false or fallible in what it knows, for every one who knows knows that he knows. The judgment is false or fallible only when and where, and so [Pg 147] far as knowledge fails. Thus, St. Augustine says,[42] Omnis qui fallitur, id quo fallitur, non intelligit. The error is not in the intellect or intelligence, but in the ignorance or non-intelligence. Doubtless, we can and do err in our judgment of matters of which we are ignorant, of which we have only an imperfect knowledge, or when we undertake from what we do know to judge of things unknown, which is all that St. Thomas means when he says, “Falsitas est in intellectu.”[43] To deny this is to deny all human knowledge, and to assert universal scepticism, and then the lawyer could not assert his objection, and would be obliged to doubt even that he doubts. If the intellect is universally fallible, we may as well close the discussion at once, for nothing can be settled. If it, in its own province, where it really does know, is infallible, then the only question is, whether, in passing judgment on the facts that establish the infallibility of the church, the intellect is obliged to go out of its own province, and judge of matters in regard to which it is confessedly incompetent and fallible?—a question we shall consider in its place.

2. We join issue with the lawyer on his assertion that the authority is intrinsic in the mind itself, not extrinsic, either in the object or the authority that affirms it. He says in his note that “no authority whatever can reside in the state, the church, or any mere institution or being outside of the person, whether that church or institution assume divinity or not. The authority is not in the so-called fact, but in the person to whom the so-called fact is addressed, and who is called upon to pass upon it. The Baconian system is false, because it makes the so-called fact the authority for itself; when plainly the very existence or comprehension of it depends wholly on the person to whom it is addressed.” So we do not know facts because they exist, but they exist because we know them or judge them to exist! But how can so-called facts be addressed to the person before they exist? The lawyer goes farther than his argument against the church requires, and consequently proves, if anything, too much, and therefore nothing. He makes not only all knowledge, but, unintentionally, we presume, all existences, depend on their being known, and therefore makes them purely subjective, and falls into Fichteism or pure egoism.

The lawyer’s rule excludes not only faith, but knowledge of every sort and degree; for all knowledge is assent, and in the simplest fact of knowledge the intellectual assent is given on authority or evidence extrinsic to the person, though intrinsic in the object. Knowledge is either intuitive or discursive. In intuitive knowledge, the evidence or motive of the intellectual assent is intrinsic in the object, but extrinsic to the assenting mind. The immediate presence of the object motives or authorizes the assent, and the mind has simply the power or faculty of apprehending the object, or judging that it is, when presented; for, without the object affirming its presence to the mind, there can be no fact of knowledge or intellectual assent. In discursive knowledge the authority or evidence, as in intuitive knowledge, is intrinsic in the object, but it is implicit, and can be placed in immediate relation with the intellectual faculty only by discursion—a process of reasoning or demonstration. But demonstration does not motive the assent; it only removes the prohibentia, or renders explicit [Pg 148] what is implicit, for nothing can be asserted in the conclusion not already implicitly asserted in the premises; yet the assent is by virtue of the evidence or authority intrinsic in the object, as in intuition. All this means that we know objects because they are and are placed in relation with our cognitive faculty, not that they are because we know them, or because the mind places them, or makes them its object. If the lawyer’s rule, that authority is not in the object but in the mind or person, were true, there could be no fact of knowledge, either intuitive or discursive, because the mind cannot know where there is nothing to be known.

Faith or belief agrees with knowledge in the respect that it is intellectual assent, but differs from it in that it is mediate assent, by an authority extrinsic, as authority or evidence, both to the object and to the person. The authority or evidence mediates between the mind and the fact or object, and brings them together in a manner somewhat analogous to that in which the middle term in the syllogism brings together the two extremes and unites them in the conclusion. If the evidence or the authority is adequate, the belief is reasonable and as certain as any conclusion of logic, or as the immediate assent of the mind in the fact of science or knowledge. I am as certain that there is such a city as Rome, though I have never seen it, that there was such a man as Julius Cæsar, George Washington, or Napoleon Bonaparte, as I am that the three angles of the triangle are equal to two right angles. It is on this principle the lawyer acts and must act in every case he has in court. He summons and examines witnesses, and relies on their testimony or evidence to obtain a conviction or an acquittal, except in a question of law; and then he relies on the judge or the court. If there is no authority outside the person, that is, no authority not in his own mind, why does he summon and examine and cross-examine witnesses or consult the judge? Why does he not work the facts and the law out of his own “inner consciousness,” as do most modern historians the facts they give us for history? As a lawyer, our friend would soon find his principle, if he carried it into court, operating as an effectual estoppel to the practice of his profession.

The lawyer asks, “When the missionary carries the church to the heathen, does he not present it for their rational acceptance? And if so, does he not ask their finite judgment to pass upon and accept the infinite and absolute?” We are sure our friend would argue better than this if he had a case in court on which anything of importance depended. When presented by his brother lawyer opposite with the decision of the court of appeals barring his case, would he attempt to judge or pass upon the judgment of the court before accepting it, or would he not be content with simply verifying the fact that the decision has been rendered by the court of appeals or court of last resort? We feel quite sure that, if he were on the defensive, and adduced the decision of the court of last resort barring the action, he would be very far from allowing his brother opposite to question the judgment. Nor would he as a lawyer dream of rejecting the decision because his own mind had not passed upon its merits; but, when once assured that the court had rendered it, he would accept it and submit to it as law, not on his own judgment, but on the authority of the court itself. All he would allow himself to do would be to verify the [Pg 149] powers of the court, in order to ascertain if it is a court of competent jurisdiction, and to be sure that it had rendered the decision. The decision itself he would not, as a lawyer, think of examining any farther than to ascertain its meaning. He would take it as final, and submit to it as law, whether for him or against him.

The objection fails to distinguish what, in the case supposed, the heathen are required to pass upon in order to act rationally in accepting the church. They would be required to pass on the sufficiency of the evidence of her divine institution and commission to teach and govern all men and nations in all things pertaining to the kingdom of God on earth. That evidence, called by theologians “motives of credibility,” found complete, all the rest follows as a logical consequence, and there is no calling upon “the finite to pass upon the infinite and absolute, any more than there is upon the counsellor to pass upon the merits of the judgment of the court of final resort after being certified that the court has actually rendered it. All that one has to believe of the infinite and absolute, after he has established by evidence appropriate in the case the divine institution and commission of the church, he believes on the authority of the church herself.

The missionary, no doubt, presents the church to their rational acceptance, and must, therefore, present to them the motives of credibility, or the facts which accredit her as divinely instituted and commissioned, and these motives, these facts, must be addressed to their understanding, and be such as their reason can pass upon and accept or reject. But the question is, Supposing reason has passed upon these facts or the motives, and found them sufficient to accredit the church, as a teacher come from God, and commissioned or authorized by him to teach his word, is not the acceptance of that word on her authority as the word of God a “rational acceptance,” and all the most rigid reason does or can demand?

The lawyer says no; and because all authority is in the person, and resides nowhere outside of him, and therefore it is necessary that reason should pass upon the contents of the word, that is, upon the doctrines and mysteries contained in the word the church professes to teach, which is impossible; for it requires the finite to pass upon the infinite and absolute, which exceeds its powers; therefore, faith is impossible. But this simply implies that no belief is admissible that is not science, and faith must be swallowed up in knowledge, and thus cease to be faith, before the human mind can rationally accept it.

The trouble with the lawyer’s objection is that it assumes that faith is irrational, unless it is science or knowledge. His statement goes even farther than this. He not only denies that there can be any rational belief on extrinsic authority, but that there is or can be any such authority, or that any state, church, or being has or can have any authority outside of me, or not derived from me. This, as far as words go, asserts that God himself has no authority over me, and his word has no authority for my reason or will, not dependent on me. We do not believe he means this, for he is not divested of the reason common to all men. He means, we presume, simply that no state, no church, not even God himself, has any authority on which I can rationally believe anything which transcends the reach of my reason, or which is not intrinsically evident to [Pg 150] my reason by its own light. But what is evident to me by the light of my own reason, I know, and not simply believe. As belief is always on extrinsic authority simply accredited to reason, this goes so far as to deny that any belief is or can be rational, and that any authority or any amount of testimony is sufficient to warrant it, which, as we have seen, is much farther than the lawyer can go in the practice of his profession, or any man in the ordinary business of life.

We do not think our legal friend has duly considered the reach of the principle he lays down. Even in the so-called positive sciences, the greater part of the matters accepted by the scientist are accepted on extrinsic authority, not on personal knowledge. No geologist has personally observed all or even the greater part of the facts he uses in the construction of his science; no geographer, however great a traveller he may have been, has visited and personally examined all parts of the globe which he describes; the botanist describes and classifies more plants, the zoölogist more forms of life, than he has personally seen, and the historian deals almost entirely with facts of which he has no personal knowledge. Eliminate from the sciences what the scientist has not observed for himself, but taken on the reported observation of others, and from the garniture of every mind what it believes or takes on extrinsic authority, not on his personal knowledge, and there would be very little left to distinguish the most learned and highly educated man from the untutored savage. In all the affairs of life, we are obliged to rely on extrinsic authority, on evidence neither in the subject nor in the object, on the observations and testimony of others, and sometimes on the observations and accumulated testimony of ages, especially in wise and prudent statesmanship; and if we were suddenly deprived of this authority evidence, or testimony, and reduced to our own personal knowledge, intuitive or discursive; society would come to a standstill, and would soon fall below the level of the New Hollander, for even he inherits some lessons from the past, and associates with his observations some observations of others.

We presume our friend the lawyer means nothing of all this, and his mistake arises from not sharply distinguishing between the motives of credibility and the authority, on the one hand, and the authority and what it authorizes, on the other. The existence of God is a fact of science, though discursive, not intuitive, science. That God is, as the theologians say, prima veritas in essendo, in cognoscendo, et in dicendo, is also a truth of science—is a truth we not simply believe, but know or may know, for it can be proved with certainty by natural reason prior to faith. God is truth; it is impossible for him to lie, since he is prima veritas in dicendo, the primal truth in speaking, and can neither deceive nor be deceived, for he is prima veritas in cognoscendo, or the principle of all truth in knowing.

This granted, the word of God must be true, infallibly true. So far we can go by science or certain knowledge. Now, suppose the lawyer to have full proof that it really is God’s word that is announced to him, would he not be bound to believe it true, nay, could he in the exercise of his reason help believing it true, prior to and independent of any consideration of its contents, or what it is that God says? God can neither deceive nor be deceived, therefore his word must be true, and [Pg 151] cannot possibly be false. God’s word is the highest and most conclusive evidence conceivable of the truth of what is asserted in his word, and, if the truth, then reasonable, for nothing is more reasonable than truth or unreasonable than falsehood. It would, therefore, be as unnecessary as irreverent and impertinent to examine God’s word to see if what he asserts is reasonable before yielding it our assent. We know beforehand that it is true, or else God could not affirm it, and that whatever conflicts with it is false and unreasonable; and the lawyer himself will admit, we presume, that the highest possible reason for believing is God’s word, in case we have it. Let us consider so much settled.

The next step is the proof or certainty that what is alleged to be the word of God really is his word. His word is his revelation. Suppose, then, that he made his revelation, and deposited it with the apostles whom he commanded to go forth and teach it to all men and nations. The apostles would, on this supposition, be competent and credible witnesses to the fact that God made and deposited his revelation with them. Suppose, farther, that the apostles transmitted to their successors, or, rather, that the church is the identical apostolical body, continued without any interruption or break down to our time, the church would then be a competent and credible witness to the fact of revelation and to what is revealed. Being the eye-witness of the facts which proved our Lord a teacher come from God and authorized to speak in his name, and the depositary of the revelation, her testimony is conclusive. She saw with her own eyes the facts, she knows what has been deposited with her, and the commission she received, and therefore her testimony or evidence cannot be gainsaid. She is the living and contemporary witness, and every-way credible, as we have shown in the article The Church accredits Herself.[44]

The infallibility follows necessarily from her commission from God to teach all men and nations. This commission from God commands all men and nations in his name to believe and obey what she teaches as his word. If she could err in teaching, then all men and nations might be required by God himself to believe error or falsehood, which is impossible, since God is truth, and can neither deceive nor be deceived. The divine commission to the church or apostolic body to teach carries with it the divine pledge of infallibility.

Now, supposing the church to be what she claims to be, reason itself requires us to accept and obey as the word of God whatever she teaches as his word, since his word is true, and the highest possible evidence of truth. Nothing is or can be more reasonable than to believe the word of God, or to believe God on his word. Equally reasonable with it is it to believe that what the Apostolic Church declares to be his word, really is so, if she is instituted and commissioned by God to keep, guard, teach, interpret, declare, and define it. The only point, then, to be proved is the divine institution and commission, both of which, if the apostolic body, she is herself the authority for asserting, as the supreme court is the authority for asserting its own legal constitution, power, and jurisdiction. This leaves, then, only a single point to be proved, namely, the historical identity of the body calling itself the Catholic Church with the apostolic body with whom the revelation was deposited.

[Pg 152] We need not now go into the historical proofs of the identity of the Catholic Church with the apostolic body, for that is easily done, and has been done over and over again; besides, it lies on the very face of history, and Pius IX., the Pontiff now gloriously reigning, is as easily and as certainly proved to be the successor of Peter as Ulysses S. Grant is proved to be the successor in the presidency of the United States of George Washington, the schism of Jefferson Davis to the contrary notwithstanding. Moreover, if the lawyer doubts, as we presume he does not, the identity, we hold ourselves ready to adduce the proofs whenever he calls for them. Assuming, then, the case to be as stated, we demand what in the whole process of acceptance of the faith the missionary proposes to the heathen is irrational, or not satisfactory, to the fullest demands of reason? In fact, the points to be proved are exceedingly few, and those not above the reach of private judgment, or difficult. The authority of our Lord as a teacher come from God was proved by miracles. These miracles the church witnessed and testifies to as facts, and so far her testimony is unimpeachable. Their supernatural and miraculous character we can ourselves judge of. Whether they prove the divine authority of Jesus or not, is also a matter of which we are competent to judge. His divine authority proved, his divinity, and all the mysteries of his person can be rationally accepted on his word, and what his word was, the church who received it is competent to declare. There really, then, is nothing to be proved which the church herself does not either prove or supply the means of proving in order to render belief in what she claims to be, and in what she teaches, as rational or reasonable as belief in any well-ascertained fact in natural science. The motives of credibility which she brings with her and presents to the understanding of all men who hear her accredit her as the divinely appointed depositary and teacher of the revelation God has made to men, and all the rest follows of itself, as in the syllogism the conclusion follows from the premises.

The lawyer does not admit it, and rejects the whole, because he rejects all belief on extrinsic authority. But is not this because he mistakes the meaning of the word authority as used by theologians and philosophers? We have generally found that the men who object to belief on authority understand by authority an order or command addressed to the will, without including anything to convince the reason or to motive the assent of the understanding. This is not precisely the theological sense of the term. The theologians understand by authority in matters of faith authority for believing as well as an order to believe. It is the reason which authorizes the belief, and is therefore primarily authority for the intellect, and furnishes it an ample reason to believe.

Authority addressed simply to the will ordering it to believe, and giving the intellect no reason for believing, can produce no rational belief, and induce no belief at all, and this we presume is what, and all, our legal friend means. Taking authority in his sense, we entirely agree with him, except a command from God is always a reason for the intellect as well as an order to the will, since God is prima veritas, and can command only what is true, reasonable, just, and right. His command is his word, and an order from him to the will is ipso facto a reason for the understanding, since no higher evidence of truth than his word is possible. With this reserve, [Pg 153] the lawyer is right in his objection to belief on authority, as he understands it, for there is no belief where there is no intellectual conviction. But he is mistaken in supposing that theologians mean only authority in his sense, authority commanding the will, and giving no reason to the understanding; they mean primarily by authority in matters of faith or reason authority for believing, and commanding it only through conviction to believe, which it must do if convinced.

The authority, then, which we assert, is the reason for believing; it is the medius terminus that unites the credible object and the creditive subject, and renders the belief possible and an intellectual act, and so far assimilates it to knowledge. Belief without authority is belief without any ground or reason for believing, and is irrational, unfounded, mere credulity, as when one believes a rumor for which there is no authority. When the authority is worthy of credit, the belief is warranted, and when it is infallible, the belief is infallible. In believing what the church teaches me is the word of God, I have infallible authority for my belief, and cannot be deceived, be mistaken, or err. This is all so plain, and so fully in accord with the demands of reason, that we are forced to explain the repugnance so many people manifest to believing on authority, by supposing that they understand by authority simply an order of a master to believe, without accompanying it with anything to convince the understanding, thus making the act of faith an act not of faith at all, but of mere blind obedience. This is all wrong. Faith as an intellectual act cannot be blind any more than is the act of knowledge, and must have a reason that convinces the understanding. Hence, the church does not censure unbelief in those who know not the authority or reason there is for belief, and, if at all, it is only for their neglect to avail themselves with due diligence of the means of arriving at belief within their reach.

The authority or command of God is indeed the highest reason the mind can have for believing anything, and it is therefore that unbelief in those who have his command or authority becomes sinful, because it implies a contempt of God, a contempt of truth, and practically says to him who made us, from whom we hold all that we have, and who is truth itself, “We will not take your word; we do not care what you say; we are the masters of our own thoughts, and will think and believe as we please.” This is not only irreverent and disobedient, indicating a wholly indefensible pride and self-will, but denies the very principle asserted by unbelievers in justification of their refusal to believe at the order or command of authority, namely, that it is not in one’s power to believe or disbelieve at will, nor as one wills.

These explanations suffice, we think, to show that private judgment or individual reason is not required by the Catholic to judge “the infinite and absolute,” or to pass upon any matter that lies out of the province of natural reason, and exceeds its competence or finite capacity. It is required to pass only upon the motives of credibility, or the facts that prove the church is a divine institution, commissioned to teach all men and nations through all time the divine revelation which she has received, and of these we are able by our own light to judge. The authority to teach established, all the rest follows logically and necessarily, as we have just said, as in the syllogism the conclusion follows from the premises. The authority being addressed to [Pg 154] the intellect as well as to the will, and a sufficient reason for believing as well as obeying, the lawyer’s principal objection is disposed of, and the acceptance of the faith is shown to be a rational acceptance.

But, conceding the infallibility of the church, since her teaching must be received by a fallible understanding, why is belief on the authority of the church less fallible than belief on the authority of an infallible book, interpreted by the same fallible understanding? You say to Protestants: The Bible may be infallible, but your understanding of it is fallible, and therefore even with it you have no infallible rule of faith. Why may not the Protestant retort: Be it that the church is infallible, you have only your fallible private judgment by which to interpret her teachings, and, therefore, with your infallible church have only a fallible faith?

More words are usually required to answer an objection than are required to state it. We do not assert or concede the fallibility of reason, intellect, or private judgment in matters which come within its own province or competence. Revelation presupposes reason, and therefore that man is capable of receiving it; consequently of certainly knowing and correctly understanding it, within the limits of his finite reason. We do not build faith on scepticism, or the incapacity of reason to know anything with certainty. Reason is the preamble to faith, and is competent to receive and understand truly, infallibly, if you will, clear and distinct propositions in their plain and obvious sense when presented to it in words spoken or in words written. If it were not so, all writing and all teaching, all books and all sermons, would be useless. So far the Protestant rule and the Catholic are the same, with this difference only, that, if we happen to mistake the sense of the church, she is ever present to correct the error and to set us right, while the Protestant rule can give no further explanation, or add a word to correct the misapprehension. The teachings of the church need to be understood, but not ordinarily to be interpreted; and, even when they do have to be interpreted, she is present to interpret them, and declare infallibly the sense in which they are to be understood. But the Bible, from beginning to end, must be interpreted before it can be understood, and, while private judgment or reason may be competent to understand it when it is interpreted or explained, it is yet only a fallible interpreter, and incompetent to explain to the understanding its real sense.

The church interprets and explains herself; there are books, also, that carry their own explanation with them, and so need no interpretation or further explanation; but manifestly the Bible is not such a book. It is inspired; it is true; it is infallible; and is, as St. Paul says of all Scripture, divinely inspired, “profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, that the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good word and work” (2 Tim. iii. 16, 17); but it bears on its face the evidence that it was addressed to men who were already believers, and already instructed, partially at least, in the truths it teaches or enforces, and that it was not written to teach the faith to such as had no knowledge of it, but to correct errors, to present more fully the faith on certain points, to point out the duties it enjoins, to exhort to repentance and reform, and to hold up as motives on the one hand, the fearful judgment of God upon those who disregard his goodness, or despise his mercy, or abuse his long-suffering, [Pg 155] and, on the other, the exceeding riches of divine love, and the great reward prepared in heaven for those that believe, love, and obey him. No one can read it without perceiving that it neither is nor professes to be the original medium of the Christian revelation to man, but from first to last supposes a revelation previously made, the true religion to have been already taught, and instructions in it already received. This is true of the Old Testament, and more especially true of the New Testament; and we know historically, and nobody denies it, that the faith was preached and believed, and particular churches, congregations of believers, were gathered and organized, before a word of the New Testament was written.

The Protestant, reduced to the sacred text, even supposing he has the genuine and authentic text, and his private judgment, would be reduced to the condition of the lawyer who should undertake to explain the statutes of any one of our states, in total ignorance of the Common Law, or without the least reference to it or the decisions of the common-law courts. Now and then a statute, perhaps, would explain itself, but in most cases he would be wholly at a loss as to the real meaning of the legislature. Our wise law reformers in this state, a few years since, seeing and feeling the fact, attempted to codify the laws so as to supersede the demand for any knowledge of the Common Law to understand them, and the ablest jurists in the state find them a puzzle, or nearly inexplicable, and our best lawyers are uncertain how to bring an action under the new Code of Procedure. The Protestant needs, in order to interpret the sacred text, a knowledge of revelation which can neither be obtained from the text itself without interpretation nor supplied by private judgment. Hence it is that we find Protestants unable to agree among themselves as to what is or is not the meaning of the sacred text, and varying in their views all the way down from the highest Puseyite who accepts all Catholic doctrine, “the damnatory clauses excepted,” to the lowest Unitarian, who holds that our Lord was simply a man, the son of Joseph and Mary, and rejects the church, the mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation, original sin, redemption, the expiatory sacrifice, regeneration, supernatural grace, the resurrection of the dead, the last judgment, the everlasting punishment of the incorrigible in hell, and the reward of the just in any heaven above the Elysian Fields of the Greeks and Romans or the happy hunting-grounds of the poor Indian. Protestants are able to agree among themselves only so far as they follow Catholic tradition and agree with the church. The Protestant needs to know the Christian faith in order to interpret the sacred text and ascertain it from the Bible, and this he cannot know by his own private judgment or develop from his own “inner consciousness,” since it lies in the supernatural order, and is above the reach of his natural faculties. It is clear, then, that in the Bible interpreted by private judgment he has and can have only a fallible authority.

It is not because the Holy Scriptures do not contain, explicitly or implicitly, the whole faith, that, interpreted by private judgment, they give only a fallible rule of faith, but because, to find the faith in its unity and integrity in them, we must know it aliunde and beforehand. This difficulty is completely obviated by the Catholic rule. The church has in Catholic tradition, which she preserves intact by time or change, the [Pg 156] whole revelation, whether written or unwritten, and in this tradition she has the key to the real sense of the sacred Scriptures, and is able to interpret them infallibly. Tradition, authenticated by the church as the witness and depositary of it, supplies the knowledge necessary to the understanding of the sacred text. Read in the light of tradition, what is implicit in the text becomes explicit, what is merely referred to as wholly known becomes expressly and clearly stated, and we are able to understand the written word, because tradition interprets it for us, without any demand for a knowledge or judgment on our part that exceeds our natural powers. Our judgment is no longer private judgment, because we have in tradition a catholic rule by which to judge, and our judgment has not to pass on anything above the province of reason.

The objection we make to the Protestant rule, it must be obvious now to our friend, cannot be retorted. The Protestant must interpret the sacred Scriptures by his private judgment, which he cannot do without passing upon questions which transcend its reach. The Catholic exercises, of course, his judgment in accepting the infallible teachings of the church, but he is not required to pass upon any question above the reach of his understanding, or upon which, by his natural reason, he cannot judge infallibly, or with the certainty of actual and complete knowledge. He is not required to pass upon the truth of what the church teaches, for that follows from her divine institution and commission to teach the revelation God has made previously established. He has simply to pass upon the question, What is it she teaches, or presents clearly and distinctly to my understanding to be believed? and, in passing upon that question, my judgment has not to judge of anything beyond or above reason, and, therefore, is not fallible any more than in any other act of knowledge.

There is another advantage the Catholic rule has over the Protestant rule. In this world of perpetual change, and with the restless and ever-busy activity of the human mind, new questions are constantly coming up and in need of being answered, and so answered as to save the unity and integrity of the faith. The Bible having once spoken is henceforth silent; it can say nothing more, and make no further explanations of the faith to meet these new questions, and tell us explicitly what the word requires or forbids us to believe with regard to them. Hence, Protestants never know how to meet them. Then new or further explanations and decisions are constantly needed, and will be needed to the end of time. Even the explanations and decisions of the church, amply sufficient when made, not seldom, through the subtlety and activity of error, and its unceasing efforts to evade or obscure the truth, become insufficient, and need themselves to be further explained, and applied so as to strike in the head the new forms of old error and deprive them of their last subterfuge. These explanations and decisions so necessary, and which can be infallibly made only by a living and ever-present infallible authority, can be only fallibly made, if at all, on the Protestant rule. Even the creed of the church, though unalterable, needs from time to time not development, but new and further explanations, to meet and condemn the new forms of error that spring up, and to preserve the faith unimpaired and inviolate. How is this to be done infallibly by a book written two thousand years ago and private judgment, or [Pg 157] without the divine and infallible authority of the church?

These remarks and explanations, we think, fully answer the objections of our legal friend to the belief on authority, and prove that no attempted retort of the Protestant on the Catholic can be sustained, or entertained even, for a moment. We have thus vindicated for him the Catholic rule, and proved that faith on that rule is possible, practicable, and rational, is reasonable obedience, and by no means a blind submission, as he probably supposes. What more can he ask of us? He cannot repeat his charge and say we have not met the question, for we have met it, at least so far as we understand it, and under more forms than he probably dreamed of in urging it. The question is one that meets the inquirer at the threshold, and he can hardly suppose that we could have accepted the church ourselves without meeting it, considering it at length, and disposing of it.

Yet there is one thing more wanting. The method of proof we have pointed out, however sure and however faithfully followed, does not suffice to make one a Catholic, or to give one true Catholic and divine faith, or faith as a theological virtue; it only removes the obstacles in the way of the intellect in believing, and yields only what theologians call human faith—fides humana—which really advances one not a single step towards the kingdom of God, or living union with Christ. A man may be thoroughly convinced, so far as his reason goes, of the whole Catholic faith, and yet, perhaps, never become a Catholic. To be a Catholic, one must have supernatural faith, and be elevated by the grace of God in baptism to the supernatural order of life in Christ. Reason can construct no bridge over which one can pass from the natural to the supernatural; the bridge must be constructed by grace. Faith, the beginning of the Christian life, is the gift of God. The method we have pointed out or the Catholic rule produces the conviction of the truth of the church and what she teaches, and shows it to be one’s duty to seek, if he has it not, the grace that inclines the will, illumines the understanding, and regenerates the soul.

The way in which to seek and find this grace is pointed out by our Lord, Matt. vii. 7: “Ask, and you shall receive; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” The way is the way of prayer. The grace of prayer, gratia orationis, is given unto all men. All men can pray. He who prays for it shall receive the grace to seek, and he who seeks shall find, and receive the grace to knock at the door of the church, which will be opened to him, and he have the grace to enter into the regeneration, and live the life of Christ. We have no hope for the conversion of any one who does not pray; and we have more confidence in the humble prayers of simple, sincere, and fervent Catholic souls for the conversion of those without than in all the reasonings in the world, however conclusive they may be. When once grace has touched the heart, all clouds vanish of themselves, all darkness is dissipated, all obstacles disappear, we know not how, and to believe is the easiest and simplest thing in the world. To believe is difficult only when one persists in relying on his own strength and will accept no aid from above. Let those, then, who have faith pray unceasingly for those who have it not.

[42] Lib. lxxxiii. quæst. xxx.

[43] Vide Summa, q. xvii. a. 3 in c.

[44] The Catholic World for May, 1871, first article.

[Pg 158]




Madame Swetchine says: “The wrongs which the heart resents most keenly are impalpable and invisible.” We may parody this, and say, with equal truth, that the troubles most difficult to bear are frequently those which, to indifferent observers, seem scarcely worth mention. There is dignity, and a certain stimulating excitement, in great affliction and great wrong; but a petty persecution, which we would fain treat with contempt, but which, in spite of us, pierces with small, envenomed points to our very hearts, is capable of testing our utmost endurance. Who does not know how one malicious, intriguing woman can poison a whole community, break friendship that would have stood the test of death, and destroy a confidence that seemed as firm as the hills? The smiling malice, the affected candor, the smooth insinuation, the more than infantine innocence—happy he who has not learned by bitter experience these tactics of the devil’s sharpshooters!

Of such a nature was the earlier stage of the persecution suffered by the Catholics of Seaton. Servants were daily insulted by mistresses less well-bred than themselves. They had to swallow a gibe with their Friday’s eggs or fish; they were entertained with slanderous stories regarding the priest they loved and reverenced. This was, of course, without provocation. Who ever knew an Irish servant-girl who attacked the religion or irreligion of her employers? Workingmen could not go through the streets to and from their work without being forced to listen to revilings of their church. This was carried to such an extent that they soon found themselves obliged to relinquish their open-air lounging-places, where they had smoked and talked after the day’s work was done, and shut themselves into their houses. Nor were they allowed to remain in peace there. Nearly all the Irish lived on one street, running from the bridge up the west side of the river, and called Irish Lane. When it was found that they would not come out to be insulted, the mob that gathered in the streets every evening marched up this lane, calling out to the Irish, challenging, taunting them. But not one word or act of retaliation could they provoke to give them an excuse for the violence which they were thirsting to commit. Father Rasle had given his people stringent orders to remain in their houses, and make no reply, no matter what was said to them, and to defend themselves only if their houses were broken into. They obeyed him with astonishing docility.

When, later, the people of Seaton found themselves covered with disgrace before the country for their outrages on Catholics, they strove to throw the odium on “a few rowdies,” or on workingmen from other towns employed in the Seaton ship-yards; and in a sketch of the town in the History of Maine, written since that time, the Catholics are accused of being themselves the cause of their own troubles. Both these statements [Pg 159] are false. In the town-meeting, which endorsed and even suggested every outrage that was committed, ministers and town-officers made inflammatory speeches from the same platform with any ignorant adventurer who might hope to raise himself to notice by reviling the church. Those of the townspeople who were not active members of the mob were, at least, passive lookers-on; and when, at length, acts of violence began, some of the most prominent citizens went to see the windows of the Catholic church and of the priest’s house broken, as they would have gone to any other amusing show. But we anticipate.

The prime instrument in this movement was the Seaton Herald, which Carl Yorke had left in a sinking condition. The Know-Nothings, wanting an organ, bought it for a song, and put into the editorial chair a man well fitted for the work. Under such superintendence, the paper rose to an infamous popularity. It was no longer a question of religious freedom, and law, and order, but of common decency. Every week the names of quiet, respectable people were dragged into its columns, that festered with lies—their names only enough veiled to escape the law, but not enough to conceal the identity. In a city, there is some escape from this disgusting notoriety—one can hide from it; but in a small town there is no escape. Everybody is known to everybody, and one lives as in a glass case.

Mr. Yorke looked over one of these papers—“looked holes through it,” Clara said—then threw it into the fireplace, dropped a lighted match on it, and watched its burning with his nostrils compressed, like one who smells a noxious scent. “Don’t send another number of your disgraceful paper to me,” he wrote to the editor; but vainly, for the paper came as before, and was regularly taken in the tongs and put into the kitchen fire, except when Betsey or Patrick slyly rescued it for their own private reading.

“I don’t care for their lies,” Patrick said, when Mr. Yorke reproved him; “but I want to know what they mean to do. If a pack of thieves were planning to break into your house, sir, wouldn’t you stop to listen to their conversation?”

The Catholic children had also their cross to bear. The teachers of the public schools, anxious to have their part in the “great work,” were zealous in enforcing the Bible-reading, and careful to see that no Catholic child omitted the doxology which Martin Luther chose to add to the “Our Father” of the Son of God.

Suddenly an outcry was raised by the Know-Nothings. The pretext they had longed and worked for was given, and great was their joy. The incident was simple enough. The boy who lived with Father Rasle was found by his teacher to have a Douay Bible. He was ordered to take it away and buy a Protestant Bible. “I shall not buy you a Protestant Bible,” Father Rasle said. “Use your own, or go without.” The child was threatened with punishment if he did not bring one. The priest immediately removed him from school, fitted up the building formerly used as a chapel for a school-house, and employed a young Catholic lady, recently come to town, as teacher. The Catholic children gladly left the schools, where they had, perhaps, suffered more than their parents had elsewhere, and placed themselves under the care of Miss Churchill. How beautiful, how strange it was to kneel down and say an Our Father and a Hail Mary at the beginning of their studies! How [Pg 160] delightful to go out at recess and play without being assailed by blows or nicknames! How proud they were when Father Rasle came in to give them his weekly instruction in religion! It was quite different from their accustomed ideas of school-life.

Mrs. Yorke was much disturbed by this arrangement. “Edith will have to give up her new friend,” she said decidedly. “I honor Miss Churchill for acting up to her principles, even when it is sure to bring her into a disagreeably conspicuous position; but there is nothing that obliges us to share her danger. When a person comes out of the ranks for conscience’ sake, let her stand alone, and have the glory of it.”

Edith objected at first, but her aunt insisted, and the girl soon saw that, though it went against her feelings, it was right to obey.

“We are not Catholics, my dear,” Mrs. Yorke said; “but it is our duty and wish to protect you from insult. We have suffered in doing so. You know we have given up going to meeting, the sermons were so pointed, and given up the sewing-circle, because we could not go without hearing something offensive, and your cousins find it unpleasant to go into the street even. As to your uncle, his defence of the religious rights of your church exposes him to actual danger. Our life here is nearly intolerable, and this will make it worse if you and Miss Churchill continue to visit each other.”

Fortunately, Miss Churchill anticipated this, and herself put a temporary end to their acquaintance—“till better times,” she wrote.

“She has behaved well,” Mrs. Yorke said, after reading the note. “And now, Charles, I wish that you would show a little prudence, and let events take their course without interfering. Why should you say anything? It does no good.”

“From which motive would you wish me to be silent,” her husband asked quietly—“from cowardice or selfishness?”

She made no reply, save to wring her hands, and wish that she had never come to Seaton.

“Now, Amy dear, listen to reason,” her husband said.

“You know, Charles, it is very disagreeable to have to listen to reason,” she objected pathetically.

He laughed, but persisted. “I have heard you say many a time that disinterested and intelligent men were to blame in withdrawing from public affairs, and leaving them in the hands of dishonest politicians. You said, very sensibly, that, if such men were not strong enough to prevent abuses, they should at least protest against them, and let the world see that patriotism was not quite dead. Perhaps, you added, such a protest might shame others into joining you. Oh! you were eloquent on that subject, little woman, and quoted from Tara’s Halls. The idea was that even the indignant breaking of a heart in the cause of truth showed that truth still lived, which was some good. What do you say, milady? Was it all talk? Are you going to fail me? ‘I appeal from Philip drunk to Philip sober.’”

Mrs. Yorke was smiling, and her face had caught a slight color. The repetition of her own sentiments had encouraged her, as the recollection of our own heroic aspirations often does help us in weaker moments.

His wife pacified, Mr. Yorke went out to work off his own irritation. He would not have had her know it, but he had been attacked in the street that very day when stopping to speak to Father Rasle. The [Pg 161] priest seldom went into the street unless absolutely obliged to, and would gladly have avoided subjecting any one to annoyance on his account; but Mr. Yorke would as soon have denied his faith as have shrunk from stopping to greet the priest cordially—would have so greeted him, indeed, if a hundred guns had been aimed at him for it. But it was not pleasant. He was a fastidious gentleman, accustomed to respect, and the impertinence of the rabble was to him peculiarly offensive. He had come home fuming with anger, which had not abated while restrained. Fortunately, he found something to scold at the minute he went out. A grapevine, which he had coaxed to grow in that unaccustomed country, had this year put forth its first clusters; by some mistake, Patrick had clipped the leaves off, and left the green bunches exposed to the sun.

“Pat, what fool told you to do that?” his master demanded angrily.

“Yourself, sir!” answered Patrick, without flinching. He had his cause of annoyance also.

Mr. Yorke denied the charge with emphasis:

“It is no such thing, you—you vertebrate!”

Patrick drew himself up with an air of dignified resolution. “Sir,” he said, “I’ve done my duty by you, and you’ve done your duty by me, and I’ve taken many a sharp word from you, and made no complaint. But I’m an honest man, if I am not rich nor learned, and I won’t stand and let any one call me such a name as that.”

Mr. Yorke laughed out irrepressibly. “Well, well, Pat,” he said, “I beg your pardon. You’re not a vertebrate.”

“All right, sir!” Pat answered cheerfully, and went about his work satisfied.

Mr. Yorke, his good humor quite restored, went into the house again.

“Poor Pat!” Edith said, a little zealously, when the others smiled over the story.

“We are not scorning him for his ignorance, my dear,” her uncle replied. “With Charles Lamb, ‘I honor an honest obliquity of understanding,’ and I also honor an honest ignorance of books; but sometimes they are amusing.”

“What did I hear you saying to Mr. Yorke, Pat?” Betsey asked the man that evening. “It seemed to me that you were impudent.”

“The fact is, I was really mad,” Patrick owned. “I’d been downtown, and there I came across the editor of the Herald, and the sight of him roiled me, especially as he grinned and made believe bless himself. I’d like to meet him alone in a quiet bit of woods. I’d soon change his complexion to as beautiful a black and blue as you ever saw—the dirty spalpeen, with his eye like a buttonhole!”

Betsey sat on the door-step, and looked up at the stars. “If I’d had the placing of ‘em,” she remarked presently, “I’d have put ‘em in even rows, like pins in a paper. It would look better. They’re dreadfully mixed up now.”

Patrick looked into the skies a little while, but his mind was on other things than the marshalling of stars into papers of pins. “I’m sorry Mr. Yorke went to that town-meeting to-night,” he said.

Mr. Yorke was, in fact, at that moment rising in the town-hall to speak. The Rev. John Conway had uttered a bitter tirade against the Catholic clergy, with a fierce recapitulation of the affair of Johnny O’Brian, the priest’s boy, and his Douay Bible. Dr. Martin had followed with cooler, but not less bitter, denunciation, [Pg 162] and another reference to Johnny O’Brian. A Portuguese barber had made an idiotic speech, and various town-officers, and prominent Know-Nothings, all more or less illiterate, had spoken, and all had seasoned their discourse with Johnny O’Brian. Finally, the Rev. Saul Griffeth had held his hearers spell-bound while he described, in glowing phrases, the inevitable and complicated ruin of the country in case Catholics should be admitted to equal rights, or any rights at all, and had painted a dazzling picture of the country’s future glories should Catholics be excluded. And here again the perennial Johnny O’Brian figured.

In the midst of a cold and threatening silence, Mr. Yorke got up. Never was his voice more rasping, his mouth more scornful, his glance more full of fire. “It was happy,” he said, “for one man that the Reverend Mr. John Conway was not Calvin; for, instead of being content to burn Servetus, he would first have tortured him, till even the flames would have been a relief. As for the Reverend Mr. Griffeth’s companion pictures of the country’s future, they were daubs such as no sensible man would receive as true representations, and the young man who painted them probably believed in them no more than he had believed in the precisely contrary views which he had expressed within a few years in the speaker’s own hearing. With regard to the other orators, he did not know what that illiterate and idiotic Portuguese barber had to do with the town affairs of Seaton, and he congratulated the rest on the possession of Johnny O’Brian, who had certainly been a godsend to them. So long as a shred of that devoted child was left, they would have something to say. But the reasoning in the most of the speeches to which he had listened had reminded him of the Latin of Sgarnarelle, le médecin malgré lui. They had put their premises in the middle ages of Europe, and their conclusion in a little New England town of the nineteenth century. ‘Voilà ce qui fait que votre fille est muette.’ What, in fact, are we here to talk about?” He then went on to state his own views.

It is said of the French legitimists under the first empire, that in their scorn of the emperor, and their determination to regard him as a foreigner, they used to pronounce his name so that it seemed to be a word of twenty syllables. Mr. Yorke had that faculty. His enunciation was clear, and the letter r very prominent, and the mere pronouncing of a name he could make an insult. At first his manner had commanded silence—no one liked to be the first to hiss; but it became too scathing presently, and when one gave the first faint sound of disapproval, the storm broke out. He tried again and again to speak, but they would not hear him. Shouts and jeers arose, and cries of “Put him out! Down with him!”

“Touch me if you dare!” he said, facing them, and lifting his cane. They stood aside, and he walked out, and went home, not very well pleased.



