The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Catholic World, Volume 18, October,
1873, to March, 1874., by Various

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Title: The Catholic World, Volume 18, October, 1873, to March, 1874.
       A Monthly Magazine of General Literature and Science

Author: Various

Release Date: January 25, 2016 [EBook #51032]

Language: English

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[Pg i]

General Literature and Science.
OCTOBER, 1873, TO MARCH, 1874.

9 Warren Street.


[Pg ii]
[Pg iii]


[Pg 1]

VOL. XVIII., No. 103.—OCTOBER, 1873.[1]


"Give Catholics their full rights; ask nothing of them you would not willingly concede if you were in their place."—New York Journal of Commerce.

The subject of education, the method and extent of it, is undoubtedly one of the foremost topics of discussion to-day, and will be more conspicuous than ever in the immediate future. And, while all men are agreed that a sound and sufficient education of the entire people is our only ground of hope for the perpetuity of our rights and liberties—that, in truth, it is vital—it is not to be wondered at that men differing in the depth as well as extent of their individual culture, should also widely differ as to the constituent elements of a sound and sufficient education. There are, for instance, some, as yet happily few in number, who, in the maze of confusion and Babel-like discussions of sectarians and false teachers turn their faces away in hopeless, helpless uncertainty, and suggest that religion of every name and kind must be excluded and the Deity himself ignored in our public schools, so that public education shall be secular; and however much of "religion" of any and every sort may be taught, it must be in private. This is natural enough in those unfortunate persons who so far lack a positive faith that they see no safety except in uncertainty, and hence adopt a kind of eclecticism which, embracing some abstract truth, may confessedly also contain something of error.

The early settlers of this country—this "land of liberty"—however, had no idea of excluding religion from the schools; and if any among them or their immediate successors entertained even any peculiar notions as to what constituted religion, they were very summarily "squelched out."

Even "the great expounder of the constitution" was in the habit of adjuring his fellow-citizens "not to forget the religious character of our origin," and to remember that the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" is guaranteed to us in[Pg 2] that epitome of human wisdom which the great New Englander was born to defend. That right it is the privilege and the duty of each one of us also to maintain, especially when it is threatened under the specious pretext of reform.

These and other reflections are suggested by the perusal of a pamphlet, a sort of campaign document, issued by the "New York City Council of Political Reform," first published in 1872, and thought to be of consequence enough to be reissued in the present year of grace 1873. This document contains among others a report entitled "Sectarian Appropriations of Public Money." The very title of this report at once alarms and arouses us. We are alarmed at the dangers that menace, and we are aroused to defend, our rights as Americans. In this defence we invoke the genius of liberty and the spirit of "equal rights," and shall fight under the "Stars and Stripes," the flag of freedom, till we succeed in repelling the open as well as insidious assaults of the enemies of that truth which only can make us FREE.

The ostensible and praiseworthy purpose of the pamphlet in question is to expose the frauds upon the city treasury perpetrated by the late "Tammany Ring," which, in the person of the "boss thief of the world," is now on trial, in a sort, before the courts, charged with robbery, theft, and perjury, but the real purpose, the iniquitous and damnable purpose, is intimated in the following words of the report upon "Sectarian Appropriations, etc.": "Over $2,273,231 taken from the treasury in 1869, 1870, 1871. One sect gets in cash $1,915,456 92; besides public land, $3,500,000. Total to a single sect, $5,415,456 92." And further (on page 10 of the same report): "Nearly $2,000,000 of the money raised by taxes abstracted from the public treasury of the city and county of New York in the last three years alone for sectarian uses. A single sect gets $1,396,388 51, besides a large slice of the city's real estate."

This "sect" means the Catholic Americans of the city of New York, in numbers somewhere about 500,000, or nearly half the population of the city; of whom we are told elsewhere in this same report (page 4) that, "as a sect," it has during the last three years, by an alliance with the Tammany Ring drawn (taken, abstracted) from the public treasury, in cash, for the support of its convents, churches, cathedrals, church schools, and asylums, the enormous sum of $1,396,388 51.

It is hardly worth while for our present purpose to verify or to contradict this total or the particulars of it, for the errors into which the report or its author has perhaps ignorantly fallen, though not inconsiderable in magnitude, hardly affect our main purpose; and after all, these "inaccuracies" may not, it is hoped, be the result of carelessness solely, but are due in some measure to the fact that many of the "sects," while they parody our practices, appropriate also our names, and so may conveniently be confounded with our Catholic institutions.

We will, however, point out some which may readily be investigated. For instance, on page 10 of the report just mentioned, we find that the "House of Mercy," Bloomingdale, with a $5,000 "abstraction" in 1869, is classed as Roman Catholic, and it happens to be a Protestant institution; the "Sisters of Mercy" also, with an "abstraction" of $457, is Protestant; "German-American School, S. Peter's Church," with its "abstraction" of $1,500, is Protestant; and the "German-American[Pg 3] Free School," with its "abstraction" of $14,000 in 1869, $2,496 in 1870, and $1,960 in 1871, is Protestant; and the "German-American School, Nineteenth Ward," with its "abstraction" of $3,150 in 1869 and $2,700 in 1870, is Protestant; and the "Church of Holy Name or S. Matthew," with its "abstraction" of $463 12, is also Protestant; and the "Free German School," with its "abstraction" of $5,000 in 1869, $3,600 in 1870, and $4,480 in 1871, is also Protestant; and the "German Mission Association," with its "abstraction" of $5,000 in 1869, and $10,000 in 1870 and 1871, is also Protestant; besides others, perhaps, improperly classed as Roman Catholic. In some other instances, the sums "abstracted" were simply amounts of assessments improperly laid and subsequently refunded.

And in connection with this suggestion of errors may be noted, also, among the omissions (suppressions, may we not say?) the instance of "The Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents" which is mentioned (on p. 16 of the report in question) as receiving an "abstraction" of $8,000 in 1870 and nothing in 1871. This is a Protestant institution, and so classed in the Report—to show, we suppose, how small an "abstraction" comparatively it "took." But will the author of the report tell us how large an "abstraction" that society "took" of "public money"? As he has not, and perhaps does not know, we refer him to its annual report, where he will find as follows, viz.:

1870. From State Comptroller, $40,000 00
From City Comptroller, 8,000 00
Board of Education, License, and Theatres, 22,218 53
$70,218 53
1871. State Comptroller, $40,000 00
Board of Education, 5,766 91

making a pretty total of $70,218 53 for 1870 and $45,766 91 for 1871.

There is also the "New York Juvenile Asylum," a Protestant institution, which does not seem to be mentioned in the report in question, but it will be found that in 1871 it "abstracted"

From the City Treasury, $48,049 41
From the Board of Education, 4,015 83
$52,065 24

There are other "omissions"—that of the "abstraction" by the "Children's Aid Society," for instance—but these are enough for the purpose, although it may be added that in 1872 this institution "took" from the city $106,238 90.

Our objection is not so much to the amount "in cash" stated to have been "taken," because the report admits that it has not been expended for individual or selfish purposes, but in the maintenance and working of schools and other beneficent institutions. We wish, however, that the "New York City Council of Political Reform" had used the means at its command to give an accurate and complete statement, and we think it would have been wiser to do so, inasmuch as, while professedly carrying on the purpose proclaimed in its motto on page 1 of the report in question, to "CHERISH, PROTECT, AND PRESERVE THE FREE COMMON SCHOOLS," it has seen fit so unmistakably to attack the "single sect." Certainly, we object to the manner in which the "sect" is charged to have acquired its money, although having used it so wisely. This "single sect," comprising as it does more than two hundred millions (or two-thirds) of the Christian population of the world, rather objects to the term "sect" as applied. And if the author will take the trouble to consult the other Webster—not Daniel, whom we[Pg 4] have already quoted—but him of the more venerable baptismal name, he will learn, very likely, however, not for the first time, that the term "sect" means "a denomination which dissents from an established church." And Catholics are certainly not aware that they are "dissenters" in the hitherto recognized sense of the word among polemical writers. Whether his application of the term is malicious or simply the result of ignorance, makes little difference; it suited him, and is of no particular importance just now to us.

But surely the author of the report cannot think the amount, even as overstated by him, to be disproportionate to the end to be attained—"to cherish, protect, and preserve the free common schools," when it is added that our purpose is also "to extend" and to make our common schools "free" indeed to all, whether Jew or Gentile. All that we ask is to have our equal rights in this land of equal rights, and to extend in the broadest manner the freedom of the public schools, so that the rights and consciences of none may be restricted or violated. We ask simply that the "money raised by taxes," so large a portion of which we are charged to have "abstracted," shall be divided pro rata, and so, by dividing the difficulty, conquer it! In the report, it is admitted (p. 4) that the "enormous sum" alleged or intimated to have been surreptitiously "taken" or "abstracted," was not "taken" for the purpose of individual gain, but for "the support of convents, churches, cathedrals, and church schools." What sum, thus expended, can be too great? In what is it enormous? Is it enormous because disproportioned to the amount expended by other "sects"? Or is it so because expended for the support of schools kept in "damp basements of churches, so dark that gas has to be used on the brightest days," rather than in the "educational palaces" where Catholics cannot go without a violation of conscience, and from which they are practically excluded?

And here it is notable that in the report now under consideration (p. 2) is printed the following, purporting to be an extract from a report of the "Secretary of Commissioners of Charities" to the Legislature in 1871, wherein it is said the secretary "refers very truthfully to the already marked injury to the public schools of the city of New York caused by building up and supporting from the public treasury so large a number of rival sectarian schools" (see Rep. pp. 99, 100). The italics are not ours.

Now, in the report of the Hon. Abram B. Weaver, Superintendent of Public Education, made in the same year (1871), he says: "The aggregate and the average attendance was greater absolutely, and in proportion to population, than in any former year"—"... 11,700 schools were maintained, 17,500 teachers were employed, and about $10,000,000 were expended" (Rep. Com. of Education, 1871, p. 291). "The average number of pupils for the whole state in attendance each day of the entire term in 1870 was 16,284, more than in 1869, etc." (p. 292). And in New York City, we are told in the same report (p. 301 of Report of Commissioners of Education, 1871), "It is interesting to note, as evidence of the substantial progress of free schools in New York City, that, while the whole population of the city has increased but about 14 per cent. in the last ten years, the average attendance of pupils has increased nearly 54 per cent. in the same time." Now, wherein consists the injury complained of? While the average attendance on the "free pub[Pg 5]lic schools" was actually increasing, whence came the children attending in these "damp basements of churches," and what necessity drove them from the "educational palaces"? Is the condition, in certain respects, of our public schools such as is pictured by the writer of the following, taken from the New York Herald of Feb. 9, 1873:


"To the Editor of the Herald:

"Your articles on school ventilation have my hearty approval. I have sent my two youngest boys for two successive winters to the boys' school on Thirteenth street, near Sixth avenue (primary department), but each time they remained from one to two weeks, and then had to remain home, owing to a severe cold or inflammation of the lungs, which kept them away for weeks. Having tried the school thus I was compelled to remove them this winter to a private school, where they have attended regularly and have been in good health. No judgment is used in that department in regard to ventilation. Sometimes the room is excessively warm; at other times the windows on both sides of the house are opened, and the current of cold air descending on the heads of the children causes catarrhal affections and pneumonia.

"Such complaints as the following have been made about the girls' school, Twelfth street, near University place. A continual system of stealing is going on after they leave in the afternoon. The desks locked up are opened and articles removed, even books as well as other things, and if anything is accidentally left by the scholars it is always gone before morning. Nothing is safe in that school, and the question is, who steals it? Complaints, I understand, have been made, but no steps taken to correct it again.

"The Board of Education is frequently applied to for necessary books and material for conducting the school, and they are not supplied. No notice is taken. The teachers have to purchase themselves the necessary articles, or go without. At present, to my knowledge, an important part of a teacher's duty is prevented being fulfilled by reason of not having the necessary material. Teachers are afraid of complaining for fear of losing their situations.


Or this, taken from the New York Telegram of February 13, 1873:

"An association has been formed by the women of Washington, called 'The Society for Moral Education,' which has for its object the proper education and mental development of the children of the country. The society holds regular meetings, and proposes to become a national organization. Mrs. L. B. Chandler, of Boston, is the inspiring genius of the movement. The members of the society, in an appeal for support, say: 'As women, teachers, and mothers, we feel it incumbent upon us, in view of the alarming prevalence of intemperance and various frightful social vices, the increase of pernicious knowledge among children and youth, the general ill-health of women, the large number of diseased, deformed, idiotic children born, and the appalling mortality of infants, to seek the means whereby future generations may be blessed with better knowledge of the laws of life, wiser and stronger parents, and a purer social state."

Or this, from Prof. Agassiz, embodied in an editorial article of the Boston Herald of October 20, 1871:

"Year after year the chief of police publishes his statistics of prostitution in this city, but how few of the citizens bestow more than a passing thought upon the misery that they represent! Although these figures are large enough to make every lover of humanity hang his head with feelings of sorrow and shame at the picture, we are assured that they represent but a little, as it were, of the actual licentiousness that prevails among all classes of society. Within a few months, a gentleman (Prof. Agassiz) whose scientific attainments have made his name a household word in all lands, has personally investigated the subject, and the result has filled him with dismay, when he sees the depths of degradation to which men and women have fallen; he has almost lost faith in the boasted civilization of the XIXth century. In the course of his inquiries, he has visited both the well-known 'houses of pleasure' and the 'private establish[Pg 6]ments' scattered all over the city. He states that he has a list of both, with the street and number, the number of inmates, and many other facts that would perfectly astonish the people if made public. He freely conversed with the inmates, and the life histories that were revealed were sad indeed. To his utter surprise, a large proportion of the 'soiled doves' traced their fall to influences that met them in the public schools, and although Boston is justly proud of its schools, it would seem from his story that they need a thorough purification."

Or are we driven to the conclusion that the "injury" complained of is like that which was chronicled so long ago, as suffered by Haman at the hands of Mordecai?

"A single sect gets $1,396,388.51, besides a large slice of the city's real estate." This, of course, refers to the cathedral lots. That this "large slice" was fairly obtained, in the customary way of business, more than half a century ago, and at a time when no "Tammany Ring" existed, and when this "same sect" had no regularly consecrated place of worship in this city, so insignificant were its numbers, is notoriously a matter of record—known, indeed, of all men who choose to know; and the statement made in the "report" has been so often refuted, that the repetition of it now is disgraceful, and is simply a lie "well stuck to." As to the other leases mentioned "at a nominal rental," what matters it to anybody but Haman so long as the property, however now increased in value for building sites or other material advantage to the "money-changers," is devoted, as the report in question expressly admits, to the cause of education—of the education of "the children whose poverty prevented them from attending the public schools for want of clothing, and in many cases even of food"—as we are told in the following extract from the last published Report of the Board of Public Instruction (city of New York) for 1871 (page 14): "It will be seen from the preceding statement" (showing the average attendance at the schools under the jurisdiction of the Board to be, for 1871, 103,481, and in 1870, 103,824) "that the attendance at the public schools has not increased, which is readily explained by the fact that many benevolent and charitable institutions have entered the educational field. In these institutions the children whose poverty prevented them from attending the public schools for want of clothing, and in many cases even of food, are provided for."

In the same pamphlet from which we have quoted is also another "Document," designated "No. 4," embodying what purports to be a report made to the "State Council of Political Reform" in 1870 by "the Committee on Endowment and Support by the State of Sectarian Institutions." This "report" contains, among other quotations from Aristotle, Washington, Jay, De Witt Clinton, Chancellor Kent, Milton, Lord Brougham, Guizot, and Horace Mann, many of which are so generally known and accepted as to have become truisms, one notable extract from Thomas Jefferson, which embodies very nearly all that Catholics desire and are contending for. Jefferson says: "A system of general instruction which shall reach every description of our citizens from the richest to the poorest ... give it to us in any shape." This is what we ask. We make no war; we have no "plan of attack" upon the public schools, as charged upon page 5 of this Document No. 4; our chief desire is simply that expressed in the words already quoted from Thomas Jefferson; and, with the "sectarians," we deny that the system now in use is sufficiently "general" to accomplish the purpose intended, or that it[Pg 7] can be called a general system while it excludes any class whose positive religious convictions must necessarily be daily interfered with by what is called an "unsectarian" method of instruction. We believe, as did the Puritan fathers, that a knowledge of and an obedience to the divine government are essential in fitting each child "to be a citizen of a free and tolerant republic." We believe in our right to say how and by whom such knowledge shall be given and such obedience shall be taught, and we also believe that we are quite as competent to determine our methods and to select our teachers as is any political party now in being or ever likely to be. We are quite as strongly opposed to the establishment of any "state religion" as this self-elected body of political reformers are or affect to be; and, to quote and apply to this body the words of "Document No. 4," "we cannot yield one jot or tittle of their demand, for it involves a principle to us sacred and vital. It means the union of church and state." And we refer to history for the proof that the Catholic has never been a state church, but has been more frequently found in antagonism to the civil power than in alliance with it; always on the side of liberty and the rights of the people; shielding them from oppression, even to the deposing of unjust rulers; enforcing their rights, even to the extent of aiding to make war upon tyrants; and yet, despite this teaching of history, we are told (on page 8 of the Document first referred to), under the pretence of saying why we "make war upon the public schools," as follows: "But a single sect is taught by its head, a foreign and despotic ecclesiastical prince, that the civil authorities in a republic have not the right to direct and control the course of study, and the choice and appointment of teachers in the public schools, open alike to the youth of all classes, but that this right belongs to the church." Now, this is merely a specious falsehood. For, let us ask what is here meant by "the civil authorities"? Does the phrase mean "the state," which, we are also told, is a better educator than the church; or does it mean that aggregation of individuals, each being represented and having an equal voice, composing "the state"? If the latter is the meaning, what Catholic American denies the right or asserts it for "the church" exclusively? We are yet to meet him.

Catholics, and others not Catholics, do deny that "the state" is the best educator, to the exclusion of the church; and they do their best to maintain the rights of minorities as against the tyranny of majorities.

There are certain words and phrases used in this "Document No. 4" which we do not altogether like; as, for instance: "The state a better educator than the church"; for, in the light of certain events not long since occurring here and in Washington, "the state" has come to be used, and perhaps understood, in a sense of which we are somewhat suspicious. The doctrine of "centralization" is slowly becoming something more than theory with a certain class of politicians and office-holders; and the words, "the state," the "civil authorities," and the "government," are beginning to have an ominous ring in our ears.

To be sure, when we are told, in a somewhat dogmatic way, that "the state is a better educator than the church," we may infer from the text illustrating the dogma (page 8, Document No. 4) that in this connection the state is manifest in the persons of the public-school authorities, and that they are a power in opposition to "a[Pg 8] sect" or to "sects." And when our public schools are "open alike to youth of all classes," of all creeds, and Catholics are fairly represented among "school authorities," and are allowed an equal voice in direction and control, and in the choice of teachers—in short, when they have their rights as component parts and members of "the state," we shall probably hear no more about this "war upon the public schools," but until then probably this clamor for their rights will still be heard.

All this talk, however, about secularizing education means nothing more nor less than the divorcement of religion from all public education; and it remains to be seen how far the descendants and the heirs of that people who asserted that liberty of conscience and freedom to worship God (even in the school-room) meant something, and are paramount, will tolerate this "new departure."

The Catholic barons of England wrung from King John at Runnymede the famous Magna Charta, and the Catholic settlers of Maryland gave the first constitution recognizing equal rights for all men; and the "Church of Rome," as a British Presbyterian writer has said, "has always been an 'independent, distinct, and often opposing power'; and that civil liberty is closely connected with religious liberty—with the church being independent of the state." Every school-boy might and ought to be taught these and other like facts, for history mentions them; and the assailants of the Catholic Church ought to be ashamed to ignore or deny them. And yet such ignorance and such denials are the capital in trade of the bigots and the fanatics who fear and affect to see in the spread of Catholicism a menace to our liberties.

On page 5 of this "Document No. 4" we are told that "the moment the state takes under its protection any church, by appropriating public money or property to the uses or support of that church, or the teaching of its peculiar tenets or practices, it in that act, and to that extent, unites church and state. The union of church and state, in all ages and in all countries, has led to oppression and bloodshed." Now, if this is not arrant nonsense, what is?

The practice of "appropriating public money or property" to churches, so called, is coeval with our national birth. And in this country church and state have, according to the logic of this statement, been very much united—very much married, like Brigham Young and his multitudinous wives—and yet the "oppression and bloodshed" sure to follow have not yet come upon us—in fact, "churches" and state have always in this country been united, and we did not know it! Through what unknown dangers have we passed!

This "Document No. 4" is not honest in this kind of talk—the union of church and state means a form of religion established by law, and pains and penalties inflicted upon dissenters.

Not a great many years ago, in Prussia, of which we hear so much upon the "educational question," by command of the king, the "Prussian Calvinist and Lutheran, who had quarrelled for three hundred years about the real presence and predestination, abandoned their disputes, denied their faith, and became members of the 'Evangelical Church of Prussia'"—a church whose simple creed is thus stated: "Do ye believe in God? then must ye believe in Christ. Do ye believe in Christ? then must ye believe in the king. He is our head on earth, and rules by the order of God. The king has[Pg 9] appeared in the flesh in our native land!" This was a state religion—a union of church and state, and is about as likely to be established here as that the "Document No. 4" is to be adopted as a text-book in our public schools. This union of church and state is about as sensible a cry, and quite as malignant, as the old "No Jews, no wooden shoes!" addressed to the mob in England, and is framed and uttered in the spirit of the same "sectarian" and bigoted hate.

Now, one word as to "secular education"—there is no such thing, if God's work is our work. If his glory requires the dedication of all the powers he has given us, it is preposterous to talk about an education from which he and his existence, and the knowledge of him and his purposes and laws, are excluded. We may endow, and send our children to colleges where no priest or clergyman shall ever come, and no creed shall be taught or even mentioned, and call the education there received secular and unsectarian, as was intended to be done at the "Girard College" at Philadelphia, and yet we shall find the education unsatisfactory, and no "state" has yet adopted the plan.

In conclusion, we demand, in the language of the resolutions "unanimously adopted" and appended to the report in "Document No. 4," "... free of cost, to every child in the state, a generous and tolerant education—such an education as qualifies him for the duties of citizenship"; and, moreover, such an education as shall recognize and protect the first and most important of all the rights of citizenship—the right of conscience, which is grossly violated by the system of atheistical education.

[Pg 10]


Ye would not sit at ease while meek men kneel
Did ye but see His face shine through the veil,
And the unearthly forms that round you steal
Hidden in beauteous light, splendent or pale
As the rich Service leads. And prostrate faith
Shroudeth her timorous eye, while through the air
Hovers and hangs the Spirit's cleansing Breath
In Whitsun shapes o'er each true worshipper.
Deep wreaths of angels, burning from the east,
Around the consecrated Shrine are traced,
The awful Stone where by fit hands are placed
The Flesh and Blood of the tremendous Feast,
But kneel—the priest upon the altar-stair
Will bring a blessing out of Sion there.




Mr. Schöninger came early to the rehearsal that evening, and, in his stately fashion, made himself unusually agreeable. There was, perhaps, a very slight widening of the eyes, expressive of surprise, if not of displeasure, when he saw Miss Ferrier's critics, but his salutation did not lack any necessary courtesy. He did not lose his equanimity even when, later, while they were singing a fugue passage, a sonorous but stupid bass came in enthusiastically just one bar too soon.

"I am glad you chose to do that to-night instead of to-morrow night, sir," the director said quietly. "Now we will try it again."

And yet Mr. Schöninger was, in his profession, an object of terror to some of his pupils, and of scrupulous, if not anxious, attention to all; for not only did he possess notably that exalted musical sensitiveness which no true artist lacks, but he concealed under an habitual self-control, and great exactness in the discharge of his duty, a fiery impatience of temper, and a hearty dislike for the drudgery of his profession.

"If your doctrines regarding future punishments are true," he once said to F. Chevreuse, "then the physical part of a musician's purgatory will be to listen to discords striving after, but never attaining to, harmony, and his hell to hear sublime harmonies rent and distorted by discords. I never come so near believing in an embodied spirit of evil as when I hear a masterpiece of one of the great composers mangled by a tyro. I haven't a doubt that Chopin or Schumann might be played so as to throw me into convulsions."

And F. Chevreuse had answered after his kind: "And your spiritual purgatory, sir, will be the recollection of those long years during which you have persisted in playing with one thumb, as a bleak monody, that divine trio of which all the harmonies of the universe are but faint echoes."

Nothing of this artistic irritability appeared to-night, as we have said. In its stead was a gentleness quite new in the musician's demeanor, and so slight as to be like that first film of coming verdure on the oak, when, some spring morning, one looks out and doubts whether it is a dimness of the eyes or the atmosphere, or a budding foliage which has set swimming those sharp outlines of branch and twig.

"He is really human," Annette whispered to Miss Pembroke; and Honora smiled acquiescence, though she would scarcely have employed such an expression for her thought. She had already discovered in Mr. Schöninger a very gentle humanity.

Low as the whisper was, his ears caught it, and two sharp eyes, watching him, saw an almost imperceptible tremor of the eyelids, which was the only sign he gave. The owner of these eyes did not by any means approve of the manner in which their leader had given Miss Pembroke her[Pg 11] music that evening, leaving the other ladies to be served as they might; still less did she approve of the coldness with which her own coquettish demands on his attention had been met. It was scarcely worth while to submit to the drudgery of rehearsing, in a chorus too, if that was to be all the return. Rising carelessly, therefore, and allowing the sheet of music on her lap to fall unheeded to the floor, Miss Carthusen sauntered off toward where Miss Ferrier's two critics sat apart, talking busily, having, apparently, as she had anticipated, written their reports of the rehearsal before coming to it.

These critics were a formidable pair, for they criticised everybody and everything. One of them added to a man's sarcasm a woman's finer malice, which pricks with the needlepoint. Dr. Porson was a tall, aquiline-faced, choleric man, with sharp eyes that, looking through a pair of clear and remarkably lustrous glasses, saw the chink in everybody's armor. Those who knew him would rather see lightning than meet the flash of his glasses turned on them, and feel the probing glances that shot through, and thunder would have been music to their ears compared to the short laugh that greeted a sinister discovery.

The other was Mr. Sales, the new editor of The Aurora, a little wasp of a man. He had twinkling black eyes that needed no lens to assist their vision, and a thin-lipped mouth with a slim black moustache hanging at either corner, like a strong pen-dash made with black ink. Dr. Porson called them quotation-marks, and had a way of smoothing imaginary moustaches on his own clean-shaven face whenever the younger man said any very good thing without giving credit for it.

"A clever little eclectic," the doctor said of him. "He pilfers with the best taste in the world, and, with the innocence of a babe, believes everybody else to be original. He never writes anything worth reading but I want to congratulate him on his 'able scissors.' 'Able scissors' is not mine," the doctor added, "but it is good. I found it in Blackwood's."

These two gentlemen had arrived early, and, seated apart, in a side-window of the long drawing-room, crunched the people between their teeth as they entered. Between the morsels, the doctor enlightened his companion, a new-comer in the city, regarding Crichton and the Crichtonians.

"There's little Jones, the most irritating person I know," the doctor said. "By what chance he should have that robust voice I cannot imagine. Sometimes I think it doesn't come out of his own throat, but that he has a large ventriloquist whom he carries about with him. I shouldn't wonder if the fellow were now just outside that open sash. Did you see the way he marched past us, all dickey and boot-heels? A man who is but five feet high has no right to assume six-foot manners; he has scarcely the right to exist at all among well-grown people. Besides, they always wear large hats. Not but I respect a small stature in a clever person," he admitted, with a side glance at Mr. Sales' slight figure. "We don't wish to have our diamonds by the hundredweight. But common, pudding-stone men must be in imposing masses, or we want them cleared away as débris."

"Is Mr. Schöninger a pudding-stone man?" the young editor asked, when that gentleman had passed them by.

Dr. Porson's face unconsciously dropped its mocking. "If you should strike Mr. Schöninger in any way," he said, "you would find him[Pg 12] flint. The only faults I see in the man are his excessive caution and secretiveness. He is here, evidently, only to get all the money he can, and, when he has enough, will wash his hands of us; therefore, wishes for no intimacies. That is my interpretation. He is a gentleman, however. A man must have the most perfect politeness of soul to salute Mme. Ferrier as he did. While they were speaking together, she actually had the air of a lady. See her look after him. It is an art which we critics cannot learn, sir, that of setting people in their best light. Of course it would spoil our trade if we did learn it; but, for all that, we miss something. Schöninger is a Jew, to be sure, but that signifies nothing. Each one to his taste. We no longer trouble ourselves about people's faith. When you say that a man believes this or that, it's as though you said, he eats this or that. The world moves. Why, sir, a few years ago, we wouldn't have spoken to a man who ate frogs any more than to a cannibal; and now we are so fond of the little reptiles that there isn't a frog left to sing in the swamps."

"But," Mr. Sales objected, "society has established certain rules—" then stopped, finding himself in deep water.

"Undoubtedly," the doctor replied, as gravely as though something had been said. "The Flat-head Indians now, who seem to have understood the science of phrenology, think it the proper thing to have a plateau on the top of the head. Their reason is, probably, a moral rather than an æsthetic one. They know that the peaceful and placable qualities, those which impel a man to let go, are kept in little chambers in the front top of the brain. They have other use for their attics. So they just clap a board on the baby's soft head, and press the space meant for such useless stuff as benevolence and reverence back, so as to increase the storage for the noble qualities of firmness and self-esteem. That is one of the rules of their society; and I have always considered it a most striking and beautiful instance of the proper employment of means to an end. There is a certain sublime and simple directness in it. No circuitous, century-long labor of trying to square the fluid contents of a round vessel, but just a board on the head. That, sir, should be the first step in evangelizing the heathen—shape their heads. When you want a man to think in a certain way, put a strong pressure on his contradictory bumps, and preach to him afterwards. That's what I tell our minister, Mr. Atherton. There he is now, that bald man with the fair hair. He is a glorious base. His great-grandfather was a conceited Anglo-Saxon, and he's the fourth power of him. The reason why he does not believe in the divinity of Christ is because he was not of Anglo-Saxon birth."

Here, across the pianissimo chorus which made the vocal accompaniment of an Alp-song, Miss Ferrier's brilliant voice flashed like lightning in clear, sharp zigzags, startling the two into silence.

"That wasn't bad," the doctor said when she ended.

The younger gentleman applauded with such enthusiasm that Annette blushed with pleasure. "She needs but one thing to make her voice perfect," he said, "and that is a great sorrow."

"Yes, as I was telling you some time ago," the doctor resumed, "we are a liberal and hospitable people in Crichton. We have no prejudices. Everybody is welcome, even the[Pg 13] devil. We are æsthetic, too. We admire the picturesque. We wouldn't object to seeing an interesting family of children shot with arrows, provided they would fall with a grace, and their mother would assume the true Niobe attitude. In literature, too, how we shine! We have reached the sublime of the superficial. There's your Miss Carthusen, now, with her original poetry. How nicely she dished up that conceit of Montaigne's, that somebody is peculiar because he has no peculiarities. I've forgotten, it is so long since I read him. I haven't looked over the new edition that this poetess of ours has peeped into and fished a fancy out of. But yesterday I was charmed to see it scintillating, in rhymed lines, in the Olympian corner of The Aurora, over the well-known signature of Fleur-de-lis."

The young man looked mortified. He had never read Montaigne, and had announced this production as original and remarkable, firmly believing the writer to be a genius. But he did not choose to tell Dr. Porson that.

"What would you?" he asked, raising his eyebrows and his voice in a philosophical manner. "I must fill the paper; and it is better to put in good thought at second-hand than flat originals. How many know the difference?"

Here Annette's voice stopped them again.

"Strange that girl sings so well to-night," said the doctor, adjusting his glasses for a clearer glance. "She looks well, too. Must be the inspiration of her lover's presence. That's the kind of fellow, sir, that a woman takes a fancy to—a pale, beautiful young man with a slouched hat and a secret sorrow, the sorrow usually having reference to the pocket."

Lawrence Gerald sat near his lady, and seemed to be absorbed in his occupation of cutting a rosebud across in thin slices with his pocket-knife, a proceeding his mother viewed with gentle distress. But when the song was ended, he looked up at Annette and smiled, seeming to be rather proud of her. And, looking so, his eyes lingered a little, expressing interest and a slight surprise, as if he beheld there something worth looking at which he had not noticed before. Had he cared to observe, he might have known already that Miss Ferrier had moments of being beautiful. This was one of them.

There is a pain that looks like delight, when the heart bleeds into the cheeks, the lips part with a smile that does not touch the eyes, and the eyes shine with a dazzling brilliancy that may well be mistaken for joyousness. With such feverish beauty Annette was radiant this evening, and the excitement of singing and of applause had added the last touch of brightness.

The programme for the concert was chiefly of popular music, or a kind of old-fashioned music they were making popular, part-songs and glees. They had attained great finish and delicacy in executing these, and the effect was charming, and far preferable to operas and operatic airs as we usually hear them. It would have been a bold woman who would have asked Mr. Schöninger's permission to sing a difficult aria. Annette had once made such a request, but with indifferent success.

"Mademoiselle," the teacher replied, "you have a better voice than either of the Pattis; but a voice is only a beginning. You must learn the alphabet of music before you can read its poems. When you are ready to be a Norma, I will resign you to some teacher who knows more than I do."

[Pg 14]

The singing was at an end, and the singers left their seats and wandered about the house and garden. Only Mr. Schöninger lingered by the piano, and, seeing him still there, no one went far away, those outside leaning in at the window.

He seated himself presently, and played a Polonaise. He sat far back, almost at arm's length from the keys, and, as he touched it, the instrument seemed to possess an immortal soul. One knew not which most to admire, the power that made a single piano sound like an orchestra, or the delicacy that produced strains fine and clear like horns of fairyland.

When he had finished, he went to ask Mrs. Gerald how the singing had gone.

"I observed that you listened," he remarked, being within Dr. Porson's hearing.

Mrs. Gerald had been sitting for the last half-hour beside Mrs. Ferrier, and the time had been penitential, as all her intercourse with Annette's mother was. It was hard for a fond mother and a sensitive lady to listen to such indelicate complaints and insinuations as Mrs. Ferrier was constantly addressing to her when they were together without uttering any sharp word in return. To be reminded that Lawrence was making a very advantageous marriage without retorting that she would be far more happy to see him the husband of Honora Pembroke, required an effort; and to restrain the quick flash, or the angry tears in her fiery Celtic heart when she heard him undervalued, was almost more than she could do. But she had conquered herself for God's sake and for her son's sake, perhaps a little for pride's sake, had given the soft answer when she could, and remained silent when speech seemed too great an effort.

That coarse insolence of mere money to refined poverty, and the mistaking equality before the law for personal equality, are at any time sufficiently offensive; how much more so when the victim is in some measure in the tormentor's power.

Mrs. Gerald's face showed how severe the trial had been. Her blue eyes had the unsteady lustre of a dew that dared not gather into tears, a painful smile trembled on her lips, and her cheeks were scarlet. Had she been at liberty, this lady could perfectly well have known how to ignore or reprove impertinence without ruffling her smooth brow or losing her tranquil manner; but she was not free, and the restraint was agitating. This rude woman's rudest insinuation was but truth, and she must bear it. Yet, mother-like, she never thought of reproaching her son for what she suffered.

"I never heard music I liked so well," she said to Mr. Schöninger's question. "We are under obligation to you for giving us what we can understand. The composition you have just played delighted me, too, though it is probable that I do not at all appreciate its beauties. It made me think of fairies dancing in a ring."

"It was a dance-tune," Mr. Schöninger said, pleased that she had perceived the thought; for it required a fine and sympathetic ear to discern the step in that capricious movement of Chopin's.

The fact that he was a Jew had prevented her looking on this man with any interest, or feeling it possible that any friendship could exist between them; but the thought passed her mind, as he spoke, that Mr. Schöninger might be a very amiable person if he chose. There was a delicate and reserved sweetness in that faint smile of his which[Pg 15] reminded her of some expression she had seen on Honora's face, when she was conversing with a gentleman who had the good fortune to please her.

Meantime, Lawrence had been having a little dispute with Annette. "What's this about the wine?" he whispered to her. "John says there isn't any to be had."

He looked astonished, and with reason, for the fault of the Ferrier entertainments had always been their profusion.

"I meant to have told you that I had concluded not to have wine," she said. "Two gentlemen present are intemperate men, who make their families very unhappy, and when they begin to drink they do not know where to stop. The last time Mr. Lane was here he became really quite unsteady before he went away."

"But the others!" Lawrence exclaimed. "What will they think?"

"They may understand just why it is," she replied; "and they may not think anything about it. I should not imagine that they need occupy their minds very long with the subject."

"Why, you must know, Annette, that some of them come here for nothing but the supper, and chiefly the wine," the young man urged unguardedly.

She drew up slightly. "So I have heard, Lawrence; and I wish to discourage such visitors' coming. People who are in the devouring mood should not go visiting; they are disagreeable. I have never seen in company that liveliness which comes after supper without a feeling of disgust. It may not go beyond proper bounds, but still it is a greater or less degree of intoxication. I have provided everything I could think of for their refreshment and cheering, but nothing to make them tipsy. I gave you a good reason at first, Lawrence, and I have a better. My father died of liquor, and my brother is becoming a slave to it. I will help to make no drunkards."

"Well," the young man sighed resignedly, "you mean well; but I can't help thinking you a little quixotic."

"The Ferriers are giving us eau sucrée instead of wine to-night," sneered one of the company to Mr. Schöninger, a while after.

"They show good taste in doing so," he replied coldly. "There are always bar-rooms and drinking-saloons enough for those who are addicted to drink. I never wish to take wine from the hand of a lady, nor to drink it in her presence."

The night was brilliantly full-moonlighted, and so warm that they had lit as little gas as possible. A soft glow from the upper floor, and the bright doors of the drawing-room, made the hall chandelier useless. Miss Ferrier's new organ there was flooded with a silvery radiance that poured through a window. Mr. Schöninger came out and seated himself before it.

"Shall I play a fugue of Bach's?" he asked of Miss Pembroke, who was standing in the open door leading to the garden.

She took a step toward him, into the shadow between moonlight of window and door, and the light seemed to follow her, lingering in her fair face and her white dress. Even the waxen jasmine blossoms in her hair appeared to be luminous.

"Yes," she said, "if you are to play only once more; but, if more than once, let that be last. I never lose the sound and motion of one of Bach's fugues till I have slept; and I like to keep the murmur it leaves, as if my ears were sea-shells."

[Pg 16]

She went back to stand in the door, but, after a few minutes, stepped softly and slowly further away, and passed by the drawing-room doors, through which she saw Annette talking with animation and many gestures, while her two critics listened and nodded occasional acquiescence, and Lawrence withdrawn to a window-seat with Miss Carthusen, and Mrs. Ferrier the centre of a group of young people, who listened to her with ill-concealed smiles of amusement. At length she found the place she wanted, an arm-chair under the front portico, and, seated there, gathered up that strong, wilful rush of harmony as a whole. It did not seem to have ceased when Mr. Schöninger joined her. She was so full of the echoes of his music that for a moment she looked at him standing beside her as if it had been his wraith.

He pointed silently and smiling to the corner of the veranda visible from where they sat. It was on the shady side of the house, and still further screened by vines, and the half-drawn curtains of the window looking into it allowed but a single beam of gaslight to escape. In that nook were gathered half a dozen children, peeping into the drawing-room. They were as silent as the shadows in which they lurked, and their bare feet had given no notice of their coming. Their bodies were almost invisible, but their eager little faces shone in the red light, and now and then a small hand was lifted into sight.

"It reminds me," he said, "of a passage in the Koran, where Mahomet declares that it had been revealed to him that a company of genii had listened while he was reading a chapter, and that one of them had remarked: 'Verily, we have heard a most admirable discourse.' That amused me; and I fancied that an effective picture might be made of it: the prophet reading at night by the light of an antique lamp that shone purely on his solemn face and beard, and his green robe, with, perhaps, the pet cat curled round on the sleeve. The casement should be open wide, and crowded with a multitude of yearning, exquisite faces, the lips parted with the intensity of their listening. As I came along the hall just now, I saw one of those children through the window, and in that light it looked like a cameo cut in pink coral."

"I fancy they are some of my children," Miss Pembroke said, and rose. "Let us see. They ought not to be out so late, nor to intrude."

"Oh! spare the poor little wretches," Mr. Schöninger said laughingly, as she took his arm. "We find this commonplace enough, but to them it is wonderful. I think we might be tempted to trespass a little if we could get a peep into veritable fairyland. This is to them fairyland."

"That anything is a strong temptation is no excuse for yielding," the lady said in a playful tone that took away any appearance of reproof from her words. "We do not go into battle in order to surrender without a struggle, nor to surrender at all, but to become heroes. I must teach my little ones to have heroic thoughts."

The children, engrossed in the bright scene within, did not perceive any approach from without till all retreat was cut off for them, and they turned, with startled faces, to find themselves confronted by a tall gentleman, on whose arm leaned a lady whom they looked up to with a tender but reverent love.

These children were of a class accustomed to a word and a blow, and their instinctive motion was to shrink back into a corner, and hide their faces.

[Pg 17]

"I am sorry to see you here, my dears," she said. "Please go home now, like good children."

That was her way of reproving.

She stood aside, and the little vagabonds shied out past her, each one trying to hide his face, and scampering off on soundless feet as soon as he had reached the ground.

"So you have a school?" Mr. Schöninger asked, as they went round through the garden.

They came out into the moonlight, and approached the rear of the house, where a number of the company were gathered, standing among the flowers.

"Yes, I have fifty, or more, of these little ones, and I find it interesting. They were in danger of growing up in the street, and I had nothing else to do—that is, nothing that seemed so plain a duty. So I took the largest room in an old house of mine just verging on the region where these children live, and have them come there every day."

"You must find teaching laborious," the gentleman said.

"Oh! no. I am strong and healthy, and I do not fatigue myself nor them. The whole is free to them, of course, and I am responsible to no one, therefore can instruct or amuse them in my own way. As far as possible, I wish to supply the incompetency of their mothers. If I give the little ones a happy hour, during which they behave properly, and teach them one thing, I am satisfied. One of the branches I try to instruct them in is neatness. No soiled face is allowed to speak to me, nor soiled hands to touch me. Then they sing and read, and learn prayers and a little doctrine, and I tell them stories. When the Christian Brothers and the Sisters of Notre Dame come, my occupation will of course be gone."

"I wish I might some time be allowed to visit this school of yours," Mr. Schöninger said hesitatingly. "I could give them a singing-lesson, and tell them a story. Little Rose Tracy likes my stories."

Miss Pembroke was thoughtful a moment, then consented. She had witnessed with approval Mr. Schöninger's treatment of Miss Carthusen that evening, and respected him for it. "The day after to-morrow, in the afternoon, would be a good time," she said. "It is to be a sort of holiday, on account of the firemen's procession. The procession passes the school-room, and I have promised the children that they shall watch it."

They went in to take leave, for the company was breaking up.

"Oh! by the way, Mr. Schöninger," Annette said, recollecting, "did you get the shawl you left here at the last rehearsal? It was thrown on a garden-seat, and forgotten."

"Yes; I stepped in early the next morning, and took it," he said. His countenance changed slightly as he spoke. The eyelids drooped, and his whole air expressed reserve.

"The next morning!" she repeated to herself, but said nothing.

Lawrence went off with Miss Carthusen; and as Mrs. Gerald and Honora went out at the same time with Mr. Schöninger, he asked permission to accompany them.

"How lovely the night is!" Mrs. Gerald murmured, as they walked quietly along under the trees of the avenue, and saw all the beautiful city bathed in moonlight, and ringed about with mountains like a wall. "Heaven can scarcely have a greater physical beauty than earth has sometimes."

"I do not think," the gentleman said, "that heaven will be so much more beautiful than earth, but our[Pg 18] eyes will be opened to see the beauties that exist."

He spoke very quietly, with an air of weariness or depression; and, when they reached home, bowed his good-night without speaking.

The two ladies stood a moment in the door, looking out over the town. "If that man were not a Jew, I should find him agreeable," Mrs. Gerald said. "As it is, it seems odd that we should see so much of him."

"I am inclined to believe," Honora said slowly, "that it is not right for us to refuse a friendly intercourse with suitable associates on account of any difference of religion, unless they intrude on us a belief or disbelief which we hold to be sacrilegious."

"Could you love a Jew?" Mrs. Gerald asked, rather abruptly.

Honora considered the matter a little while. "Our Lord loved them, even those who crucified him. I could love them. Besides, I do not believe that the Jews of to-day would practise violence any more than Christians would. We are friendly with Unitarians, yet they are not very different from some Jews. I think we should love everybody but the eternally lost. I could more easily become attached to an upright and conscientious Jew, than to a Catholic who did not practise his religion."

Mr. Schöninger, as soon as he had left the ladies, mended his pace, and strode off rapidly down the hill. In a few minutes he had reached a lighted railroad station, where people were going to and fro.

"Just in time!" he muttered, and ran to catch a train that was beginning to slip over the track. Grasping the hand-rail, he drew himself on to the step of the last car, then walked through the other cars, and, finally, took his seat in that next the engine. Once a week he gave lessons in a town fifteen miles from Crichton, and he usually found it more agreeable to take the night train down than to go in the morning.

In selecting this car he had hoped to be alone; but he had hardly taken his seat when he heard a step following him, and another man appeared and went into the seat in front of him—an insignificant-looking person, with a mean face. He turned about, put his feet on the seat, stretched his arm along the back, and, assuming an insinuating smile, bade Mr. Schöninger good evening. He had, apparently, settled himself for a long conversation.

Mr. Schöninger's habits were those of a scrupulous gentleman, and he had, even among gentlemen, the charming distinction of always keeping his feet on the floor. This man's manners were, therefore, in more than one way offensive, and his salutation received no more encouraging reply than a stare, and a scarcely perceptible inclination of the head.