Mr. Yorke went home from that first town-meeting, and opened his Bolingbroke to look for a sedative. He found this: “The incivilities I [Pg 163] meet with from opposite parties have been so far from rendering me violent or sour to any, that I think myself obliged to them all. Some have cured me of fears, by showing me how impotent the world is; others have cured me of hope, by showing how precarious popular friendships are. All have cured me of surprise.”

Mr. Yorke readjusted his glasses, and read the passages a second time; but it was not the sedative he wanted. There was something the matter with Bolingbroke; his was a worldly and selfish philosophy; and it was, moreover, a discouraging one; for the reader wished to believe that it was possible to awaken and keep alive in the popular mind an enthusiasm for justice. Mr. Yorke was not aware that in this warfare he had drawn nearer to God, and that what he missed in his old favorite was that final, heavenly motive which, running like a golden chain through the simplest human actions, strings them into jewels, lacking which the noblest human thoughts and deeds crumble like sand on the sea-shore.

Closing his book with a feeling of disappointment, his thought glanced down to later times, and he remembered a noble sentiment uttered by one whom he admired, indeed, but half-unwillingly—one of the purest and most heroic men of our time, a man who lacks nothing but faith.

“With God, one is a majority!” said Wendell Phillips.

The thought came down on Mr. Yorke’s heart like a hammer upon an anvil, and sent sparks up into his eyes and brain.

“I take back all that I have said against that man,” he exclaimed, starting up and walking to and fro. “A man who has a vision of absolute honesty cannot help being impatient of policy. Strong conviction never is, never can be, tolerant.” He ran his fingers through his hair as he paced the room, and combed it up on end. He would have liked to go directly back to the town-hall, and perhaps would have done so but for the probability that it was now dark and empty.

“It is not pleasant to be insulted by such people,” he muttered; “but it would be still less pleasant to think that the rascals could silence me. I will be heard at the next meeting,

‘Though hell itself should gape,
And bid me hold my peace.’”

It was some time before Mr. Yorke had the opportunity he desired, though scarcely a day passed in which he did not speak some word for the truth. There was no other town-meeting that summer. The people contented themselves with the weekly scandalous battery of the Seaton Herald, and with a small domestic persecution. A few pious church-members were especially active. This was a kind of missionary labor which suited them well, for it gave the pretext of zeal to their bigotry and uncharitableness. If a lady could have persuaded her Irish servant-girl to eat meat on Friday, she would have gloried in the triumph.

“I will not eat of flesh on the day when the flesh of Jesus Christ was hacked and mangled for the sins of the world,” said one faithful girl.

“But nobody knows on what day of the week he died,” the mistress urged. “That is one of the lies of your priests. Now, Bridget”—laying a gold half-eagle on the table—“this money shall be yours if you will eat that piece of meat.”

The servant looked at her mistress with that dignity which a scorn of meanness can give to the lowliest. “Mrs. Blank,” she said, “you remind me of the devil tempting our Saviour when he was fasting.”

The temptation and the occasion [Pg 164] were trivial, but they called out the spirit of the martyrs.

Cold weather seemed to cool the zeal of the Know-Nothings; but with another spring it kindled again, making the Catholic school its principal point of attack. Anonymous letters were written to the teacher, threatening her if she did not give it up. The Herald contained, week after week, insulting and scarcely veiled references to her; and the children could not go through the streets unmolested. But no notice was taken of these annoyances, and the school prospered in spite of them. The children came unfailingly, not, perhaps, without fear, but certainly without yielding to fear. They were deeply impressed by the position in which they found themselves. All their childish gayety deserted them. They gathered and talked quietly, instead of playing; they drew shyly away without answering when the Protestant children attacked them. “Keep out of their way, and never answer back,” was the charge constantly repeated in the ears of these little confessors of the faith, and they obeyed it perfectly. Dear children! may they never lose in later years that faith by which they suffered so early in life. Herewith, one who watched and admired their constancy sends them loving greeting.

When the first examination for prizes took place in this school, Mr. Yorke was present, and made an address; and when it was over, he and Father Rasle walked away together.

“I am obliged to go away, to be gone a month,” the priest said. “I must go to-night. But I do not like to leave my flock to the wolves. There is no help for it, though. The bishop wishes to see me at Brayon, and I must visit the Indians on Oldtown Island.”

“I advise you, sir, to go as quietly as you can, and let no one see you go or know that you are going,” Mr. Yorke said.

Father Rasle looked surprised. “Why, you do not imagine that any person would molest me?”

“I do not imagine, but I am sure that the Know-Nothings would do anything,” was the reply. “It is not safe to give them an opportunity for mischief.”

Still the priest looked incredulous.

“I cannot see why they should touch me,” he said. “I have done nothing to provoke them. They insult us, they tell lies, and I do not resent it. Do you know the stories that have been brought to me this week? I find them amusing.” He laughed pleasantly. “See how they represent the church! A Catholic man, they say, wanted to steal a hundred dollars. Now, to take so much at once would be a mortal sin; but to steal ten cents would be only a venial sin. So my brave Catholic steals ten cents, and, after a week, ten cents more, and so on, till he has the hundred dollars. By this means, he secures his money, and is guilty only of a thousand venial sins, which he gets forgiveness for by giving the priest fifty dollars. That is one of Mr. John Conway’s stories. Here is another that was published in the Herald, with my name and the others in full. You know that Mrs. Mary O’Conner’s husband lately died in California. Well, the Herald says that the poor widow came to me, weeping and lamenting that she had not even the consolation of seeing her husband’s grave; and I told her that, for thirty dollars, I would have him buried here. She had saved thirty dollars, earned by washing, and she brought it to me. Three days after, I told her that her husband’s body had been miraculously [Pg 165] brought, and I pointed out the spot where it was buried, down here behind the church. But I warned her that she must not dig there, as it would be a sacrilege, and that, if she did, the body would disappear. Here’s another: Patrick Mulligan confesses some sin to me, and, for a penance, I tell him to give himself twenty-five blows with the discipline. Patrick goes home, gets ready for his penance, and suddenly remembers that he has no discipline. It is late at night. He puts his head out the window, and sees that Mrs. Mahony, next door, has forgotten to take in her clothes-line, and a fine new clothes-line it is. Pat blesses the saints, creeps down-stairs, steals the clothes-line, and, going back, cuts it up into a beautiful discipline. After he has piously beaten himself, he burns the cord all up, that he may not be known as a thief, goes to bed with a clear conscience, and sleeps the sleep of the just.

“Now, sir,” the priest concluded, “it is not likely that I am to be attacked for such stories as that. Of course, no sensible person believes them; or, if people should doubt, they can easily find out the truth.”

“The truth, my dear sir, is precisely what they do not wish to find out,” Mr. Yorke replied. “They want to be exasperated, and, since you will not afford them a pretext, they will welcome any lie, and no questions asked. Moreover, you are not to think that such slanders originate with the low only, and influence only the low. I came upon a book the other day written by Catherine Beecher. You have heard of the Beechers, of course? The title was Truth Stranger than Fiction: a Narrative, she calls it, of Recent Transactions involving Inquiries in regard to the principles of Honor, Truth, and Justice which obtain in a distinguished American University. That university is in Connecticut; and the affair was one which created a good deal of stir among the Protestant clergy a few years ago. Miss Beecher seems to prove clearly in her book that certain eminent doctors of divinity, and professors, with ladies of their families, ruined the reputation of a distinguished and innocent woman. But what does Miss Beecher herself do, in the preface to this very book wherein she appears as the champion of ‘honor, truth, and justice,’ spelt with capital letters? She goes out of her way to speak of the Catholic clergy, and asserts that, since their ministrations are efficacious, no matter what their characters may be, ‘there is no special necessity, on this account, to limit admissions to this office to those only who are virtuous and devout.’ Now, the sentence is artfully worded to evade the charge of slander; but almost all non-Catholics interpret it, as the writer wished they should, to mean that, in ordaining a Catholic priest, it is not considered of any consequence whether he is a man of good character or not. It has been so interpreted by every person whom I have asked to read it. I give you another instance: Doctor Martin took upon himself to send Edith some anti-Catholic books, which I returned to him without letting her see them. I glanced into one, and found it divided into paragraphs, each containing a charge against your church, illustrated by an anecdote. I read one paragraph, headed A Church without a Holy Ghost. Of course, you were charged with not believing in sanctification; and the anecdote was of a man who became a Protestant after having been a Catholic forty years. When his new teachers told him of the Holy Ghost, he exclaimed, ‘Holy Ghost! What [Pg 166] is that? I have been in the Catholic Church forty years, and I never heard of a Holy Ghost.’ Now, sir, this, of course, seems to you idiotic; but a Protestant doctor of divinity keeps such books, and gives them to people to read, and repeats such falsehoods in his sermons. You see what you have to expect.”

“Shall I, then, publish a card denying the truth of these stories?” Father Rasle asked, with an expression of face which showed his distaste for the task.

“No one will read it if you do,” was the reply. “You must leave all to time. At present, for you to be accused is to be condemned. Who was it—Montesquieu?—who says, ‘If you are accused of having stolen the towers of Notre Dame, bolt at once’? That is your case. Whatever they may charge you with, consider yourself convicted.”

They had by this time reached the priest’s house, a little cottage close to the corner of the two streets. Mr. Yorke declining an invitation to enter, they leaned on the gate a few minutes to finish their talk.

“You must not judge our country by what you see here,” Mr. Yorke said. “What you complain of is merely the abuse of a good gift. A priest of your church has expressed himself very well concerning these difficulties. ‘It always pains me, in such periods,’ he says, ‘to hear men express doubt concerning our institutions. As for me, I would rather suffer from the license of freedom than the oppression of authority. War is better than a false peace; riot better than servitude; heresy better than indifference. But none of these things,’ he adds, ‘is to my liking. And may the good God preserve us from them all!’ That was Father John, an American priest.”

“Ah! I know him,” Father Rasle said brightly. “I happened to travel once in his company. We were in a steamboat, and some minister entered into controversy with him. Catholic Christianity degrades the man, the minister said. The Catholic cannot hold any communication with God. If he should be cast away on a desert island, he would be without God. All must come to him through the church. He has in himself no power to reflect the divine motions. ‘You mistake,’ says Father John; ‘and I can show by a familiar figure; Suppose that every man in the world should insist that his timepiece was correct, and should refuse to regulate it by any other. Of course, the chronometers would all wag their several ways, no two alike, and there would be a ceaseless wrangling as to what was the time of day, and every man would think that he carried the sun in his pocket. To the dogs with the meridian and the almanac! my watch is right! That is Protestantism. Now, the Catholic has his spiritual dial also; but since he knows that it is a fallible instrument, he keeps it regulated by the great clock of the church. The consequence is truth and harmony. Every Catholic conscience ticks alike; and, when the meridian-gun of the great regulator is fired, every man says, ‘It’s twelve o’clock. Amen!’”

Mr. Yorke’s warning was well-timed, for the event proved that Father Rasle would scarcely have been allowed to leave the town without molestation had it been known that he was going. No one knew it, however, but the priest’s housekeeper, Mr. Yorke, and the man who drove him over to Brayon that night.

“I do not think that any precaution was needed,” Father Rasle said to his companion, as they drove through the dewy woods by starlight. “But since it was as easy to come [Pg 167] away quiet, why, I have. I have no wish or right to throw my life away.”

Mr. Yorke did not know what had happened till Patrick told him the next morning. The crowd had gathered in the streets, it appeared, and taken their usual promenade up Irish Lane, with the usual result. No one came out or answered them, and they could not see a face in the windows, even. But if the patience of the Irish was not worn out, that of their persecutors was. Since they could not provoke an attack, they would make one. From Irish Lane they had marched to the priest’s house, arming themselves with stones and brickbats.

“There isn’t a whole window left in the house, sir,” said Patrick; “and there’s a stone lying on Father Rasle’s bed, where it was thrown through the window, that would have killed him if he had been there, as they thought he was.”

We trust that certain expressions which Mr. Yorke made use of on hearing this story will not be remembered against him on the day of final reckoning. They were not pious expressions, nor mild, nor, indeed, very polished ones; but they were strong. He put on his hat with an emphasis which left a large dent in the crown, refused to take any breakfast, and started for the town.

“What does he mean to do?” cried his wife, wringing her hands. “I must go after him. Oh! if Carl were here. Girls, it is of no use to oppose me. I must know what goes on.”

The breakfast was left untouched, and the whole household gathered about the mother, coaxing and soothing her. Patrick should go down, they said, and keep his master in view.

“What protection would an Irish Catholic be to him?” cried the lady.

Betsey would go, she declared, standing with arms akimbo and her fierce head raised. She would like to see the man that would stand in her way when she was roused!

But, no; Betsey was too pugilistic. If Mr. Yorke were to see her, he would be irritated. Some one more conciliating and politic was wanted.

Clara cut the matter short by appearing in walking dress. She would go down and see what the trouble was, and send a messenger home immediately.

Meantime, Mr. Yorke was in no danger whatever. People were, indeed, more good-natured than usual after the success of the night before. He encountered mocking smiles, but no threats. His first visit was to one of the selectmen. “What are you going to do with the rascals who broke Father Rasle’s windows, last night?” he demanded, without any ceremony of greeting.

The man assumed an air of pompous indifference. “I do not propose to do anything,” he said. “If they were brought before me, as a justice, I should try them. But I am not called on to take any step in the matter.”

“Perhaps you were one of them,” Mr. Yorke said bitterly.

The man’s face reddened. “I shall not take any notice of your insults,” he said. “It is well known that those windows were broken by a few rowdies who cannot be found out. The town is not responsible for them. And even if they were known, the feeling of the community is such that they would not be punished. People are so much excited against the abuses of popery, and the interference of the priest in our public schools, that they are willing to [Pg 168] see every Catholic driven out of the town.”

If there was ever a moment in Mr. Yorke’s life when he regretted being a gentleman, it would be safe to say that this was that moment. To talk with such a man was folly. But if some muscular Christian had entered the scene opportunely, and applied to the town-officer’s back a score or so of such logical conclusions as he was fitted to understand, or had enlightened his cranium by propounding to it an argument from an unanswerable fist, Mr. Yorke would, doubtless, have left the office with a smile of serene satisfaction, and a conviction that the dramatic proprieties had been sustained. No such person appearing, he went away with anything but an amiable expression.

His next visit was to the Rev. John Conway. The minister had just finished his breakfast, and came into the room with a comfortable, deliberate air, rather exasperating to a man who was not only indignant, but fasting. His guarded look showed that he expected an attack.

By an effort, Mr. Yorke greeted him courteously, then began: “I come, sir,” he said, “to ask you to raise your voice and use your influence to put a stop to such outrages as were committed last night, and bring the perpetrators of that to punishment.”

Mr. Conway seated himself with dignity, cast down his eyes, puckered his mouth accurately, put the tips of his right-hand fingers to the tips of his left-hand fingers in an argumentative manner, and spoke slowly and solemnly:

“I am sorry that any violence has been done. But when a community becomes incensed by encroachments which threaten their most sacred interests, and when they find that the laws are not stringent enough to afford them security from an insidious foe, we cannot expect that they will act with that calmness and deliberation which is to be desired. I deprecate—”

“You are not in your pulpit preaching to blockheads!” Mr. Yorke burst forth. “I came here to talk common sense.”

A cold glimmer showed under the minister’s lower eyelids, and a flush went over his face; but he had more self-control than his visitor, or he had not that sense of outraged justice and decency which, to that visitor’s mind, made forbearance a vice, consequently he said nothing for a moment. There was, indeed, no more to be said. Mr. Yorke rose and went to the door, but stopped there. Though appeal was vain, warning might not be.

“I warn you, sir,” he said—“I, a Protestant—that your course is not only dishonest, but impolitic. You are working so as to secure the final triumph of those you hate, and to bring about your own ruin. These anti-Catholic mobs are not Protestant, except as they protest against all religious restraint. They hate Catholicism most, simply because it is the strongest religion. You ministers think, perhaps, that you use them; but you mistake. They use you, and they despise you. They speak you fair now, because you stand between them and the law and give them a certain respectability. Indeed, their only power is derived from you. But when they shall have crushed Catholicism, if they ever do, they will have the same weapons you have placed in their hands against you. Do not hope that by the course you are taking you are going to make Baptist, or Congregational, or Methodist church-members; you are going to make infidels.”

A sense of the utter uselessness of [Pg 169] his mission had restored Mr. Yorke to calmness. He spoke firmly, but without any excitement, and, having ended, left the house, and walked quietly homeward. Clara, coming down East Street, and looking anxiously right and left, saw him, and dodged out of sight. With her foot propped on a door-step, she made a writing-desk of her knee, hastily pencilling a line to her mother. While she wrote, three several families peeped and wondered at her through their blinds. She looked about for an Irish boy—saw one, and sent him with her message.

“Run like the wind till you come in sight of the house,” she charged him, “but walk slowly up the avenue, or they will think that you bring bad news, and be frightened.”

“All right, mamma!” Clara had written. “Everybody I meet is as quiet and innocent-looking as a cat that has been stealing cream. I saw papa this minute; I am going up to see Hester, and will be back before dinner.”

Mrs. Yorke kissed and feasted the boy who brought the news; Melicent searched for old clothes, and sent him home with garments enough to last him a year, and both nearly cried over him, “Poor little persecuted dear!” Betsey bestowed on him a pie, and the two Pattens, having nothing of their own to give, stole each of them a cucumber, which they slyly slipped into his pocket. People who lived with the Yorkes always thought as the Yorkes did. There was never more than one party in their house. Their domestics were partisans, their dependents adorers.

Edith went out into the garden, and gathered some flowers for the lad, talking with him meanwhile. It was a calm June day—after a rain-storm. The sky had started to clear away—got so far that there was nothing left but a pearly fleck of cloud that just netted the sunshine—then had forgotten all about itself. A lovely, dreamy softness overhung the scene, and the drops of rain that lay on every leaf and flower shone, but did not flash.

The boy gazed at Edith with admiration. Her head was bare, and she wore a blue dress, with loose sleeves, and a little crisp white ruffle close around the throat. She stood on tiptoe, and stretched her arms to reach a branch of red roses. As she caught it, a shower of drops fell over her head and face. “Asperges me!” she whispered.

“Oh! she’s real pretty,” the boy said afterward to his mother. “She has dimples in her elbows just like baby.”

When the wreath was made, Edith hung it round the child’s neck, his arms being full, and walked down to the gate with him. “Try to be a little saint, and not be angry, no matter what may be said to you,” she said. “If you are afraid, say the ‘We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God,’ and she will take care of you. Good-by, dear.”

She leaned on the gate, and looked after him. Her cheeks were as red as the roses she had gathered, and her expression was not, as formerly, one of sunny calmness. She was as quiet in manner and speech as ever, but it was the quiet of a strong and vivid nature fully awake, but not fully satisfied, perplexed, yet self-controlled. So much had happened to her in the last year! She had been called away suddenly from childhood, and study, and vague, bright dreams to confront a positive and quite unexpected reality. Unless she should make a vow never to marry, then she was to marry Dick Rowan, that was her conclusion; and having once made up her mind in [Pg 170] that respect, she thought as little about it as possible. Perhaps her only definite thought was that Dick might have waited awhile before speaking, and let her study more; for study had now become impossible. She wanted to be in continual motion, to have work and change. A deep and steady excitement burned in her cheeks, her eyes, her lips. Her piety, instead of being tender and tranquil, had grown impassioned. To die for the faith, to suffer torments for it, to be in danger, that seemed to her desirable. She almost regretted that she had home and friends to bind her. If she were still with Mrs. Rowan, in the little house that was under that clay-bank, then she would be free, and perhaps they would kill her. She had scarcely been to Mass that year without thinking how glorious it would be if a mob would break in and kill them all. Her imagination hovered ceaselessly over this subject.

Seeing her uncle coming, she waited for him. “We must make up our minds that we have not seen the worst that they will do, little girl,” he said. “There is no law.”

She smiled involuntarily.

“Why, are you pleased at that?” he exclaimed.

“There might be a worse fate than dying for one’s faith, Uncle Charles,” she said, clasping her hands over his arms.

He laughed, and patted her cheek. “Is that your notion?” he asked. “If it is, remember that I have a word to say about it. I shall fight hard before you are made a martyr of. I see what you have been reading—Crashaw’s St. Theresa:

‘Farewell, house, and farewell, home:
She’s for the Moors and martyrdom.’

Do I guess and quote rightly, mademoiselle?”

She only smiled in reply. But well she knew that she had been reading from a deeper book than Crashaw.

A few nights after, the Catholic school-house was blown up with gunpowder, and left a perfect wreck. “Of course!” said Mr. Yorke.

“The teacher has taken the children into the galleries of the church,” Patrick said.

“The church will be destroyed, then,” replied his master.

It was not destroyed altogether at once, however, but every window in it was broken. This was done in broad daylight, just after a summer sunset.

Mr. Yorke put himself before the mob, entreating them to forbear, even trying to push back the foremost ones, but without avail. “Don’t listen to him! His niece is a Catholic,” they cried. “To the church!”

Two or three gentlemen drove up in their buggies, and sat at a safe distance while the work of destruction went on, and several women lingered on the outskirts of the crowd. In a neighboring street, out of sight, Edith Yorke stood with Clara, and listened to the sound of breaking glass. For a moment, natural indignation overcame piety in her heart. “Oh! if I were a thousand men on horseback,” she exclaimed. “I’d like to ride them down, and trample them under foot!” Then the next moment, “Oh! how wicked I am!”

“You are not wicked!” Clara said angrily. “I won’t have you talk such nonsense.”

Clara was in that state of mind when she must scold somebody.

Of course the authorities took no notice of this affair. The teacher had the glass reset, and continued her school. Mr. Yorke wrote to Father Rasle, advising him not to return to Seaton for a while, and a lull succeeded.

And now the Yorkes took breath, and felt not quite alone, for Carl was coming home, and Dick Rowan would soon be there, and Captain Cary was coming down.


[Pg 171]


Since the days of St. Francis of Assisium, whose life in the thirteenth century was one constant succession of marvels, the occasional appearance upon favored individuals of the stigmata,[45] and the occurrence of ecstatic visions, have excited the deepest interest in devout minds.

To the eye of faith, these departures from the ordinary laws of nature, like the miracles which God has vouchsafed in all ages of the church, have seemed fresh and brilliant illustrations of this divine power. To the purely scientific mind they have presented inexplicable phenomena, which, being irreconcilable with natural laws, have been either openly derided or attributed to pious fraud.

Nor can the physiologist be harshly blamed for scepticism in this direction, for history teems with the records of epidemics of religious enthusiasm, in which fanaticism had led its victims to claim repeated ecstatic visions of God, and to be the recipients of supernatural revelations. The descriptions transmitted to us of the Pietists and Illuminati in Germany, of the French and English Shakers, the Welsh Jumpers, and many others of the sects to which the Reformation gave birth, abound in instances of these ecstatic outbreaks.

The visions of Swedenborg, as related in his Arcana Cœlestia, and in the numerous biographies[46] of this extraordinary person, are well known; and among similar claimants to supernatural experience, Arnold’s description of John Engelbrecht[47] is one of the most curious and interesting.

In Hecker’s Epidemics of the Middle Ages is given a full account of the “Convulsionnaires of St. Médard,” so-called from the cemetery of St. Médard in Paris, where a noted Jansenist deacon was buried in 1727. The fanatical excitement of his followers first showed itself in pilgrimages and reported miraculous cures at his grave, to which they gradually flocked in great numbers, many becoming convulsed with terrible contortions, jumping, shouting, rolling on the ground, spinning around with incredible velocity, running their heads against walls, while others preached fanatical harangues or pretended to be gifted with clairvoyance. For more than fifty years these scandalous exhibitions continued, Convulsionism growing into a distinct sect in spite of the efforts of the government to suppress it, until swept out of existence by the greater excitement of the French Revolution.

In many of these cases, the supposition of intentional fraud was doubtless well founded; in others, the ecstatics were themselves the unconscious dupes of their own fanaticism. To appreciate the cautious scrutiny with which the church, however, sifts pretensions of this nature in any of her children, the reader [Pg 172] need only consult the lives of such saints as have been thus favored.[48]

The psychological condition or state which is somewhat vaguely termed ecstasy has always possessed peculiar interest both for the theologian and the physician; and, although numerous definitions of it have been attempted, it is extremely difficult to convey to the general reader a clear idea of its distinctive nature. The word itself usually signifies a condition in which the mind and soul is transferred, or placed out of its usual state.

St. Augustine called it “a transport, by which the soul is separated and, as it were, removed to a distance from the bodily senses,” and, following this definition, Ambrose Paré, the father of French surgery, terms it “a reverie with rapture of the mind, as if the soul were parted from the body.” St. Bonaventure, the contemporary and biographer of St. Francis of Assisium, says that ecstasy “is an elevation of the soul to that source of divine love which surpasses human understanding, an elevation by which it is separated from the exterior man.” St. Thomas Aquinas, Cardinal Bona, and other theological writers give similar definitions; while among medical authorities, Briquet, J. Franck, Bérard, Thomas King Chambers, Guislain of Brussels, Clymer, Gratiolet, and many others describe its symptoms and discuss its pathological relations.

Well-marked ecstasy and the stigmata have but seldom been united in the same individual, and still more rarely have these extraordinary manifestations been subjected to the searching tests of science.

It will not, then, be amiss to present the readers of this magazine with a brief description of the most notable illustration in recent times of these marvellous phenomena, as the case has acquired a European celebrity, attracting the scrutiny of many savants, and forming the subject of an interesting memoir[49] by a professor in the Belgian University of Louvain. From his description of the facts, which he was officially appointed to investigate in their scientific bearings, we shall condense the following account.

In the rich and industrial province of Hainault, in Belgium, is situated the village of Bois d’Haine, about midway between the towns of Charleroi and Mons. It is mainly composed of cottages occupied by workmen in the neighboring manufactories; and in one of the poorest of these Louise Lateau, the subject of this notice, was born January 30, 1850.

She is the youngest of three children, all daughters; and their parents were poor working people, strong and ordinarily healthy, and never subject to any nervous hæmorrhagic disease. The mother is still living and in good health; the father died during an epidemic of small-pox at the age of twenty-eight. Louise, then two and a half months old, contracted this disease from her father, but made a rapid recovery. The family continued to struggle on in poverty, the children’s food being poor and scant—“plusque frugal,” says Dr. Lefebvre—but they nevertheless grew up robust and healthy. When only eight, Louise was placed in the temporary care of a poor old woman in the neighborhood, while the latter’s son was engaged in outdoor work. A little later she was [Pg 173] sent to school for five months, learning her catechism and a little reading and writing. In her twelfth year, having made her first communion, she entered the service of her great-aunt, who lived at Manage, near Bois d’Haine, in a certain degree of comfort. In this position she displayed great activity and devotion to her duties, giving herself up day and night to the service of her relative, who died in a year or two. She then entered the service of a respectable lady in Brussels, where she remained only seven months on account of an illness, the nature of which is not described; after this she obtained another place in Manage, where, as before, she left behind her the reputation of devoted courage, of patient toil, humble and quiet piety, and charity for the poor.

About the beginning of 1867, she became more feeble in health without being exactly ill or obliged to suspend her customary work. She lost appetite and color, suffered from severe neuralgic pains in the head, and her skin assumed the greenish-white hue that always indicates impoverishment of the blood. This had been aggravated by a severe attack of quinsy; and on several occasions, during the early part of April of this year, she spat blood, the source of which (whether from lungs or stomach) could not be decided.

For an entire month she now became constantly weaker, taking almost nothing during this time but water and the medicines prescribed for her. The exhaustion increased to such a degree that her death was thought imminent, and on the 15th of April the last sacraments were administered. She now suddenly improved, and so rapidly that, on the 21st of April, she was able to walk to Mass at the parish church, three-quarters of a mile distant. This apparently remarkable cure was the first incident that attracted public notice to her case; crowds of people coming to see her as an object of curiosity.

This period may be viewed as her turning point from girlhood into a woman; and, at her then age of eighteen, she is described as being slightly below the middle height, with full face, very little color, a fine delicate skin, light hair, clear, soft blue eyes, a small mouth, and very white well-shaped teeth.

Her expression is intelligent and agreeable, and her general health is good, and free from any scrofulous or other constitutional taint. She has always worked hard, and exhibited considerable physical endurance. Mentally she is represented as unemotional, lacking in imagination, by no means bright, but of good, strong common sense, artless, straightforward, and devoid of enthusiasm. Her education is limited, although she has improved the elementary instruction received during her brief school term, speaking French with ease and some degree of purity, reading with difficulty, and writing very little, and incorrectly at that. Her moral character is honest, simple, transparent. Dr. Lefebvre and others, who questioned her about her ecstatic visions, repeatedly tried to test her sincerity, but never succeeded in making her contradict herself or tend in the least degree to exaggeration: nor could she ever be induced by her young friends to discuss her stigmata or visions, upon which she was equally reticent with her friends and her family. Of a naturally gay and happy disposition, she has shown in various circumstances much patience, determination, and courage. Amidst many domestic anxieties and troubles, often losing her rest day and night [Pg 174] during the illness of her relatives, and falsely accused by her mother (who seems to have been a person of difficult temper) of being the cause of all the family’s misfortunes, she remained invariably calm and cheerful. Another of her most striking traits was her charity for the poor; “poor herself, she loved to relieve the poor,” and many instances are narrated of her devotion to the sick and helpless during the cholera that raged at Bois d’Haine in 1866. From her infancy almost she was exceptionally devout, and her piety was always practical, and devoid of affectation and display. In her interior and religious life, as in her domestic duties, she was simple, earnest, and discreet.

A recollection of these details of her character and antecedents is necessary for the proper appreciation of the phenomena now to be described. These are of two distinct kinds, having no connection but their accidental association in the same individual; and that they may be more clearly understood, they will be considered separately, first the stigmata, then the ecstatic trances, and, thirdly, the nature of the evidence upon which the extraordinary facts rest.


The first occurrence of the bleeding was noticed by Louise on Friday, the 24th of April, 1868, when she saw blood issuing from a spot on the left side of the chest. With her habitual reserve, she mentioned it to no one. The next day it recurred at the same spot; and she, then also observed blood on the top of each foot. She now confided it to her director, who, although thinking the circumstance extraordinary, reassured her and bade her keep the facts to herself. During the night preceding the second Friday following, May 8, blood oozed from the left side and from both feet, and toward nine o’clock in the morning it flowed freely from the back and palm of each hand. At this juncture it seemed impossible longer to keep the matter secret, and her confessor directed Louise to consult a physician.

Recognizing the medical character of the case, the periodical bleeding, and the ecstatic trances which subsequently occurred, the religious authorities felt constrained to place its investigation in the hands of a medical expert, and for this purpose called in the aid of Dr. Lefebvre. A more judicious choice could not have been made, as this gentleman had long devoted himself to the study of nervous affections, and had passed fifteen years in medical charge of two hospitals for the insane, and in lecturing upon mental diseases in the University of Louvain.

Of the minuteness of his examination, and of his credibility as a witness, each reader can judge for himself.

If, during the course of the week, from Saturday to Thursday morning, the hands and feet be examined, the following facts are revealed: On the back of each hand there is an oval patch about half an inch (two and a half centimetres) long, of a more rosy hue than the rest of the skin, dry and glistening on the surface. On the palm of each hand a similar oval patch was seen, equally red, and corresponding exactly with the site of that on the back. On the sole and back of each foot are found similar marks, having the form of a parallelogram with rounded angles, nearly three-quarters of an inch (three centimetres) in length.

On examining these spots with a magnifying-glass of twenty diameters, [Pg 175] the epidermis (or superficial layer of the skin) is found to be thin but unbroken, and through it the cutis (or true skin) can readily be seen.

The latter looks perfectly natural, except that the papillæ, or little elevations in which terminate the nerves of touch, are slightly atrophied and flattened, this giving rise to the glistening appearance of the surface. When any one of the stigmata has not bled for a week or two, the reddish discoloration disappears, and the papillæ resume their normal appearance. No permanent marks remain upon the forehead; and, except on Friday, the bleeding points cannot there be distinguished. From a natural feeling of delicacy, the chest was only examined during the ecstasy.

The first symptoms announcing the approaching bleeding usually appear about noon on Thursday. Upon each of the rosy spots on the hands and feet, a bleb, or little bladder, is seen to rise and slowly develop. This exactly corresponds, when fully formed, with the size of the patch; and is filled with a transparent serous fluid, sometimes of a reddish tint in those on the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands. The bleb consists of the epidermis detached and elevated from the true skin by the accumulating serous fluid. No swelling or redness is seen in the zone of skin immediately surrounding the bleb.

The bleeding nearly always begins between midnight and one A.M. on Friday, and it does not occur in all the stigmata at once, but in each successively and in no regular order. Most commonly the flow begins from the side of the chest, then in succession from the stigmata on the hands, feet, and forehead. A rent occurs in the raised cuticle, which is sometimes longitudinal, sometimes crucial or triangular: the serous fluid then escapes, and is immediately followed by blood, which oozes from the exposed papillæ. Usually the flow of blood detaches and washes away the shreds of epidermis, and the bleeding surface is left uncovered; but sometimes on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet, where the epidermis is thicker, the blood collects and clots in the bleb.

At each of his Friday visits, Dr. Lefebvre examined the stigma on the chest, which lay in the space between the fifth and sixth ribs, external to and a little below the centre of the left breast.[50]

At the first examination, which was made August 30, 1868, the bleeding point showed no trace of a previous vesicle; the cuticle was not detached, nor was the skin discolored, and the blood was seen to ooze from three little points almost imperceptible to the naked eye, and about one centimetre apart. In three subsequent examinations a vesicle had formed like those on the hands and feet; it had burst, and the blood oozed from a circular spot of the raw skin nearly a quarter of an inch in diameter.

Upon four different occasions, blood was observed to be flowing from the head. It was difficult to ascertain the condition of the skin under the hair; but on the forehead no vesicle appeared, nor was there any apparent change in the color of the skin. The blood was seen to issue from twelve or fifteen minute points arranged in circular form upon the forehead. A bandage, of the breadth of two fingers, passing around the head equidistant from the eyebrows and the roots of the hair, would include the bleeding zone, which is slightly puffy and painful [Pg 176] upon pressure. On examining these points with a magnifying lens, most of them looked like minute cuts in the skin, of triangular shape, as if made by the bite of microscopic leeches: others were semilunar in shape, and some quite irregular.

The quantity of blood that flows through the stigmata each Friday is variable. During the first months of the flow and before the commencement of the ecstatic attack, it was abundant, and often lasted twenty-four hours—from midnight to midnight—and it was estimated that as much as one litre, or seven-eighths of a quart, was discharged from the nine wounds. An exact estimate of the amount was difficult, from the fact that most of the blood was absorbed by the cloths about the chest and limbs. But, as the result of his personal observations, Dr. Lefebvre states that at his first visit, August 30, 1868, both the duration and the quantity of the flow had already begun to diminish: beginning at midnight, it stopped about four or five o’clock the next afternoon; yet he counted on that day fourteen large linen cloths (the largest being twenty inches by eight, and the smallest twenty inches by six) completely saturated. Besides this, the left foot was still enveloped during the ecstasy, and there was a pool of blood on the floor as large as two hands. He thinks he rather understates the amount of blood then lost if he estimates it at two hundred and fifty grammes (a half-pint). This, however, he gives as the mean quantity lost, it being sometimes more and sometimes less.

Sometimes the bleeding ceased about midday, and two Fridays passed without any hæmorrhage, the ecstasy occurring as usual. On one of these occasions the stigmata remained unchanged, but on the other the usual vesicle formed, yielding a serous discharge of a delicate rose tint, but no blood. After this the usual bleeding resumed its regular course every Friday, and the bloody chaplet on the forehead, which at first appeared exceptionally, was now displayed each week.

The blood, which was carefully examined, had neither the scarlet tint of arterial nor the dark purple hue of venous blood, but was of a violet red color, like that of the capillaries or minute vessels which unite the veins and arteries. It was of natural consistence, and clotted readily upon the cloths and upon the edges of the wound. With two of his colleagues who were expert in microscopy, Dr. Hairion, professor of hygiene and dermatology (the theory of skin diseases), and Dr. Van Kempen, professor of anatomy, Dr. Lefebvre made several careful microscopic examinations of the blood, which showed a perfectly transparent plasma or blood fluid, with the red and white corpuscles of ordinary blood in proper proportion.

The stigmata are manifestly painful; for, although the girl was extremely reluctant to speak of it, Dr. Lefebvre was satisfied, by careful observation of her attitudes and expression before the ecstasies began, that she suffered acutely.

The bleeding stopped at different hours, as has been stated. On the following day—Saturday—the stigmata were quite dry, with little scales of dried blood here and there on their surface. Not a trace of suppuration ever occurred from the wounds; and the girl, who a few hours ago had much difficulty in using her hands or in standing on her feet, is busily engaged with her morning household duties, or walking a mile and a half to her devotions at the parish church.

[Pg 177]


The weekly ecstasies of Louise Lateau began on Friday, July 17, 1868, thirteen weeks after the bleeding was first noticed, although the curate of Bois d’Haine, M. Niels, had noticed before this some fugitive attacks of unconsciousness. He discreetly avoided speaking of them, however, and was careful not to discuss them even with Louise herself. No details of these transient attacks, which generally occurred during some of the great religious festivals of the previous year, are given by Dr. Lefebvre, as he had no satisfactory evidence of them, and was unwilling to trust the observations of others. The marked ecstatic trances recurred every Friday after the date mentioned, generally about eight or nine o’clock in the morning, and ended about six in the afternoon, although sometimes lasting an hour longer. Their duration is therefore from ten to eleven hours without interruption; and they generally begin while the subject is occupied with her devotions, although sometimes when she is in the midst of conversation, and occasionally while engaged at her work.

On Friday morning, Louise is accustomed to pass the time in prayer, the tender and bleeding condition of the wounds on her hands rendering work impossible. Her prayers are of the simplest character, consisting generally of the rosary. Seated on her chair, her hands wrapped in the cloths, and her manner calm and serene, suddenly her eyes become fixed, immovable, and the trance has begun. From his notes made on the spot, upon one of these occasions, Dr. Lefebvre transcribes the following description: “It is half-past seven in the morning. I have been talking to Louise upon common topics, about her occupations, her education, her health. She has answered my questions simply, precisely, laconically. Her appearance is quiet and tranquil, her color natural, her skin cool, and the pulse seventy-two in the minute. After a while her conversation flags, and she answers more slowly. I suddenly notice that she has become immovable, her eyes fixed and turned upward, and a little toward the right. The ecstasy has begun.” It is worth observing that the instant the eyes become fixed in contemplation, the ecstatic state has commenced; after this the girl answers no questions, and is quite insensible to external influences.

Dr. Imbert-Goubeyre, professor in the medical school of Clermont-Ferrand, has also witnessed the commencement of the ecstasy under like circumstances. His description is unnecessary.

Lastly, the ecstasy may begin while she is at her daily work. On August 13, 1869, Mgr. d’Herbomez, the venerable Bishop of British Columbia, went to see Louise Lateau, reaching her house about eight o’clock in the morning. She was at work on her sewing-machine, although her hands and feet were bleeding freely, and the blood trickled down from her forehead, cheeks, and neck upon the machine, which she evidently worked with the utmost pain. While the prelate was speaking to her, the noise of the machine suddenly stopped, for she had at once passed into the trance. A number of distinguished ecclesiastics, among them Professor Hallez of the Seminary of Tournay, have witnessed a similar onset of the attacks.

When once established, the course of the attack is thus described. During most of the trance, the girl sits on the edge of her chair, as motionless [Pg 178] as a statue, with the body bent slightly forward; the bleeding hands enveloped in cloths and resting upon her knees, the eyes wide open and rigidly fixed as described. The expression of the face is that of rapt attention, and she seems lost in the contemplation of some distant object. Her expression and attitude frequently change, the features sometimes relaxing, the eyes becoming moist, and a smile of happiness lighting up the mouth. Sometimes the lids droop and nearly veil the eyes, the brow contracts, and tears roll slowly down the cheeks: at times again she grows pale, her face wears an expression of the greatest terror, while she starts up with a suppressed cry. The body sometimes slowly rotates, and the eyes move, as if following some invisible procession. At other times she rises and moves forward, standing on tiptoe with her hands stretched out, and either clasped or hanging open like the figures of the Orantes of the catacombs; while her lips move, her breathing is rapid and panting, her features light up, and her face, which before the ecstasy is quite plain, is transfigured with an ideal beauty. If to this be added the sight of her stigmata: her head encircled with its bloody chaplet, whence the red current drops along her temples and cheeks, her small white hands stamped with a mysterious wound from which bloody lines emerge like rays—and this strange spectacle surrounded by people of all conditions, who are absorbed in respectful attention and interest—some idea may be gained of what Dr. Lefebvre often witnessed at Bois d’Haine.

About half-past one o’clock, she usually falls on her knees, with her hands joined and her body bent forward, while her face wears an expression of the profoundest contemplation. She remains in this attitude about half an hour, then rises and resumes her seat. About two o’clock the scene changes. She first leans a little forward, then rises—slowly at first, then more quickly—and, as if by some sudden movement of projection, falls with her face to the ground. In this position she lies upon her chest, the head resting upon the left arm, her eyes closed, her mouth half-open, her lower limbs stretched out and covered to the heels by her dress. At three o’clock she makes a sudden movement: her arms are extended at right angles with the body in cross-like fashion, while the feet are crossed, the right instep resting on the sole of the left. She maintains this position until about five o’clock, when she suddenly starts up on her knees in the attitude of prayer. After a few minutes of profound absorption, she resumes her chair.

The ecstasy lasts until about six or seven o’clock, the attitude and expression of face varying according to the mental impressions, when it terminates in an appalling scene: The arms fall helpless alongside of the body, the head drops forward on the chest, the eyes close, the nose becomes pinched, while the face assumes the pallor of death: at the same time the hands become icy cold, the pulse is quite imperceptible, a cold sweat covers the body, and the death-rattle seems to be heard in the throat. This condition lasts about fifteen minutes, when she revives. The bodily heat rises, the pulse returns, the cheeks regain their color, but for some minutes more there hangs an indefinable expression of ecstasy about the face. Suddenly the eyelids open, the features relax, the eyes look familiarly at surrounding objects, and the ecstasy is over.

If the different phases of the paroxysm be carefully watched, it is evident [Pg 179] that the intellect, far from being dormant, is very active; although the girl is quite unconscious of what is passing around her, she remembers perfectly all her subjective sensations. Although extremely reluctant to discuss the subject, she was ordered by her spiritual directors to answer Dr. Lefebvre’s questions, which she did—briefly, but distinctly—to the following effect:

When her ecstasy begins, she says she finds herself suddenly plunged into a vast flood of light; figures more or less distinct soon appear, and several scenes of the Passion then pass successively before her. These she minutely but briefly describes—with the appearance of the Saviour, his garments, wounds, crown of thorns, and cross. He never addresses her a word or even looks at her. She describes with the same clearness and precision the characters that surround him—the apostles, the holy women, and the Jews.

Dr. Lefebvre has given a lucid exposition of the state of the different organs during the several stages of the ecstasy, as well as of the chief points of interest of the paroxysm. During the first period—from eight o’clock in the morning until two in the afternoon—Louise remains sitting in her chair, and her organic and functional condition changes but little. The skin is cool; the face retains its usual color; respiration is regular, and so calm that close attention is needed to note the chest movement; the pulse is soft and regular, beating about seventy-five in the minute. Occasionally the heart-beats are more rapid or slower than usual, and the face flushes or becomes suddenly pale: these functional modifications accord with the play of the features, and are evidently the result of the varying impressions of the mind.

From midday on Thursday, when she dines more sparingly than usual, until eight o’clock on the Saturday morning, she tastes absolutely no food or drink of any kind. She feels no need of either, and her stomach would not retain it if taken; for, several times, when ordered by her physician to take certain nourishment on Fridays, it has been swallowed without resistance, but at once rejected. In spite of this complete abstinence from drink, the tongue was always moist: the great excretions of the body were suspended. Careful attention was directed to the condition of the nervous system, and especially to sensation and motion. To the touch, no tension or spasmodic contraction is perceptible in any of the muscles, and the girl executes no movements but those required for the action of the scenes at which she assists. Thus, at times, she sits up straight, her hands either clasped or hanging loosely, her lips relaxing into a smile, or her face drawn into a frown. If her limbs be moved by a bystander, the result varies; sometimes they preserve the position given, as, when her arms are lifted up, they may retain the new position for nine or ten minutes, and then slowly relapse to their former place. But, if she is lifted to a standing position, great muscular relaxation is evident, and as soon as the support is withdrawn she falls back into her chair. One peculiarity should here be noted: if any effort be made to change her position during prosternation, when the arms are extended and the feet crossed upon each other, a decided resistance is perceptible, and the extremities immediately resume their position.

The exercise of the special senses is completely suspended, as was tested by experiment. The eyes are widely open, the pupils dilated, the lids quite immovable, except when [Pg 180] the conjunctiva[51] is touched, which produces a slight winking or contraction of the lids. A bright light or other object may be suddenly passed without effect before the eyes, which gaze vacantly into space.

The sense of hearing is equally blunted, and insensible to ordinary sounds. On several occasions, a person standing behind her has shouted loudly into her ears without exciting the least evidence of being heard. Except upon the conjunctiva, as mentioned, general sensibility seems to be completely in abeyance. Numerous experiments were made to test this fact.

For instance, the mucous membranes of the nose and ears were repeatedly tickled with a feather without exciting any reflex contraction; a strong solution of ammonia held under the nose produced no effect. The skin, being less sensitive than the mucous membranes, was pricked with a needle, and a pin thrust through a fold of skin on the hands and forearm; the point of a penknife was also driven into the skin until it bled freely, without producing the faintest muscular contraction or indication of sensibility.

A still more decisive test was made with an electro-magnetic battery,[52] the electrodes of which were placed on the front of the forearm where the skin is very thin and sensitive, and the strongest possible current passed through the muscles for more than a minute by the watch without eliciting the least evidence of pain, and the electric brush was equally powerless. The poles were likewise applied to different parts of the face, and violent and prolonged contractions of the facial muscles induced, but without the slightest winking or other sign of sensibility or suffering.

Such is the condition of the organic functions during the first part of the ecstasy, but some modifications are observed during the second. Thus, while lying prostrate on the floor, the pulse becomes almost imperceptible, and an ordinary observer would fail to detect it at all, although Dr. Lefebvre was sure it never ceased to beat fully. Its frequency was at the same time greatly increased; so that, when it could be counted, it often rose to 120 or 130 in the minute. The movements of respiration now become more and more feeble, and the closest attention is needed to make sure that they exist, the rhythmical motion of the little shawl that covers her shoulders being often the only appreciable evidence that they are not totally suspended.

Another remarkable fact, which is contrary to the general physical rule, is that the rate of the pulse and that of respiration are directly in an inverse proportion; both Dr. Lefebvre and Dr. Imbert-Goubeyre having proved that, while the pulse rose from 90 to 130 per minute, the respirations (normally averaging 20 to 25) sink to 18 or even 10 in the same period. In proportion as the pulse and breathing become feeble, the skin loses its natural temperature, and is bathed in a cold sweat. As was stated, reaction occurs in ten or fifteen minutes; the pulse regains its force and normal frequency, respiration increases, and the natural standard of bodily heat is restored. The ecstatic thus passes at once from her trance into her ordinary life without any intermediate stage of transition. No headache, stiffness of the joints, or other discomfort is complained of; the intellect [Pg 181] is perfectly clear, the expression serene, the face calm, and the body active. At this moment the pulse has been found regular, soft, and from 72 to 75 per minute; respiration of natural strength, and 22 per minute, and the skin perfectly natural.


The suspicion of fraud seems never to have been entertained by the people who surrounded Louise Lateau. Her straightforward character, her simple and unostentatious piety, and her heroic acts of charity to the poor seemed to them the antithesis of hypocrisy. Of the likelihood of intentional deception each reader will judge for himself from the sketch we have given of her history. Dr. Lefebvre, however, acknowledges without hesitation that when he first visited her he was sure a pious fraud was being attempted which the eye of science would at once detect. Considering that he knew nothing of her and her antecedents, this suspicion, he says, “was natural, legitimate, necessary even; but it soon disappeared in presence of the facts.”

If only the stigmatization be considered, the supposition is untenable, when it is remembered that she was constantly watched by her friends, neighbors, and visitors. How, under such circumstances, could she possibly buy and use the blisters, caustics, or other means of producing the bleeding wounds? But, granting she had all these at her command, how could the ignorant peasant girl—even though aided by two or three accomplices—produce a result which the physician with all the resources of science cannot effect? For it involved the necessity of causing a bloody discharge from nine or ten points of the body, and of sustaining this for a half-day or even longer under the very eyes of witnesses who prevented any repeated irritation of the bleeding surfaces. But when the ecstatic trance is borne in mind, the impossibility of imposture is still more evident. How can we conceive that a young girl, brought up in the hardships of manual work, deprived of all instruction, who has read nothing, and seen nothing, could each week, during an entire day, play the part of a consummate actress; that she could simulate not only the abolition of sight and hearing, but complete insensibility to the most exquisitely painful tests; that she could control functions which are essentially beyond the power of the will, as circulation, bodily temperature, respiration; or that she could suspend those excretions which are at once the most humiliating and the most irresistible evidence of human weakness!

If, then, the problem at Bois d’Haine presented only one difficulty—the stigmatization or the ecstasy—it would be next to impossible to explain it on the supposition of fraud. But this difficulty is incomparably greater when we consider these two extraordinary facts in association. To suppose that both the ecstasy and stigmatization were fraudulent would involve the manifest contradiction of admitting that the hæmorrhage, which required a frequent movement to sustain it for ten, fifteen, or twenty hours, could be maintained during the prolonged immobility of the trance. No one, however dextrous, could play this double rôle for eighteen months[53] without detection, although constantly examined by all kinds of people—many of them filled with scientific distrust, and among them more than one hundred physicians. [Pg 182] As an example of the uncertainty of her privacy, Dr. Lefebvre states (in a note) that, on the 11th February, 1870, he was unexpectedly passing through the neighborhood, and, as it chanced to be on Friday, he thought he would stop and see Louise. He knocked at the door—was at once admitted, and went straight to her little room without stopping to speak to the family. It was a quarter to four in the afternoon, and she was completely alone, lying prostrate on the floor, with her arms extended as described, and insensible to all that was passing around her. The bleeding limbs were wrapped in the usual cloths, of which he counted nine. The blood which trickled from her forehead was dried; and, lifting up her little white cap, he noticed the circle of bleeding points on her forehead, which presented the usual appearance. The feet had not been bleeding; on the right hand the flow was just stopping, while on the left the blood was still distinctly flowing from both stigmata. Having ascertained these points, he quietly left the cottage without her having been aware of his visit.

As a general answer to the objection of insincerity, Dr. Lefebvre appeals to both moral and physical proofs. As the most convincing of the former class, he cites the general good repute of Louise, which was never doubted, even by those who most resolutely questioned the nature of the phenomena she presented: her brave and humble life, her contempt for presents or money, her simplicity and avoidance of all parade; her extreme anxiety to conceal the first evidence of the stigmata even from her own family. If, as occasionally happened, money or presents of any kind were offered to her mother or sisters, their wounded pride was unmistakable; and when the Archbishop of Malines, after a long examination of Louise, once asked the family if they had no request to make of him, they only entreated that they might be relieved of visitors and left undisturbed.

To meet the physical objections raised to the theory of the stigmata, he tried the effects produced by cupping, caustics, and various blistering agents. The first of these has little or no force; for, besides the difficulty of exhausting the air under a cup upon the hard and uneven surface of the back of the hand, it is necessary to cut the skin to make the blood flow, and, when the amount drawn to the surface flows out, the bleeding ceases at once.

Caustics produce a destruction of the skin at the point to which they are applied, and after five or six days an eschar is detached, leaving a sore but not a bleeding surface; or, if bleeding exceptionally occurs, it ceases very soon, and the healing process is slow and always followed by an indelible scar. This in no respect accorded with the facts observed.

The blistering hypothesis seems less improbable, as this class of irritants produce a special form of inflammation of the skin, during which the epidermis is raised from the derm by an exudation of serous fluid. As this process much more resembled the vesicles that preceded the stigmatic bleedings, it was examined with greater care. The characteristic odor of cantharides or ammonia was never perceived, nor could the peculiar spangles of the Spanish-fly ever be detected with a magnifying lens. Litmus paper, moistened and applied to the wounds, gave no evidence of the application of acids. In addition to this, there was no inflamed areola around the stigmata, as is common around the edge of blistered surfaces, and their development was not simultaneous, [Pg 183] but successive; and more than once, in Dr. Lefebvre’s presence, the ampulla or vesicle ruptured spontaneously, and the flow of blood instantly began in its usual quantity.

When, however, the vesicle produced by a blister is ruptured, the raw skin is exposed, but never under any circumstances emits a flow of blood. To prove this in the most conclusive manner, the following experiments were instituted:

On Friday, Nov. 27, 1868, Dr. Lefebvre, who usually adopted the wise precaution of taking with him two or three of his colleagues or other respectable physicians on his visits to Bois d’Haine, in the presence of Drs. Lecrinier and Séverin, applied strong aqua ammonia to a spot about half an inch in diameter upon the back of the left hand, alongside of the stigma, which was then bleeding freely. A narrow strip of sound skin was purposely left between the two. In about twelve minutes a well-developed circular vesicle was obtained, filled with transparent serum. On the hypothesis of fraud, this should have burst spontaneously; but, as it did not do so, it was ruptured and the cuticle torn off, thus exposing two raw surfaces side by side, upon the same hand, and involving the same tissues. The two spots were carefully watched; the stigma continued to bleed freely for two hours and a half longer, while the blistered surface during this period did not yield a single drop of blood. For a half hour it exuded a little colorless serum, after which its surface dried up; on rubbing it with a coarse towel, a little rose-colored serum escaped and soaked into the cloth, but ceased the instant the friction was stopped.

The second experiment, which was still more decisive, was by means of what he calls “the glove test” (l’épreuve des gants).

On Wednesday, February 3, 1869, Dr. Lecrinier, M. Niels, the curate of Bois d’Haine, and M. Bussin visited the cottage, and took with them a pair of thick, strong, well-stitched leather gauntlets. After carefully examining her hands, and satisfying themselves that no vesicle or abnormal redness existed, they asked Louise to put on the gloves, which fitted her exactly. A strong wristband being then wrapped five times around the wrist, so as not to leave the smallest interspace between the glove and the skin, it was tied in a double knot, the ends cut short, covered with melted sealing-wax, and impressed on each side with a special seal. To prevent the wax from scaling off from friction or any chance blow, the seals were enclosed in little bags (bourses en toile). The gloves were the same for both hands, except that on the right glove the thumb and forefinger were cut short to allow the girl to continue her usual sewing. On the next Friday morning, before seven o’clock, Dr. Lefebvre met by appointment at the cottage Mgr. Pouceur, vicar-general of the diocese of Tournay, and two well-known Belgian physicians, Drs. Moulaert, of Bruges, and Mussely, of Deguze. After each one had satisfied himself of the integrity of the seals, and that it was impossible to slip an instrument of any kind between the glove and the skin, the strings were cut and the gloves removed.

They were full of blood, which also covered the hands. When this was washed off, the stigmata were found just the same as on other Fridays; on the palm and back of each hand the epidermis had been detached; it was torn, and the surface of the skin left raw, and each of the stigmatic spots continued to bleed as usual. Of the feet, which had not been subjected to any test, the [Pg 184] right was bleeding freely, while the left was dry.

Lest some subtle doubter might object to this experiment that, by some indiscretion on the part of the examiners, the girl might perhaps have discovered their intention, and applied her secret irritant to the hands before their arrival, Dr. Lefebvre resolved to repeat the test with still more conclusive precautions.

The gloves were therefore again applied on a Tuesday with the same care as before, and the next day were removed for a few moments, and the hands found in a perfectly healthy and natural state; they were then re-applied as before. On Friday morning, they were taken off before a new set of witnesses, when the stigmata of both hands were found bleeding freely as usual.

In his appendix, Dr. Lefebvre states that this glove test was suggested by Mgr. Pouceur, who superintended the theological part of the inquiry at the request of the Bishop of Tournay, and to whose tact and intelligent liberality he pays the highest compliment.

These experiments, and the inferences that they logically involve, convinced Dr. Lefebvre that the hypothesis of fraud in the production of the stigmata was untenable.

It would be easy to show by similar proofs that the ecstatic trances could not have been feigned. But for our purpose it will suffice to recall the reader’s attention to the numerous trials that were made to test the subject’s sensibility to external impressions. Those made with the electric current alone are decisive upon this point, for it may fairly be said that the strongest and most resolute man could not possibly resist some exhibition of feeling while a powerful magnetic battery was contorting his muscles.

In a subsequent part of his volume, Dr. Lefebvre enters into an exhaustive medical study of the facts observed, the discussion of which would be out of place in this magazine. He shows conclusively that, although they have some points in common, the ecstatic trances essentially differ from hysteria, catalepsy, and other allied disorders of the nervous system; while animal magnetism in its various subdivisions of “Braidism,” hypnotism, and electro-biology is equally powerless with somnambulism or the theory of spiritualism to unravel the phenomena presented by this simple peasant girl of Bois d’Haine.

The reader who desires to pursue this inquiry is referred to Dr. Lefebvre’s work (pp. 162 et seq.) and to Fournier’s article entitled “Cas rares” in the fourth volume of the Dictionnaire des Sciences Médicales, which is replete with curious information upon the subject of the stigmata.

So convincing are the statements of Dr. Lefebvre, who never descends into the advocate or mistakes his own theories for facts, that the case he narrates has been accepted in good faith, and republished within the present year by two of the leading journals[54] of this country and England.

In one of these, Dr. Day, of London, discusses the probable cause of the phenomena with considerable liberality, while the learned Clymer contents himself with reporting the extraordinary facts.

[45] It is scarcely necessary to explain to Catholic readers that this expression is applied to the marks of the five wounds upon our Lord’s body, as described in the Gospel, and illustrated in all representations of the crucifixion.

[46] Among others, White’s Life and Writings of Emmanuel Swedenborg. 1867.

[47] Observations, etc., upon Insanity. London. 1806. Cited by Clymer.

[48] See among others, Salvatori’s Life of Veronico Giuliani, pp. 100-108, and the exhaustive Christliche Mystik of Görres, in which is given a full account of Maria Mörl, the “Ecstatic of the Tyrol.”

[49] Louise Lateau de Bois d’Haine: sa Vie; ses Extases; ses Stigmates. Etude Médicale. Par le Dr. F. Lefebvre, Professeur de Pathologie Générale et de Thérapeutique. Louvain. 1870. 12mo, pp. 360.

[50] For the unprofessional reader, it may be proper to state that this point is just external to the usual position of the apex of the heart.

[51] The thin, transparent membrane that covers the eyeball, and is reflected upon the inner surface of the lids. It is one of the most delicate and sensitive portions of the body.

[52] This test is often applied for the detection of feigned convulsions, etc., by criminals and other malingerers; its efficacy will be appreciated by any one who has tried to hold the poles of a powerful battery.

[53] That is, from July, 1868, to April, 1870, when Dr. Lefebvre’s book was published. In a subsequent letter dated January 13, 1871, to Dr. Day, of London, he states that her condition is in all respects unchanged.

[54] The Journal of Psychological Medicine, New York, Oct., 1870. Macmillan’s Magazine, London, April, 1871.

[Pg 185]




Among the mountains and on the wild shores of Western Ireland are still recited, in the Gaelic, to eager listeners legends relating to Fionn Mac Cumbal and his son Oisin, known to the English reader chiefly under the names of Fingal and Ossian. Some of these “rhapsodies” have been recently published, with an English version, by the Irish “Ossianic Society,” and others by Mr. Hawkins Simpson, in a valuable volume called Oisin, the Bard of Ireland. Many poems on the same subject are included also in The Dean of Lismore’s Book, a work consisting of ancient Gaelic poetry, selected from a MS. collection made about A.D. 1514, by Sir James MacGregor, Dean of Lismore, an island in Argyllshire. The early Irish settlements in Western Scotland are largely referred to by the chroniclers and archæologists of Scotland. W. F. Skene, Esq., in his learned Introduction to the Dean’s book, informs us (though for Scotland, also, he claims Ossianic poetry) that, during the four centuries in which the great Celtic house of the “Lord of the Isles” held sway, there existed “not only a close political connection between the Western Highlands and Islands and Ireland, but the literary influence was equally close and strong; the Irish sennachies and bards were heads of a school which included the Western Highlands, and the Highland sennachies were either of Irish descent, or, if of native origin, resorted to bardic schools in Ireland for instruction in the language and accomplishments of their art.” ... “The oldest of the Gaelic MSS. preserved in the library of the Faculty of Advocates belongs to this period. They are all written in the Irish character; the language is the written language of Ireland; and they contain numerous specimens of the poetry of these Irish masters.”

Among the Ossianic poems still chanted in Ireland, not a few consist of dialogues between Oisin and Saint Patrick. They descend from a very remote antiquity, though they have been much modified in the course of ages. The bard, last of his race and clan, is represented as the guest of Saint Patrick in one of his convents. He accepts the Christian faith, though with misgivings, for he fears that he is thus false to the friends of his youth, and now and then his wrath blazes out against the monks, who have no faith in the chiefs of Inisfail. The saint beguiles his outbreaks by praying him to sing the old glories of the land.

Fionn, the father of Oisin, was the great commander of the Irish Feine, a standing army elected from all parts of the country, and invested with privileges which made it almost a kingdom within a kingdom. Individually, he belonged to the Feine of Leinster, the celebrated “Baoigne Clan.” Alarmed by the regal attributes assumed by Fionn, all the provincial kings of Ireland banded themselves together against him, and the battle of Gahbra, near Tara, in Meath, was fought, A.D. 286. In that battle almost all the chiefs of both sides perished, including Oscar, Oisin’s son, who commanded the Feine. Oscar is always represented as the gentlest, not less than the bravest of the Feine—the Hector of the Irish Troy.

Fionn and Oisin flourished, despite these poetic disputations, nearly two centuries before the time of Saint Patrick! Some have supposed, accordingly, that the Patrick of the Ossianic poems was some precursor of the Irish apostle. But the chronological discrepancy would probably have proved no counterweight to the strength of that instinct which made the national imagination insist on connecting the heroic with the saintly period of Ireland. A theme full of pathos and interest was presented by the blind old warrior bard, divided between his devotion to his father and his son on the one hand, and his reverence, on the other, for the teachers of the better faith—between old affections and new convictions—patriotic recollections and religious hopes.




When Patrick the faith to Oisin had preached,
He believed, and in just ways trod;
Yet oft for old days he grieved, and thus
Stormed oft at the saint of God.

[Pg 186] “Woe, woe, for the priestly tribe this hour
On the Feine Hill have sway!
Glad am I that scarce their shapes I see;
Half-blind am I this day.

“Woe, woe, thou Palace of Cruachan!
Thy sceptre is down and thy sword,
The chase goes over thy grassy roof,
And the monk in thy courts is lord!

“Thou man with the mitre and vestments broad,
And the bearing of grave command,
Rejoice that Diarmid this day is dust!
Right heavy was his clinched hand!

“Thou man with the bell! I rede thee well,
Were Diorraing living this day,
Thy book he would take, and thy bell would break
On the base of yon pillar gray!

“Thou man with miraculous crosier-staff,
Though puissant thou art, and tall,
Were Goll but here, he would dash thy gear
In twain on thy convent wall!

“Were Conan living, the bald-head shrill,
With the flail of his scoff and gibe,
He would break thy neck, and thy convent wreck,
And lash from the land thy tribe!

“But one of our chiefs thy head had spared—
My Oscar—my son—my child:
He was storm in the foray, and fire in the fight,
But in peace he was maiden-mild.”

Then Patrick answered: “Old man, old man,
That pagan realm lies low.
This day Christ ruleth. Forget thy chiefs,
And thy deeds gone by forego!

“High feast thou hast on the festal days,
And cakes on the days of fast—”
“Thou liest, thou priest, for in wrath and scorn
Thy cakes to the dogs I cast!”

[Pg 187] “Old man, thou hearest our Christian hymns:
Such strains thou hadst never heard—”
“Thou liest, thou priest! for in Letter Lee wood
I have listened its famed blackbird!

“I have heard the music of meeting swords,
And the grating of barks on the strand,
And the shout from the breasts of the men of help
That leaped from the decks to land.

“Twelve hounds had my sire, with throats like bells,
Loud echoed on lake and bay:
By this hand, they lacked but the baptism rite
To chant with thy monks this day!”

Oisin’s white head on his breast dropt down,
Till his hair and his beard, made one,
Shone out like the spine of a frosty hill
Far seen in the wintry sun.

“One question, O Patrick! I ask of thee,
Thou king of the saved and the shriven:
My sire, and his chiefs, have they their place
In thy city, star-built, of heaven?”

“Oisin, old chief of the shining sword,
That questionest of the soul,
That city they tread not who lived for war:
Their realm is a realm of dole.”

“By this head, thou liest, thou son of Calphurn!
In heaven I would scorn to bide,
If my father and Oscar were exiled men,
And no friend at my side.”

“That city, old man, is the city of peace:
Loud anthems, not widows’ wail—”
“It is not in bellowings chiefs take joy,
But in songs of the wars of Fail!

“Are the men in the streets like Baoigne’s chiefs?
Great-hearted like us are they?
Do they stretch to the poor the ungrudging hand,
Or turn they their heads away?

[Pg 188] “Thou man with the chant, and thou man with the creed,
This thing I demand of thee:
My dog, may he pass through the gates of heaven?
May my wolf-hound enter free?”

“Old man, not the buzzing gnat may pass,
Nor sunbeam look in unbidden:
The King there sceptred knows all, sees all:
From him there is nothing hidden.”

“It never was thus with Fionn, our king!
In largess our Fionn delighted:
The hosts of the earth came in, and went forth
Unquestioned, and uninvited!”

“Thy words are the words of madness, old man,
Thy chieftains had might one day;
Yet a moment of heaven is three times worth
The warriors of Eire for aye!”

Then Oisin uplifted his old white head:
Like lightning from the hoary skies
A flash went forth ‘neath the shaggy roofs
Low-bent o’er his sightless eyes:

“Though my life sinks down, and I sit in the dust,
Blind warrior and gray-haired man,
Mine were they of old, thou priest overbold,
Those chiefs of Baoigne’s clan!”

And he cried, while a spasm his huge frame shook,
“Dim shadows like men before me,
My father was Fionn, and Oscar my son,
Though to-day ye stand vaunting it o’er me!”

Thus raged Oisin—’mid the fold of Christ,
Still roaming old deserts wide
In the storm of thought, like a lion old,
Though lamblike at last he died.

[55] The substance of this poem will be found among the translations of the Irish Ossianic Society.

[Pg 189]




Lucas, who could neither do nor remedy anything, suffered fearfully from the presence of his sister so near him. Happily, in two days the general left for Sevilla.

But from the hour when she met her brother and he refused to recognize her, Lucia’s existence was changed. To her, in the flowery butterfly life into which, at seventeen, she had been almost forced by circumstances, the encounter with Lucas had been like the striking of a bark indolently voyaging, without patron and without compass, to the breath of light and laughing breezes, against the first rock of firm land: the shock had been terrible. In perplexity she asked herself, “Where am I? Whither am I going? Who is this that flatters and shelters me? Who he that rejects me?” In terror she gazed around her: all seemed new and strange, all odious and reprehensible. In her memory—oh! that she had consulted it before!—she found the words her brother had said to her at parting: “Never turn from the right path, though it be steep and sown with thorns. Always look straight before you, for he that does not do this never knows where he will stop.” Lucia’s wretchedness was augmented by the seeming impossibility of escape from the position in which she found herself. Could she turn back without either encouragement and support, while, by continuing in sin, she would have both? Her natural want of energy made it the more difficult for her to return to the right path, with no help but his who never fails those who seek him with faith and without fear or faltering. The tears she shed tarnished her beauty, and the sorrow that preyed on her heart robbed her manners—hitherto so gay and caressing—of their charm. All this at first annoyed Gallardo, then offended, and finished by exasperating him. Violent scenes took place between the lovers; these introduced discord; and discord, when once it has burst its primitive embankments, filters through whatever others may be raised to contain it.

When the general was recalled to Madrid, expecting to be employed, and thinking that his stay would not be long, he resolved to leave Lucia in Sevilla. She allowed him to go without opposition, for so weary was she of the life she led that any change seemed preferable. She was, besides, very far from possessing the brazen and insolent courage that women of her condition are wont to acquire, and that causes so many of them, when they have ceased to be objects of passion, to be dreaded by the men around whom they have coiled themselves like horrible snakes; making miserable Laocoons of the victims, who often marry them through fear, where before they would not do it for love, and thus render the latter part of their career as ridiculous as the beginning was scandalous.

A worthy manner, truly, in which to fill up a man’s existence!

The stay at court, however, of the young general, as the papers styled Gallardo, was prolonged. He alternated [Pg 190] in various combinations of second-class political intrigues, and allowed himself to be made the conceited tool of one of them, under the full persuasion that he had become the imposing leader of a party.

The general now began to think, with excellent reason, very sound judgment, and profound calculation, that it was time for him to be more considerate. The reader will pardon us the expression, which, in his case, meant to enter upon a life of usefulness and devotion to the interests of the country—without sacrificing his own, it will be understood. Influenced by these grave considerations, our young leader subscribed to newspapers, bought books and read some of them, though he soon forgot precisely which he had read and which not; wrote a memorial on river navigation, and another upon the Renta del Excusado;[56] made short speeches as a preparation for longer ones, which succeeded very well and met with the entire approbation of his hearers; and, in the time it takes to say a devout amen, exchanged the rakish air of the young blood for the pompous tone of the prominent and influential citizen.

Our friend, as may be seen, had reached his apogee: in confirmation of which—among other sacrifices made to seriousness—he had procured a good cook, and loosened the lacings of his stays.

Nevertheless—since there is a difference between a serious man and a moral one—our hero maintained a sort of toned-down dissoluteness behind the scenes, where he and his intimates entertained themselves in conversations tissued with a variety of subjects, such as the discourse A and the scandal B; the concordat and the theatre royal; the ministry and the danseuse; the bishop and the prima donna; the crown and cards; erected a throne to Tauromaquia; proposed an apotheosis of industry; and passed a vote of censure upon the luxury of novenas.

“Look here, little one!” said to him just such another “little one” at a breakfast party—where champagne was made to represent the tone of good society that the greater part of the guests lacked—“what has become of La Lucia?”

“She was not very well, and I left her in Sevilla,” responded the hero.

“Doesn’t it strike you that she is losing her varnish?”

“At twenty-one, man?”

“It is not singular,” remarked the elegant son of a capitalist (the youth had been educated in France). “At that age, one who lives fast is sur le retour.”[57]

“The existence of camellias is like that of roses,” quickly added another, whose Christian name of Bonifacio they were in the habit of contracting into Boni.

Having constituted himself an inseparable copy of the engrafted Parisian, and not wishing to fall behind his model in anything, Boni never allowed the capitalist to express an idea without instantly reproducing it in different words, always endeavoring to surpass the original in elegant Gallicisms; in scepticism of the most material, and cynicism of the most approved kind, and in extreme affectation of the fashionable foreign mannerism.

“You ought to place this Lucia dis-lucent among the number of the thousand-and-one Didos,” said the would-be Gaul.

“Lay her aside with last year’s modes fanées,”[58] the copy hastened to add.

[Pg 191] “I cannot do that,” said the general.

“Stale Spanish morality!’” exclaimed the capitalist, bursting into a laugh. “Does the fair creature expect to find an Amadeus of Gaul in a general of the age of enlightenment?”

“Or a Pastor Fido in one who aspires to become a father to his country?” put in Boni.

“The fact is,” replied our friend, “that in my connection with Lucia there have been exceptional circumstances.”

“Tell them to us, little one,” said his intimate. “The romantic tale will flavor the coffee.”

The general related all the preliminaries and particulars of his relations with Lucia.

“Don’t you see, general,” said the imitator of the tone Parisian, “that it was all a farce, very well got up, by those fourbes rustics to set you on; alarm you; interest you in the girl, and oblige you to take her?”

“That it was all an intrigue of las étage?” added the copy of the copy.

Apropos of impositions,” said the capitalist, “I must tell you what happened to me yesterday. A fellow came into my office—”

“Don’t omit,” said Boni, “that you were counting an immense sum of money at the time, for that is what heightens the joke.”

“He asked me,” continued Creseus, “if I would lend him two doubloons. I told him that it cost me the greatest pain to be obliged to refuse, but that I had not sixpence by me.”

“If I had not wished to give, I would have sought another reply,” said an old general—uncle to ours—who had lost a leg in the battle of Bailen.

“General,” replied the narrator, “among us, I have not is synonymous with I will not; even sucking-babes understand it.”

“A synonym which Huertas has omitted, but which is known in these days, even in the Batuecas,” chimed the repeater.

“It could not have existed when he composed his work,” said the general.

“The fellow,” proceeded the narrator, “begged and implored, lowering his demand to the most insignificant sum. I was as inexorable as destiny.” And the millionaire cast around him a look worthy of Cato.

“He was, then, in real need, and not an impostor?” questioned the old general.

“O sir!—general rule—every one that asks is an impostor.”

“Unless he is an intimate friend,” said Boni, speaking this time with unaccustomed personality.

Ma foi,”[59] answered the Gaulish Spaniard, “I except no one. Seeing that he was not going to desist, and always with the amiability and delicacy that must be used in such cases—”

Sans doute, the same as in affairs of honor,” said the bad copy of a worse original.

“I told him that, since his necessity was so extreme, I would venture to lend him—not money, for I had none—but something that would be of more use to him in his circumstances. The imbecile thought, perhaps, that it was going to be my signature.”

“Your signature! What one might call the only and unique sanctum sanctorum of the disciples of Mercury. A thing so sacred!”

“My dear Boni,” said his friend, “veuillez ne pas m’interrompre?[60] The fellow’s countenance lighted up. I believe, upon my word, that he had not eaten in three days. Laughing [Pg 192] within myself, although my face denoted the gravest sympathy for his situation, I led him to a closet, took out a case of pistols, which I opened, and, handing him a weapon, said, as I bowed his dismissal, ‘Here is a remedy for all your troubles.’ My mendicant turned upon his heel and left; and you may be sure that I have rid myself of him, une bonne fois pour toutes.”[61]

Boni’s mirth was overpowering.

Gallardo and the rest of the Spaniards were silent.

“You must positively put this joke into some paper,” said the capitalist’s admirer, between his paroxysms of laughter.

Mon cher, à quoi bon?[62] responded the hero of the anecdote, with an air of modesty.

“To show people how to get rid of impostors,” answered Boni; “to furnish a specimen of your humor—to let it be seen that you are as richly endowed by nature as by fortune—to give circulation to an entertaining item—and to—”

“And could a paper be found that would print such an iniquity as an entertaining item!” shouted the old general, no longer able to contain his wrath. “Is it the mission of the press to propagate such ideas and sentiments? God help us, sirs, if there is no one left in Spain capable of a blush! Can the press parade infamy shamelessly, and no one be found to repudiate the impudence that relates such a scandal in terms of laudation; or appeal from it to the noble and generous instincts, and sense of public decorum, of good and true Spaniards? Have we become as positive as the written law? In former times, gentlemen, not all gave, but the few that denied did not boast of their refusal. Charity made men sorry to say no, even to impostors, and, having said it, they would have been silent about it for shame. Avarice was looked upon as one of the disgraceful vices which respect for public opinion required to be kept out of sight.”

“Uncle, for God’s sake!” entreated Gallardo.

“For God’s sake what, nephew?”

“Speak with more moderation.”

“When I do, look towards Antequera for sunrise.”

“Don’t feel apprehensive, general,” said the capitalist, “Je sais vivre.[63] I respect your family, and know how to make allowance for gray hairs and the ill-humor of advanced age.”

“Yes,” instantly added the speaking shadow, “carte blanche belongs to ladies, children, and—”

He was going to add old men, but a look from the general silenced him.

“No, nephew, don’t be apprehensive,” said the latter. “The weapons of a gentleman are for nobler uses than the punishment of insults.”

“Come, let us talk of something else,” said Gallardo’s intimate, anxious to change the subject, but glad in his heart, as were all the other guests, of the lesson the braggart had received from so worthy and authorized an antagonist.

“It is not possible, Gallardo, that you will allow Lucia to be an irredeemable lien upon you. Let me tell you, my boy, that it would be a pretty piece of folly on your part to create an obstacle to your future establishment.”

“I don’t see that—in order to be a deputy, senator, or—”

“Oh! you’re on the wrong tack. Your political ideas absorb all your thoughts; but I have been told—by one of her friends—that the daughter of Don Juan de Moneda,[64] the [Pg 193] banker, is quite smitten with your person.”

Gallardo straightened himself, and caressed his curled locks.

“Her mother is completely taken with the title of Marquis de Monte Gallardo, which they say you are about to receive, and her father with your capacity.”

“We are even there,” said the general, “for I am as much impressed with his. To buy—”

“But,” proceeded the friend, “he is equally so with your sash and rent-roll. Here, boy, is an opportunity to settle in life.”

“Really, I hardly know the kind and amiable young lady who has been so condescending as to think of me!” drawled the extremely flattered Gallardo, privately resolving to tighten his stays again.

“She is very beautiful,” affirmed his friend, “and you must know that she rides like a Cossack.”

“Oh! Athenaïs la Moneda has the most elegant figure and complexion—so pale!—and the fiercest glances” (he meant haughtiest) “of all the belles of Madrid. She is delicious!” exclaimed the Parisian.

“She has the neck of a swan, with such serpentine undulating,” said Bonifacio, quite at a loss for another comparison.

“The most desirable parte, ma foi! Her father is worth forty millions, and she is the only daughter,” continued the capitalist, who did not allow his appreciation of beauty to interfere with his devotion to dollars.

“You ought to improve your opportunity, and marry at once,” advised the friend. “These girls with forty millions are more capricious than the wind. They change oftener than weather-cocks, and do just as they please; for millionaire fathers who know only the Castilian have the highest consideration for daughters who have learned French from Sue’s novels, and Italian at the opera.”

“An heiress’s whim is like a flash of lightning. In losing time, you expose yourself to a—”

“To a deception,” said the capitalist, concluding the sentence.

“To a disabusement,” said the copy, thinking, with profound satisfaction, that he had, for once, surpassed the original.

“What is your opinion of all this?” asked Gallardo of his uncle, with a laugh, intended to appear jesting, but which betrayed his interior satisfaction.

“Yes, give us the benefit of your wisdom,” said the capitalist, covering his ill-humor with a tone of light irony. “In matrimonial as well as martial councils, the Nestors should be heard.

La face des vieillards est pleine de majesti:
Leur voix sur l’existence a des secrets intimes.’”[65]

Une vieux de la vieille,”[66] confirmed Boni, “is a California of experience; a barometrical and chronometrical counsellor; a universal grammar bound in gold; a—”

“Hush, Boni!” whispered the capitalist in the ear of his friend, who, less accustomed to champagne than the others, began to feel its emancipating influence.

Meantime, the old officer stroked his gray moustache in silence.

“Well, what do you think, general!” questioned Gallardo.

“I think that you ought to marry.”

C’est clair,” said the Parisian.

“It is clear,” repeated Boni—“as clear as detestable water; and they think of bringing it into Madrid! Will spend millions to do it!”

[Pg 194]Taisez vous, mon cher,” entreated the model, in a low tone.

“I am not in the humor,” replied the copy, in excellent Spanish.

“Of course he ought to marry,” said all the rest.

“Let us understand each other, gentlemen,” said the old general. “I think, Gallardo, that you ought to marry, not the mushroom of the millions, but Lucia.”

These words were received with clamorous disapprobation.

“You take advantage of your rôle of Nestor, general,” exclaimed the capitalist.

“The hero of former times dotes—I would say radote. I propose a vote of censure!” hiccoughed the copy.

“S-s-s, Boni. Le vous en prie![67] Do you want to get another broadside from the disabled old pontoon? Don’t provoke him, for the next time neither prudence nor contempt will enable me to keep my temper,” murmured his patron.

“The general is jesting. A gentleman of his fine delicacy cannot mean to counsel one, in Gallardo’s position, to marry a woman of light reputation,” said Gallardo’s friend.

“I do it because I have delicacy—a plant that strikes so deep when once it has taken root, that neither the silver plough nor the golden spade which cultivates the field of ideas of the present day can turn it out. I counsel a man who has done a wrong to repair it. I advise one who has been the ruin of an honest girl to become her defender. And the more public he has made her position, the more he is bound to set her right in the eyes of others. If the future looks smiling, I counsel it all the more earnestly, that the past may not reproach him. In my days, gentlemen, marriages were not discussed in semi-public meetings. The only counsellors were, according to the circumstances, the heart, the honor, and the conscience. But,” added the old man, rising, “my sentiments are as much out of harmony with yours, as my person is out of place in a reunion of gay young men. Gentlemen, I salute you. Nephew, good-by. Do not ask me to your brilliant wedding if you marry with the million-heiress of the caprices. If with Lucia, I will be your groomsman.”

With these words the noble veteran took his leave.

“Style of an epic poem,” said the pseudo-Parisian.

“Tone of an elegiac lyric,” stammered the copy. “One would think the governor had been drinking some kind of palate-skinning Catalan wine, instead of the excellent, exquisite, delectable, delicious—”

“Enough, Boni,” interrupted his friend, indicating to him with his foot the urgent necessity of more discretion.

“The general has, so to speak, one foot in the grave, and, naturally, all looks to him de profundis color,” observed Gallardo’s intimate. “But we live in a positive age, and must conform to the step of its march; to do otherwise would be to make ourselves antiquated and ridiculous.”

Days followed days, each one bringing to our hero its business, novelty, interest, and forgetfulness of those that had preceded it. Lucia, in the meantime, saw her means of subsistence failing without informing him; for, with the reawakened sentiments of duty and shame, came the comprehension of her guilty dependence, and sense of the double humiliation of soliciting and receiving. She had lived for some time by the sale of her valuables, but this resource was almost exhausted.