Mr. Schöninger seemed, indeed, to regret even this slight concession, for he rose immediately with an air of decision, and walked forward to the first seat. The door of the car was open there as they rushed on through the darkness, and, looking forward, it was like beholding the half-veiled entrance of a cavern of fire. A cloud of illuminated smoke and steam swept about and enveloped the engine with a bright atmosphere impenetrable to the sight, and through this loomed the gigantic shadow of a man. This shadow sometimes disappeared for a moment only to appear again, and seemed to make threatening gestures, and to catch and press down into the flames some unseen adversary. Mr. Schöninger's fancy was wide awake, though[Pg 19] his eyes were half asleep, and this strange object became to him an object of terror. Painful and anxious thoughts, which he had resolutely put away, left yet a dim and mysterious background, on which this grotesque figure, gigantic and wrapped in fire, was thrown in strong relief. He imagined it an impending doom, which might at any moment fall upon him.

Finding these fancies intolerable at length, he shook himself wide awake, rose, and walked unsteadily up and down the car. In doing so, he perceived that his fellow-passenger had retreated to the last seat, and was, apparently, sleeping, his cap drawn low over his forehead. But Mr. Schöninger's glance detected a slight change in the position of the head as he commenced his promenade, and he could not divest himself of the belief that, from under the low hat-brim, a glance as sharp as his own was following his every movement.

In an ordinary and healthy mood of mind he would have cared little for such espionage; but he was not in such a mood. Circumstances had of late tried his nerves, and it required all his power of self-control to maintain a composed exterior. Did this man suspect his trouble, and search for, or, perhaps, divine, or, possibly, know the cause of it? He would gladly have caught the fellow in his arms, and thrown him headlong into the outer darkness.

He returned to his place, and, leaning close to the window, looked out into the night. If he had hoped to quiet himself by the sight of a familiar nature, he was disappointed, for the scene had a weird, though occasionally beautiful aspect, very unlike reality. The moon had set, leaving that darkness which follows a bright moonlight, or precedes the dawn of day, when the stars seem to be confounded by the near yet invisible radiance of their conqueror, and dare not shine with their own full lustre. Only this locomotive, dashing through the heart of the night, rendered visible a flying panorama. Groves of trees twirled round, surprised in some mystic dance; streams flashed out in all their windings, red and serpent-like, and hid themselves as suddenly; wide plains swam past, all a blur, with hills and mountains stumbling against the horizon. Only one spot had even a hint of familiarity. Framed round by a great semi-circle of woods, not many rods from the track, was a long, narrow pond, with a few acres of smooth green beyond it, and a white cottage close to its farthest shore. This little scene was as perfectly secluded, apparently, as if it had been in the midst of a continent otherwise uninhabited. No road nor neighboring house was visible from the railroad. The dwellers in that cottage seemed to be solitary and remote, knowing nothing of the wide, busy world save what they saw from their vine-draped windows when the long, noisy train, crowded with strangers, hurried past them, never stopping. What web that clattering shuttle wove they might wonder, but could not know, could scarcely care as they dreamed their lives away, lotos-eating. For the lotos was not wanting.

Mr. Schöninger recollected his first glimpse of that place as he had whirled past one summer morning, and swiftly now he caught the scene between his eyelids, and closed them on it, and dreamed over it. He saw the varied green of the forest, and the velvet green of the banks, and the blue and brooding sky. Like a sylvan nymph the cottage stood in its draping vines, and tried to catch glimpses of itself in the[Pg 20] glassy waters at its feet, half smothered in drifting fragrant snow of water-lilies.

What sort of being should come forth from that dwelling of peace? Mr. Schöninger asked himself. Who should stretch out hands to him, and draw him out of his troubled life, approaching now a climax he shrank from? His heart rose and beat quickly. The door under the vines swung slowly back, and a woman floated out over the green, as silent and as gracious as a cloud over the blue above. The drapery fluttered back from her advancing foot till it reached the first shining ripple of the pond, and then she paused—a presence so warm and living that it quickened his breathing. She stretched her strong white arms out toward him over the lilies she would not cross, and the face was Honora Pembroke's. The large, calm look, the earnest glow that saved from coldness, the full humanity steeped through and shone through by spiritual loveliness—they were all hers.

He started, and opened his eyes. Their pace was slackening, the great black figure in its fiery atmosphere was in some spasm of motion, and walls of brick and stone were shutting them in.

The cars stopped at the foot of an immense flight of stairs that stretched upward indefinitely, a dingy Jacob's ladder, without the angels. Mr. Schöninger slowly ascended them, heavyhearted again, and therefore heavy-footed; and, not far behind, a man with a skulking step and a mean face followed after. There was nothing very mysterious in this walk. It led merely through a deserted business street, by the shortest route, to a respectable hotel. Mr. Schöninger called for a room, and went to it immediately; the little man lingered in the office, and hung about the desk.

"That gentleman comes down here pretty often in the night, doesn't he?" he asked of the clerk.

The man nodded, without looking up.

"Does he always record his name when he comes?" pursued the questioner.

"Can't say," was the short answer, still without looking up.

"Comes down every Wednesday night, I suppose?" remarked the stranger.

The clerk suddenly thrust his face past the corner of the desk behind which his catechiser stood. "Look here, sir, what name shall I put down for you?" he asked sharply.

The man drew back a little, and turned away. "I'm not sure of booking myself here," he replied.

The clerk came down promptly from his perch. "Then it's time to lock up," he said.

And when he had locked the door, and pulled down the curtains, with a snap that threatened to break their fastenings, he put his hands in his pockets, and made a short and emphatic address to an imaginary audience.

"I don't believe there is any redemption for spies," he said; "and I would rather have a thief in my house than a sneak. You sometimes hear of a criminal who repents; but nobody ever yet heard of one of your prying, peeping, tattling sort reforming."

There being no other person present, no one contradicted him, a circumstance which seemed to increase the strength of his convictions. He paced the room two or three times, then returned to his first stand, removing his hands from his pockets to clasp them behind his back, as[Pg 21] being a more dignified attitude for a speaker.

"If I had my will," he pursued, "every nose that poked itself into other people's affairs would be cut off."

Bravo! Mr. Clerk. You have sense. But if you had also that sanguinary wish of yours, what a number of mutilated visages would be going about the world! How many feminine faces would be shorn of their retroussé, or long, rooting feature, or clawing, parrot beak, and how many men would be incapacitated for taking snuff!

Having delivered himself of his rather extreme opinion, this excellent man shut up the house and retired.

Mr. Schöninger looked forward with interest to his promised visit to Miss Pembroke's school, and was so anxious that she should not by any forgetfulness or change of plan deprive him of it, that he reminded her as they came out of the hall, after their concert, of the permission she had given him for the next afternoon.

"Certainly!" she replied smiling. "But how can you think of such a trifle after the grand success of this evening?"

For their concert had been a perfect success, and Mr. Schöninger himself had been applauded with such enthusiasm as had pleased even him. It was the first time he had played in public in Crichton, and, respectable as he held their musical taste to be, he had not been prepared to see so ready an appreciation of the higher order of instrumental music.

"I never saw a more appreciative audience," he said. "They applauded at the right places, and it was a well-bred applause. How delicate was that little whisper of a clapping during the prelude! It was like the faint rustling of leaves in a summer wind, and so soft that not a note was lost. I have never seen so nearly perfect an audience in any other city in this country."

"Do not we always tell you that Crichton is the most charming city in the world?" laughed Annette Ferrier, who had caught his last remark.

She was passing him, accompanied by Lawrence Gerald. Her face was bright with excitement, and the glistening of her ornaments and her gauzy robe through the black lace mantle that covered her from head to foot gave her the look of a butterfly caught in a web. She had sung brilliantly, dividing the honors of the evening with Mr. Schöninger, and Lawrence, finding her admired by others, was gallant to her himself. On the whole, she was radiant with delight.

"Do not expect too much of my little ones," Miss Pembroke said, recurring to the proposed visit. "Recollect, they are all poor, and they have had but little instruction."

Mr. Schöninger did not tell her that his interest was in her more than in the children, and that he desired to see how she would conduct herself in such circumstances rather than take any note of the persons and acquirements of her pupils. To his mind it was very strange that a lady of her refinement should wish to assume such a work without necessity. His conception of the character of teachers of children was not flattering; he thought a certain vulgarity inseparable from such persons, a positiveness of speech, an oracular tone of voice, and an authoritative air, which the employment conferred on successful teachers, if it did not find them already possessed of. It amused him to fancy these fifty children swarming about Miss Pembroke, like ants about a lily, and it annoyed him to[Pg 22] think that she might receive some stain from them.

"I like ladies to be charitable," he said to himself, as he went homeward; "but there are kinds of rough work I would prefer they should delegate to others."

He was thinking of the physical part of the work; Honora of the spiritual.

The school-room was the lower floor of a house at the corner of two streets, and had been used as a shop, the two wide show-windows at either side of the door giving a full light. The upper floors were occupied as a dwelling-house. These windows looked out on a wide and respectable street; but the cross street, beginning fairly enough, deteriorated as it went on toward the Saranac, through the poorest section of the city, and ended in shanties and a dingy wharf where lobsters were perpetually being boiled in large kettles in dingy boats, and crowds of ragged children seemed to be always hanging about, sucking lobster-claws, or on the watch for them. Miss Pembroke's charge were from this class of children, and one of her great difficulties was to keep her school-room from having the fixed odor of a fish-market.

The room was severely clean and spotless, and, but that the side-walls were nearly covered with maps, bookcases, and blackboards, would have been glaring white; for the walls and ceiling were white-washed, the wood-work painted white, and the floor scoured white. Two rows of oak-colored benches extended across the room, the backs toward the windows. The sun shone in unobstructed all the afternoon. Only when it began to touch the last row of benches were the green worsted curtains drawn down far enough to keep it within bounds. Miss Pembroke's chair, table, and piano were in the space opposite the door. On the centre of the wall behind her hung a large crucifix, and on a bracket beneath it a marble Child Jesus stretched out his arms to the little ones. On larger brackets to right and left stood an Immaculate Lady and a S. Joseph. They were thus in the midst of the Holy Family.

These images were constantly surrounded by wreaths, arches, and flowers, so that the end of the room had quite the appearance of a bower; and on all his festivals, and whenever prayers were said, a candle was lighted before the Infant Jesus, who was the patron of their school, and the dearest object of their childish devotion. It was delightful to them to know that they need not always approach their God in the language, to them, often inexplicable, of the mature and the learned, but that they could whisper their ingenuous petitions and praises into the indulgent ear of a holy Child, using their own language, and asking him to be their interpreter. S. Joseph with the lily and the white Lady with her folded hands they worshipped with awe; but they were not afraid of the dear Infant who stretched out his arms to them.

Fifty little faces, all brown, but otherwise various, looked straight at their teacher—blue eyes and brown eyes, black eyes and grey, large eyes and small eyes, bright and dull eyes; and fifty young souls were at that instant occupied with one thought. The first faint thrilling of the silence with martial music was heard, and they were eager to take their places to see the advancing procession. But Miss Pembroke waited still. She had told Mr. Schöninger to come at three o'clock, and it lacked five minutes of that. Just as she was[Pg 23] thinking that she would give him two minutes' grace, he appeared.

She went at once to place the children, and he watched with a smile of pleasure and amusement the soldierly precision of the performance. The door was opened wide, and two of the largest boys carried out and placed a bench near the edge of the upper step. At the motion of a finger, the smallest boys filed out and seated themselves on this bench, and an equal number of larger ones stood behind keeping guard. Then the door was closed. At the next silent gesture the smallest of the boys and girls remaining seated themselves in the low, broad ledge of the windows, the next size placed a bench across each window recess for themselves, and the largest again stood behind the benches. Not a word had been spoken, not a child had turned its head, not the slightest noise nor confusion had occurred, and all were perfectly well placed to see.

"What admirable order!" the gentleman exclaimed. "You must have drilled them thoroughly."

"It did not seem to me wasting time," Miss Pembroke replied. "I wish to impress on them the necessity of a decorous and reserved manner in public. They are too prone to presume, and be more than ordinarily lawless on such occasions. Besides, it teaches them self-control."

The two sat back at a little distance. The children began to stretch their heads forward, and whisper exclamations to each other. The air resounded with martial sounds, and a solid front of superb grey horses appeared, well-caparisoned and well-ridden, the full crimped manes tossed over their arching necks. Behind them another and another line pressed, making a living wall.

"I think one feels the influence of such a mass of strong life and courage," Miss Pembroke remarked. "It seems to me it would invigorate a weak person to be near those horses."

Mr. Schöninger had been thinking nearly the same thing. "I have fancied it not unlikely," he said, "that in a bold cavalry charge the horses may help to inspire the riders. The neighborhood of strong animal life is, no doubt, invigorating. It would be fine to stand face to face with a herd of wild cattle, if they could be surely stopped in mid-career, to feel the air stirring with their breaths, and see their eyes glaring through heaps of rough mane. There would be something electrical in it, as there is in a crowd of men; and in both cases it is a merely physical excitement."

"But a crowd of men may be electrified by some great thought," suggested Honora.

"Not unless each had the thought in his single mind before, either latent or conscious. I do not believe that any crowd or excitement, however immense, can put a great thought into a little soul. I can never act with an excited crowd, can hardly look at one with respect." His lip expressed contempt. "It is true that an eloquent leader may have the power of inciting people to some good deed; but even so, they are only a machine which he works. Great thoughts are not vociferous. They float in air, with no sound, unless it is the sound of wings."

Honora checked the words that rose to her lips so suddenly that a deep blush bathed her face. She had been thinking of the crowd that roared "Crucify him!" and had recollected only just in time that they were this man's remote ancestors. But she recollected also that it was[Pg 24] to him as original sin was to her, an hereditary, but not a personal, stain, and that baptism could wash both away. Her charity began at home, in the great Christian family, but it stayed not there: it overflowed to all living creatures.

"I have almost an enthusiasm for firemen," she said hastily. "They sometimes perform such wonders, and run such terrible risks for scarcely a reward. Unlike soldiers, they save without destroying anything. How beautiful their engines are!"

The procession was a long and very brilliant one, and the companies had vied with each other in decoration. The engines shone as if made of burnished gold and silver, and wreaths and bouquets of green and flowers decked them.

"These processions, more than any others I have seen, remind me of descriptions of pageants in the old time," remarked Honora, when they had been silent a while. "There is so much show and glitter in them, and the costumes are so gay. How I would like to be transported back to that time for one year!"

Her thoughts had taken a flight between the first and last words, and she was thinking of mediæval religion, with its untroubled faith and its fiery zeal.

Mr. Schöninger did not share her enthusiasm. Those had been bitter days for his people, and perhaps he was thinking so.

"I imagine you would ask to be transported back again before the year was over," he said quietly. "Those times look very picturesque at this distance, with their Rembrandt shading. But there was no more heroism then than there is to-day. I far prefer the hero of to-day. He is a better bred man, not so blatant as the mediæval. It seems to me that the admirers of that time are chiefly the poets, who sacrifice everything to the picturesque; ambitious men, who covet power; and—pardon me!—devout ladies who have been captivated by legends of the saints, and stories of ecclesiastical pageantry, but who take little thought for humanity at large."

"But in those days," said Miss Pembroke, "men had some respect for authority and law, and now they despise it."

"It is the fault of authority if it is despised," Mr. Schöninger replied with decision. "License is the inevitable reaction from tyranny, and is in proportion to it. So long as man retains any vestige of the image of the Creator, tyranny will always, in time, produce rebels. The world is now inebriated with freedom; let those whose abuse of authority created this burning thirst share the opprobrium of its excesses. Some day the equilibrium will be found. We cannot force it; it is a question of growth; but we can help. You are helping it," he added, smiling.

"What you have said sounds just," she replied, thoughtfully; "and I like justice. Perhaps the abuse of legitimate authority is a greater sin than rebellion against it, since the ruler should be wiser and better than the ruled."

They were again silent awhile, the gentleman hesitating whether to speak his thought, and finally speaking.

"Trust one who has studied the world well," he said earnestly. "Instead of being determined not to believe, mankind at this time is longing to believe. But it is determined not to be duped. The sceptic of to-day was made by the hypocrite of yesterday, and half the scepticism is affected, as half the piety was affected. Men are ashamed and afraid to be[Pg 25] caught in a trap, and they pretend to disbelieve, when in fact they only doubt. You must now prove to them that truth itself is true, since they have so often been deceived by falsehood in the garb of truth. Let a man or a measure prove to be sincere and honest, and there was never a period in the history of the world when either would win more hearty approval than now. It is true that the childlike trustfulness of mankind is gone, partly from growth, partly because it has been abused; but the nobler powers are maturing. To believe this, you need not give up your faith. I have seen the eyes of one of the most bitter of scoffers fill with tears, and his lips tremble, at a proof of ardent and pious devotion which was not meant to be known. That man was a scoffer because his common sense and sentiment of justice had been insulted by pious pretenders. If he could believe, he would be a saint."

Honora Pembroke's face was troubled. There could be no doubt that the man was honest and sincere in what he said, and that much of what he said was true. But was a Jew to teach a Christian? She could not be sure that his judgment was unbiased, and that one more learned than she would not be able to refute him. She said the best thing she could think of.

"False professors do not make false doctrines. And if the human mind is becoming so adult and strong, it should judge the truth by itself, not by the person who professes it."

"You are quite right," Mr. Schöninger answered. "And that is precisely what people are learning to do. It is also what many, who wish truth to be believed on their own testimony, object to their doing. I repeat"—he glanced with anxiety into her clouded face—"I earnestly assure you that I have not uttered a word which conflicts with your creed, though it is not mine. If I were to-day to become a Catholic, I should only reiterate what I have said on this subject."

The cloud passed from her face, but still she did not speak. She was not gifted in argument, and this subject was complex, and, moreover, a bone of contention.

"It has occurred to me," he said presently, "that the people in Crichton, though they appear to be very liberal, may still have a prejudice against me as a Jew. That would be of no consequence to me in the case of most of them; but there are a few whom I should be sorry to know had such a feeling. The Jews are much misunderstood and slandered, though people have an opportunity of learning their true character if they would. The majority seem to look on every Jew as a probable or possible usurer and dealer in old clothes, and a person capable of joining a rabble at any moment, and pursuing an innocent man to death. I do not, of course, fancy for an instant that you have any sympathy with such people; but I think it possible that you may misunderstand my attitude toward your church. I have not the slightest feeling of enmity against it as long as it does not do violence to me or mine, and while its members are true to the doctrines of peace and charity which they profess. As an artist I admire it. Its theology is the only one which still retains binding and implacable obligations of form, consequently, the only one that can inspire high art. I do not count the old Jews, who are rapidly melting away. I am of the reformed Jews."

"You no longer expect the coming of the Redeemer, nor the return to Jerusalem, nor the triumph of your[Pg 26] people?" she asked, looking at him in astonishment.

"We no longer believe in them," he replied.

"What, then, is left you?" she exclaimed.

He smiled slightly. "I expect and long for the redemption of mankind by the spirit of God, and I believe that truth and charity will prevail, though they may not descend from heaven to become incarnate in one form. The Jerusalem my people will return to is the spiritual city of the children of God. Is it not nobler than the pretty myths which have been wasting our energies and dividing the brotherhood of men into petty clans, all hating each other even while they professed that love was their prime virtue?"

"But sacrifice," she said, "what did you mean by that?"

"We had truth and error mingled. The sacrifice was merely a remnant of heathen customs. Peoples who knew nothing of Judaism nor of Christianity had their offerings and sacrifices. The Jews were the chosen people, finer and more spiritual than any other; and to the souls of the chosen among them the Creator revealed his truths. They renounced all heathenish doctrines, and into the few ceremonies and customs they retained they infused a spiritual significance. As the race deteriorated, this spiritual meaning was misinterpreted, and became more and more literal and gross. The people fell into sin, and for this the Creator punished them by taking away their power and pre-eminence, and by scattering them over the face of the earth."

Honora listened intently; and when he had finished, she uttered but one word. Clasping her hands and lifting her eyes, her heart seemed to burst upward like a fountain, tossing that one word into air, "Emmanuel!"

Not the primeval Creator alone, distant and awful, but God with us! Into this vast and terrible void which had been spread out before her, she invoked with passion the incarnate, the lowly, the pitiful, the suffering God.

"We hold that sacrifice is a practice of divine institution retained from our first parents, not an originally heathen custom," she added after a moment, regaining her composure. "You are, however, obliged to give up your belief in it, or be inconsistent. I can see now that if you hold to the sacrifice, you must hold to the Redeemer; if to the Redeemer, then you must believe in Christ, since the time is gone by for expectation; and if you accept the Christ, you must be a Roman Catholic."

"Precisely!" said the Jew. He had felt a momentary electric shock at the passion of her first exclamation, and had seen with emotion the flush and fire in her countenance. Now he smiled at her concise statement of the case.

Miss Pembroke rose, for the last of the procession was passing. The children were called back to their seats in the same order in which they had left them, and a few simple exercises were gone through with at the request of their visitor. All was well calculated to unfold and inform their young minds, but nothing was for show.

Mr. Schöninger blushed for the mistake he had made in fancying that any occupation on earth could be more refined and noble than Miss Pembroke's, when it was conducted in Miss Pembroke's manner. It seemed an occupation for angels. She possessed, evidently, in a preeminent degree, the power to understand and interest children, and she used that power to perfect ends. There was none of that personal[Pg 27] familiarity which he had dreaded to see, that promiscuous fondness and caressing by which some women fancy they please children, when, in fact, the finer sort of children are oftener than not displeased with it. A kind touch of her fingers was to them an immense favor, and a kiss would have been remembered for ever. But while they treated her with profound respect, they approached her with perfect confidence and delight. They gathered about her, and gazed into her sympathetic face, bright and transparent with love from a bountiful woman's heart. They looked at her as a sky full of little stars may look into a smooth lake, and each saw its own reflection there, and was happy. In her soul all innocent infantile thoughts and fancies were condensed, as cloud and spray are condensed into water, and not only could she remember the process, but she could reverse it at will, could evaporate a thought or truth too strong for childish intellects, and give it in the form of rosy clouds to wide, grasping, childish imaginations.

Only one exercise failed at first. The children were shy of singing before the stranger. All their voices faltered into silence but one, a rather fair voice of a little boy who was perfectly self-confident, and who evidently expected applause.

Mr. Schöninger took no notice of the child. Its vanity and boldness displeased him. "A shallow thing!" he thought; and said, "I see that I must hire you to sing for me. You like fairy-stories, surely. Well, sing me but one song, and I will tell you the story."

His voice and smile reassured them. Moreover, a gentleman, no matter how splendid he might be, who could tell fairy-stories, could not be very dreadful. They exchanged smiles and glances, took courage, fixed their eyes on their teacher, and sang a pretty hymn in good time and tune, and with good expression.

In their first essay the musician had caught a faltering little silvery note, which had failed as soon as heard. In the second it came out round and clear, a voice of surprising beauty. He marked the singer, and called him forward as soon as the hymn was over. The boy came awkwardly and blushing. He was the ugliest and most dingy pupil there. Only a pair of melancholy, dark, and lustrous eyes, habitually downcast, and a set of perfect teeth, redeemed the face from being disagreeable. Through those eyes looked a winged soul that did not recognize itself, still less expect recognition from others, but felt only the vague weight and sadness of an uncongenial life. He gave the impression of a beautiful bird whose every plume is so laden with mire it cannot fly.

"You have a good voice, and should learn how to sing," Mr. Schöninger said to him kindly. "I will teach you, if Miss Pembroke approves, and will make the arrangements. Of course it will cost you nothing."

"He needs encouragement," the musician remarked when the boy had returned to his seat; "and he needs to have his position defined before the others. Do you not perceive that they despise him? He has the voice of an angel, and he looks remarkable. And now for my story."

The children's eyes sparkled with anticipation, and the teacher leaned smilingly to listen. Let us listen also, and become better acquainted with Mr. Schöninger.

"Once upon a time, there was a great wrangle in a certain street," the story-teller began. "Five little boys and girls were quarreling, and two dogs were barking. The neighbors[Pg 28] put their heads out their windows, and the policeman stopped. Mrs. Blake put her two forefingers in her two ears, for the noise was near her step, and the five boys and girls were all telling her together what the matter was, and whose fault it was. Then the mothers called their children home, and two went into Mrs. Blake's, for they were hers. This was the story she drew from them: Anne Blake had said a cross word to one of the others, that other had made a face at the next, the third had slapped the fourth, and it went round the circle. So it seemed that Anne started the whole by speaking a cross word.

"'Since you are sorry, I will talk no more to you about it,' her mother said. 'But I wish you to go up to your chamber and sit alone a little while, and think over a Chinese proverb which is written on this slip of paper. You are ten years old, and must begin to think.'

"Anne went slowly up-stairs to her chamber, shut the door after her, and sat down in a little cushioned chair by the window to read her proverb. Its being Chinese did not prevent it from being good. This is what she read: 'A word once spoken, a coach and six cannot bring it back again.'

"The day was warm, and the curtain at the window swung with a lulling motion, giving glimpses of blue sky with white clouds sailing over, and, below, of the top of a grape-vine full of leaves and small green grapes.

"Anne gazed at the sky till it made her feel sleepy—gazing at bright things does make one sleepy—then she gazed at the grape-vine. Presently, she saw something in this vine that looked like a tiny ladder, hidden among the leaves. It looked so much like a ladder that she leaned forward and pulled the curtain aside, to see more plainly. Sure enough! It was the loveliest ladder, or stairway, winding down and down. Its steps were dark, like vine branches, and there was a railing at each side of twigs and tendrils, and it wound down and down, in sight and out of sight. And, more wonderful still, it was no longer a yard, with the city about, she saw, but a great vine covering all the window, and glimpses of a moonlighted forest down below.

"'I must go down,' says Anne; and so down she went on the beautiful stairs.

"Lights and shades fluttered over her, and the leaves clapped together, and little tendrils caught at her dress in play. And by-and-by she stepped on to the brightest greensward that could be, full of blue and white violets. The trees arched over her, the air was sweet, and there was a smooth pond near by. The water was so very smooth that she would never have known it was water if the banks had not turned the wrong way in it, and the trees grown down instead of up. A little white boat, too, had another little white boat under it, the two keel to keel. Swans ran down the shore as she looked, and splashed into the water, dipping their heads under, and making the whole surface so full of motion that the upside-down trees and banks and boat disappeared. Words cannot describe how beautiful the place was. There was every kind of flower, and hosts of birds, and the moonlight was so bright that all could be distinctly seen. There were also a great many splendid moths that looked like flowers flying about, and flapping their petals.

"But the most beautiful part was that everything seemed to breathe of peace and love. The birds sang and cooed to each other, the blossoms leaned cheek to cheek, the[Pg 29] water laughed at the stones it ran over, and the wet stones smiled back, the gray old rocks held tenderly the flowers and mosses that grew in their hollows, and the mosses and flowers held on to the rocks with their tiny roots, like little children clinging to old people who are fond of them.

"'How beautiful it is to see them so loving,' Anne said. 'They are a sort of people, too; for they look alive. I wish other folks would be as good. I'm sure I try; but then somebody always comes along and says something ugly; and then, of course, I can't help being ugly back again.'

"'Oh! yes, you can,' said a sweet voice close by.

"Anne looked and saw a charming little lady standing beside her. She was so beautiful that words cannot describe her, and she carried a pink petunia for a parasol to preserve her complexion. For she was exquisitely fair, and the moonlight was really very bright.

"'Oh! yes, you can,' she repeated when Anne looked at her. 'You can give a pleasant answer, and then people will stop being ugly.'

"'I could do it if everybody else would,' Anne said. 'The beginning is the trouble. How nice it would be if there were a king over all the world, and he would say, Now, after I have counted three, all of you stop being cross, and begin to love each other, and keep on loving a whole hour. If you don't, I'll cut your heads off!'

"'That would not be love; it would be a make-believe to save their heads,' the little lady answered. 'But there is such a king, and he has commanded us to love each other, and....'

"Here she was interrupted by a loud flapping of wings and a terrible croaking, and a great black bird, something like a bat, flew by; and wherever it struck its wings other bats flew out, and the air grew dark with them, and all the beautiful forest was changed. The stones tried to stop the brook, and the brook tried to upset the stones; the leaves struck each other, the swans and little birds began to pull each other's feathers out. All was discord.

"And then there was a rolling of wheels, and a trampling of hoofs, and a great yellow coach appeared drawn by six horses covered with foam. The coachman looked as if he were driving for his life, and there was a head thrust from each window of the coach, telling him to drive faster. All the heads wore caps like dish-covers, and had long braids of hair hanging down their necks, though they were men; and their eyes slanted down toward their noses, instead of going straight across their faces.

"'We are trying to catch a wicked word that is ruining all the place,' they said, 'but we cannot. A wicked word has wings.'

"'So has a kind word wings,' said the little lady. 'Send a kind word after the cross one, and perhaps it may bring it back.'

"'You are right, madam,' said one of the Chinamen; and he nodded his head till the long braid at the back of it wagged to and fro. And he kept on nodding so queerly that Anne felt obliged to nod too, and so he nodded, and she nodded, till he nodded his head off. And then she nodded her head off—no, not quite off; but she nodded so that she waked herself up. For she had been dreaming.

"Then she jumped up and ran down-stairs and out doors as fast as her feet would carry her. And in ten minutes she was back again, all[Pg 30] out of breath, and full of excitement. 'Mother,' she said, 'a coach and six can't do it, but a kind word can. I told Jane I was sorry, and she told—and we all told each other that we were sorry, and then we were glad.' The words were rather mixed up, but the meaning was all right."

"I am truly grateful to you for allowing me to come this afternoon," Mr. Schöninger said on taking leave. "My visit has been to me like a drop of cold water to one in a fever, or like the sound of David's harp to Saul. I am refreshed."

He looked both sad and pleased. "I was about to thank you for coming," Honora answered. "You have given me and the children much pleasure."

And so, with a friendly salutation, they separated.

She mused a moment. "If he could believe in the sacrifice, all would follow," she thought.

Then she called the children to their prayers, but first said a word to them.

"There is something, my dear children, that I want very much," she said. "Oh! I long for it. I shall be unhappy if I do not have it. And I want all of you to ask the Infant Jesus to give it to me for his dear mother's sake. Ask with all your hearts. I will tell him what I wish for."

Her wish was that Mr. Schöninger might believe that sacrifice was a divine revelation, not a heathenish custom.

"That is all he needs from me," she thought. "I trust him. If he has that to begin with, he will himself ask God for the rest."




"No state shall pass any ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts."[2]

This is indeed a moral law, and has been recognized as such by all civilized nations.

Justice Curtis, in his Life of Webster (vol. i., chap. 7, p. 165) thus notices the decision in the Supreme Court which first gave the scope and meaning of this clause in regard to charters of private corporations:

"The framers of the Constitution of the United States, moved chiefly by the mischiefs created by the preceding legislation of the states, which had made serious encroachments on the rights of property, inserted a clause in that instrument which declared that 'no state shall pass any ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts.' The first branch of this clause had always been understood to relate to criminal legislation, the second to legislation affecting civil rights. But before the case of Dartmouth College v. Woodward occurred, there had been no judicial decisions respecting the meaning and scope of the restraint in regard to contracts, excepting that it had more than once been determined by the Supreme Court of the United States that a grant of lands made by a state is a contract within the protection of this provision, and is, therefore, irrevocable. The decisions, however, could go but little way toward the solution of the questions involved in the case of the college. [Pg 31]They did, indeed, establish the principle that contracts of the state itself are beyond the reach of subsequent legislation equally with contracts between individuals, and that there are grants of a state that are contracts. But this college stood upon a charter granted by the crown of England before the American Revolution. Was the state of New Hampshire—a sovereign in all respects after the Revolution, and remaining one after the federal constitution, excepting in those respects in which it had subjected its sovereignty to the restraints of that instrument—bound by the contracts of the English crown? Is the grant of a charter of incorporation a contract between the sovereign power and those on whom the charter is bestowed? If an act of incorporation is a contract, is it so in any case but that of a private corporation? Was this college, which was an institution of learning, established for the promotion of education, a private corporation, or was it one of those instruments of government which are at all times under the control and subject to the direction of the legislative power? All these questions were involved in the inquiry, whether the legislative power of the state had been so restrained by the constitution of the United States that it could not alter the charter of this institution, against the will of the trustees, without impairing the obligation of a contract. If this inquiry were to receive an affirmative answer, the constitutional jurisprudence of the United States would embrace a principle of the utmost importance to every similar institution of learning, and to every incorporation then existing, or thereafter to exist, not belonging to the machinery of government as a political instrument....

"On the conclusion of the argument the Chief-Justice (Marshall) intimated that a decision was not to be expected until the next term. It was made in February, 1819, fully confirming the grounds on which Mr. Webster had placed the cause. From this decision, the principle in our constitutional jurisprudence which regards a charter of a private corporation as a contract, and places it under the protection of the Constitution of the United States, takes its date."

We add a passage from Mr. Webster's speech in this case, as quoted by the same author from a letter of Prof. Goodrich, of Yale College, to Rufus Choate:

"This, sir, is my case. It is the case not merely of that humble institution; it is the case of every college in our land. It is more. It is the case of every eleemosynary institution throughout our country—of all those great charities founded by the piety of our ancestors to alleviate human misery and scatter blessings along the pathway of life. It is more! It is, in some sense, the case of every man among us who has property of which he may be stripped, for the question is simply this: Shall our state legislatures be allowed to take that which is not their own, to turn it from its original use, and apply it to such ends or purposes as they in their discretion shall see fit?"

The charitable and religious institutions of Italy and the States of the Church were founded under guarantees as strong at least as those which assured the perpetuity of Dartmouth College, and were entitled to as much immunity from confiscation and intrusion for all coming time.

When a law is in its nature a contract, and absolute rights have vested under that contract, a repeal of the law cannot divest those rights, nor annihilate or impair a title acquired under the law. A grant is a contract according to the meaning given to the word by jurists. A grant is a contract executed, and a party is always estopped by his own grant. A party cannot pronounce his own act or deed invalid, whatever cause may be assigned for its invalidity, and though that party be the legislature of a state. A grant amounts to an extinguishment of the right of the grantor, and implies a contract not to reassert that right. A grant from a state should be as much protected as a grant from one individual to another; therefore, a state is as much inhibited from impairing its own contracts, or a con[Pg 32]tract to which it is a party, as it is from impairing the obligation of contracts between two individuals. A grant once made by the ruling or competent power, creates an indefeasible and irrevocable title. There is no authority or principle which could support the doctrine that such a grant was revocable in its own nature, and held only durante bene placito. For no ruling power, be it kingly, legislative, or otherwise, can repeal a law or grant creating a corporate body, or confirming to them property already acquired under the faith of previous laws or edicts, and by such repeal vest the property in others without the consent or default of the corporators. Such a procedure would be repugnant to the principles of natural justice. A society or order of religious people holding property in common or in solido, may be considered in the character of a private eleemosynary institution endowed with a capacity to take property for objects unconnected with government: it receives gifts or devises, and other private donations bestowed by individuals on the faith of its perpetuity and usefulness—such a corporation not being invested with any political power whatever, or partaking in any degree in the administration of civil government. It is merely an institution or private corporation for general charity. It is established under a charter, which was a contract, to which the donors, the trustees of the corporation, and the governing power were the original parties, and it was granted for a valuable consideration—for the security and disposition of the property necessary for the existence of the community, order, or society.

The legal interest, in every such literary and charitable institution, is in trustees, and to be asserted by them, which they claim or defend on behalf of the society or community for the object of religion, charity, or education, for which they were originally created, and the private donations made. Contracts of this kind, creating such charitable or educational institutions, should be at all times protected by the state, and their rights maintained by the courts administered by a pure and just judiciary. Conquests or revolutions cannot change the rights acquired under such contracts, and no state should by any act transfer the rights of property theretofore acquired, nor transfer from the trustees appointed according to the will of the founders or donors. The will of the state should not be substituted for the will of the donors, or convert an institution, moulded according to the will of its founders, and placed under the control of people of their own selection, into government property. Such action is of course subversive of the original compact on the faith of which the donors invested their gifts, donations, or devises, and is, therefore, repugnant to every idea of honesty and good morals, for enforcing which governments are instituted.

A grant to a private trustee, for the benefit of a particular cestui que trust, or for any special, private, or public charity, cannot be the less a contract because the trustee takes nothing for his own benefit. Nor does a private donation vested in a trustee for objects of a general nature thereby become a public trust, which a government may at its pleasure take from the trustee. A government cannot even revoke a grant of its own funds, when given to a corporation or private person for special uses. It has no other remaining authority but what is judicial to enforce the proper administration of the trust. Nor is such a grant less a[Pg 33] contract though no beneficial interest accrues to the possessor. All incorporeal hereditaments, as immunities, dignities, offices, and franchises, are rights deemed valuable in law, and whenever they are the subject of contract or grant they should be held as legal estates. They are held as powers coupled with interests, and consequently are vested rights, and of which the possessors should not be divested by any legislative body without their consent.

Chief-Justice Marshall (in U. S. v. Percheman, 7 Peters 86) says: It is unusual, even in cases of conquest, for the conqueror to do more than to displace the sovereign and assume dominion over the country; and that the modern usage of nations, which has become law, would be violated; that sense of justice and right which is acknowledged and felt by the whole civilized world, would be outraged if private property should be generally confiscated and private rights annulled.

Justice Sprague (Amy Warwick, 2 Sprague 150) says: Confiscations of property, not for any use that has been made of it, which go not against an offending thing, but are inflicted for the personal delinquency of the owner, are punitive, and punishment should be inflicted only upon due conviction of personal guilt.

The communities whose rights are now invaded and whose property is confiscated, ought to be protected under the law of nations. For, by this law is understood that code of public instruction which defines the rights and prescribes the duties of nations in their intercourse with each other. The faithful observance of this law is essential to national character and the happiness of mankind. According to Montesquieu, it is founded on the principle that different nations ought to do each other as much good in peace, and as little harm in war, as possible. The most useful and practical part of the law of nations is instituted or positive law, founded on usage, consent, and agreement. It is impossible to separate this law from natural jurisprudence, or to consider that it does not derive much of its force and dignity from the same principle of right reason, the same views of the nature and constitution of man, and the same sanction of divine revelation, as those from which the science of morality is deduced. There is a natural and a positive law of nations. By the former, every state in its relations with other states is bound to conduct itself with justice, good faith, and benevolence; and this application of the law of nature has been called by Vattel the necessary law of nations, because nations are bound by the law of nature to observe it; and it is termed by others the internal law of nations, because it is obligatory upon them in point of conscience.

That eminent jurist, Chancellor Kent, says that the science of public law should not be separated from that of ethics, nor encourage the dangerous suggestion that governments are not strictly bound by the obligations of truth, justice, and humanity in relation to other powers, as they are in the management of their own local concerns. States or bodies politic are to be considered as moral persons, having a public will, capable and free to do right and wrong, inasmuch as they are collections of individuals, each of whom carries with him into the service of the community the same binding law of morality and religion which ought to control his conduct in private life.

The law of nations consists of general principles of right and justice, equally suitable to the government[Pg 34] of individuals in a state of natural equality and to the relations and conduct of nations; the conduct of nations should be governed by principles fairly to be deduced from the rights and duties of nations and the nature of moral obligation; and we have the authority of lawyers of antiquity, and of some of the first masters in the modern school of public law, for placing the moral obligations of nations and of individuals on similar grounds, and for considering individual and national morality as parts of one and the same science.

The law of nations, as far as it is founded upon the principles of natural law, is equally binding in every age, and upon all mankind.

The law of nature, by the obligations of which individuals and states are bound, is identical with the will of God, and that will is ascertained by consulting divine revelation, where that is declaratory, or by the application of human reason where revelation is silent. Christianity is an authoritative publication of natural religion, and it is from the sanction which revelation gives to natural law that we must expect respect to be paid to justice between nations. Christianity reveals to us a general system of morality, but the application to the details of practice is often left to be discovered by human reason.

Justice is of perpetual obligation, and is essential to the well-being of every society. The great commonwealth of nations stands in need of law, and observance of faith, and the practice of justice.

If the question was one to be decided by the civil courts according to the American rules concerning rights to property held by ecclesiastical bodies, the points involved might be presented as follows:

1. Where the property which is the subject of controversy is, by the express terms of the deed or will of the donor or other instrument under which it is held, devoted to the teaching, support, or spread of a specific form of religious doctrine and belief.

2. Where the property is held by a religious congregation, which by the nature of its organization is strictly independent of other ecclesiastical associations, and, so far as church government is concerned, owes no fealty or obligation to any higher authority.

3. The third is where the religious congregation or ecclesiastical body holding the property is but a subordinate member of some general church organization in which there are superior ecclesiastical tribunals with a general and ultimate power of control, more or less complete, in some supreme judicatory over the whole membership of that general organization.

Respecting the first of these classes, it does not admit of a rational doubt that an individual or an association of individuals may dedicate property by way of trust to the purpose of sustaining, supporting, and propagating definite religious doctrines or principles, provided that in doing so they violate no law of morality, and give to the instrument by which their purpose is evidenced the formalities which the law requires.

And it is then the duty of a court of law, in a case properly brought before it, to see that the property so dedicated is not diverted from the trust which is thus attached to its use. So long as there are persons qualified within the meaning of the original dedication, and who are also willing to teach the doctrines or principles prescribed in the act of dedication, and so long as there is any one so interested in the execution of[Pg 35] the trust as to have a standing in court, it must be that they can prevent the diversion of the property or fund to other and different uses.

This is the general doctrine of courts of equity as to charities, and it is also applicable to ecclesiastical matters.

In such case, where the trust is confided to a religious congregation or church government, it is not in the power of the majority of that congregation, however preponderant by reason of a change of views on religion, to carry the property so confided to them to the support of new and conflicting doctrine.

A pious man building and dedicating a house of worship to the sole and exclusive use of those who believe in the doctrines of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, and placing it under the control of those who at the time held the same belief, has a right to expect that the law will prevent that property from being used for any other purpose whatsoever. The law should throw its protection around the trust, and it is the duty of courts of law to enforce a trust clearly defined, and to inquire whether the party accused of violating the trust is using the property so dedicated as to defeat the declared objects of the trust. In such cases, the right to the use of the property must be determined by the ordinary principles which govern voluntary associations.

The same rule prevails as to the class of cases coming within the view of the third proposition, as to property acquired in any of the usual modes for the general use of a religious congregation which is itself part of a larger and general organization, with which it is connected by religious views and ecclesiastical government, and which appeals to the courts to determine the right to the use of the property so acquired. That is, where property has been purchased for the use of the congregation, and so long as any such body can be ascertained to be of that congregation, and is under its control and bound by its orders and judgments, or its regular and legitimate successor, it is entitled to the use of the property.

In this class of cases, the rule of action which governs the civil courts of the United States, as enunciated by the highest legal tribunal, the Supreme Court, is founded upon a broad and sound view of the relations of church and state, and is, that wherever questions of faith or of discipline, or ecclesiastical rule, custom, or law, have been decided by the highest of these church judicatories to which the matter has been carried, the legal tribunals must accept such decisions as final, and as binding on them in their application to the case before them.[3]

In delivering the opinion of the court in that case, the learned Mr. Justice Miller said:

"In this country the full and free right to entertain any religious belief, to practise any religious principle, and to teach any religious doctrine which does not violate the laws of morality and property, and which does not infringe personal rights, is conceded to all. The law is not committed to the support of any dogma, the establishment of any sect. The right to organize voluntary religious associations, to assist in the expression and dissemination of any religious doctrine, and to create tribunals for the decision of controverted questions of faith within the association, and for the ecclesiastical government of all the individual members, congregations, and officers within the general association, is unquestioned. All who unite themselves to such a body do so with an implied consent to this government, and are bound to submit to it. But it would be a vain consent, and would lead to the total subversion of such religious bodies, if any one aggrieved [Pg 36]by one of their decisions could appeal to the secular courts and have them reversed. It is of the essence of these religious unions, and of their right to establish tribunals for the decision of questions arising among themselves, that those decisions should be binding in all cases of ecclesiastical cognizance, subject to only such appeals as the organism itself provides for.

"Nor do we see that justice would be likely to be promoted by submitting those decisions to review in the ordinary judicial tribunals.

"The Catholic Church has constitutional and ecclesiastical laws of its own that task the ablest minds to become familiar with. It cannot be expected that judges of the civil courts can be as competent in the ecclesiastical law as the ablest men in the church. It would therefore be an appeal from the more learned tribunal in the law, which should decide the case, to one which is less so.

"These views are supported by the preponderant weight of authority in this country."

And according to the American rule, where the subject-matter of dispute, inquiry, or decision is strictly and purely ecclesiastical in its character, it is a matter over which the civil courts should not exercise any jurisdiction—a matter which concerns theological controversy, church discipline, ecclesiastical government, or the conformity of the members of the church to the standard of morals required of them, the civil court has not and should not have any jurisdiction. If the civil courts were at liberty to inquire into the whole subject of doctrinal theology, usages, and customs, the written laws and fundamental principles would have to be examined into with minuteness and care, for they would be the criteria by which the validity of the ecclesiastical decree would be determined in the civil court. And that would deprive the authorities of the church of their proper right and power to construe their own church laws, and would open the way to the evil of transferring to the civil courts, where the rights to property were concerned, the decision of all ecclesiastical questions.[4]

Of all the cases in which this doctrine is applied, no better representative can be found than that of Shannon v. Frost,[5] where the principle is ably supported by the learned Chief-Justice of the Court of Appeals of Kentucky, wherein he says:

"This court, having no ecclesiastical jurisdiction, cannot revise or question ordinary acts of church discipline. Our only judicial power in the case arises from the conflicting claims of the parties in the church property, and the use of it. We cannot decide who ought to be members of the church, nor whether the excommunicated have been justly or unjustly, regularly or irregularly, cut off from the body of the church."

The same principle was laid down in the subsequent case of Gibson v. Armstrong,[6] and of Watson v. Avery.[7]

One of the most careful and well-considered judgments on the subject is that of the Court of Appeals of South Carolina, delivered by Chancellor Johnson in the case of Harmon v. Dreher.[8] That case turned upon certain rights in the use of church property claimed by the minister, notwithstanding his expulsion from the synod as one of its members:

"He stands," says the chancellor, "convicted of the offences alleged against him by the sentence of the spiritual body of which he was a voluntary member, and whose proceedings he had bound himself to abide. It belongs not to the civil power to enter into or review the proceedings of a spiritual court. The structure of our government has for the preservation of religious liberty rescued the temporal institutions from religious interference; [Pg 37]on the other hand, it has secured religious liberty from the invasion of the civil authority. The judgments, therefore, of religious associations, bearing on their own members, are not examinable here; and I am not to enquire whether the doctrines attributed to Mr. Dreher were held by him, or whether, if held, were anti-Lutheran, or whether his conduct was or was not in accordance with the duty he owed to the synod or to his denomination.... When a civil right depends upon an ecclesiastical matter, it is the civil court and not the ecclesiastical which is to decide. But the civil tribunal tries the civil right, and no more, taking the ecclesiastical decisions out of which the civil right arises as it finds them."