[Pg 195] “What is to become of me?” she questioned, with more of weakness than inquietude, more inertia than anguish, as she sat one day alone, her head drooping upon her breast. “In forgetting how to work, I have been like the sailor that forgets in a calm how to handle the ropes. What shall I do when all is gone? What can he who has brought me to this be thinking of?”

Her questionings were interrupted by the entrance of the woman of the house with a letter.

“It is from Madrid,” she said, with a fawning smile. “I’ll bet that the general tells when he is coming, and confirms the report of his appointment as captain-general of this province.”

Lucia opened and read the following epistle:

Dear Lucia: Nothing can last for ever. Mature age brings serious ideas; the life of a man, obligations, circumstances, compromises, and position, duties, which force us to make, in favor of reason and morality, sacrifices that are not the less painful because they are necessary.

“My family has undertaken to negotiate a marriage for me, which will assure me a certain and brilliant future; and matters have proceeded so far that I cannot oppose myself to the arrangement without offending a powerful and respectable family, compromising my own, and causing grave inconveniences, inconveniences which you would be the first to deplore.

“I believe that you will understand the necessity of my establishing myself in life, and will feel neither surprised nor pained. I am equally persuaded, having noticed for a long time how unhappy you seemed at my side, and how little pleasure my presence gave you, that you will not miss me. It may be that another already occupies in your heart the place that once was mine. If you will be happier with him than you have been with me, I trust that I have enough philanthropy to rejoice in your good fortune.

“Adieu. It is likely that we may not meet again; but, believe me, I shall never forget you; and, if I can serve you in any way, command me.”

“Well,” asked the woman, eagerly, “does he say anything about coming?”

“No,” answered Lucia, with the tears raining down her cheeks, “he says that he is not coming.”

Lucia did not feel for Gallardo that which can properly be called love; but, during four years, her naturally affectionate heart had attached itself to him, and could not but be wounded by the cold insensibility with which he had abandoned her.

The harpy’s face, manner, and tone changed at once; for this grief confirmed her suspicions. Lucia’s lover had cast her off.

“Madam,” she said, “certain exigencies, in which I unfortunately find myself, have obliged me to introduce a rule into my house, requiring my boarders to pay in advance. All the rest have agreed to it, and I trust that you will do the same.”

“No, madam,” replied Lucia, “for I am going away to-morrow, and so shall have to give you only what is already due.”

The poor forsaken girl went out that night and sold her wardrobe to a pawnbroker. After satisfying her creditor, she had enough left to pay some wine-carriers for a ride upon one of their mules as far as Jerez, and from there she meant to go to Arcos on foot. At dawn, on the following morning, she passed through the Carmona gate, casting a long, sad look upon the sleeping city—the city that the Bitis serves as a page; [Pg 196] La Giralda for insignia, and the verdure of its orange groves for adornment; the city that is at once gay as a village maiden and imposing as a queen; beautiful as a young girl, and full of wisdom and memories as a matron; graceful as the Andalusian of to-day, and chaste and noble as the Castilian dame of olden time.

Lucia found herself in Jerez alone and without resource, but, by favor of her good angel, met Uncle Bartolo at the inn where she alighted. The visible presence of the former would not have rejoiced her more than did the sight of this old friend of her family, to whom she told the whole of her sad story, adding that now she knew not what to do, since she dared not seek even a servant’s place.

“My daughter,” said the old guerilla, “you grew vain in the fiend’s own house of Leona, and forgot that wings were given to the ant for its destruction. If you had shown that wretch a repulsive face, he would not have ventured to do what he did. What motive, will you tell me, could a You Sir have for playing clucking fox to a little country girl, but to make of her a mark for shame?

“However,” he continued, seeing that Lucia’s tears began to flow, “far be it from me to hack at the fallen tree, or double the burden of the ass that is down. The baptism of repentance opens the fold, and your repentance is sincere, because you return to poverty, when, if you had chosen otherwise, profligates would not have been wanting, in the great city, to complete your ruin. Come with me, and I will talk to Lucas. It is his duty to take care of you.”

“He will never forgive me, Uncle Bartolo!” exclaimed Lucia sadly. “He has said that he had no sister, and no one can make him say the contrary.”

“True,” replied the guerilla, “the Garcia heads are harder than anvils. I learned that by experience when your father—Heaven rest him!—married La Leona. But this is another thing, for, notwithstanding that your father did so badly, Lucas has turned out well. And it is a great deal easier to yoke two that are united by blood than to unyoke two that the devil has united. We will see, God helping us, and, in the meantime, you shall come to my house; there is no great abundance, but good-will is not wanting.”

The next day saw Uncle Bartolo and Lucia travelling along the road which we described at the commencement of our story; Lucia mounted upon a little ass, and the agile good old man following on foot. At nightfall they reached Arcos.

Alas! for the one who, returning to his native place, instead of experiencing pure happiness, feels his heart torn by grief and shame; finds his parents dead, the house where he was born the property of strangers, and sees, in the looks of neighbors, cold disdain instead of the joyful smile of recognition and welcome!

Uncle Bartolo took Lucia to his own house, and, while they were preparing supper, went himself to that of Lucas, who, on receiving his discharge, had returned to Arcos and to his post among the day-laborers, and had, by his aptness and diligence, won so much credit that several profitable jobs and positions had already been offered him. As will be supposed, he had found his father’s house sold. But as his kinswoman still lived in it, he hired his former habitation, and she assisted him.

Uncle Bartolo entered, just as Lucas had finished his supper.

“Sit by, Uncle Bartolo,” said the young man.

[Pg 197] “No, thank you. May what you have taken profit you! Will you have a cigar?”

“It wouldn’t come amiss.”

Uncle Bartolo handed Lucas a paper cigar, lighted his own, and, with characteristic bluntness, plunged into his subject.

“Lucas, man, will you tell me why you never speak of your sister? Does it appear to you that a sister is a patch sewed on to be ripped at pleasure?”

Lucas, disagreeably surprised, contracted his brows as he answered:

“I have no sister, Uncle Bartolo.”

“What! what do you say?”

“I have already said it. ‘In my manse they bestow but one loaf.’”

“Go a-walking with your grand talk! I’d like to know what right you have to deny your sister, even though her life has not been what it ought to be?”

Lucas had turned pale, and his beard trembled with repressed indignation.

“Uncle Bartolo,” he replied, affecting an air of indifference, “the saying is, ‘He that goes away is not counted.’ Let us drop this conversation.”

“I don’t feel disposed to; you may as well understand that. And now, let me tell you that this face of a judge, though it may be the correct one to show to a sinner, is not by any means the one to show to a penitent. Do you comprehend? Your poor little sister is penitent; and you know that

‘He who sins and mends,
Himself to God commends.’”

“I have said that I had no sister.”

“Don’t be stubborn, for God’s sake! Look here now, soul of an ape! How can you say you have no sister, if he has given you one? Lucas, I have come, and I shall not go away until you forgive Lucia.”

“Uncle Bartolo, don’t pledge yourself to what you cannot accomplish.”

“You are your father’s own son—the one and the other harder-headed than oxen. Juan Garcia and Lucas Garcia: there’s a pair fit for a cart!”

“Why fall upon me, sir, in such a shower of sarcasms? Is it necessary to give so many punches to say that the bull is coming?”

“Because he comes with a purpose, and, ‘when things come with a purpose, more than the ass may fall to the ground.’ I tell you only the pure truth, and you, with your devil’s motto of ‘few words and bad ones,’ what you say has neither form nor sense! But to come back to the subject, for I don’t let go the handle this way when I am defending the right. As I was going to say, your stubbornness is worse than your father’s; because it is not so bad to be determined upon marrying one’s girl as to be determined not to forgive one’s sister. It’s better to do more than your duty than to do less. If your father lacked puncto, you have half a share too much. Your mother committed your sister to you; and you are disobeying the last will of her that bore you!”

“She committed my sister to me, but not the kept miss of a villain.”

“You are soaring as the eagle, which is a royal bird; you pronounce your sentences like a judge of the Audiencia, and make yourself believe that you are wiser than the Regency. But you are greatly out of the way, my son. It ill becomes you to go before God in casting out your sister; your own mother’s daughter, when her misfortune was partly your fault.”

“Mine, sir?”

“Yes, yours; for you threw off the burden like an untamed colt; cast [Pg 198] behind you the trust you received from your mother, and, without commending yourself either to God or the devil, shouldered your gun and made off; knowing that for six years, walled up in a uniform, you must lose sight of your charge; knowing, besides, that you were leaving her in a house where wickedness was well established. And so what happened, happened. The past is past, and can’t be mended now; but after this, do you think it is right, Christian, that your sister should have no one to turn to when she leaves her sinful life?”

“She ought to have remembered in time that every uphill has its down.”

“But, my son, is not this to

‘See the ulcer, see the woe:
Shut the purse, and naught bestow’?

This is to have bowels of a pagan toward a poor creature that they pushed and pushed—a child that did not know what they were doing.”

“Uncle Bartolo, ignorance does not take away sin.”

“Do you think, if you had had your evil hour—suppose it for instance, only—and had robbed or done something that had dishonored you, and had gone to your sister, that she would refuse to own you? I’ll be bound she wouldn’t!”

“Well, I should have acted badly. But the case is impossible, for it would have been my care not to put myself in her way. ‘He that touches his own with his leprosy, gives it to them, and does not cure himself.’”

“Lucas, my son, the sentence says, ‘Act with good intention, and not with passion!’”

“And the proverb says that ‘blood boils without fire,’ Uncle Bartolo.”

“Lucas, for the love of the Blessed Virgin! How can he who shows no mercy hope for the mercy of God? Do a good deed, and, when you lie down, though it be upon a mattress of rushes, you will sleep without bad dreams, and as sweetly as if it were a bed of feathers!”

“You are wasting words, Uncle Bartolo. Even if I am condemned for it, I will not hear that vile thing spoken of, and so—stop!”

“Go to, then, Cain!” exclaimed the good old man as he rose to leave, “and God set a mark on you as he did on the cruel brother that he cursed! I’d rather have her, with her sin and her repentance, than you, with your virtue and your pride.”

To paint the grief of the wretched Lucia when Uncle Bartolo informed her of the no-result of his mission, would be impossible.

“Holy God!” she exclaimed between her sobs, “only with thee shall I find mercy! Ah! how I loved this brother in the days of my happy childhood, when I was innocent, and he was all my consolation! Then he could not do enough to please me, and used to swear never to abandon me!”

“Come, come, dry your tears, my daughter,” said Uncle Bartolo. “‘The frightened partridge is the first to get skewered.’ What do you want of an unnatural, without bowels of compassion? You have me, and the roof of my house is not so small that it cannot shelter you. What I have you shall share, and you can help my poor Josefa. She has become a potsherd, and don’t get much rest, for ‘woman’s work is done and to be done again.’”

When the other inmates of the house slept, Lucia kept lonely vigil, and wept the things that had formerly made her happiness—her poverty, her innocence, and her brother’s affection. Wandering in the vast field of her recollections, she found both affliction and consolation in recalling [Pg 199] all the particulars of her simple life; every proof of tenderness that she had received from her brother; every hope, withered or dead. With the deepening silence and shadows of the night, her anguish increased. “What shall I do? What shall I do?” she cried, wringing her hands. “I cannot be a burden to this good old man! I cannot stay in this neighborhood, for my own brother’s rejection of me will encourage others to outrage me! What shall I do? I must beg if I cannot find work! Where shall I go? Wherever God may lead me!”

Without waiting for daylight, and silently, in order that her departure might not be perceived by her protector, Lucia opened the door, and stepped into the street.

But she could not leave, for ever, a place so dear to her, without lingering for a moment before the adjacent house. It was the one in which her mother died; its roof had sheltered her tranquil infancy: in it she was leaving the brother that she still loved, in spite of her guilt and his inhumanity.

Lucas was not asleep. Exasperation, a disquieted conscience, and heavy heart had driven repose from him.

All at once, he was startled by the tones of a sweet and tremulous voice near to the street door, singing the romance that he had taught his sister when she was a child. He sprang from the bed, moved by an irresistible impulse, but instantly covered his ears with his hands as if to shut out the sound.

The voice sang:

“Praying in God’s name, sister,
And for his sweet mother’s sake,
Give my little children bread,
And his word in payment take.”

Struggling with mingled emotions of rage and grief, Lucas seated himself upon his couch, and beat upon the ground with his feet.

The voice, becoming all the while more low and quivering, proceeded:

“He takes a loaf, and breaks it,
But throws it down again,
For blood run out of the bread.”

The brother’s heart was choking him, yet, still resisting, he covered his now tear-stained face with both hands. But when the voice, broken by sobs, continued,

“And she that, without pity,
To a sister refuses bread,
To God’s Mother doth refuse it”—

he rushed to the door, and, dashing it open, ran out; and Lucia, with a cry of joy, threw herself into his extended arms.

The next day, Uncle Bartolo remarked to his wife:

“When the devil enters into one, he locks all the doors behind him. But until the last hour, his divine Majesty keeps a postern open in the sinner’s heart.”

[56] Name given to the subsidy formerly levied by the King of Spain for carrying on wars against the infidels.

[57] On the wane.

[58] Faded fashions.

[59] In faith.

[60] “Will you please not interrupt me?”

[61] Once for all.

[62] What for, my dear?

[63] I know how to behave.

[64] Don John made of Money.


“The aspect of the old is full of majesty:
Their words are laden with the secrets of existence.”

[66] An old soldier of the olden time.

[67] “Hush, I beg of you.”

[Pg 200]



But this is far from being the general rule. In 1543, the diary mentions the presence of Muleasses, Bey of Tunis, a Mohammedan, and records his expression of astonishment at what he beheld. On several other occasions, Mohammedans were witnesses of it; some became Christians. Protestant travellers from England, Denmark, Sweden, and Germany have written accounts of what they themselves saw. On four of the six occasions when the writer of these lines was present, he can bear personal testimony to the presence of Protestants.

It is narrated that the liquid blood has been known to solidify instantly, whenever the reliquary passed into the hands of a particular canon, in his turn of office, to be presented by him to the people, or when certain persons approached to venerate and kiss it, and would as quickly liquefy again when they withdrew. A notorious case is mentioned by the Bollandists, and by other authorities, of a prince, whose name, for family reasons, was not given—for the matter was published in his lifetime. At his approach the liquid blood used to become solid. His personal character left no doubt on the minds of the Neapolitans why this happened.

We have already spoken of the notable differences of color, on various days, or parts of the same day. The diary registers them as bright, beautiful, vermilion, rubicund, or as dense or dark, or blackish, or ash-colored, or, again, pale or yellowish. Sometimes the whole mass was of one uniform tint. Sometimes there were several tints in different parts, as in 1748, when, as we saw, one portion was blackish and the other ash-colored, the vial being then full, and the blood liquid, as afterwards appeared.

Again, the liquid blood is sometimes quite quiescent, yielding, indeed, to every movement of the ampulla, as water would, but when the ampulla is at rest on its stand, remaining in it as tranquil as water, with a level and smooth surface, and without the least indication of internal movement. Yet often it gives forth a froth or foam, which covers a part or all of the surface, which stains the glass dark or vermilion, and the remains or traces of which may be noticed on the mass when indurated afterwards; that is, if this foaming has continued until a solidification on the altar, or until the reliquary is locked up in the evening. Very often this foaming will cease after lasting half-an-hour or an hour. Its ending and disappearance is as fitful as its beginning.

Sometimes the motion is greater, and of a different character—an ebullition or boiling, as the Italians call it. Portions of the liquid blood are thrown up a quarter of an inch, or more. Sometimes this bubbling has been very violent, some of the liquid being thrown up into the neck of the ampulla to the very top.

On December 16, 1717, it is recorded that, before the liquefaction took place, and while the blood was still hard and solid, “an exhalation was seen to rise from the hard mass, [Pg 201] like to a little cloud, and to ascend to the top of the neck.” On 24th September, 1725, “the blood was taken out hard, and immediately liquefied; and three or four times, of itself, it moved round in a circle within the ampulla, although the ampulla was then in its place on the altar, and motionless.”

It is needless to cite any more of the thousand-and-one items of such character scattered through the diary. They all show the sincerity and good faith of the writers, and the care with which the minutest facts were observed, and accurately recorded on the day of their occurrence.

Next to the occurrence of the liquefaction, the most important fact, in our judgment, is the frequent change of volume which the mass undergoes while liquid. We say while liquid, for we do not discover, either in the diary or in our researches elsewhere, any indication of such a change taking place while the blood is in its solid condition. But, while liquid, such changes are so frequent and so great that the diary, as we saw, noticed their absence or quasi-absence, during one octave, as something remarkable. The blood is said to be at its ordinary or normal level when it fills about four-fifths of the space in the ampulla, or vial. It has been known to sink below this, but very rarely. Ordinarily it is oscillating in volume, sometimes reaching the neck, or entering it so high as to leave only a thread of light, or even filling the neck up to where it enters the mass of soldering. The extreme distance between the two levels is about an inch and a half, and the volume must increase over twenty per cent. in order to rise from the ordinary level so as to fill completely the ampulla. The days are comparatively rare when some change of volume is not seen, either by increase or by decrease. The change is generally gradual, yet such as may be watched and followed. Sometimes, however, it is quite rapid in the ascent or the descent, or in its alternations of rising and falling; sometimes almost instantaneous—in un colpo, in un tratto.

These ordinary oscillations or changes of volume, which occur at any time, may be looked on as the usual and minor form of one general and striking trait or mode of action. When the increase is carried to its utmost extent, the vial is seen to be completely filled; and this fulness, in turn, presents many variations to be studied. We may divide them into two classes. The first embraces all those cases in which the fulness terminates, and the blood commences to diminish in volume, at any time before the close of the octave; we may call these completed periods. The second embraces all those in which the fulness continues to the end, so that, on the last day of the octave, the blood is replaced in its closet still completely filling the ampulla; these we call incomplete periods.

To the prior class belong, first, all those many instances in which the blood swelled up and filled the ampulla and commenced to sink again in volume on the same day, whether after a few moments or after several hours of fulness. Again, the diary records three cases in which it so rose one day and sank the next; four cases in which it rose one day and sank the second day after, keeping the ampulla completely full for the entire intermediate day; six cases in which there were two such intermediate days; two with three, and four with four such intermediate days of complete fulness. We have thus nineteen cases recorded [Pg 202] in the diary, to which we should add, perhaps, an equal number for the first category. A complete period, so to call it, of the fulness may vary, therefore, from a few moments to five consecutive days.

The second class comprises ninety-four instances of fulness opened and not completed during the octave. The varieties in these are even greater than in the former class. In nineteen cases the fulness, or, at least, its last phase, commenced on the closing day; in five cases, on the day before; in nine, on the third last day; in eleven, on the fourth; and in twenty-two on the fifth day, counting from the closing of the octave; in twenty-six cases, the fulness began on the sixth day; and in two cases, as far back as the seventh day, counting from the close of the octave. We have here twenty-eight of these incomplete periods, longer than the longest of the closed or complete periods, just mentioned, still further complicating any question as to the lengths of these periods of fulness.

Whenever, during an octave, the ampulla is locked up at night full, it will be found full the next morning. When it is locked up at the close of an octave in that state, it will be found in the same at the first opening of the next celebration, months afterwards. We said that the mass changed its volume only when in a fluid condition. We may now venture to add that such changes take place only in public, and never while the blood is closed up in the closet, or armoire. In examining the diary very carefully, we find that, in the vast majority of cases, the level of the mass as stated when taken out—whether it be at the ordinary level, or somewhat elevated, or very high, or full—perfectly agrees with the level at which it was stated to stand when last put up, whether the day before or at the close of the preceding octave. In a number of cases, indeed, the diary is silent or obscure on the point; but its language often seems to imply this fact, or to take it for granted. Nowhere does it state the reverse in general terms; and we cannot find a single instance recorded which establishes the contrary. The blood is always found at the level at which it stood when last put up.

These ninety-four unclosed periods were, therefore, prolonged to the next festival, when the ampulla was taken out still full. Some of these periods had just commenced on the last day; others had lasted six full days after the day of their commencement. Is there any marked difference in their closing? Not in the day; for they all, with three exceptions, closed on the first day of the incoming octave, if they had run over to May or September, or on December 16, if that was the next exposition. In regard to time, there is no rule. The most numerous class, containing twenty-six instances, varied from immediately to nine hours and a half; nine times the liquefaction occurred in less than one hour, and nine times it delayed more than three hours—the other eight times it lay between the two. The twenty-two cases of the next highest class present the same diversities of time, from immediately to nine hours and a half. Nine instances were under an hour, eight were over three hours, the remaining five lay between the two divisions.

The more those periods of fulness are examined, the more clearly does it appear that they follow no system, and can be classified or accounted for by no law. We see the mass swelling and increasing its volume and filling the ampulla, and continuing [Pg 203] to fill it for some moments, or hours, or days. We can note the facts; but why this increase? why does it rise so high? why to-day, and not yesterday, or to-morrow? why so long, or not longer? Physical science is as utterly unable to answer these questions as it is to assign a cause for the liquefaction itself, or for the various and varying phases of the blood of St. Januarius.

As was stated in our preceding article, the Neapolitans hold that the proximity of the relics of the head and the reliquary with the vials of the blood to each other, is ordinarily the sufficient and determining cause of the liquefaction. Their whole ritual of the expositions is based upon this principle. The separation of the relics, or their quasi-separation, by a veil thrown over the reliquary of the blood, is ordinarily sufficient to terminate the liquefaction and to indurate the blood anew. But, on the other hand, the diary records a number of instances in which the blood, having been found hard, liquefied at once, even before the reliquary was placed near the bust. Several times, too, it has liquefied in the streets, while carried aloft in the afternoon procession of the vigil in May towards Santa Chiara or a seggia, although the bust had already been carried thither in the forenoon. So, too, a liquefaction, partially commenced in the Tesoro chapel or in the cathedral, has often continued or been completed during the outdoor procession through the streets, on the festival of the patronage, in December.

Another cause or condition, perhaps as important as the proximity of the relics, is, in our judgment, the strong faith and the earnest devotion of the attendants—a faith and devotion in which the Neapolitans, clergy and people, are not surpassed. It was, perhaps, for this reason, that in the extraordinary expositions of which we have spoken, the liquefaction so often occurred quickly, and, as the Neapolitans would say, Il miracolo era bellissimo. The devout strangers to whom the favor was granted brought to it faith and piety. On the few occasions when it was tardy—on none did it entirely fail—there may have been too strong an ingredient of mere profane curiosity. Kings, and princes, and nobles of high worldly standing have often visited Naples, and sometimes sought and obtained this favor of an extraordinary exposition of the relics in their presences, that, apart and with less danger of any intrusion on their personal dignity or comfort, and in the company of their chosen attendants only, they might have an opportunity of witnessing the miracle at their ease. This was the length of their privilege. As for the liquefaction itself, they had to wait as others waited, and, perhaps, because they did not pray as others prayed, they were sometimes disappointed.

In 1702, Philip V., King of Spain, to whom Naples was then subject, visited the city, reaching it on the afternoon of Easter Sunday. On Easter Tuesday, April 18, he was present at a Pontifical High Mass celebrated in the cathedral. After that long ceremony, his majesty passed into the Tesoro chapel, where there was to be a special exposition of the relics, that he might venerate them and might witness the liquefaction. “The blood was brought out hard; four Masses were celebrated in succession (about two hours); but the saint was not pleased to work it. The king departed, and the Masses continued. At the sixth Mass, and as the king had entered his carriage at the cathedral door, the blood liquefied. The king returned at 22 o’clock, and [Pg 204] kissed the relics in the hands of his eminence in the Tesoro.”

However, the diary mentions that he did witness the liquefaction itself at the next regular day in May, with all the people.

Other instances are given in which viceroys and nobles and princes waited until they were tired out. Soon after their departure, when the faithful and fervent people might freely crowd the chapel and pray, the liquefaction would occur.

It is impossible to exaggerate the firmness of their faith or the depth and tenacity of the affection of the Neapolitans for this their miracle. Whatever else happens to their fair city, nothing must interfere with their devotion to St. Januarius and the proper celebration of these festivals—neither wars nor pestilence, nor eruptions nor earthquakes, nor change of rulers. Once a battle raging in the streets prevented an outdoor procession. But, within the cathedral, there was a procession through the aisles and nave, and all things else went on as usual.

Oddly enough, the greatest disturber, to judge by the simple-minded writers of the diary, has been—rain. Not that the weather has any direct influence on the liquefaction or its circumstances. Quite the contrary. The blood liquefies all the same, and with as many attendant variations, whether the day be fair or rainy, whether the season be so dry that the farmers are complaining of drought, and prayers have been ordered for rain, or whether it has been raining incessantly for weeks and months, to the injury of the crops, and in the churches they are praying for fair weather; in summer, when the sun is pouring down his almost tropical beams; and in winter, when the procession is confined to the cathedral because it is too cold to go out into the streets, or because the ground is covered with snow. These meteorological changes have no apparent influence on the liquefaction or its characteristic circumstances.

But at Naples they sometimes have terrible deluges of rain—steady downpourings such as one may witness only within or close to the tropics. Sometimes these have come on just at the hour to interfere with the grand afternoon procession of the vigil in May, forbidding it, or ludicrously disarranging it, and forcing monks, friars, priests, seminarians, canons, and people alike to break the ranks and seek immediate shelter in the neighboring shops and houses. However, come what might, at the worst, his eminence, or the highest ecclesiastical dignitary present, with a few attendants of waterproof hearts, would carry the relic, in a sedan chair or a carriage, it might be, to the appointed place. Is it not all punctually set down in the diary; at what corner, or in what street, the procession was broken up, and who then carried the relic on, and whether still on foot or in a carriage, and how many courageously accompanied him? We may be sure that on arriving at their destination they never failed to find the church, despite the rain, and despite the absence of fashionable ones, filled by devout souls, who loved their saint more than they feared even such weather.

Passages in the extracts we have made from the diary, and many other passages we might quote, indicate the feelings of alarm which fill the hearts of the Neapolitans when the liquefaction fails to occur, or is attended by circumstances which they traditionally dread. St. Januarius is their patron saint. This ever-recurring liquefaction is, in their eyes, a perpetual and miraculous sign or evidence [Pg 205] of his care and protection. When it occurs regularly, when the liquefaction is complete and the color of the liquid blood a bright vermilion, and when there are no sudden disturbances and only slight variations of level, the Neapolitans are happy. “It is a blessed octave.” They think they have evidence that all will go well with them. If, on the contrary, the hard mass does not liquefy at all, or if the liquid blood appear turbid, dark or ash-colored, or if it rises and falls rapidly, or if it presents other unusual and sinister appearances, their hearts sink, and they are filled with alarm and anxiety. They fear that this is an indication of the displeasure of heaven, and that the chastisements they deserve for their sins may soon come on them. We once heard a learned Neapolitan enlarge on this theme, and cite various instances in the history of his city in which he showed a remarkable coincidence, at least, between such facts of the liquefactions and the occurrence of wars, pestilence, famine, and disastrous earthquakes, or of other signal chastisements from heaven. We were not sufficiently conversant with the history of Naples either to controvert his statements or to allege other facts to the contrary. It is a subject on which one might go astray, almost as easily as if he undertook to interpret the Apocalypse. But our friend professed to have the history at his finger-ends, and certainly was himself thoroughly convinced of the truth of his opinion.

Travellers are accustomed to tell amusing stories of the impatience and irreverence of the Neapolitans during the exposition, whenever there is an unusual delay in the liquefaction. They charge them with addressing the saint alternately in expressions of religious homage and of bitter reproach, praying and beseeching him one moment and apostrophizing him the next in slang terms of vituperation. Such travellers, we may be sure, are either drawing on their own imagination or on the store of anecdotes they have heard from others. They usually know little of Italian, and are utterly ignorant of the peculiar dialect of the Neapolitan people—almost a language in itself. The only possible excuse for making such a charge would be a stranger’s misconception or misinterpretation of the demonstrative gestures they indulge in when deeply moved, and his utter ignorance of the words they are uttering. We opine, however, that the motive, generally, is a wish to parade droll and amusing statements, even if they be neither witty nor true.

We have been assured by many respectable clergymen of Naples, who, of course, know their own people, and often have to chide them, that there is not a word of truth in this charge.

The clergy and the laity of Naples, of all classes, learned and unlearned alike, believe most steadfastly and earnestly in the miraculous character of the liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius. Many strangers who have seen it and have examined it critically have come to the same conclusion. Although the church has not spoken authoritatively on the matter, still the consensus of so many learned, intelligent, and pious persons who have so accepted it—the fact that during so many centuries it has stood the test of time, and that science has not been able to explain it away or to reproduce it artificially—and the very character of the liquefaction itself, with its attendant circumstances, so clear, so plain, and so decisive—all leave no room for reasonable doubt.

[Pg 206] To complete our statement, we must, perhaps, go still further back, and inquire how it has come about that a portion of the blood of a Christian bishop, beheaded in the year 305, under Diocletian, and in virtue of edicts by that emperor for the suppression of Christianity, should, after the lapse of so many centuries, be now found in a glass ampulla, or vial, at Naples. To some, this primary fact may, at first sight, appear as strange and as extraordinary, if not as unaccountable, as the subsequent liquefaction itself.

To an Italian Catholic, indeed, a doubt on this head would scarcely present itself. The usages and the thoughts of his ancestors in the faith have come down to him so naturally that they form, as it were, part of his being. He thinks, and feels, and knows as his fathers did before him. In such cradle-lands of Christianity, and among a people that has never swerved from the faith since the early ages of the church, there is what we might term an inherited Catholic instinct, a readiness and a correctness of Catholic thought in religious matters, which those of other lands that received the light of Christianity only at a later period, and consequently have not such a bond of ancestral connection with the Christians of the days of persecution, can only reach by study and cultivated piety. However, even a moderate acquaintance with the usages and customs of those early ages will show in many instances that what some have considered peculiar national traits of perhaps later growth are in reality deeply rooted in the customs of those ancient times; and that many a point, often set down as a fond fancy or a singular product of superstition, is firmly established as a truth, by historical research into their records.

This is the case with the question before us.

As we study the daily life of those early Christians, passed under circumstances so very different from those of our modern life, and strive to realize to ourselves their thoughts and aspirations, their motives and modes of action, nothing stands out in bolder relief than their exalted conception of the honor and glory of martyrdom. In the exquisite pages of Fabiola and of Callista, the learned Cardinal Wiseman and Dr. Newman have made these early Christians live again before us; and we catch some insight into their enthusiasm on this subject. To them, a martyr, dying for the faith of Christ, was—and truthfully—a hero of the highest grade. Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John xv. 13.

They could never sufficiently honor him. For, honor him as they might, all they could do would fall infinitely short of the honor which God had already bestowed on his soul in heaven, and that which he would bestow on his body in the resurrection. A martyr’s blood, in their view, stood next in rank to the blood of the Saviour.

Their daily life made martyrdom the prominent subject of their thoughts. Day after day, they saw their brethren seized, imprisoned, tortured, and put to death for the faith. Each day, any one of themselves might be seized and led to martyrdom. The greatest of all triumphs, and the surest passport to everlasting bliss, was to persevere unto the end in that conflict; the greatest of all misfortunes was to fail and renounce or deny the faith for fear of death. Each one strove to hold himself ever ready for the trial. Their pastoral injunctions; their mutual exhortations; [Pg 207] their most precious literature—the Acta Martyrum; the ornamentation of their chapels and crypts, still visible in the frescoes of the catacombs; the site of their chosen sanctuaries, amid the tombs of their martyred brethren; the very altars at which they worshipped; the tombs of their more glorious martyrs—everything co-operated to keep alive this high esteem of martyrdom, and to stir up their hearts to courage, and even to a yearning for so glorious a crown, and so happy an ending of this life of trials and sorrow.

While a confessor of Christ, as they called him, lay still in chains, they used every means to enter the prison and to visit him—sometimes availing themselves of legal rights, sometimes under various pretexts, sometimes by bribery; when these would all fail, then by stealth and at every risk. For he was to be strengthened by the sacraments and encouraged by their words, or they were to be strengthened by his example; and especially they would not lose the opportunity of commending themselves to his prayers, and of seeking the blessing of a chosen friend of God.

When he was led forth to trial, or to torture, or to death, they would glide in among the crowd pressing around him, that he might be cheered and sustained by the sight of Christian faces or by their outspoken exhortations, and that they might catch and embalm in their hearts every courageous word of faith he spoke to his judges, to the executioners, and to themselves or to the crowd, and afterward be able to bear testimony and to record the heroic triumph of another martyr.

After his death, they spared no effort to obtain possession of his mortal remains, as of a most precious treasure. Their very earnestness on this point was not unfrequently made an occasion of aggravating the sentence. After execution, so the judge would order, the body must not be delivered to his friends, according to ordinary usage. These obstinate and fanatical Christians must be thwarted in their dearest wish, or, rather, in their criminal purpose, of honoring one whom the laws had sentenced to an ignominious death. Let the body be burned, and the ashes be cast to the winds or to the running streams; or let the vultures and ravenous dogs consume it; or let it be sunk by weights in deep waters; let it be done away with in some manner, so that the hated Christians be balked of their purpose.

At times this was successfully done. Often, however—even despite these orders—entreaties and bribes to the soldiers and executioners would prevail to obtain the body, or at least the fragments of it. If they failed, stratagems would be used, and persevering search made, even at great personal risk, to recover it. Very often, as the martyrologies and Acta Martyrum tell us, it was in such attempts that the Christians were discovered, apprehended, and themselves condemned as fresh victims.

When the execution was by beheading or dismemberment, or such other mode as caused the effusion of blood, the Christians were careful to gather this up in any way they could. Not unfrequently it was all they could recover. Cloths and sponges sucked it up from the hard pavement of wood or stones. The earth saturated with it was carefully gathered up and borne away, that at home and at leisure they might carefully separate the blood from the earthy matter, and place it reverently in some vase, ordinarily of glass, sometimes of earthen ware, and in a few instances of bronze. Sometimes a portion [Pg 208] of sponge or of cloth so saturated would be kept as a precious jewel in a locket of silver or gold, and be preserved in the oratory or chapel of a Christian household, or even be reverently borne on the person. Ordinarily, however, the vials or vases into which the martyrs’ blood had been gathered, or the open vases containing the saturated sponge or the bundle of blood-stained cloths, would be placed with the body in the tomb; or the vials might be built into the masonry of the tomb, near the head, in such a way as to be partially visible from without.

The Acta Martyrum—the official records of the sufferings, death, and deposition or burial of the martyrs, written out at the time by appointed officers of the church—bear frequent testimony to the widespread existence of this custom. Other Christian writings, in prose and in poetry, refer to it frequently. We find it prevailing at Rome and in all Italy, in Carthage, in Sebaste, in Nicomedia, in Gaul, and throughout the church. It was the universal custom.

About the time when the body of St. Januarius was transported from the original tomb where it had been laid during the persecution, to the church of St. Januarius, extra muros, at Naples, similar translations of the bodies of martyrs took place elsewhere. St. Ambrose, the great Bishop of Milan, gives an account of such a ceremony for the martyrs St. Gervase and St. Protasius, and again for the martyrs St. Vitalis and St. Agricola. He mentions finding in the tombs, in both cases, the blood of the martyrs which had been gathered and placed there. St. Gaudentius, Bishop of Brixia, about the same time, mentions a similar fact. Some centuries later, the northern barbarians were making raids into Italy, and had repeatedly broken into and desecrated the sepulchres in the catacombs, either in mere wantonness or in search for the treasures which they thought might be hidden there. In order to save the venerated relics of the martyrs from such outrages, the popes opened the tombs of the martyrs in the portions of the catacombs then accessible—a great portion being already closed up, either by the falling in of the roof or by the act of the Christians centuries before—and transferred the remains to the churches within the city for greater safety. In opening the tombs, these vases were often found, and hundreds of them are now in the churches or in the sacred museums of Rome. Three centuries ago, Bosio, and after him Aringhi, Boldetti, Mamachi, and others, penetrated into the catacombs, searched them anew, and came upon some of those portions which had not been disturbed at the time of the general removal. In such portions not a few unopened and undisturbed tombs of martyrs were found. Within lay the remains of the body—bones and dust—with sometimes the rusted fragments of the instrument of death, and frequently the vial, or ampulla, of the martyr’s blood. During the last forty years, the work of investigating the catacombs, which had been intermitted, has been taken up afresh and prosecuted with earnestness and skill by F. Marchi, Cav. de Rossi, and other eminent archæologists. They still come occasionally across the tombs of martyrs, evidently untouched since the day of deposition, and within them, or in the mortar by the head, the vases of blood are still found. Where these vials are so placed in the mortar as to be visible and accessible from without, the thin glass has generally been broken. But the bottom still [Pg 209] remains firmly set in the mortar, and contains or is covered to some extent by a thin, dry, reddish crust adhering to it. This crust or film is all that is left of the blood the vase originally contained. Vials, or ampullæ, in the interior of the tombs are of course perfectly preserved. It is indeed interesting to look on one of them, and to mark exactly the line to which the liquid blood once reached, and the purple hue of the sediment or crust now left, with its brighter or darker shades of color, perhaps from the character of the blood, more probably from the thickness or thinness of the crust itself. Under all the accumulated evidence, one scarcely needs to read the rude inscription found and still legible, although only scratched in the mortar when it was soft: Sanguis, or Sang: Saturnini, The blood of Saturninus. We know that this is blood which once flowed from a martyr’s veins, in testimony of his faith in Christ our Lord.

In the 17th century, when Bosio, Boldetti, and others brought out such vases from the catacombs, and special attention was directed to them, the nature of this dry reddish crust adhering to the interior was examined chemically. There was no discordance in the results obtained.

Among those who made such an examination was the celebrated Leibnitz, a Protestant, among the ablest and most learned men of that age. He gives an account of his process, and the decision at which he arrived: This coloring matter on the glass is sanguineous. Some years ago, the present Pontiff, Pius IX., had a new analysis made according to the fullest and most accurate tests of modern chemistry. The answer was still the same: This substance is, so far as chemistry can decide, precisely what ought to remain as the residuum of human blood.

It is clear that, both as to the custom of the early Christians of carefully gathering up the blood of their martyrs, of placing it in ampullæ, or vases, and religiously preserving it, and likewise as to the identification of the ampullæ themselves, the testimony is all that can be desired. Bosio, Aringhi, Boldetti, Mamachi, Gaume, Marchi, Raoul-Rochette, De Rossi, Perret—all who have studied the question, are unanimous in recognizing these numerous old Roman vials, or ampullæ, still found in the catacombs and tombs or preserved in the churches, as the identical vials, or ampullæ, so used by the ancient Christians. On this point, there remains not the slightest room for doubt.

It is therefore but reasonable that there should exist in Naples a vial, or ampulla, of the blood of St. Januarius. He was in his day a distinguished bishop of the church. His martyrdom was public, and attracted the attention of the Christians. It was by beheading. There was no conceivable reason why the Christians should omit in that instance what they were universally so careful to do in such cases. On the contrary, to judge from the ancient accounts we have of the martyrdom of St. Januarius and his six companions, the Christians found no extraordinary difficulty in obtaining the bodies, and entombing them in their usual mode. When, eighty or ninety years later, the church had been firmly established in peace, the body of St. Januarius was taken from the original tomb and brought to Naples, as the bodies of the others were taken to the various churches which claimed them.

The very presence, therefore, of an ampulla in the custody of the [Pg 210] church of Naples, together with the other relics of St. Januarius, is under the circumstances prima facie evidence of its own authenticity—evidence which cannot be impugned, except by attempting to overturn a well-known and universally admitted usage of the early Christian church, or else by a supposition, equally gratuitous and absurd, that the ampulla which originally was in existence, and was prized beyond measure and carefully preserved, was somehow lost, and another fraudulently substituted in its stead. We need not recur to the olden traditions of the church of Naples or its legends concerning this relic—traditions and legends found, too, we believe, among the Greeks, whose intercourse with Magna Grecia, as Southern Italy was called, was more intimate and continued longer than with any other portion of Italy. We scarcely need the testimony of Fabius Jordanus, quoted by Caraccioli, going to show that, so far back as A.D. 685, it was the custom of the clergy of Naples to bear the relics of the head.

The historical evidence in favor of the genuineness of the relic is ample and satisfactory. There would not be a moment’s hesitation on the point but for the very vain hope which some minds may entertain that, by declining to admit the genuineness of the blood, they will somehow escape the difficulties of the liquefaction. As if the liquefaction of any other substance, with all the circumstances which characterize the liquefaction at Naples, as we have set them forth in our previous articles, would not be for them as hard if not a harder nut to crack than the liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius!

Having, therefore, established the genuineness of the relic, the next question which presents itself is this: Are we to attribute the amount of the blood still to be seen within the ampulla when at its ordinary level, and its condition when hard, to the continuous action of natural causes; or are we to recognize in those points the effects of that supernatural force to which the liquefaction itself is to be attributed? Would or would not the agency of natural causes have resulted in a greater reduction of the original volume of the blood, and in a far different condition of the residuum, at the present time?