This principle is reaffirmed by the same court in the John's Island Church case.[9] And in Den v. Bolton[10] the Supreme Court of New Jersey asserts the same principle.

The Supreme Court of Illinois, in the case of Ferraria v. Vascouelles, refers to the case of Shannon v. Frost with approval, and adopts the language of the court, that the judicial eye cannot penetrate the veil of the church for the forbidden purpose of vindicating the alleged wrongs of excised members; when they became members, they did so upon the condition of continuing or not as they and their churches might determine, and they thereby submit to the ecclesiastical power, and cannot now invoke the supervisory power of the civil tribunals.

And in the case of Chase v. Cheney, recently decided in the same (Illinois) court, Judge Lawrence says: "The opinion implies that in the administration of ecclesiastical discipline, and where no other right of property is involved, their loss of the clerical office or salary incident to such discipline, a spiritual court is the exclusive judge of its own jurisdiction, and that its decision of that question is binding on the secular courts."

In the case of Watson v. Ferris,[11] which was a case growing out of the schism in the Presbyterian Church in Missouri, the court held that whether a case was regularly or irregularly before the assembly, was a question which the assembly had the right to determine for itself, and no civil court could reverse, modify, or impair its action in a matter of merely ecclesiastical concern.

The opinion of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, expressed in the case of the German Reformed Church v. Seibert,[12] sets forth that the decisions of ecclesiastical courts, like every other judicial tribunal, are final, as they are the best judges of what constitutes an offence against the word of God and the discipline of the church. Any other than those courts must be incompetent judges of matters of faith, discipline, and doctrine; and civil courts, if they should be so unwise as to attempt to supervise their judgments on matters which come within their jurisdiction, would only involve themselves in a sea of uncertainty and doubt, which would do anything but improve religion and good morals.

In the subsequent case of McGinnis v. Watson,[13] this principle is again applied and supported by a more elaborate argument.

Lord Chancellor Eldon, upon delivering the opinion of the House of Lords in the celebrated test-case of Craigdallie v. Aikman, reported in 2 Bligh, 529 (1 Dow, 1), said: That they (the law lords) had adopted this principle as their rule and guide for cases of dispute respecting the right to property conveyed for the use of religious worship—that it is [Pg 38]a trust which is to be enforced for the purpose of maintaining that religious worship for which the property was devoted, and in the event of schism (the original deed having made no provision for such cases) its uses are to be enforced, not on behalf of a majority of the congregation, nor yet exclusively in behalf of the party adhering to the general body, but in favor of that part of the society adhering to and maintaining the original principles upon which it was founded: the exclusive standard or guide by which conflicting claims are to be decided is adherence to the church itself.

Regarding, therefore, church property, or the property of religious societies, communities, or orders, in the same manner as the private property of any other corporation or individual, it may with safety be assumed as a settled and fundamental law that ought to be recognized by every Christian and civilized state, that it is bound to make just indemnity and compensation to the citizen or subject, society, or corporation, or community, for all property taken under the pressure of state necessity for the public good, convenience, or safety. The eminent domain of the state should be so exercised as to work no wrong, to inflict no private injury, without giving to the party aggrieved ample redress. This doctrine was not engrafted on the public law to give license to despotic and arbitrary sovereigns. It has its foundation in the organization of society, and is essential to the maintenance of public virtue in every government, whether a republic, a monarchy, or a despotism. It is of the very essence of sovereignty, for without it a state cannot perform its first and highest duties—those required by justice and righteousness. Whenever, therefore, from necessity a state appropriates to public use the private property of an individual or of a corporation, lay or religious, it is obliged by a law as imperative as that by which it makes the appropriation, to give to the party aggrieved redress commensurate with the injury sustained. Upon any other principle the social compact would work mischief and wrong. The state might impoverish the citizen it was established to protect, and trample on those rights of property, security for which was one of the great objects of its creation.

All the elementary writers of authority sustain these views of the duty and obligations of states.

Justice requires, says Vattel, that the community or individual be indemnified at the public charge.

The taking, says Grotius, must be for some public advantage; as, for instance, in time of war, the erection of a rampart or fortification, or where his standing corn or storehouses are destroyed to prevent their being of use to the enemy, in which case the person injured should receive a just compensation for the loss he suffers out of the common stock. The state is obliged to repair the damage suffered by any citizen out of the public funds. The conversion cannot take place either to gratify any whim, caprice, or fashion; it must be an actual public necessity. For, do we not read of an instance where some king, perhaps of Prussia, was erecting a magnificent palace at his capital, and, in order to carry out the design of the architect, it became necessary to remove a small unsightly tenement, the property of a poor man, who, though so poor, would not sell his place or consent that it should be removed, and there it remained for years, an eyesore perhaps to many, and yet the king, as the chief depositary of justice, would not permit it to be disturbed, although urged by his[Pg 39] flatterers and courtiers to do so, until in lapse of years the owner died, and his successors consented to sell. The historian recalls the justice of the king, that all honest and honorable rulers and men might follow such a noble example of honor and justice. But can any one reasonably praise such an act, and approve of the confiscation of the houses of religious and charitable associations in Italy, and the very suppression and wiping out of the corporation or society itself, without trial, or charge of offence or crime other than the offence of doing good to the human race without pay, fee, or reward here, but looking only to heaven for recompense.

If the Italian government or parliament may to-day confiscate or escheat the property of Catholic communities, and thus commit a breach of the pact made by former rulers, emperors, or governments with the founders of such communities, disregarding all inherent rights of succession and perpetuity, may it not to-morrow also commit a breach of its own compacts or implied guarantees, and confiscate or escheat all the property of churches, school-houses, colleges, of other denominations who have lately or are now building them within Italian jurisdiction? For what obstacle is to prevent it doing so? Having outraged and set aside as nought the moral or human law, styled law of nations, in this respect, may it not do so again in any other, from either whim or caprice? Unless there is some power left in public opinion to restrain it, this is a dilemma from which all the arguments of theoretical political economists or logicians cannot relieve them.

Therefore, is it not a question now well worthy the consideration of all honest-thinking men, whether or not they should aid public opinion in sending forth a note of warning against this doctrine of confiscation—for else, perhaps, the disease may make a wider sweep over the earth, and parliaments or congresses be elected for the purpose of confiscating or escheating other property besides church property or the property of religious or charitable houses or communities?

Judging from the tenor and tone of American decisions—upon the question involved—pronounced by some of our ablest and purest men, this "confiscation," or, more expressively, this "spoliation" of the property of the church and of religious orders, by Victor Emanuel, under color of parliamentary enactments, and tested also by recognized rules of international law, to say nothing of that higher law which commands us to "do unto others, etc.," such "confiscation" is utterly indefensible upon any doctrine other than that set forth in the nefarious maxim, "To the victors belong the spoils," and any acquiescence on the part of the Christian nations, Catholic or non-Catholic, is simply disgraceful, and an act of homage to the prince of this world which is in itself an act of dishonor towards God.

And as any title so acquired can only be maintained so long as the usurper has the material power to occupy and defend, it is certain that with the destruction of that power the true and rightful owners may revive and assert their rights of ownership and possession, as the lawful successors of the original grantors and founders, regardless of any claims or incumbrances whatsoever made or suffered by intervening holders or intruders.


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

[2] Constitution of the United States.

[3] Watson v. Jones, 13 Wallacee 729.

[4] See Cardcross case, McMillan v. General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, 22 D. (Scotch Ct. of Sess.) 270, decided 23d December, 1859. Attorney-General v. Pearson, 3 Merivalee 353; Miller v. Goble, 2 Denioo 492.

[5] 3 B. Monroee 253.

[6] 7 B. Monroee 481.

[7] 2 Bushh 332.

[8] 2 Speers' Equity 87.

[9] 2 Richardson's Equity 215.

[10] 7 Halsteadd 206.

[11] 45 Missourii 183.

[12] 3 Barrr 291.

[13] 41 Pennsylvania Statee 21.

[Pg 40]


To give up the battle of life at any age is bad, so long as a flicker of life is left. It is like deserting the doomed ship whilst the groaning planks hold together; like refusing to make one in the forlorn hope, but choosing rather to sit down with closed eyes, and let death come as it may. But to give up the battle of life at five-and-twenty, when the battle can scarcely be said to have begun, whilst the future lies hidden behind an uncertain mist, when the sinews are braced, the eyes clear, the heart hopeful, the hair unsilvered—to give it up then is like deserting the ship whilst all is fair sailing, like sneaking from the ranks at first scent of the enemy. It is as cowardly as for the sentinel to abandon his post or the ensign to surrender without a blow the colors which he swore to defend to death; nay, as for the husband to desert the wife he chose out of all the world before God to be his until death. Yet this was what George Howard had done.

Of course a woman was in it, as she is in most difficulties here below. And is it not her province? If she sometimes happen to be "in it" a little too much, rather in the light of an obstacle than a helper—well, the best and not the worst must be made of her under the awkward circumstances. The first man, if Mr. Darwin will excuse the heresy, set us a good example in this way. It was a pity that Eve did not turn her ear away from the voice of the charmer; but as she did the other thing, and so wrought upon her husband that he followed her example, after all he made the very best of a very bad bargain, and, like a true man, stuck to his wife. But to return from Adam to his XIXth century descendant, Mr. George Howard: Why had that promising young gentleman metaphorically "thrown up the sponge," and drawn aside like a coward from the broad road of life, to linger on uselessly in this little out-of-the-way French town where nobody knew him, where nobody heard of him from the great city at the other side of the ocean, which he left one fine morning a year or more ago without a word of warning or a single good-by to the many friends whose kindly eyes had looked hopefully upon him, and whose friendly lips had prophesied success? Why had he gone out from this busy heart of the New World, palpitating with promise and half-defined yearnings, to bury himself away in this silent nook in an obscure corner of the south of France, doing nothing, caring nothing, planning nothing, wearily waiting for life to end?

As is generally the case with despairing five-and-twenty in the masculine, and despondent seventeen or eighteen in the feminine, sex, it was one of those peculiar difficulties known as "affairs of the heart." Nobody ever knew the exact ins and outs of it; how far the lady was to blame, and how far George had himself to accuse. Like many a passionate, high-souled young man, where he bestowed his heart he expected that heart to absorb and fill up the life and soul of the woman[Pg 41] he loved. That effect does follow generally, but by degrees more or less slow. George was apt to love too fiercely and too fast. But young, high-spirited girls like to be wooed before they are won. Though their hearts may have been virtually taken by storm long before the besieging party so much as suspect that a breach has been made in the stubborn fortress, still they like to make a show of surrendering at discretion, and marching out with all the honors of war, rather than be instantly and absolutely overwhelmed by love. There is such a thing as a surfeit of happiness. George Howard had probably made this mistake. Such lovers as he are apt to start at shadows, imagining them realities. The end of it was that George's fortress surrendered to somebody else, married the conqueror, and was disgracefully happy. Whether or not she ever cast a thought back on the bright young fellow that once loved her so fiercely, who can tell? Probably not. She made a good match—and contented wives soon drop romance; sooner than husbands often. It is astonishing how easily the goddess we adore before marriage descends from the clouds, walks the earth like a sturdy woman, and becomes a practical, sensible wife. It may be a little unromantic at first sight, but it is undoubtedly by far the best thing she could do under the circumstances. But when poor George saw his goddess riding about smiling and happy by the side of her husband, and that husband not himself, he could not endure the sight. After lingering a little in misery, he threw up his connections, and left the city for what destination nobody knew.

George Howard was alone in the world. His mother had died early; his father went off when George was twenty, leaving him fortune enough to help him to make life as pleasant as he chose to make it for himself. He was advancing rapidly in his profession—law—and had made a host of friends when the collapse came. As is so often the case, his pride, instead of sustaining him, sank under the blow. Most probably, if the truth were told, the wound inflicted on his self-esteem rankled deeper than that which had killed his love. The thought that another man could succeed where George Howard had failed would have been gall and wormwood to him in any case; but when the object of rivalry was a woman's heart, and George Howard's were the rejected addresses, death would be a small word to express the consummation of that gentleman's misery; it was the annihilation of all that made life worth the living. "Howard the jilted," he seemed to read in everybody's eye, when perhaps not half a dozen persons knew anything about the affair. Jilted by a girl! How could a man recover such a blow? What was there in the wide world to fill up the void left in one when his mighty self shrank to such insignificant proportions?

Common sense might have suggested that there was more than one woman in the world, and that there lay a deeper fund of love in the heart of a man than could be exhausted on the first girl he chanced to meet and admire. It might have suggested also that failure in love did not necessarily mean failure in matters which, after all, as far as the world outside of our little selves is concerned, are of far more importance than love. Man is not sent into this world for the one purpose of being "married and done for," as the phrase goes. But when did common sense find the ear of a lover, particularly of a lover rejected?

[Pg 42]

So here was George Howard, clever enough, good-looking enough, and by no means a bad fellow, self-stranded on the barren sand-banks of life, with a short five-and-twenty years behind him, a future full of fair promise still before him, hugging a useless sorrow in silent sadness, and making that his bride.

He lived on listlessly from day to day. He mixed with no circle; he knew nobody. He took his meals at his hotel, addressed a few commonplaces to those he happened to meet, and passed most of his time in the open air, taking long strolls into the country, walking up and down the beach by the sea, watching the solitary sails that came and went and faded out of sight—sadly, it seemed to him sometimes, as though beckoning him back to a living world. There were few visitors at the little town, save just during the hottest of the summer months. Such as did come hurried away again as fast as they could. The train rushed through it day after day, a crowd of peering faces would show themselves a few moments at the windows of the cars, strange eyes would stare curiously at the strange place, and pass on a moment after as indifferent as before. Something of the instinct which prompts a wounded animal to seek out a silent covert where it may lie down with its wound and die alone, must have conducted George Howard to this spot.

Yet to a man who had only gone there for a short holiday, weary awhile of the rush, and the struggle, and the incessant strain and roar of a busier life, the little French town, with its quaint look and quaint ways, might have offered a refreshing relief from the dust, and the turmoil, and the worry of the world of politics and money, railroads and trade. Many a one doubtless has at some time or other had the wish to wake up some morning a century or two ago in a world that had gone away. To such the placid evenings by the sea, the homely looks of the inhabitants, the clean blouses of the men, the white caps of the women, the busy tongues of the children, the long silver hair of M. le Curé, the dances by the sea as the sun went down, the slow wains drawn by drowsy oxen, the fuss and bustle of the weekly market-day, the big gendarme with his clanking sword, the white houses and their antique gables, with the beat of the surf on the beach for ever, and the fresh odor of the ocean pervading all places, would have seemed the delicious realization of many a picture looked on and lingered over in a gilded frame.

But on the deadened senses of George Howard these simple scenes, and sights, and sounds fell as you might fancy the roll of the muffled drums to fall on the one stretched out in the coffin who is being borne speedily on by the living to his grave. They wake no life in him; he makes no stir; he is let down into the earth—a farewell roll, and the grave is closed over him for ever, whilst the bright world above seems to smile the merrier that another dead man is hidden away.

Of course, this kind of life and mode of thought were rapidly telling on him and bringing nearer and nearer the consummation he seemed to desire. The step grew slower, the eyes began to lose their quick lustre, the cheek its flush, the body its swing and half-defiant bearing. The simple people round about looked at him silently, shook their heads, and sighed as he moved by without noticing them. He grew more and more attached to the beach, where he would stroll up and down and sit for hours on the yellow sand, staring[Pg 43] out blankly at the broad water, casting a pebble into it from time to time, and watching the circles that it made. There was something congenial to his nature in the changeable face and mood, the smile, the frown, the hoarse breathing, the sob, the sigh, the roar, the rage of the ocean. To all these changes something within him gave a voice, until the very spirit of the mysterious deep seemed to creep into his being, and make it an abode there.

So he lived on, never writing to a friend, never yearning to go back to the world he had quitted, and which still held out its arms to him. All ambition, all desire of achievement, all common feeling with the world into which he had been born, seemed to have gradually oozed out of him. He had staked his happiness and lost, and now he only wished for the end to come soon. It never occurred to him that he had possibly staked his happiness at too low a figure. He only saw before him an empty life with a dreary existence. At such stages, some men commit suicide. He was not yet coward enough for that, though not Christian enough to perceive that this world was not made for one man and one woman only, but for all the children of Adam.

But happily, however man may reject Providence, and close his eyes to a Power that shapeth all things for good, Providence mercifully refuses to reject him without at least giving him plenty of opportunities, humanly called chances, to come back to the possession of his senses, and the fulfilment of the mission which is appointed unto every man. And one of George Howard's chances came about this wise.

A favorite walk of his was along a winding road leading some distance out of the little town up a lofty hill, from the summit of which the eye could scan the sweeping circle of the waters, stretching out in its glittering wonder to the verge of dimness, or, inland, where miles and miles of fair pasture-land and vineyards spread away in gentle undulations, with smoke rising from hollows in which hamlets slept, and church spires clove the clear air, and airy villas crowned the pleasant hills. Alternate gleams of sea and land shot through the tall poplars that lined the road as it circled round the hill. At the top, buried amid trees, and fronted by a garden filled almost the year through with delicious flowers, was the Maison Plaquet, a sort of café, where visitors could procure a cup of coffee, a glass of eau sucrée, or the good wines du pays. This establishment was presided over by Mme. Plaquet, a buxom dame with a merry eye and kindly voice, whose pleasant face had become quite a part of the landscape. There was understood to be a M. Plaquet somewhere, but he did not often show himself to visitors. He left the whole business to madame, having a strong suspicion that there was no woman like her in the world, and spent most of his time trimming the flower-beds, pruning the trees, or tending to the vineyard.

George was a frequent visitor at the Maison Plaquet. He would spend hours in the garden dreaming. Madame was won by his handsome face and the fixed sadness in his eyes, which always lighted up, however, in response to her genial greeting. She half suspected that it was something more than a love of nature which sent the pauvre garçon, as she called him, away from friends, and home, and family, to sit there day after day dreaming in her arbor, beautiful as it was. With the chatty good-nature which in a Frenchwoman never[Pg 44] seems offensive, she would sometimes try to draw him out of himself, to learn something about him that might help her to lift the settled cloud off his handsome face. To Mme. Plaquet it seemed almost a sin against the good God to wear a cloudy face always. But George was so jealously reserved that she gave him up, with the secret conviction that it was love alone that could inflict so deep a wound on so young a heart, and that love alone could heal it.

One afternoon, whilst George was reclining in the arbor, a riding party of gay cavaliers and dames showed themselves suddenly in front of the Maison Plaquet. Exclamations of delight at the beauty of the scene burst from one and another. One fair young girl stood her horse just at the entrance to the arbor, and, to those within, completely filled in the picture. Thus she met the dreamy eyes of Mr. George Howard. The steed was a little restive, but with a firm though gentle hand she curbed him until he stood still as death and she upon him. The light hat she wore was thrown back, showing a shapely head with glossy curls, around which the sun made a glory under the clustering blossoms. For a moment horse and rider seemed to stand out startlingly clear from the sky, and for that moment George allowed his eyes to linger there as upon a striking picture. A moment after, the party had dismounted, entered the arbor, and seated themselves at a table opposite to our friend. As the centre figure of the picture which had attracted his gaze passed, she glanced at him, and he had a momentary view of a blooming cheek and a pair of those large, soft, but courageous eyes, filled with that courage which makes a man reverence a woman—eyes round, and full, and clear as a child's, that fear no evil without, because they are conscious of none within. The party was a gay one, and their gaiety grated on George's ear. He rose and sauntered down the hill, a little sadder, if possible, than when he had ascended it.

After his departure, one of the gentlemen, an old acquaintance of Mme. Plaquet's apparently, inquired of her who her strange visitor might be whom he had met there more than once, and always alone.

Madame, with a sigh and many a shrug, and much amiable volubility, told the company that she knew nothing at all about him, save that he lived in the little town en bas, that he came there very often, that he was evidently suffering from some great trouble, that he was a good gentleman and always gave something to the poor when they asked him, and that it was a great pity so handsome a young gentleman should offend the good God by not being happy.

The ladies were quite interested in madame's narrative. Ladies will be interested about good-looking young men who are suffering from that romantic complaint, an incurable melancholy. But as madame's narrative, eloquent and pathetic though it was, left them in much the same state of enlightenment as before with regard to the interesting stranger, all they could do was sigh a little, remount, and resume their gay tone. Just as they were commencing the descent, a hare started and frightened the horse of the young lady who had attracted George's attention. A plunge, a rear, and an instant after it was out of sight, thundering down the steep road at a speed that mocked pursuit.

George was strolling along in his listless way, stopping now at this turn, now at that, to admire the[Pg 45] scenery, pluck a flower or a leaf, and muse a little. He had almost arrived at the foot of the hill, when a cry from above and a clatter of hoofs broke on his ear. He stood at a narrow turn between two high banks opening into the last bend of the road, to listen and observe. A moment after, a horse with a lady on his back came tearing down at a mad speed right on him. A glance showed that the rider stood in imminent danger of her life, and that the only means of saving her was to stop the animal in the midst of its wild career. The thought and determination to do something had scarcely time to flash through his brain, when the horse was on him; and how he never knew, but he found himself dragging at the reins—a stumble of the steed against the bank as it swerved, a fainting lady in his arms, and a moment after a crowd of persons around them. He surrendered her to the care of her friends, and, seeing her revive whilst they were engaged in tending her, took occasion to slink away unobserved, as though he had been guilty of some mean action. And the Maison Plaquet saw him no more.

About a week after this occurrence, he was taking one of his usual moody walks along the beach, his hands clasped behind him, and his eyes following the golden path that led away over the waters down to the sinking sun. He walked along listlessly, insensible to everything save the subtle solemnity of the hour, when the brooding calm of the evening began to settle over the crimson wave and the flushed earth. He did not observe a figure leaning against a huge boulder that lay rosy-red right in his path. The leaning figure was that of a young man, who, like George, was surveying the scene, but with an air of genuine admiration curiously tempered by the eye of a connoisseur examining a painting as to the merits or defects of which his oracular opinion might be called for at any moment by a listening world. Let us look at him as he leans back there, so contented, to all seeming, with the world in general, and possibly with himself in particular; for notwithstanding an occasional touch of what in others would be called impertinence, but in him was really rather assumed than natural, and, as he was wont to say, often got him out of difficulties, Ned Fitzgerald was a fellow you would like.

His slim, well-knit figure, clad in a light summer suit, his pleasant, animated face surmounted by a straw hat that became him, his bright eyes glancing around and taking all in in a sweep—the sinking sun, the mingling colors on the waters, the flush on the hills, the blood-red glow on the sands, the quiet circles of a solitary sea-bird that turned and dipped its snow-white wings in the rosy light—to one looking at him, he made nature seem all the more lovely and enjoyable for having one who could feel its loveliness so thoroughly and so evidently.

The quick eye did not take long to pick out the slightly stooped figure that seemed so wrapt in silent thought, and, as it neared him, never turned its gaze from the dying sun. Mr. Ned Fitzgerald watched its approach, and, with his usual tendency to be sociable, evidently contemplated addressing it; when, as it came close enough to distinguish the features, he started from his recumbent position, took off his hat and tossed it wildly in the air, never waiting to catch it again, but, rushing towards George, seized that astounded and miserable mortal in his arms, and hugged him almost to suffocation before he could see who it was,[Pg 46] whilst the exclamation burst from him:

"Why, George Howard, by all that's impossible!"

Another hug and a longer one, and a hearty laugh, and a shake of both hands up and down, and a look of genuine pleasure in the bright eyes that seemed to throw a light over the kindly face—Ned's pleasantry was contagious, and the first flush of surprise on George's face was succeeded by a faint smile as soon as he recognized his old friend and school-fellow, whilst a sort of moisture forced itself into his own eyes. It was as though he had come back from the grave a moment to find that after all the hand shaken so vigorously by an old friend—the best-liked old friend of them all, who had studied with him, and fought with him, and played with him, and got into all sorts of scrapes and out of them with him, and built with him those bubble castles that boys will build at school, destitute of nothing save foundation—was still real flesh and blood, and that the heart throbbing within him was still human.

"Why, Ned, old fellow, what in the name of wonder brought you here?"

"Destiny, my boy, destiny, fate—anything you please that may give a sufficiently solemn turn to a landslip close by which interfered considerably with locomotion, and forced me bag and baggage out of my snug coupé, to set me down in this unknown corner of the earth, absolutely without a soul to speak to, for one night. But I do believe I could have endured a broken head as well as a broken journey for the sake of dropping on you again, old boy."

Why young gentlemen, supposed to know the meaning of words, should find such a secret fund of special endearment in the terms which they so lavishly apply to one another of "old boy," "old fellow," or "old man," is a mystery whose solution is still to appear. Young persons of the opposite sex, as it is called—goodness knows why—are not in the habit of addressing each other as "old woman," "old duck," or "old maid." Such terms would be esteemed in them as anything but endearing, although married ladies have been known to speak of their lord and master as "a dear, good old thing." However, to return from this digression, which is becoming dangerous, to the "old" men in question:

"Well, Ned, I am really glad to see you," said George, and then added slowly, as the old chill came back to him, "and that's more than I'd say to many an old acquaintance—now."

He looked away moodily to where the sun had gone down, as the gray began to settle over the water. Ned took a quick glance at his friend, and saw that, as he expressed it to himself, "all was not right somewhere." He had seen very little of Howard since they left college, and knew nothing of what had driven him from New York. However, he determined to take no notice of his last remark for the present, but said gaily:

"This sea of yours gives one a tremendous appetite. I move dinner. There's nothing like dinner to liven up a man's wits. Come along, George. We have had our fill of gorgeous sunsets and scenery for one day. There's a poetry as well as a glare in the gaslight when it shines on a well-spread table. What! you have no gas here? Happy people! One tax the less. But it is to be hoped you find something to eat in this backbone of the world. Now,[Pg 47] come along, and we'll have all the adventures by flood and field with the cigars."

Ned was at his best during dinner, though, for that matter, he seemed always at his best. His presence gave a pleasant flavor to dishes which time after time George had turned away from with disgust. He had an original remark for everything. And the polite French waiter was rather astonished as the dinner progressed to see M. O—art, as the domestics called George, give vent to an occasional laugh, which grew and grew, until the two old friends became almost as uproarious as a couple of school-boys out for a holiday.

That delicious after-dinner moment having arrived when the cigars are lighted and the legs stretched out in lazy contentment, without the slightest regard for "the proprieties"—nobody but themselves being present—they began their questionings and cross-questionings. George was the first to start.

"Well, Ned, what in the name of good fortune brought you down here? What are you doing? Still writing?"

"Yes. At present I am despatched on a secret diplomatic mission, which of course it is impossible for me to divulge, by the editor of the greatest daily in the world. You know what that means."

"Well, I can guess. The particular 'greatest daily' does not matter much. There are so many."

"Yes; and the fun of it is, I write for them all. The six or seven special correspondents who keep New York and London on the qui vive with regard to European affairs, and who lay bare to their wondering vision from time to time the real undercurrent of those affairs, social, political, and religious, are often one and the same with your Mephistophelian friend."

"Bohemianizing, eh? Why, I took you to be respectable, Ned. Ah! a newspaper office is a sadly demoralizing place."

"Pshaw! What will you have? The public wants news, and somebody must furnish it. People nowadays are much the same as people ever were. Humanity must have something to talk about, or it could not exist. Humanity is a woman."

"I agree with you there; that is why I have abandoned it."

"Oh! I see what you would say. There are two sides to that. But what I mean is, we must talk, or the world will come to a stand-still. The newspaper man nowadays furnishes the staple commodity on which the world exercises its tongue."

"Nowadays, yes. Well, it's a poor commodity. Somebody has well called it the 'cheap and nasty.'"

"Always the same, George; always the same. What was the cry of the Athenians when S. Paul went amongst them? 'What news? Quid novi?'—and the Athenians were the intellect of their time. To-day we live too fast for the tongue; hence electricity, hence the daily."

"Hence the Bohemian?"

"Well, Bohemian is a much-misapplied word. It requires a sort of genius to be a true Bohemian; erratic genius, if you like, but still genius. Bohemianism is not all boots down at heel, crushed hat, and broken elbows, five-cent cigars and lager-beer that a friend pays for, with an occasional bottle of champagne when the pocket happens to be flush. Look at me, for instance, supplying the six or seven leading dailies with news. If I tell a lie one day, I contradict it the next. If I send a false account to the government organ, I send an extra true one to the oppo[Pg 48]sition, and a trimmer to the free and independent. If the government is malicious, the opposition is ultra pious; and if the free and independent is scandalous, both unite in coming down on and crushing it. To be sure, things get mixed up a little sometimes; but, on the whole, matters are pretty evenly balanced, and in the end the truth comes uppermost. Then all along you are supported by the secret conviction that nobody ever believes a word you say."

"Whose fault is that?" asked George.

"The weakness of humanity, my dear fellow. You must not go too deeply into things, nor expect a daily newspaper, with its villanous printers, to be true as gospel. A newspaper correspondent is despatched to find news; and if he can't find it...."

"He invents."

"Well, what is the use of imagination, unless you exercise it a bit? But it is the greatest fun in the world to see yourself quoted by opposite parties for opposite purposes."

"Yes, it must be amusing. Some people—old-fashioned people, to be sure—might consider it a trifle dishonest, perhaps; but then, they are behind the age."

Ned rose, laughed, and took a turn round the room. Standing opposite his friend, he said:

"So, George, I find I have succeeded in giving you an exalted idea of my character and ability already. Have you forgotten that famous gift I had of extemporizing yarns at school? Well, to relieve your mind, the devil—that is to say, Mr. Edward Fitzgerald—is not quite so black as he has painted himself. Nor, indeed, am I quite so powerful and fluent a writer as I have imagined. I am on a mission here, though; partly business, and partly to take my sister back with me to New York. She has been staying with some of her school friends, convent companions. I was on my way to join them when this lucky accident tumbled me into your hermitage. And now, what has brought you here? You seem quite domiciled. Why, I expected to have heard great things of you by this time."

"I? Oh! I am doing nothing," said George, with a sigh, coming back to himself.

"Nothing! Well, that is not such a bad occupation when you only know how to do it, and can find no other employment."

"Why, what else can a fellow do?"

Ned was fairly taken aback at this question. To ask him what a fellow could do in this world was like asking him why he had teeth, or hands, or a head, or life altogether. After an amazed stare at his friend, he answered:

"Well, I suppose that what a man can do is generally best known to himself, when, like you, he has life in his veins, brains in his head, and money in his pocket. At all events, it is scarcely likely that you were made for the precise purpose of burying yourself alive here."

"Oh! I don't know. It is not such a bad sort of life," said George wearily. "Here I have no cares, and fuss, and bother, no visitors to bore, and no bores to visit. Nobody comes to borrow or beg. There is no necessity for playing at compliments with people for whom you do not care a straw, and who care for you less. Here is, instead, the sea, and the shore, and the woods, and the hills, a fair table, a good enough washerwoman, and people around you who never speak till they are spoken to. What more can a fellow want?"

[Pg 49]

Ned made no reply. He was puffing his cigar in silence, and following the curling smoke with his eye as he blew it against the light—a favorite fashion of his when thinking to himself. He was thinking now, rapidly, how changed was his friend in so short a time. He was wondering where all the ardent spirit and high hopes that fired him a few years back had gone. Contact with the world, instead of crushing, had raised his own hopes the more. Why had it not done the same for Howard? He could find no solution to the difficulty; for life to him was a glorious battle, and inaction worse than death. His friend must have encountered some great shock, some bitter disappointment, at the outset. He was seeking the clew in the smoke apparently. After a painful pause, he at length asked:

"How long have you been here now, George?"

"On and off, a year or more. I go and come. I make short excursions round about for a week or so sometimes, but I always return here."

"You entered a firm on the other side, did you not?"

"No; I was about to do so."

"And why didn't you? Were they cheats?"


"Did they fail?"


"Did you fail? Did you lose any money in any way?"

"No, what makes you ask?"

"Because I want to find out what the trouble is with you. You are not in love?"

"Good God! No!" exclaimed George almost fiercely, as he rose, strode to the window, and stood there looking out at the moon.

The bitterness of his tone, the abruptness of his action, told the observant Ned that unwittingly he had touched the right chord. He indulged in a silent whistle to himself, and shook his head as a good-hearted physician might over a hopeless case. Ned confessed himself a bad hand at ministering to the love complaint. That was the only ill for which he would advocate the calling in of a female physician. For heart disease of this nature, Ned would, on his own authority, grant a diploma to any suitable lady doctor; for he was convinced of the utter inability of man to handle such a delicate affair. So he shook his head despondently.

Whilst these thoughts were passing through the brain of the now very wide-awake Mr. Fitzgerald, George seemed to have recovered his usual dead calm, and, leaving the window as he proceeded to light a fresh cigar, inquired, with a smile that seemed to anticipate a characteristic answer:

"Ned, have you ever been in love?"

It was now Ned's turn to rise. He tore about the room frantically a moment, dashed his hand through his hair, and finally, coming to a stand-still before his amused friend, burst out:

"In love! Have I ever been in love? What a question to ask a man! Don't you know my name? Did you ever hear of a Fitzgerald or any other of his race who had not been in love? Why, man, I fall in love every day of my life. How can I help it when every woman I see for five minutes falls in love with me. I might say I have lost my heart so often that I don't think there's a bit of it left to lose now; and still I go on falling in love by sheer force of habit." And Ned "hove to" with a comic burst of despair.

[Pg 50]

"You are a happy man, Ned," said George, laughing.

"Happy?" questioned Ned, half to himself, and as though the idea had struck him for the first time in his life. "Well, I suppose I am. I don't see much advantage to be gained by being otherwise."

"Nor I; but, for all that, people differently constructed from your fortunate self cannot always help being otherwise."

"Bah! Of course they can; particularly in love matters. Love was not meant to make a man mope, but to stir him up. Those old fogies in the middle ages had a much truer idea of love, as of many other things, than we have nowadays, with all our boasting. Ah! love then was the genuine article. Not all sighs, and tears, and millinery, and newspaper paragraphs, and mothers-in-law, and the lovers playing cat's-cradle to each other. No; but the man went about his business, bearing his love in his heart for a year and a day. He wore his lady's gage on his helm, and, if his business happened to be the giving and taking of hard knocks, why, he gave and took, his love and himself against the world. He rode in the lists under his lady's eye, and proved himself a brave man for her sake. Love nerved his arm, whilst it purified his heart and softened his soul. Why did the wife gird the buckler on her lord? Love was akin to religion then, marriage a sacrament, and not, as it now is...."

"A social exchange, a trade carried on by the great Mother-in-law Company, Unlimited—a thing of barter and loss, where dollars are wedded to dollars by the magistrate, where youth and beauty sells herself to old age for so much a year and her own carriage. O Ned, Ned! what a pity we were not born in the middle ages!"

"Hallo!" said Ned, "I did not mean to go quite so far as that, George. After all, they were men and women then, just as we are; and, though one cannot help breaking out now and again on modern notions, one thing is certain—for every true knight there is somewhere a true lady."

"Have you found yours yet, Ned?"

"Perhaps not, perhaps yes," said Ned, dropping a moment his light tone. "Perhaps because I am not a true knight; perhaps because, though I found a true lady, she was meant for somebody else. Because I may have made one mistake, that is no reason why my true lady should not be waiting for me somewhere, nor why I should fail to rejoice at seeing two others happy, though my own toes may have been trodden on a little bit. After all, the world is very wide and full of happy possibilities."

Something unusual in Ned's tone seemed to spring from real feeling that lay concealed under his usual airy manner; perhaps suffering, with which his good-nature cared not to trouble the sufficiently trouble-laden world. For the first time in his life, George Howard felt a little ashamed of himself, and conscious of something akin to selfishness in his nature which he had never suspected there before. It takes a very long time to see ourselves. Self-knowledge comes piecemeal, and the pieces that go to make the human mosaic are sometimes very ugly when seen alone, though they may pass muster in the whole, and merge and be lost in its common symmetry.

When he awoke the following morning, and the thought came to him that the usually dreary day was to be enlivened for once by the presence of Ned Fitzgerald, the thought was not an unpleasant one; and[Pg 51] when that gentleman burst into his room with a bundle of sea-weed in his hand, speckled all over with curious little shells, which he said he would keep for Mary, the look of young, active, earnest life in his bright eyes and diffused over his whole person seemed in some indescribable manner to make the sun brighter and the air clearer. George began to feel young again, and examined the shells and the slimy weed, over which Ned gloated and expatiated, with an interest that would have been a marvel to him yesterday.

"And who is Mary?" he asked, as that name passed Ned's lips more than once.

"Why, the sister I was telling you about."

"Oh!" said George, and was silent.

That evening, it was arranged that Ned should go the next day, and bring Mary back with him. As he found the little town so quaint and quiet, he determined to stay a week or so with his old friend, instead of going on directly to Paris, as he had intended; and George, to pass the interval, made his first visit since the accident to his friend, Mme. Plaquet.

That good dame was as angry as she could be with him. Why had he not come to see her for so long? What had he been doing? Was he sick from the dragging that méchant, the horse, had given him? How did she know about it? Why, had not M. de Lorme and the ladies been there almost every day since, and all on purpose to meet him and thank him for his brave service? And now, was not mademoiselle going away, and her heart breaking because she could not see her preserver, and thank him for saving her life? And there was the card and the letter of M. de Lorme waiting for him all these days. She would not have it sent, because she expected monsieur to come every day. Ah! it was cruel!

George opened the letter, and found that it was an eulogium of M. de Lorme on his gallantry and devotion, to which he was indebted for the life, probably, of his charming young friend; that her brave but unknown preserver would confer an honor on her and on M. de Lorme by favoring them with his distinguished friendship; that it was cruel of him to escape from them whilst they were all engaged with his charming young friend; that he hoped he would excuse this mode of addressing him, as, owing to the peculiarity of the circumstances, he knew of no other; and that, as his charming young friend was about to leave them, he would no longer deny them the opportunity, so much desired, of paying the deep debt of gratitude they owed him, by allowing them to testify in person their admiration of his admirable courage and chivalrous devotion.

"Well, and what do you say?" asked Mme. Plaquet, as, with arms folded and a general air of mistress of the situation, she surveyed her mysterious young friend, whilst, with a half-amused countenance, he read M. de Lorme's missive.

"Oh!" said George, "I don't know. What a fuss you French people make about stopping a horse! There—don't say any more about it. I have a friend staying with me who knows how to arrange all these matters, and I will consult him. To-morrow or the day after he shall come to see you. You will like him. Is the lady quite recovered?"

"Entirely. But she looked so sad when she came, and came, and never found you. Ah! if I were a handsome young man, how many horses would I not stop, only to get one such glance from such lovely eyes!"

[Pg 52]

The next morning, Ned was to return with his sister, and George went down to the railway station to meet them. If he showed himself a trifle more careful than he had been lately in his selection of a tie and in his dress generally, and if anybody had entered at the time and told him so, George would probably have been angry at the idea of his returning to such weaknesses. There was Ned's pleasant face at the window; there he is waving his hat; and here he is now introducing Miss Mary Fitzgerald to his old friend, Mr. George Howard, to the mutual astonishment and evident confusion of that lady and gentleman, who blushed and turned pale by turns like guilty things. Even Ned was dumfoundered a moment, and argued to himself, from these silent but unmistakable signs of recognition between the parties, that his ceremony of introduction was quite a superfluous piece of etiquette.

He broke the awkward silence in his characteristic fashion:

"Well, if you people know each other already, you had better say so at once, and not let me make an ass of myself by going through a formal introduction—a thing I always hate. Mary, do you know George, or don't you?"

There were tears in Mary's large eyes, as, clinging a moment to her brother, she sobbed rather than said:

"O Ned! this is the gentleman I told you of, ... to whom I owe my life, ... of whom we were all speaking...." And then, turning the luminous and still tearful eyes full on George, who could scarcely stand up against the rush of mingled feelings that oppressed him, said, with a genuine simplicity and native grace which were most moving, as she took his hand in her own with an action at once gentle and natural: "Sir, it was a bitter thought to me that I should be compelled to leave France without knowing and thanking the brave gentleman who risked his life to save mine. I had hoped to see you at M. de Lorme's, and had so much to say to you. But now that I meet you," glancing at Ned, "in this ... in this way, my heart is so full I can say nothing...." And the gathering tears began to fall.

It was time for Ned to intervene:

"Oho! So you are the unknown knight whom M. de Lorme and the ladies have been raving about; who goes around in sable sadness, rescuing charming young ladies from perilous situations, and disappearing as mysteriously as you come. Faith, my friend, there is a nice romance concocted over you. But, George, my boy, I could say a great deal more than my eloquent sister has done on this subject, only I know it would be distasteful to you. However, we shall have it out together on the quiet some day. But what a shame!" Ned rattled on as they made their way to the hotel. "Here is all my nice little plot spoiled. Mary, I gave him such a description of you. Let me see, George, what was she like? Red-haired, freckled, middle-aged, and stout; short of breath and tall of body; weighing one hundred and seventy pounds after dinner, and a trifle less before." George looked disgusted, and Mary was laughing. "You took snuff, Mary, and wore your carroty curls in little whisks of brown paper half through the day. You had a vixenish temper, a liking for toddy, and would insist on speaking French to the servants with a beautiful Galway accent, and swore at them like a trooper for not understanding you. It was only out of pure regard for your handsome brother and for the sake of 'auld lang syne' that my friend George would tolerate your presence at all. And here you are[Pg 53] the whole time old and valued friends, under mutual obligations to each other—you for saving my middle-aged relative from being run away with and dashed to pieces by a vicious brute, and my middle-aged relative for being gracious enough to allow you to do anything of the kind. I declare it is shameful, and almost makes one take the rash oath of never telling a good-natured lie again."

This harangue of Ned's set them both at their ease as though they had known each other all their lives.

"And may I ask, Miss Fitzgerald, if this conscientious brother of yours gave an equally accurate description of his old school-fellow?" said George, laughing.

"Mary, don't tell.... He'll murder me...."

"I was instructed all the way along to be particularly kind and attentive to a dapper...."

"No, not dapper ..." interjected Ned.

"Yes, dapper, Mr. Howard; I remember the word distinctly. A dapper little old gentleman with a bald head and only one eye, who was as deaf as a post, but would not allow any one to consider him so. I was led to understand that he made excellent company at table, only that he simply followed out his own train of thought, and his remarks consequently were generally rather mal-à-propos; and in fact quite a lot of other things that I cannot remember, save that I was to take him his drops every morning at half-past eleven precisely, and always put six lumps of sugar in his coffee, and none in his tea."

There was a merry dinner-party that evening at the hotel, and a long ramble by the beach afterwards under the moon.

Mary had a great deal of Ned's happy nature in her, and between the two, what with sailing, and riding, and long strolls, George could not well help throwing off his despondency. The light soon came back to the eye, the color to the cheek, the spring to the step, the gaiety to the young heart, the belief that, after all, life was not such a bad thing, and that there were pleasant places even in this miserable world for those who sought them in the right spirit.

"Your friend George is getting quite gay," remarked Mary one evening, as brother and sister sat alone, during the temporary absence of the subject of that young lady's remark.

"Yes, poor fellow. He was in a sad way when I dropped on him. Going to the dev—I mean the grave, fast."

"Why, what was the matter with him?"

"Oh! I don't know. Put his foot in it somehow."

"Put his foot in what?"

"In the wrong box, of course. How stupid you women are!"

"But what wrong box, Ned?"

That gentleman looked ineffable disgust at his beautiful sister, whose eyes were fixed a little anxiously on his. Then taking the peachy cheeks between both hands, he drew her face up to his own and kissed her, saying, "There, Mary.... There are only two women in the world to whom I would do that.... You are one—"

"And the other?" asked Mary, a little bewildered.

"Is to come," answered Ned enigmatically. "It will take some time perhaps to find her. One makes a mistake sometimes among so many. When he does, he puts his foot in the wrong box."

"And you think he—that is, Mr. Howard has quite recovered now?" asked Mary, after a pause.

"Well, it looks as though he were[Pg 54] very near it; but here he is to speak for himself," said Ned, as George half bounded into the room, flushed with exercise, and looking as handsome as any young lady could wish.

But why give the stages of what all know so well and have heard thousands of times told and retold? One morning, some months after, the little French town looked very gay. There were green rushes strewn at the door of the hotel, and all the towns-people turned out in gala attire. There was the carriage of M. de Lorme, and an enormous bouquet in the coachman's button-hole. There were more carriages, and more coachmen, and more bouquets. Soon the church was filled with a buzzing and excited crowd that hushed into silence as a bridal party moved up the nave and stood at the steps of the altar, whilst the venerable curé in the name of God joined the hands together which no power on earth may sunder. The sunlight fell softly on them through windows of pictured saints. Mme. Plaquet was there, wiping her eyes, and weeping silently, as she praised the good God, who had saved the pauvre garçon and brought it all about so wonderfully. M. Plaquet was there, more convinced than ever that his wife was a wonderful woman; for had not she made the match? Old women, and tender girls wept as the sweet bride passed out a wife, amid showers of blossoms strewn in her path by little white-robed children. They blessed her for an angel, and her handsome husband, whom they all knew so sad, and who now looked so happy. There was another happy face, with bright eyes and a sunny smile, that attracted many an eye—the face, the eyes, and the smile of Mr. Edward Fitzgerald. If the reader would know more of George's history, it is being made. He has found his true lady-love, and is proving himself a true knight. Ned, gay Ned, is as merry as ever. He is called uncle now by a chubby-cheeked youngster with sturdy legs and the large eyes of his mother, into whose innocent face his father often gazes half anxiously, wondering will he ever come to imitate him in his short-lived folly. Ned has not put his foot in the right box yet; so he says, but rumor tells another tale. He may meet us again some day.



We looked for peach and grape-bunch drenched in dew:—
He serves us up the dirt in which they grew.

[Pg 55]


It is no exaggeration to say that there is scarcely a man or woman in the community who, upon taking up a morning newspaper, is not prepared to find recorded in its pages at least one case of wilful murder or some other atrocious infraction of the law, human and divine. Whether it be homicide or uxoricide, attempt at either, or the criminal indulgence of the baser passions; whether the result of artificial excitement or the wilful premeditation of bad or diseased minds, the effect is the same on the public, and the dreadfully frequent recurrence of such offences—that the lives of the most harmless among us are put in jeopardy equally with those of the most belligerent; while the law, the first office of which is to protect the life, honor, and property of the citizen, is practically ignored and defied.

This terrible prevalence of crime has been a fruitful subject of comment, and while the supineness of the legal guardians of the general welfare and the unaccountable stupidity or weak sentimentality of jurymen have been unsparingly denounced, very little has been done in the way of intelligent legislation to check the ever-flowing stream of criminality. It is true that the common and the statute laws have long ago prescribed death as the penalty for the commission of murder, arson, treason, and one or two other high crimes, long terms of imprisonment in state-prisons and penitentiaries for felonies, and shorter terms in local prisons for minor offences, but all these wise enactments do not appear to check the onward march of outrage and lawlessness. The result is that abroad the good name of the Republic suffers, while at home the very familiarity with deeds of violence and dishonesty created by the sensational and minute newspaper reports is debasing the youth of the country, and, by throwing a halo of romance over their commission, robs them of half their repulsive and disgusting features.

Still, while much indignation and more apprehension have been manifested at the growth of crime and the apathy and ignorance of those entrusted with the duty of repressing it, very little has been done either to remove the causes which lead to its perpetration, or to visit it with condign punishment when all other efforts have failed. This mere theorizing over what is a tangible evil is deeply to be deplored. Surely nothing can be more worthy of the attention of the statesman and the philanthropist than the study and analysis of this frightful social phenomenon, with a view of limiting its growth, even though it were found impossible to lesson appreciably its present gigantic proportions. It is well recognized that it is the primary duty of all civil governments to protect the lives, liberties, and property of their subjects, and our own national and state organizations, clothed as they are with such ample powers and supported by popular approbation, ought to be the foremost in discharging this trust. Under arbitrary or usurping governments, such as those which dominate Poland, Ireland, and Italy, it is generally difficult to execute what is called the law, for[Pg 56] the oppressed people are at enmity with their oppressors, and take every opportunity to oppose and thwart what is styled the administration of justice. They feel, and properly feel, that "the world is not their friend, nor the world's law;" but with us it ought to be far different. Here the laws are made by the people, and it is understood for the people, and hence every good citizen should feel a personal interest in the rectitude and exactitude of their administration. He is not only injured in person and property by imperfect and ignorant legislation, through his own carelessness, but he violates his obligations to his fellow-man when through neglect, or from unworthy motives, he does not do all in his power to prevent it.

However, to act intelligently as well as conscientiously in matters of such gravity, the study of the origin of the evils which afflict and disgrace our country, and the sources from whence they generally spring, requires more attention than has usually been given, even by those who most deplore their existence. It will not do to throw down your newspaper after perusing accounts of three or four cases of murder, and ask to what is the world coming? It is almost equally useless to occasionally hang a criminal, or to send another to prison for life. For the one so punished, a score at least escape, and the demands neither of retributive nor distributive justice are satisfied. The evil-disposed gratify their revenge by the commission of these crimes, while their chances of punishment are no more than one in twenty. Thus the plague that infests society daily becomes more noxious and, as it were, epidemic.

Crime has its latitude and longitude, its nationality, classes, and castes, its peculiar inciting causes, as well as the great vital cause—the absence of true religious faith and practice. For instance, it might be easily demonstrated that the many-nationed people of the United States are addicted to special classes of crime, as distinct and almost as obvious as their language, habits, and intellectual idiosyncrasies. We speak now of the more flagrant violations of the social compact, not with the intention of discriminating against any class or race in the community, nor with the object of holding the mass of any people, no matter what their origin or country, responsible for the acts of a few among them—for after all the criminals are in a small minority, fortunately, among all nations—but to point out the nature and peculiar motives for the commission of offences against the law as they exist among different classes of our population, so that suitable remedies may be applied to the respective cases.

Outrages against law and justice depend to a certain extent on locality for their distinctive character. The desperate hand-to-hand encounters which have so long characterized a certain class of society in the border states, are as different in motive from that of the cool Connecticut poisoner, as the assassin of our aristocratic circles is dissimilar to the ruffian of the slums.

When we ascribe homicide to the criminal classes of America, we do not assume it to be a national sin, for though of late we have read of some cases in New England and the West, and know of many deliberate ones in this vicinity, we refer specially in our analysis to the remote Southern and Southwestern states, where the bowie-knife, the rifle, and the revolver are considered much more efficacious and prompt in the settlement of disputes than the[Pg 57] slower and less exciting appeal to the courts. It may be said that this is the natural consequence of the war, the termination of which has thrown out of employment many desperate men habituated to the use of arms; but this is only partially true, for the same state of society existed in New Orleans, Arkansas, and along the banks of the Mississippi many years anterior to the late internecine contest. Lawless men of every grade, gamblers, horse-thieves, the idle, and the debauched, have for nearly two generations infested those and neighboring localities; deadly quarrels were constantly springing up, and were decided in a moment by the death of one if not of both disputants; and the public authorities, whenever they dared to interfere, were sure to be set at defiance, if not maltreated. The same state of affairs exists to this day, but in a modified form, and there seems to have been no way discovered to alter it.

Still, the American people as a whole are not responsible for what might be called a local disorganization of society, grown out of their rapidly-extending settlements, whence flock naturally many outcasts, vagabonds, and reckless men, anxious to escape the odium of public opinion and the chastisement that awaited them in the older and more thickly settled communities of the East. But our country, with a better show of reason, may be accused of condoning, if not of actually encouraging, a widespread system of political and commercial dishonesty, an offence which, though not by any means as bad as the taking of human life in its direct consequences, indirectly encourages and promotes the commission of the greater crime. A legislator or a judge who can be guilty of taking bribes, is sure, the one to make bad laws and the other to execute good ones corruptly. Criminals who have political or moneyed influence are allowed to escape with impunity, with a carte blanche to continue their nefarious business. Whoever has read the proceedings of the several investigating committees in Washington during the last session of Congress, and of our State Senate acting as a court of impeachment during the summer of 1872, will hardly doubt the truth of this assertion.

This spirit of bribery, false swearing and peculation we find prevailing, among some of the most prominent members of the national Congress, who, these investigations have shown, are not above the acceptance of paltry bribes for the use or abuse of their high delegated authority; we find it in many of our state legislatures, particularly when a United States senator is to be elected or the interest of a railroad company, a corporation, or a wealthy private individual is to be subserved by forcing or retarding legislation; and it is a matter of public notoriety that among the officers of municipal corporations, notably our own, where integrity, if in any place, should find a home, the most unblushing robbery, swindling, and false swearing have prevailed for years. Again, let us look at the history of our large banks and insurance companies. There is scarcely a week passes but we hear of defaulting officers and clerks who, after years of secret, continuous stealing and false entries, finally decamp, leaving it to be discovered that the aggregate amount of their individual abstractions reaches tens and hundreds of thousands. What makes this "respectable" species of larceny so heartless and reprehensible is, that the money so stolen does not actually belong to the institutions themselves, but to the public, and generally the poorer[Pg 58] classes, who are depositors or policyholders. It is significant that in proportion to the number of counting-houses superintended by their owners to the number of banks and insurance companies the trust-funds of which are in keeping of paid officials, the number of defalcations in the former are as a mere nothing compared with those of the latter. Why? In one case, the merchant is liable to lose his own money by negligence; in the other, the president and directors lose only that of other people, and thus a criminal betrayal of trust is added to swindling.

Now, these blots on the national escutcheon are of comparatively recent date, and are the result mainly of two causes: the late war, which suddenly elevated an ignorant and ignoble class to enormous wealth, and the corruption of politics and politicians by the unguarded and unchecked abuse of universal suffrage. The shoddyites and the politicians, having no claim on the respect or esteem of honest men, commenced a career of extravagance and vulgar display, which, if it did not win the approbation of the judicious and refined, certainly was well calculated to dazzle the moral vision of the vain and unstable. Palaces, diamonds, and resplendent equipages became the order of the day, and their effect on the integrity of the staid men of business was marked and deleterious in the highest degree. Mrs. A., whose husband before the war was doing a thriving little business and was content with an occasional drive in a hired light-wagon, now enjoyed the luxury of a private carriage and liveried servants; consequently Mrs. B., whose husband was cashier in a bank at two or three thousand a year, must have one similar. Mr. C., who was a resident of the Sixth or Seventh Ward previous to his election to office, and occupied part of a comfortable house, now lived in a handsome mansion on Madison or Fifth avenues; hence Mr. D., who was confidential clerk in a large importing house, abandoned his cosy cottage in the suburbs and followed his old friend's example. Now, how are B. and D. to support this luxury? Clearly, not out of their salaries. Having control of the funds and enjoying the confidence of their employers, they abstract the money and rush into Wall or New Streets to gamble in gold or stocks. They are not common thieves—oh! no; they only borrowed from time to time large sums of cash from the true owners, intending to return it; but they never do so! For a short time they are lucky, and are able to keep place in a course of wild dissipation with A. and C., but sooner or later a crisis arrives, there is "a panic in the street," and they lose all. Then follow flight, detection, and public exposure—in any well-regulated community, we might add dishonor. But it is not so; for, you see, this is the age of progress and enlightenment. The public think very lightly of such matters, probably from their very frequency, and soon forget them; the "knowing ones" condemn the fugitives only for not having been "smart" enough; the bank or insurance authorities compromise the felony for a consideration, for it is only the public, not themselves personally, who have suffered; and, after a brief sojourn in Europe or Canada, the criminals return to the bosom of their families prepared to enter on some new field of peculation.

As for the political rogues, no one seems to heed their depredations. Public opinion has become so vitiated that it is expected every man in office will steal; in fact, some persons go[Pg 59] so far as to say they ought to steal, holding it a trivial affair to appropriate large amounts of the people's money, while they would hesitate long before advising any one to rob a till or strip a clothes-line. We recollect an official in this city who for a wonder was so honest that he was poorer when he resigned than when he accepted office. Upon being met on an occasion by a friend and congratulated on having been able to purchase one of the largest hotels in New York out of the "spoils," the gentleman indignantly resented the insult in no measured terms. His acquaintance laughed quietly, and walked away with an expression of mingled pity and contempt on his countenance.

Now this lust for gain, this inordinate love of display, which leads the inexperienced and weak-minded into so many unworthy actions, should be abated, if we hope to preserve anything like commercial honor and political purity. They are eating into the very vitals of society, infecting the very highest as well as the lowest class in the community; and though the consequences to which they lead may not appear so heinous as other crimes, they are so far-reaching and so general that they might well be classed with those to which the law attaches its severest penalties. There was a time, not very far distant, when the idea of attempting to bribe a senator, or what is called "buying up" a state legislature, would have been considered preposterous, and when the counting-house and the banker's desk were considered the temple and altar, as it were, of honesty and integrity. Why is it that so lamentable a change has taken place, and in so short a time? Clearly, because an insatiate longing for the acquisition of wealth, speedily and with as little labor as possible, has taken possession of the present generation, and in a headlong pursuit of fortune, honor, reputation, and conscience are too often cast aside and forgotten. This should not be so in a country like ours of unlimited resources, and where industry and ability need never look in vain for a competency.

But a more diabolical crime against all law, natural, human, and divine, is the system, so prevalent in some sections of this country, of mothers depriving their inchoate offspring of existence even on the very threshold of their entrance into the world. So unnatural is this offence that it is beyond the power of language to reprobate it adequately, and in charity we hope that the guilty votaries of ease and fashion, who perpetrate such horrible atrocities, do not realize the full turpitude of their acts. We had long refused to believe that such a violation, not only of God's law, but of the strongest and most beautiful instincts of our nature—the parent's love for her child—existed to any great extent, but we have been so often assured of it by physicians and other reputable persons conversant with such matters, that we have been forced to admit as true the existence among us of a crime that would disgrace the veriest savage. We are assured that in certain localities, which we shall not particularize, the evil is not only widespread but is growing into a custom, and this extraordinary fact is adduced as one of the reasons why the children of native-born parents are so few in proportion to those of foreigners. If we were to look for a primary cause for such barbaric criminality in merely human motives, we should fail to find one at all commensurate with the enormity of the guilt. The wish of married women to be freed from the care of young[Pg 60] children, so that they, being unincumbered by household duties and cares, may participate in outdoor pleasures, attend the opera, the theatres, concerts, and ball-rooms, has been advanced with some force as one of the reasons; but this is not sufficient, for we find the heinous practice prevailing in remote towns and villages where no such attractions are presented. The laws of civil marriage and of divorce, as recognized in most of the states of the Union; that curse of what is called modern civilization; that fatal legacy handed down to us by the "Reformers," has much to answer for in this respect. Protestantism has reduced the holy sacramental bond of matrimony beneath the level of a limited co-partnership, degraded the nuptial contract below the most trivial commercial obligation, annihilated its responsibilities, destroyed its safeguards, and even wishes to go further—to ignore the very shadow of marriage, from which it has long since taken the substance. The purchase of a piece of land or the delivery of a bale of goods is now attended with more ceremony than that sacred rite at which our Saviour himself attended in Galilee and at which he performed his first miracle! How deeply has humanity been made to suffer for the bestiality of Henry Tudor and the apostasy of the monk of Augsburg! Is it any wonder then that a link, so thoughtlessly accepted and so lightly worn, should be as unceremoniously sundered, and that the woman, who does not know but on the morrow she may be either plaintiff or defendant in a divorce suit, should be adverse to bringing into the world children which either parent may claim or disown?

But the grand motive cause is to be found still deeper. If the truth must be told, the masses of the people of this noble country are fast sinking into intellectual paganism, beside which that of imperial Rome was harmless and innocuous. Protestantism, as has often been predicted, has nearly reached its logical conclusion—infidelity. Read the sermons of the prominent sensational preachers, their newspapers and periodicals, and what do you find in them? No stern lessons of Christian morality; no appeals to the moral conscience or exposition of the beauties of the cardinal virtues; no dogma, as befits heaven-appointed guides; no doctrine such as only the ordained of God can preach and teach; but, instead, stale tirades against Catholicity, rehashed lyceum lectures, and fragments of stump-speeches delivered before the last election and interlarded with pious ejaculations to suit the occasion, apologies for being Christians at all, and occasional efforts to explain away Christianity itself—all covered over with a thin veil of cant and mock philanthropy.

Do we find these so-called ministers telling their congregations that marriage is an indissoluble tie, which no man can burst asunder; that the object of it is to enable husband and wife to live together happily and to bring up their children in the love and fear of God; that to take the life of an infant ante-natal is a dark, deadly, mortal sin; that no living human being who has not received baptism can ever see the face of God; and that whoever wilfully deprives her helpless babe of that ineffable delight will have to account for that lost soul to its Maker? Oh! no; that might shock the sensibilities of their audiences, and might lead to their own expulsion from their livings. Is it surprising, then, that a vice so much in harmony with the working of human passions, as apparently de[Pg 61]void of all moral responsibility as it is free from civil punishment, should be so frequently and so freely indulged in by those whose base inclinations are unchecked and unregulated by anything like true Christian teaching?

But what most surprises us is the appearance in the public prints for the past two or three years of numerous cases of suicide. This "self-slaughter" was a crime, we thought, confined to the older nations of Europe almost exclusively. The Americans are neither a despondent, an impoverished, nor a sentimental people; and yet we have been exceedingly pained to read of men well-to-do in the world, many of them being comfortable farmers and most of them advanced in years, deliberately taking that life which God gave them for wise and useful purposes, and voluntarily going before the judgment-seat of their Maker with the crime of murder on their souls. The policy of the old common law was to consider every suicide insane, but that was merely a fiction to save his goods from confiscation by the crown; we would fain believe that the numerous instances among ourselves were the result of aberration of mind—doubtless some of them were; but others have been planned and executed with such forethought as to preclude the possibility of such a supposition. As we write, we have before us a copy of a New York journal in which no less than four suicides of Americans in various parts of the country are recorded.[14]

It has been debated whether the act of a suicide is, humanly speaking, one of courage or cowardice: we are inclined to the latter opinion, but the question is immaterial. Whatever be its character in that respect, it is sure to originate in the absence of any belief which affirms a hereafter, or in that morbid form of idiocy known as spiritualism, which runs into the other extreme. In either case, it can only be prevented by moral suasion, for the civil law is of course utterly powerless in the matter; yet of all known crimes it is the most seductive, and even might be called contagious.

Let us now turn to another class of our people—the adopted citizens, and consider the peculiarities of their criminal classes. The largest proportion of our immigrant population is from Ireland, and, coming from a misgoverned and plundered land, many of them, indeed we think a large majority, are very poor indeed, so destitute that they have not means to bring them to the West, or into the rural districts, and consequently remain in the large cities for life. We have observed that deeds of violence committed by a certain class of Irish-Americans are disproportionately large, when compared with the native population or with those of other countries. We regret to be obliged to say so.

We yield to none in our respect, nay affection, for the children of long-suffering and persecuted Ireland, but we would be untrue to ourselves and unjust to the bulk of our fellow-citizens of Irish birth were we to ignore or deny that but too many of them allow themselves to be led into the commission of acts of violence not unfrequently ending in deadly quarrel.

This should not be. As a rule, an Irishman is social, humorous, and kind, affectionate in his family relations and disinterested in his friendships. In this country he has all the advantages that religion can afford, the churches are open to him every day, he is not restricted in his[Pg 62] attendance at divine service on Sundays, he has always, particularly in cities and large towns, an opportunity of hearing good, practical, and instructive sermons and discourses on the duties of life, at least once a week; and the strength to resist temptation, which the sacraments alone can give, is always within his power to obtain.

Whence, then, originates this ungovernable passion, this desperate recklessness that resists all control, and, disregarding consequences, rushes madly into sin, makes man an outlaw among his fellows, and drags him to the dungeon and the scaffold? We must not attribute it to his defective education, the result of a jealous and tyrannical system of government in his native country, though it may have something to do with it; neither will the fact that many who had golden dreams before they reached our shores failed to realize them, and so became heedless. Poverty and destitution have been pleaded in extenuation, but they are more a result than a cause; for no able-bodied man, if well-conducted, need be in that sense either poor or destitute in this country, where labor is ever in demand. No; the secret, if it be a secret, lies in one word—intoxication, and, as a consequence, in the neglect of the religious duties taught and performed in their younger days. Intoxication is the demon that creeps into their souls, fires their heated blood, plunges his victims into an abyss of crime and transforms man, the noblest work of the Creator, into a ferocious brute. We are aware that instances of forgery, arson, swindling, and premeditated homicide—in fact, all offences requiring skill and deliberation—are exceedingly rare among our Irish-born population, but that is no reason why a few men born and baptized in the church, as little children taught the great truths of religion in the simple words of the catechism, and as adults weekly and almost daily within reach of moral instruction and a participation in the benefits of the sacraments, should by their neglect of religion, and their insane desire for deleterious stimulants, disgrace the race from which they have sprung and bring obloquy on the religion they profess to respect, but never practise. Who ever heard of an Irish adopted citizen, a teetotaler or even a uniformly temperate man, committing an atrocious crime or a deliberate breach of the laws of his adopted country?

No better illustration can be given of the beneficial effects of temperance on the Irish character than the following official statistics taken from the Life of Father Mathew. The author says:

"As a conclusive proof that the diminution of crime [in Ireland] was one of the necessary consequences of the spread of temperance among those classes of the community most liable to be tempted to acts of violence or dishonesty, some few facts from the official records of the time may be quoted here. They are taken from the returns of 'outrages specially reported by the constabulary,' from the year 1837 to the year 1841, both included. The number of homicides, which was 247 in 1838, was only 105 in 1841. There were 91 cases of 'firing at the person' in 1837 and but 66 in 1841. The 'assaults on police' were 91 in 1837 and but 58 in 1841. Incendiary fires, which were as many as 459 in 1838, were 390 in 1841. Robberies, thus specially reported, diminished wonderfully from 725 in 1837 to 257 in 1841! The offence of 'killing, cutting, or maiming cattle' was also seriously lessened; the cases reported in 1839 being 433, to 213 in 1841! The decrease in cases of 'robbery of arms' was most significant; from being 246 in 1837 there were but 111 in 1841. The offence of 'appearing in arms' showed a favorable diminution, falling from 110 in 1837 to 66 in 1841. The effect of sobriety on[Pg 63] 'faction fights' was equally remarkable. There were 20 of such cases in 1839 and 8 in 1841. The dangerous offence of 'rescuing prisoners,' which was represented by 34 in 1837, had no return in 1841.

"Without entering further into details, the following returns of the number committed during a period of seven years, from 1839 to 1845, must bring conviction home to the mind of any rational and dispassionate person that sobriety is good for the individual and the community:

Year. Total No.
1839 12,049
1840 11,194
1841 9,287
1842 9,875
1843 8,620
1844 8,042
1845 7,107

"The number of sentences of death and transportation evidenced the operation of some powerful and beneficial influence on the public morals. The number of capital sentences in eight years, from 1839 to 1846, was as follows:

Year. No. of Sentences.
1839 66
1840 43
1841 40
1842 25
1843 16
1844 20
1845 13
1846 14

"The sentences to transportation during the same period, from 1839 to 1846, exhibited the like wonderful result:

Year. No. of Sentences.
1839 916
1840 751
1841 643
1842 667
1843 482
1844 526
1845 428
1846 504

"The figures already quoted are most valuable, as they prove, beyond the possibility of a doubt, that national drunkenness is the chief cause of crime, and that sobriety is, humanly speaking, one of the best preservatives of the morals of a people."[15]

When we recollect that during the years above reported the consumption of ardent spirits had decreased one-half, though the population had increased by at least a quarter of a million, the inexorable logic of the figures above quoted becomes irresistible—intemperance is a greater enemy of the Irish race than even her hereditary foe, England.

With the Germans it is different. They are by no means given to indulgence in violent stimulants, though they, too, are a social people, fond of enjoyment and of their national beverage, beer; yet crime, and that of a very serious character, is not unusual among them, particularly the killing of females. And here again we have the evidence of the terrible havoc which the great rebellion of the XVIth century against the church and her authority has wrought in the social relations of mankind. Germany was the originator, the centre, and the main supporter of that revolt on the Continent of Europe, and, having been violently wrested from the seat of Catholic unity, has ever since been groping in the dark, oscillating between heathenism and transcendentalism, without stability or any sort of fixed principles. The blight of the Reformation, so called, has eaten into the very marrow of their family relations, and what would be deemed infamous for women of other countries to do, is considered among a certain class of this people, limited, it is true, a matter of course.

Once again, let us not be misunderstood. In ascribing this species of offence to the Germans in the United States, we do not mean to say that it is general to the whole body; on the contrary, we are happy to know that it is confined to a few, for, as a whole, the people from the north of Europe are perhaps the most law-abiding portion of our citizens. We are well aware that in this city, and in the West and South, there are many learned professors, devoted priests, and devout congregations, all of German birth, as well as many reputable merchants, mechanics, and professional men of the same nationality, who worship God according to their hereditary cus[Pg 64]toms; but we think we do not go too far in saying that the majority of German-Americans have practically no religion, that they never enter a church, say a prayer, or perform any of the ordinary duties of a Christian. Some years ago, the writer was introduced into a Germania society in a neighboring city which consisted of over three hundred members, all gentlemen of education and wealth. He subsequently visited it three or four times on various Sundays, and always found its spacious suite of rooms crowded. Upon enquiring where those persons went to church, his friend placidly replied: "I don't think there is one of us ever goes to church; you know I do not." If such an example is set by the "higher classes," what can we expect from those in the lower scale of social life?

We often have had occasion to admire the way in which the Germans enjoy themselves on week-days and Sundays; the order and good-fellowship which prevail at their gatherings, their songs and instrumental music, and the fact that they always bring with them their wives and children to partake of their enjoyment. But our satisfaction at seeing them go to the rural retreats on a Sunday morning, and return peaceably in the evening after a long day of rational pleasure, has been considerably lessened by the knowledge that no portion of the day, set apart as a day of prayer as well as of rest, has been devoted by those pleasure-seekers to the service of the great Giver of all blessings, of happiness here and hereafter. Such practical defiance of God's law, such ingratitude towards our common Father, such complete disregard of the simplest requirements of religion, must necessarily blunt the moral sense, more especially as it affects and weakens the sanctified tie that binds husband and wife. It is therefore with more sorrow than surprise that we read of so many cases among our German fellow-citizens of men and women living with other persons' wives and husbands. Such conditions are unlawful and short-lived, the fruitful source of anger, jealousy, and discontent, and not unusually culminate in ill-treatment, blows, and even death.

While we also ascribe the crime of the destruction of offspring to the Germans, we do not mean to say that it is practised to any extent among them, but that the foul crime is perpetrated in this and other large cities almost exclusively by German quack doctors, male and female; their victims being generally from other nationalities. For this the German people are not so much to blame as our own press, which publishes the advertisements of those miscreants and scatters them broadcast on the world for a paltry consideration; and our state legislatures, which have neglected until lately to enact proper laws; and our prosecuting attorneys, who have failed to enforce such enactments as we have on our statute-books against this class of rank murderers.

Offences against property are almost exclusively in the hands of our English criminals, if we except the horse-stealing of the Southwest. Our most expert pickpockets, our most dexterous sneak-thieves, daring highwaymen, and scientific burglars come from London, many of whom have served her Majesty for a term of years in her penal colonies, and are so well known to the detectives of the British metropolis that they have sought new fields of enterprise in this country. They have been preceded or accompanied by prize-fighters, gamblers, and keepers of low dens[Pg 65] called concert-saloons. The former they make the partners in their labors and gains, and in the latter hot-beds of infamy they find shelter and concealment. It may be said that this class of crimes is far less reprehensible than those above enumerated, and so they would be were it not that highway robbery and burglary sometimes terminate in the taking of human life. Still, it must be said in justice that we hear of very few cases of wilful homicide being perpetrated by the English among us, though, like the French, suicide is not unknown to them, but arises from different causes. The Briton "shuffles off this mortal coil" through moroseness and despondency; the Gaul gaily prepares to smother himself with carbonic acid gas from a morbid sentimentality, and a contempt for the precious gift of life which he is about to throw away.

Now, if all these offences were simply infractions of the municipal law, we would naturally look to our legislatures, our courts, juries, and sheriffs for their prevention or punishment, but they are not only that, but breaches of the divine law, and we must depend likewise on the efficacy of moral suasion to prevent if not to correct them. Public opinion can do much to repress crime, the legislative, administrative, and judicial branches of our various local governments, each in its sphere, might effect far more good; but it is on the teachings of true Christianity alone, and all the consequences that flow from it, that we must rely if we wish to stem the tide of misery, vice, and outrage which are fast surging over every portion of our fair land. The strong arm of the civil power is potent to punish when the crime has been committed, but weak indeed to prevent its perpetration. This higher and nobler duty is reserved for religion, and for religion alone. It is well enough to make concise and exact punitive laws, though this is not always done; and to administer them fearlessly, honestly, and intelligently, though the reverse is generally the case; still, experience has taught us that wise enactments and impartial judges have very little power to stay the promptings of bad hearts or repress the temptations ever presenting themselves to men of vicious habits or defective moral training. The church, and only the church, can rule the mind and heart of man, can train him from his infancy, before he knows or is responsible to any civil law, can strengthen him with the graces of the sacraments, arm him with the most potent of all weapons against sin—prayer—place constantly before his eyes the certainty of everlasting bliss or eternal damnation, keep him in the "narrow path," and thus prevent the possibility of his being an enemy to society and an outcast of heaven.

Next to the church comes the school. The importance of education to the well-being of society can never be overstated. It may be well said that it is in the school-room the seeds of vice or virtue are first sown, it is there that the future benefactor or the enemy of his kind commences his career in life, and it is upon the proper or vicious method of teaching which he receives as a boy depends mainly his future course in the world. No wonder, then, that the Catholic Church is so desirous of superintending the training of those little ones who by the sacrament of baptism have been made children of God and heirs to the kingdom of heaven; that the zealous parish priest should mourn over the loss of hundreds of the youth of his congregation, who, taught in Protestant or infidel schools, have fallen away from the[Pg 66] faith to plunge into sin and vice. Is he to be blamed if he exhausts every resource and strains every nerve to establish for his people a school where their offspring will be guarded from worldly contamination, and trained in all the beautiful morality of Catholic doctrine? Few seem to understand the comprehensive meaning of the word education. The mere acquisition of worldly knowledge is not education, the development of the highest intellectual powers is not education, but only a part, and a secondary part at that, of a complete education; for without inculcating morality, justice, a high sense of honor, a noble disregard for self, and a sympathy for the suffering and unfortunate, you curse man with a disposition that is its own Nemesis, with unlawful desires that "make the food they feed on," and simply enlarge his capacity for doing evil.

That this is the result of our present common-school system cannot well be gainsaid in view of the general spirit of peculation and corruption which prevails in those very portions of the country where such schools are most numerous and best attended and supported. And this view is not ours alone. Already we find the secular press, hitherto the strongest opponents of denominational education, clamoring for a reform in our method of public instruction. "We must have," says a leading daily paper of this city, "a higher system of morals taught in our public schools"; though the writer does not condescend to say how morals can be taught without religion, or who are to be the teachers. Is it the fagged-out teacher who tries to earn his salary by the least possible labor, and who perhaps, in this respect, is as deficient as the children themselves; or is it the trained priest or the lowly Christian Brother, who has devoted himself heart and soul to the service of God and of his creatures, and whose reward is not of this world?

Our common schools, with some modifications, are decidedly a New England invention, but none the worse for that, for the early settlers of that much-abused region, whatever may have been their other faults, were neither an irreligious nor an immoral people. On the contrary they were deeply imbued with a sense of the dignity of religion and a reverence for its ministers, according to their limited and erroneous but honestly entertained ideas; and being all of one way of thinking, they established schools, at the public expense it is true, but they took care that their peculiar theological notions should go hand-in-hand with secular teaching. The minister, the elder, or the deacon generally united with his clerical office that of schoolmaster, and the morals as well as the intellectual qualities of the pupils were sedulously developed and cultivated. Now all this is changed. The foundation upon which the public-school system was built has crumbled into dust, and the superstructure cannot and ought not to stand longer. Our country is now composed of many nationalities, believing in various creeds, and the task of educating the rising generation should be remitted to each denomination to take care of and instruct its own members. If we want to inculcate true lessons of morality and integrity, to stop bribery, forgery, perjury, dishonesty, infanticide, and homicide, we must change our system of education, or it is possible that society, laboring under so heavy a burden of sin and dishonor, will in the near future be crushed to pieces.

But for the adult immigrants who[Pg 67] have never felt the baleful influence of our public schools, what is the remedy? For the Germans we would say, a more general attendance at divine service. They are pre-eminently an organizing people: why do not those good German Catholics who are so constant in their devotions establish more societies, with a view to induce their erring compatriots to give up at least a portion of that time now wholly devoted to pleasure to the worship of God? This would be a work of great charity, and if earnestly undertaken would doubtless be successful. The panacea that lies before our Irish fellow-citizens is temperance—that observed, we venture to say that they will be found among the most moral and orderly portion of our population. In this connection we are glad to observe the untiring energy exhibited by prominent laymen to organize and unite temperance societies, and the encouragement given them by priests and bishops. Our Irish friends must not forget that not only the honor of their native land and the prosperity of their children in that of their adoption depend on their good conduct and sobriety, but that, to a great extent, the Catholic Church in America is contemned or revered in proportion as they act against or in harmony with her doctrine and discipline. If woe be denounced against whosoever gives scandal, a blessing is also promised to those who, by their actions, glorify the name of God.


[14] New York Times, May 13, 1873.

[15] Father Mathew: A Biography. By John Francis Maguire, M.P. New York: D. & J. Sadlier & Co. 1871.



I make not songs, but only find:—
Love, following still the circling sun,
His carols casts on every wind,
And other singer is there none!
I follow Love, though far he flies;
I sing his song, at random found
Like plume some bird of Paradise
Drops, passing, on our dusky bound.
In some, methinks, at times there glows
The passion of a heavenlier sphere:
These, too, I sing:—but sweetest those
I dare not sing, and faintly hear.


[16] The Greeks called the poet "the Maker." In the middle ages, some of the best poets took a more modest title—that of "the Finder."

[Pg 68]




Such, then, was the state of affairs when Louis, after an absence of ten days, returned to his usual occupation. The evening was somewhat advanced when he arrived. Mr. Smithson, who was not in the habit of doing anything hastily, thought it better to defer the interview till the following day. The order to the porter was therefore countermanded, and a servant sent to inform Louis that Mr. Smithson wished to see him the next morning. Louis was quite startled at receiving so unexpected a summons.

"What has happened?" he said to himself. "Can Mr. Smithson be displeased at my long absence?... Has he heard of Adams' intended conversion?... Perhaps Albert has obtained my dismissal." There was nothing cheering whichever way he turned. He therefore passed a restless night. Fortunately, he had a support that was once wanting: he trusted in God, and could pray. Prayer does not remove our fears, but it calms them. Besides, whatever misfortune threatens the Christian, he feels it will never befall him unless it is the will of God. However rude the blow, it is even changed into a blessing to him that turns with confidence to the Hand that chastens. God is ever merciful, especially toward those who truly hope in him.

Eugénie, better informed than Louis as to what had taken place, but less pious, was at that very hour tormented by a thousand apprehensions really justified by the circumstances. She saw the storm approaching, and was sure it would overwhelm the one she loved. But what could she do? She had already got into trouble by undertaking his defence. She could only await in silence the result which was at hand. Then, perhaps, she could decide on something, or wait still longer before deciding. Thwarted affection more than any other sentiment in the world relies on the help of time.

The next morning, Louis went to Mr. Smithson's office at the appointed hour. They had not had a special interview for a long time. Louis appeared as he usually did at that period—easy in his manners, but cold and taciturn. Mr. Smithson, on his side, had recovered his usual calmness. He ceremoniously offered the engineer a chair, and thus began the conversation:

"Monsieur, I have thought it proper to have an immediate explanation with you. Your long absence has been unfortunate on many accounts. Moreover, a fact has recently come to my knowledge, or rather, a series of facts which have occurred in my manufactory, by no means agreeable to me."

"I acknowledge, sir," replied Louis, "that my absence was long—much longer than I could have wished. But you would regard the motives that kept me away from the mill as a sufficient excuse, if you knew them."

"I am already aware of them, monsieur, and admit that they were reasonable. But as you had a sufficient excuse for absenting yourself,[Pg 69] you did wrong not to communicate it before leaving."

"It would have been better to do so, I acknowledge; but I was sent for in haste, and obliged to leave without any other notice than a note. I have since been so absorbed in care as to hinder me from thinking of anything else."

"Very well, monsieur, we will say no more about that. There remains the other occurrence that has vexed me. You have excited religious doubts in the mind of a poor fellow of my own belief who is young and inexperienced—considerations that should have checked your propensity to make proselytes."

"Excuse me, sir, if I beg leave to correct an inexactness—quite involuntary, I am sure, but a serious one—in the expressions you have just made use of. I made no effort to induce this man to abandon his religion. He first came to me, and said...."

"What he said was prompted by certain things in your evening instructions. You dwell on the necessity of the Catholic faith; you infuse doubts in the minds of the workmen who do not partake of your convictions."

"I have never directly attacked any religion."

"Your indirect attacks are more dangerous."

"What could I do?"

"Your course was all marked out beforehand. Employed in an establishment the head of which belongs to a different faith from yours; exercising an influence perhaps beneficial to the workmen by means of your evening-school, your library, and your visits to their houses, but exercising this influence in my name and under my auspices, you ought not to have allowed yourself to wander off to religious subjects."

"Excuse me, sir, I did not and could not. Have the goodness to listen to my reasons. Morality without religion is, in my opinion, merely Utopian. That the Anglican religion sanctions morality I do not deny. Nor can you deny that it is supported in a most wonderful manner by the Catholic Church—indeed, my conscience obliges me to say the faith is its most efficient support. In talking to the workmen, who are nearly all Catholics, I give them moral instructions in the name of the belief they practise, or ought to practise."

"That was a grave error, as it soon proved. In consequence of your imprudent course, a weak-minded man was led to the point of changing his religion. As I am of the same faith, this was an insult to me. Such a thing could not occur in my establishment without my consent, and it was inadmissible. If Adams had persisted, I should have discharged him. Toleration has its limits."

"Ah! he has not persisted?"

"No; his fears were imaginary, and only needed calming. I have used no other means of leading him back but persuasion. Friendly reasoning brought him back to the point where he was a month ago. Nevertheless, I do not wish a similar occurrence to take place. We must decide on the course you have got to pursue. My wishes may be summed up thus: either you must give up attempting to exercise any influence over my workmen, apart from your official duties, or you must bind yourself by a promise never to touch on religious subjects before them, either in public or in private."

"Does this prohibition apply equally to the Catholic workmen and those of other religions?"

"To all indiscriminately. I must[Pg 70] say to you, with my habitual frankness, that you manifest a zeal for proselyting that displeases me and excites my fears."

"What fears, monsieur?"

"I fear that, knowingly or unknowingly, you are the agent of the priests. They always seek, I know, to insinuate themselves everywhere, and to rule everywhere. I will not tolerate it on my premises."

"You have a wrong idea of the Catholic priesthood, monsieur. The love of power imputed to the clergy it would be difficult to prove. I am not their agent, for the reason that they have no agents. If I desire to do some good to those around me, this wish is inspired by the Gospel, which teaches us in many places to do all the good we can. Now, to bestow money or food on the poor, to instruct the ignorant in human knowledge merely, is but little. We should, above all, give spiritual alms. The alms their souls need is the truth.... For me, the truth is Catholicism."

"I suppose, then, monsieur, with such sentiments, you cannot accept the conditions I propose?"

"No, monsieur, I cannot. Doing good in the way you wish would have but little attraction for me. I had the serious misfortune to live for many years as if I had no belief. Now I have returned, heart and soul, to the faith, I wish to make myself truly useful to others, and to repair, if possible, the time I have lost. I wish, therefore, to take the stand of a Catholic, and not of a philanthropist—to be useful, not to appear so."

"Monsieur, I have always had a high respect for people of frankness and decided convictions, and they entitle you to my esteem; but, your convictions being opposed to mine, we cannot live together."

"I regret it, sir, but I am of your opinion."

"I assure you, monsieur, that my regret is not less than yours. But though forced to separate for grave reasons, there need be no precipitation about it."

"Just as you please, monsieur."

"Well, you can fix the day of your departure yourself."

Mr. Smithson and Louis then separated. Mme. Smithson had succeeded! A quarter of an hour later, she imparted the agreeable news to Albert.

"We are rid of him!" said Albert. "Well, for lack of anything better, I will content myself with this semi-victory. I shall never forget, aunt, the service you have done me on this occasion. I have no hope now of marrying Eugénie, but I am sure the other will never get her, and that is a good deal!"

"You give up the struggle too readily," said Mme. Smithson, in a self-sufficient and sarcastic tone. "I am more hopeful about the future than you."

Eugénie was likewise informed that very morning of all that had taken place. Her mother took care to do that. The news, though anticipated, agitated her so that she came near betraying her feelings. But she saw in an instant the danger to which she was exposing herself. Making an energetic effort to recover herself, she laughed as she said: "My cousin ought to be quite satisfied. Poor fellow! if he undertakes to rout all he looks upon as rivals, he is not at the end of his troubles. There are a great many men I prefer to him!"

While this was taking place at Mr. Smithson's, Louis was so distressed that he shut himself up in his chamber to recover his calmness. He came to see me that very eve[Pg 71]ning, and related all that had occurred.

"I cannot blame Mr. Smithson," he said. "Every means has evidently been used to prejudice him against me. There is some base scheme at the bottom of all this. I have quietly obtained information which has convinced me of Adams' hypocrisy. He never intended to change his religion. His only aim was to get me into inextricable difficulty. He has succeeded. It remains to be discovered who prompted him to do all this.... I have tried in vain to get rid of a suspicion that may be wrong, for I have no proofs; but it is continually recurring to me."

"And to me also. Yes, I believe Albert is at the bottom of it all."

"Well, that is my idea. But what can I do? Unmask him? That is, so to speak, impossible. Even suppose I succeeded, it would not destroy the fact that Mr. Smithson regards me with distrust, and has people around him who depict me in odious colors. And in the end, how could I confess my love for his daughter? I have lost my property through my own fault. I am not sure that Mlle. Eugénie loves me. Even if she cherished a profound affection for me, I have reason to believe her parents would regard it with disapprobation. Whichever way I look at things, I cannot hide from myself that my hopes are blasted!... It is the will of God: I submit; but the blow is terrible."

"Poor friend! you remained too long with me. It was your prolonged absence that has endangered everything. Allow me, by way of consoling myself for my regret, to give you my advice. I feel as if it were Victor himself who inspires me: he loved you so much!... Remain at Mr. Smithson's some days longer. Instead of manifesting any coolness towards him, appear as you used to. Everything is not lost as long as you retain his esteem. If you meet with Mlle. Eugénie, do not avoid her. The time has come when she ought to know you as you are. Yes, we have at last arrived at the decisive hour which Victor spoke of the night before he died. Mlle. Eugénie must now be enabled to appreciate you as you deserve. She must pity you.... She must love you! If this is not the case, however sad it will be to give up an illusion without which it seems impossible to be happy, renounce it, and acknowledge without shrinking: 'She does not love me; she never will love me; she is not the wife God destines me.' But do not act hastily. Believe me, if she is intended for you, whatever has been done, nothing is lost. But it is my opinion she is intended for you."

These words did Louis good. "I hope you are not deceived," said he, "and this very hope revives me. I will try to believe you are right. We will do nothing hastily, therefore. But do you not think I could now venture to disclose my sentiments to Mlle. Eugénie, if I have a favorable opportunity, and see it will give no offence? One consideration alone restrains me—I fear being suspected of seeking her hand from interested motives."

"The time for such suspicions is past. If Eugénie still cherishes them, it will lower her in my estimation. She is twenty-two years of age. She has a good deal of heart and an elevated mind, and is capable of deciding her own destiny. I therefore approve of your plan. If she loves you, she will have the courage to avow it to her parents. If she does not love you, she has sufficient courage to make it evident to you."

"How I wish the question already decided!"

[Pg 72]

"No youthful impulsiveness! You need more than ever to be extremely cautious while feeling your way. Your situation is one of great delicacy. Act, but with deliberation."

Such was pretty nearly the advice I gave Louis, often stopping to give vent to my grief, which was as profound as ever. He left me quite comforted. Though he did not say so, for fear of being deceived, he thought Eugénie loved him, and believed, with her on his side, he should triumph over every obstacle. When a person is in love, he clings to hope in spite of himself, even when all is evidently lost.


Louis spent several evenings in succession with me. He briefly related how the day had passed, and afterwards took up the different events, and enlarged upon them. He often found enough to talk about for hours upon the sometimes ungrateful theme. I can still see him sitting opposite my mother and myself in the arbor in the little garden behind our house. Everything was calm and delightful around us in those beautiful autumn evenings. Louis alone was troubled. In vain we tried to restore peace to his soul: it was gone!

I never comprehended so thoroughly all the power of love as then. The profound sadness in which I was at that time overwhelmed rendered me inaccessible to such passionate outbreaks—such fits of elevation and depression as Louis was then subject to. I gazed at him with a cool, dispassionate eye, but with the affectionate compassion with which we regard a friend who is trying to make himself unhappy. I was astonished; sometimes I was even—yes, I acknowledge it—irritated to see how utterly he gave himself up to the passion he had allowed to develop so rapidly in his heart. Doubtless my poor friend remained resigned to the will of God, but not so completely as he thought. It is true, even when his mind was apparently the most agitated, we felt that piety was the overruling principle; but then, what a struggle there was between the divine Spirit, which always seeks to infuse calmness, and the gusts of passion that so easily result in a tempest!

Ah! I loved my husband too sincerely, and I recall other loves too pure, to dare assert that love is wrong. But believe me, my young friend, I do not exaggerate in adding that, if love is not always censurable, it is in danger of being so. We are told on every hand that love ennobles the heart and tends to elevate the mind; that it is the mainspring of great enterprises, and destructive of egotism. Yes, sometimes; ... but for love to effect such things, what watchfulness must not a person exercise over himself! How much he must distrust his weakness! What incessant recourse he must have to God! Without this, the love that might ennoble is only debasing, and to such a degree as to lead unawares, so to speak, to the commission of acts unworthy, not only of a Christian, but a man.

Allow me, my friend, continued Madame Agnes, to make use of a comparison, common enough, but which expresses my idea better than any other. Love is like generous wine. It must be used with sobriety and caution. Taken to excess, it[Pg 73] goes to the head, and makes a fool of the wisest. You are young. You have never loved. Beware of the intoxication to which I allude! If you ever do love, watch over yourself; pray with fervor that God will give you the grace of self-control. The moment love becomes a passion—an overruling passion—ah! how its victim is to be pitied! When reason and conscience require it, you can—I mean with the divine assistance—banish love from the heart where it reigns; but believe me, it will leave you as an enemy leaves the country it has invaded—with fearful destruction behind. And first of all, it destroys one's peace of mind. The soul in which passion has reigned continues to bear marks of its ravages a long time after its extinction!...

Louis had arrived at this deplorable state; he had not full control over his heart; his happiness depended on the success of his love. Eugénie's image beset him everywhere. The word is hard, I confess, but it is true. He attached undue importance to whatever had the least bearing on this predominant thought. One day, he announced he had seen Albert walking with a melancholy air. He was sad, then. But why should he be sad unless his cousin had treated him coldly? And Louis hastily added by way of conclusion: "Mlle. Eugénie knows all I have to annoy me; she follows me in thought, she participates in my sorrows, she repays me for them...." Another day he had really seen her. She passed by his window, lovelier than ever, but more thoughtful. She was doubtless as anxious as he to be freed from the suspense in which they both were.

At last he came with important news. He had had the unhoped-for happiness of meeting Eugénie. She was advancing towards him, blushing with embarrassment, and was the first to greet him, with an expression so friendly as to leave no doubt of her sentiments. He returned her salutation, but was so overpowered with emotion that he could scarcely speak. After some words of no importance, he said: "I am going to leave you, mademoiselle."