We know pretty accurately the composition of human blood. The proportions of the several ingredients going to constitute it may vary somewhat according to the health and the food of individuals. Without entering into the refined, and as yet not fully accepted results of the latest qualitative analysis, it will be sufficient to give the following table of the constituents of the healthy blood of man:

  Carbonic acid,10·98
  Extractive matters,
  Coloring matter,
Blood globules,127·90
1,000·00 1,000·00

Water constitutes nearly four-fifths of the entire quantity. If it be driven off by evaporation, only a dry mass would remain behind.

When blood issues from the veins, it first passes through the process of coagulation, the successive steps of which have been carefully examined. Perfectly liquid as it comes out, the blood soon thickens, through the action of the fibrine it contains, into a firm, elastic, uniform, jelly-like mass. Soon drops of clear, amber-colored fluid begin to exude from the [Pg 211] mass of jelly, and accumulate until the whole mass is divided into two parts—the serum, a transparent, nearly colorless fluid, in which there floats the clot, or crassamentum, a firm, red and opaque mass. In time, the clot is further divided. The fibrine is seen at top, forming a layer of considerable consistence, soft, elastic, tenacious, and of a yellowish white color; the under portion, consisting of the heavier parts of the clot which have gradually settled down to that position, is a red mass, made up chiefly of the blood globules.

Further exposure would by degrees eliminate the aqueous portion by evaporation, and the progress of decomposition would tend to free the gases in the other constituents, and thus still further to diminish the mass. But no experiments, instituted by physicists, can compare, in time at least, with the instances presented to us in the vases of the catacombs. There, traces on the glass still show clearly to what level the blood, or at least the clot, originally reached; and we see what has remained after a lapse of sixteen hundred years—a crust of dry reddish powder adhering to and coating the sides and bottom of the vessel.

Boldetti, however, mentions three instances in which such ampullæ were found in the catacombs containing a residuum of the blood still thick and slightly liquid. And, if we are not mistaken, something similar may be seen in some other vials preserved here and there, and held to contain a portion of the blood of certain martyrs.

The early Christians of Italy gave up the old Roman custom of incremation, or burning the bodies of the dead, and adopted instead the Eastern rite of sepulture. In some instances, at least, they seem to have used spices and ointments, as the Jews and Eastern nations generally did; and some of them might even have had a knowledge of the antiseptic preparations used by the Egyptians. They never prepared the dead as mummies, but they may at times have put some antiseptic ingredient into the blood, tending by its chemical action somehow to retard the escape of the water and the decomposition of the mass. If this were really done or not, we believe modern science cannot decide; and the historical evidence is not clear.

Something may be due, also, to the mode in which they would sometimes close a narrow-necked vessel of glass. When it had received its contents, the glass of the neck would be heated, probably by the flame of a blowpipe, until it became soft and pliable. The sides would then be pressed together until they coalesced and became united, thus obliterating the orifice; or else molten glass would be carefully dropped on the lips of the mouth, until the whole was entirely coated over and perfectly closed. When either was followed and the work was done perfectly, the ampulla would be, in fact, hermetically sealed. The air would thus be excluded, and evaporation nearly arrested. Placed in a loculus or grave in the dry earth of the catacombs, twenty-five or thirty-five feet beneath the surface of the earth, the ampulla would also be subjected to an ever-equable temperature of about 58° Fahr. Under such circumstances, especially if we admit the presence of some antiseptic ingredient, it may be possible that decomposition would be very slow. But, after all, the glass sides of these ampullæ are thin, and glass is porous, and sixteen centuries is a very long time. Even were the sides far thicker than they are, evaporation would have slowly taken place, the gaseous products of [Pg 212] decomposition would have gradually passed through into the outer atmosphere, and only the dry solid residuum would be left, as we ordinarily find it in the ampullæ from the catacombs. The case of the ampulla containing the blood of St. Januarius is not open to these doubts. We are not able to say, indeed, whether it was actually closed in either of the modes we have indicated. As it stands in the present reliquary, of which we have given an account, the mouth enters so deeply into the upper mass of soldering within the case that the eye cannot discover the manner of closure. Before it was placed in this reliquary, five hundred and seventy or seven hundred and thirty years ago, this could probably have been seen; but we have found no record throwing light on the subject. We presume it was done in one or the other of the modes we have described. It is certainly so tightly closed that not a drop of the liquid blood within has ever been known to ooze out.

But this ampulla has not been lying in the low and equable temperature of an underground vault of the catacombs. It has been preserved in the upper and variable atmosphere of a city, subject for many centuries to the excessive heats of almost tropical summers, and to the cold winds that blow down at times from mountains covered with snow. By no law of physics could a mass of blood so situated escape the natural consequence—a vast diminution of bulk by the loss of water and the escape of gases. The film that coats the interior of the smaller ampulla seen in the same case or reliquary, so like the film seen in the whole and in the broken ampullæ of the catacombs and churches generally, shows, we think, what would have been the natural course.

That the larger ampulla should, on the contrary, have lost nothing in the volume of its contents—that it should still be four-fifths filled, although for centuries exposed, as we have said, to heat and cold—that this general permanence of bulk and of character should be maintained, although eighteen or twenty times a year the mass alternates from a solid to a fluid condition, and passes through many subordinate changes of color and volume—these facts seem to us not only utterly inexplicable, but directly contrary to all we know of physical laws. We place them along side the grand fact of the liquefaction itself, as being in some measure its characteristic concomitants. Still, should any one deem these questions too obscure to be peremptorily decided, we shall not now discuss them. We are quite willing to let them stand or fall with the more prominent and important and more tangible question of the liquefaction itself. Of that we shall now proceed to treat.


[Pg 213]



As here is quaffed a sweet forgetfulness
Of the long journey yet to go,
So unto all who through life’s pathways press,
Lord, from thy rock let waters flow!
Let thy sweet grace refreshment be!
On earth we wander wearily,
And in a thirst that will not cease.
Oh! let each dry and dusty lip
From thy deep hidden fountain sip
Sweet draughts of love and peace.

Ah! every soul drinks its own cup of bliss.
Some the delights of glory bless;
One finds it in a little daughter’s kiss,
Another in a wife’s caress.
The secret friendships of the heart,
The rapture of creative art,
Each hive its own sweet honey stores;
To every lip let torrents burst
From life’s great fount; but I—I thirst
For the eternal shores.

Earth’s dreams are but a bitterness to those
Whose yearnings are for love divine.
No rivulet sparkles here, no runlet flows,
To satisfy this thirst of mine.
What shall assuage it? The desire
That heavenward ever doth aspire,
And sigheth ceaselessly;
The sweetness that in suffering lies,
And tear-drops showering from my eyes,
Are hope’s one draught for me.

[Pg 214]




“Frankly, my dear friend, tell me, is she not charming? Does she not lend a certain grace to her white dress, and a brilliancy to her blue ribbons? Is she not the prettiest flower in my garden?”

“And my Alfred, dear Madame de Guers, does he not look well by her side? Are there many young men in our village who appear to such advantage near this fair and graceful darling, now in the flower of her youth?”

“What you say is true, my friend. We have both of us, thank God, fine children—noble, virtuous, and good; and I hope they will be happy.”

“They will make a very handsome couple, at all events,” concluded M. Maubars, rubbing his hands and smiling contentedly.

Thus spoke two old friends, as they sat quietly, one summer evening, in the shadow of the hop-vines of a pretty green arbor, and talked away in this simple, lively, and joyous manner, while they observed their children as they appeared here and there in the garden-walks.

When people have passed fifty, and known each other since they went to the same school in childhood, and during the long succeeding years have resided pretty much in the same place, they are very apt, when talking together, to speak openly from their hearts, especially if those hearts are filled to the brim and running over with justifiable paternal pride and motherly tenderness. And it was true that the dear Alfred, the only and cherished son of M. Maubars, was handsome, honest, active, and gifted, and, thanks to the fortune which he would inherit, would one day take his place among the most respectable citizens of the province. As to Madame de Guers, this fair and worthy old lady, with white hair, in whom all the select souls of the little town saluted and recognized a sister, all the poor a benefactress, and all the afflicted a friend, she had never been a mother. She had married late, less from inclination than duty, to obey a vow of her parents and fulfil a family project; she had cared for, with an admirable devotion, and supported with a no less admirable equality of temper, the precocious infirmities and frequent brusqueries of M. de Guers, who, as former captain of a vessel, had lived a silent, sombre, deserted life in an old cold-looking little house on the coast. But one happy day the sun seemed to shine brighter for her, and the radiant sentiment of an unknown happiness mingled with her tears and her regrets, as one of the friends of her childhood, a poor widow, in dying, confided to her the education and guardianship of her deserted infant. What a complete happiness, what a recompense for all the sunless days, the gloomy and heavy hours, so faithfully supported! M. de Guers, though very ill at the time, consented to receive the child, on condition, as he added peremptorily, “that she should be kept very neat and make no [Pg 215] noise”—this his precise and solemn declaration. The little Valentine seemed to understand what was expected of her, and, though stirring, vigorous, and lively, rarely a rent was seen in her little Indian silk, never a spot on her red lips nor her cherubic forehead. When she happened to fall, she smothered her sobs and cries; when she remembered the past, she wept low for her mother—and all this not to displease the old gentleman, shut up in his close parlor, where he contemplated with astonishment mingled with pity and respect his two unfortunate legs—done up in flannel. Time, childhood, and natural gaiety combining, the little girl began even to find herself perfectly happy in this old house, where she was cherished, and nothing left undone for her needs, her games, or her repose.

Need we say that her adopted mother was happy? At the end of the long nights of want of sleep and suffering that she passed with the ill and impatient old man, she ran for a moment to the little chamber above, and watched the sweet pet, with brown eyes and rosy cheeks, as she woke to her morning’s happiness; she felt the dear little round arms press her neck, the sweet tender lips imprinted on her own, and she thanked God for this blessing. The little toilet made, and the breakfast over, she carried down-stairs happiness enough for half-a-day. Later, when her voice trembled at the end of some long lecture, or her arms were wearied at some endless rubbing, she looked out the window, saw the little one disporting in the sun, playing hide-and-seek among the lilacs, or smiling to her from amidst the roses, and, at this sight, it seemed her cup of joy was full, that the spring light played even in the sick man’s chamber, and for the time she forgot whether she was guardian or victim. Thus she lived on, consoled and strengthened by the child, consoling and strengthening her husband, until the day when M. de Guers died, and both wept his loss—Valentine with time having learned to love him; and he himself, won by the grace and beauty of the child, had often so far unbended as to keep time for her with his crutch while she danced all alone before his window in the garden.

From this moment, Madame de Guers gave Valentine all her time, her heart, her cares, her tenderness. I leave you to imagine how such precious gifts, with the aid of years, added to everything lovely and noble in the child. Of all the young girls of C——, Valentine at eighteen was not only one of the most beautiful, but, better still, the best, the simplest, the most tender, the humblest, the most joyous, and the best loved: the most ill-natured of the citizens could not refuse her their homage, and her adopted mother loved her to excess and with pride and delight; M. Maubars, too, the oldest friend of the house, and his son, the elegant Alfred, saw in her perfection a treasure, and their united wonder. Then at eighteen the future is so beautiful, the horizon so pure, dreams so sweet, and friends so tender! How happy, then, was our Valentine at this moment, when, joyous under the eyes of her mother, gay and confiding in the presence of her future husband, and gracious and pretty as she always was in her simple and quiet toilet, she wandered hither and thither in the garden, breathing the air, gathering the flowers, and breaking from the trees the large snow-balls that shed their petals on her lustrous brown hair.

We do not know exactly what Alfred and Valentine were talking [Pg 216] about in the garden-walk, as running from side to side to form their bouquet they chanced so often to meet. But, under the arbor, they were more grave, calmer, and certainly more mature, and they spoke of business.

“If you will permit it, my dear friend, I should like the young couple to live in my house,” said M. Maubars. “It is, I may say, without vanity, one of the most comfortable and best furnished in the town. As to me, you know, I am becoming a monk, or a bear, or a house-rat. The rolling of the half-dozen coaches and the three or four cabs our town possesses is sufficient to trouble my digestion, and almost deafens me; so I think, in order to plant my cabbages in peace, I had better lodge in the pavilion of my large garden at Vaux, which is not more than a league from the town. My good old Baptistine will accompany me, and keep the pot boiling. Every evening the children can come and see me, that is, every fine evening; and you can have them right by you—nothing to do but cross the street, and walk a few steps on the quay, ring the little bell, the latch will fly up, and there will be Valentine in a clean dress and red ribbon coming to meet you, for her delicate hearing would distinguish your step among a thousand others on the same pavement.”

“Poor dear child! I don’t want to be selfish, and yet it is hard to part with her,” murmured Madame de Guers, while stifling a sigh.

“Do you call that parting with her, when I tell you she will be right under your eye? And then, my dear friend, I must tell you you have become very worldly of late. You are obliged to accompany Valentine to this and that soirée, and it fatigues you, absorbs and puts you out altogether. When it comes my Alfred’s turn to do all this for her, you will see how you will improve, and old ladies always recover so naturally. Confess it, my dear Madame de Guers, have you not for some time been very negligent of yourself and your old people?”

“Alas, yes! poor good old people!” replied the respectable lady, with a sweet smile. “Yet every morning, after Mass, I stop to see them. True, my child monopolizes much of the time I should give to them, but she loves them too: she has so excellent a heart! How often I have seen her, when quite a child, take from her weekly allowance to buy jujube for old Manou, who has catarrh so badly, and tobacco for Périne, whose happiness is in smoking! And how she takes care of them when necessary, my friend! How merry she makes them, and consoles them, and reads them good books, and the Scripture she explains so prettily! In truth, this humble work will not perish with me: I have some one to whom I can confide it.”

This demands an explanation. Madame de Guers was not only an excellent, tender, and devoted mother, a constant and generous friend, but she was, at the same time, profoundly pious and sincerely charitable. The death of M. de Guers had left in her soul a bitter and secret sorrow, which she had never been able to console. The former lieutenant of the service, in spite of the solicitations and tears of his Christian and devoted wife, had bid farewell to this world in a manner far from exemplary, dying, without doubt, peaceably and bravely enough, but without repentance, without hope, without penitence, neither fixing his eyes on the cross nor listening to the absolution of the curé. So, for the poor, tender soul of the wife there remained a gnawing regret, a continual [Pg 217] terror, and at the price of any austerities, of any sacrifices, she wished to secure the eternal salvation of this obstinate husband. God only knows what mortifications she practised in secret, to gain a little every day towards the tender and sublime end she proposed; and, above all, she openly redoubled her works of fervor and charity. A part of the money left her by her husband had been employed by her in a house of refuge, where ten or twelve old, infirm women, the very poorest of the department, could live comfortably and in peace until the end of their days, and at the low price of reciting every day from their bench in the chapel a prayer for the repose and salvation of the soul of Jean Louis de Guers, former officer of the king’s fleet. We said before that Madame de Guers had given Valentine all her heart, her time, and her life: we should, nevertheless, have remarked that she reserved a portion for the poor old recluses of her little hospital, not finding it a difficult matter to reconcile, in her humble and peaceable existence, happiness and duty, charity and love.

“My dear old pensioners,” she said again, while regarding from a distance her charming adopted daughter, who smiled on her from amidst the shady trees, “they will be truly happy to find after me this dear child, who will, I am sure, possess the courage and strength to replace me. Good little Valentine! she has already given them, in my name, a portion of her heart, and to do so she needs to be as generous as in truth she is, for I could have given a much more brilliant heritage to this dear child had I not already adopted my old people. Her mother, alas! died without fortune, and for me, I have still remaining forty thousand francs, invested in rentes in the state, and my little property here. This is all, my good Maubars, I have to give her.”

“Well, well, my dear friend, don’t trouble yourself. The whole will amount to sixty thousand francs, at the lowest figure. Valentine is treasure enough in herself, and don’t need any more.”

“A treasure! Yes, indeed, you have spoken the truth!” replied the noble woman, fixing on her interlocutor a look radiant with joy, happiness, and confidence; “and as you make me so happy, my brave Maubars, in speaking as you do, I am not ashamed to confess I have often thought—have often feared—well, don’t blame me; nothing, you know, is so restless and timid as a mother—I have feared that a dowry so small could not respond to the legitimate views of a young man like Alfred, who can aspire to the best match in the country. I dare not tell you how this secret doubt has tortured my heart. It would have been so painful, so frightful to think that my want of foresight might have prepared so bitter a disappointment for my dearly loved Valentine.”

“And who speaks of disappointment, cowardly mamma that you are?” replied M. Maubars, with the good hearty laugh of the retired successful merchant. “Of course I do not mean that any dowry is to be despised, and, I will add, if this were larger, it were so much the better. But the moment that the question is between it and you and Valentine, Alfred and I will accept what you have in all confidence. Let there be no more mention of these things between us any more than there is just now in the conversation of that happy couple smiling and babbling among the roses.”

“How good you are, Maubars,” [Pg 218] replied the adopted mother with a sigh of relief. “Assuredly,” she continued with a sweet and mischievous smile, “I am very sure that it is not with dowry or business that they are entertaining themselves just now.”

This you may be assured of, my readers, for, just then, Valentine, spreading into a sweet smile her fine and delicate lips, while her brilliant eyes sparkled above the cheeks as rounded and satiny as the petals of her roses, said to her partner, who was coming toward her:

“You had better believe me, Mr. Alfred. We will not go to Paris. Paris is very far off, and it costs a great deal to go there. But we will go every evening and see dear papa in his little pavilion at Vaux. Won’t it be charming to do just as we did when we were little, ten years ago, just us two alone, you and I, running through the ruts and the fields, gathering the new hay and the herbs covered with dew?”

And the simple child, clapping her white hands, gently smiled still more joyously at the innocent, truant projects with which she proposed to inaugurate their future housekeeping. Then, Alfred having offered his arm, she accepted it a moment in order to adjust with her young intended some other detail of great importance, which she must tell her mamma immediately—mamma holding her breath meanwhile, hearing vaguely the murmur of the wind in the arbor and smiling with tenderness as her child approached.

“Mamma,” cried Valentine, throwing her arms around her mother’s neck, and with a caressing and infantine movement mingling the waves of her lustrous hair with the fine, heavy gray curls, “did you not say that the anniversary of your birth would come in two weeks, the second of next month, and that you would love to see Alfred and me choose that day to celebrate our betrothal?”

“Yes, my darling,” replied Madame de Guers gently.

“Very well, dear mamma, it is all arranged; we will exchange our rings on the same day that gave me so dear a mamma. But have you decided anything about the invitations?”

“I have at least thought of them, my child. We will have, I think, the greater part of those of our own society, and especially, you understand, all your young friends.”

“Yes, just as you wish. But is it to be only for the evening, dear mamma?”

“Ah! my little ambitious one wishes to give a whole day to her fête.”

“Indeed I do, mamma; I have dreamed of it even, so I may as well confess. I want particularly in the morning to have those I invite al to myself; I will receive them, lodge them, and serve them with my own hands. O mamma! it will be so nice, in the shady part of the garden, among the flowers, to set the long tables, and have an excellent breakfast, good wine, cakes, a roast, and Pierrot the violinist with his violin, and the baskets all filled with flowers! And my guests will be so surprised, and so pleased, my dear good mamma!”

“But who are they, then?”

“Your old women, dear mamma.”

Madame de Guers’s response was to take the pretty brown head of the charming child in her trembling hands, and to press it tenderly and long upon her lips, while a gentle shivering of admiration and love made her heart beat.

“It is said,” she replied at last; “the table shall be set for fifteen, and there shall be cakes and violins, and [Pg 219] wine and flowers. You shall serve them, my child, and my old people will believe they are at the wedding.”

Then, as the first stars began to dot the pure sky, and the happy and united group rose to leave the perfumed shelter of the garden, Madame de Guers, more joyous and prouder than ever, held back on purpose to let the young people pass before her, while she whispered in the ear of her old friend, who was philosophically taking in the whole scene:

“My good Maubars, did you not say, just now, my Valentine is a treasure?”


Two weeks afterward, the air being of the softest, and the sky most radiant, Valentine received with great joy and pomp her morning guests on this the day of her betrothal. Everything passed conformably to the announced programme: the large table was ornamented and covered with a long white cloth; the light wine of the country filled the glasses; the cakes appeared large and gilded; and the roast was cooked to perfection. At this succulent and cordial banquet the twelve old women arranged themselves in order, and Valentine waited on them, cutting up the mutton in rosy slices, distributing the pieces of cake with her pretty little white hand, upon which shone the golden ring, with its blue stone, that Alfred had sent her that morning to wear until she took the other that would enchain her for life. The poor old gossips feasted with a good heart, and laughed as they tippled, their glasses tumbling against each other; while the sparrows, somewhat ousted, piped in the branches, astonished at so much noise, then dropped gently to the earth to peck at the crumbs of cake that fell in the grass; the violin of Pierrot, seated at his post under the arbor, played for the delighted old women all the minuets, gavottes, and hops of the good old time.

You can judge of the gratitude and general joy.

“God will take you to his holy paradise, good and beautiful young lady!” said mother Périne, as she received from the hands of the pretty child her third slice of mutton.

“What are you saying there, mother Périne?” cried Babet, her usual antagonist. “What kind of wish is that you are making? Better hope for Miss Valentine, as for many others, that paradise will come as late as possible, and that here the dear good young lady will become a great and good matron, and enjoy herself as much as she can in this world.”

“True enough,” said Manou, “for there is the scraping of the violin; and just listen to that pretty gavotte! Oh! in those days when I was but twenty, how I hopped about like a young goat at the first note of the music. Dear me! Miss Valentine, how this good wine makes you young again, and puts the gaiety into you! I do believe, if Pierrot begins that flourish once more, I shall jump up and dance a minuet in your honor.”

So Valentine laughed, and the other old women applauded, and Manou fluttered about in true dancing style. Madame de Guers herself, who was rarely gay, wiped away a joyous tear from her eyes, while a tender and proud smile spread over her countenance. There was only the very, very old Genevieve, who could not laugh, because she had lost her five sons and grown blind in weeping for them. But, with her old wrinkled hand, she had groped for the pretty little one of her young [Pg 220] friend and protectress, pressed it between her own, and repeated in mourning accents:

“Miss Valentine, you deserve to be truly happy; you know how to give blessings like the good God, whose care and pleasure it is to think of the poor.”

Thanks to the pleasure of such a repast and so much time so happily spent, the old guests lingered around the table in the garden, and exceeded the limits of the morning hours. When at last they wended their way homeward, accompanied by the good sister who took care of them, they met on the road several of those invited for the afternoon, friends of Valentine mostly, accompanied by their mothers, in elegant toilets, and coming in great pomp to offer their compliments.

“Why, how is this, my dear? Have the old pensioners of Madame de Guers come to congratulate you?” asked Rosine Martin, one of the young ladies, as she entered and embraced her friend.

“Yes, Rosette, on this occasion I gave them a little fête. They breakfasted here and drank my health; and, do you know, Pierrot played the violin, and old Manou was so excited she actually danced a minuet.”

“Do you hear what Valentine is saying?” whispered Madame Martin to her friend and confidante, Madame Fremieux. “I always thought Madame de Guers put on the airs of a great lady, and, of course, will leave the same to Valentine, as foundress of charitable institutions. Insupportable, is it not? And charity costs something too. It is well to make a parade of it, whether one has it or not; and the question is, whether it is prudent to put such ideas into the child’s head, when she will give her at the very most two poor thousand francs?”

“Provided that charity is a luxury like any other, and often more imprudent than any other,” added, sententiously, Madame Fremieux, while she pulled out with her right finger the crushed ruche of her green satin dress.

“What an odd fancy you have for these old gossips, Valentine!” said Adeline de Malers, another good friend, a pretty young woman with two handsome children, whom she led gaily into the garden. “There they go, charmed with your reception, and repeating your name to all the echoes of the town. Well, it is a good idea while you are waiting and have so little to do, and nothing much to love. See what will become of them when you will be mamma in your turn, my dear!”

“Do you think so, Adeline? I cannot agree with you,” replied Valentine, blushing a little. “My dear good mamma Marie always found time to give me all her care, her love, and her watchfulness, and yet I am sure she never neglected these poor old friends. It seems to me that when one becomes a mother, one desires to heap up a treasure of good actions, and multiply one’s merits and virtues, in order that God may requite the little good one does in graces and benedictions on these dear little heads.”

“You always have a sentimental way of seeing things,” replied Adeline, stooping and arranging with her rosy fingers the white plume that graced the hat of baby; “but I doubt if Mr. Alfred Maubars will give the same light to the chapter; for, my little one, husbands are not nonentities in the future organization of a household; their decrees are inevitable, and must be listened to.”

“O Adeline! do you really think that Alfred would wish to prevent my doing a little good in assisting [Pg 221] the unfortunate?” said Valentine, deeply moved and almost indignant. “He who gave up his project of going to Paris, which we were to do immediately after our marriage? He who promised to give me one-half of what it would cost to make this trip to make a present to dear mamma, and furnish woollen stockings and aprons for the poor little parish children in the winter?”

“O my good Valentine! where you are just now, all this may be. But later, it will not, my dear. Do you see? The most part of the good husbands I know—and there are none too many of them—think charity begins at home. The wife, if she pleases, may give away the old boots and slippers, but woe to her if, in a fit of generous imprudence, she parts with the half of the chicken or the little glass of port that belongs to my lord.”

The joyous Adeline laughed with all her heart as she finished these words, and for a moment Valentine smiled at the lively raillery of her friend. But, M. Maubars and Alfred appearing at the same time at the end of the walk, she fixed on her intended a disturbed, timid, and sad look, asking herself if it could be true, if it could ever be possible, that he who should be her natural confidant in all the sweet and tender inspirations of her heart, in all the Christian aspirations of her innocent and pious soul, should consider it a crime in her to continue to obey the great and holy law of Christ that she had seen practised, every day from her infancy, in her own humble home.

However, this passing distrust of the sweet and charming betrothed was soon dispelled. Alfred approached and presented her a rich and graceful bouquet, and his words as he handed it were so respectful and tender, and his look so subdued and sincere! Then all the young people invited had arrived; they were just finishing the joyous feast taken together on the grass, and already they were preparing for the dance. And now the scraping of Pierrot made way for an harmonious orchestra that resounded sweetly, echoing through the shady bowers. On the branches of the large lindens were suspended light and capricious-looking garlands, in which little red, blue, white, gilded, and green lamps were hung. They looked like stars that had come from heaven to see the fête and smile at the other living stars, the young girls their sisters. M. Maubars had charged himself with this part of the entertainment—an offering not of charity, but one made to youth and pleasure. So, everything passed off as brilliantly as could be wished on such a day; and quadrille after quadrille succeeded each other on the same spot where, a few hours earlier, Manou, recalling her twenty years, had so valiantly executed the rhythmical and bounding steps of the ancient minuet of Auvergne.

And while the young people danced, the older ones talked in the parlor, or complacently looked on while their children enjoyed themselves from the little fringed pavilion with velvet benches that had been prepared for them in front of the greensward. Madame Martin, while admiring from afar her brown and pretty Rosette, had insensibly approached the father of Alfred—and of all the ladies in the town, she had the least sympathy for Valentine, having for a long time nourished very sweet maternal hopes on the possibility of a marriage between Rosette and the young Maubars.

“In truth, dear neighbor,” said she, accosting with an amiable smile the honorable retired merchant, “one [Pg 222] must confess you do things royally. It certainly cannot be these ladies, with their small, very small fortune, who have by themselves given us such a fête as this. And then, it is not according to their tastes. If by accident they should have a little too much money, they would have less pleasure in offering a ball to their friends than a breakfast to their old poor.”

“My dear Madame Martin, when one does as one can, one does as one should,” replied, with a deep bow, M. Maubars, responding to her compliment to himself. “As to these ideas of our excellent friend Madame de Guers, you see, we must not be surprised at them. She has always lived a little above our so-called middle society; she is a woman—how shall I say it?—well, of the old régime. In her devotions, in good works, and perseverance, she has grand ideas; the commandments of Christ, the love of her neighbor, the good of the poor. It is all beautiful, Madame Martin, and sits superbly on a woman like her, grave and dignified, with such handsome white hair.”

“But for the little one—for Valentine—do you think, M. Maubars, that it will suit her as well?” replied, quickly, the lady, with a mocking smile.

“Oh! why not? Everything becomes a child. All these fine devotions are an occupation for the widow and an amusement for the little one. It is much better to direct her by caring for the poor than by ruining the reputations of others and seeking false excitements. Wait till Valentine becomes the wife of Alfred; that will change everything, you know, neighbor. The dear child will only have one end, one duty, one love—her husband.”

“Do you really think so, neighbor?” interrupted Madame Martin, in a jeering tone.

“It is, at least, what all women promise at the altar, madame. And Valentine will do as she promises, I am certain. A child so docile, a nature so pliable, and a heart of gold. Yes, madame; I do not doubt, if my Alfred wishes it, she will prefer the road to the market or the grocery in preference to that of the church. And as to the refuge of which you speak, Madame de Guers will take care of that, as it will be her only occupation. My daughter-in-law will visit it occasionally in her leisure moments.”

“It will become her well to adapt her household to his wishes; for every one knows, neighbor, your son brings her a fortune far superior to her own.”

“Alas! yes, you say truly; her dowry is the only weak point.”

“The little one will have scarcely anything, will she, M. Maubars?” asked the lady precipitately, in her ardent, almost joyous curiosity.

“Oh! a modest cipher, but enough. There is nothing to complain of. If it had been less, I confess I do not know what Alfred would have done. The needs of luxury are so numerous nowadays, and it costs so much to live, my dear lady!”

“Yes, we all know that,” replied the prudent mother. “This is the reason I calculate, and economize, and stint myself every day for the love I bear Rosette. According to my ideas, it is a culpable charity that does not consider one’s own first.”

At the enunciation of this wise maxim, M. Maubars sighed profoundly. At the bottom of his heart he could not help wishing, in the interest of Valentine and Alfred also, that Madame de Guers, his dear old friend, had less tenderness and greatness of soul, less generous [Pg 223] devotion, and a little more worldly prudence and solicitude for the material side of life. Nevertheless, he was careful not to express aloud the secret preoccupations which now and then disquieted him a little; and just then Valentine, leaving the joyous group of dancers, approached him, sweet and charming in her innocent joy and unaffected simplicity. Her steps, delicate and modest, slid silently over the grass, and the golden reflection of the long garlands of light made her muslin dress appear whiter and more transparent, while her brown hair, simply raised and half-crowned with a bouquet of small roses, glittered browner and more lustrous as the tiny lamps threw their rays upon it as she passed. The smile alone of such a charming daughter-in-law could dispel a host of deceptions and fears. In Valentine’s eyes beamed so much candor, love, sweetness, and virtue that in admiring her one forgot the more or less respectable cipher of the promised dowry.

But Valentine did not remain long with the group of talkers seated in the shade; she was looking for Madame de Guers, and ran away promptly when she heard the good old lady had gone into the house.

“Dear mamma, are you ill?” said she, quite distressed when she saw her dear protectress in the little reception-room, carefully wrapped up in a large shawl, pale, trembling slightly, and appearing to suffer.

“Oh! my child, it is nothing; a slight chill—a trifling ailment only. We have had a great deal to do today, and I am tired. Perhaps I took cold sitting so long in the shade of the lindens. Go and dance, my love, for you must replace me and finish the ball. Make my excuses to our guests.”

Valentine obeyed, but she left her mother sadly, with a secret convulsion of the heart, that dimmed her bright eyes and her radiant smile. Two hours after, when, at last, alone on the step of the dear old house, she had said adieu to her guests and was at liberty to run to the room where Madame de Guers already reposed, she saw clearly that this instinctive fear was a realized fact. The sleep of her adopted mother was agitated and painful, her forehead was burning, her eyes half-open, her breathing difficult and accelerated. For the first time in these fifteen years of peace and happiness passed under the friendly roof of the old house, the heart of the young girl sank for a moment under the weight of an unknown grief—of a mortal anguish. Without thinking of her ball-dress, she knelt down at the foot of the bed, weeping in terror, praying to God, and gently kissing, from time to time, the hand of the sick woman, who, in her feverish sleep, muttered words without meaning. And thus she awaited the day—the new day that was to arise for her, and menace her with danger, grief, terror, and anguish.


It had been decided, on the day of the modest betrothal, that the marriage of Alfred and Valentine should be celebrated a week after the Nativity of Our Lady, in September, before the first fogs of autumn had tarnished the verdant woods, and before the vintagers had robbed the robust vines of their golden grapes on the slopes descending to the valley below. But autumn passed; the woods grew yellow and the leaves fell; the joyous shouts of the vintagers ceased to rejoice the hills, and the icy winds of winter blew over the blackened slopes, without Valentine [Pg 224] having sought her white marriage robes. Alas! it was a robe of mourning that covered her now, poor little one! She had again become an orphan; her sweet and careless happiness of the young daughter, the cherished child so tenderly protected, was all gone, destroyed for ever, for ever lost with the last swallows that fled from the woods with the first falling leaves. The most devoted care, the greatest affection and constancy, could not preserve to her this nervous and tender mother, whose life here below was sad enough, and whose death would have been sweet, had she not so felt for and trembled for her child. Her illness, however, had been long and courageously combated, and for some time there was hope of triumph over the disease, until one day, when Valentine was absent on a pilgrimage to a neighboring chapel, a sudden hæmorrhage set in, and Madame de Guers, feeling it necessary to use what strength she had left, sent for several papers, and with pain wrote for her adopted daughter directions which were not to be opened until a month after her death, when the first transports of grief were over.

The fatal moment then came, and by one of the last auroras of September, soft, fresh, and almost veiled, Valentine found herself on her knees by the bedside of the dying, exchanging the last adieux with her tender benefactress, the devoted mother who, from her infancy, had so unceasingly studied her happiness. The poor child remembered no more: grief had completely prostrated her, and she forgot her own existence until one evening, returning to consciousness, she found herself clothed in deep black, and alone with Marianne, the old and faithful servant, who wept low by her side and tried to console her. Then, M. Maubars and Alfred had come, and Valentine felt a secret consolation in the midst of her sadness. It was so sweet, so toning and strengthening, to know one’s self still loved while circumstances had separated her from him upon whom she had lavished such a wealth of affection. It is true the consolations offered by the future father-in-law and betrothed were not of the highest order of morality, and not very profound, perhaps, but they were truly affectionate and sincere—at least, Valentine thought so—so they had power to alleviate her grief and restore her heart’s serenity.

“What would you, my child? We are all mortal,” said the future papa. “But we can still console ourselves, and live almost happy in the love of the friends that remain to us.”

Alfred did not even say as much. But he looked at her tenderly, with a gentle expression of interest and pity; he quietly took the little white and thin hand that lay languidly on her black drapery, and pressed it between his own, while he murmured:

“Poor dear Valentine! Poor friend, so dearly loved.” And these simple words, this look, this affectionate gesture from the friend of her childhood, seemed to open to the heart-broken young girl a new treasure of hope and consolation.

The days, however, rolled on: grief was not less profound, less constant, or less bitter, but it became necessarily more contained, more resigned, was borne more valiantly in secret, giving place to austere duties, they serious preoccupations of life. The time came, naturally, when business had to be spoken of to Valentine. Until then, with respect for her grief and her weakness, they had spared her every proposition, every discussion on the subject.

“I will do all that is necessary,” murmured the poor child. So they [Pg 225] told her she must assist at the opening of the will, which would take place by the notary, in presence of authorized witnesses.

The solemn assembly, therefore, convened on a cold morning of November in the large parlor of the house. A biting and mournful wind shook the windows, and threw against them in disorder the last leaves of the lindens that on the day of the betrothal had balanced so joyously their green perfumed crowns above the gladdened heads of Valentine, her companions, and her betrothed. The last wishes of Madame de Guers were expressed in a manner at once neat and concise. Her little capital of 40,000 francs, placed in rentes on the state, and her house, with all its dependencies, were willed by her to her dear pupil, Valentine Vaudrey, in default of direct inheritors from her own family or from that of her husband. The assistants knew in advance the tenor of the will; nevertheless, after its reading they hastened to congratulate the poor heiress, now overwhelmed in tears.

“Dear good madame knew you well, and she was not wrong,” said the old and honest Marianne, with a convinced air.

“My dear child, hereafter you are quite at home,” added M. Maubars, as he pressed with lively affection the little white hand, quite dampened with tears.

The notary, however, made a gesture with his hand to reclaim still some moments of silence. “The reading of the papers establishing the last wishes of the defunct is not yet completed, gentlemen,” added he, in a grave and measured voice. “I have in my hand a letter written by my respectable client fifteen days before her death, and addressed to her pupil, Mlle. Valentine Vaudrey. Mlle. Valentine will be kind enough to take notice, conjointly with myself and M. the President of the Tribunal or M. the Justice of the Peace, if these last recommendations are not to be considered as bearing upon her affairs.”

Valentine, drying her eyes, raised her pale, noble forehead, and tried to collect her voice, that trembled greatly.

“My good Monsieur Morin, read the letter,” said she, “I pray you. My dear and best friend had no secrets to confide to me, I am sure, and her last wishes should be respected and known by all.”

The notary bowed and broke the seal. With one look he glanced through the writing, and a shade of surprise and anxiety was depicted on his face. Valentine, disquieted in turn, advanced gently, and extended her hand toward the paper.

“Of what is this the subject, sir?” she asked timidly.

“Business; only business, my dear young lady,” stammered the good M. Morin in an embarrassed tone.

“Then read it aloud, I pray you, sir,” said the young girl, tranquil, resolved, and suddenly reassured.

The notary then slowly unfolded the paper, put on his spectacles, and began his reading in the midst of a profound silence, and perhaps anxiety, that reigned just then among the little assembly.

“My dearly loved Valentine,” said the noble woman dead, “forgive me if I open my heart to you, and if, in giving up what has been, after you, the joy and consolation of my existence, I leave you perhaps serious duties, real and profound anxiety. My will, as you no doubt have learned, makes you the one and only heiress to the modest sum I feel so happy to be able to leave you. But you know, my poor dear child, I have besides undertaken, and you [Pg 226] know with what end, a work of mercy that I wished to succeed and prosper a long time, even when my presence and aid would have, by the will of God, been withdrawn from my poor old protégées. This charitable foundation has been for me the object of grave and disquieting cares, that till now I have never found necessary to confide to you. I have just learned that the proprietor of the building that shelters my poor old pensioners, having some speculation in view, has decided to take possession of it and its dependencies himself, or will only permit me to retain it under conditions too exacting to be in harmony with my slender resources. Many people of judgment whom I have consulted have all counselled me to choose another abode and there install my pensioners. If I had found myself, as formerly, alone in the world, I should not have hesitated to do so; but to find a suitable house and pay several debts of my poor little hospital—for times have not been good for a few years past—I should have had to have laid out at least twenty thousand francs, almost the half of my present fortune; and could I deprive you of so important a sum—you, my best loved and only heiress, who cannot have the same reasons for being interested in the existence of the work, and therefore its continuation?

“This idea has not seemed possible to me, my dear child; therefore I have made no reserves, no stipulations in the interests of my poor old dependants, leaving it to your reason, not less than to your generous heart, to decide what you find best to do. Perhaps the advice, the support of the new family into which you are going to enter, of my good friend M. Maubars, whom I have always known so loyal and just, will be at your service, and, without impoverishing yourself, you can aid those whom I have always wished so much to see prosper. Take advice, then, of these friends, my daughter, consult your own faculties, your strength, and, above all, do not precipitate anything. It would have been too painful for me to have died in the thought of relinquishing this work which has been so dear and consoling, therefore I speak to you of it to-day, confident you will understand me in this as in everything else. But, in any event, I hope that Providence will continue to watch over this modest foundation for his glory, and whatever you decide to do, my good and tender child, be assured you will have my approval and my blessing.

“Farewell, joy and consolation of my old years, sweetness of my life, my dear daughter. I will not forget you in the presence of my God, if he will deign to hear my prayers.”

Thus the letter finished, and the sad and continued voice of M. Morin, which seemed to die out in murmurs, was only replied to by the long and bitter sobs of Valentine.

At the end, the young girl, trembling and half-tranquillized, approached the notary, turned toward him her mild countenance, where a timid smile of gratitude and tenderness already commenced to shine as a fugitive and light ray in the midst of her tears.

“Monsieur Morin, in four months I will be twenty-one,” said she. “Perhaps the proprietor of the asylum will wait till then. I shall be free then, will I not, to give the twenty thousand francs necessary for the purchase of the house?”

A profound silence, soon interrupted by a feeble murmur, greeted at first these words of the orphan. M. Maubars rose from his chair, shrugged his shoulders slightly, approached [Pg 227] her, and took her hand with a benevolent and paternal smile.

“Permit me, my dear child,” said he. “You are not—my worthy and respectable friend knew it well—quite competent to decide in matters of business, and you had better, I think—”

“You think perhaps I would do better to install the poor women in this dear old house,” interrupted the generous girl, with her sad and sweet smile. “Monsieur Maubars, I love it too much, this humble abode, too much in truth, I have in it so many sweet recollections, and have passed here so many happy days of infancy. But my poor dear mamma would perhaps be happier to know her old friends lodged and sheltered here, in her own house. So I am quite ready to give it up to them, if you think it right, quite suitable.”