Eugénie replied that she should regret to see him go. Then, as if to intimate he had enemies in the house, she added: "More than one—I wish I could say all—will be as afflicted as I at your departure. I refer to those you have benefited, and to whom you might continue to do good."

"Yes," said Louis, "it is hard to have to leave my work incomplete. However limited it is, my soul is in it. But I must not make myself out a better Christian than I am. It is not my work I shall leave with the most regret...." He dared not complete the expression of his thought.

Eugénie, generally so self-restrained, was visibly affected and intimidated. She was about to reply, when Mme. Smithson suddenly made her appearance. It looked as if she kept watch over her daughter. When she saw her talking with Louis, she could not conceal her annoyance. Saluting him in a freezing, insolent manner, she said: "Eugénie, what are you doing here? Your cousin is hunting everywhere for you to go to town with him!"

"There is no hurry," replied Eugénie, resuming her habitual coolness and dignity. She went away, taking leave of Louis with a visible air of decided sympathy.

This brief interview was sufficient to render Louis' hopes legitimate. I agreed with him that Eugénie[Pg 74] would have behaved very differently if she regarded him with antipathy, or even with indifference.

"There is no doubt she knows all that has taken place," said I to my friend. "If there is any plot against you, she cannot fail to be aware of it, or, at least, suspect it. Under such circumstances, the very fact of her showing you unmistakable sympathy is a sufficient proof that she loves you."

At this time, an occurrence took place that had an unfortunate effect on me, and created new difficulties in Louis' path. It was then in the latter part of the month of September. The summer had been rainy and unpleasant. The rains increased in September, and soon caused an alarming rise in all the rivers. I was then at the end of my stay in the little village of St. M——, where I lived unknown to the Smithsons. Faithful to my request, Louis had told no one of my temporary residence in the vicinity.

Excuse me for giving you here some topographical details, perhaps somewhat difficult to comprehend, but necessary for you to know in order to understand what follows.

St. M—— is situated in a charming valley. In ordinary weather, the current of the Loire is below the level of the valley through which it winds with a majestic sweep. When a rise occurs, the plain would at once be inundated were it not protected by a dike which the water cannot cross. This dike did not extend to Mr. Smithson's manufactory, though but a short distance from St. M——. When, therefore, the river got very high, the mill ran the risk of being inundated. The dwelling-house alone was out of danger, being on an eminence beyond the reach of the waters of the Loire, even when it joined, swelled by the junction, the small stream that drove Mr. Smithson's machinery.

Having given you some idea of that region, I will now resume my story. One evening, then, towards the end of my stay at St. M——, Louis told me the Loire was rising fast. He assured me, however, before leaving, that there was no danger. "No matter how strong or high the current," he said, "the dike secures you from all danger. It is as firm as a rock."

My friend was mistaken. The bank had certain weak places which the water had undermined without any one's being aware of it.

Towards eleven o'clock, there was a tremendous noise in every direction. People were screaming and rushing around the house: the dike had given way! The water had reached the ground floor. My mother, my sister, and myself were lodged on the first story. The proprietor, beside himself, and frightened enough to alarm every one else, came up to tell us we must make haste to escape; his house was not solid; we were in danger of being carried away.

"The water is only rising slowly," he said. "By wading two or three hundred yards, we can reach the causeway. There we shall be safe; for the ground is firm, and the causeway extends to St. Denis. The inundation cannot reach that place, for it is built on a height."

I did not lose my presence of mind in the midst of the alarm. Victor's death had destroyed all attachment to life. If my mother and sister had not been in danger as well as myself, I should have remained where I was, trusting in God, not believing I was under any moral obligation to escape from a house which might withstand more than was supposed; as it did, in fact.[Pg 75] But my mother and sister lost all reason, so to speak. Wild with terror, they fled, and I followed them. When we got down to the ground floor, we found the water had risen to the height of about six inches. There was a mournful sound in every direction which made us tremble. We sprang towards the causeway. I was at that time in delicate health. I had been suddenly roused from sleep. The distance I had to wade through the cold water had a fearful effect on me. When we reached the causeway, they had to carry me to St. Denis: I was incapable of walking.

While we were thus flying from danger, Louis committed a series of generous but imprudent acts which became a source of fresh difficulties to him. He was sitting alone in his chamber, when, about half-past ten, he heard a dull crash like a discharge of artillery at a distance. He hastily ran down into the court, entered the porter's lodge, and inquired where the noise came from that had alarmed him.

"I do not know, monsieur," replied the man, "but I have an idea that the levée has given way. At a great inundation twenty years ago, the Loire made a large hole in the dike, which caused a similar noise. I know something about it, for I was then living near...."

This was enough to alarm Louis, and just then a man passed with a torch in his hand, crying breathlessly: "The dike has given way at St. M——! Help! Quick! The village will be inundated!"

These words redoubled Louis' terror. St. M—— would be inundated; perhaps it was already.... I was there ill, and knew no one!

"Is there any danger of the water's reaching us?" asked Louis of the porter.

"The mill? Yes, ... but not Mr. Smithson's: that is impossible. The house stands twenty feet above the river."

Eugénie and her parents, then, had nothing to fear. I alone was in danger—in so great a danger that there was not a moment to be lost.

"Go and tell Mr. Smithson all that has happened," said Louis. "I am going away. I am obliged to. I shall be back in half an hour, or as soon as I can."

Of all the sacrifices Louis ever made, this was the most heroic. In fact, had he remained at his post, he might have saved the machinery, that was quite a loss to Mr. Smithson. Instead of that, he hurried off without any thought of the construction his enemies might put on his departure. To complete the unfortunate complication, Mr. Smithson had an attack of the gout that very day. When I afterwards alluded to his imprudence in thus risking his dearest interests, as well as life itself, Louis replied: "I knew Eugénie had nothing to fear; whereas, you were in danger. I had promised Victor on his death-bed to watch over you as he would himself. It was my duty to do as I did. If it were to do over again, I should do the same. Did Victor hesitate when he sprang into the water to save me? And he did not know who I was."

The house I had just left was about half a league from the mill. The water was beginning to reach the highway, though slowly. Louis kept on, regardless of all danger, and arrived at our house in feverish anxiety. I had been gone about fifteen minutes, and the water was much higher than when we left. Louis learned from a man who remained in a neighboring house that I was safe: we had all escaped by the causeway before there was any danger. He added that I must be[Pg 76] at St. Denis by that time. Louis, reassured as to my fate, succeeded in reaching another road, more elevated, but not so direct to the mill. This road passed just above the Vinceneau house. When Louis arrived opposite the house, he saw the water had reached it. He heard screams mingled with oaths that came from the father, angry with his wife and daughter. Having returned home a few moments before, the drunken man was resisting the efforts of both women to induce him to escape. Louis appeared as if sent by Providence. He at once comprehended the state of affairs. His look overawed the drunken man, who left the house. They all four proceeded toward the mill. There was no nearer place of refuge. The first people they saw at their arrival were Durand, Albert, and some workmen. An insolent smile passed over Albert's face. He evidently suspected Louis of having abandoned everything for the purpose of saving Madeleine Vinceneau. But he did not dare say anything. Louis intimidated him much more than he could have wished. He resolved, however, to make a good use of what he had seen. Louis at once felt how unfortunate this combination of circumstances was, but the imminent danger they were in forced him to exertion. It was feared the walls of the manufactory might give way under the action of the water, if it got much higher, and it was gradually rising.

Louis set to work without any delay. The workmen, who had hastened from every part of the neighborhood to take refuge at Mr. Smithson's, began under his direction to remove the machinery that was still accessible. They afterwards propped up the walls, and, when these various arrangements were completed, Louis, who had taken charge of everything, occupied himself in providing temporary lodgings for the people driven out by the inundation.

Mme. Smithson and her daughter had come down to render assistance. The refugees were lodged in various buildings on a level with the house. Louis would have given everything he possessed for the opportunity of exchanging a few words with Eugénie at once, in order to forestall the odious suspicions Albert would be sure to excite in her mind. But he was obliged to relinquish the hope. Mme. Smithson and Albert followed her like a shadow. Louis could not approach her without finding one or the other at her side. Overcome by so fatiguing a night, he went towards morning to take a little repose. He felt sure fresh mortifications awaited him in consequence of what had just taken place, and he was right.

When he awoke after a few hours' sleep, his first care was to go and see Mr. Smithson. He related what he had done, without concealing the fact of his abandoning the mill to go to my assistance. Mr. Smithson was suffering severely from the gout. He was impatient at such a time to be on his feet, and was chafing with vexation.

"I cannot blame you, monsieur," he said. "The life of a friend is of more consequence than anything else. Whatever be the material loss I may have to endure at this time in consequence of your absence, I forbear complaining. But it was unfortunate things should happen so. If I had only been able to move!... But no.... You will acknowledge, monsieur, that I am the victim of misfortune.... Did you succeed, after all, in saving the person whose fate interested you more than anything else?..."

[Pg 77]

"She had made her escape before my arrival. I hurried back, but, on the way, a new incident occurred. An unfortunate family was on the point of perishing. I brought them with me, as there was no nearer asylum."

"Are these people employed at the mill?"

"The woman works here; her husband elsewhere."

"What is their name?"


"I think I have heard of them. The father is a drunkard; the mother is an indolent woman."

"You may have learned these facts from Mlle. Eugénie, who takes an interest in the family, I believe. I recommended them to her."

"Was that proper?... I have every reason to think otherwise.... But it is done. We will say no more about it. And since I am so inopportunely confined to my bed, I must beg you to continue to take charge in my place, watch over the safety of the inundated buildings, provide for the wants of the people who have taken refuge here, and, above all, have everything done in order."

Louis was uneasy and far from being satisfied. There was a certain stiffness and ill-humor in Mr. Smithson's manner that made him think Albert had reported his return to the mill with the Vinceneau family. He attempted an explanation on this delicate subject.

"Mon Dieu! you seem very anxious about such a trifling affair," said Mr. Smithson. "It appears to me there is something of much more importance to be thought of now.... It is high time to try to remedy the harm done last night...."

Louis felt that, willing or not, he must await a more propitious time. He went away more depressed than ever.

The whole country around was inundated. I was obliged to send a boat for news concerning my young friend, and give him information about myself. The unfortunate people who had taken refuge at Mr. Smithson's were at once housed and made as comfortable as possible. It happened that Durand and some others were put in the same building with the Vinceneau family. Nothing occurred the first day worth relating. Louis watched in vain for an opportunity of seeing and speaking to Eugénie. He only saw her at a distance. The next morning—O unhoped-for happiness!—he met her on her way to one of the houses occupied by the refugees. She looked at him so coldly that he turned pale and his limbs almost gave way beneath him. But Eugénie was not timid. She had sought this interview, and was determined to attain her object.

"Whom have you put in that house?" she asked, pointing to the one assigned to the Vinceneaus, which was not two steps from the small building occupied by Louis himself.

"The Vinceneau family and some others," replied Louis.

At that name, Eugénie's lips contracted. An expression of displeasure and contempt passed across her face. Then, looking at Louis with a dignity that only rendered her the more beautiful, she said: "Then you still have charge of them? I thought you gave them up to me."

"I have had nothing to do with them till within two days, mademoiselle. It was enough to know you took an interest in their condition." He then briefly related all that had taken place the night of the inundation, and ended by speaking of the letter I had written to relieve his anxiety. He finished by presenting the letter to Eugénie, under the pre[Pg 78]text of showing her the reproaches I addressed him. I wrote him that, before troubling himself about me, he ought to have been sure he was not needed at Mr. Smithson's.

Eugénie at first declined reading the letter. Then she took it with a pleasure she endeavored to conceal. Before reading it, she said:

"Why did you not tell me your friend was at St. M——?"

"I have been greatly preoccupied for some time, and I seldom see you, mademoiselle. It was in a manner impossible to tell you that my poor friend had come here to be quiet and gain new strength in solitude."

"I should have been pleased to see her." So saying, Eugénie, without appearing to attach any importance to it, read my letter from beginning to end.

Thus all Albert and Mme. Smithson's calculations were defeated. There is no need of my telling you the inference Louis' enemies had drawn from the interest he had manifested in the Vinceneau family.

"He left everything to save them, or rather, to save that girl," said Mme. Smithson. "He would have let us all perish rather than not save her."

My being at St. M——, and my letter, threw a very different light on everything. Thenceforth, Louis, dismissed by her father, and calumniated by her mother and Albert, was, in Eugénie's eyes, a victim. And he had risked his own life to save that of his friend. It is said that noble hearts, especially those of women, regard the rôle of victim as an attractive one.

When Eugénie left Louis, there was in the expression of her eyes, and in the tone of her voice, something so friendly and compassionate that he felt happier than he had for a long time.... To obtain this interview, Eugénie had been obliged to evade not only her mother's active vigilance, but that of her cousin and Fanny. This vigilance, suspended for a moment, became more active than ever during the following days. It was impossible to speak to Louis; but she saw him sometimes, and their eyes spoke intelligibly....

The water receded in the course of a week. Louis profited thereby to come and see me, and make me a sharer in his joy. I was then somewhat better. I passed the night of the inundation in fearful suffering, but felt relieved the following day. My dreadful attack of paralysis did not occur till some weeks afterwards. I little thought then I had symptoms of the seizure that has rendered my life so painful.

The refugees were still living at the manufactory, the Vinceneau family among them. Louis had scarcely returned to his room that night, when he heard a low knock at his door, and Madeleine Vinceneau presented herself before him.


[Pg 79]




For several weeks past, we have heard much of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte.[17] Nothing less than his mournful physical death, on the 9th of January, 1873, was needed to draw him from the oblivion to which Italian liberals consigned him after his political death of September 2, 1870. It would seem that from the imperial grave opened at Chiselhurst went forth a bitter reproach against the unexampled ingratitude of those who saw the tombstone of Sedan close over his empire with mute impassibility and secret joy. Now to the cowardly silence of two years succeeds an uproar of elegies and praises. Remorse for having left the conqueror of Solferino in the mire of the Meuse is lulled to sleep by the wailing of hired mourners; as if the shame of basely forsaking him could be masked behind a block of unblushing marble.

No man was ever more fatal to himself than Napoleon III. All which was his by usurpation or right turned against him in the end. His worst humiliations were the work of his own hands. He destroyed himself, and the words of the Christian Demosthenes were truer of him than of others: Nemo nisi a se ipso læditur.

Now, by a final mockery of fortune, he is punished after death by having bier and tomb dishonored with the apotheosis of the Italian party who laud to the skies the weapon that worked his ruin—the ruling idea of his reign.

This idea, which necessarily failed because it was impracticable, and in its failure reduced him to nothing, is his sole title to compassion or glory in the opinion of this faction. But as the cruel irony contains a historical lesson, useful for the present and the future, we will study it by the light of facts, incontestable except to the blind.


Such were the contradictions, perplexities, and duplicity of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte upon the throne, that he was often believed to be a prince reigning at hap-hazard. Indeed, it is said, now that he has left the earth, that the history of his incomprehensible reign will be the most difficult work ever undertaken. This seems to us a mistake, if a distinction be made between the man and the prince, his life and his reign. The man and his life will always seem inextricable, for he used all means that suited his convenience, and in their choice gave preference to no moral rule or principle of honesty; following openly or hiddenly the mutable interest of each day. But the prince and his reign, in spite of apparent contradictions, are easily understood by the simple study of the political end which he invariably proposed to himself.

This end is not hidden. His youthful writings, and the series of his imperial documents, read by the light of the actions of his administration, make it plain. He aimed at reestablishing and consolidating in his dynasty the power of the First Empire, and at the elevation of France to the headship of Europe, reorgan[Pg 80]ized in its territorial divisions according to the law of nationality, and in its institutions in accordance with the forms of Cæsarean democracy.

An author who has read his books, and confronted them with the achievements of his reign, thus sums up the new Napoleonic idea constantly pursued by Louis in his youth, middle life, and old age, in exile, in prison, and on the throne:

"Peoples distributed according to their needs and instincts, belonging each to a self-elected country, provided each with a constitution fixed yet democratic; devoted at their choice to works of civil industry destined to transform the world; Europe, free in her various nations, consolidated almost into a federated republic, with France as its centre; France aggrandized and forming the clasp in the strong chain of free intercourse; universal exhibitions to encourage nations in the exchange of reciprocal visits; European congresses, where governments, laying aside arms, could compose their differences; Paris, the imperial city par excellence, wonderfully embellished, raised to the honors of capital of the world, metropolis of wealth and wisdom, under the wing of the Napoleonic eagle, offering to the two hemispheres the rarest discoveries in science, masterpieces of art, exquisite refinements of luxury and civilization."[18]

Divisum imperium cum Jove Cæsar habet!

Such was the intoxicating dream of the life and reign of Napoleon III., the idea which he believed himself created to carry out—a combination of the designs of Henry IV. and the aspirations of Augustus, mounted on the frail pedestal of the principles of 1789.

In fact, proceeds our author, "Within and without the confines of the Empire, this idea was reduced to two words: reconstruction and reconciliation, based upon the principles of the French Revolution. Here was to be the general synthesis of all external and internal politics in France and Europe: Reconstruction of nations founded on national will within and without; effected by a single instrument—universal suffrage—applied to the determination of the nationality as well as of the sovereign and the government; reconciliation of nations among themselves, and of the divers classes composing them, thanks to an equal satisfaction of the rights and interests of all."[19]

That nothing might be wanting to the enchantment of his fair dream, the young prisoner of Ham contemplated a double mission of giving peace and glory to France. "War was to consolidate peace, imperial battles were to give repose to the world. Thus the famous device, The Empire and Peace, came to bear a sublime significance."[20]

In short, the Napoleonic idea had for its ultimate aim the aggrandizement and European omnipotence of France under the dynasty of the Bonapartes, through the universal means of popular suffrage with plébiscites, forming a basis of a new national and international right, opposed to the old historical right of peoples. The other three principles of territorial compensation, non-intervention and accomplished facts, were special means and passing aids to be used according to opportunity for carrying out intentions.


Louis Napoleon received his political education from his uncle exiled [Pg 81]in the Island of St. Helena, and from the Carbonari, among whom Ciro Menotti enrolled him in Tuscany, in the year 1831.[21] In these two schools he acquired the fundamental idea of reconstructing European countries according to nationality. But he did not see that, in the hands of Napoleon I. and of the Carbonari, this idea was a strong weapon of destruction, not a practical or powerful argument for reconstruction. Bonaparte, gaoler of European potentates, and the Carbonari, persecuted by them, wished to use it to destroy the order of things established by the Holy Alliance in the treaty of Vienna of 1815, upon the right, more or less defined, of legitimacy. On the pretext of restoring political nationality to peoples, the first Napoleon bequeathed to his heirs the command to excite Italy and Hungary against Austria; Poland against Russia and Prussia; Greece and the Christian principalities against Turkey; Ireland, Malta, and the Ionian Isles against England; hoping that the changes originating in this movement, and the gratitude of these nations, would make easy to his heirs the extension of French boundaries and the recovery of the imperial crown.

The Carbonari worked with the same pretext to overthrow princes and substitute themselves, with a view of introducing into states their anti-Christian and anti-social systems.

The so-called principle of nationality resolved itself, then, with Napoleon I. and the Carbonari, into a pure engine of war—into a battery which, after destroying the bulwarks of the opposite principle of legitimacy, should give into their hands nations and kingdoms. That Louis Napoleon, in prison, a fugitive, a conspirator, should support himself with this flattering principle, and dexterously dazzle with it the eyes of those who could help him to recover the sceptre of France, can be easily understood; but that, after obtaining this sceptre by a network of circumstances wholly foreign to the principle of nationality, he should adopt that principle as the final aim of his empire and the corner-stone of his own greatness and of French power—this, in truth, is hard to understand.

But that it was the case is only too clear. He spent the twenty years of his dominion over France in coloring the design which he had puzzled out twenty years before, dreaming over the memories of St. Helena, and plotting in the collieries of the Carbonari.


To a sagacious mind which had well weighed the true worth of the Napoleonic idea, even before the new emperor attempted its fulfilment, terrible dangers and obstacles must have presented themselves.

After a succession of wars and successful conspiracies had led nations to an independent reconstruction within natural frontiers, what increase of territory could have accrued to France?

Suppose Italy, Poland, Hungary, and Iberia adjusted on this principle, would their power have remained so equalized as to leave France secure of preponderance?

If Germany had been so reconstructed, to the certain advantage of Prussia, was there not a risk of exposing France to a shock which might have proved fatal?

According to the theory of natural limits, the aggrandizement which France could have demanded in compensation for protection and successful warfare would have been[Pg 82] reduced to some additions towards the Alps, the Pyrenees, and in Flanders; to a few thousand square kilometres, and perhaps three or four millions of inhabitants. Towards the Rhine, we cannot see what the Empire could have claimed without contradicting the theory itself. Germany has maintained that Alsace and half of Lorraine, incorporated with French soil, are German, and has forced them to a legal annexation to her territory. Now, were these slender acquisitions, so disproportioned to the acquisitions of neighboring countries, worth the cost of turning Europe upside down, and subjecting France to a chance of political and military ruin?

Louis Napoleon rejoiced in the thought of one day resuscitating the fair name of Italy, extinguished for many years, and restoring it to provinces so long deprived of it. This sounds well; but was this resurrection to end in a united kingdom, or in the simple emancipation from foreign rule? And granted that unity could not be prevented, and that it should prove equal to the imaginary union of Spain and Portugal, was it really advantageous to create alongside of France, from a platonic love of nationality, two new states of twenty-five millions of souls each, capable of supplanting her later in the Mediterranean.[22] And if Prussia, taking advantage of the loss of Italy and Hungary to her rival Austria, had united in a single political and military body the scattered members of Germany, would it have been useful and hopeful for France to feel herself pressed on the other side by a kingdom or empire of fifty millions of inhabitants, a military race of the first order?

Moreover, what would have become of the Roman Pontiff in this renovation of countries, governments, and juridical laws. The Pope is a great moral power, the greatest in the world. If his independence were to give way before the principle of nationality, what would become of his religious liberty, so necessary to the public quiet of consciences. Could a pope, subject to an Italy constructed in any way soever, increase the light, peace, and tranquillity of France and the rest of Europe? Would the palace of the Vatican, changed into a prison, have accorded with the imagined splendors of the Tuileries?

Finally, a new international and national right, which should have sanctioned, in accordance with popular suffrage, the obligation of non-intervention and accomplished facts, far from reconciling nations and various classes of citizens among themselves by superseding the inalienable right of nature, would have become a firebrand of civil discord, an incentive to foreign wars, and a germ of revolutions which would have plunged Europe into the horrors of socialism.

An eagle eye was not needed to see and foresee these weighty dangers. However affairs might have turned, even if they had succeeded according to every wish, it is indubitable that the ship of Napoleonic politics, following in its navigation the star of this idea, must eventually have struck on three rocks, each one hard enough to send ship and pilot to the bottom: the Papacy, Germany, and Revolution. The Papacy, oppressed by the Italy of the Carbonari, would have taken from France her greatest moral force. Germany, in one way or another, strongly united in her armies, would have tried, as in 1813, to overwhelm the Empire. Revolution, kindled and fed from without, would have[Pg 83] gathered strength in France to the ruin of the Empire.

These rocks were not only visible, but palpable to touch. Napoleon III. saw them, felt them, and used all the licit and illicit arts of his administration to avoid them. In vain; it was impossible. He should not have followed the guidance of his enchantress, his idea; following it, perdition was inevitable.


Perhaps history offers no other example of a man who has grasped the sceptre under conditions so propitious for good and so opposed to evil as those under which Louis Napoleon Bonaparte began his reign; or of one who has so pertinaciously abused his advantages to his own ruin and that of others.

The vote of the better and larger portion of the French nation had raised him to the throne, that he might save them from the hydra of socialism, and stop the course of political changes in France. Europe, just recovering from terrible agitations, welcomed his elevation as a pledge of order and peace. Catholics of every country rejoiced over it almost as the reward of the uncontested restoration in Rome of the principality of S. Peter. Interest and conscience seemed to unite in inducing him to take the triumphal road of justice which must lead to certain glory.

But cum in honore esset non intellexit.[23] He seemed to wish to take this path. But, in fact, he showed that he was preparing to follow another by the ephemeral light of that idea which he worshipped on the imperial throne with the same devotion which he had professed in prison and in exile.

The Crimean war, to a participation in which he invited little Piedmont, predestined by him to enjoy the benefits of Italian resurrection, helped him to cut the knot of the Holy Alliance, to humble Russia and set her at enmity with Austria, to create by a plébiscite the first of his national unities—that of the Roumanian Principalities—and to introduce at the Congress of Paris that subalpine diplomacy which, endorsed by him, sowed the seeds of the contemplated Italian war.

Meanwhile, the daggers and bombs of the Pianori, Tibaldi, and Orsini came to remind him that, before being Emperor of the French, he had been an Italian Carbonaro, and that he was expected to keep his oaths. It is said that, after the explosion of Orsini's bombshell, a friend of the assassin, to whom Napoleon complained confidentially of this party persecution, replied: "You have forgotten that you are an Italian."

"What shall I do?" asked his majesty.

"Serve your country."

"Very good. But I am Emperor of the French, a nation hard to govern. Can I sacrifice the interests of my people to accommodate those of Italy?"

"No one will prevent you from studying the interests of France when you have promulgated the independence and secured the unity of your country. Italy first of all."[24]

But he had less need of spurring than was supposed.

After the secret negotiations of Plombières, he attacked Austria in the plains of Lombardy, and, having subdued her, he inaugurated the resurrection of Italy according to his idea, which, presiding over the work, showed itself unveiled, with all the[Pg 84] magnificence of territorial compensation, universal suffrage, non-intervention, and accomplished facts, as we all know.


But the Napoleonic ship got lost irreparably among the three rocks above named. Between the Mincio and the Adige it met Germany in threatening guise; in Rome, the betrayed pontiff rose up; and in Paris revolution lifted her savage head. For eleven years Bonaparte struggled to save the ship from the straits into which his Italian enterprise had driven it; but the more earnest his efforts, the worse became the entanglement, until the tempest of 1870 split the vessel in the midst with awful shipwreck.

His crimes towards the Pope, the ignoble artifice of insults couched in reverential terms, of perfidy, lies, and hypocrisy, alienated from him not only Catholics, but all those who honored human loyalty and natural probity. The so-called Roman question, a compendium of the whole Italian question, ruined the credit of Napoleon III., unmasked him, and made him appear as inexorable history will show him to posterity—a monster of immorality, to use the apt expression of one of his former sycophants.[25]

Prussia, after checking him at the Mincio in 1859, cut short in his hands the thread of the web woven in 1863 to regenerate Poland on the plan of Italy. God did not permit a good and noble cause like that of Poland to be contaminated by the influence of the Napoleonic idea; and this seems to us an indication that he reserves to her a restoration worthy of herself and of her faith. Prussia also held him at bay during the Danish war, into which he threw himself with closed eyes, in the mad hope of conquering Mexico, and making it an empire after his own idea. This whim cost France a lake of [Pg 85]blood, many millions of francs, and an indelible stain; it cost the unfortunate Maximilian of Austria his life, and his gifted wife her reason. Prussia solemnly mocked at him in the other war of 1866, when, leagued with Italy by his consent, she attacked the Austrian Empire.

It was the beginning of that political and military unity of Germany which was destined to make him pay dear for the work of unity accomplished beyond the Alps by so many crimes.[26]

Lastly, Prussia, choosing the occasion of the vacancy of the Spanish throne, and seconded by him in the promotion of an Iberian unity like that of Italy, and prepared by a subalpine marriage, drew him into the toils where he left his crown and his honor.

Step by step with the barriers opposed by Prussia to the foolish policy of Napoleon III. in Europe went the anxieties caused in the empire by revolution. Losing gradually the support of the honest Catholic plurality of the French, he thought to reinforce himself by flattering his enemy, demagogism, and by unchaining gradually passions irreligious, anarchical, destructive to civilization. Taking all restraint from the press, he removed every bar to theatrical license, gave unchecked liberty to villany, free course to nefarious impiety and a Babylonish libertinism, and finished by opening the doors to public schools of socialism. But as outside France his duplicity and cowardly frauds had drawn upon him the hatred and contempt of accomplices and beneficiaries, so at home they excited discontent and distrust among all parties.

On the 2d and 4th of September, 1870, he reaped at Sedan and in Paris the crop sowed by him in 1859. Germany broke his sword, and the Revolution his sceptre. The Napoleonic idea touched the apex of its triumphs.


The old Prince Theodore of Metternich, after 1849, predicted of Louis Bonaparte, then only President of the French Republic, that he would restore the Empire, and ruin himself as revolutionary emperor in Italy. Donoso Cortès, Marquis of Valdegamas, predicted a little later that Bonaparte, after becoming emperor, would work very hard, but the fruits of his labors would be enjoyed by another; by whom he could not say. Both these shrewd statesmen knew Louis Napoleon, the secret chains which bound him to his party, and the idea which clouded his mind, and both hit the mark; for Napoleon III. made every effort throughout his reign to play the revolutionary emperor in Italy; and, with all his refined policy, he worked for no one but the King of Prussia. Thanks to this policy, William enjoys the vassalage of the only two national unities created by the Napoleonic[Pg 86] idea: the Roumanian, whose head is a Prussian prince, and the Italian, whose kingdom has become a Prussian regiment of hussars. He enjoys the German Empire reared on the ruins of that of France; and, moreover, he enjoys European supremacy, taken from France with the keys of Paris, and five milliards poured by her into the Prussian treasury, to pay expenses. In his own good time we shall see for whom Bismarck has made and still makes the King of Prussia work.

Such are the weighty consequences of that idea whose execution Bonaparte believed was to make the world over again, and raise his race and France to the summit of power—a political calamity, military ruin, and a dynastic downfall the most terrible which history has to record.

In conclusion, the dogma of nationality for which French liberalism played the fool with Napoleon has caused the loss to France of two provinces as opulent as those which Bonaparte took from Italy in homage to the same dogma. The principle of non-intervention, so carefully guarded by Bonaparte at the cost of the Roman Pontiff, and so loudly applauded by French liberalism, has borne fruit to France in her hour of sorest need, in the desertion of all those states, and especially of Italy, who owed their existence to French blood, and gold, and honor.

The new right of 1789, perfected by Napoleonic Carbonarism, of which Bonaparte, with the approval of French liberalism, made himself the apostle in Europe to the disturbance of the best-ordered countries, has sprung up for France in the joys of Sept. 4, 1870, in the delights of the Commune of 1871, and in the comfort of her present peace and security.

Thus has Bonaparte's idea crushed him and reduced him to nothing. The unhappy man has had not only the anguish of suffering historical dishonor while yet alive, but also that sharpest pang of seeing all the most celebrated works of his reign destroyed. The destruction, military, moral, political, and in part material, of France, which he hoped to raise to the summit of greatness; the destruction of the palaces of Saint Cloud and the Tuileries, embellished by him with Asiatic magnificence; the destruction of popular votes, those wings which bore him from exile to the throne; of the treaty of Paris, that crowned his Crimean victories; of the glory of the French name in Mexico with the empire founded by him; of the treaty of Prague, for which he well-nigh sweated blood in opposing the union of Germany under Prussia: in short, all his enterprises have resulted in smoke. Only one remains—the subalpine kingdom of Italy, for whose formation and support the wretched man staked crown and honor. But before closing his eyes for ever, he tasted the sweetness of his last treachery in seeing that kingdom pass from his bondage to that of the conqueror of France. If God still allows it to his soul, he may now see his beloved Italy, with a Prussian helmet on her head, bend over his tomb, and shed two crocodile's tears—the only kind of tears which he deserved. Let us see what the Napoleonic idea has lavished upon her blind idolater—the defeat at Sedan, the burning of Paris, the lonely tomb at Chiselhurst. It was an idea conceived without God and his Christ, and against them, and therefore unable to bring forth anything but ruin and death. And certain ruin and death it will bring on him who shall hope to live and grow great under its influence.


[17] This was written soon after the death of Louis Napoleon.

[18] "La politique du second empire, essai d'histoire contemporaine, d'après les documents, par M. Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu"—Revue des Deux Mondes, April 1, 1872, pp. 552-53.

[19] Revue des Deux Mondes, p. 554.

[20] Ibid. p. 552.

[21] La Reine Hortense en Italie, en France, en Angleterre, pendant l'année 1831; fragments extraits de ses mémoires inédits, écrits par elle même, pp. 55-56. Paris, 1834.

[22] Idées Napoléoniennes, p. 143.

[23] Psalm xlviii. 21.

[24] Univers, Jan. 21, 1873.

[25] He was in science a phenomenon, in history an adventurer, in morality a monster (Le Siècle, Jan. 12, 1873). Amid the labyrinth of contradictions in which Bonaparte enveloped his thoughts concerning the political condition in which he meant to place the Roman Pontiff, it is impossible to decide what was his true conception, or whether he had formed any fixed and definite plan. In 1859, when he dreamed of three kingdoms in Italy, one subalpine, a second for his cousin Jerome, and a third for his cousin Murat, Napoleon III. traced upon the map of the Peninsula with his own hand a small circlet enclosing the new Pontifical state, including Rome, and five provinces. At the end of that year, the dream vanished through the opposition of Lord Palmerston in the famous opuscule, The Pope and the Congress, where he showed a wish to restrict the dominion of the Holy Father to Rome, converted into something like a Hanseatic city. In Sept., 1863, according to the revelations of Marquis Carlo Alfieri (L'Italia Liberale, p. 83), who declares himself well informed, Bonaparte consented to the "gradual withdrawal of French troops from Rome, so arranged that, on the departure of the last French battalion, the territorial dominion of the Pontiff should be reduced to the city of Rome, the suburban campagna, and the road and port of Cività Vecchia." So the Pope would have remained king of a city, a road, and a port. In 1867, when the nation obliged Bonaparte to go to the aid of the Pontiff, assailed by the irregolari of Italy, he wished the state to remain as it was left after the dismemberment of 1860, and commanded the Italian regulars to withdraw from Viterbo and Frosinone, which they did with military punctuality. In that year, and during the perplexities (says l'Armonia of Jan. 12, 1873), there came to visit him in Paris an illustrious Italian who enjoyed his confidence, and had been decorated by his imperial hand with the cross of the Legion of Honor. This gentleman, engrossed with the position of the Pope, was lamenting it with Napoleon III., and remarked that, unless reparation were made, the Revolution would enter Rome. The ex-emperor replied: "So long as Pius IX. lives, I shall never permit it. After the death of Pius IX., I will adjust the affairs of the church." If we question whether after his dethronement the unhappy man approved the accomplished fact of Sept. 20, 1870, l'Opinione of Jan. 18, 1873, removes all doubt. It tells us that an individual (generally supposed to be Count Arese, a great friend of his), visited him at Chiselhurst, and, when the conversation turned to Rome, where the Italian government was established, Napoleon III. said with entire frankness that he had personal engagements with the Pope, to which as emperor he could never have proved faithless; but that, since his dethronement, Italian politics had passed beyond his action. And he added: "This was to be foreseen as being in the order of facts, and it is not an occasion for turning back." From which we may infer that he wished the temporal power of the popes to cease with Pius IX., without caring to substitute for their necessary liberty any other guarantee than that of chance. This will be enough to convince posterity that Napoleon III. was not a statesman of the first order.

[26] A partisan or well-wisher has tried to represent Napoleon as an edifying Catholic. The Univers of January 25, 1873, has a curious panegyric, in which it is affirmed that he loved our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Gospels, our Lord has taught us a rule for judging those who love him and do not love him: By their fruits you shall know them (Matt. vii. 16). Now, the long and crafty war of Bonaparte against Christ in his vicar, and the unbridled license given to Renan and to irreligious papers to blaspheme at will the divine majesty of Jesus Christ, while he severely punished those who offended his own imperial majesty, give the true measure of his love for Jesus Christ. By the argument of facts constant, public, and notorious, Napoleon III. is judged. He has been for the church and for Christian society a great scourge of God, one of the worst precursors of Antichrist. We shall believe in his pretended conversion when we have seen a single action which shall disclaim and make amends for the immense scandal of his Julianic persecution of Catholicity. His repentance at the hour of death, of which we have no solid proof, we leave to the infinite mercy of God, who certainly could inspire him with it. But it is not out of place to remember the words of S. Augustine about similar conversions: Of certain examples we have but one—the good thief on Calvary. Unus est ne desperes, but solus est ne præsumas.

[Pg 87]


I had been spending the winter with a friend in poor health in the South of France. I will not name the place, but it was one of the loveliest spots on the northern Mediterranean coast. Perhaps I shall have something to tell of it at another time.

After prolonging our stay till we began to feel that a change would be beneficial, we travelled on along the glorious old Cornice road into Italy, and sat ourselves down among the palms and olives of a region that, on account of its eastern vegetation and general likeness to the Holy Land, is often called "the Jericho of the Riviera."[27] For, in truth, when the traveller climbs the steep slopes and staircases of that old town, pierced by narrow, winding troughs of streets, tied together, as it were, by old crumbling bridges and arches, built as a protection against continual earthquakes; and after groping through what is more like a labyrinth of subterranean caves than a town of civilized build, he gains the crest of the hill, and looks down from the sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin which is its crown, the actual Holy Land itself seems spread below his feet. There are the very outlines of Palestine: The stony slabs and tilted strata of crag and ridge; the aromatic shrubs; the wealth of sad olives, fruit-bearing to an extraordinary degree; the vast tanks, haunted by bright-green, persistently serenading frogs; the lizards darting in the hot glare; the flat-topped, low houses, and the women carrying jars of the identical Eastern forms on their heads. The very dark-skinned men and women themselves have the like sad, sweet, mournful Eastern eyes; for throughout the Riviera there is a large admixture of Arab blood, as many Arab words are crystallized in the strange, rough patois of the speech.

In this wild, bright, solemn country, I found and made the friend whose story I am going to tell; and, if it is disappointing at first to the expectant, I shall ask them to wait till they near the end.

We lived in a not very comfortable boarding-house outside the town, chosen on account of its position, and being quite removed from the noise of the sea, which those acquainted with the Mediterranean will thoroughly understand; for there is no noisier or more aggravating sea-shore than that which is poetically the tideless, waveless, sapphire-like mirror of the old Tyrrhenian. In this house I soon made out my friend—a white dog with black points, shaven to the shoulders, and of Spitz breed, as his tail, put on very high up, and twisted with a jaunty, self-asserting swirl over his back, denoted, but with an undoubted bar sinister in his shield—some English spaniel or terrier "drop," which, strange to say, gave him a power of persistence, a dauntless courage, and loving faithfulness, such as I never saw in any dog before; and yet I know about dogs and dog ways, too.

The first thing my friend did—his name was Cicarello, abbreviated to[Pg 88] Cico, and anglicized to Chick—was to lift himself up very high on his toes, erect every hair into a wire, and growl so as to show all his beautiful young white teeth at my approach and outstretched hand.

"Chick! how dare you, sir? Come along, be a good little dog, and let me scratch your back; you don't know how nice it is, dear!"

But the growling and defiant looks continued, as Chick lay down on his own chosen step of the stairs. I pushed him with my foot, and said emphatically:

"Chick! you're a nasty little dog!" At which candid opinion, Chick, sulkier and crosser than ever, settled himself to sleep.

It was not long, however, before Chick, like all other dogs, succumbed to the dog mesmerism of that hearty good-will and affection in which dogs are apt to trust with a much more generous confidence than men. He began by licking my hand, then came to my room for water, and at last was won from his disreputable habits of straying from one wine-shop to another about the town, into which he had fallen from not being made happy and comfortable at home. One day, he condescended to offer himself for a walk, and we went through sundry tortuous lanes to some olive-terraces above the town. Once there, the dog's unbounded delight was pretty to see. He rolled among the fresh grass and hop-clover, thickly sprinkled with lovely red gladioli; he careered in and out of the olive-trees, as if weaving some mystic, invisible witch-web; and then, rushing back to me, barking sharply in a high falsetto, he sprawled at full length on the ground, wagging his bushy plume over his back, and saying, in the clearest speech of his wonderful brown eyes, "I am not a nasty little dog now. Thank you for making me so happy!"

My friend, whom I had long loved with all my heart, was easily made happy. The one thing necessary to him was some sort of master whom he could love. With any such, his queer, sullen temper brightened, his thoroughly obstinate will grew docile, his eyes watched every motion and indication showing his master's wishes, and, if anything were given into his charge, no amount of tempting or frightening could win or scare him from his trust. His chiefest delight was running after a stone or cork, in which also his ways were special to himself. When the stone was found or dug up—that very stone and no other—Chick would stand with one paw placed upon it, looking down at it with crest and tippet erect, and exactly as if it were some sort of live game. If no notice were taken of his dumb appeal, he would snatch up the stone, and carry it on, but always with appealing looks to have it thrown again. On the olive-terraces, among the grass and wild flowers, where he always became intensely excited, he would run round the stone, growling, roll upon it in a kind of frenzy, and snap at every one who came near. When I gravely called or spoke to him, he would relinquish this Berserk mood, and, wagging his brush, lick my hand as if to beg pardon for such childishness, and return to the decent sobrieties of ordinary life. I need scarcely say that it was only because the over-excitement was bad for himself that he was ever controlled in his fancies and conceits; for dogs, even more than children, should be allowed to express their own character and make their own happiness, in unimportant things, in their own way.

Chick attached himself to me in[Pg 89] the most persistent way. He took walks with me, scratched at the room doors to be where I was, ran up and down stairs after me on every errand, used my room, like the dogs at home, as the "United Dogs' Service," and slept on a chair at the foot of my bed. Even when left at the church door during daily Mass, when I vainly thought him securely pent within gates and rails, the padded door would be shoved open, and Chick, with his ears and twisted tail

"Cocked fu' sprush,"

and his whole bearing that of "the right man in the right place," would scuttle over the stone pavement, scent me out, and ensconce himself beside my chair. At meals he took his seat beside me, in which he would rear himself up unbidden in the drollest way, lolling back with perfect ease, and gracefully holding one forepaw higher than the other, as if addressing the party. Sometimes he would even emphasize his remarks by bringing one paw down on the table, and, amid the shouts of laughter he occasioned, would look us steadily in the face, as if enjoying the joke as well as the rest. He learnt to sit up with a shawl round him, a napkin-ring on his nose, and one crowning his head; to hold biscuit on his nose untouched till bidden to eat, and even to stand quite upright in the corner, watching with the gravest intelligence till he was told to come out. In short, as I said before, if the one motive-power of love were found, Chick's genius seemed to know no limit.

But, meanwhile, the day was drawing near when the deep and most real grief must be suffered of leaving my friend. Our temporary rest was over, and our faces were bound to be turned towards home. Chick, also, took good note of the preparations for departure, and I read in his eyes that he guessed their import, and knew that our separation was drawing near. Never for an instant would he let me move out of his sight, except for Mass, when I locked him up in my room. His exceeding joy at my return was one of the most touching things I ever felt. When every other demonstration had been made, he would get up on his hind legs, and gently lick my face, not as a dog usually does, but just putting out his tongue, and touching my cheek. This special act always seemed to say, "Can you go away and leave me behind? Why not take me with you?"

The consciousness of this feeling wrought so strongly that the question was seriously mooted between my friend and me of buying Chick and carrying him with us to England. But there were great difficulties in the way. The expense was no small addition, besides the anxiety and added fatigue of another fresh thing to lead about and struggle for in stations and waiting-rooms, being, as we were, only a party of women, neither strong nor well, and already burdened with a superfluity of luggage and impedimenta. So the mournful decision was come to that it could not be. Our last walks were taken, our last gambols on the olive-terraces played out, and it seemed to me as if every hour Chick's eyes became more tenderly loving and more devotedly faithful. And soon I should be far out of reach and ken, while he must be left in the careless, indifferent, dog-ignorant hands to which he belonged. Doubtless the many well-read and cultivated people who are in the habit of reading this periodical have already set me down as a remarkably foolish person; but what will they say when I confess there were mo[Pg 90]ments when the very thought of leaving Chick without certain bed and board, water at will, and sympathy in his ways and love, made me weep real, scalding tears, and not a few?

Out of the very abundance of thoughts and pain some light appeared; and one fine day, when the heat was fierce, I put on my hat, Chick took up a stone, and we both made our way to a large villa in the neighborhood, occupied by a family from Wales, whose acquaintance we had happily made: what sort of people they were the story of my friend will show, at least to those, in my eyes, the truest aristocracy of the world—the people who have an inbred love of dogs! On this visit, I remarked that Chick, instead of walking on his toes and wiring his hair as he usually did with strangers, accepted the whole party as friends, and showed off all his stock of accomplishments with as much docility as if we had been at home by ourselves. On the other side, Mr. and Mrs. Griffith—as I shall call them—thoroughly appreciated the dog, and, seeing this, I made my proposition—an unblushing one, considering that they had already rescued two other dogs from ill usage—that they should also possess themselves of Chick. Having once broken the ice, I launched into a moving description of his wretched plight, and greater misery when we should have gone, as well as the reward they would reap from Chick's delightful ways. They laughingly took it all in good part, and said, if they had not already an Italian Spitz which they had sent home, and a dancing dog just brought on their hands, they might have thought of Chick. I took poor Chickie home, therefore, with a heavy heart, though I did not yet give up all hope; and, because I did not, I put him under S. Anthony's care, and asked him to suggest to these dear people to buy Chick and give him a happy home.

The eve of our departure was a few days after this, and, when Chick followed me up-stairs to bed as usual, I took him in my arms, and told him I was going away; that nothing on earth should ever have made me leave him but the being obliged to do so; that I had put him under S. Anthony's care, who I was sure would find him a friend; and that he must be a good, brave little dog, and hold on for the present without running away. Chick licked away my tears, looking at me with his brave brown eyes full of trust, as I kissed him over and over again before going to bed. But afterwards I could never tell how many more tears I shed at leaving Chick friendless and alone.

The next morning very early, I wrote a last appeal to Mrs. Griffith, which I carried out to the post myself, that it might be sure to reach her; and then the carriage came to the door, and we drove away, seeing Chick to the last on the door-step, sorrowfully looking after us with his steady brown eyes.