“But no, no, dear good Valentine,” replied the prudent papa, with a very embarrassed air. “My child, you well understand, questions of sentiment should never interfere with those of business. Think, by abandoning this little property, or its equivalent sum, you give up in reality one-third of your dowry—a dowry, permit me to say too, without any grudge, that is already not the most considerable. Think that all prudent people would endeavor to dissuade you from taking this part; that you are not in reality free to accomplish a sacrifice so important and to the detriment of your future family.”

Ah! poor Valentine! had she ever expected such a declaration? At first she listened calmly, then smiled; then as she comprehended these words, that came like a thunderbolt upon her in all their cruelty, her paleness disappeared and gave place to a quick and glowing redness; then this in turn vanished, and she remained cold and white as a marble statue. Then a ray of indignation and grief glanced from her pure eyes, but compressing, however, the sudden beating of her heart, palpitating and growing colder every instant, she replied, still in an uncertain and timid voice, with a firm and serious accent, but caressing and affectionate:

“Free, did you say, my good Monsieur Maubars? Do you not mistake me? Should I not be always free to accomplish my duty, the last wishes of my mother?”

“But allow me ... distinguish,” repeated the future father-in-law, alarmed but yet not discouraged. “There is an imprudent and rash liberty, my dear young lady, and one that is provident and wise. You see yourself that your tender and generous protectress orders nothing, and asks nothing of you. She simply engages you to seek for the best advice of those who are interested in your happiness, in your future destiny, mine amongst others, my dear child. And you know well I am disposed to act toward you as an old friend, as your father. I have a great influence in benevolent societies, am a member of several; nothing easier for me to tranquillize you on the subject of your old women than to make out a little account of the actual state of things, with a few words of my own observation, and have them received without any delay or trouble into the hospital for incurables in this department. In this way, my dear Valentine, you see all can be arranged for the best. You will be relieved from all inquietude as to the fate of the protégées of the excellent Madame de Guers; your little fortune will not be compromised; exempted from every care, free from obligations, you can consecrate your entire time to your duties, to the affections that await you in your new family.”

Valentine listened to every word, her eyes fixed, her lips immovable. [Pg 228] But from time to time a deeper and more sombre shade spread over her eyes, an expression more desolate fixed itself on her lips. When the caressing and persuasive voice of her future father-in-law ceased to be heard, she sadly bent her head, and replied:

“Alas! Monsieur Maubars, I see we can never again understand each other. I am not free, as you appear to think. What my dear and worthy protectress would have done, I must do for her.”

“But, my child, reflect: you cannot sacrifice your little fortune.”

“And this fortune, to whom do I owe it, then—I, a poor, abandoned orphan, who, without the generous protection of this inestimable friend, would have been sent in years gone by where you would place these poor infirm people—in a hospital. Oh! my good Monsieur Maubars, if my benefactress had in dying left some debt of honor that I should pay, would you advise me to cancel the obligation—you who are so just and honorable?”

“But, dear young lady, the case is different; your excessive delicacy leads you astray.”

“It is only different in one respect: it is more grave and solemn. This is a sacred debt that Madame de Guers has contracted toward God and toward the poor, to satisfy the yearning of her soul. To-day this debt is transmitted to me. I recognize it; I receive it with the rest of her heritage; I promise to use, if necessary, all my resources, all my time, all my strength to pay it as I should.”

The young girl, pale though resolute, rose in pronouncing these words, and extended her little hand, that had ceased to tremble, as if she called upon all the strangers assembled to witness her irrevocable decision, her generous determination. The old frequenters of the mansion could scarcely recognize her: she seemed to have grown taller, ripened in a moment, and was transfigured. Her former sweetness, so timid and charming, did not abandon her, but there mingled in it an expression of invincible courage and inflexible integrity; the weak and feeble child had disappeared, and in her place appeared a woman—loyal, intrepid, resigned, ready for every devotion, for every sacrifice, even of the oldest and most cherished affections of her heart.

M. Maubars was undeceived; it was with an expression evidently of extreme surprise and marked discontent that he fell back a few steps and bent his whitened head: “I persist in hoping, mademoiselle, that you will still reflect,” said he, in a tone impressed with remarkable coldness. “Otherwise, you understand, without doubt, our projects must undergo same modification. Consider that such obstinacy on your part is a most unhappy precedent for the well-being and peace of your future household.”

At this brutal menace, at this the saddest moment, perhaps, of her life, Valentine became still paler and her look more sombre, but she neither trembled nor flinched, accepting without a murmur and in silence all the bitterness of the duty she had just embraced. Only, by an old and tender habit of childhood, with the remains of a hope perhaps, her gaze, more eloquent and earnest than ever, was fixed upon Alfred—the friend, the betrothed, whom, for so long a time, she had been accustomed to consult in any sadness or disquietude. But Alfred, before the mute anguish of this regard, was not moved. He bore with his father an air of gravity and dissatisfaction.

“I am sure you will reflect upon [Pg 229] this, Valentine,” he simply said. “You see my father counsels you as a true friend, having only in view your happiness and the preservation of your fortune.”

Then Valentine turned slowly and sadly, without allowing a single tear to escape her, or a single sob that was then swelling in her breast.

“My good Monsieur Morin, my resolution is taken,” said she, her voice at first trembling, but becoming steadier as she spoke. “All the reflections that I could make would only serve to show me my duty, more distinct, more exact, more sacred. In two months, if you wish, we will hear what property had better be sold, and choose a suitable abode for our asylum.... Now, gentlemen, our council is ended, I believe.... I thank you one and all for having accorded me your advice and the support of your presence.”

All the assistants understood that the courageous young girl must be left alone to suffer, alone to weep. They rose simultaneously, bowed to her profoundly with admiration and respect, and went out. Alfred wore already a resigned look of sadness, and M. Maubars betrayed his irritation in his brusque movements and unsteady walk. The echoes of their steps died in the distance, and around the orphan in her mourning reigned only solitude and silence.

“It is all over; they have said it,” she murmured then, and let fall the pent-up tears. “But no! it was to be.... I wished it also. It was my duty—why could he not so understand it? Oh! Adeline told me the truth. God is good to have enlightened me while I am still single and free. Poor mamma, you could not have imagined this. So much the better, for you would have wept so bitterly.”

Speaking thus, she wept and wept, hiding her face in her hands, and sobbing as if her heart would break. The hours flew by, night came, and the November rain fell on the windows, the November wind shook the shutters in the little parlor, formerly so tightly closed, so bright, and peopled with good friends, but now so solemn and deserted, and where the orphan alone must suffer and weep.


Valentine held firm to her resolution; her soul, so loyal and pure, was of those where the courage of devotion, and the love of duty accomplished, united to double the price of the humble virtues, submission, gentleness, and tenderness. To a very polite and respectful letter from Alfred, in which the young man begged her to let him know if she still persisted in her intentions, she replied in simple terms, releasing him from his engagement, and telling him that henceforward she should devote herself to the austere and honorable task bequeathed her by her adopted mother. Notwithstanding her orders to the contrary, one of her best friends forced her way into the house, no doubt with good intentions. It was the lively and joyous Adeline de Malers, in whom, in spite of much prudence and worldly experience, tenderness and benevolence were not wanting, and who would sincerely have desired to conquer what she considered the obstinacy and blindness of her poor dear friend. Adeline took care to bring precious arguments with her to plead the important marriage cause: she led her two dear little children by the hand, with their innocent babbling and sweet smiles, the source of so much delight and maternal felicity. However, Valentine did not yield; her soul was steeped and her resolution [Pg 230] strengthened by the secret prayers and solitude of her affliction.

“My dear,” said Adeline to her at the end of her arguments, “if you grow poor by this foolish liberality, and if, half-ruined, you are obliged to give up M. Alfred Maubars, you will be an old maid, I warn you.”

“I have always been a happy young girl, I can be a tranquil and contented old maid. Happiness has no age,” replied Valentine, with her calm and tender smile.

“My dear, the obliged are generally ungrateful; gratitude from the poor is a rare and uncertain commodity.”

“I know it; but the satisfaction of an accomplished duty is immense, and the grace of God infinite. Besides, I shall be so happy to realize the intentions and to continue the work of my mother, who is in heaven.”

Adeline shrugged her shoulders with a gesture of impatience. “But your poor old folks won’t live for ever, and when the last one has disappeared, your work will be finished, and you will be alone. Besides, in devoting yourself in the flower of your years to their catarrhs and their rheumatisms, do you know, my poor child, what you renounce and what you lose? Come here, Bertha, my treasure, kiss me, Max, you dear little angel.... Look at them now, you wicked little obstinate one, and tell me, as you examine them well, if all the happiness, all the glory of a woman, does not consist in raising, caring for, and cherishing such charming little loves.”

At these words, Valentine drew the little ones to her; kissed each of their pretty white foreheads, and laid her hand gently on their blonde heads; for she had at heart that tender and deep love of children that God has given innocent young girls, in order that one day their most holy duty may become their truest and sweetest happiness. And for an instant perhaps the caressing look that she fixed upon them became more tender, deeper, and more tearful; she stooped then a moment toward the earth; then resumed her serenity, and replied peaceably and with resignation:

“God has given me my children—children, Adeline, who have great need of me, for they are suffering, poor, and feeble. Besides, my good friend, when the last of these poor old people shall have gone, there will remain to me the foundation, the hospital. I will open it then to real children, to young and poor orphans. In this way, I too will have my family—my family blessed by God.”

“It is fanaticism, truly, and I begin to despair of your future, my dear friend,” cried Adeline, surprised and discontented to find her overtures so energetically repulsed. “But, then, why do you persist in remaining in the world, that will only have, believe me, disdain for your heroism, coldness and raillery for your generous devotion? Why do you not at once adopt the cornette and serge of the Sister of Charity?”

“Because, thus far, God has not so commanded me,” replied the courageous child, modest and resigned. “My duty lies near these old women; here my place is marked out; I have nothing else to do but understand, adore, and obey. And since I have friends among my people, I esteem and love them also. Why should these friends abandon me because a sacred duty claims a portion of my time and my strength, and I must consecrate myself to it? My destiny is no doubt changed, but my heart will never change, and from those I should have loved my memory will never be detached; no [Pg 231] rival affection will banish their remembrance, and for them, always, I shall be Valentine.”

Adeline took leave soon after, half-angry, half-impressed, declaring she could understand nothing of the character of such an obstinate girl, who could hide such real perversity, such inexplicable tenacity, under a manner so timid and so gentle. After her departure, the pupil of Madame de Guers read for the last time the solemn message to Alfred, and finished the reply she had already commenced. Not a tear sullied the page whereon slowly and courageously she traced her farewell. Not a start of tenderness or grief agitated the poor little white hand, that so heroically sealed the decree of separation, renunciation, and forgetfulness. Only when she had finished, when there was nothing more to propose or hope for, when the old Marianne, carrying the letter, had disappeared in the fog, near the neighboring quay, she gently approached, with her eyes full of tears, the chimney where the noble and tender face of her second mother, the friend of her youthful years, smiled on her as if to encourage her from under her light glass covering. Before she pressed her trembling lips on the little portrait, she smiled sweetly through her tears.

“It is all finished, mamma,” murmured she. “I will do as you would—hereafter live only for God, and for his poor. You have told me more than once that such is the lot of the elect. I believe you, dear mamma; I love you and I bless you.”

And as the choice of the young girl was made, she lived, as she had said, devoted and valiant, active and resigned. The notary soon came to the conclusion, and made it known to her, that all her resources would be needed for the support of her old people. But what would she have done all alone in the dear old house, much too large for her by herself, and so full of remembrances, rendered so bitter in silence and solitude? Valentine understood what she had to do, and easily resigned herself. The old and peaceable abode, a little enlarged, received on one story the old pensioners of the little hospital, while the young protectress reserved on another her bedroom, her little parlor, and her library: a modest apartment filled with pious relics and sweet and humble souvenirs. And from this moment her life was entirely consecrated to her retreat, to God and the poor; from this moment, too, she openly relinquished all hope of any new situation, any other destiny; and the circle of friends and acquaintances of the little town of C—— ceased to include her among the marriageable.

In obscure cares, in constant labor, in hidden devotions, passed the days, sped the years, and robbed her of her youth. But peace remained, because she was content to establish her abode in the shadow of a Christian roof, and in the love of grateful hearts. It is true—though some of our readers may be permitted to doubt it—that a peace the sweetest, the most delightful, the most constant, and the most sure does not depend on what excites and passes so quickly from earth, but on the true, salutary, and Christian manner in which the soul, wise and resigned, puts itself in harmony with the exigencies of its destiny and the will of its God. Valentine felt this early, and from that time experienced it always. The serene tranquillity of her heart, humble in its desires and contented in its destiny, was never overshadowed by a cloud; it stood proof against any shock, even on the day when, having [Pg 232] finished the reading of the Scriptures to the old Genevieve, she heard in the street, quite close to her, a great noise of carriages, rolling joyously towards the church, from which resounded the sounds of a fête, and, looking out the window to explain the cause of the tumult, she saw in the first of the carriages, ornamented with wedding favors, bouquets, and ribbons, two friends of her childhood: the betrothed of that day, Alfred Maubars and Rosine Martin. There passed over her face a calm smile, vague and almost dreaming; then a fixed and disturbed look, for at the bottom of the page, as she read, were these words: “It is not good for man to be alone.

But almost immediately resounded in her ears the caressing and infantine voices of childhood, those of two little orphans, her cherished dependants, who had taken the places of Babet and Manou, dead full of years, and now quietly reposing in their graves. At the joyous call Valentine was once more herself, and, with a calm smile, bending her head as if she recognized her error, she said:

“Yes, indeed, it would be sad to be alone, but those are never so who know how to love. Dear mamma told me so, and well she knew what she said. Come, Marie, come Louisette, let me say the Angelus with you.” The little ones approached, knelt down, and she laid her hands on their heads, and kissed their browned foreheads. And before she made the sign of the cross she regarded them earnestly, and with a joyful, softened, peaceable, and triumphant gaze, even an expression of indifference and forgetfulness to the carriage that was rolling towards the church, and she rose at last full of gratitude and love of benediction and prayer, and lifted her eyes to the clear and blue heaven that caressed her with its gold-lit rays.


Faith is no weakly flower,
By sudden blight, or heat, or stormy shower
To perish in an hour.

But rich in hidden worth,
A plant of grace, though striking root in earth,
It boasts a hardy birth.

Still from its native skies
Draws energy which common shocks defies,
And lives where nature dies!

E. Caswall.

[Pg 233]





I shall not pass abruptly from my first account, drawn up at the end of March, respecting the tragedy of the Place Vendôme, to that written at the end of May, concerning the invasion of the Madeleine, my detention at the Préfecture de Police and at Mazas, and the transcendent crimes of the Commune which I witnessed at La Roquette.

What was the opinion of the few politicians left in Paris respecting the strange events they witnessed, the accomplices and auxiliaries of the Commune, and the degree of responsibility the national and international element would incur in its follies and crimes?

We must render this justice to the victorious insurgents of the eighteenth of March—that the power of dissimulation was the weakest of their traits and the least of their cares. If they aimed at imitating Carnot, Danton, and Robespierre, they made no pretensions of rivalling Richelieu, Mazarin, and Talleyrand. With a moderate degree of coolness, curiosity, and discernment, it was easy to gain access to their larder, and ascertain the ingredients of the viands to be served up to us each day. They had too slight a dash of moral sense to be preoccupied with questions of honor and propriety. The absoluteness of their aims made them completely insensible to delicacy of means and diffidence as to appearances. Therefore, the politicians who had not fled before the heroes of the Internationale did not waste their time. If they were nearly deprived of action, they could, at least, be observant, communicate the result of their impressions, and acquire a reasonable conviction respecting the operation of the revolutionary engine, with its numerous springs and mysterious propelling forces, not revealed by the press of the Commune, and therefore escaping the attention of the vulgar.

I have already protested against the weakness, blindness, or connivance of the republican mayors and deputies of Paris, who, immediately after the massacres of the Place Vendôme, became reconciled to the agents of the central committee, disbanded and dispersed the battalions of the national guard still faithful to the cause of order, and gave Paris up to an association of adventurers and outlaws, some of unknown origin, others notorious for their conflicts with the laws of their own countries, and all for their savage hatred of every social institution.

Instead of subsequently acknowledging their weakness or error, the majority of the radical republicans continued their campaign against the national assembly with a persistence and hypocrisy that cannot be sufficiently stigmatized. To preserve the republic, they emboldened and strengthened the Commune, thus sacrificing to their political idol the peace, prosperity, honor, and existence [Pg 234] of their country. The Commune did not conceal its affection for such auxiliaries, but its caresses were to some of a more serious and compromising nature.

Formerly, the most ultra never dreamed of giving up their patriotism. It was reserved for the members of the Commune to divest themselves of this old prejudice of all nations. They vehemently demanded, during the siege of Paris by the Prussians, the most extreme measures—a general sortie, “des battailles torrentielles,” and fighting to the last. When conspiracy made them masters of Paris, their violence and ferocity against the Prussians changed to obsequious devotedness and civilities of the most amicable nature. Their dishonest protestations were displayed in the columns of the official journal of the Commune with a coolness that makes one blush. The delegate of foreign affairs treated the Prussians, who had just lacerated and humiliated France, and bombarded its capital, as if they were our most faithful allies, and were sacrificing themselves heroically for our safety.

The generals of the Commune, who had been imprisoned some weeks before by the government of the national assembly as Prussian spies and agents, made no change in their patriotic course. The delegate of war, General Trochu, recalled at the tribune, “is making a series of rigorous arrests, the object of which is to assure to the enemy the freedom the pending negotiations confer on them.”

The politicians and chemists of the Commune proved they had been in a good school by borrowing two ideas of M. de Bismarck and M. de Moltke, the very names of which now inspire horror—the system of hostages and the use of petroleum. To ensure the entire payment of the exorbitant requisitions on the invaded provinces, and somewhat avenge the limited enthusiasm manifested by the humiliated and suffering inhabitants, the Prussians retained the most notable individuals as hostages, and sent them to the prisons of Germany. Citizens Ferré and Raoul Rigault found this system too ingenious and convenient not to be adopted. They took as hostages, and imprisoned them at Mazas and La Roquette, the priests and laymen who, according to the opinion of these servile imitators, had been more devoted to social and national interests than to those of anarchy and demagogism.

Fourteen months ago, a peculiar dictionary was discovered in the headquarters of the Internationale, in which was a list of such words as nitro-glycerine and picrate of potassium, and a recipe for sulphurate of carbon, and the chlorate and prussiate of potassium. At the end of the recipes were these words, significant of the uses to which they were to be applied: “To throw from the windows: to be thrown into the gutters.” If the most formidable of recipes is not to be found there, it is because the citizens of the Commune had not yet learned in the school of Prussian engineers the art of destroying houses and monuments by means of petroleum.

In continuing the account of the horrible deeds of the Commune, I find consolation as a Frenchman in the thought that the murderers and incendiaries of Paris denied not only their God, but their country, and that they were members not only of a criminal, but a foreign league.



In following with serious attention the various evolutions of the Commune, [Pg 235] we are struck by the contrast between its beginning and its end. Its first essays were rather grotesque than frightful. The statesmen most preoccupied about the quicksands on which it threatened to cast society and the nation did not at first foresee the crimes that are without a name, which made its end one of the most sinister pages in human history. The reason is easily understood. Once masters of Paris, the charlatans and rogues that composed the Commune hoped to become the rulers of France. They saw themselves already at the head of a social revolution, and, encouraged by their unexpected success in the seductive cause of pretended renovation, they set to work in earnest. Hence the deluge of strange and incoherent decrees that became a dead letter, and only served to amuse the careless and frivolous Parisian.

But when the generals of the Commune made an audacious effort to seize Versailles and open communication with their numerous agents in the populous centres of the provinces, they were overwhelmed by the army they thought disorganized or won over to their cause, and all their plans were overthrown. The attempts to excite an insurrection in the large cities failed. The Commune could expect nothing more from the intervention of the departments: its rule was restricted to Paris, and the days of its power were numbered. Then projects of hatred and vengeance succeeded those of social renovation. The monkeys of the Hôtel de Ville gave place to tigers. The prophets and apostles of the Commune lost their sang-froid. The foul Felix Pyat exhausted himself in atrocious invectives, and the fiendish Delescluze evidently preferred to blow up Paris rather than give it up to France.

While the emissaries of the radical republicans knowingly deceived France and all Europe respecting the condition of Paris, and were circulating their deceitful and imprudent sophisms, dictated by their admiration for the Commune and their hatred of the national assembly, what was the language of foreign journals that cared for nothing about these internal struggles but exactness and impartiality? The correspondent of the Times was not satisfied with comparing Paris to an infernal caldron, in which seethed all human passions, but thus depicted the armed forces of the Commune: “Besides the old and the young, excited by the phraseology of the first revolution, still novel to them, all the villains in Paris are under arms. I have never seen, even in London, so sinister a collection of faces. These men always seem more or less intoxicated. They have not, perhaps, ceased to be so since the eighteenth of March.” Such is the spectacle in the streets and public places: that of the forts and ramparts is of a still more expressive character: “Man is there only a ferocious animal, everywhere scenting blood. We hardly recognize him, and no longer comprehend him.”

The parish service I directed at the Madeleine after the arrest of M. Deguerry encountered but few difficulties. The Commune only made some insignificant requisitions in a civil manner. The qualification of “citizen director of the church of the Madeleine,” given me in the most solemn manner, enlivened me for an instant in the midst of my cares and griefs.

The success of the Versailles army, in giving joy to the respectable people still remaining at Paris, was a source of danger to them. The Commune concentrated, or rather gave up, its civil and military power [Pg 236] into the hands of the committee of public safety and the central committee. On Wednesday, the seventeenth of May, in going to administer the last sacraments to the daughter of a concierge in the Rue de la Victoire, I found the ninth arrondissement hemmed in by the insurgents, who were making frequent arrests. Thanks to one of the most ultra journals of the Commune that I pretended to be reading very attentively, I passed through their inquisitorial ranks unimpeded.

On the eighteenth, which was Ascension day, the church of St. Augustine was closed, and one of the vicars and the organist were imprisoned. All the offices of the day were celebrated at the Madeleine, attended by a numerous and very devout congregation; but, so far from yielding to any illusion about the fate that awaited me, I begged Dr. B. de L——, a parishioner of the Madeleine, to enable me after vespers to see M. Jacquemin, one of the physicians of the prison of Mazas. There was every reason to believe I should soon require his kind services. I was already acquainted with M. de Beauvais, the second physician at Mazas, whose courageous devotedness I was subsequently to experience, and who had already been so thoughtful as to give me news of the curé of the Madeleine and of the Archbishop of Paris. After my interview with Dr. Jacquemin, I felt some embarrassment about returning to my residence. The Rue de la Ville-l’Evêque was filled with an armed band of the national guards. The house of the Sisters of Charity, opposite the Presbytère, was guarded by two sentinels. The sisters had been expelled, and the girls’ school confided to some citoyennes, who, according to the unruly tongues of the quarter, had been replaced at the prison of St. Lazare by the Sisters of Picpus, who were accused of a series of crimes, each one more extraordinary than the rest. I bought, as on the previous day, one of the ultra journals of the Commune, and, armed with this new kind of a safe-conduct, I took a roundabout way to the Rue la Ville-l’Evêque, in order to avoid the national guards as much as possible. Once their protection would have been eagerly sought against a robber or assassin, but since the reign of the Commune respectable people feared and fled from them as the worst of evil-doers. And the new military organization will doubtless have to undergo a radical transformation, for it will be difficult for it to rise above the moral discredit into which it has fallen.

Some moments after, a Polish priest, who had given himself up with indefatigable zeal to the service of the ambulances, notified me that an order had been signed to close the churches and arrest the priests still in Paris. I went to see one of my devoted confrères, M. de Bretagne, and consult with him about the means of preserving the holy eucharist from profanation. The insurgents had already thrown away or carried off in their cartridge-boxes the sacred elements in some of the churches. At this very time the church of St. Philippe-du-Roule was entered by the insurgents, and for want of priests they arrested two employees who were guarding the church. The Madeleine of the eighth arrondissement was the only church that was still open.

Although, after the arrest of M. Deguerry, a part of the valuables of the church had been carried to a safe place, I employed the first moments of Friday, the nineteenth, in confiding the remainder to some women of the working-classes. I only [Pg 237] left in the church a few valuable objects and several hundred francs. The agents of the Commune had a singular longing for money, and when they could not obtain some bank-bills or gold in their expeditions, the places invaded or the persons arrested had to suffer for such a financial disappointment.

At half-past three, the sacristy door burst open. A tall young man, clad à la Robespierre, with a broad red mantle that half-covered him, advanced at the head of a knot of confederates armed with revolvers, and exclaimed in a loud tone: “The church of the Madeleine is closed by order of the committee of public safety.” I was at that moment supplying the unfortunate people whom the régime of the Commune had deprived of work and bread. I had on my choir robes in addition to my ordinary ecclesiastical costume. The inmates of the sacristy were greatly excited. Some who were waiting to go to confession fled. Only one, the wife of an old prefect of the empire, bravely remained to witness this singular spectacle. I approached the judicial agent, and asked to examine the official decree and see if it was authentic. While I was reading it, I saw in his hands two other decrees of the committee of public safety, one prescribing my arrest and the other the suppression of some newspapers that had not conformed to the opinions of the Commune. I thought the signature was that of Ranvier, the mayor of Belleville, one of the most influential members of the Commune and of the committee of public safety. He was an old bankrupt wine-dealer, who had several times been amenable to the laws, and, like all social outlaws, swore an implacable hatred to society. He acquired great popularity in the clubs, after the fourth of September, by advocating social war, as in the last months of the empire he had advocated the claims of absolute liberty! It was by virtue of this absolute liberty that he had just signed the three decrees, that aimed so many brutal blows at religious, civil, and political liberty.

“Are you the citizen director of the church of the Madeleine?” added the delegate, somewhat irritated at the inspection of the warrant, which seemed to him rather impertinent.

I would willingly have replied like Sganarelle, “Yes and no, according to your wish,” but unfortunately, instead of living any longer in the Paris of Molière, we lived in a city of folly and crime.

“You know perfectly well that the curé of the Madeleine was arrested six weeks ago. It is I who am for the present in his place.” I had not finished these words before he took the second warrant, and exclaimed in thundering tones: “By virtue of a decree of the committee of public safety, the citizen director of the church of the Madeleine is arrested.” The murderers who escorted him, and who belonged to the battalion of the Vengeurs de Flourens, rushed upon me, holding their revolvers against my throat and chest, and bestowing on me a series of names, the most decent of which were “bandit, canaille, crapule, assassin!” One of them, whose stupid ferocity can only be attributed to drunkenness, cried, while endeavoring to adjust his arms: “It is you, vile rabble, who cause the patriots of Paris to be assassinated by the wretches at Versailles: the priests are the murderers of the people: they should all be shot.” I had received these miserable men with politeness and a sentiment of resignation. Their low insults made me flush with indignation and decide to confront them.

“I am not accustomed to hear such language,” said I to their leader. [Pg 238] “If you continue to treat me in this way, I shall seat myself without another word, and force alone shall tear me from this sanctuary.”

He made a sign to his followers to moderate their civic indignation, but without being heeded. I now sought to lead them into a discussion, hoping to appease them and preserve the church from devastation by making them incapable of justifying their acts and outrages. For two hours—hours that seemed ages—I was obliged, under the greatest peril, to defend myself as a man and a priest against these emissaries, who were as ridiculous as they were odious. I will relate the principal points in this interchange of observations.

I first asked why I was arrested. At this question the delegate of the committee of public safety replied by a torrent of accusations and maledictions against the “miserable quarter of the Madeleine, the most hostile in Paris to the régime of the Commune.” He was not wholly wrong in this, for at the last elections the parish of the Madeleine, which comprises about forty thousand inhabitants, did not give more than a hundred votes to the candidates of the Commune. In the eighth arrondissement, where the church is, of about nineteen thousand votes, only five hundred voted for the Communist members. He added: “You must therefore expiate your conspirations in favor of the Versailles assassins.” Here the delegate was no longer right. But it was evident that I was arrested because I was the “citizen director of the Madeleine,” and they would make me expiate the sympathy and concurrence that the parishioners of the Madeleine had the unpardonable offence to refuse the Commune. To gain more time and thus calm their fury, I spoke of political affairs. My observations visibly disconcerted my interlocutors. The epithets, canaille, crapule, and assassin, became more and more rare, and their revolvers, at first so actively and impertinently exercised, were returned by degrees to their cases.

Another incident that might have been fatal to me served still more to disconcert them. During the last half of the reign of the Commune, the affair of the bodies found at St. Laurent, Notre Dame des Victoires, and Notre Dame de Lorette had an unfortunate effect. Disregarding the reports of the physicians and what was clearly evident, the revolutionist papers, the Journal Officiel, and the clubs exclaimed at the scandal. The most abominable crimes were imputed to the clergy, against whom a diabolical persecution was excited by extravagant accounts and vile pictures. In vain were these extravagances met by decisive reasons: the reasons themselves became new subjects of crimination and invectives which gave me great concern.

The vaults of the Madeleine were at this epoch filled with bodies. During the siege of Paris by the Prussians, the bodies of several generals and foreigners of distinction had been deposited there till they could be carried to their distant family tombs. I had for several days dwelt on the explanation I could give respecting these bodies so as to silence these furious madmen, but had found none. The time had come when I needed it.

“It is in this miserable parish of the Madeleine,” exclaimed the delegate of the Commune with a smile of contempt and hatred, “that we shall discover the infamy of the priests. I will bet,” continued he, turning toward his agent, “that we shall find here more horrible things than at St. Laurent and Notre Dame [Pg 239] des Victoires. Citizens, let us go down into the vaults!”

The ray of light that I had sought for in vain the three previous weeks all at once beamed into my mind, I found the reason I needed. Though in the power of the dangerous agents of the committee of public safety, I blessed God for his protection.

“I have two observations to make to you,” I replied. “The first is that you will find in the vaults of the Madeleine many more corpses than in the other churches....”

I can still see the delegate laughing with fiendish satisfaction at these words till he nearly fell backwards. “I told you, citizens, that there was more infamy in this church than anywhere else!”

“The second observation, sir, concerns you personally, and from a motive of charity I think it a duty to draw your attention to it. I warn you that several of these bodies belong to illustrious families in Spain, Italy, England, and America, and, if you are rash enough to disturb them, it is with these foreign powers, and not with me, you will have to deal.”

In his place I should have endeavored to dissimulate my embarrassment by doubting this assertion, and requesting to be assured of the fact. But he was not constrained in the least. He waved his hand with a triumphant air, and, as if it were I who proposed to violate the tombs, he exclaimed in the most sonorous manner: “Yes, yes, the Commune will protect these bodies; they shall be protected!”

After this incredible instance of foolishness and incoherency, we may stop. I will only beg pardon for mentioning one of the moral reflections made by one of the emissaries of the Commune at the commencement of this scene. I had occasion to pronounce the name of God. “Stop,” said he to me, flourishing his revolver, “if God existed and should descend here, it is he I would shoot first!”

It was half-past five. My situation became less critical. These men, at first so ferocious, now treated me with politeness. The most brutal seemed almost ashamed of having insulted me. I was able to request the national guards appointed to watch over the Madeleine not to allow anything to be removed or desecrated. I also begged that the faithful employees of the church might have the liberty of returning home. The delegate charged to arrest me could no longer deceive himself. He became almost affable. I will not mention his name. He sufficiently dishonored the family from which he sprang by his deeds. A week after, by a coincidence worthy of note, he directed from the Madeleine the fight on the Boulevard Malesherbes. More strongly resisted than he had expected, he found himself with two of his agents hedged in by the Versailles troops, and sought shelter in the cellar of the church. An officer of the line shot him with a revolver, fracturing his skull. This prodigal child had become hardened in sin: unworthy of pardon and mercy, he had become incapable of repentance.

I arrived at the préfecture de police at a quarter past six, accompanied by a staff-officer of the Commune. I was as yet but little preoccupied about my situation, but when told that I was to appear at once before citizen Ferré, the préfet de police, who was regarded by men of penetration as another Robespierre, I felt that my case was extremely grave, and that, having but little to hope from man, I should confide myself to the protection of God.

[Pg 240]



It is no easy matter to describe the singular scene at the préfecture de police, usually so quiet, so disciplined and solemn. This establishment had become noisier and more picturesque than a fair-ground. By way of contrast with the usual proceedings, robbers and other criminals now issued decrees of arrest and imprisonment, and they who were arrested and imprisoned were lovers of order and their duty.

The entrance was guarded by a crowd of national guardsmen, who had stopped drinking and smoking to laugh at the unfortunate victims of the hatred of the committee of public safety, who were arriving in large numbers. I had seen at the Madeleine the delegate who ordered my arrest give the staff-officer appointed to conduct me a five-franc piece to pay for the carriage. This honest man found it more suitable to leave this expense to his prisoner, and keep the five francs himself. It was a little contribution to the expenses of the war that I cheerfully paid. Like the misanthrope of Molière, I was almost glad to see the masters of Paris throw off the mask and add niggardliness to all kinds of violence. It was pleasant to be able to testify that a staff-officer of the Commune, the friend of Ferré and Raoul Rigault, the confidential agent of the committee of public safety, and one of the great dignitaries of the prefecture de police, committed a theft at my expense, and with an unceremoniousness that could not be found among the robbers and pickpockets of the worst quarters of the barriers.

After waiting three hours, I was summoned before citizen Ferré, the member of the Commune delegated to the ex-préfecture de police, which signifies in common language the préfet de police. He appeared to be from twenty-six to thirty years of age. He was no longer the ten-years student and the burlesque writer for the small journals of the Latin quarter, who gave himself up to pleasure on those rare festivals when the proceeds of his pen allowed him to revel at the public balls at the crossway of the Observatory. He had exchanged his worn clothes for a more elegant suit, his old pointed hat for a cap with gold spangles. Carelessly seated in a superb arm-chair in the luxurious office where Delessert, Maupas, and Pietri had labored, he gave orders to his subordinates with the solemnity and self-sufficiency of a pasha. I am mistaken; the great pashas I saw while travelling in the East were only inferior rulers beside him; he realized with admirable precision the fantastic idea I had formed of a Chinese mandarin of the first class.

After making a salutation which he doubtless did not find proportionate to his dignity, I requested permission in respectful and sufficiently humble tones to appear as promptly as possible before the juge d’instruction. He interrupted me in a dry and haughty tone: “Be silent, citizen. You are here to listen to me, and not to talk!”

I had never met with so humiliating a reception. It is true I had never been in the presence of insolence personified. I immediately drew from my pocket a number of the Journal Officiel de la Commune which I had been carefully keeping for three days, and which contained a recent decree by virtue of which all individuals arrested should appear before the juge d’instruction within [Pg 241] twenty-four hours or be restored to liberty.

“I wished at first, sir,” I firmly replied, “to solicit a favor, now I claim a right. By virtue of the decree of the Commune which I am going to read to you, I demand the right to appear within twenty-four hours before a juge d’instruction.”

Our arrogant mandarin shrugged his shoulders, and smiled, as if to say, “Here is a simpleton who still believes in the decrees of the Commune!”

“Captain, conduct this citizen to prison,” was his only reply. On Wednesday, the twenty-fourth of May, at half-past seven in the evening, I noticed through the bars of my cell my mandarin transformed into a bloodthirsty tiger, crossing the court of La Roquette and giving orders for the immediate execution of the Archbishop of Paris, M. Bonjean, M. Deguerry, and their three companions.

My situation assumed a more gloomy aspect than I had anticipated. I had been arrested as one of the last hostages, and was at the mercy of a band of ruffians who were exasperated to madness by the approach of the Versailles army. I did not lose courage in my misfortunes. Convinced by the example of the staff-officer who had robbed me of five francs that I still had one means of alleviating my lot, I henceforth placed all my confidence in the infinite mercy of God, without forgetting a generous distribution of pieces of a hundred sous. I immediately slipped two into the hands of my jailer, who was profuse in his bows, and gave me an exceptional testimony of his gratitude, in his way, by shutting me up in the cell that had been occupied by M. Deguerry. I told him that, lacking everything, I must absolutely write my friends that evening, and begged him not to send my letter through the office. As he objected, I told him I needed money, and, if I were not at once supplied, I should not be able to acknowledge, as was my practice, the kind services of the good officials with whom I had to deal. At this, what had been impossible was instantly effected.

I wrote to the Presbytère of the Madeleine for money and other effects; then I added what I considered very important, and wished not to be seen at the office, that they must not speak to any one of my arrest, or write me a single line, or, especially, take any steps for my release. To pass unperceived and confounded in the crowd of prisoners was my only chance of safety. I remained faithful to this principle to the end.

Having had no food since ten o’clock in the morning, I asked for something to eat. They told me it was too late, that the dinner was at five o’clock, and the regulations allowed nothing afterwards. The same accident occurred several times, and owing to other obstacles I was no more fortunate about sleeping. I will say, for the edification of those who wish to get an idea of the régime of the Commune, that at the end of ten days’ imprisonment I returned home, after having dined twice and slept two hours and a half. My friends declared that I looked ten years older; but, knowing the truly French elasticity of my temperament, I consoled them with the assurance that ten days of freedom would make me ten years younger, which has proved true.

During the night, prisoners were continually being brought in. Among them were some members of the national guards of the Commune, who, through insubordination and drunkenness, became my companions in captivity. They kept up a terrific [Pg 242] noise. Some cried as loud as they could bawl: “Vive la République! Vive la Commune!” Others thought they were at a club, and, all speaking at once, advocated in discordant tones the abolition of capital, the death of the priests, the freedom of woman, and other benefits of social revolution.

Just after midnight, a confederate officer was brought into one of the neighboring cells who was indebted to too copious libations for the eloquence of a Demosthenes and the strength of a Hercules. This patriot thought himself confronting the Prussians, among whom he made frightful carnage. “Now it is your turn, you bully of a Bismarck! Now you, William, you rascal! You shall see what a patriot and a republican can do!” Then he would throw himself on to the door of his cell, and pound and kick it. This continued till daybreak. The heroic avenger of the national honor made me forget for a time the singular insolence of Ferré, and more than once I laughed at his manly eloquence and glorious feats in battle. I took pleasure in retaining, in the midst of the extravagances and crimes of the Commune, a bitter remembrance of the crushing and humiliating proceedings of Prussia.

On Saturday morning I wrote to M. Moiré, the juge d’instruction, asking to be heard in the course of the day. At half-past three I received a reply. It was an order to Mazas. No illusion was longer possible. The advocates of legal forms must expect to be shot without form—a respect for which would doubtless have been a poor consolation in falling under the bullets of assassins, but it is well to observe that such judicial modes are unknown among the cannibals themselves. Among the prisoners who accompanied me were, with other ecclesiastics, the Abbé Laurent Amodru, the vicar of Notre Dame des Victoires, and the Abbé de Marsy, the vicar of St. Vincent de Paul. Both came to me and manifested a sympathy that began to cheer the gloomy perspective of Mazas. M. de Marsy was full of animation, and his cordial devotedness was of more benefit to us in a moral than a material sense. And I became inseparably attached to M. l’Abbé Amodru. He was my neighbor again at La Roquette, and his encouraging example, even more than his precious religious ministrations, aided me in enduring the greatest trials in that fearful abode. I wish to give him a public testimony of my profound gratitude. We were transported in one of those cellular vehicles, the very sight of which inspires horror and disgust, and arrived at Mazas at half-past five. They kept us shut up nearly two hours in a kind of grated cage, which made me wish for one of those which contain the wild beasts in the Jardin des Plantes.

Though separated from one another, we were able nevertheless to exchange some words. “It is an indignity,” exclaimed a young national guardsman, who had refused to serve the Commune, “to shut us up in this way as if we were robbers!”

“Cheer up,” replied an old man with a cultivated and sympathetic voice. “In these days, honest men are placed here, and robbers are left without.”

Exhausted with fatigue, I could neither sit down, lie down, eat, nor read. I can understand these rigorous precautions for the disciples of Cartouche, Troppman, and Dumolard. Would there have been any great social danger in shutting us up in an apartment where there was a bench? I learned afterward that the Archbishop of Paris had the same [Pg 243] preliminary ceremony to undergo, which almost reduced him to agony. When my turn came to go to the register’s office, I was very much exasperated, and not at all disposed to conceal my dissatisfaction; and I had begun to observe that mildness and patience only served to aggravate our troubles with the emissaries of the Commune, while a timely and vigorous protestation obtained some alleviation. The registrar, in taking a long and minute description, demanded my name—“The Abbé Lamazou, Vicar of the Madeleine.” I never failed to articulate this title distinctly. It edified some, irritated others, and proved to all that by my profession I did not necessarily belong to the family of those accused of robbery, brigandage, or assassination, for whom the prison of Mazas was intended.

Having entered the establishment, they pointed toward a door. I supposed it was my cell. By no means: it was a bath-room. As vagabonds and criminals are not always models of neatness and health, I understood the necessity of making them take a bath at their entrance into prison. I also comprehend that recourse may be had to this easy means of ascertaining if a dangerous criminal has not concealed in his clothes some weapon or some document that may compromise him. When the warden ordered me to undress in order to take a bath, I was for a moment confounded. The sight of a dirty bath-room and a smoking rag, that perhaps had just wiped the body of some foul vagrant of the barriers, quite restored my energy.