It was a long time before I myself learnt the second chapter of my dear friend's story. Mrs. Griffith duly got the note, and, being much touched by it, she went to the boarding-house to call on me, thinking that I had been left behind for a week, not yet recovered from an illness, and also wishing to get another view of Chick. Neither of these objects being gained, she returned home with a strong feeling "borne in" upon her mind that Chick must be rescued at any inconvenience to themselves. Not long afterwards, she and her husband were asked by the owner of the boarding-house to[Pg 91] go and look at it, as she wished to sell or let it on lease. They both accordingly went, chiefly with a view to seeing Chick. After a long visit and much conversation, Mrs. Griffith did at length see the poor little dog lying panting in the sun in the garden, where there was not an atom of shade. She called the attention of the owner to him, and told her that the dog was suffering and in great want of water. His mistress made some careless reply as usual, and passed on, still talking, down the stairs, when, at the front door, Mrs. Griffith chanced to look down into the court, and there saw poor little Chick stretched on his back in the violent convulsions of a fit. She hastily summoned her husband, who, after one glance, vanished into the lower regions, instinctively found a pump and a large pan, and reappeared to drench the poor little dog with a cold-water bath, strongly remonstrating with his owner the while that any one with eyes or ears could have seen how suffering the animal had been from heat and thirst.

Ah! Chickie! Chickie! did any thought cross your dog's mind then of the "United Dogs' Service" of my room? Alas! when I heard of it, how did I not feel for my dear little friend, proclaiming by every mute appeal his urgent need, and bravely suffering on in silence near to death, while not a hand was lifted to give him even the cup of cold water which brings with the gift its reward! By dint of much bathing and rubbing for nearly an hour from Mr. and Mrs. Griffith, while his owner looked on in stupid amazement at this waste of time and trouble on "only a dog," Chick recovered breath and life and was able to take some physic administered by the same kind hands. And then, at last, an agreement was entered into that he should be made over to these generous friends on certain conditions, one of which was that he should be left to guard the house where he was for the present; for though much was not given to my poor little friend, much was required from him by his wretched masters.

A few days afterwards, Mrs. Griffith felt restless and uneasy, and told her husband she should like to have Chick in their possession before the time stipulated; for she felt afraid he might come under the fresh police regulations for putting an end to all stray dogs during the raging heat. Mr. Griffith laughed at her "fidgets," but went to the boarding-house, nevertheless, to comply with her wishes. He was met at the door with the announcement that Chick had run away, and had not been heard of for two days! Grieved and completely disgusted at the heartless neglect which had again driven the poor dog from his so-called home, Mr. Griffith hurried back to his wife with the news, and she, like the true woman and mother she is, sat down and burst into tears. Mr. Griffith caught up his hat, and hurried out to the police, set several Italian boys whom he taught, and who loved him well, to search everywhere for the missing Chick, and did not return to his own house till late, completely worn out with the heat and worry.

Some time later, he was told that one of his Italian boys had come, and was asking to see him; and, as soon as he was ordered in, the boy, who knew what pain he was giving, sorrowfully told his news that the police had seized upon the "bravo Cico"—the half-shaven dog whom everybody knew and loved—"and...."

"Well, and where is he?" cried Mrs. Griffith, her husband, and the child in one breath.

[Pg 92]

"Ah! signora, Cico è morto!" (Cico is dead).

"Dead! How do you know? Where?"

"Signora, the police take the dogs they find to the Mola (breakwater), and, if they are not claimed before the next night, they make away with them. Ah! Cico was a bravo, bravo canino!" (a brave little dog).

Looking at his wife's face, Mr. Griffith quickly despatched the boy, and, once more taking up his hat, this brave and good man again sought the police office, where the news was confirmed that Chick was dead. Still hoping against hope, Mr. Griffith said, "There are many white and black dogs; I should like to see his dead body."

This, backed by other arguments, admitted of no demur. The foreign English lord must be humored in his whim, and he should be conducted to the poor dead Chickie's dungeon. On the way, Mr. Griffith amazed his wife by rushing into their house like a "fire-flaught," calling out for a piece of cold meat and a roll and butter "as quick as possible!"

"But Chickie's dead—the poor dog's dead!" she began. But he waved his hand and vanished, running down the street with his coat flying in the wind. He, too, almost flew across the reach of sand and driftwood to the Mola, and up to the prison door of the dark, airless, filthy hole into which poor little Chick had been thrust, like a two-legged criminal guilty of some horrible crime, from the last Saturday afternoon till this present Monday night. Not a single drop of water had been vouchsafed him; but the fiendish cruelty which characterizes people ignorant of the habits and sufferings of animals, while denying the dog this one necessary, had instigated the police to leave him a large piece of poisoned meat.

"Signore," said a magisterial voice from among the idle crowd which had gathered to see what miracles the English lord was going to work—"signore, if the dog will not eat, he is mad, and you must not take him away!" And a lump of hard, mouldy black bread was thrown down before the seemingly lifeless body of poor little Chick, who of course made no sign.

"E matto! E matto!" (he is mad) cried many voices.

"Chickie! Chickie! dear little doggie, come and speak to me!" cried Mr. Griffith, who was nearly beside himself at the bare sight of what the bright, happy little creature had become, and the thought of what his sufferings had been. Chickie heard the voice, recognized his kind helper, opened his eyes, and, feebly dragging himself up from the ground, came forward a step or two towards the door, which caused a general stir of dread and horror among the spectators, and made the police half close the door, lest the terrible monster should break loose upon them. Mr. Griffith forced himself into the opening, and threw his bit of cold meat to Chick; but he had suffered too much to be able to eat it, and turned from it with disgust, though he feebly wagged his brush in acknowledgment to his kind friend. Almost in despair, but calling the dog by every coaxing, caressing name he could think of, Mr. Griffith then held out to him a morsel of well-buttered roll, and, again wagging his brush, Chick smelt at it, took it, and ate the whole of it in the presence of the august crowd.

Mr. Griffith felt that he could throw up his hat, or dance for joy, or misbehave in any other way which was most unbecoming to a staid country gentleman; but all he actually did was to pull a piece of cord quickly out of his pocket, and say, "I can[Pg 93] take the dog home with me now, can't I?"

"You can take him to the owner, signore. And on payment of ten francs to the police" (for the poisoned meat?), "and with the owner's consent, the dog will be yours."

The prison door was then opened a little wider for the cord to be tied round Chick's neck, when, behold! he spied the moment of escape, and, refreshed with his morsel of roll, and not knowing what more the cruelty of man would devise, the plucky little dog rushed through the crowd, and raced along the shore to the town as hard as he could go, Mr. Griffith after him at the top of his speed, to a certain low wine-shop, where also Chick had a true friend. And there Mr. Griffith found him, after drinking nearly a bucketful of water, in the convulsions of another and most terrible fit! His generous friend carried him home in his arms, tucked up his sleeves and gave him a warm bath, physicked him, nursed him, washed and combed the vermin of his loathsome prison-hole from him, and, with untiring pains and a love that never wearied, brought the brave little doggie back to life and health.

The story of my friend is told. Chick's last appearance in his native town was when making a triumphal progress through it in a carriage with his master and mistress; he sitting up on his hind legs in his old fashion, lolling back against the carriage-cushion with one paw raised, while every man and boy they met saluted the English lord and lady with lifted hats and delighted cries of "Cico! Cicarello! Bravo! bravo canino!" Chick was eventually brought home to England by that best of masters whom S. Anthony had found for him, to whom he has attached himself so devotedly that nothing but force will induce him to leave him by night or day. And that master and I are of one mind—that a braver, cleverer, more loving, or more faithful dog could never be found.


[27] The Riviera "di Ponente" and "di Levante" is the Mediterranean coast from Nice to Genoa and beyond.


The chief thing that is to be regarded in him that doth anything, is the will and love wherewithal he doeth it. O Redeemer of the world! although thou has done much for us, and given us great gifts, and hast delivered us from many mischiefs, and hast promised us thy eternal and everlasting bliss, yet is all this, being so much that it maketh one astonished and afraid, far less than the love that thou bearest us. For love thou gavest thyself unto us: thou camest down from heaven, thou tookest flesh, and diest; and through the unspeakable love that thou borest us, thou hast created and redeemed us, and gavest thyself unto us in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, and deliveredst us from so many evils, and promisest us so great goods. Thy love is of such force towards us, that the least favors that thou doest us, coming polished with such singular fine love, we are never able to be sufficiently thankful for it, nor to requite, although we should thrust ourselves into flaming furnaces for love of thee.—Southwell.

[Pg 94]


It is often said among those who assert much and investigate little that the control of science, of literature, and of art has passed beyond the domain of the ancient church, that her children have given up the contest, and that she no longer produces distinguished men. It seems to be an understood thing that sound Catholicism is not consistent with proficiency in any branch of the higher pursuits, and that every artist, scientist, and littérateur ceases to be a good Christian in proportion as he is successful in his profession. There has been some apparent excuse for such an impression gaining ground, but it is none the less an erroneous impression. Especially of late years has it been triumphantly refuted, and nowhere with more éclat than in the very stronghold, the sanctum sanctorum of free thought and private judgment—England. There has arisen in that land of successful and jubilant materialism, that citadel of rationalism in matters of religion, a knot of men formidable for their learning, their eloquence, their taste, and their wit. But if even in England, under the shadow that was yet left hanging over the church from the effects of three hundred years of repression, the vitality of the old "olive-tree"[29] was amply proved by the grafting in and prosperous growth of so many new branches, still more was the fruitfulness of the ancient mother and mistress of all knowledge shown forth in Catholic France. That country has suffered sorely; it has been the experimental plaything of the world, it has been torn by unchristian politicians, gagged by Cæsarism, drenched in blood by demagogism; it has been deluged with a literature as shameless as it was attractive, until the name of France has become identified in the minds of many with deliberate and organized immorality. It is asserted that the names of her most famous novelists are synonymes of licentiousness; that her philosophers openly preach the grossest materialism; and that those of her littérateurs who are not absolute libertines are undisguised Sybarites. Never was country so thoroughly and deplorably misrepresented as this Catholic land, whence have come three-fourths of the missionaries of the world, armies of Sisters of Charity, the most impetuous and the bravest of the Pope's defenders, the most indefatigable scientific explorers, the purest of political reformers. If France must be judged by her literature, she can point to Montalembert, Ozanam, Albert de Broglie, Eugénie de Guérin, Louis Veuillot, Dupanloup, Rio, Lacordaire, Mme. Craven, Pontmartin, La Morvonnais, as well as to Balzac, Dumas, Eugène Sue, George Sand, and Alfred de Musset. If by her art, De la Roche, Ary Scheffer, Hippolyte Flandrin, vindicate her old Catholic historical pre-eminence; if by her science and her philosophy, there are Ampère, Berryer, Villemain, even Cousin. Everywhere the old sap is coursing freely, and in the ranks of all professions are champions ready to do battle for the old faith[Pg 95] that made France a "grande nation." But those we have mentioned, especially the distinguished and brilliant cluster, Montalembert, de Broglie, Lacordaire, and Dupanloup, had eschewed the old legitimist traditions, and, without detracting from their fame, we may say that they were eminently men of the XIXth century. The charm and poetry of chivalry, fidelity to an exiled race, the spell of the white flag and the golden fleur-de-lis, were in their minds things of the past; noble and beautiful weapons, it is true, but useless for the present emergency, like the enamelled armor and jewelled daggers which we reverently admire in our national museums. The old monarchical traditions needed a champion in the field of literature where their conscientious and respectful opponents were so brilliantly represented, and this they found in Jean Reboul, the subject of this memoir.

One would have thought that the legitimist poet would have arisen from some lonely castle of Brittany, and have borne a name which twenty generations of mediæval heroes had made famous in song. One would have pictured him as the melancholy, high-spirited descendant of Crusaders, orphaned by the Vendean war, inspired by the influence of the ocean and the majestic solitude of the landes.[30]

He would be likely to be a Christian Byron, a modern Ossian, far removed from contact with the world, almost a prophet as well as a poet. But as if to render his personality more marked, and his partisanship more striking, the champion of legitimacy was none of these things. Instead of being a noble, he was a baker; instead of a solitary, a busy man of the world—even a deputy in the French Assembly in 1840. Who would have dreamt this? Yet when God chose a king for Israel, he did not call a man of exalted family to the throne, but "a son of Jemini of the least tribe of Israel, and his kindred the last among all the families of the tribe of Benjamin."[31] So it fell out with the representative who, among the constellation of more than ordinary brilliancy which marked the beginning of this century in France, was to uphold the old political faith of the land. There was doubtless some wise reason for this singular and unexpected choice. Reboul was a man of the people, a worker for his bread, that it might be known what the people could do when led by faith and loyalty; he was from Nîmes, in the south of France, not far from Lyons and Marseilles, that his attitude might be a perpetual protest against the wave of communism and revolution which had its source in the south; he was, so to speak, a descendant of the Romans—for Nîmes was a flourishing Roman colony and its people are said to retain much of the massiveness of the Roman character—that he might rebuke the mistaken notion of those who make of the old republic a type of modern anarchy, and desecrate the names of Lucretia and Cornelia by bestowing them on the tricoteuses[32] of 1793, or the pétroleuses of 1870. It must have been a special consolation to the exiled representative of the Bourbons, the object of such devoted and romantic loyalty, to follow the successes and receive the outspoken sympathy of so unexpected and so staunch an [Pg 96]adherent. Uncompromising in his championship of the "drapeau blanc," Reboul was politically a host in himself, and, untrammelled as he was by the traditions and prejudices that hedged in the nobles of the party, he was able to mingle with all classes, speak to all men, treat with all parties, and yet to carry his allegiance through all obstacles, unimpaired and even unsuspected.

Jean Reboul was born at Nîmes on the 23d of January, 1796. His father was a locksmith and in very modest circumstances. His mother was early left a widow, with four young children to provide for. Jean, who was the eldest, and of an equally thoughtful and energetic character, soon contrived to relieve her of the anxieties of her position, by establishing himself in business as a baker. Whatever ambitious and vague longings he might have had even at that early period we do not know, but can easily guess at, and his sacrifice of them already endears the future poet to our hearts. How he ever after preferred the claims of his family to his own convenience, and refused to take from them the security which his lowly trade gave them, and which the precarious success of a literary career might have taken away, we shall see later on. But Reboul did not forego his poetical aspirations; he published various detached pieces in the local journals of Nîmes, he circulated MS. poems among his friends, and his name began to be well known at least in his native town. It was not till 1820, however, that the outside world and the literary assemblies of Paris knew him. He gave half his day to the labor of his trade and half to intellectual work and hard study, and the activity of his character, as well as the rigorous measurement of his time, so arranged as never to waste a moment, made this division of labor prejudicial to neither one employment nor the other.

In physique he was tall, athletic, and stately enough for a Roman senator. His features were cast in a large and massive mould, his dark, brilliant eyes were full of meridional fire, and his abundant black hair seemed a fitting frame for his manly, fearless countenance. Even in old age and when dying, a friend and admirer recorded that "his face has suffered no contraction, but has wholly kept the purity of those sculptural lineaments so nobly reproduced by the chisel of Pradier; it even seemed to have borrowed a new and graver majesty from the dread approach of death; ... even death appeared, as it were, to hesitate to touch his form, and seemed to draw near its victim with the deepest respect." His vigorous life, his active intelligence, his inflexible uprightness of character—everything seemed to point him out as a man beyond the common run of even good men. We shall see his character as developed in the admirable letters which form the basis of this sketch. Type of a Christian patriot, he towers above his contemporaries by sheer nobility of soul, and is an example of that moral stature to which no worldly honors, no political position, no hereditary rank can add "one cubit." Pro Deo, Patria et Rege was his lifelong motto, and it may safely be said that if France had many such sons, no one in the past or in the future could have rivalled or could hope to rival "la grande nation."

His first volume of collected poems was published in 1836, and one by one eminent men of letters, struck by the beauty, severity, and freshness of his diction, sought out the new light and entered into brotherhood with him. His lifelong friendship with M. de Fresne, however, dated[Pg 97] from 1829, when he had already published The Angel and the Child,[33] in a Paris magazine, and other pieces at various intervals in local periodicals. A traveller from the capital knocked at the unknown poet's door, and the tie knit by the first external homage that had yet come to Reboul, was never dissolved. The letters from which we draw his portrait, as traced by himself, were all addressed to this first friend. In 1838, another and more illustrious visitor came to the baker's home at Nîmes, the patriarch of revived Christian literature in France, the immortal Châteaubriand. He tells the story of his visit himself:

"I found him in his bakery, and spoke to him without knowing to whom I was speaking, not distinguishing him from his companions in the trade of Ceres; he took my name, and said he would see if the person I wanted was at home. He came back presently and smilingly made himself known to me. He took me through his shop, where we groped about in a labyrinth of flour-sacks, and at last climbed by a sort of ladder into a little retreat (réduit) something like the chamber of a windmill. There we sat down and talked. I was as happy as in my barn in London,[34] and much happier than in my minister's chair in Paris."

Reboul was an ardent Catholic, an uncompromising "ultramontane," as their enemies designate those who refuse to render unto Cæsar the things that are God's. He took a keen and sensitive interest in the struggles of religion against infidelity, the prototypes, or rather the counterparts, of those we see now waging in Italy and Germany. On the occasion of one of these attacks on the church in 1844, he writes these trenchant words:

"The sword is drawn between the religious and the political power: if I were not a Frenchman before being a royalist, and a Catholic before a Frenchman, I should find much to rejoice at in this check to the hopes of a certain part of the episcopate who honestly believed in the reign of religious freedom, on the word of the revolutionists. But, good people! if revolution were not despotism, it would not be revolution."

The unity of the church struck him as immeasurably grand. Speaking of the great Spanish convert Donoso-Cortes and his religious works, he says:

"What a marvellous faith it is which makes men situated at such distances of time and place think exactly alike on the most difficult and deepest subjects!"

A most striking passage in his writings is the following opinion on the Reformation:

"Forgive my outspokenness," he writes to his friend M. de Fresne, "if my opinion differs totally from yours. No, the Reformation was not an outburst of holy and generous indignation against abuses and infamies. This indignation possessed all the eminent and virtuous men in the church, but it was not to be found among the reformers. The Reformation, on the contrary, came to legalize corruption and bend the precepts of the Gospel to the exigencies of the flesh. Luther was literally the Mahomet of the West. Both acted through the sword: the one established polygamy, the other divorce, a species of polygamy far more fatal to morals than polygamy proper. If you would know what the Reformation really was, look at its founders and abettors, and see if chastity[Pg 98] was dear to them. Henry VIII. married six wives, of whom he divorced two and executed two more; Zwinglius took a wife, Beza took a wife, Calvin took a wife, Luther took a wife, the landgrave of Hesse wished to take a second wife during the lifetime of his first, and Luther authorized him to do so. The caustic Erasmus, whose Catholicism was not very strict, could not help saying that the Reformation was a comedy like many others, where everything ended with marriages. The real reformers of the church, those who reformed her not according to the gospel of passion, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ, were S. Charles Borromeo, S. John of the Cross, S. Teresa, S. Ignatius Loyola, and thousands of holy priests and bishops."

Not to weary the reader by constant comments on the text which reveals this great Christian thinker's mind, we will append the following significant quotations from his letters with as few breaks as possible. They are gathered from a collection extending over a period of more than thirty years:

"The secrets of the church are ruled by a divine order, and to judge of them according to merely human fears or prudence, is to mistake the nature of the church, and to ignore her past. Time takes upon itself the vindication of decisions arrived at by a legitimate authority, even though it be a temporal one; ... truth will come to the surface, and is often manifested by the very men apparently most earnest in combating it.... I believe this work (a religious publication of M. de Broglie) is an event, as much because of the author's character and the principles which his name is understood to represent, as because of the epoch of its publication. This frank confession in the belief of the supernatural in the teeth of the public rationalistic teaching of the day—ever striving to wrap Christ in its own shroud of philosophical verbiage and to bury him in the grave from which he had risen—makes us pray to God and praise him, ... that his kingdom may come.... The struggle nowadays is between God made man, and man making himself God.... I wonder that you take the trouble to break your head thinking about these German dreamers (atheists); for my part, I gave orders long ago to the door-keeper of my brain, if any of these gentleman should ask for me, to say that I was 'not at home.' These old errors served up with the new sauce of a worse darkness than before seem to me very indigestible.

"Genius which devotes itself to evil, far from being a glory, is but a gigantic infamy. Plato is right when he calls it a fatal industry.

"The French Revolution has done in the political world what the Reformation did in the religious world; it has taken from reason her leaning staff, and reason, trying to stand alone, has caused the things we have seen—and so, alas! at this moment, the Revolution cries out for a principle, but is itself the negation of all principle."

In politics, as we have seen, Reboul was a staunch legitimist, but a shrewd observer. He was no dreamer, though his belief in the ancient Bourbons was with him a perfect cultus. He never swerved from the road which he had traced for himself. As a poet, his native city was proud of him, France held out every honor to him, fellow-littérateurs of all shades of opinion welcomed him as a brother, governments flattered him, the people looked up to him. Had he been[Pg 99] ambitious, civic and parliamentary honors were ready for him; had he been venal, his career might have been brilliant, lucrative, and idle. In 1844, the mayor of Nîmes, M. Girard, proposed to him a change of occupation, offering him the position of town-librarian, as more suited to his tastes than the trade he followed. He was assured that this appointment would entail no political obligation, that perfect independence of speech and action would be guaranteed to him, but, says M. de Poujoulat: "Reboul, intent above all on the services he could render the cause among his own surroundings, and solicitous of hedging in the dignity of his life with the most spotless integrity, refused the mayor's offer. He did not even seek to make a merit of his refusal; his friends knew nothing of it; M. de Fresne alone was in the secret, and it was not divulged till years after." The Cross of the Legion of Honor was twice offered him: once by the government of Louis Philippe, through the agency of the minister M. de Salvandy, who was fond of seeking out honest and independent talent, but the loyal poet answered briefly: "He who alone has the right to decorate me is not in France"; and again by the empire, when it was urged that the decoration was a homage such as might have been respectfully offered in les Arènes (the Roman amphitheatre at Nîmes). Reboul proudly yet playfully replied that "he had not yet quite reached the state of a monument," and feeling plenty of vitality left in him, did not need the red ribbon. He explains to his friend M. de Fresne that he asked the God of S. Louis to enlighten his perplexities, to lift his soul above all small vanities, to deliver him from political rancor, if he harbored any, and to guide him to a decision which would leave him at peace with himself. "I have not the presumption," he adds, "to think that I received an inspiration from above, but I believe in the efficacy of prayer. I know not if I was heard, but at any rate I did my best."

There is a grand Christian simplicity in this, which marks Reboul as a man far beyond the average. Nothing dazzles him, because he always has the glory of God before his eyes. His friend M. de Poujoulat says of him:

"I find in Reboul a penetrating and serious good sense, broad views, as it were luminous sheaves of thought; I see in him an unprejudiced and discriminating observer of the affairs of his day. The noise of popularity is not glory, and the stature our contemporaries make for us is not our true one, but one raised by artifice and conventionality. Here was a man who looked down from the height of his solitude, said what he thought, and in his judgment forestalled the verdict of posterity. Reboul was interested in the individual works of his day, but he had only scant admiration for the age that produced them. His conscience was the measure of his appreciation both of men and events, and it was a measure hardly advantageous to them."

In 1836, a few of his friends clubbed together to offer him at least a pension, in the name of "an exile" (the Comte de Chambord), but he refused even this with touching disinterestedness, saying: "There is but one hand on earth from which I should not blush to accept a gift: the representative of Providence on earth. The gifts of this hand increase the honor and independence of the recipient, and bind him to nothing save the public weal, but adverse circumstance having seal[Pg 100]ed this fount of honor, I could not dream of drawing aught from it, for l'exil a besoin de ses miettes,[35] and it is rather our duty to contribute to its needs than to draw on it for our own." Later, when pressing necessity made it incumbent upon him to accept help from his friends and his sovereign, as he loyally called the exiled Comte de Chambord, it was so great a sorrow to him that he could scarcely enjoy the material benefit of such help. The poor and faithful poet had "dreamed of leaving earth with the memory of a devotion wholly gratuitous," and was sincerely grieved because it could not be so. He received several letters from the Comte de Chambord and his wife, some written in their own hand, others by their secretary, and he addressed himself several times to these objects of his cultus in terms of impassioned yet dignified loyalty. Henri V. fully appreciated his homage, and treated him as a friend rather than a stranger. Reboul visited the royal family at Frohsdorf, their Austrian retreat, and received the most flattering marks of attention. To him it was not a visit so much as a pilgrimage; his devotion to the person of his sovereign was but the embodiment of his principle of fealty towards hereditary monarchy. Speaking of the Requiem Mass celebrated at Nîmes, in October, 1851, on the occasion of the death of the Duchesse d'Angoulême, daughter of Louis XVI., he says:

"She had made a deep impression, and left durable memories among the working classes of our town, on her passage through Nîmes some years ago.... The people, my dear friend, the Christian people, recognizes better than les beaux-esprits what true greatness is, and is ever ready to bow before the majesty of a nobly-borne sorrow. No orator could adequately describe the appearance of our church to-day. This great gathering en blouse ou en veste,[36] these faces browned by toil and want, bore an expression of nobility and gravity fully suitable to such an occasion.... When one still has such courtiers, is exile a reality?"

Reboul would never allow that the irregularities of its representatives were enough of themselves to condemn a system. We have seen how, while recognizing the degeneracy of many churchmen in the XVIth century, he yet denounced the pretended reformers who sought this pretext for attacking the church, and in politics his judgments were equally clear and impartial. "If," he says, "it is still possible to be a republican despite the Reign of Terror, it is not impossible to be a royalist despite a few moral deviations which have disgraced some of our kings. Was the Directoire (a genuine republican product) an assembly of Josephs? And the houses of our day—are they not of glass? It is not wise, therefore, to be incessantly throwing stones.... After all, I return to my original argument: notwithstanding the shadows which darken the great qualities and high virtues of many of our kings, can you find anything better?"

Reboul's political faith is traced at length in the following paragraph, which may be called statesmanlike, since it contains a theory of government: "The sovereign is by all means a responsible agent, but I add to this, that the people also, when it makes itself sovereign, is equally responsible. The habit of thought which separates the one from the other is one of the misfortunes of our times. Without sovereignty there can[Pg 101] be no nation, nor even a people. There remains but an agglomeration of individuals. When I say sovereign you know, if you understand the language of politics, that I mean any legitimate form of government. This is applicable to all governments. Be sure that it is nonsense to talk of a nation as making its own sovereign. A "nation" which as yet has no sovereignty is no more a nation than a body without its head is a real body."

Reboul not only believed in sovereignty, but in an aristocracy as a necessary part of a sound national system. Commenting upon a political article by M. de Villemain, he gives his ideas thus: "He is mistaken if he believes, as he says he does, that a people can enjoy freedom without an aristocracy, or, if this word is too much of a bugbear in the ears of our age, without an intermediate class between the sovereign and the people. Equality is a fine thing, but revolutionary journalists must make up their minds that equality can only be arrived at by the raising of one man and the lowering of all the rest. It is almost a truism to say so, but these truisms are not bad things in politics, being so often borne out by experience, and, alas! by the convulsions of empires."

Our poet and politician could be witty when he liked, and, had he not been so earnest a Christian, his satirical humor would have been more often exercised on those from whom he differed so widely in opinion. This humor crops out sometimes, as when, on the occasion of an agricultural show (no very congenial fête to a man of his stamp), he quaintly says: "I do not demur to any rational encouragement given to agriculture, but I fancy Sully, to whom it owes so much, would not have been quite so extravagant in the choice of honors such as are now heaped upon it. A public and gratuitous show, convocation of the Academy, the municipal council, the prefect of the department, all that fuss for the coronation of a few dumb animals! Do you not see in this a providential sarcasm—a people allowed to crown swine after uncrowning its kings!"

A significant prophecy is contained in the last words of the following paragraph: "I begin to doubt the efficacy of all these intellectual struggles; our times need a stronger logic than that of pamphlets, and I fear (God forgive me for the despairing thought)—I fear that some great misfortune alone is capable of curing France." How terrible the cure was when it came we all know, but we have yet to see whether it has been efficient.

His brief career as deputy to the Constituent Assembly in 1848 derives a peculiar interest for the reader by reason of the seeming contradiction it presents to his settled political creed. But Reboul judged things by a higher standard than that of party prejudice. "A Frenchman before a royalist," he vindicated his patriotism by active measures in those stormy days when more voices were needed to speak for the right in the councils of the nation. No doubt, with his unfailing discernment, he saw the incongruity of his actual position as a man of the people with that refusal of office which was in a certain sense becoming—nay, required—in a legitimist of noble birth. He says of his nomination: "I had firmly refused before, being certain of my own incompetency, but our population would not hear reason. These good people imagine that, because one can scribble verses, one can therefore represent a borough. I was not able to disabuse them; it was made a question of honor and patriotism,[Pg 102] and how could I refuse any longer? Here am I, therefore, who have always lived far from political gatherings, I a man of retirement and study, thrown into your whirlpool without well knowing what will happen to me there."

He was not happy as a deputy. M. de Poujoulat says that Reboul's countenance in those days was that of a man bored to death. When, the following year, he retired from these unwonted honors, he thanked God for "having rescued him from the storm," and wrote to a friend: "I am quite happy again, and do not at all regret the honors I have left. I wonder what interest there can be in such heated disputes about vulgarized issues! I never felt more at home than I do now, and nothing whispers to me that I have had any loss."

Of a young and unfortunate colleague in the Assembly, a man who had mistaken an irrepressible momentary exaltation for a genuine vocation, and from a porter had vaulted to the position of a deputy, while he further aspired to that of a poet, Reboul says with grave sympathy and sterling sense: "His blind ambition often astounded me, but it was so candid and so genuine that I had not the heart to condemn it. I have often grieved over this frank nature, this child who, in his gambols, would handle as a whip which he could use the serpent that was to bite him. The best thing for him would be to go back to his trade in the teeth of the world, and to make use of his strength and youth; he would find in that a truer happiness than in the shadow of an official desk, or in the corruptions of the literary 'Bohemia,' but such an effort, I fear, is beyond his strength of mind." With what special right Reboul could give this sound, if stern, advice, we shall see presently.

In poetry Reboul's inspiration was purely Christian, austere in its morality, and trusting rather to the matter than the form. He believed that the times required a poetic censorship, incisive, rapid, and relentless; poetry was "the mould that God had given him in which to cast his thoughts," and he felt bound to use it in season for God's cause, without stopping to elaborate its form and perhaps weaken its effect. Thus it came about that he was essentially a poet of action, mingling with his fellow-men, following the vicissitudes of the day and bearing his part valiantly in the battle of life. He was not of the contemplative, subjective order of poets, nor was he among the sensualists of literature. His art was to him neither a personal consolation, occupying all his time and plunging him into a selfish yet not unholy oblivion of the world, nor yet an instrument of gain and a pander to the evil passions of others. It was a mission, not simply a gift; a "talent" to be used and to bring in five-fold in the interests of his heavenly Master. Many of his friends objected to the crudity of form which sometimes resulted from this earnest conviction, and later in life he did set himself to polish his style a little more. All his verses bear this imprint of passionate earnestness; he speaks to all, kings and people; he tells them of their duties in times of revolution, he urges men to martyrdom, if need be, that the truth may triumph; he exalts patriotism, fidelity, and disinterestedness, and loses no opportunity to wrap wholesome precepts in poetic form. His style is vigorous and impetuous, yet domestic affections are no strangers to his pen. The world knows him as the author of "The Angel and the Child," which has been translated into all languages from English to Per[Pg 103]sian[37] and inspired a Dresden painter with a beautiful rendering of the song on canvas. He says of himself: "With me, poetry is but the veil of philosophy," and in this he has unconsciously followed the dictum of a great man of the XVth century, Savonarola, who, in his work on the Division and Utility of all Sciences, records the same truth: "The essence of poetry is to be found in philosophy; the object of poetry being to persuade by means of that syllogism called an example exposed with elegance of language, so as to convince and at the same time to delight us."[38]

Corneille was his favorite French poet, and his admiration for the Christian tragedy of "Polyeucte" prompted him to write a drama in the same style, called the "Martyrdom of Vivia." The scene was placed in his own Nîmes, in the time of the Roman Empire. The piece was full of beauties, and above all of enthusiasm, but, as might have been expected, it was hardly a theatrical success. He says himself: "The glorification of the martyrs of old is not a sentiment of our day"; but when "Vivia" was performed under his own auspices in his native town the result was far different. It created a furor, and everything, even the accessories, was perfect. Every one vied with each other to make it not only a success in itself, but an ovation to the author. Reboul, when he once saw it acted in Paris, was so genuinely overcome by it that, leaning across the box toward his friend M. de Fresne, he whispered naïvely with tears in his eyes: "I had no idea that it was so beautiful."

As a poet, he utterly despised mere popularity, and has recorded this feeling both in verse and in prose. In his poem "Consolation in Forgetfulness" he asks whether the nightingale, hidden among the trees, seeks out first some attentive human ear into which to pour its ravishing strains? Nay, he answers, but the songster gives all he has to the night, the desert, and its silence, and if night, desert, and silence are alike insensible, its own great Maker is ever at hand to listen. But it is useless to translate winged verse into lame prose; the next verse we will quote in the original:

"Un grand nom coûte cher dans les temps où nous sommes,
Il fant rompre avec Dieu pour captiver les hommes."

The same idea is reproduced in his correspondence:

"The revolution has for a long time usurped, all over Europe, the disposal of popularity and renown, and, alas! how many Esaus there are who have sold their birthright for a mess of celebrity!... Our excellent friend M. Le Roy had a quality of soul capable of harmonizing with the sad memories of fallen greatness! Our siècle de grosse caisse[39] has lost the secret of those high and sublime feelings which the reserve of a simple-minded man may cover."

When, in 1851, his friends wished to nominate him as a candidate for the French Academy, the highest literary honor possible, Reboul answered M. de Fresne thus: "Your kind friendship has led you astray. What on earth would you have me do in such a body? Though I may, in the intimacy of private life, have spoken to you of whatever poetic merits I have, I am far from wishing to declare myself seriously the rival of the best talent of the capital. Such pretension never entered my head. Nay, in these days I might have[Pg 104] written Athalie and yet deem myself unfit for the Academy. In revolutionary times, things invade and overflow each other, and nothing is more futile than the lamentations of literary men over the nomination of politicians to the vacancies of the French Academy. The revolution has always jealously guarded her approaches; the Institut is her council." Ten years later he congratulates himself that things have so far mended among academicians as that "one may pronounce God's holy name in the halls of the academy"; but he steadily refused to be nominated for a fauteuil.

Reboul's relations with the great men of his day were active and cordial. No party feeling separated him from any on whom the stamp of genius was set equally with himself. He corresponded with distinguished personages of all countries, English, French, Italian, etc., admired and appreciated the literature of foreign lands, followed the intellectual movement of Europe in every branch of learning, and supplied by copious reading of the best translations his want of classical knowledge. The Holy Scriptures and the patristic literature of the church were familiar and favorite studies with him; in every sense of the word, he was a polished and appreciative scholar. The accident of his birth and circumstances of his life in no way interfered with this scholarship, and it would be a great mistake to suppose that he was but a phenomenon, a freak of nature, a working-man turned suddenly poet, but having beyond the gift of ready versification no further knowledge of his art or grasp of its possibilities. In 1834, having addressed to Lamennais a poetical warning and remonstrance, he says that, receiving no answer, "he is appalled by the silence of this man. Heaven forefend that the pillar which once was the firmest support of the sanctuary should be turned into a battering-ram!..." The Christian world knows that this prophecy came true, but there are those who believe that on his death-bed the erring son was drawn back to the bosom of his mother.

In 1844, Reboul was chosen as spokesman by the deputation of Nîmes to the reception awarded M. Berryer by the town of Avignon. He says: "The illustrious orator said so many flattering things to me that I was quite confounded. He called me his friend.... Then, addressing us all, his words seemed so fraught with magic that the immense audience hung breathless on his lips, but when he began to speak of France his voice, trembling with love of our country, took our very souls by storm, and you should have seen those southern faces all bathed in tears of admiration. We had need of a respite before applauding—but what an explosion it was!" At another time he writes: "Where has Berryer lived that he should be able to escape the influence of the hazy phraseology of our age and keep intact that eloquence of his, at once so clear and so trenchant?"

Manzoni's genius seemed to make the two poets, though not personally acquainted, companions in spirit. M. de Fresne, who knew the Milanese littérateur, was charged with Reboul's homage to him in verse, and Reboul himself speaks thus of the impression made on a friend of his by Manzoni's Inni Sacri:

"We read and admired everything in the book. The hymn for the 5th of May particularly struck Gazay; he was quite beside himself, as I knew he would be. This nature, rugged and trenchant (osseuse et brève), which is so impatient of the[Pg 105] milk-and-water[40] style of literature, found here a subject of enthusiasm; he rose from his chair, walked up and down the room with gigantic strides, and barely escaped breaking through the floor."

His judgment of Victor Hugo is both interesting and striking. In 1862, when Les Misérables was published, he comments thus on the great herald and apologist of revolution:

"It is always the same glorification of the convict-prison and the house of prostitution, a theme which has for many years been dragged over our literature and our drama. I do not like Hugo's bishop any more than Béranger's curé; the former is a fool and the latter a drunkard. The author of Les Misérables is vigorous in his style, no doubt, but he carries the defects of this quality to the last pitch of absurdity. The style is vigorous and rugged, true—but c'est du 'casse-poitrine' et du 'sacré chien,' de l'eau-de-vie de pommes-de-terre.[41] I do not know what to expect from the next two volumes, but up to this it all seems to me to breathe the air of a low public-house (buvette de faubourg). The ostentatious praise of the socialist organs confirms this opinion. The multitude, as well as kings, has its flatterers. I think that honest poverty, lacking everything, and yet shutting its eyes and ears to temptation, would have been a type worthier of the author's reputation, if it were only for a change!"

A year later, in 1863, we see Reboul reading with interest a criticism of Lamartine on this same work, and recording his satisfaction at the implied condemnation. "But," says our poet, "it is only, alas! the blind leading the blind. One is astonished to see the devastation created in these two great intellects by the forsaking of principle."

His relations with Lamartine were close and affectionate, but his admiration for the poet yet left him a severe measure for the man. In 1864, he wrote him an address in verse on dogma, or rather, as he calls it, divine reason, as the foundation of all legislation, and from his reasons drew consequences not over-favorable to the "historian-poet." "But," he says, "I tried to be respectful without ceasing to be frank." Lamartine answered him a few months later, and promised him a visit. Reboul then says of him: "I found him as amiable, as much a friend as ever; there must be something great in the depths of that man's heart. May Providence realize one day my secret hopes for his soul's welfare." When seven years before Lamartine came to see him at Nîmes, Reboul was his cicerone to the ruins and sights of the Roman colony, and the exquisitely graceful compliment of the world-known poet to his brother artist was thus worded: "This is worth more than all I saw during my Eastern journey." Of Lamartine's poetical genius, and Victor Hugo's claims to the renown of posterity, Reboul has no doubt, for he says that the former's Lac and the latter's lyrics "will never die."

The reader may like to know the opinion of Lamartine himself on Reboul. We find it in his Harmonies Poétiques, where he dedicates a piece to him entitled "Genius in obscurity," and appends the following anecdote, which will remind us of Châteaubriand's earlier visit. This was the first time the two poets met, and, like most of Reboul's friendships, it[Pg 106] was sought by the greater man—or rather, should we not say the higher-placed rather than greater?

"Every one knows the poetical genius, so antique in form, so noble in feeling, of M. Reboul, poet and workman. Work does not degrade. His life is less known; I was ignorant of it myself. One day, passing through Nîmes, I wished, before going to the Roman ruins, to see my brother-poet. A poor man whom I met in the street led me to a little, blackened house, on the threshold of which I was saluted by that delicious perfume of hot bread just from the oven. I went in; a young man in his shirt sleeves, his black hair slightly powdered with flour, stood behind the counter, selling bread to a few poor women. I gave my name; he neither blushed nor changed countenance, but quietly slipped on his waistcoat, and led me up-stairs by a wooden staircase to his working room, above the shop. There was a bed, and a writing-table, with a few books and some loose sheets of paper covered with verses. We spoke of our common occupation. He read me some admirable verses, and a few scenes of ancient tragedy, breathing the true masculine severity of the Roman spirit. One felt that this man had spent his life among the living mementos of ancient Rome, and that his soul was, as it were, a stone taken from those monuments, at whose feet his genius had grown like the wild laurel at the foot of the Roman bridge over the Gard.

"I saw Reboul again in the Constituent Assembly. His was a free soul, born for a republic; a heart simple and pure, and whose like the people needs sorely to make it keep and honor the liberty it has won, but will lose again unless it be tempered by justice and hallowed by virtue."

It will be seen that Reboul himself did not agree with Lamartine's estimate of him, nor indeed with many of the great poet's religious and political views; but the tribute to our hero is only rendered more honorable by this dissidence of opinion.

Many other names might be added to the list of Reboul's literary acquaintances. Montalembert, at whose request he paraphrased in verse the famous article published in the Correspondant, "Une Nation en deuil," a plea for Poland written by the author of The Monks of the West; Père Lacordaire, Mgr. Dupanloup, M. de Falloux, Mme. Récamier, Mme. de Beaumont, a graceful poetess, Canonge, his fellow-poet of Nîmes, Charles Lenormand, and hosts of others. Artists too he held in great honor: Sigalon, a painter full of promise, of a poor family in Nîmes, and whom Reboul characterizes as one who, had he lived, would have been a modern Michael Angelo; Orsel, of whom he speaks in these enthusiastic terms: "I showed my friends some of Orsel's sketches, which they found more true and more holy than Raphael's style. I will not go so far, for the judgment of ages and of so many connoisseurs unanimously proclaiming the supremacy of the great Italian is a stronger authority in my eyes than the exclamation of a few men in a given moment of enthusiasm. Still I was astounded. Some vague remorse seized me when I reflected that I had regarded this man with indifference, not yet knowing his works! But when I think that I actually read so many of my bad verses to one who had before his mind's eye such holy and beautiful types, and that he was good enough to listen patiently, it is not admiration, but veneration that I feel towards him."

Reber, the musician, who in 1853 was deservedly elected member of the Institut de France, and Rose, a[Pg 107] young sculptor, whose Christian genius was worthy of being placed in contrast (in his admirable bassi-relievi of the Stations of the Cross in the church of S. Paul, at Nîmes) with the perfection of Hippolyte Flandrin's magnificent frescos, were also among Reboul's artistic friends. In a comparison instituted by our poet between popular and high art, we find the following pungent comment: "M. Courbet has painted women fitted, by the rotundity of their dimensions, to be exhibited at a fair, and his name is incessantly in the papers. On the other hand, M. Ingres is seldom if ever mentioned!"

Reboul's voluminous letters to M. de Fresne trace unconsciously a most noble moral portrait of the writer. Here are a few characteristic touches, putting in relief his manliness and freedom from petty vanities or weak susceptibilities. There was not the shadow of a meanness in Reboul's mind; his soul was simplicity itself, and was rather like those dark, deep waters of some of the American lakes, at whose bottom every pebble is distinctly visible.

"One of the advantages of the position in which it has pleased God to place me," he says, "is that I hear the truth told me point-blank and without any circumlocution whatever, and, thank God, I am inured to this. I have found out since that what once galled my pride has had other and important results, so that both friend and foe have served me.... I bow to nothing save that which is beautiful everywhere and at all times, and progress to my mind signifies only the fashioning of my works more and more according to this eternal standard. If I do not succeed, therefore, be sure that it is through human helplessness and not intentional profanation."

He thus distinctly recognizes his art as a mission, a sacred thing to be reverently handled, and not profaned by compromises with the local and accidental spirit of the age. And again: "If the poet condescends to these intrigues behind the scenes, he loses what should be his greatest treasure: the consciousness of his own dignity.[42] Theatrical plaudits, success, all that is outside ourselves: the poet should seek to live at peace with his own soul, for alas! man cannot fly from himself, and woe to him if he has need to blush for his deeds before the tribunal of his own conscience.... There is too much water in the wine of success to inebriate me.... Time, which is God's mode of action, deprives us little by little of everything which can be salutary guardianship, until that supreme moment when it leaves us face to face with itself alone. Let us strive to prepare ourselves for this awful tête-à-tête." Reboul possessed the true pride of a noble heart which consisted in doing simply every duty required of him alike by his poor condition and his admirable talent. Of the former he never showed himself ashamed and repeatedly refused to change it; yet this refusal was perfectly honest. If he was in no ways ashamed of his lowly origin, at the same time he was equally far from making it a boast. On the publication of his Traditionelles (a volume of detached poems) M. Lenormand devoted to it a laudatory and appreciative article in the Correspondant. Reboul noticed this in the following words: "I have only one observation to make, however: I would rather they had left the 'baker' out of the question, certainly not because the allusion humiliates me, but because I fear that it [Pg 108]points towards making an exception of my verses, as a moral lusus naturæ, and it is my ardent wish, on the contrary, to be judged quite outside such circumstances. I can say this the more frankly, because I have never, in my Traditionelles, disguised my origin, and indeed, did I not fear to be suspected of that hateful plebeian pride, I should even say that I would not exchange my family for any other. This is between ourselves."

And again, when the question of his nomination to the French Academy was under discussion, he wrote a very similar sentence: "I can hardly tell you why I would not accept this candidature. This, perhaps, will best render my idea: I am not of the stuff of which academicians are made. This is no outburst of plebeian pride—the most insolent pride of any; it is merely my true estimate of my own position." At another time he said, excusing himself for not having asked a person of high position and a friend of his to the funeral of his mother: "Whatever ignorance and enviousness may say to the contrary, there are barriers between the different classes of society which cannot be disregarded without unseemliness. My 'neglect' was but the consequence of this conviction."

He has left carelessly here and there embedded in the text of an everyday letter some phrase which seems like a proverb, so beautiful and comprehensive is it. For instance, speaking of the costliness of the Paris salons, he says: "The most beautiful abodes, my dear friend, are those where the devil finds nothing to look upon." Of the degeneracy of modern thought he speaks thus: "These noble convictions are passing away, and every thing is subjected to the feeble equations of reason; all things are discussed, calculated, weighed, and the heart would appear to be a superfluity of creation, so little are its holy inspirations followed!"