“I will not take a bath.”

“The regulations require it: you must submit to them.”

“I tell you once for all, that I will not take a bath, if you shoot me.”

“Well, in your place I would act the same,” replied the warden in a most friendly tone. “I am distressed at all that has been going on here for some time. Only, as the director of the prison is a furious partisan of the Commune, if he were aware of your resistance, he might subject you to rigorous treatment. I will close the door for a few minutes, and you will be reported as having taken your bath.”

I thanked him warmly. Some wardens of the former administration still remained at Mazas and La Roquette. They not only manifested a cordial respect for us, but rendered us the most valuable assistance. Of all the marks of sympathy that I received after my deliverance, none affected me more than the letters and calls of my old wardens of Mazas and La Roquette. Among those who came to see me was the warden of the bath-rooms at Mazas. There were then, among the hordes of the Commune, who were a disgrace to the human race, some men who honored it by their conscientiousness, their courage, and their moral dignity.

Although the day was nearly at an end, I was not at the end of my tribulations. The cell in which I was shut up seemed most objectionable. It was exceedingly cold, and, as I had been laid up with an attack of bronchitis, it might bring on inflammation of the lungs. It was on the ground, and immediately facing the interior entrance to the main part of the prison. I knew the populace might take Mazas by force and give a second edition of the days in September. I should then be one of the first at hand. Finally, and this was decisive, I had fallen into the hands of a Communist warden, who, seeing me exhausted, having had no nourishment since morning, gave no other proof of his solicitude [Pg 244] than examining my pockets, my books, and even my portemonnaie.

The next morning I asked to see one of the physicians of the prison. It was Dr. de Beauvais’s day, whom I had already seen at the Madeleine. As he was under the surveillance of the agents of the Commune, I made no sign of recognition. I made known to him the intolerable treatment I had received, the bad state of my health, and the physical impossibility of remaining in my cell. I added that I simply wished to inform him of my situation, but by no means to claim a favor.

He replied that, in consequence of my state of health, I had a right to change my cell. He ordered one to be given me in the first story.

The energy of my language had such an effect on the infirmarian and pharmaceutist of the prison that they hastened to manifest their sympathy. My new warden was perfect. In spite of the severity of the discipline, I could, thanks to them, obtain news of M. Deguerry, Mgr. Darboy, Mgr. Surat, and of M. Bayle, the vicar-general of Paris, who was in my neighborhood. Hitherto I could only give an idea of their trials and those of the other hostages of the Commune by relating my own, only most of them had been incarcerated seven weeks, and I only four days.

Sunday was, relatively speaking, a comfortable day. I guessed, on Monday morning, from the general sound of the tocsin, that the Versailles troops must have entered Paris. The pharmacist and wardens confirmed the supposition. “Courage,” they said to me, “perhaps in a few hours, or to-morrow at the latest, you will be free.”

I offered up my thanksgivings to God, and hailed the first dawn of light on Tuesday as the happy day of my deliverance, and the deliverance of all my companions in captivity.



A brilliant sun lighted the prison of Mazas. We were, then, about to return to Paris, from which we seemed a thousand leagues distant, though within its limits; we were to behold once more those who were dear to us, and endeavor, according to the measure of our strength, to heal the moral and material wounds made by the most shameful and odious of régimes that ever burdened a civilized people. I forgot all my fatigues, all my sadness, all my anguish, in the reawakening of hope and life. I prayed with the enthusiasm of an exile who had despaired of ever seeing his country again, and to which he was, by an unexpected event, about to be restored.

At a quarter before ten, the door of my cell was opened. A warden I did not know ordered me to collect my effects and go down. My deliverance, then, was nearer at hand than I had hoped. All my things were packed in a few minutes. I took all the money out of my purse except enough to pay for a carriage and give the driver a generous pourboire. I was too happy not to wish to make those around me happy. In descending I distributed all the money I possessed. They shut me up in one of the compartments of the prison parlor. After some minutes, they took me to the director, who asked me if I had any observations to make. “None,” said I, “unless that I am ignorant why I am brought here.”

His face, and the faces of the [Pg 245] agents who surrounded him, seemed very ferocious, but I knew they had been indebted to the insurrection for their places at Mazas, and must therefore be dissatisfied to see Paris restored to France and to itself. In my heart I pardoned all the ill that had been done me. Nevertheless, one thing astonished me, that I did not see Mgr. Darboy, M. Deguerry, or Père Olivaint, or any of the priests who had been transported with me from the préfecture de police to Mazas. I spied a warden I knew. I asked him where I might expect to find the curé of the Madeleine. He replied with tears in his eyes: “He left last evening with the archbishop and several other gentlemen! May God watch over you!”

I could not describe the impression made on the happiest of men by this mysterious reply and the frightened appearance of the warden. I questioned him, but he disappeared in a passage. What had happened to my companions? What was going to happen to me?... I sought an explanation to this mystery—but it was beyond my comprehension. Suddenly a word, a single word, pronounced, I know not by whom, I know not where, resounded in my ear like a thunderbolt: “La Roquette!”... To this voice from without, an interior voice instantly replied: “La Roquette, the prison of those condemned to death!”...

This frightful thunderbolt, which precipitated me into an abyss a thousand times more fearful than that from which I thought I had issued, was enough to dismay a nature more strongly tempered than mine. I was dismayed and broken down, and yet, after the poignant griefs and enervating perplexities that had overwhelmed me for two months, I had at least the advantage of knowing my certain fate. My conscience gave me the consoling testimony that I was a victim of my fidelity to duty; my courage revived at the thought of the numerous and illustrious captives who had suffered more than I, and whose examples I only had to follow to die as a priest and a Frenchman. I cried with the royal Psalmist: “But I have put my trust in thee, O Lord: I said: Thou art my God, my lot is in thy hands.” This lifting of my heart to God sufficed to give me firmness and the serenity of Christian resignation.

When they shut me up in one of the grated cages in the vestibule of Mazas, the warden charged with this painful task secretly pressed my hand, and informed me that the Archbishop of Paris, the curé of the Madeleine, and most of the other hostages had gone to La Roquette, where we were now to be taken. His pressure of my hand and the consternation of his face were more eloquent than all he could say. It was a comfort truly providential to find the Abbé Amodru again in the cage next mine. Our impressions were the same. Thanks to the signs we agreed upon when we left the préfecture de police, we could give each other absolution. We must find ourselves in the presence of death to comprehend the nothingness of all human things; there is then no longer any difficulty in praying, in repenting, in pardoning our fellow-men, and in trusting wholly in the mercy of God.

One by one the cages opened and shut with a lugubrious noise, and I was surrounded with hostages destined for La Roquette. I was surprised to find several under complete illusion respecting our situation. Some thought we were about to be restored to liberty, and others did not seem to comprehend the significance of [Pg 246] our being sent to La Roquette. It was not best to enlighten them yet, but I resolved to do so at a later moment. With almost certain death staring us in the face, I thought it proper, and especially more Christian, to modify my attitude. Until now I had taken an energetic stand against the agents of the Commune, and sometimes expressed my indignation. I now resolved to speak but little, to pray a great deal, to encourage those of my companions who should need it, and to arm myself with patience and meekness toward our persecutors.

The charitable young pharmacist of the prison, who, the night before, so gladly announced our approaching liberation, was stationed in a corner of the vestibule to give us a last proof of his sorrowful sympathy. This was not only a kind but a courageous act at a moment when a single smile of compassion might be regarded as treason. A week after, a young man, kneeling by the body of M. Deguerry in the lower chapel of the Madeleine, stopped me to express his joy and his grief. It was the pharmacist of Mazas.

An enormous cart, surrounded by armed national guards, awaited us in the first court. I at once bethought myself of the carts that during the Reign of Terror conveyed the victims of the committee of public safety to execution. And we too were to go in the same direction, toward the Barrière du Trône. Such coincidences could not fail to strike any one familiar with our revolutionary history. Fifteen prisoners mounted the cart, among whom I noticed M. Chevriaux, the principal of the Lycée at Vanves, who bravely wore his ribbon of the Legion of Honor; Père Bazin; M. Bacues, the director of St. Sulpice; an honest workman, and some members of the national guards, guilty of not having sacrificed to the idol of the day. They were mostly ecclesiastics.

We were told that the reason we had not been sent to La Roquette the night before with the first hostages dispatched was that a third vehicle could not be procured. Mgr. Darboy, Mgr. Deguerry, Mgr. Surat, and M. Bonjean had suffered very much at Mazas: the prolonged severity of the prison discipline had, in particular, shaken the archbishop’s health. They had been obliged, only a few hours before his departure for La Roquette, to apply blisters to him. But they all showed themselves, by their firmness and patience, superior to their sad condition.

At the sight of M. Perny and M. Houillon, apostolic missionaries in China, whom the Commune had stupidly arrested on their way through Paris, M. Deguerry said to Mgr. Darboy: “Only think of those two Orientals coming to seek martyrdom in Paris! Is it not curious?” On the way, they had to encounter the threats and outrages of a rabid mob. Men en blouse, ragged children, and women, or rather furies, wished to stop and enter the vehicles: “A bas les chouans et les calotins!”—“Stop, we wish to cut them in pieces!”

It was revolting, monstrous, and yet something still more hideous was reserved for us. We were insulted in our turn, not by the multitude, but by the national guards who had charge of us. I could understand the threatening attitude of an over-excited mob, led away by its bad instincts and the speeches of demagogues, but I had never seen, or thought it possible, that an armed force could basely insult and threaten those whom they were officially deputed to escort to a place of punishment. I had not suspected such a degree of vileness in human nature, [Pg 247] and felt rather humiliated than indignant. “Ah! citizen,” said one of these tigers armed with a képi and a chassepot, “you reckon on the arrival of the Versailles assassins! Well, this morning we cut them off at the Porte d’Auteuil with our mitrailleuses: twenty thousand prisoners are in our hands. The chouans and their accomplices will have the fate they merit.” An ecclesiastic of the Faubourg St. Antoine, who had been embittered by his trials, wished to take up for the Versailles army. I tried to make him comprehend that reserve and silence were the safest and most suitable course for us.

I asked the national guardsman at my right the quarter he was from. He replied that he belonged to the battalion of Charonne. It was more and more manifest that the old suburbs of Paris ruled and kept Paris in terror. The quarters St. Martin, St. Antoine, and St. Marceau were no longer rulers of this great city, but the citoyens of Belleville, Montmartre, La Villette, Ménilmontant, Charonne, and Montrouge, that is to say, the districts that a few years ago were not a part of Paris, that had municipalities and material interests distinct from Paris, and had made a most vigorous resistance to their annexation to the city. But the head of the second empire conceived a pride in reigning over a capital containing two millions of inhabitants, and the thickly settled suburbs were violently annexed to Paris. He wished to eclipse Babylon and ancient Rome. To make his way through his capital, innumerable boulevards must be opened, bordered by sumptuous edifices. To seek the fresh air of the Bois de Boulogne, he must traverse immense avenues peopled with all the wealthy idlers in the world, and consequently new legions of workmen were summoned from every point of the compass, who concentrated themselves like an army ranged in battle in the annexed zone.

A humble journalist, I had pointed out, as a great social danger, the tendency of the empire to separate Paris into two parts, one peopled by the aristocracy and bourgeoisie, and the other by workmen, outcasts, and the dissatisfied from the entire world. My criticisms and sad forebodings were recompensed by officious remonstrances, domiciliary visits, and the seizure of my papers. The course of the empire had, then, been fatal to France in a political point of view, since compression had only served to debase its inhabitants and organize all kinds of social conspirations; fatal in a religious point of view, for the affairs of Rome alarmed the consciences of Catholics, and the clergy, so respected in 1848, became the objects of prejudice and hatred, the bitter fruits of which we were reaping; and fatal in a military sense, for France was humbled and crushed by a foreign power.

I will declare, for the political honor of the eminent men whose opposition to the empire I shared, that at the time I thought I was about to be put to death in prison and render the Supreme Judge a strict account of my actions, far from regretting a stand that some of my friends and ecclesiastical superiors had blamed and treated as “passion politique,” everything at Mazas and La Roquette, everything in Paris and the whole of France, assured me I had not taken a wrong course; that, on the contrary, I had served the cause of religion and of my country.


[Pg 248]



During the course of the year 1857 we published in these pages an exhaustive article on the philosophy of Baader. Before the article was sent to press, the editor of Baader’s complete works gave to the public the author’s correspondence in another volume, the appearance of which occasioned the most painful surprise among the admirers of the great thinker. The book showed that, in his later years, Baader’s mind was out of harmony with the church; and that his tone towards it had grown to be one of bitterness even. As was wont to be the case in those happier days, the editors of these pages turned to Dr. Döllinger for an explanation of the glaring contradictions between the earlier and later views of Dr. Baader. The result was a postscript to the article above referred to, written by Dr. Döllinger, and which may be seen in the fortieth volume of the Historisch-Politische Blätter, p. 178.

In this postscript, Dr. Döllinger pointed out from the correspondence itself what were the reasons of the change, and showed that Baader’s animosity against the church rested only on extraneous and accidental causes, and had nothing to do with his philosophy. “No further key”—these are Döllinger’s concluding words—“will be needed to understand how the broad chasm that separates the calm convictions of the ripe man in his prime from the passionate, almost childlike, outbursts of mental impotence of the old man in his decline, was overleaped.”

These lines were written by Dr. Döllinger thirteen years ago, and we have often read them since. Step by step, he has himself proceeded in a course towards the church which he so severely censured in the philosopher of Munich.

The fall of the two men is to a certain extent the same. The gray-haired church historian, too, is separated by a great chasm from what he was in his prime—at a great distance from the convictions that guided him when he was in the zenith of his intellectual power.

His deportment and language betray signs of ungovernable passion, incompatible with the self-possession of a man who understands his own mind.

We have a right to seek in his case, also, for a psychological solution of the change that has left him the very reverse of what he was. In his case, as in that of Baader, it will be seen that the reasons have nothing to do with his erudition as a church historian; that they are of a purely “extraneous and accidental character.” But, indeed—and this is the great difference between the two—in Baader’s case, the motives were of a private, domestic nature; in the case of Döllinger, they are of a public and political nature. To express it in a word, it is the spirit of the times and of the world that has carried Döllinger into the fatal gulf. Döllinger’s fall, his breaking off from all he was in the past, is only a piece of the political history of Bavaria during the last twenty years. The Council and the definition of the 18th of July have only hastened the matter; they [Pg 249] have merely given the disease, in its crisis, an acute form; but, without them, the break would still have taken place; for a current of thought had set in in Döllinger’s mind which would have necessitated it. When, therefore, we are asked how it happens that a highly learned and highly respected man, like Döllinger, in the enjoyment of a completely independent position, could cast himself into a current running counter to his whole previous life, our answer is very simple; for, from the very beginning of a certain period in the history of Bavaria, every true Catholic was called upon to bear his cross with the church; and it is not given to every one to choose being put in the background when he needs only to yield in order to reap his share of the honors of this world.

It was beyond a doubt impossible for Döllinger to add anything to his reputation for learning. Was he not the head and ornament of the Catholic school of Munich? And, by the way, it is beyond a doubt that that school had taught as a body, concerning the ex cathedrâ decisions of the Holy See, neither more nor less than is now required by the decrees of the Council of the Vatican. Witnesses can be found for every day and year, from among the students of the Munich theological faculty, from the Bishop of Mainz down to the humblest parish priest, to show from their notes and memoranda that Döllinger himself taught exactly what the Archbishop of Munich requires him now to subscribe to. Whoever questions the infallibility of the Papal decisions contradicts the present and past testimony of the church, and must deny the infallibility of the church itself—such was the view of the whole Munich school; such was Döllinger’s own view.

If Döllinger’s present views were correct, the immunity of the church from error could not for a moment be maintained, no matter where it might be claimed its infallibility resided. Döllinger subordinates the church to science and the decisions of the church to the final judgment of the learned, more especially to the final judgment of historians. Such is his theory, and such, practically, his answer to his ecclesiastical superiors.

Not without reason, therefore, does the Archbishop of Munich in his pastoral, dated Palm Sunday, say: “In this manner the church’s divine commission and all Catholic truth is called in question.” It cannot for a moment be doubted that a man who speaks as does Döllinger in his declaration of the 28th of March last, has lost completely the Catholic idea of the church. The only difference between him and the Protestants is that, in addition to the Bible, he admits, tradition, “the unanimous consent of the fathers,” to be a source of religious truth; and this a Protestant may also do, provided no external authority be constituted the court of final appeal; and Döllinger in fact claims that there is no such court, since he subordinates both Pope and Council alike to what he calls “science.”

In point of fact, however, even if not expressed in precisely those words, these were Döllinger’s views years ago. We long since foresaw what was coming, and just as it has come. It was then a matter of no little surprise to us that his course caused no uneasiness even in ecclesiastical circles; and that no importance was attached to the remarkable revelations to which we now call attention, although the circumstances attending and the persons concerned in them were calculated to invest them with a character of the highest [Pg 250] importance. We have already referred to the revelations in question as throwing light on the internal history of Bavaria, and on Döllinger’s dangerous complication with certain tendencies of the late government; but we must return to the subject, and treat it more particularly. We refer especially to the academical oration held by Dr. Döllinger on the 13th of March, 1864, on King Maximilian II.

In his oration, he happens to speak of the remarkable interest felt by the deceased monarch in historical research, and reveals to the world a very strange, “a more secret” motive for the royal interest. The reader, to understand the full bearing of the history which we give below entire on Döllinger himself, must bear in mind the peculiar characteristics of a man who has lived more among his books than among men. It would be hard for any one to be more subject to external influences than Döllinger is, and, at the same time, to be less conscious of their presence or effect. He unconsciously puts forth to-day, as the result of his own experience, what he happened to hear expressed yesterday by another. Döllinger is always the product of his surroundings, and hence his change, as he lost his old friends, one after another, by death or by alienation, and fell in almost exclusively with the society of the so-called “Bernfenen.” This explains also how it came to pass that many younger men, and the members of the scientific guild—for example, his little Mephistopheles, Huber—exercised so unwarranted and increasing an influence over him. Bearing all this in mind, it is impossible to overestimate the effects and influence of the overtures which King Maximilian made to Dr. Döllinger. He was completely intoxicated by them, and his new friends found means to prevent his return to his sober senses. The impression made on Döllinger in the conference in question must have been the more lasting, as Döllinger, the acknowledged head of the Ultramontane party, could not have hoped to stand any higher in his majesty’s favor than any other of that abused class. To express the whole matter in a few words, we are convinced that the careful observer will discover the later as opposed to the earlier Döllinger in the following account, or in his cradle.

The following extract is from the oration above referred to:

“As I have permitted myself to refer to the deeper thoughts which guided the king in his government, and especially in his attitude towards science, I may also recall certain other communications which I received from his own mouth. An upright, faithful Christian, he believed in the lasting future of Christianity, and, therefore, could not conceive that its divisions and the struggle of the different confessions should continue for ever; that Christians should waste their powers in mutual injury. The division, he was of opinion, had had its time, and God had permitted it for some high purpose; and that time, even where not entirely past, was near its end; and he believed firmly that in spite of all polemical bitterness, in spite of the sordid spirit of self which had intruded itself into the controversy, the day of union for Christian nations would come, and the promise of one fold and one shepherd be fulfilled. And the great ecclesiastical bodies of the West being once reconciled and working with more than redoubled intellectual vigor upon the Græco-Russian church, the latter would not long resist the powerful magnetic influence of unity. Or, on the other hand, when once [Pg 251] the union of the Catholic and Anatolian churches was effected, the various Protestant sects would be gradually drawn into the current and meet their brethren.

“Naturally, however, the attention of the king was claimed in the first instance by whatever could be looked upon as tending in a proximate or remote degree to the reconciliation of the East, and particularly of Germany. He saw that the future union could not be a simple, unaccommodating mechanical coming together of the separated confessions. Neither did he think for a moment of the absorption of one church into another. It was necessary, he thought, that both bodies should first undergo a purgative process, and that each should acknowledge that it might receive, though, perhaps, in an unequal degree, some good from the other; that each might help to free the other from its peculiar defects and one-sidednesses, and supply what was wanting in each other’s ecclesiastical and religious being; that each might heal the other’s wounds; and that neither should be required to surrender anything which its life and history had proved to be a positive good. Under these conditions, sooner or later, the process of reconciliation and of union would take place in the heart of Europe, in Germany.

“Such nearly were the thoughts which the king developed to me in a long conversation which I had with him, and which I never can forget. I do not know how far Schelling’s ideas of an all-embracing church of the future gave form and shape to the royal views. It is a matter of fact, however, that that thinker had exerted a great influence on the mind of the king long before his accession to the throne. At the same time, the king saw that this idea of a future church entertained by Leibnitz and by Germany’s greatest men was recognized as a necessity, and confidently hoped for also by his eminent and enlightened kinsman, King Frederick William the Fourth of Prussia. A German patriot, he saw in this reunion the salvation of Germany; a Christian, he saw in it a bulwark for the defence of the Christian faith, now so fiercely menaced.

“And here he believed his own Bavaria was called to take an active and initiatory part, and the Bavarian king not only to point out the way the country was to go, but to guide it in that way. It was not a matter of mere chance the Frankish race, the numerically predominant race in Bavaria, was about equally divided between the two confessions, and that in no country, not even in Prussia, were the local mixture and inter-relations of Protestants and Catholics so intimate and extensive as in Bavaria.

“In the second place, as far as the king himself was concerned, he could and it was his duty to do something to bring Germany a little nearer to the desired goal. He had been obliged to establish a perfect equality of rights and of political standing for the professors of both confessions, to the end that no portion of the people might feel oppressed, or grow embittered, or think themselves kept in the background, for with such feelings on the part of any portion of the nation, all coming together, all understanding, was impossible.

“And here he was of opinion science, and particularly historical science, was called upon to accomplish much; for religion itself was history, and only as a historical fact, and in accordance with the rules of historical criticism, could religion be understood or appreciated. In his own view, historical science was the kingdom in which, in the words of the sacred writings, peace and justice [Pg 252] would kiss; for only through history, as established by the most thorough research, could men know their own past and others’ past, their own and others’ failings; through it only was there any hope of begetting a conciliatory and pacificatory frame of mind.

“Thus the field of historical science seemed to the king like the Truce of God in the middle ages, or like a sacred city in which those elsewhere at variance found themselves at peace together; and, urged on by the same desires, endeavored to slake their thirst at the same fountain of truth, and grew into one communion.

“Out of the scientific fraternity of historians would one day proceed, so he hoped, after the trammels of confessions had been done away with, a higher union, embracing all historical, all religious truth, a brotherly reconciliation, such as patriots and Christians alike hoped and prayed for.”

All this Dr. Döllinger spoke with all the warmth of personal conviction. Although the whole is evidently a thrust at the idea of a confession and against the church as an organization, Döllinger does not append one word of correction in the name of the church. We cannot, however, help wondering that a critic so acute, a thinker so profound, as Döllinger should have surrendered himself to such a politico-religious system. It is easily seen that there are three separate, and in part contradictory, ideas in the royal programme, and all three have this in common, that they are totally irreconcilable with the idea of a divinely instituted and saving church.

In the first place, there is mentioned St. John’s church of love, Schelling’s church of the future, on which subject Döllinger was otherwise perfectly innocent. An ideal which contemplative enthusiastic characters like King William the Fourth might cherish, and which might also claim a place in the thoughts of the Bavarian king, could scarcely have much attraction for Döllinger. But it was otherwise with the second idea which King Maximilian had elaborated, that is, with the idea of a German national church; and, finally, with the third idea, that of the absorption of all the confessions into a universal republic of savants, and the church into a world-academy of science. Here the thread of the supernatural is completely lost, though, perchance, the king himself was not aware of it; for, is this not the most utter rationalism?

If, now, we look at Döllinger’s declaration of the 28th of March, we will find these two ideas standing out in bold relief. The odious antithesis of Germanism and Romanism may indeed be in harmony with the reigning political spirit; it certainly is incompatible with the idea of the Catholic Church. Whoever presumes in the name of nationality to speak of any member of the church as of the “Roman party,” either knows not what he is doing or must wish the “German national church” in schism. From this there is but one step, and that not a hard one for the pride of intellect or the haughtiness of science, to the position occupied by Döllinger in his declaration to the archbishop, in which he places the scientific fraternity of historians as the highest authority over the church, and makes it the court of final appeal in matters of faith. And yet the learned gentleman, although he signs himself only “a Christian,” will have us consider him a Catholic.

It is impossible to look into the abyss into which this once clear thinker has fallen without a feeling of terror. Is it not sufficient to open the eyes of every one that the apostles of [Pg 253] German Catholicism and free religion, like a Heribert Rau and an Oswald, have again called the attention of the public to their already published works as an “interesting commentary on Dr. Döllinger’s protest”?

It is true that Döllinger has nothing in common with those men in his views of his relations to God; but then we must remember these gentlemen are only drawing their own consequences, and Döllinger has lost all right to find fault with the consequences they draw.

The unwarranted introduction of nationalism into the idea of the church was doubtless Döllinger’s first step downhill. This gained, the disturbers of the peace of the church soon possessed themselves of the whole man. There can be nothing more hostile to the real spirit of Catholicism than this false principle of nationality; for the end of the church, in a spiritual point of view, is to smooth away all national differences, and bring the different nations into one fold.

To wish, at a time like the present, when the fanaticism of nationality, if we may be allowed the expression, is tending to alienate still more the peoples of different nations—to wish, we say, at such a time to destroy the only tie that holds them together, is to betray the wildest party fanaticism imaginable.

We can understand what the cry for a German national church means in the mouths of those modern Neros, the liberalists—in the mouth of any one else, we cannot understand it.

We know very well that Döllinger was very far from desiring a schism when he spoke at the Linzer Catholic meeting in 1850, upon the subject of the place of German nationalism in the church. It was somewhat otherwise in his declarations in the Munich Conference in 1863. There a turning-point was discoverable.

A short time previously, the at first purely scientific difference with the “Roman party,” or neo-scholastics, had arisen. Döllinger had roused the suspicions of these latter; but we feel certain that at that time there were no grounds for their suspicions. He was, it was plain, only a little too susceptible to the influences of a certain kind of liberalism, and extraordinarily anxious to do away with any suspicion of adhering to the Ultramontane party.

The danger practically and in point of fact began when he became entangled in Bavarian politics, especially in what concerns the question of the relations of science to ecclesiastical authority. “German science” now became the focus in which the more or less conscious tendencies of Döllinger were concentrated. It is in 1865 that we must place the real turning-point in Döllinger’s career.

About the end of the year 1861, the writer of these lines went to Frankfort-on-the-Main. He visited Böhmer, and will never forget a scene he witnessed on the occasion of that visit. The great historian was sick at the time, fresh in mind, it is true, but in a repining condition, and almost bitter. Our conversation turned on the condition of the University of Munich under the régime of the so-called “Bernjungen.” Böhmer expressed great regret at what was going on in Munich, but reserved the vials of his wrath for the celebrities of the month of March previous. Especially, he made Döllinger responsible for it that so favorable a time had not been used for the founding of a historical school in the interests of the church. It was well known that Dr. Döllinger had had many scholars during his long career as a professor; but he had founded no school. It might be said, even, that [Pg 254] he did not leave a disciple after him. Whilst he expatiated in the endless world of book in a manner hitherto unparalleled, perhaps it became impossible for him to prepare the living materials which young men needed, and lost the gift of sociability.

Böhmer became more and more aggravated as he proceeded, till, finally, his anger culminated in the following anecdote: He said that, when Döllinger visited Frankfort last, he had had a walk with him through the city, and Döllinger had spoken to him about his literary plans. He, Böhmer, remonstrated with him, and inquired why he did not fulfil his older promises; why he did not continue his unfinished church history. Whereupon Döllinger, stopping and swinging his cane, said with a smile: “You see, I can’t do that; for now my researches have brought me to such a pass that I cannot make the end of my history tally with the beginning; the continuation of my church history would be entirely Protestant.” I see Böhmer this moment before me with the same grim visage which he wore as he closed this story with the words: “He—he said that!”

Still, in 1860, Döllinger’s great work, Christianity and the Church in the time of their Foundation, appeared. Embracing the results of the latest research, and written in the most charming manner, this book touched and strengthened many a Catholic heart, as it did my own. But Döllinger has made that same beautiful book a sad memorial of his fall. He had written the book when he was sixty years of age, but when, in 1868, the second edition of it appeared, it was discovered that he had omitted some of the principal passages of the first edition, bearing upon the promises to and the establishment of the primacy; and what he had not omitted, he had changed in the interests of liberalism, and all without giving any ground for the alterations, without a single note even.

Döllinger has a wonderful memory for everything in the world of print, but very little for what concerns his own person or his own acts. When he wrote his declaration to the Archbishop of Munich, he seems to have quite forgotten the intentional “corrections” of his celebrated work. Otherwise, he would not have referred to the approval which it met with from the whole of Catholic Germany, and raised the question, Which text he meant—the true one of 1860, or the altered, not to say the falsified, one of 1868? Moreover, he, as the inspirer of Janus, recalled, in that last-named book, the little he had left in the edition of 1868 favorable to the primacy, for the reason that it “contradicted all opinions of the fathers, and the principles of exegetical theology.” In other words, Janus has completely and flatly denied the primacy.

It is hard to calculate what a blessing Döllinger might have been the means of to his contemporaries and to posterity, had he continued to make the rich treasures of his knowledge accessible to Christendom as he had done in his work of 1860. The Almighty, who had preserved him upright during the wars and passions of these later years, would have decreed him doubtless a rare old age had he remained true to his resolution not to divide his powers, to live an unprejudiced votary of science. It was to be otherwise. That book was the last fruit of the professional activity of the historian. The historian was now to become the bitter party-man, not to say the future Bavarian senator, and, as a writer, a mere political pamphleteer. [Pg 255] Here his career as a man of science closes.

Late in the fall of 1861 appeared his work, The Church and the Churches, etc. It was a kind of colossal apology for the two well-known Odeon Lectures of the fifth and ninth of April of the same year, on the temporal power of the popes. In these lectures Döllinger has come forward in the rôle of the politician—a rôle which he was never intended to play on account of his too great credulity. Expressions had crept into these lectures so little savoring of piety, so painful to Catholic hearts, that the worst was feared for Döllinger in ecclesiastical circles. We also feared the consequences. Döllinger himself was evidently staggered at the unexpected impression of his, to say the least, unexplained appearance in such a character. The book which followed, in other respects a wonder of historical information, was nothing but a powerful effort to shield himself from the consequences of this step.

The ideas expressed in the royal conversation above referred to are here recognizable, more particularly in the introduction, as well as the endeavor to harmonize them with the principles of the church. It would not be very difficult to allay the doubts which Döllinger has endeavored to awaken concerning the mediæval church and the Papacy in his (or his amanuensis’s) letters on the council in the Allgemeine Zeitung, and now in his “declaration,” from his own work of 1861. The Encyclical, and particularly the doctrine of the Syllabus on the relations of church and state, may be both explained and defended by the assistance of the same book. Döllinger then knew very well how to vindicate the true sense of certain decrees and bulls of the popes issued while the mediæval relations of the church to the state were yet in force; he well knew then how to separate what is transient from that which is eternally true. If, at that time, any one had come to him to tell him that Napoleon III. intended to take advantage of the Bull “Cum ex apostolatus officio” against the Protestant princes of Germany and Prussia, with what shouts of laughter would he not have received him! Now he himself is guilty of just such an absurdity—and how grave he is withal!

The question of the relations of science to church authority became now in Bavaria a practical question, and Döllinger was called upon to prove the strength of his principles by overt acts. One difference followed another in that country, and Döllinger was as interested in them as he could be in matters entirely personal to himself. Like a general, he felt himself responsible for the result of all those contests, and never thought of examining closely the claims of those who crowded around him and offered him their services. In this way it was that he became the protector of one so unworthy as Pichler against the archiepiscopal ordinary. At this time, even, he had his passionate turns, which gave rise to serious misgivings, but which he was sure to regret himself before any length of time had expired.

At this period the episcopal conference at Fulda resolved to take steps to revive action in the matter of the establishment of a “free Catholic university.” Döllinger could see in this nothing but the proof of a dark conspiracy against German science.

He was unable to see that the anti-ecclesiastical, not to say the antichrist, spirit which had crept into the universities, was more than even he would be willing to be accountable [Pg 256] for were he the chief pastor of a diocese.

The opinion expressed in an appeal to the Catholic ladies of Germany on the subject of the higher schools, made him lose his patience altogether. The outbreak of the Seminary question in Spiers was in his view another attempt of those infected with the “Roman” spirit against free German science, and it found him, even if not publicly, on the side of the decided opponents of the bishop’s rightful claim in the matter.

Very nearly at the same time, the then Bavarian minister of worship made a report to the king on the occasion of a vacancy in the theological faculty of Würzburg, in which he painted the clergy educated in the German College at Rome in no flattering terms. An accidental circumstance threw suspicion on Döllinger as the instigator of it. The pamphlet “for the information of kings,” which appeared in the beginning of 1866, represented Döllinger, although only under the general name “of the Munich school,” as the real actor in the minister of worship’s puppet-play. There was a report that in the Spiers matter, speaking of the attitude of the bishops, he had said: “They are attempting to misuse the king’s youth!” How much of this had its foundation in truth, to what extent the statements of the pamphlet were based on a change or mistake between the ministry and cabinet, must remain undecided.

The pamphlet referred to created no small excitement, however; and, precisely two years before the appearance of the notorious articles on the Council, was exhaustively replied to in the Allgemeine Zeitung. The style and other accidents would lead to suppose that the “amanuensis,” since known more of, had here made his début. The reply was not a refutation. It was made up of a series of counter-complaints, and, with the exception of the attacks on the Jesuits, the Roman party, and the boys’ seminaries, these articles contain the kernel of the articles against the Council published two years later. In spite of all this, however, Döllinger is represented in these articles as of the same unaltered mind with other members of the faculty, Haneberg and Reithmayer.

“If there was no ground of suspicion during all these long years, no reason to believe that these men were hankering after dangerous novelties, how comes it recently that such suspicions are aroused, seeing that they have always been of the same mind?” It is now certain that this unanimity has since ceased; and it is clear that Döllinger’s monstrous accusation—“not a soul believes it”—must have been unjustly brought by him against his colleagues. The articles also quote the words of the Tübingen theologian: “The suspicion has spread further—Döllinger and Michelis are no longer innocent.” What says the Tübinger of the drifting of these two men to-day?

On the first of January, 1867, the Hohenlohe ministry took charge of the ship of state.

It will not be claimed that Döllinger’s influence increased with the accession of his old friend Prince Hohenlohe to the ministry; it seemed more probable that the prince would have found the learned professor a powerful obstacle in his way. The prince had formerly been considered unexceptionable in his religious views and relations; but in order to dissipate the bad odor in which he was in the highest circles, suspected as he was of favoring Prussia, he knew no better method than to encourage the superstitious fear of the Ultramontanes [Pg 257] and of the Jesuits which for twenty years had reigned within the walls of the royal palace at Munich. This it was which had made Dr. Döllinger so interesting a subject since he was regenerated from the infection of Ultramontanism.

Countenanced by such a man, it was thought the discomfiting of the “clerical party” would be a less dangerous operation than effecting it by an unasked-for alliance with the party of progress.

This explains how Prince Hohenlohe, at the head of the foreign department, was determined to serve Döllinger in every way possible against the “Curia” and all matters related to it.

The infamous articles on the Council appeared in the Allgemeine Zeitung from the 10th to the 15th March, 1869, under an anonymous name. Every effort was made to conceal the author, and even to mislead the public as to who he was. The real author could not conceal himself as far as we were concerned; but it required a long time to convince the many, and great was the surprise of all unprejudiced minds at the discovery.

In the meantime, the preparation of the anonymous Janus was undertaken, and the circulatory dispatches of Prince Hohenlohe made their appearance on the 9th of April, 1869, which, of course, Döllinger could not well subscribe as their author. The council of ministers, of course, was not consulted in the matter; and the well-known five questions put by Prince Hohenlohe to the theological faculties of Munich and Würzburg, concerning the future council, were not whispered to the minister of foreign affairs by some secret agent.

In the name of the majority of the faculty of Munich, Döllinger was called upon to answer his own questions. In contradistinction to the clear and frank separate vote of Professors Schmid and Thalhofer, and to the incisive opinion of the Würzburger faculty, that exposition was but the unworthy production of a time-server. It was impossible for any one to discover the real meaning of the opinion. The only thing plainly discoverable was the ambiguity by which the author sought to shield himself from trouble.

The absence of conviction in the whole affair is so evident that we may well yet remain in doubt concerning the position of Döllinger’s colleagues; and that in spite of the fact that the libellous articles of the Allgemeine Zeitung are to be found in the widespread pages of Janus. We have already looked into this department of the literature of our day; we have done so already. Not only was infallibility condemned in it; but the primacy, at least since 845, is there made to appear as an infinite series of deception and forgeries, or, as Janus expresses it, as a sickly, uncouth, consumptive-engendering excrescence on the organism of the church. Not only was the future council condemned before it was held, but the Council of Trent was turned into “a should-be œcumenical council,” which was arbitrarily governed by legates, in which the Roman party alone had sway, and which, in a word, was nothing but an assemblage of fools and pickpockets. This view of the Council of Trent Döllinger seems to have forgotten, when he wrote his declaration of the 28th of March of the present year, in which he refers to the Tridentine article of faith which he had twice sworn to, and in which he leaves out the essential part of the oath, namely, the promise to interpret the Holy Scripture only “in [Pg 258] the sense approved by Holy Mother Church.”

The foreign office and its zealous co-operator, the learned professor, now began their campaign against the Council. The reporter of the Leipzig Grenzboten of the 24th of June, 1870, thus expresses himself on the subject: “The alarming circulatory dispatches of Prince Hohenlohe have turned to political account the results obtained by Janus, and introduced them into governmental and diplomatic circles.” The Bavarian ambassador, a man of no distinction and one who favored the “Curia,” was recalled and replaced by Count Tauffkirchen, the most talented diplomatist at that time at the disposal of the government.

His operations in Rome were very influential; and if the matter furnished by the events in the Council became immediately the subject of discussion in the press and in the literature of the day, the Bavarian Embassy is not entitled in the least to the merit of it. The rest was accomplished by Döllinger, as is now well known, and by his intimate young friend Lord Acton.

About the end of the year appeared the pamphlet, Considerations for the Bishops of the Council on the Question of Papal Infallibility. This time he appeared again anonymously, but without making any extra effort to conceal himself as the author. A little later, he appeared under his own name in the official organ of the new Catholic theology, the Allgemeine Zeitung, in the “Declaration in the matter of the address touching Papal Infallibility,” on the 19th January, 1870. From this declaration, says the Lepzig correspondent more than once referred to above, proceeded his agreement with the views of Janus.

The publication of his name was no sooner made than the party of progress took it as a signal to make him their own entirely.

This had already been done in the press; now it was accomplished in the House.

On the 7th of February, Dr. Völk, a deputy, seized the opportunity presented by the debates on the “address” to drag Döllinger into the field against the “patriotic” majority. He read the most objectionable and most venomous parts of the “Considerations” and “Declaration,” and imputed these views to the majority of the House as their own opinions, endeavoring to drive them to declare themselves for Döllinger and against the Pope and the Council. The “patriotic” majority had taken care not to embitter the debates by introducing questions ecclesiastical into them; but now a defence was called for. The stenographic report describes the scenes, which were closed with the following words from Deputy Törg:

“I have been on the most intimate terms with the gentleman whom Deputy Völk so formally parades before the House, for years. I became acquainted with him shortly after the time of the ‘genuflexion question’ in Bavaria; and, surely, no one then imagined that a time would come when Dr. Döllinger would be thus quoted before the whole House by Dr. Völk. I consider it a terrible misfortune, and accept it as such; yes, gentlemen, as a personal misfortune. Dr. Döllinger was an authority for me; he is such no longer; for he has fallen the victim of blind passion and lost the calmness necessary to the forming of an opinion; and he is no longer in a condition to formulate a dogmatic question as a theologian ought to be able to formulate one.”

But that is not what Döllinger wants. He now stands in dread of [Pg 259] all conscientious critics, his own fame for critical acumen being entirely gone.

He makes the definition of Papal infallibility a monstrous bugbear, and no remonstrance prevails to prevent his making the bugbear more terrible to himself and others. The worst feature in the whole is his passion against the temporal power. He sees nothing in his opponents that is not criminal. They use the infallible Pope to depose the monarchs who do not suit them, to absolve subjects from their oath of fealty, to overthrow constitutions, to annihilate every right. Dr. Döllinger endeavors by the most unqualified denunciation to tell the new German Empire—elsewhere he always says that the doctrine was never known in Germany: “I cannot dissemble that this doctrine, in consequence of which the former German empire perished, in case it should obtain sway among the Catholic portion of the German nations, would sow the seeds of an incurable disease in the newly founded German empire.”