And of books and their readers he says: "We do not all read a book alike, but each takes from it only what his individual nature is capable of appropriating. The prejudices of divers schools of literature, the rivalry of various political, philosophical, and religious opinions, are all so many spectacles through which we judge the beauties or defects of any work."

Reboul's domestic life was a calm and simple one; his mind craved no pleasures beyond its silent circle, save those which he found in books; and his attachment to his native city and his humble home was as touching as it was sincere. His trade gave him enough for a modest and assured way of life, and he coveted no more. It was a less precarious source of gain than literature alone would have been; it supported his family in comfort, and, above all, left his own mind at ease; and it was only towards the end of his life that, having generously assisted a relation in financial difficulties, he found himself in real want. Then only, and not till then, did he accept, with touching sadness and humility, the help his friends and his heart's sovereign, the Comte de Chambord, had repeatedly pressed upon him in happier days. His greatest relaxation was an hour spent with his family or a few chosen literary friends in his mazet, an enclosed garden with a little dwelling attached, in which were a sitting-room and a kitchen, but no bed-rooms. We do not know if this is a peculiar institution of Nîmes alone or of the whole south of France. It is constantly mentioned by Reboul, and his letters are often dated from it—nay, his verses were sometimes composed there. It was a luxury of his later days, not of the time when he received Château[Pg 109]briand and Lamartine in the "windmill chamber."

Reboul suffered for ten years before his death from a constitutional melancholy, which the distraction of several interesting journeys in Italy, Switzerland, and Austria only temporarily relieved; his general health gave way by degrees, and he died on the 29th of May, 1864. He who had vowed his life to the glory of God and his church was called away from earth on the feast of Corpus Christi, having been completely paralyzed on the left side three days before. He recovered neither speech nor—to all appearance—consciousness, and his death was as peaceful as a child's. His native town celebrated his funeral with all the pomp of civic and religious honors; the Bishop, Mgr. Plantier, made a funeral oration over his grave, and a monument was soon raised to his memory by his grateful and admiring fellow-citizens. More than that, the city of Nîmes took charge of his family and assured their future, as a fitting homage to the man whose life had been so nobly independent, so proudly self-supporting. The Roman colony could not bear to see Reboul's helpless relatives the pensionaries of a stranger, and the care it extended to them was delicately offered not as a boon but a right. People of all classes, all religions, all political opinions united in mourning their great compatriot. We can end with no tribute of our own more fitting than M. de Poujoulat's warm and eloquent words: "Noble triumph of honest genius, of sublime and modest virtue! many things will have fallen, many footsteps have been effaced, while yet Reboul will be remembered. The only lasting glory is that in which there is no untruth. Reboul has left like a Christian a world and an epoch which often grieved his faith. He has gone to that heaven which he had seen in his poetic visions, and in which his imagination had placed so many noble types. He himself has now become a type such as the Christian muse would fain see placed in the immortal fatherland of the elect."

The recording angel may well have sung over his tomb these triumphant words of the Gospel:

"Well done, thou good and faithful servant; because thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will set thee over great things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

We have thus endeavored to present a portrait of a character not often met with in our literature. This man of the people, and yet a royalist; this delicately-toned poet, and yet a man of sturdy common sense, affords a curious and interesting study. What has won our especial admiration is his inflexible adherence to principle in all that concerns faith and the rights of the Holy See.


[28] Lettres de Jean Reboul de Nîmes, avec une Introduction par M. de Poujoulat. Michel Lévy Frères. Paris, 1866.

[29] Romans xi. 24.

[30] Uncultivated tracts of land bordering the sea-shore of Brittany.

[31] 1 Kings ix. 21.

[32] This name was given to the market-women who had their regular seats around the guillotine, and knitted diligently, at the same time insulting the victims while the executioner did his bloody work.

[33] See a translation of this poem in The Catholic World for July.

[34] Alluding to his own vicissitudes during the French emigration.

[35] Literally, "Exile needs even its very crumbs."

[36] Smock-frock, or working-clothes.

[37] By Monchharem, a young Persian attached to the staff of Marshal Paskievicz.

[38] See the second article on Jerome Savonarola, Catholic World, July, 1873.

[39] Literally "big-drum century."

[40] More expressive in the original, le blanc d'œuf battu—literally "white of eggs beaten up."

[41] Untranslatable: the meaning is, that the vigor is that of a prize-fighter, the ruggedness not of a philosopher, but of a low ruffian.

[42] Simpler and more forcible in the original: le sentiment de lui-même—"the consciousness of himself."

[Pg 110]


Dear honored name, beloved for human ties,
But loved and honored first that One was given
In living proof to erring mortal eyes
That our poor flesh is near akin to heaven.
Sweet word of dual meaning: one of grace,
And born of our kind Advocate above;
And one by memory linked to that dear face
That blessed my childhood with its mother-love,
And taught me first the simple prayer, "To thee,
Poor banished sons of Eve, we send our cries."
Through mist of years, those words recall to me
A childish face upturned to loving eyes.
And yet to some the name of Mary bears
No special meaning, or no gracious power;
In that dear word they seek for hidden snares,
As wasps find poison in the sweetest flower.
But faithful hearts can see, o'er doubts and fears,
The Virgin link that binds the Lord to earth;
Which to the upturned, trusting face appears
Greater than angel, though of human birth.
The sweet-faced moon reflects on cheerless night
The rays of hidden sun to rise to-morrow;
So unseen God still lets his promised light,
Through holy Mary, shine upon our sorrow.

[Pg 111]


All great national gatherings dating from an early period have a religious origin. The assemblies of the Welsh, Bretons, and Gauls were convoked by the Druids, and in the laws of Moëlmud are designated "the privileged synods of fraternity and union which are presided over by the bards." These, in losing their pagan character under the influence of Christianity, nevertheless retained many of their forms and regulations, together with the customary place and time of meeting. True to her prudent mode of action among the peoples she was converting, the church, instead of destroying the temples, purified them, and, instead of overthrowing the menhir and dolmen, raised the cross above them.

It was almost invariably at the solstices that the Christian assemblies of the Celtic nations were accustomed to take place, as the pagan ones had done before them, when, in the presence of immense multitudes, the bards held their solemn sittings, and vied with each other in poetry and song, while athletes ran, wrestled, and performed various feats of agility and strength. In Wales, the sectaries who divided the land amongst them have deprived these assemblies of all religious character and association whatsoever, and the manners, language, and traditions are all that remain unchanged. In Brittany, on the contrary, the religious element is the dominant one, and impresses its character not only upon the antique observances, but also upon the rustic literature—that is to say, the poesy—with which the land abounds.

The most favorable opportunities for hearing these popular ballads occur at weddings and agricultural festivities, such as the gathering-in of the harvest and vintage, the linadek, or flax-gathering—for it is believed that the flax would become mere tow or oakum unless it were gathered with singing—the fairs, the watch-nights, when, around the bed of death, the relatives and neighbors take their turn to watch and pray, while those who are waiting pass much of the time in singing or listening to religious ballad-poems of interminable length, or ditties like the following, Kimiad ann Ene—"The Departure of the Soul"—which chiefly consists of a dialogue between the soul and its earthly tenement:


Come listen to the song of the happy Soul's departure, at the moment when she quits her dwelling.

She looks down a little towards the earth, and speaks to the poor body which is lying on its bed of death.


"Alas, my body! Behold, the last hour is come; I must quit thee and this world also.

"I hear the rapping of the death-watch. Thy head swims; thy lips are cold as ice; thy visage is all changed. Alas, poor body! I must leave thee!"


"If my visage is changed and horrible, it is too true that you must leave me.

"You are, then, unmindful of the past; despising your poor friend, who is, alas! so disfigured. Likeness is the mother of love: since you have no longer any left to me, lay me aside."


"No, dearest friend, I despise you not. Of all the Commandments, you have not broken one.

"But it is the will of God (let us bless his goodness) to put an end to my authority and your[Pg 112] subjection. Behold us parted asunder by pitiless death. Behold me all alone between heaven and earth, like the little blue dove who flew from the ark to see if the storm was over."


"The little blue dove came back to the ark, but you will never return to me."


"Nay, truly, but I will return to thee, and solemnly promise so to do; we shall meet again at the Day of Judgment.

"As truly shall I return to thee as I now go forth to the particular judgment, the thought of which, alas! makes me tremble.

"Have confidence, my friend. After the northwest wind there falls a calm on the sea.

"I will come again and take thee by the hand; and wert thou heavy as iron, when I shall have been in heaven, I will draw thee to me like a loadstone."


"When I shall be, dear Soul, stretched in the tomb, and destroyed in the earth by corruption;

"When I shall have neither finger nor hand, nor foot nor arm, in vain will you try to raise me to you."


"He who created the world without model or matter has power to restore thee to thy first form.

"He who knew thee when thou wast not shall find thee where thou wilt not be!

"As truly shall we meet again as that I now go before the terrible tribunal, at the thought whereof I tremble,

"Feeble and frail as a leaf in the autumn wind."

God hears the Soul, and hastens to answer it saying, Courage, poor Soul, thou shalt not be long in pain. Because thou hast served me in the world, thou shalt have part in my felicities.

And the soul, always rising, casts again a glance below, and beholds her body lying on the funeral bier.

"Farewell, my poor body, farewell! I look back yet once more, out of my great pity for thee."


"Cease, then, dear Soul, cease to address me with golden words. Dust and corruption are unworthy of pity."


"Saving thy favor, O my body! thou art truly worthy, even as the earthen vessel that has held sweet perfumes."


"Adieu, then, O my life! since thus it must be. May God lead you to the place where you desire to be.

"You will be ever awake and I sleeping in the grave. Keep me in mind, and hasten your return.

"But tell me, why is it thus that you are so gay and glad at leaving me, and yet I am so sad?"


"I have so exchanged thorns for roses, and gall for sweetest honey."

Then, joyous as a lark, the soul mounts, mounts, mounts, ever upwards towards heaven. When she reaches heaven, she knocks at the gate, and humbly asks my lord S. Peter to let her enter in.

"O you, my lord S. Peter! who are so kind, will you not receive me into the Paradise of Jesus?"


"Truly thou shalt enter into the Paradise of Jesus, who, when thou wast on earth, didst receive him into thy dwelling."

The soul, at the moment of entering, once more turns her head, and sees her poor body like a little mole-hill.

"Till we meet again, my body—and thanks—till we meet again, till we meet again in the valley of Jehosaphat.

"I hear sweet harmonies I never heard before. The day breaks, and the shadows are fled away.

"Behold, I am like a rose-tree planted by the waters of the river of life."

This dialogue bears a remarkable resemblance to at least three similar compositions by S. Ephrem Syrus, Deacon of Edessa, who died A.D. 372. With the Breton poem it may not be uninteresting to compare the following wild Northern dirge, which may be unknown to some amongst our readers:


"This ae nighte, this ae nighte,
Every nighte an' alle,
Fire, an' sleet, an' candle-light,
An' Christe receive thy saule.
"When thou from hence away art paste,
Every nighte an' alle,
To whinny-muir thou comest at laste,
An' Christe receive thy saule.
"If ever thou gavest hosen or shoon,
Every nighte an' alle,
Sit thee down an' put them on,
An' Christe receive thy saule.
"If hosen an' shoon thou never gavest nane,
Every nighte an' alle,
The whinnes shal prick thee to the bare bane,
An' Christe receive thy saule.
"From whinny-muir when thou mayest passe,
Every night an' alle,
To Brig o' Dread[43] thou comest at laste,
An' Christe receive thy saule.
"If ever thou gavest meate or drinke,
Every nighte an' alle,
The fire shall never make thee shrinke,
An' Christe receive thy saule.
"From Brig o' Dread when thou mayest passe,
Every night an' alle,
To Purgatory fire thou comest at laste,
An' Christe receive thy saule.
[Pg 113]
"If meat or drink thou never gavest nane,
Every nighte an' alle,
The fire will burn thee to the bare bane,
An' Christe receive thy saule.
"This ae nighte, this ae nighte,
Every nighte an' alle,
Fire, an' sleet, an' candle-light,
An' Christe receive thy saule."

Not in Brittany alone, but also in most of the country parts of France, the villagers have a custom during the winter of assembling in each other's cottages—or in a barn, if no other room of convenient size should offer—for the fileries du soir, when, by the light of a single candle, or the blazing logs upon the hearth, round which all sit in a circle, the women sew or spin, while some of the company take it in turn to sing or tell stories, or occasionally to read aloud for the amusement or instruction of the rest. Besides singing ballads which are already known, it not unfrequently happens that the villagers compose a new one amongst themselves during one of these veillées. Some one arrives, it may be a pilgrim, a beggar, or a neighbor, and relates something which has just happened; while the hearers are talking it over, probably another person comes in, bringing fresh details; interest becomes more and more excited, and all at once there is a general cry, "Let us make a song about it." The poet most in renown amongst the company is called upon to make a beginning, to which he accedes, after the customary amount of entreaty has been gone through. He improvises a strophe, which every one repeats after him; a neighbor continues the song, which is again repeated by all; a third adds his share, and so on, every new verse being taken up by all present, and repeated with the rest; and thus a new ballad, the composition of all, repeated and learned by all, flies on the following day from parish to parish, on the wings of its refrain, from veillée to veillée, and speedily finds its place among the poetry of the land. Most of the Breton ballads are composed thus by collaboration, and this manner of producing them has its name in the language; it is called diskan (repetition), and the singers are diskanerien.

But it is especially at the Pardons, or feasts of the patron saints, that are to be heard in their greatest perfection historical ballads, love-ditties, and songs on sacred subjects; and we turn again to the interesting pages of M. de Villemarqué, from which we have already drawn so largely, for a description of these festive occasions.

Every great Pardon lasts at least three days. On the eve, all the bells are set ringing, and the people busy themselves in decorating the church. The altars are adorned with garlands and vases of flowers, the statues of the saints clothed in the national costume, the patron or patroness being distinguished by the habiliments of a bridegroom or a bride. The former has a large bouquet, tied with long and bright-colored ribbons; the white head-dress of the latter glitters with a hundred little mirrors. As the day declines, the church is swept and the dust scattered to the winds, that it may be favorable to those who are coming to the morrow's festival. After this, every one places in the nave the offering he has brought the patron saint. These offerings generally consist of sacks of corn, bundles of flax, soft white fleeces, cakes of wax, or other agricultural productions, just as in the days of Gregory of Tours, who mentions the "multitudo rusticorum, ... exhibens lanas, vellera, formas ceræ, etc."[44]

Dancing then begins, to the sound of the national biniou, the bombardo, and tambourine, in front of the church,[Pg 114] or by the fountain of the patron saint, or it may be near some ancient dolmen, which serves as a seat for the fiddlers: it is even stated that not more than a century ago dancing took place in the church itself—a profanity which the clergy invariably set themselves against, the bishops excommunicating obstinate offenders.

In some places, bonfires are lighted at night upon the eminence on which the church is built, and on the neighboring hills. As soon as the flame leaps up the pyramid of dry leaves and broom, the crowd walks in procession twelve times round it, reciting prayers or singing. The old men surround it with a circle of stones, and place a cauldron in the centre, in which, in ancient times, meat was cooked for the priests, but in the present day it is filled with water, into which children throw pieces of metal, while a circle of beggars, kneeling around it bare-headed, and leaning on their sticks, sing in chorus the legends of the patron saint. It was exactly thus that the old bards sang hymns in honor of their divinities, by the light of the moon, and round the magic basin encircled with stones, in which was prepared the "repast of the brave."

On the following morning, at break of day, arrive from Léon, Tréguier, Göelo, Cornouailles, Vannes, and all parts of Basse Bretagne, bands of pilgrims, singing as they proceed on their way. As soon as they descry from afar the church-spire, they take off their large hats, and kneel down, making the sign of the cross. The sea is covered with a thousand little barks, from whence the wind brings the sound of hymns, whose solemn cadence keeps time with the stroke of the oars. Whole cantons arrive, with the banners of their respective parishes, and led by their rectors. As they approach their destination, the clergy of the Pardon advance to receive them, and, at the moment of their meeting, the crosses, banners, and images of the saints are bent towards each other by way of mutual salutation, as the two processions form themselves into one, while the church-bells make the air resound with their joyous clamor. When Vespers are ended, the procession comes forth, the pilgrims arranging themselves according to their different dialects. The peasants of Léon may be recognized by their green, brown, or black habiliments, and bare, muscular limbs; the Trégorrois, whose gray garb has about it nothing particularly original, are remarkable among the rest for their full and melodious voices; the Cornouaillais for the costliness and elegance of their richly embroidered blue or violet coats, their puffed-out pantaloons and floating hair; while the men of Vannes, on the contrary, are distinguishable by the sombre color of their apparel. The cold, calm aspect of their countenances and bearing would scarcely lead one to suspect the determination of this energetic race, of whom neither Cæsar nor the Republican armies could break the will, and whom Napoleon designated as "frames of iron, hearts of steel."

As the procession pours forth from the church, nothing can be more curious than to observe these close ranks of peasants, in costumes so varied and at times so strange, with their heads uncovered, their eyes cast down, and the rosary in their hands; nor anything more touching than the hands of weather-beaten mariners in their blue shirts and barefoot, who are come to pay the vow that has saved them from shipwreck and death, bearing on their shoulders the fragments of their shattered vessel; nothing more[Pg 115] impressive than the sight of this countless multitude, preceded by the cross, traversing the sandy or rock-scattered beach, while the sound of its litanies mingles with the murmurs of the ocean.

Certain parishes, before entering the church, halt first at the cemetery. There, among the graves of their forefathers, the most venerable peasant with the lord of the canton, and the most exemplary village-maiden with one of the young ladies of the manor, stand on the topmost step of the churchyard cross, and, with their hands placed on the Holy Gospel, solemnly renew their baptismal vows in their own names and on behalf of the prostrate multitude.

The pilgrims pass the night in tents erected on the plain, and do not retire to repose until a late hour, remaining to listen to the long narrative poems on sacred subjects which the popular bards wander singing from tent to tent.

This first day is wholly consecrated to religion, but secular pleasures awake with the sound of the hautboy on the following morn.

The lists are opened at noon. The tree of the prizes, laden with its strange variety of fruits, rises in the centre, while at its foot lows the chief prize of all—the heifer—with its horns gaily decked with ribbons. Numberless competitors present themselves. Trials of strength or skill, wrestling, racing, and dancing, continue without intermission until the evening is far advanced.

The first two nights of the Pardon are devoted to wandering singers of every description, such as the millers, the tailors, the ragmen, beggars, and barz; but the last is exclusively the right of the kloer or kler, of whom, as well as of the first-named personages, we will mention a few particulars. The chief difference between the miller and the other popular minstrels is that he returns every evening to his mill; but, like them, he makes the round of the country, passing through the cities, towns, and villages, entering the farm-house and the manor, going to fairs and markets, and hearing news, which he puts into rhyme as he goes on his way; and his songs, repeated by the beggars, who are rarely the composers of ballads themselves, soon find their way from one end of Brittany to the other.

The tailor's special characteristic is caustic wit and raillery. "His ear is long," says the Breton proverb, "his eye open day and night, and his tongue as sharp as his needle." Nothing escapes him. He makes a song upon everybody without distinction, saying in verse that which, he would not dare to say in prose, and yet often so disguising his satire that it is keenest where at first sight least evident. All the value of his songs depends upon their actuality. He is learned in all the gossip of the place, and if perchance on his homeward way he lights upon a couple of lovers, happy in the seclusion of a wood, they find themselves next day the subjects of his malicious muse, and their mutual appreciation proclaimed to all the neighborhood. Of the miller and the ragman much the same may be said; and yet it is but just to add that, with all the pleasure they find in laughing at their neighbor, they are never guilty of calumny against him.

The barz occupies a higher place in the order of singers than any other, the kloer only excepted. He represents the wandering minstrels, shades of the primitive bards, who were reproved by Taliessin for their degeneracy even in his day, and for living without regular occupation or fixed dwelling-place, serving as echoes of popular gossip, and spending their[Pg 116] days in wandering from one assembly to another. The self-same reproaches one hears at this present day, addressed to the same class of people by the Breton priests.

And yet some few rays of their former glory linger around the race. Like their ancestors, they celebrate noble and worthy deeds, dispensing praise or blame impartially to small and great. Those of the ancient bards who were blind made use of a sort of tally-stick, of which the arrangement of the notches served to fix certain songs in their memory. This species of mnemonics, which is known in Wales as Coelbren y Beirdd—the Alphabet of the Bards—is still in use among the barz of Brittany. They also invariably observe the old bardic law which forbade them to enter any house without previously asking permission by singing the customary salutation at the door: "God's blessing be upon you, people of this house: God's blessing be upon you, small and great!" and never entering unless they receive the answer: "God's blessing be also upon you, wayfarer, whoever you may be." If they do not hear this speedily, they pass on their way.

Like the ancient Cambrian bards, they are, by virtue of their profession, a necessity at every popular festival. They betroth the future husband and wife, according to antique and unvarying rites, previous to the performance of the religious ceremony; they enjoy great liberty of speech, and exercise a certain amount of moral authority over the minds of the people; they are loved, sought for, and honored almost as much as were their bardic ancestors, though moving in a less elevated sphere.

The name of kloer (kloarek in the singular) is given to the youths who are studying with a prospect of entering the ecclesiastical state. They are identical with the Welsh kler, or school-clerk, and in the time of Taliessin occupied, as they still occupy, the place of bards, forming a class by themselves of scholar-poets.

The Breton kloer generally belong to the peasantry or to the trades-people of the country towns. The ancient episcopal sees of Tréguier and Léon, Quimper and Vannes, attract them in the largest numbers. They arrive there in bands from the depths of the country, in the national costume, with their long hair, and their rustic simplicity and language; most of them being from about eighteen to twenty years old. They live together in the faubourgs; the same garret serves for bed-room, kitchen, dining-room, and study. This is a far different existence from that which they led among the woods and fields, and it is not long before a complete change has come over them. With the lessening of muscular strength, their intellect and imagination develop themselves. The summer vacation takes them back to their village homes at the season in which, says a Breton poet, "young hearts expand with the flowers," and when temptations abound; thus it not unseldom happens that the kloarek returns to his studies with the thorn of a first love in his heart. Then there arises a tempest in his soul—a struggle between the love of the creature and the Creator. Sometimes the former is the stronger; isolation, homesickness, leisure, contribute to develop a sentiment of which the germ only exists. A remembrance, a word, a melody, or the sound of some wild instrument which breaks on his ear and recalls his home, makes it suddenly burst forth. Then he throws his class-books into the fire, renounces the ecclesiastical state, and returns to his native village.

But it is far oftener that the higher[Pg 117] devotion wins the day. In either case, however, the scholar-poet must, according to his own expression, "comfort his heart" by making his confidences to the muse.

By an instinct natural to all but truly popular poets, the kloer never write their compositions. They are wise in this. "The memory of hearing," as it was called by the ancient bards, is much more tenacious than the "memory of letters." To write and print their songs would be to give up having them learnt by heart, and repeated by generation after generation.

Once become priests, the kloer burn that which they have worshipped; thus Gildas declaims against the bards, forgetting, in his monk's habit, that in his youth he had made one of their number. As kloer, these scholar-poets disdain the songs of the wandering minstrels; as priests, they equally disdain the lays of the kloer. And yet, as priests, they do not cease to sing; but that which lingered on the earth now finds its wings and takes a heavenward flight, and the sacred songs and canticles which express the warm devotion of their hearts imprint themselves on the memory of the people, and are, like prayers, transmitted from age to age. It is thus impossible to know the date of their compositions, except by knowing the exact period at which their authors lived.

With regard to the religious events which are the theme of the legends, it is different. These compositions belong to the domain of historical songs and ballads, and owe their popularity to their being the expression of traditions already widely known among the people.

We close our notice with the translation of a little poem by a young kloarek of Léon. It is his farewell to earthly love—a farewell which is apparently made more easy by outward accidentals than can always be the case under similar circumstances. It is entitled


Ah! knew I how to read and write as I know how to rhyme,
A song all new I would indite, and in the shortest time!
Behold my little friend, who comes! towards our house comes she,
And, if the chance befals, she'll may-be speak awhile with me.
"Sweet little friend, but you are changed since last I saw your face;
'Twas in the month of June, when you the pardon went to grace."
"And if, young man, so changed I am, what wonder can there be?
When, since the pardon of the Folgoät, death has stood by me;
For 'twas a raging fever that has made the change you see."
"Sweet friend, come with me to the garden; there a little rose
First opened out its dewy bud when Thursday morning rose.
Upon her stalk, so fair and gay, her new-born beauty shone;
The morrow came—her beauty and her freshness all were gone.
"Sweet friend, the door of your young heart I bade you well to close,
That naught might enter to disturb that garden's still repose;
But, ah! you did not listen, and you left ajar the door,
And now the flower is withered up that showed so fair before.
"For fairer things than love and youth this world has not to give,
But in this world nor love nor youth have oft-times long to live;
Our love was like a summer cloud that melts into the sky,
And passing as a breath of wind that dies with scarce a sigh."


[43] In some versions, "To Razar Brig thou comest at laste."

[44] "Multitude of peasants, ... exhibiting wool, fleeces, forms of wax, etc."

[Pg 118]


It was a glorious September morning; the freshness of the night was still perceptible, although the rays of the sun were filling the air with a genial warmth, when, issuing from the fortified gates of the beautifully situated town of Grenoble, I turned my steps towards the celebrated monastery of the Grande Chartreuse.

I made an early start, as the road before me was long, consisting of an uninterrupted series of steep ascents, with the exception of the first few miles that lay along the banks of the Isère. This level and comparatively uninteresting country is soon passed, and the traveller, quitting the high-road at the village of Voreppe, strikes into the mountains. On reaching the brow of the hill that rises above that village, a most beautiful panorama presents itself to the view. The fertile and far-famed valley of Grêsivaudan spreads far away to the left and right, shut in on either side by rocky mountains, capped by dark pine forests. The snowy crests of the Alps are conspicuous, while, through the centre of the valley, the Isère, in its sinuous course, gleams in the sun like a silver thread, contrasting with the dark, luxuriant green of the hemp and the gay autumnal tints of the vine.

Commanding a like enchanting view, and nestled in the hills a few miles from Voreppe, is the Convent of Chalais. Founded as a Benedictine abbey in the XIth century, it became later on a dependence of the Grande Chartreuse. At the Revolution, it was sold as national property, but it was destined once again to revert to its pious use; for in 1844 it was bought by the Père Lacordaire for the sons of S. Dominic, whose order he had just restored in France. Often in after-years did he seek there, in the presence of nature's loveliest aspects, some slight repose for his overworked body and ardently active mind.

The road from Voreppe to St. Laurent du Pont appeared to me exceedingly dreary and monotonous, more so, perhaps, than it really was, from the contrast its bare and rugged hills presented to the luxuriant and richly varied scene on which I had just been gazing. So pleasant, however, were the anticipations that filled my mind that the distance was accomplished in a very short time; and a few minutes sufficed for refreshment at St. Laurent.

The village is poor; its church, which is a new building, was built, like most of those in the neighborhood, by the charity of the monks of the Chartreuse; indeed, the village itself has been several times rebuilt by their generosity, having frequently, owing to the quantity of wood used in the construction of its houses, been burnt almost to the ground.

The most beautiful part of the whole journey is now at hand. Within a mile of St. Laurent is the entrance to the famous gorge that bears the name of Desert of S. Bruno. My expectations were raised to the highest pitch; for I had always heard that the scenery of this gorge would alone repay the traveller his journey thither, even if the monastery and its surroundings were entirely devoid of interest. I was not, however, free from misgivings; for how often does[Pg 119] that which in itself is really beautiful disappoint us when compared to the bright visions that had charmed our imagination! Such at least was the lesson experience had taught me; but to-day I was to learn something new, for the reality far surpassed my most sanguine expectations. Never shall I forget the majestic grandeur of the scenery that continued to unfold itself to my view at every turn of the road until I reached the monastery. The most striking scene of the whole journey, and the one to which the memory loves best to revert, is without doubt the entrance to the Desert de S. Bruno; here both nature and man seem to have combined to render the features of the landscape picturesque and sublime. The mind is totally unprepared for what is coming. During the first mile after leaving the village, the road has been pleasantly winding along the banks of the Guiers Mort, among wooded hills, and through rich mountain pastures—nature in its softer rather than in its grander aspects—and it is at a sudden turn of the road, at a point where the valley seems shut in on all sides, that the entrance to the gorge bursts upon the sight, seemingly as if the rocks had been rent in two to form a passage just sufficient to admit the foaming torrent, while the road is carried along the face of the mountain, now rising perpendicularly from the water's edge to an immense height. A ruined archway, on which is still visible the arms of the Carthusian order, here marks the limits of the former domain of the monastery, and, with the bold, single-arched bridge which carries the road across the stream, and the rustic iron forge that crouches under the opposite rocks, adds a picturesque beauty to the grandeur of the spot.

Until you reach the convent—that is to say, for about eight miles—the beauty of the scenery never for a moment diminishes; the road, which shows great engineering skill, follows the course of the torrent, which it crosses several times. At each turn the view varies; sometimes distant glimpses of the snowy peaks of the Alps are obtained; at other times you are so completely shut in by the mountains that nothing is visible save the magnificent forests that cover their sides. The size of some of the pines in these forests is very remarkable; one could almost imagine that they dated back as far as S. Bruno. I could not refrain from thinking, as I gazed on them, what scenes they must have witnessed, and what strange tales they could unfold were they able to speak; of how many could they tell who passed along that road after bidding the world an eternal farewell—men who had seen life in all its gayest moods, and, having tasted its unsatisfying honors and delights, sought peace and happiness in repentance and self-denial; youths who wore still unsullied their baptismal robes, and fled hither to preserve that innocence that fears even the contact of a sinful world. They could tell how the great S. Hugh had returned sorrowfully along that road from the calm home of his dear Chartreuse, to accept, for God's greater glory, the far distant see of Lincoln, and the dreary task of struggling against an unprincipled king and a corrupt court; they could tell of many others who, like him, had humbly trod that path, thinking to hide themselves from dignities and honors, but had been recalled by the all-penetrating wisdom of the church to wear the mitre or the purple.

About midway between St. Laurent and the monastery there rises by the side of the road a most singular pinnacle-shaped rock, ascend[Pg 120]ing perpendicularly to a considerable height, and called the Pic de L'Œillette. In connection with this rock an amusing story is told of an Englishman, who, having heard that no one had ever reached its summit, determined to secure that honor for his country. Accordingly, he commenced the task with a thorough good-will, and, after much labor, succeeded in accomplishing it to his satisfaction. As soon as his enthusiasm, which showed itself in the form of three genuine British cheers, had in some measure subsided, he began to think of descending; to his dismay, he discovered that to descend would be more than difficult—indeed, to all appearance, impossible; and it was not until he had passed several hours in his very uncomfortable position, meditating, let us hope, on the vanity of human greatness, that he was able to let himself down in most inglorious fashion by the aid of ropes brought to him by some peasants.

Owing to the height of the surrounding mountains and narrowness of the gorge, no distant views of the monastery are obtained; and the traveller comes very suddenly on the imposing pile, which, from its extent, resembles a small village. Without being remarkable in architecture, it is decidedly picturesque; the high pitch of the roofs, rendered necessary by the heavy falls of snow which occur during seven months of the year, and its six belfries rising to various heights, give it a striking and quaint appearance.

Before entering its solemn portals, a few words on the origin and history of the monastery may not be out of place. S. Bruno, after quitting the world, selected this spot, at the invitation of S. Hugh, the holy Bishop of Grenoble, as a suitable place where, in imitation of the fathers of the desert, he, with six disciples, might lead a life of solitude and prayer. At first each recluse built himself a separate cell; but in time, as their number increased, the rude huts grew into a large and regular monastery. The site of this early settlement, now marked by the Chapel of S. Bruno and Notre Dame de Cassalibus, was higher than that of the present structure, which was chosen some thirty years after the death of the holy founder, when the original buildings were destroyed by an avalanche. During its long existence, many have been the vicissitudes the convent has experienced; frequently burnt almost to the ground, pillaged by ruthless nobles or fanatical heretics, it has always risen again from its ruins; and in riches or in poverty, in prosperity or in adversity, its inhabitants have given the same noble example of austere virtue, unbounded charity, and generous hospitality.

The Revolution of 1789 found the Carthusian order at the height of its prosperity; in France alone it counted no less than seventy houses, with immense possessions in lands and revenues. These, of course, were seized by revolutionary greed, and the poor monks driven forth into the world, even from the uninviting solitudes of S. Bruno's desert. With 1815 came the restoration of religion in France, and the return of the scattered members of the religious orders. The Grande Chartreuse once more afforded shelter to the children of S. Bruno, but bereft of all its lands and forests, which had been either expropriated by the state or sold as national property. In July, 1816, possession was taken in the name of the order by Dom Moissonnier, superior-general. A happy day it was for the inhabitants of the surrounding country, who had not for[Pg 121]gotten the kind and generous friends of whom they had been deprived for twenty-four years; and the welcome they gave the returning fathers proves that then, as to-day, the cry against religious orders proceeded, not from the people, but from that class, more noisy than numerous, whose sole aim is the destruction of Christianity and the gratification of their own evil passions.

The part of the building reserved for the reception of strangers forms one side of the spacious courtyard, into which you enter through the principal gateway; it contains four large dining-halls and a great number of bed-rooms, often, however, insufficient for the visitors who in the summer crowd to view this lovely spot, and to see something of that wondrous, and in our days unfamiliar, institution—monastic life.

During one's stay at the monastery, which, unless by special permission, is limited to three days, one must be content with Carthusian fare—a curious mixture of vegetable soups, omelettes, carp—of which there seems to be a never-failing supply—and wild fruits from the mountains. Meat is never allowed within the precincts of the convent; not even in case of serious illness is the rule relaxed for the monks.

The long walk and the invigorating purity of the mountain air had sharpened my appetite, and I did ample justice to the viands placed before me, meagre in quality certainly, but not in quantity, finishing with a glass of the famous liqueur. I contented myself with a short stroll after dinner, as at so high an altitude the air is cool after sunset; indeed, few are the evenings here, even at midsummer, that people are not glad to assemble for a short time around the glowing logs before retiring to rest.

At midnight, the great bell tolls forth for matins, at which the visitor is permitted to assist in a small gallery looking into the church. A solitary lamp lights but dimly the large and naturally sombre interior. It is an impressive sight to behold in that solemn gloom the white-robed monks entering one by one, and, after prostrating themselves before the altar, noiselessly take their places in the choir. The office lasts until two in the morning. The chant is low and monotonous, unaccompanied by any musical instrument.

Every morning at ten, a father whose special duty it is to entertain visitors shows you over the monastery, explaining everything with the most genial courtesy, answering with perfect affability the oftentimes foolish and ignorant questions that are addressed to him. The visit lasts about an hour and a half.

The chapel is spacious and lofty but exceedingly plain, and contains nothing to interest the antiquarian. The largest room in the building is the chapter-hall, which is finely proportioned, and is decorated with portraits of the first fifty generals of the order, and copies of the celebrated paintings by Lesueur representing the life of S. Bruno.

By far the most interesting part of the whole convent is the cloister, in shape a very long parallelogram, the two side galleries being 721 feet in length; into them open the cells of the monks. In the centre of the cloister is their burial-ground; and thus their abode in life is separated by but a few steps from their final resting-place. The graves of the generals of the order are alone marked by stone crosses; all others lie beneath the greensward unmarked, unnamed. The cells are now but rarely shown. They are all alike, consisting of two rooms one above the[Pg 122] other; each has a small garden. Food is passed to the inmates through a wicket opening into the corridor of the cloister; for it is only on Sundays and certain feast-days that the monks dine in common in the refectory; even then the strictest silence is observed.

The library is not extensive; the most valuable books and manuscripts were given, at the Revolution, to different public libraries. The liqueur for which the Grande Chartreuse is so renowned, and which now forms the principal source of income for the convent, is manufactured in a house quite apart from the main buildings. The process is, of course, not shown to visitors, for the recipe used—aromatic herbs of various kinds—is kept a secret; and hitherto all attempts to imitate this liqueur have been failures. The manufacture occupies a large staff of lay brothers. The fathers take no part in it; their lives are purely contemplative. It takes fully two days to explore the environs, and more time may profitably be spent in doing so should the tourist happen to be either an artist or a botanist. The former will find numberless points of view worthy to adorn his album, while the latter will revel in the luxuriance of the wondrous flora which clothes the neighboring hills. The lover of mountain-climbing will find a pleasant and easy day's work in the ascent of the Grand Som, and on a fine day will be amply repaid by the extensive prospect the summit commands. The less enterprising will probably be satisfied with the many pleasant walks through the woods and sloping pastures that surround the monastery, of which varied and striking views may be obtained at every turn.

It was not without a feeling of sincere regret that, on the last evening of my stay, I ascended one of those slopes to take a farewell view of the venerable pile. The last rays of the setting sun lit up the high-pitched roofs and cross-topped belfries; a solemn silence reigned in cloister and courtyard, in chapel and cell. It was a scene on which one could gaze with unmixed pleasure, awakening as it did in the mind feelings so calm and peaceful—a scene so full of all that spoke of future hopes, so empty of all that recalled the fleeting joys of the present!

But the sun had sunk behind the horizon, and the shades of evening, fast closing around, warned me that it was time to cease my musings, and seek, for the last time, the shelter of the hospitable convent-roof.

Early next morning, I was back again to the noisy world, with its crowded streets, bustling hotels, and busy railways; but I shall ever bear in my memory the pleasant recollections of that wonderful combination of the austere charms of monastic life with the most varied beauties of nature, which I have endeavored to describe in these few pages on La Grande Chartreuse.

[Pg 123]


Nature, to me thy face has ever been
Familiar as a mother's; yet it grows
But younger with the wearing years, and shows
Fresher—unlike all others I have seen.
The "beings of the mind," though "not of clay"—
"Essentially immortal,"[45] and "a joy
For ever"[46]—even these may pall and cloy,
For all that poets gloriously say.
Yea, and thy own charms, Nature, when portrayed
By hand of man, become the spoil of time.
The seasons mar, not change, them: in sublime
Repose they reign—but evermore to fade.
Whence comes, then, thy perennial youth renewed?
Thy freshness as of everlasting morn?
God's breath is on thee. Of it thou wast born,
And with its fragrance is thy life bedewed.
Nor can I need aught sterner than thy face
To wean me from the things that pass away.
Not by autumnal lesson of decay,
Or vernal hymn of renovating grace,
But by this fragrance of the Infinite;
For here my soul catches her native air,
And tastes the ever fresh, the ever fair,
That wait her in the Gardens of Delight.

Lake George, August, 1873.



"The beings of the mind are not of clay:
Essentially immortal, they create
And multiply in us a brighter ray
And more belov'd existence."


"A thing of beauty is a joy for ever."

[Pg 124]



Hospitals convey two very different impressions. If gone over on the day specified for public admittance, everything will be found in perfect order, every article used, every place, will shine with cleanliness; the patients will be seen lying under white coverlets behind the folds of neatly drawn curtains, and the men in attendance will be attired in their best uniforms. Every repulsive object has been put out of sight. But should the visitor command sufficient influence to obtain admission when he is not expected, when no preparations have been made for the public, he will acquire a more correct idea of human infirmity. The atmosphere is thick and heavy, the flickering night-lamp scarcely sheds its pale light around. Here lies one whose groans disturb his fellow-sufferers; there shrieks the victim of fever, endeavoring in his delirium to tear away from the infirmier who is holding him down; further on, half-closed curtains insufficiently conceal the mortal remains of such or such a "Number," who expired a few hours ago. Other details, too harrowing to retrace, shall be omitted, but their fearful reality may not be lost sight of in a faithful account of what scenes do occur in a hospital. A heavy coffin is from time to time viewed at the foot of one of the beds. It awaits the corpse of the sufferer, with whom his nearest survivor may have exchanged converse on the preceding day. These, in short, are some of the sights witnessed without the delusive cover of science or preparations for a public exhibition.

The aversion of the poor for benevolent institutions of this kind is hereby explained, although incessant efforts are being made in France to improve the condition of hospitals in a material point of view; and all the objections now made are to be attributed to mismanagement in the past rather than to shortcomings in the present. In spite of progress, nevertheless, the word "hospice" and the thing itself have retained a signification which is replete with mournful forebodings. On the other hand, repugnance for hospitals is perfectly legitimate when grounded on serious motives, and especially when inspired by a feeling of family love. That man would be worthless indeed who could abandon his relatives to public charity without experiencing some kind of sorrow at being unable to keep them, through a trying illness, in his own home. Examples of moral desertions are nevertheless too frequent in Paris. Physicians are well acquainted with those sham patients who prefer hospital bread to any other, because they have not to earn it. There are, however, certain adversities here below which defy all human foresight, which destroy old-established positions, and render the efforts of a whole laborious lifetime unprofitable. A large portion of some lives is spent in contending with unforeseen, unsuspected vicissitudes. Many may therefore die in a hospital who deserved better; but, as a general rule, this end is brought on by a long course of dissipation, and by oblivion of the most sacred duties. A hospital is not unfrequently[Pg 125] the last stage on which retribution is played out.

When families are averse to trust their sick to public charity for reasons given above, it is wise not to argue with natural pride, founded, after all, on a praiseworthy motive; yet all who are anxious to relieve the suffering members of Jesus Christ are none the less bound to improve the present condition of hospitals, as far as they have it in their power so to do.

The following pages are published for the purpose of showing how much there is to be done. Not all the good-will nor all the experiments tried by physicians, managers, and almoners for the alleviation of bitter suffering, will ever be superfluous. Objections ever will be made to hospital treatment that cannot be remedied; and, do what we may, the most active Christian charity will never replace the tender care of a mother, daughter, or sister.

After a careful examination of the question, the first lesson acquired is that home relief is the best solution to the problem of misery and illness in needy families; it encourages the lower classes, besides, to perform their domestic duties.

In one case out of ten, it is highly prejudicial to remove a patient from his surroundings; moreover, it loosens the family tie, and in Paris especially, where these bonds are so slight and so incessantly undermined by false theories, it is a more damaging course than elsewhere.

Statistics are very justly resorted to for the solution of many of our problems, but their conclusions cannot be blindly adopted in medical cases; physicians themselves often warn us against glancing them over without investigation. Figures do, however, undeniably prove that mortality in hospitals is much larger than in private dwellings. A considerable number of patients, to whom fresh air is a boon, cannot breathe a vitiated atmosphere with impunity. Crowding is particularly prejudicial to the wounded and in lying-in hospitals. "In 1861," says Dr. Brochin, in his Encyclopædia of Medical Sciences, "the proportion of patients cured by home relief was 49 to 100, while the proportion of deaths in private dwellings was 9 to 100. During this same period, deaths in the hospitals were 13 to 100. The average space of time required for the treatment of each patient in his own home is from 14 to 39 days; in the hospitals, from 25 to 83. The average cost of a patient per day is 1 fr. 19 c.; the entire treatment of each, 16 frs. 90 c.; whereas, in the hospitals, a patient costs 2 frs. 25 c. per day, and 61 frs. 45 c. for an entire cure. These figures plead in favor of home relief."

A great deal has been said in these latter times of those immense edifices pompously called "Model Hospitals." There is Lariboisière, for instance, and the new Hôtel Dieu. It would have been wiser had the government spent less in one instance, and been more lavish in another; for, while these magnificent buildings were being erected, palaces were also in course of construction all over the capital, and the laboring classes, thus driven from their workshops, were compelled to seek lodgings up in attics or in out-of-the-way localities. If some trouble had been taken to cleanse and widen the poor man's tenement, or had something been done towards putting him in the way of getting food at little cost, we should boast fewer façades, fewer sumptuous edifices, but the work would be more meritorious.

Physicians have energetically opposed the idea of accumulating so large a number of patients in the[Pg 126] Hôtel Dieu as it was originally intended it should contain. Let us trust the observations of experienced men will be taken into consideration, and that the number of beds will be diminished before final arrangements are completed.


Our beds are too close; and another thing which strikes a foreigner on visiting our hospitals is that the divisions which are supposed to seclude one patient from his neighbor, are perfectly useless for that purpose. In many cases, they are done away with altogether. The proximity of beds varies, however, according to the different asylums. Some of the buildings were not intended for hospitals, and their managers have had to turn rooms into wards in the best way they could, in spite of defective architecture. It is difficult to specify the exact distance kept between the beds; but an idea can be conveyed when I state that any patient, by stretching his arm out, without any great exertion could easily touch his neighbor's hand.

In many hospitals, the beds have been coupled by two and two, so that, if two patients are thus closer to each other on one side, the distance is larger from other patients on the opposite side.

There is, however, always space enough left for a night-table between every two beds. In most hospitals, beds are hung round with white calico curtains; but in some asylums they are omitted, and in these there is literally nothing to hide patients from view. Such a system of total exposure is perfectly inhuman. I should say it originates in a spirit of medical socialism; for it compels sufferers to exhibit their wounds to each other during the doctor's visit. Some men and all women cannot endure this ordeal without a struggle. Why not sympathize with that which can be alleviated, if not entirely cured? What would be our feelings if, when brought low by fever and diet, we had to lie near a man who is breathing his last, and to remain in full view of his corpse for long hours after he had expired? But, as before said, the larger number of hospital beds are hung round with curtains, maintained in opposition to our Paris doctors, who have repeatedly protested against them, insisting that all hangings draw unwholesome miasms, and are therefore receptacles of contagion. This objection is not unfounded; eminent practitioners experience great uneasiness on the subject, and the curtain difficulty has often been debated by managers of sanitary institutions.

Endeavors have been made to obviate the evil by a renewal of hangings every six months; in spite of the great expense, the difficulty exists. It is next to impossible to ventilate a ward encumbered to excess with beds and hangings; and, if the principals of hospitals do still advocate curtains, it is because they are actuated by motives of a moral order. In M. Husson's Study of Hospitals we find: "These calico divisions are a great comfort to female patients; it is a great relief to them to be able to conceal their diseases from the public gaze, and thus to isolate themselves from surrounding wretchedness. This feeling of modesty, or shyness in other cases, will long resist the most eloquent exhortations of our doctors on general salubrity."