But what now? As we have already pointed out, the matter did not turn out as those interested wished it would.

It was expected that Döllinger’s influence would have carried the greater part of the clergy and intimidated the bishops; thus it was hoped without much danger would be obtained the object which, although yet not clearly defined in every particular, embraced, at all events, the annihilation of Ultramontanism, of the “clerical party,” and of the Jesuits in Germany. It was hoped to accomplish all this without the always, as was acknowledged, dangerous assistance of the party of progress, through the mere weight of Döllinger’s name and influence. But his name has not accomplished what was hoped it would. The auxiliaries wished for did not come; the others who were not expected came in crowds. Scarcely had the national liberals rested from other arduous tasks than they enlisted under Döllinger’s standard for the accomplishment of their next and greatest task, the destruction of the Catholic Church in Germany. We are far from denying that at first, under the pressure of slanders and denunciations, some well-intentioned men were carried away. We have hopes for their return, and do not wish to wound the feelings of any one. But when Dr. Döllinger surveys the chaos of the “address,” and considers how it would fare with him could he hear the confessions of all these “Catholics,” I do believe he would blush at such adherents, for I do not believe he has quite lost the power of distinguishing moral turpidity from virtue.

He need not know the state of the consciences of his Munich colleagues who signed the address, in which they hesitate not to give the lie to the whole Catholic episcopate; he knows better than anybody how many of them have a moral right to speak in the name of “Catholic Christendom.”

Viewing the matter in this light, we have in one way wondered at the signing of many, in another way we have wondered at the signing of only a few. And in the face of such phenomena, Dr. Döllinger desires a church the duty of whose bishops it shall be simply to declare that which all believers, represented by scientists, will have thought or believed upon a question of the faith.

It is easy to say what the next thing sought by those who follow behind Döllinger’s banner is. The police regulations required by the government against the decrees of the Council are a matter of secondary [Pg 260] importance. And the great storm of an ovation given to Döllinger is meant not so much for Döllinger himself as for its influence on the king and his government.

The king must a second time be made to serve the cause of German liberalism. We said it in the beginning: as soon as the little German Empire is established, the party will want a “German National Church” for their little empire. We did not think, indeed, that any attempt at this would be made so soon; for, a year ago, men who knew what they were talking about assured us that so long as the old king lived he would not permit the peace of religion to be disturbed; but that it would be otherwise with those who came after him. But now that the king has become German Emperor, unanimous reports of the contrary come to us. “The idea of the establishment of a German National Church is taking deeper root, to all appearances, in the government circles.” So a relatively unprejudiced Berlin correspondent lately reported. The rest of the tale is told by the debates in the chamber of deputies.

The party are anxious to strike the iron while it is hot; not without reason was the party battle-cry spoken during the war—all our noble blood were shed in vain did not the stroke which freed us from France sever the Catholics of Germany from Rome—“War against France and against—Rome!” Even Dr. Michelis joined in the cry.

If it was very desirable that the Bavarian king should take the initiative in the matter of the imperial title, it was also very desirable that the first step for the establishment of the “German National Church” should proceed from the palace at Munich.

The King of Bavaria was to be to the “new Luther” what Prince Frederick of Saxony had been to Luther of old; and on that account, he is promised the surname of the Wise. This is the meaning of the infamous telegram of the tenth of March from Dresden—“him, the enlightened thinker who publicly proclaims his dissatisfaction with the dogma of Papal infallibility!” When the representatives of high offices in Munich dare to set themselves up publicly as commanders in the military ecclesiastical society, one need not be surprised at the progressionist intrusive attempts, rashly sporting with the monarchical principle itself. Thus only can we understand how any one could be so bold as to encourage the clergy to fall by insinuating a provision that no one might fear a material loss. Could the necessary number of state-church servants have been found, the programme was that the King of Bavaria should give the “German National Church” its first ground in the Munich places of worship. We wish to be excused from describing further the plan which finally would make true the saying: “They wish to misuse the king’s youth.”

We are not deceived. Should this plan fail, another will be sought to accomplish what is intended. Döllinger has been in relation with Prussian diplomats since 1866. However, neither he nor the new German Empire has the divine promise which the church has; and where the Pope and the bishops are, there is the church.

Let all Catholics gather more closely yet about the centre of unity. We can do no better service to the world. God will take care of the rest.

[Pg 261]


We have not many haunted spots now in our Empire State, or even in America, and very few genuine goblin stories, such as once upon a time, told by the fireside, made one afraid to look behind him; delightful old tales, implicitly believed in by narrator and listeners, and casting over all a shadow of utter and indefinable terror! Not that ghosts have ceased to come, but they are things of course now, and their position with regard to mortals in the flesh is entirely changed; the territory of spirit-land (at least a part of it) has been annexed, we may say, to our free and independent thirty-seven states; a regular intercourse has been opened; and, as the intangible parties in the compact have frequent and passing invitations to make earthly visits at certain specified periods, it is no more than civil in them to wait until they are expected.

Now, in years gone by it was quite otherwise; so far from being invited, they were universally shunned; man, woman, and child fled at the slightest indication of their presence; and as for speech, it was next to impossible for them to put in a single word before the terror-stricken mortal had speeded away, far beyond all hearing. Not much seemed the gain to either side by those interviews; occasionally some rogue was known to disgorge his ill-gotten pelf in consequence of the midnight apparitions of some phantom things, a warning to him to mend his ways; or some timid heart perhaps grew faint, and before long time ceased to beat, under the idea that it had received a supernatural summons to the unseen world; but generally speaking, the shock of an intense and overpowering affright was about all that accrued to the sight-seer from the meeting—a terror so genuine that he was able to impart it to many a circle of eager listeners for an incredibly long period after the adventure.

But what attraction has modern America for sprites, spooks, brownies, fairies, and all that dainty ethereal tribe that may be met in the Old World? Or what, for the more solemn shadows that haunt dilapidated galleries, in the tumble-down ruins of ancient transatlantic castles? What homes have we for “elves and little people,” that dance for years, yes for centuries, on the same greensward in the Highlands of Scotland? Alas! in an incredibly short period grass here gives place to wheatfields, and fairy rings would be disrespectfully ploughed up and planted. Let any sociable brownie plan a visit to old friends, she would probably find the whole family, bag and baggage, moved off to the far West, and only strangers round the hearthstone. They love things old, and here all is new and cheerful under the tireless march of improvement. We have no black forest, no

“Castled crag of Drachenfels,”

but the primitive woodland yet clothes the mountain that “frowns o’er the wide and winding” river.

The nearest approach to a haunted castle is to be seen sometimes in travelling over the Western States. There, in some lonely inconvenient spot which no prudent man would have chosen for a homestead, an unfinished, [Pg 262] overgrown, weakly-looking wooden house tells its story, not of greatness gone by, but of greatness planned and never accomplished—a pitiful comment on the uncertainty of human affairs! It happens thus: Some settler, sadly miscalculating his resources, projects a palace in the wilderness on a scale of city splendor; that is, with parlor, dining-room, kitchen, bedrooms, and the little elegances of pantries and closets. The sides are enclosed, the roof is on, and the revenues he counted on as certain are not forthcoming. Then do papered walls and panelled doors with brass knobs, and visions of portico and piazza, all float away to the blue clouds; the hapless dreamer fits up one corner room for the reception of his whole household until he can find another location, and take a new start in the search after fortune, and so abandons his rickety palace to the lord of the soil. As the boards blacken in wind and storm, and one end blows down perhaps in some rough northwester, it gains the name of being haunted; and to ride past such a skeleton thing by moonlight or in the dim twilight, with the utter desolation of all around, and the yawning blackness of cavities which should have been doors and windows, it requires no great stretch of imagination to picture an unearthly head peeping out here and there. Very bold yeomen are known to always whip their horses to a full gallop as they approach and pass the fearful spot; and as for women and children, under that strange fascination by which the supernatural repels and yet attracts, they always gaze intently, and as surely “see something”!

Although goblin visits in our land are just now rather on the decline (except in a regular business way), there was a time when strange sights were seen and strange things happened; and, although it may seem almost incredible, it is a fact well established in history that it was generally to the Dutch settled here, to that clearheaded, reasoning nation, so little likely to be deceived on any subject, that most of these revelations were made.

This certainly ensures for the tales the firm belief of all mankind. When an imaginative Hibernian or a lively, light-hearted Gaul announces a vision, it must be taken with some little allowance for flights of fancy, etc., etc.; but when a phlegmatic, cool-headed Hollander declares he has seen a spook, you may believe as if it was your own eyes.

For the precise period most prolific in signs, sights, and dreams, we must go back to the early days of our state, yet not to the first settlers. Their troubles, so numerous that it is scarcely possible to number them, had their origin in things tangible; and so closely did these troubles press daily on all sides, that the thoughts of the first colonists were entirely engrossed by the things of earth. To such a point did this downward tendency reach, that they seemed at times in danger of relapsing into heathendom, as may be seen from the reports sent back to Amsterdam, and yet extant among colonial papers, that they possessed neither school-houses nor churches. They did possess, however, three unfailing sources of annoyances and danger—an Indian warfare, neighbors on their eastern boundary of unparalleled audacity, and domestic bickerings in the perpetual strife kept up between Manhattan and Rensselaerwyck.

What might have happened if the Indians had been treated with common justice and honesty can be now only conjecture; but their wrongs began at the beginning. It is a dark [Pg 263] spot on the glories of the adventurous little yacht Half-Moon that her very first track through the waters of the magnificent Cahohatéa (now the Hudson) was marked with their blood, causelessly and wantonly shed.

Hendrik Hudson and his crew landed, we are told, on the western bank of the great bay, which was lined with “men, women, and children, by whom they were kindly received, and presented with tobacco and dried currants.”[68] A little further on were “very loving people and very old men, by whom the Europeans were well used.” They brought in their canoes to the voyagers all sorts of fruit and game, and on one occasion of a visit made by white men to the shore they broke their arrows and threw them in the fire to express their pacific intentions. Yet despite all this, when the vessel had advanced only a few miles, one of her crew fired and killed an Indian, without the least warning, for attempting to steal a pillow and some old garments.[69] No satisfaction was offered to the terrified savages, and they pushed off for the shore in their canoes, but they vowed a vengeance, and they kept the vow; so that, when some few years later one ship after another brought the enterprising individuals who first unpacked their household utensils and farm tools in the New World, they entered upon a stormy existence already prepared for them. It was not a glimpse of wraith or goblin that people feared to encounter in the lonely by-path, but the stealthy tread and dark visage of some lurking savage, ever watchful and merciless, ever close at hand when least expected. How often in the silent night, in how many little hamlets, in how many solitary huts, women and children listened in speechless terror to the war-whoop, that fearful yell, and were made to feel Indian retaliation for the evil doings of fathers and husbands! Small time had they for ghostly fears. When the savages fled before European firearms, it was only to return. More than two thousand of them appeared in their canoes at one time before the little block-house at Manhattan, because Hendrik von Dyke, with an imprudence and wickedness perfectly disgraceful in a mynheer, had killed a squaw for stealing apples in his orchard. His orchard was on the present site of Rector Street.

But, though the Dutch colonists were generally at fault in provoking contention, they were also valiant, after some preparation, to meet it. When Claes Smit was ruthlessly murdered by the natives, some time about 1642, and they refused either to give up or punish his murderer because he had fled and could not be found, the colonists consented to march to battle,

“provided the director himself (Von Kieft) accompanied them to prevent disorder, also that he furnish, in addition to powder and ball, provision necessary for the expedition, such as bread and butter, and appoint a steward to take charge of the same, so that all waste be prevented.

“If any person require anything more than this bread and butter, he to provide himself therewith.”[70]

Finally, however, gunpowder prevailed; and the aborigines retreated to forests beyond the reach of the pale-faces; schoolmasters and ministers had been sent over from Holland, and the inhabitants of Manhattan Island, as well as the other little settlements up the river, began to live a [Pg 264] more spiritual life, and to gather around them by degrees all that troop of unearthly beings well-known in the mother country. Little children were encouraged to be good and expect Santa Klaus, and bad ones were no longer frightened into propriety with the threat of being devoured by some hideous Waranancongyn with tomahawk and scalping-knife.

One of the spots first renowned for ghostly adventures was a pleasant little valleylike place, on the northern limits of the town, called Medge Padje (now Maiden Lane), where a clear stream ran between grassy banks, so gentle and noiseless that it carried the gazer’s heart back—far back over the ocean to the canals of Faderlandt, and was a perfect relief from the lashing waves of the great North River. Hither, on pleasant summer afternoons, many a gude vrow would turn her steps with her troop of sturdy urchins, and, work in hand, knitting, knitting, all the way. But they were always careful to return before dark; for such fearful tales had been told, principally of a tall woman in white who always vanished in the direction of Golden Hill (now John Street), that no one cared to make her acquaintance.

Long years after this, when the palisades marking the extent of the city had been removed as far north as what is now Warren Street, and a field of barley flourished on the Heerewegh (now Broadway), somewhat about the present City Hall, we again hear of the same apparition. The Rev. John Kimball, passing along the little stream rather late at night, heard steps, and, looking behind him, saw the spectre; of course he fled. Doubtless she was the bearer of some important message from the spirit-land which she was anxious to communicate, but, as no one ever stopped to listen, what it was can now never be known.

Mr. Watson, in his Annals of New York, relates a story given by a military gentleman of his own encounter with an apparition in that same place. The captain declares, and doubtless believed, that he bravely attacked it, and discovered only a mischievous mortal in disguise; but it is hardly probable that any mortal in his senses would be personating a ghost at midnight on haunted ground, so that the tale, being rather one-sided evidence, is doubtful.

Another solitary place was Windmill Lane,[71] which led from Broadway between Cortlandt and Liberty Streets down quite a steep hill, in a northwest direction, to the river edge, where stood a windmill. There was a time when this lane was the most northern street in the settlement; then house after house began to be built around the old mill, and the city crept up gradually in that direction. Among those who made their homes there was a French lady, Madame Blonspeaux, who had crossed the ocean to teach the rising generation all she knew—French and embroidery. Two paths led to her establishment, one through the Lane, the other through a wheatfield, where now is St. Paul’s church, and both were beset with spectres. Alas for the scholar kept in after the others were dismissed! Lightly did the offended majesty of madame weigh in the balance compared to what might possibly beleague the path homeward. There was a legend of a tall Indian who was always digging about for his bow and arrows, and a little short Dutchman about a foot high in breeches and cocked hat, who, the moment he found them, sprang into [Pg 265] sight from somewhere and kicked the dirt over them, and the Indian began his search again![72]

But the section of country most famous for spectral manifestations was the region about the Kaatskill Mountains. Darkly wooded glens, and lonely streams, and deep ravines offered the most ample facilities for all kinds of signs and wonders. Indeed, the Dutch settlers that dwelt in that by-place of existence, on the little cleared spots that here and there dotted the landscape, were so quiet and orderly, so far removed from the commotions that agitated the river colonies, no wonder ethereal beings found their companionship most congenial. These settlers had removed thither originally from the neighborhood of Fort Orange, and principally, nay, I may say solely, in disgust at the general uproar and discomfort which invested everything in proximity to that fort, under the joint dominion of the Patroon of Rensselaerwyck (or his agent), who resided there, and Director-General Petrus Stuyvesant, who fulminated his bulls from the south end of the Hudson; the contemporary edicts of the rival parties being always diametrically opposed to each other.

The truth is that, from the moment Director Stuyvesant landed at Manhattan, appointed there by the States-General of the United Netherlands, he had carried matters with such a high hand that everything succumbed before him. The boldest spirits bent to his rule, and (to continue the metaphor) he walked over them. His word was law without reason or explanation. He had even been known to shorten a troublesome state audience by tearing up the documents and dismissing the deputation.

Thus ruled the governor at Manhattan; but when Brant Arent Van Slechtenhorst was sent over from Holland as agent for the heir of the last patroon—Johannes Van Rensselaer, a minor—Petrus Stuyvesant met his match. Commander Slechtenhorst was in popular estimation “a person of stubborn and headstrong temper.”[73]

When Stuyvesant directed Carl von Brugge to quarry stone and cut wood for repairs on Fort Orange, nearly destroyed by a freshet, Brant dared the deputy to touch stone or stick at his peril, either for fortification or firewood; for the trees, root and branch, all belonged to his employer the patroon! He further forbade any of the inhabitants to aid them with horses, etc., while at the same time he was building a house himself not a pistol-shot from the fort. The news being carried to Manhattan, the director sent some soldiers to demolish the offending house now being built, and arrest the offender. This was more easily ordered than accomplished, so the soldiers held a parley with him, and were cautioned, among other bits of good advice, to take warning by one Jacob Jansen, who had not long before cut two fir-trees—eight days after he was seized with his plunder on the river by the patroon’s officer, and duly punished! with the stunning point to the climax: “Can’t he do so now?” All this being duly reported to the great director at Manhattan, it was deemed best to seek supplies beyond the domain of Rensselaerwyck, “stones from the mountains, rocks, and plains—timber from anywhere within the limits of New Netherlands—to have a wagon made, and take the horses of Jonas Bronck, who [Pg 266] was in debt to the company,” and whose opinions on the subject were of course of no consequence. As for pulling down the house recently erected, Herr Van Slechtenhorst pointed to the fact that Fort Orange stood on the very soil of his employer, and that it was his intention at some leisure day to annihilate it. So went matters, until at last, when Stuyvesant ordered a solemn fast, and Van Slechtenhorst absolved all in his latitude from obedience, human patience could stand it no longer, and the insulted autocrat rushed to Albany in the swiftest sailing sloop that could be found; there, as has been said, to meet his match.

But our business is not with these belligerents, but with those peacefully disposed burghers, who had grown tired more and more, year after year, with this turmoil, which seemed now to have reached its height. Armed soldiers were in their midst (for seven had been sent up from Manhattan), and when the talk was of razing houses, why, even the neighboring Indians came crowding in to ask what the Swannekins were about.

Happily another home opened to them, and very many packed up all their worldly goods and migrated. This home was the region about the Kaatskill. One part of the mission of Herr Van Slechtenhorst when sent over the ocean was “to acquire by purchase the lands around Kaatskill for the greater security of the colonie, as they were forming companies to remove thither.”[74]

On the land thus obtained, they had nothing to fear from Indian opposition, and the kind of domestic life they coveted is pictured in a lease yet extant in the Van Rensselaer family, dated 1651, wherein the tenant binds himself to “read a sermon or portion of Scripture every Sunday and festival to the neighboring Christians, and to sing hymns before and after prayer, after the custom of the Church of Holland.” Years in that little nook of creation brought few great changes; their habitations had come to be grouped together somewhat town fashion, and were dignified by a name much too long, and unpronounceable except by a Dutch tongue, but well loved because traceable to Holland; and there life after life passed away like great waves in a stream—one disappears and another takes its place.

Such were the mortal inhabitants of the place; but the invisible portion of the community—their name was Legion! It seemed the very place of refuge for all sorts of bodiless personages who had been insulted and expelled from other places; indeed, if a census had been taken, according to the old wives’ stories, their aggregate numbers would have made up near half the population of the village.

In one portion of the spot which might truly have been called the supernatural reservation was a deep ravine, which bore traces of having once been the bed of a mountain stream. At this period (some time before the old French war), its sole inhabitants were a morose, ill-looking woodman and his aged mother, and their dwelling-place was a miserable hut perched on rocks, and so hidden by gnarled and twisted trees and a dense undergrowth of shrubs as to be almost invisible to any but its occupants. Why they established themselves in that uninviting place, or what were the events of their lives previous to their appearance there, their unintelligible English failed to communicate, nor was there aught in the sullen taciturnity of both of them [Pg 267] in the presence of a stranger, or in the loud and fearful bickerings heard ofttimes in their hovel by the passer-by, that created a desire to fathom the mystery. When the news arrived that French and English had met, the outcasts in the glen, strange to say were the only ones in the settlement whose fortunes seemed in any way to be affected by it. Their disputes were heard louder and more frequent than ever before, to end, alas! in a tragedy. The man, tired perhaps of his monotonous existence, and hoping also to better his fortunes, was desirous of joining the ranks of war, yet, feeling at the same time the necessity of his support to his old mother, he strove to wring from her a consent to his departure. It was sought in vain. The aged woman, to her consciousness of utter helplessness, added doubtless a natural desire for his safety, and consent was withheld. Opposition goaded him, and in a moment of passion he struck her lifeless to the ground.

The miserable parricide fled, and the hut fell in ruins. Time passed on, the war was ended, and peace restored.

And now, when the tragedy of the glen had grown to be an old story, only told by a winter evening’s fire, it began to be whispered—and it fairly petrified the senses of every hearer—that Dark Rob, as he was called, or his spectre, had returned to his old abode!

No one cared to investigate the matter very closely. A light was certainly seen flickering in the ruined hovel, and a phantom-like thing in human shape glided about the spot. No mortal would choose to remain there alone, so it must be the shade of Dark Rob, on the theatre of his unnatural crime!

Many an evil deed was related of him in this, his second sojourn in the hut; but one of the most evil, because passing all comprehension, was the strange influence he contrived to acquire by ways unknown over a sturdy farmer named Jansen Van Dorp. How they first met was perfectly inexplicable; for goblin Rob had never been visible in any of the ordinary paths of the settlement, and, although Jans was one of the very few who laughed to scorn the idea of a ghost, he would scarcely venture in his sober senses to penetrate the dark shadows of the haunted hovel uninvited. In whatever way it happened, events proved their close intimacy; his steps were watched, and traced night after night to the hut, where they held their unholy orgies.

As a matter of course, the worldly affairs of Jans Van Dorp became disjointed things. His vrow had always borne a close resemblance to the helpmate of Socrates, and it is not to be supposed that such doings on the part of her truant spouse added to her sweetness of temper.

The most irritating part was the sudden taciturn spirit which seemed to possess the mynheer. Taunts, sneers, questions, reproaches, all were in vain! This was both new and alarming, because on no previous occasion had he ever been backward in contributing his share to the Babel din of their wordy skirmishes. It confirmed, alas! her worst suspicions, namely, that he was in toils and snares beyond all mortal power of extrication.

Great light was thrown on the affair by a shrewd neighbor, Effie Demson, who, having migrated to America from the Highlands of Scotland (and by some odd chance wandered down to the Kaatskill), was allowed to be especially versed in hobgoblin ethics. She affirmed that she had often heard from reliable authority that, whenever a [Pg 268] mortal is admitted to the society of spirits, an oath of secrecy is imposed under a penalty few would care to brave. She cited the cases of several imprudent individuals who, having violated this compact, suffered fearful consequences. One was Alice Pearson, of Byrehill, somewhere about 1588. Having been introduced to the invisible world by a friend, and joined them in “piping, mirth, and good cheer” (to use her own words), she was warned that, if she ever related what she had seen, “she should be martyred.” One day, when she began to speak of these things, an unseen blow took away her breath and left an ugly mark on her side; heedless of the warning, Alice continued her revelations until she was burned as a witch, thus fulfilling her doom.[75] Every one in the Highlands knew, too, the terrible visitation that had lighted on one kirk for having pried into secrets merely to publish them. Every one knew that he was a mere wandering gypsy in the universe, and would be to the end of time.

Effie generally concluded her oracles with the remnant of an old song, written about fairies particularly, but equally applicable to any unearthlies. It was called

God a Mercy Will.

“To be sung or whistled to the tune of Meadow Brow by the learned; by the unlearned, to the tune of Fortune.

“A tell-tale in their companie
They never could endure,
But whoso kept not secrecy
Their deed was punished sure.
It was a just and Christian deed
To pinch such black and blue.”
Etc., etc., etc.
Poetica Stromata.

As this bore the antique date of 1648, and was written by Corbet, Bishop of Norwich, it was considered good authority for anything.

This, then, explained the unusual silence of Jans Van Dorp, and it also half-reconciled his gude vrow to endure her unsatisfied curiosity. To wonder and to be afflicted night after night by his truant absence was bad enough, but to have seen him vanish in blue smoke would have been worse.

Things were passing thus in that sequestered little spot, while the great world without was agitated with mightier events—the opening scenes of the Revolutionary war. It is doubtful whether the faint rumors of it which penetrated the seclusion there would have excited the least attention, except for the fact that it was the only earthly topic on which Jans Van Dorp nowadays manifested the least interest. Every Dutch villager, whose business led him to the great cities, was questioned and cross-questioned on his return as to the precise state of things, with a minuteness which would have done honor to that renowned lawyer Heer Adrian Van der Donck, the first who landed in the New Netherlands. The one little gray newspaper that arrived weekly, and had hitherto circulated among his neighbors until it was quite illegible, was now packed immediately in his great-coat pocket and taken to his ghostly partner. All this was a perfect labyrinth of mystery, and furnished texts for many a sage conjecture and dubious shake of the head. Some hinted that Jans Van Dorp might mean to put in execution the threat he had been so often heard to hurl at his irritating helpmate when her vexatious volubility exceeded all bounds of endurance—that he’d be off to some war. But time puts an end to all things, although it does not always explain things to universal satisfaction. What [Pg 269] Jans or the goblin thought or meant can never be fathomed, but some things are matters of history; and it is a testified fact that the very moment this little dingy newspaper brought tidings that the first cannons of battle had boomed, Jansen Van Dorp started as if his doom was somehow connected with it. It was a night, dark and stormy, but he seized his hat, and rushed from the cheerful glow of his own home to the pitchy darkness without, and they whispered he was bound to the haunted hovel! Too probable, for from that hour neither Jans nor spectre was ever seen there more.

It should rather be said, never seen as mortal could be seen, for by many he was still considered an inhabitant of the settlement, although lost for ever to his hapless vrow. He had visited her in dreams, and warned her of something she could not exactly remember, but very terrible, and given on these occasions such diverse accounts of himself, it was hard to tell what to believe. To Effie he had frequently presented himself. She had seen him in the coffee dregs, in leaves at the bottom of her tea-cup, in a mirror which she had cut triangular for that express purpose, and, finally, in a tremendous thunder-storm, standing close beside her.

As he gave no sign on these occasions, her charitable conclusion was that he had nothing very good to relate of himself.

Many months after this, one of the most intelligent mynheers of the settlement, having been called by business to a far eastern city, declared on his return that, among a troop of soldiers marching to the frontiers, he had recognized Jans Van Dorp and Dark Rob; but, as he failed in speaking to them, his assertion passed for nothing, and his story was dismissed as mere moonshine, too absurd to be believed.

[68] O’Callaghan. Hist. New Neths., vol. i. p. 37.

[69] Ibid. vol. i. ch. 2.

[70] O’Callaghan, Hist. vol. i. bk. iii. ch. 2.

[71] Watson’s Annals of New York.

[72] The writer of this possesses two pieces of embroidery done by one of madame’s pupils.

[73] O’Callaghan, Hist., vol. ii. p. 72.

[74] O’Callaghan, Hist., vol. ii. ch. iv.

[75] Trials from the Criminal Records of Scotland. By R. Pitcairn, Esq.



An apathetic calm generally succeeds to political agitation at the close of legislative sessions. An exception to this rule prevails in the German Empire, inasmuch as the attacks against the Fraction du Centre, which began during the session, increased to an actual storm at the close of the diet. Most of the foreign journals have spoken of this phenomenon, but in so unsatisfactory a manner that perhaps a more minute account of the movement will not be displeasing to the readers of the Revue Générale.

I have already indicated in a general way, in an account of the parties in the German Parliament, the attitude and tendency of the Catholic party, or the so-called Fraction du Centre.

The bases upon which it is founded are as follows:

Justitia fundamentum regnorum. [Pg 270] The Fraction au Centre in the German Parliament limits its activity by the following principles:

I. The fundamental characteristics of the empire as a confederation (Bundesstaat) shall be maintained. Conformably to this principle, all efforts shall be opposed that tend to modify the federal character of the constitution of the empire, and the spontaneity and independence of the several states in their interior affairs shall only be sacrificed when the general interests evidently require it.

II. The material and moral welfare of the popular classes shall be urgently insisted upon. The civil and religious liberty of all the subjects of the empire shall be secured by means of constitutional guarantees, and religious associations, in particular, shall be protected against legislative encroachments.

III. The Fraction weighs and forms resolutions in accordance with these principles, upon all questions submitted to the deliberation of the parliament, but without forbidding isolated members to vote in the assembly contrary to the decisions of the Fraction.”

The Fraction remained faithful to these principles during the session of the parliament that has just closed. It avoided all extreme views, and manifested no systematic hostility to the government. Nevertheless, the very fact that it is composed of Catholics firmly resolved to defend the rights and liberties of the church against all attacks, and that these Catholics were elected from the most prosperous and intelligent sections of Germany, where pseudo-liberalism thought its rule immovably established, sufficed to excite against the Fraction a coalition of all who were opposed to the church. Their invectives began with the debates on the address. The form of address proposed by the national liberal party contained, besides some expressions in praise of the historic views of the adversaries of the Papacy, the following sentence: “The days of interference with the national affairs of other kingdoms will, we trust, never return under any pretext or under any form.” This sentence, destructive of all national rights, was evidently aimed against Rome, as was partly acknowledged: the Italian revolution was not to be checked by diplomatic representations in the accomplishment of its designs against the visible head of the church. Naturally, it would not have occurred to any one to impose absolute passiveness on the powerful German Empire in its relations with neighboring states. The party of the Centre drew up a counter-schedule, which did not contain the proposition of absolute non-intervention we have just referred to, but which was nevertheless in conformity with the address of the liberals. This counter-schedule did not demand, either directly or indirectly, any intervention in favor of the Pope: it contained nothing that clashed either with the government or the other parties, and consequently was not the object of criticism in any quarter. So true is this, that the Allgemeine Zeitung of Augsburg, the chief organ of anti-religious liberalism, could not disguise its preference for the schedule of the Centre as to its substance as well as form. Nevertheless, though the Centre remained wholly on the defensive, and its orators exhibited the greatest moderation, a real storm of invectives was raised against them and the church by the journalists of all the other parties and by the parliament. Even the so-called conservatives took sides against the Centre, whose motion, thanks to these outcries, only obtained sixty votes. A [Pg 271] proposition made shortly after by the Centre in the interests of civil liberty met the same fate. This proposition had for its object the admission of several principles into the constitution of the German Empire which had been sanctioned by the Prussian constitution. As these principles guaranteed the independence of the church—the Evangelical as well as the Catholic (Art. 15, Pruss. const.)—the proposition was opposed with extreme bitterness, even by a large majority of the Catholic deputies who did not belong to the Fraction du Centre. Among these was Count de Frankenberg, of Silesia. This noble member had given his electors a written promise to vote in accordance with the proposition of the Fraction du Centre. But in the speech he made against it, he declared that he did not consider the time chosen by the Fraction as opportune. In his ignorance of judicial things, he probably is not familiar with the adage: Quod sine die debetur, statim debetur.

The Fraction du Centre made no other independent motions during the session that could incur any attacks. But the “clerical party” was attacked the more vehemently at the elections, so the Centre found itself still exposed to a cross fire. The whole affair has been related in the journals. We will confine ourselves to an incident that gives a tolerably correct idea of the majority.

Before the election of Dr. Schüttinger, nominated from the district of Bamberg, and belonging to the Fraction du Centre, the curate of a small town within that district announced from the pulpit, after divine service, that those of his parishioners who had confidence in him could assemble at his house after church to learn which candidate was preferable, according to his opinion. This invitation appeared to the majority an intolerable infringement on electoral liberty as well as an abuse of the pulpit, and the election of Dr. Schüttinger was annulled. A new ballot gave the same candidate a thousand more votes than at first. At the next session, the validity of this re-election will be submitted to the decision of the parliament, and the question arises if the majority will be fully satisfied respecting the electoral liberty of the district of Bamberg. But the Belgian Catholics know by long experience what their adversaries mean by electoral manœuvres.

In all the occurrences we have referred to, the government showed itself entirely passive, so there was no real conflict between it and the party of the Centre. When the debate took place respecting Alsace-Lorraine, our party proposed to ensure to those provinces the most independent existence possible, and a separate constitution. Prince Bismarck did not exactly agree with this, but his opinions coincided far oftener with those of the deputies Windthorst and Reichensperger than with those of the leaders of the other parties. On the whole, no instance can be mentioned in which the Fraction du Centre is in flagrant hostility to that powerful statesman. It even openly opposed an interpellation respecting the Roman question, in order not to excite any irritating debates and appear suspicious of the good intentions of the emperor and chancellor. In spite of this, it was reported during the session that the Fraction du Centre had incurred the disapprobation of the chancellor of the empire. The Deutsche Reichscorrespondenz, the organ of the so-called liberal conservatives, gave some foundation to this report by pretending that the Count de Tauffkirchen had, according to the instructions of Prince Bismarck, [Pg 272] accused the Fraction du Centre to Cardinal Antonelli of having assumed an attitude hostile to the government of the empire, and that the cardinal had expressed his disapproval of this attitude not only before the Count de Tauffkirchen, but in a letter addressed to the leaders of the Fraction. This assertion being repeated in several quarters, the said leaders denied it in the journals. Driven to the wall, the Deutsche Reichscorrespondenz then brought up the case of the Count de Frankenberg already mentioned, and at last Prince Bismarck himself declared the blame really proceeded from Cardinal Antonelli. This induced the Bishop of Mayence to ascertain the correct account of the matter from the cardinal. His eminence replied that it had been incorrectly reported to him that the Fraction du Centre had insisted upon the Emperor of Germany’s intervention in favor of the Pope, and that, under the existing circumstances, he had declared such a step inopportune. At the same time, the cardinal assured the Bishop of Mayence and his friends that he had a particular esteem for the members of the Fraction du Centre and its proclivities. Thus failed the effort made at the court of Rome to bring discredit on the Fraction among Catholics, for at once a great number of Catholics gave in their full adhesion to the Fraction, and besought it to persevere courageously. This effort had, moreover, a comic side, for until now the Fraction had been represented as the servile tool of the Roman curia, whence it received its orders on all important questions.

No general interest would be felt in all these facts, if they were not the clear prelude of an act the consequences of which cannot be foreseen. It is not the acts of the Fraction du Centre that provoke the violent attacks against it: it is its very existence that is considered a crime. Those hostile to the church had calculated, without distinction of party, that the very first diet of the German Empire would aim a blow at “Romanism” in Germany, on the ruins of which would afterwards rise a national German church, that might finally end in a cosmopolitan “Humanitarianism,” without dogmas, without sacraments, and without altars—the very beau idéal of freemasonry. Everything, in fact, seemed propitious for the realization of this hope. The two principal Catholic nations successively conquered, the Roman race suffering from incessant convulsions, the head of the Catholic Church a prisoner at the Vatican, and, finally, a schism that seemed likely to arise on account of the dogma of infallibility—all seemed to form a breach by which it was hoped their opponents would be overcome. Only, as an ancient adage says: “Man proposes, but God disposes!”

The election of the Prussian deputies and the members of the German Parliament has already paralyzed the action of these regenerators of humanity, by rousing the Catholics to an energy not easily to be surmounted. The complete union of the representatives elected, and their bold stand, showed it would be quite useless for the legislative assemblies at Berlin to make any serious charge against Catholicism. On the contrary, it was hoped at Berlin that the initiative would be taken by Munich, where “the Luther of the nineteenth century” had raised a standard of revolt against the Roman Pontificate. But Munich was likewise under the influence of illusions. It was supposed that Mgr. Hefele, the Bishop of Rothenberg, [Pg 273] would add the sanction of episcopal authority to the influence of the learned Professor Döllinger, and thus sustain his course. It was still more certain that a great number of the pupils of the theological seminaries would respond to the appeal of Döllinger and his able adherents. Döllinger, it may be remembered, had publicly declared that thousands of priests thought exactly as he did.

But Bishop Hefele remained faithful to the Pope, and the German clergy unanimously declared that Döllinger’s assertion was a calumny. The King of Bavaria himself, who had given Döllinger so many proofs of his esteem, hesitated a long time about giving him his support, because he could not help seeing that the anti-ecclesiastical movement was chiefly led by a political party whose efforts openly tended to mediatize the reigning houses of the second and third ranks in order to form a united and centralized Germany, in imitation of the empire of Napoleon III. These efforts naturally met with the most favorable concurrence on the part of the democrats; for an empire of this kind, established on a broad and “liberal” basis, would lead, by a sort of fatality, to a republic, especially if they first succeeded in doing away with the religious and historic traditions.

Immediately after the close of the parliament, a fire was opened at Berlin upon the “clericals,” and especially upon the Fraction du Centre. The official journals did their best to open the way to “modern progress” by removing all the obstacles that might impede it, and to increase the diplomatic pressure that had so long been exerting its influence on the Bavarian cabinet. The whole German press, with the exception of a dozen journals, naturally joined in the chorus, and then began an attack on the Catholics, the like of which had not been witnessed since the Archbishop of Cologne was sent under guard to the fortress of Minden, under the pretext that he had conspired with the two revolutionary parties against the Prussian government.

The German Catholics are accustomed to these kinds of accusations, which have passed through all possible variations. Thus, the Catholics of the Rhenish provinces have been successively accused, according to the circumstances of the moment, of plotting with France, Belgium, Bavaria, and Austria, against Prussia, and of considering the Pope as their legitimate sovereign. Foreigners can hardly credit what I am obliged to relate here, and, if they should, it would excite their risibility. Unfortunately, these absurdities have a serious side for the Prussian Catholics. Independently of the circumstance that these perfidious calumnies, systematically repeated, might pervert public opinion in those sections of Germany where Protestantism prevails, they serve as a pretext for practically refusing Catholics the open equality which they should share with the adherents of other religions. For example, all the higher offices of influence are, with very rare exceptions, filled by Protestants, who, as a matter of course, specially favor the interests of their co-religionists in every way, and, so to speak, are obliged to do so, because genuine Catholics are officially designated as unpatriotic. An exact list of the functionaries of the German communes and government, drawn up with reference to the religion of each one, would be a valuable statistic, because it would incontestably establish how far the principle of suum cuique, which constitutionally recognizes the equality of Christian sects, is really applied. It is evident that [Pg 274] such a report will never be published or drawn up by the authorities, consequently the formation of a private agency to effect such an object is an urgent necessity. Perhaps this report might at last put an end to the constantly repeated accusations of the base ingratitude of Catholics against the Prussian government. The clear judgment of Frederick William IV., and the constitutions that sprang from the events of 1848, guaranteed a liberty of action to the Catholic Church and its organs which had not existed in any German state since the peace of Westphalia. The Prussian Catholics displayed a lively gratitude for this, and flattered themselves with the hope that several crying injustices which weighed on them would be removed, especially in the conferring of public offices and the nomination of professors at the universities. This hope was then the more reasonable, because, in the war against France, Catholics, as well as Protestants, shed their blood on the battle-fields, and submitted to the heaviest requisitions. The religious orders particularly signalized themselves by their services, as the recently published report of the Knights of Malta (Catholics) prove. Unfortunately, this hope has already given place to serious preoccupation.

Prince Bismarck appears no longer able to endure repose. Having vanquished our foreign enemies, he seems to aim, unless all appearances deceive us, at making adversaries of the Catholics of Germany and causing them to feel the weight of his hand. Perhaps he is influenced by the consideration that military unity, to be on a solid basis, should be founded on, or crowned by, political and religious unity. At all events, this is the opinion of the liberal party, whose course involuntarily recalls the expression of Tacitus, “Ruere in servitium;” whereas, while M. de Bismarck was rising to power, they abused him beyond all bounds. These worshippers of success have for allies the Catholics who are not willing to submit to the decrees of the Council of the Vatican. In the jargon of the liberals, these Neo-Protestants are designated as old Catholics, while the immense majority of Catholics who now, as formerly, consider the authority of the Pope and bishops in religious things as higher than that of certain professors, are styled Neo-Catholics, absolutely as if they had abandoned the faith of the church. A foreigner would find it difficult to understand how it is possible to give a completely opposite meaning to the real signification of a word, and this in a country like Germany, which prides itself on its intelligence.

But it is not the anti-religious journals alone that take this liberty. M. de Mühler himself, the Prussian minister of the public worship, treats the Catholics, who remain faithful to the decrees of the Pope and bishops as rebels to the government. Immediately after the suspension of the council, he took under his protection the professors, even those who were priests, who refused to submit to the decisions of the council and the bishops, and encouraged them in their revolt against ecclesiastical authority. Recently, à propos of the affair of the Bishop of Ermland, he went so far as to submit to the ministry of Prussia, composed exclusively of Protestants, a resolution to ascertain what Catholics should be considered as orthodox, and he ordered a priest named Wollmann, who had been excluded from the fold of the church by major excommunication, to retain his professorship as religious instructor in the Catholic college of Braunsberg. The students, unwilling to receive religious instruction from a fallen priest, left the college. [Pg 275] They were thus obliged to give up most of their studies, as there is no other establishment of the kind at Braunsberg. It should also be remarked that the College of Braunsberg was founded by a bishop and sustained by Catholic foundations. In Silesia, another priest named Kaminski, likewise excommunicated, was appointed to a church that he might celebrate the divine service for those who protested against the Council of the Vatican. In a word, every where there is any reason, or even a pretext, the episcopal authority is sacrificed to those who refuse them the obedience solemnly sworn to them, or become unfaithful to the church by calling the episcopal crosier the <