Our present hospital regulations do not carry out the purpose for which curtains are intended. It is usual to draw them all back at eight A.M., and they are left open until the doctor's visit is over and the wards have been swept. This lasts till[Pg 127] about mid-day. The consequence of this arrangement is that, during the most delicate operations, such as the dressing of wounds, the doctor's examination, and the change of a patient's linen, there is no sort of privacy around the sufferer, no more consideration shown for women and young girls than for others. In the day-time, another regulation prevails. Inspectors forbid concealment behind the curtains on account of the difficulty they would experience on surveying proceedings in the wards. For these reasons, the curtains are elegantly looped aside, and contribute more to the decoration of the beds than to use.

Every ward contains two rows of beds, placed along the lateral walls in such wise that the patient's head is near the wall, and his feet turn towards the centre of the ward. Why could not a low partition, covered over with stucco, be raised between each bed? This separation need not exceed 1 metre 50 centimetres in height, nor 1 metre 50 centimetres in width. It would part the beds, and not obstruct ventilation in the upper regions or down the central passage. If the ward were lighted by a sufficient number of windows to allow of one being opened in each of these "cells," the circulation of so much fresh air would greatly benefit the sick.

The front of each cell being open, surveyors would find their task rendered easy, neither would their inspection be hindered by a small iron rod being affixed to the outer side of each partition, on which two light curtains might be drawn in case of a death, or when it were absolutely necessary that a patient should enjoy privacy. The slight screens would not entail the same inconvenience as those which are in use at present, as they are mounted on a very complicated plan all around the beds. Whenever a decease occurs, the stucco coating of the low divisions should be washed with a sponge. It is well known that stucco is not a receptacle for contagion in the same degree as drapery.

Such is the kind of cabinet each patient should have to himself, and it should be wide enough for a chair and night-table to find place by his bedside. These and a crucifix are the indispensable articles every patient has a right to. This system would greatly simplify our hospital beds, now consisting of so many and such cumbersome pieces.

A little space might possibly be lost; a ward now containing twenty-five patients would only hold eighteen; but, on the other hand, what an improvement, and how much healthier an arrangement in a medical point of view!

Patients have certain communications to make to their friends on the days set aside for public admission which are not intended for the hearing of strangers; and, when the hour of death is nigh, it is but natural they should be allowed to hold converse with their relatives without any witnesses. Even this semi-retirement is denied them under the present system; whereas the plan proposed would secure the preservation of family secrets. It will, perhaps, be alleged that the patient would thus be isolated from his fellow-sufferers. By no means. As above remarked, the cells would be open down the central passage, and each patient could see his opposite neighbor. This, added to the going to and fro of infirmiers, doctors, sisters, and regular visitors, affords quite enough excitement for an invalid.

Neither is this an innovation. It was once tried at Munich, and, if but imperfectly carried out, no hygienic[Pg 128] objection was made to it. We find this organization existed in one of the oldest hospitals in France, the Tonnerre Hôtel Dieu—a monument described by M. Viollet Leduc in his work, Dictionnaire Raisonné de l'Architecture Française du XI. au XVI. Siècle. The learned writer says this institution can bear comparison with the most boasted foundations of the present day. In the archives of the Tonnerre Hospital we find the following document. I quote because it forcibly reminds us of S. Vincent de Paul: "The poor are provided for in this institution, and the convalescent are kept a whole week after their cure, when they are sent away with a coat, a shirt, and a pair of boots. A chapel will be added having four altars. The brothers and sisters in charge are twenty in number; they are bound to provide food and drink for the wayfarer; to board pilgrims and strangers, clothe the poor, visit the sick, comfort the prisoner, and bury the dead. The brothers and sisters will not take their meals before the sick have been attended to...."

On closing this paragraph, a question arises whether people in the dark, middle ages were not more solicitous for the poor than in the XVIIIth century. A glance down a report written for Louis XV. on the Hôtel Dieu will corroborate this.

We shall doubtless hear it objected that partitions between hospital beds will inconvenience the doctors and medical students; that it will be difficult to approach patients; and young physicians will declare they cannot follow the chef's instructions near enough. It will be said, further, that, when any operation is going on, the limited space allowed by a narrow cell must exclude the use of surgical instruments.

The following considerations clear the first of these objections; but, in a strict sense of the word, the only essential thing is that the physician should not be impeded in his movements round the sufferer. He, his assistants, and about seven or eight more are all the spectators necessary, and these form a sufficiently large audience. The central passage down all wards affords room for more. Even as the beds are now placed, it is not easy for a larger number to get nearer.

As to operations, they are carried on in a special hall, to which the patient is carried; patients never are operated on in the wards.


The great everyday occurrence in a hospital is the doctor's visit. It begins at about eight A.M., and lasts till eleven. The chef, a term designating the head-physician, examines each sufferer in turn, inquires into his or her state, and dictates prescriptions, which are taken down by an outdoor student. He is also attended by indoor students, other outdoor students, postulants, and auditors. The two latter must have gone through a course of two years' study before they are privileged to walk the hospitals. The postulant is not admitted before he has gone through a special examination, and then becomes an outdoor student. The highest degree under doctor is that of an indoor student; all are, therefore, familiar with medical science excepting the auditor, who, though he may have studied two years in the schools, is but a dilettante—a kind of amateur authorized by the chef to follow him on his rounds with the students. Many even call themselves auditors who slip in unperceived with the crowd. When the head-doctor is followed by all these young men, his cortége is very numerous. There are often as many as[Pg 129] fifty in our principal hospitals, seldom less than thirty in the minor ones. Thus, without any amplification of a known fact, a patient has to see about forty strangers round his bed every day. He is operated on in public. Not a line of his features contracted by pain escapes the notice of indifferent spectators; not a motion of his muscles is unheeded. The professor meanwhile develops his medical theories on the living body, studying the "case" with care.

Let us for a moment imagine that your own daughter is lying at the hospital. She is twenty; you have brought her up with all the care and solicitude parents owe to their children; you have often said in her hearing that modesty is the loveliest adornment; that it replaces whatever else is wanting, and can be replaced by nothing. For twenty years, you have watched the growth of her budding virtues; her Christian advancement has been your daily care. Her state now requires she should see an eminent physician once every day. Look into your heart. What is the sensation you feel there at the idea of her being examined by forty or fifty medical students besides?

It is an indignant protest against their attendance.

It is the mission of a priest to be made the confidant of many sorrows; he has to suffer with the sufferer, to mourn with the mourner; and he can state that, of all trials which attend medical treatment in hospitals, there is not one more distasteful than the doctor's visit, especially to women. I appeal to any who have heard patients converse together; I appeal to any brother in the ministry. Is this not the great cause of repugnance for hospitals?

On the other hand, medical science has certain rights; doctors have to go through an apprenticeship, practitioners must follow a course of practice on living beings before they are qualified for operations; it is therefore indispensable that the head-doctor should be followed by disciples, and the height of absurdity to require he should go round the wards alone. It is necessary, likewise, that postulants and students should be present; for it frequently occurs that they are called on to dress wounds during the doctor's absence.

Their attendance is consequently unavoidable; but, this being the case, it is all the more desirable, in the name of female modesty, and in the name of common respect for a needy suffering female, that the presence of noisy auditors should be done away with. They crowd the wards, and learn very little. It should be with medical science as with every other: students ought to have become familiar with the rudiments and theories of their profession before they practice; and a few years in the private schools should be gone through before beginners walk the hospitals. The crowd is perfectly intolerable at the hour of the doctor's visit in our best hospitals, especially at the Cliniques and Charité. This might be remedied by each medical student being bound to keep to one asylum for an allotted space of time, let us say one year, after which he could be removed to another. One of the good effects instantly resulting from this would be that our central city hospitals, instead of being crowded to the neglect of others, would find the number of spectators greatly thinned for the benefit of minor hospitals now forsaken. The great thing in all questions relating to benevolent asylums is to examine whence the stand-point is taken for their consideration. Two principles present themselves: common sense and[Pg 130] humanity say that physicians and surgeons are intended for hospitals, not hospitals for physicians and surgeons. Medical science—and here we allude to the materialistic and unsound branch of that science—replies: "By no means. Inconvenience must be tolerated, science and progress go foremost."

Let us manfully, though sadly, give up a share for scientific progress (which is not an imaginary thing); and, on looking into it, let us reflect on the bitterness of that irony which so often leaves us to utter the word equality, coupled with that other word, fraternity, which is just as little understood. Hospitals will not answer the end for which they were instituted until the smallest of those who flee hither to hide their misery and sufferings obtain the same respect, deference, and care lavished on the man who owns a yearly income.

Some time ago, a woman afflicted with an internal disease was carried to a hospital. The head-doctor examined her on the following morning, and immediately concluded that her case was too grave to be remedied.

He declared any attempt made to operate on her would prove fatal and hasten death; the only thing he could do was to prescribe lenients, in order to alleviate intense agony so long as life held out. The young students around him urgently insisted on the operation being performed; whereupon the physician, turning towards them, and finding expostulation unprofitable, said: "If this patient were my wife, gentlemen, I should not attempt what you suggest, I should leave her in peace; you must, therefore, not expect me to do otherwise by this woman...."

Such words as these should be engraved in letters of gold on the hearts of all practitioners.


A fact that has often been set forth by Christianity is that the secrets of man are revealed on his death-bed. Then it is that every syllable he utters, every motion of his spirit, are full of significance. The smallest sign is a ray of light by which a whole lifetime can be read; and, if the amount of faith in a man is thus disclosed, how easy it is to compute the amount of faith in a nation from what is supplied by observation in so many single cases!

O mors! bonum est judicium tuum!—O death! thy judgments are equitable!

No man is better qualified than the priest to look into this matter. A large portion of his time is spent by the dying, and my own personal experience has confirmed me in the following observations.

The most striking features as regards faith in the dying are moral dejection and an almost total absence of hope. These are the inevitable consequences of the efforts which have for some time been made to uproot religious principle from the hearts of the people. It is no wonder that hope fled with her divine sister, faith. Can any thinker form a notion of the state of a man who has been down-trodden all his life, who has been looked on as a bearer of burdens and a misérable, and who has nothing to hope for in a future state?

We read in Holy Writ that, when the waters of the deluge began to decrease, and Noe looked out of his ark after his arduous struggle with the elements, he saw a dove, bearing an olive-branch, fly towards him; the bird was the herald of good news, the harbinger of future deliverance.

Our poor, when exhausted by long adversity, look out in vain for the[Pg 131] dove, and that hope which carries peace and help seldom brightens their last moments. Death to such as these is nothing but acquiescence in blind fate. What can a priest do in such cases? Teach and enlighten. Very true; but the patient's physical condition does not give him much time to do this thoroughly, nor can the sufferer always attend to the little the priest can do. The thing left to be tried is the awakening of the dying man's memory. The priest therefore recalls the scenes of boyhood, talks of a mother's teachings, of the village church, the long-forgotten first communion, etc., etc. If the poor man come from the South or from Alsace, the patois of his native place rouses wonderful reminiscences; but it is useless to attempt reasoning. A plain-spoken statement of fact that is neither commonplace nor trivial often creates a great impression. It is a mistake to use unrefined phraseology in the hope of redeeming the illiterate by descending to the level of their intelligence; the lower classes prefer plain but elevated language, and value the price of the liquid according to the cost of the vase in which it is contained. Returns to God in the last day are very scarce and always leave much room for the mercy of the Almighty; but it is something to have brought about a desire for the last sacraments, and to have been able to set forth, though imperfectly, one or two of the great truths of Christianity.

Three dissolving elements have greatly hastened the degenerate condition of Paris workmen, and, in general, of the lower classes in this capital. They are the wine-shop, the club, and the journal.

The enormous rate at which wine was taxed under the Empire forced the heads of small families to give up keeping a provision of ordinaire in their cellars; and, as wine could not be kept at home, it had to be fetched from the nearest wine-shop. There was also an additional reason why the usual barrel could not be kept. Houses no longer afford the luxury of a cellar to each flat, and those who could have afforded to pay the duties had no room for a cask of wine from the provinces. But there was the wine-shop; and alcoholic mixtures, colored with dyeing tinctures or logwood, were resorted to instead of the wholesome draught of thin but unadulterated wine which every Frenchman, a few years ago, was so accustomed to. When once the habit is acquired of turning in at a wine-shop, many are the baneful results which ensue; first drunkenness, then extravagance, bad associates, low talk and discussions round the counter, broils—all of which soon get the better of an originally upright conscience unsupported by firm principle.

The evil effects of drink were never known to breed in France such a cankerous wound as that which has spread among us since the siege and the Commune. Prior to these melancholy events, alcoholic patients were only now and then brought to our hospitals, but they have increased out of all proportion within the last few years. There can be no mistaking such cases with the following symptoms: delirium, inflammation of the lungs, extraordinary irritability, then languor and that sudden debility which is the forerunner of death. No sooner did a Communist suffer amputation than he expired; for it is almost impossible to operate on men who are in a continual state of intoxication.

Paris clubs were first heard of towards the end of the Empire. M. Emile Ollivier thought a good deal[Pg 132] of these gatherings; but they have, in reality, proved to be a most disastrous institution. The only good they accomplished was to propagate a correct idea of the intellectual and moral degeneracy of our people. The lower classes met for no other purpose than that of uniting all their ignorance and hates. What errors, what curses, fell from those short-lived tribunes! What frantic applause welcomed false theories! No European nation could have resisted this trial, much less than any other the French, who are so credulous, so fickle, so sensitive to all outward impressions. The seeds which bore such noxious fruit under the Commune were first sown within Paris clubs.

As to the public press, it would be loss of time and space to demonstrate how that has contributed to general demoralization. The Siècle, the Opinion Nationale, etc., are read at all wine-shops. The smallest fault or misdemeanor committed by any one connected with the clergy is exposed by these journals to general scandal, aggravated by spiteful comment, exaggerated, then thrown as a rare morsel to open-mouthed multitudes. Such manœuvres are very hurtful with an unenlightened populace, who never discriminate between religion and those who profess it. To them the priest and the faith are synonymous. If the former is immoral, the latter can be good for nothing. A certain amount of logic is wanting by which the contrary could be demonstrated; but the larger proportion are incapacitated for so intellectual an effort. It would lead too far were I to analyze more closely the workings of the three causes which have destroyed our religious and moral convictions. Suffice it that the wine-shop, the club, and the journal have exercised a pernicious influence, and that our working-classes have not the means in their power wherewith to avert it so long as their education is considered complete at the age of twelve. From the day a mechanic commences an apprenticeship, he never hears the name of God, unless it is coupled with some curse on the lips of his elders. The church, Jesus Christ, the sacraments, soon become objects of derision.

In short, the end of such an educational system and of such a life is that the poor man who is carried to a Paris hospital, there to die, knows that he will no sooner have breathed his last than his body will belong to medical students; and as to his soul, that better part which, had it been cultured, would have been a glorious harvest for eternity, he cannot comprehend any discourse concerning it; if compelled to listen because he cannot help himself, he falls back on his pillow in morose indifference.

When a nation, once so devout, has come to this, some anxiety is felt for its future; and the words addressed to Ezechiel the prophet rise to our lips: "Lord, can a new life ever animate these scattered bones?"


The deeper we dive into the subject of Paris hospitals, the more are we impressed by the melancholy spectacle of extreme misery presented. It is as if we stepped into Dante's circles, and saw nothing before us but horror; only here we look stern facts in the face, and have nothing to do with grand poetic conceptions. It is life, it is reality, it is anguish in a most poignant form; for I have now to speak of the mortal remains of Christians, of brothers, of men like ourselves. When a death occurs in the Paris hospitals, the corpse of the departed remains for one or two hours in the ward, after which space of time it is enveloped[Pg 133] in a sheet and carried out on a litter by two infirmiers.

None who have ever seen this abandoned cortége will forget it. The corpse is instantly conveyed to an amphitheatre, where it is left, after being stripped of every thread of linen which covered it. Here it lies for forty-eight hours or more, according to the arrangements made by relatives, or to orders received from the authorities. When no objections are made by relatives, indoor and outdoor students proceed to the autopsy of the body.

Laws and regulations have been laid down, by which a certain number only of dead bodies are allowed for medical science; but these rules are frequently infringed, and too much precipitation has often been the cause of needless distress in poor families.

When the necessary formalities have been gone through, the corpses in the amphitheatre are divided into two series: those claimed by relatives, and those which are left to public charity.

We shall see what becomes of both, after a few preliminary considerations.

The mortal remains of all Christians are sacred in the eyes of Catholics. We never erect a temple, or build an altar, without consecrating a spot therein for the relics of a saint, which lie thus honored, like the corner-stone of an edifice.

Neither does the church authorize Mass to be said in any place not having a consecrated place for relics; and on such alone may the body and blood of Christ rest during the holy sacrifice.

Our belief in the resurrection of the body; our assurance that Christians will, on a future judgment day, either rise in glory or stand to hear their eternal condemnation, renders it impossible for us to look on the mortal remains of Christians as do materialists and the professors of unbelief. What to the latter is nothing but a dead body, a fit object for study, is to us a sacred deposit whence immortality will germinate. It is, therefore, no wonder if Catholics are so solicitous to obtain proper burial for such remains. In this instance, as in all others, Christianity is in perfect harmony with the tenderest aspirations of our kindred.

When it so happens that relatives of the deceased can afford to pay down the sum of fourteen francs (eight for a coffin, and six for the municipal tax), a bier is provided, and the body is buried; if the deceased leaves behind enough money to cover the above expenses, he is buried in like manner, and, if any sum remains over, it is employed according to the will expressed by the deceased. In some cases, survivors are willing to incur more expense than that which is included in an outlay of fourteen francs; for, although this insignificant sum is sufficient for a coffin, it does not suffice for a shroud nor for any body-linen.[47] Moreover, if the family cannot afford to pay fifty francs over and above the fourteen required, the body is interred in the common grave.

The common grave! What a train of sad thought this lugubrious idea gives rise to! It is no longer, thank God! what it was; the bodies are not now thrown, as before, pell-mell in a deep grave. A coffin is provided for each, according to the rule given above; but even in our days, the burial of a poor man is not what it should be.

Fancy a long ditch, in which the coffins are sunk as close as possible, and in juxtaposition; the spaces be[Pg 134]tween are filled up with children's coffins, so as to leave no intervening space. When the soil is covered over this vast grave, it is not possible for each to have a cross above, and it is impossible, likewise, for relatives to know the exact spot occupied by the remains of a beloved parent. Grave-diggers have, of late, had orders to allow more room for the coffins; but until a radical rule is enforced, and until each corpse is authorized to have a separate grave, relatives of the departed are at the mercy of grave-diggers.

However narrow and confined the space thus left for each coffin in the common grave, that small share is only allowed for five years. After that short length of time, the bodies are exhumed, and the bones gathered to the catacombs. The big ditch, now vacated, again yawns for what the diggers call "a fresh set," and soon the work of decomposition again silently commences for another term of five years, and so on for all time.

Leaving every other consideration aside, does it not strike every reader that the period allowed for rest in the common grave is much too short? Many bodies are dug up in good preservation when thus brutally disturbed, and there are persons who can testify to the horror they have experienced when called on, by some untoward circumstance, to be present at these impious exhumations.

I shall not add to it by overdrawing this sufficiently painful picture; it does not become the pen of a priest to color with such ghastly elements. My object is simply to state plain facts—to be exact, and not leave room for the slightest contradiction.

Arguments have been advanced in favor of the good influence of this supreme misery of the common grave. It is hoped that such an end will be avoided, and that it will carry a lesson with it—a horror for relying on public charity; but it nevertheless deals a direct blow at every feeling of respect for kith and kin. Is not the grief caused by eternal partings deep enough, without being increased by our acquiescence in the total abandonment of the tomb?

Any one in authority who could suppress the common grave, and give every poor man separate burial—any one who, having done this, could render such a tomb inviolable for a reasonable term of years, would confer an immense blessing on Parisians.

When M. Haussmann gave out the project of a large burial-ground at Méry-sur-Oise, it met with opposition in all quarters. It was alleged that to send corpses out of Paris by special railway conveyances would be considered disrespectful to the dead. But, we would inquire, is the present system of interment in the common grave calculated to inspire respect? The distance of a few miles, of even a few leagues, would be nothing compared with the privilege of a separate tombstone over a separate grave; and it would be much wiser to have remote cemeteries, provided they were hospitable. This question of the common grave not only interests those who die within the hospitals; it is also of importance to the indigent wherever they die in misery—a state many have fallen into since the war and the Commune.

The above disclosures are certainly very melancholy, and yet I have only described the case of the more fortunate among the poor—of those who have, after all, a hallowed spot to rest in after death. There are some to whom even this boon is denied.

The interests of science and those of families being here antagonistic, it is necessary to quote a few figures:

[Pg 135]

On the 1st January, 1867, the number of sick in the Paris hospitals was 6,243. In the course of that year, the number was increased by 90,375; total, 96,618. Out of this total, 79,897 left the hospitals cured; 10,045 had died. There remained, therefore, on the 1st January of the following year, 6,676 sick persons. In 1869, the number of invalids in the hospitals was 93,355, out of which 82,283 left cured; 10,429 had died on the 31st December of the same year.

We have, in short, an average of 10,000 deaths every year; and the result shown by the above furthermore is that the proportion of deaths to invalids is about that of 1 to 8½. I will not dwell on this latter conclusion, which, however, proves the danger of accumulating a large number of cases under the same roof, and also the necessity of a reform in our establishments. I will pass on to the 10,000 deaths resulting from the report. In this average number, there are from 1,000 to 1,500 claimed by relatives, who purchase a right of separate burial for fifty francs; and there are from 3,500 to 4,000 who are conveyed to the common grave. The remaining 5,000, not claimed by any relative or friend, are dissected, either at the Ecole de Médecine or at the Rue Fer-à-Moulin. These corpses are used after dissection for the manufacture of skeletons, for anatomical institutions, for museums, etc., etc. The detritus collected when these purposes have been accomplished are carried promiscuously in biers to the Hospital Cemetery, which is situated near the Fort of Bicètre, not far from Turg.

No spectacle can be more distressing than that of this cemetery, to which access is gained by a side door in the wooden palings that fence it round. It is a dreary plain, and has no sign to show it is consecrated to the departed. The ridges look more like trenches than graves. No living being has been led here by love to mark the mounds with a cross, neither is this sign of redemption erected over the door, as it is in the smallest hamlet; no holy-water is sprinkled over these graves. Why should no difference be made here between a churchyard and a public field? I again repeat that these 5,000 corpses are those of the deceased not claimed by relatives; and this it is which constitutes a striking inequality between the indigent who die in their own homes, and those who die in the care of public charity. When a poor man dies on his own bed, and has not left any provision for his burial, the mairie of his arrondissement has to provide a coffin gratis, and the municipal tax is suppressed; whereas no such generosity as a coffin is granted in the hospitals. A man dying here without the fourteen francs mentioned is carried to one or other of the amphitheatres. There is no favor shown, even were the departed your own mother. Fourteen francs for a ransom, or the heart of the parent that beat for you is the prey of medical students. A priest is sent for when the corpses have been dissected. It is then his duty to stand up, facing the mutilated remains, and to read the prayers for the dead. When this ceremony is over, they are conveyed to the hospital cemetery. Need I insist that the religious rite performed as I have described is of little consolation to those who are left behind? It is not a separate service for each of the deceased; several bodies lie together, or rather, the members of their bodies—a galling sight, which surviving relatives avoid. Neither can it be defended; for, until the religious ceremony has been performed, the remains are not collected in a coffin;[Pg 136] they lie unshrouded, a hideous exposure of human flesh.

I here repeat that I am not opposed to medical science, nor to the dissection of certain corpses; it is an unavoidable process for the benefit of progress in surgery, and for that of the living; what I have in view is the welfare of the state as acquired by respect for ties of kindred, and by veneration for the mortal remains of Christians.

There is a middle course to be adopted very evidently—a course by which surgery and science generally would be promoted and the religious convictions of Christians not trampled under foot. I propose that, when any person claims the body of a parent or relative in the first degree, that person should be privileged to obtain gratuitous burial, if he or she prove utter incapacity to meet the expenses. This proof is acquired by a certificate from the almshouses, by receipts from the Mont de Piété (Loan Bank), by a line from the mairie, and other sources. A relative in the first degree implies a father, mother, wife, husband, son or daughter, brother or sister. Even were grandfathers and grandmothers included, the 5,000 corpses left to hospital charity would not be greatly diminished; 4,000 bodies would remain at least for dissection—those of wandering strangers, of lawless, unknown persons mostly—and surely this is a high figure for the indigent population of one capital. There are no better surgeons in Europe than those of Göttingen, Wurzburg, Salerno, Montpellier, Vienna, and Berlin, and yet these cities have not near so many dead bodies in their amphitheatres.

I say that a Christian must feel deeply for those who are left without proper burial, a sign on their tombs, a stone to perpetuate their memory for a few years. All this is replaced by the jests of indifferent students; and, instead of the friendly parting kiss, there is the surgeon's instrument on a loved brow.

O old reminiscences of the early catacombs! how far off, how faint, are you now. Who is there in this large city that remembers what a work of mercy it is to bury the dead? O village churchyards! in the centre of which rises the humble church-spires; O graves! over which the fervent kneel every Sunday—graves that never open to give up their dead; O hallowed spots! around which thoughts of God are united with thoughts of our dear ones, and where the past is folded, as it were, hand in hand with the future, how do I prefer you to these grand cemeteries, in which there is so much show for one or two, and nothing for the poor man who will want no more!


[47] When an invalid enters a Paris hospital, the shirt he had on is taken from him. It would be but charitable to return it to the family in case of death.

[Pg 137]


For perfect quiet and certain inspiration, the poet or artist could hardly choose a more suitable summer roost than any one of the villages that fringe the Lake of Como; while for health the advantages of this neighborhood are unrivalled. It combines the beauty of softened lines and veiled colors that distinguishes Italy with that more bracing atmosphere peculiar to Alpine countries. The lake is there for luxurious midnight expeditions under the Italian sky—romantic glidings in boats which, if neither so graceful nor so mysterious as the gondolas of Venice, are yet picturesque enough in their—only apparent—cumbersomeness; the mountains are there for English pedestrian exercise, for long, delightful, tiring walks over crag and scanty vineyard, and, beyond that, through chestnut woods and cypress clearings, till the limit of bareness begins to warn you of Alpine snows; excellent little hotels are there, hardly spoiled by the many but quickly fleeting guests whom the shabby little black steamboat brings in cargoes three times a day—hotels with clean, dapper bed-rooms and bay windows overlooking the lake—hotels where you can always get plenty of fresh milk and graceful Italian civility. Then there are villas by the score, some to be hired, and many more utterly forlorn and deserted; others well cared for, pleasantly tenanted by happy, unpretending Italian families, and wearing a general air of attractive, half-civilized rusticity. You feel that life must go on very smoothly within their walls; that bright, artless women and children chatter and laugh away their brief summer holiday in those spacious verandas and vine-trellised piazzas; and that conventional restraint is an unknown spirit there. You wish that you had a right to enter such an abode, or money enough to create one for yourself just for three months at a time; then may be you pass by another kind of dwelling, with broad, grass-grown steps meeting the water like those of the palaces of Venice; with a great rusty iron gate and railing showing tarnished remains of heraldic gilding; with a garden now overgrown with weeds, but whose tall hedges of box or ilex suggest the statuesque style of the XVIIth century; with melancholy fountains innocent of water, and Etruscan-shaped stone vases once filled with flowers, and now holding only a little stagnant rainwater; with another flight of gaunt steps leading up to a porch and innumerable stone balconies and terraces notched with half-ruined carvings of the Renaissance; moss and mould everywhere, life nowhere; funereal cypresses mounting guard over mutilated statues of fauns and wood-nymphs; rats and mice peopling in reality the marbled-paved halls of the mansion; and ghosts—in your imagination—pacing up and down the broad, deserted corridors. Then, if you are of a poetic turn of mind, you forget the brightness, the freedom, the laisser-aller of the peopled villas, and wish that you were lord of this vast, melancholy, romantic pile, the natural scene of some stately poem, the fitting frame of some picture like Millais' pathetic "Hu[Pg 138]guenot Lover," the sure source of an inspiration lofty, noble, vague, and richly proportioned. Everything is on a scale of magnificence, such as suggests only extravagance to our dwarfed notions of the proprieties of life; a modern visitor feels a pigmy in those vast, re-echoing halls; he almost expects some Brobdingnag halberdier in cloth of gold and scarlet to catch him up by the hair as some insect curiosity, or at least to order him out as an impertinent intruder; the great marble staircase seems to be alive with the shades of the noble throngs who, in Spanish doublets, jewelled toques, needle-like swords, and stiff neck-ruffs, used to parade the courtly scene—in fact, he finds himself utterly overwhelmed by the phantoms of a greatness that is dead; swamped by the flood of modern days that has brought in a generation of monkeys to consume their lives in efforts to fill the place of a generation of lions.

Again, the traveller may find other sights among the villas of the Lake of Como—less pleasant sights, too, and jarring on the artist's sense of fitness; as, for instance, when he finds a wealthy and prosaic paterfamilias, of the class who do not know and care less what antiquity means—unless it may mean shabbiness—established in placid and ludicrous possession of some stately abode such as we have named. Of course, this unappreciative being, with his robust wife and chubby olive-branches, is of the great, dominant, self-sufficient Anglo-Saxon race, with its grand physical contempt of everything that is foreign, but its keen national determination to take timely advantage of everything that is cheap. He may be from our own or the other of the Atlantic shores; from the cotton-mills of England or the oil-wells of America; but he will invariably be a man of prosaic and practical tendencies, quite impervious to the romance of his new home, but perfectly alive to its value as a good speculation and an economical venture. You will never find an artist or a scholar thus established; they will be penned up in a white-washed room of some peasant's cottage, or, if lucky members of their craft, in the "best room" of the Signor Curato's little presbytery. They, too, are on the lookout for cheap lodgings; but what is cheap to the careful millionaire is the height of impossible extravagance to the gifted brain-worker. And for our part, if we had to share the home of either of these two classes of lake tourists, we should much prefer a shake-down at the white-washed cottage, with the human counterweight of the artist, than the surroundings of marble halls, spacious, deserted gardens, and ghost-haunted staircases, if balanced by the incongruous presence of the prosperous family before mentioned. What poetic justice is it which sternly forbids the tenantship of such abodes to be interchanged?

Just such a beautiful place—but, luckily, not thus tenanted—is a villa on the Lake of Como, just opposite the sharp end of the tongue of land which, jutting into the lake to the distance of half its length, cuts it into the shape of a Y. We passed it every day on our way to the chapel. It was formerly, if we remember rightly, the pleasure-house of Queen Caroline of England during her exile. No one ever goes there now, and its aspect is as suggestive, as gloomy, as pathetic, as Edgar Poe or Mrs. Radcliffe could have wished. Just beyond it, on the narrow slip of land which runs parallel to the lake at the foot of the abrupt mountains, is a private chapel, built over the family vault of the Marquises of[Pg 139] A—— and Counts of S——, an old Savoyard family of great piety and high origin. The land around here is part of their patrimonial estate, and the chapel contains two or three very beautiful monuments of white marble, exquisite in carving and finish, but hardly very Christian in taste.

Further up, and to be reached by a pleasant, rugged path right behind our little hotel, was another church—a village parish church this time, a much more homely and homelike place—served by a gentle old curato. The view over the lake from the jasmine-covered parapet surrounding this church was lovely—so peaceful that it suggested rather the possible surroundings of a holy soul just released from the body than the actual home of a busy, struggling, mortal life.

To heighten the illusion, the moon rose slowly as we descended the same path, and her broad silver shield, as it passed seemingly behind the crags of the mountains on the opposite shore, became momentarily stamped with the irregular outline of dark rocks, simulating to our imagination the turrets and spires of a spectre city. Soon the path of light traced by her rays upon the waters began to shine like the Israelites' guiding pillar in the wilderness, and we felt tempted to try a water-excursion as a fitting ending to our day. The beauty of the scene, as the shadows grew darker and the moonlight more intense, is indescribable. Our silent party in the boat did not even attempt to admire it out loud. The hills, purple-black in the foreground, rising out of the lake as walls of onyx from a crystal floor, grew stone-gray as they receded from sight and mingled their colors with the unearthly white of the Alpine snow-peaks in the far distance. These last seemed as though hung like a bridal wreath between earth and heaven, resting on the dark, undistinguishable masses of the chestnut woods covering the lower spurs. Now and then a bell would ring out in the still night air—a brazen voice rolling from some village belfry—and waking the mountain echoes till its sound died away in a silver murmur, mingling with the plashing of our steady oars, and gently reminding us that our lives had floated one hour nearer to God. But lovely as the scene was by night, it is difficult to call it less lovely by day. Opposite our temporary home was Bellaggio, one of the most frequented of the lake villages—a tiny hamlet of white houses clustered together in a grove of cypresses, and perched on a rocky ledge overlooking the shore. The tall, columnar trees scattered among the houses almost suggested the idea of a peaceful burying-ground, the white cottages from a distance seeming no bad substitutes for marble tombstones. A gray-blue mist—the last Italian beauty that clings to this fairy-like outpost of Italy, invaded by Alpine breezes and watched by craggy sentinels—hangs over the dormant village; the fir-trees of the neighboring villa—the show-place of the lake, the Villa Serbellone—waft their scented breath over its houses, while at its foot lie the hot-houses and orangeries, etc., by which the owner of this beautiful garden property tries to emulate English taste. The Villa Serbellone is almost a tropical marvel; the profusion of flowers; the scent of southern blossoms, cultivated with assiduous care; the ivory-like magnolia, framed in its dark and massive foliage; the starry orange flowers; the pineapple, in its luscious perfection of growth—all denote the sunny land of spontaneous productiveness; while the velvet lawns, emerald-colored and closely shaven; the trim gravel-walks, rolled to the[Pg 140] exact point of firmness required in an English garden; the marble vases, overflowing with creepers of carefully chosen and judiciously contrasted shades; and the thousand-and-one dainty little contrivances to make the most of every natural advantage, display the art of that northern land to which its very disadvantages of climate have taught the secret of enhancing every beauty and almost creating new ones by its industry. There is little to distinguish the Lake of Como beyond its beauty of atmosphere and scenery—little or no historical interest, no ruins, castles, or towns with momentous remembrances of troubled times in the past. The churches are plain, and generally in bad taste—in fact, beyond the reach either of gorgeousness or even of simple restoration; for the mountain population and the fishermen of the shore are very poor, and the inhabitants of the lake-side villas only come to Como for the summer. But these poor parishioners have spiritual riches, if not temporal comforts: the faith of the Italian, and the naïve enthusiasm of mountaineers. One day, after landing for a moment during one of our boat excursions, we fell into conversation with an old woman, her brown, wrinkled face lighted up by eyes of the intensest black, sparking with a vigor strangely in harmony rather than in contrast with her age, and her dress, in its picturesque, but we fear uncomfortable dilapidation, quite a study for a painter. She was very devout, and, when she found that we were forestièri, anxiously asked if we were Christians. This reminds us of what happened in the North of Ireland to a Catholic English lady of distinction. Her husband was a Protestant, and she accordingly started alone one day to find the church, which she knew to be somewhere in the neighborhood of the place at which she was temporarily staying. It was not a Sunday. She lost her way, and, meeting an old woman, asked her to set her on the right road for the Catholic "Chapel." The old dame looked very suspiciously at the elegant costume of the questioner, and well knowing, by the accent, that she was foreign to Ireland, asked her in return, with incredulity stamped on every expressive feature: "Shure, she was not a Catholic?" And, indeed, the English convert did not succeed in persuading the old Irishwoman that she was her sister in the faith, until, opening her dress, she showed her the scapular round her neck, and put the rosary into her hand. These marks of orthodoxy quite convinced the staunch old Catholic, and the English lady reached the church at last. Having satisfied herself, with a sort of joyful surprise, on this cardinal point, our Italian friend discoursed very volubly of the Madonna, her own priest and mountain church, and the Pope. We had some beads with us blessed by the Holy Father, and offered her the choice of one of the set. She was reverently delighted with the opportunity, and with many blessings and thanks, as gracefully expressed as a poet could have wished or done himself, she made her selection. How her precious spiritual nearness to the Holy Father, rendered more palpable by the sight of the plain brown rosary, seemed realized in her mind's eye! She kissed the beads again and again in a transport of devotion, and in simple, straight-forward language expressed her love and loyalty to the Supreme Pontiff. There are few women in Italy, high or low, who have not the same feeling for the head of the church; and those who have it not are by no means among the most exemplary wives and mothers.

[Pg 141]

We were at Como—or rather, on the shores of the lake—in March as well as in June. The spirit of the scene was just a little more dreamy in the former month than even in the latter, chiefly because there were very few tourists, and the steamboats went up and down the lake at longer intervals than in the summer. The great heat showed no signs of its advent; the vegetation was tender and yellow-green, yet not scant; for the hills, whose cold breath tempers the torrid heat of Lombardy, also protect the lake from the biting winds that one is used to associate with the mention of March. It was possible to go out boating and walking even at noon, though the nights were none the less beautiful and inviting; but perhaps, at that time of the year, the loveliest hour was early morning. It was with such a remembrance that we left the lake. After five o'clock Mass, we rowed over to the projecting tongue of mainland that cuts the waters in two, and got into a light open carriage of the country, en route for Milan. The air was delightfully fresh, the sun had just risen, and a rosy, hazy tint lay over everything. It might have been the Bosporus, so tranquil and softened was the scene. Indeed, many travellers have likened this lake to the Bosporus, its narrow, river-like course between the shelving mountains being, they say, quite a reproduction of the oriental marvel, though it does not produce the oriental languor characteristic of the other. Our road for some time lay in a direction in which we could see both branches of the lake; then, swerving to one side, we passed through miniature mountain passes, green meadows with many water-mills, and pretty villages embowered in trees. There was somewhat of northern dampness in the atmosphere, but its effect on the pasturage was certainly satisfactory, the turf in many places being almost worthy of the Emerald Isle. As the hours sped on, our appetite began to make itself felt; we had brought nothing with us, not even sandwiches, and the drive was lengthening beyond our original calculations. The wayside inns were practically useless, the wine was like vinegar, and bread not always forthcoming. At length, at a place where we changed horses for the last time before reaching Milan, and after we had been enjoying the beauties of nature for ten hours on an empty stomach, we found something eatable, though not in a superfluous quantity. Not long after, we were regaling ourselves on a banquet of fish fried in oil, and an adequate supply of bread and butter, served in the irreproachable Milan hotel, once the palace of a fallen family, and where our privato dining-room had formerly been the Sala di Giustézza, in which feudal lords sat dispensing justice to their clan of retainers or hangers-on! And with this, farewell to the queen of Italian lakes!

[Pg 142]



One thousand three hundred and ninety-seven years ago, the city of Cadiz was startled by rumors of the presence of a mysterious person, whose irrepressible activity was the fear and wonder of many. Perhaps, from a certain dusk which pervaded his countenance, it came to be gossipped that he was an Indian by birth, and had arrived in Spain by way of Africa. If, however, his color was no fair sign of his origin, the manuscripts found in his apartments betrayed his affinity with the Oriental stoics. Be this as it may, the devices and doings of Don Ruy Gomia de Goma had so impressed the traditions of Cadiz that the maker of ballads, Gil Cantor, sung of him in language the puzzling quaintness of which we have endeavored to smooth out as follows into modern English:

Oft have I seen, e'en now I see,
The presence I would ban;
'Tis he, the Afreet of my dreams,
The India-rubber man!
I pick him out among the crowd
As nimbly he goes by,
And points his gum-elastic nose,
And blinks his vitreous eye.
'Tis said he prowls the streets at night,
And, spite of the police,
With India-rubber ease commits
Ingenious robberies.
Abounding Mephistopheles
On stealthy tiptoe comes,
And, as he chokes you for your purse,
He shows his frightful gums.
Avoid, my friend, his outstretched hand—
That hand of gum and glue;
And, ere he catches you, beware
The friend of caoutchouc.
Fate tries in vain to crush him out,
She studies how to kill;
But, no—this grim contortionist
Is standing, springing still.
One day, ten ruffians clubbed him down—
He wasn't dead for that;
Up, grinning in their faces, sprang
That horrid acrobat.
An agile politician, now
The public back he mounts,
And much the rabble like him for
His gumption and his bounce.
He rises with the rise of stocks,
No crisis keeps him down;
And, dancing on a dividend,
He goes about the town.
He pesters busy men of trade,
And on their beds at night
A gum-elastic nightmare sits,
And will not quit their sight.
Oft have I marvelled at the man,
And searched his meaning more;
So many people set him down
A terror and a bore.
Elastic, everlasting soul!
In gloomy ages back
They must have tried to stretch him out
A martyr on the rack!
Victor, alas! and victim he—
His wretched fate I scan;
And much I pity, if I scorn,
The injured rubber-man.

Doubtless the whimsical Gil has here turned a venerable legend to a subtle purpose of satire; for it appears, from a number of traditions, that Don Ruy distinguished himself as a trader, courtier, gallant, and knight-errant. He grew rich, because no debtor ever got rid of him till payment, and, as a cavalier, the grace and flexibility of his carriage and motions were the admiration of ladies. Thus it was that, though denounced by jealous grandees as one sprung from the vulgar, and, in fact, an upstart, his first appearance at court was a triumph, and all the more so from the great ease of his genuflexion, and the modest liveliness of his manner and deportment. The fact, however, which first drew[Pg 143] the general attention of Cadiz to the new cavalier was an open insult which, it was alleged, he had cast upon the proud escutcheon of the fair Doña Gumesinda Vinagrilla de Miraflores de Albujuera y Albuquerque, Countess Delamar and Marchioness Delcampo.

The story runs that the marble heart of Doña Gumesinda had never yielded except to the blandishments of the bold and nimble Don Ruy. One day, addressing her at the court in terms of insinuating gallantry, he stretched out his arms with so fine a gesture of command and entreaty that the noble maid all at once resolved that no one should win her love save the flexible and fascinating philosopher; being well assured of the softness of his heart and the tenacity of his affections. Good right, then, had Don Ruy to stand one night under her leafy bower, and, according to the fashion of the times, sing a piteous ditty:

Mi corazon es suave
Como la goma dulce,
Mis lagrimas se corren
Con la resina triste;
Oid mi cancion elastica,
Oid mi cancion, señora![48]

Having thus appealed to the fair Gumesinda, he ascended at a leap into a leafy refuge formed by the vines and trees near her window, and prepared to finish his song, when he felt that one of his legs was being pulled violently from below.

Nothing daunted, he allowed his covert enemies to pull it quite to the ground, while, still seated near his lady's bower, he sang in strains that moved her heart to more purpose than his disturbers had moved his limbs. Tired of their vain attempt to budge him, they let go of his leg, to their no small surprise at the suddenness of its springing back. Immediately he leaped down, and laid about him; and, though twice he was hit in vital parts by the infuriated relatives, and, in fact, should have been run through, he was so invulnerably spry and spirited that he killed a dozen or more of them before he embraced the terrified Gumesinda with his outstretched arms, and carried her away, bending somewhat under his burden. A large force of alguacils barred his path, however, and he was brought, not without trouble, before the chief magistrate of the city, who, being also a relative of Doña Gumesinda, put him immediately to the rack. Vain, and all too vain, was the cruel act of torture to extenuate the body and bones, or conquer the irrepressible being, of Don Ruy Gomia de Goma. Gliding on tiptoe behind his jailers, he one day escaped, and in the night danced a fandango on the bed and body of the Governor of Cadiz. Who was he? the good folk of Cadiz asked themselves time and again. Some few visionaries said that he was the spirit of free inquiry, that could never be put down or put out; and other wiseacres averred that he was the veritable spirit of mischief, always upturning and turning up.



My heart is soft
As sweetest gum,
My tears they flow
With resin sad;
Hear my elastic song,
Hear my song, lady!

[Pg 144]


Historical Sketches. Third Series. By John Henry Newman, D.D.

The Idea of a University, defined and illustrated. By the same. London: Basil Montagu Pickering. (New York: Sold by The Catholic Publication Society.)

It would perhaps be proper to say that the revised edition of Dr. Newman's writings bears the same relation to their original publication that fulfilment and prophecy sustain to each other. In the one we see the germ, the promise, and in the other the matured and mellowed fruit. In the former, we foresee the inevitable result of the principles set forth, on a mind so single and intent on the truth. And it is because they do not reflect the perfect image of the truth he now holds that he would blot some of the lines therein written. In the latter, readers will again meet the same wise simplicity and transparency of style which charmed them before, and which mark all the products of his pen.

As a study of diction, Dr. Newman's works are richly worth whatever they cost. We doubt if any author of the time has done more to bring both writers and speakers down from the stilts formerly thought essential in the expression of thought. Almost unconsciously, the leaven of his pure idiomatic English has worked, until its influence is shown in a large number of written and spoken productions, both at home and abroad. As a reflex of a truthful, honest soul, deeply solicitous for the spiritual welfare of his kind, they have a pathos and unction which will have an ever-increasing influence as time goes on.

The first of the above-mentioned volumes embraces the matter which bore the title, The Church of the Fathers, on its first appearance in the British Magazine; and the latter was published as The Scope and Nature of University Education.

Sacred Eloquence; or, The Theory and Practice of Preaching. By Rev. Thomas J. Potter. Troy: P. J. Dooley. 1873.

This work is too well known to require any notice at our hands, having received the warmest commendation of the hierarchy and press on its first appearance in England. While this edition will hardly please those who are fastidious in the matter of print and paper, it presents an argument to the pockets of purchasers which many of our seminarians will highly appreciate. Our clerical readers are already aware that the Sacred Eloquence was prepared for the author's own class in the Missionary College of All Hallows, and resulted from the necessity felt for a work adapted to English-speaking students in that department.


From Burns, Oates & Co., London (New York: Sold by The Catholic Publication Society): Sermons for all Sundays and Festivals of the Year. By J. N. Sweeney, D.D. Vol. II. 12mo, pp. vi. 498.—Spain and Charles VII. By Gen Kirkpatrick. 8vo, pp. 87.—A Theory of the Fine Arts. By S. M. Lanigan, A.B., T.C.D. 12mo, pp. xiii. 194.

From D. & J. Sadlier & Co., New York: Bible History. By Rev. James O'Leary, D.D. 12mo, pp. 480.

From Henry Holt & Co.: Dimitri Roudine. By Ivan Turgénieff. 18mo, pp. 271.

From Benziger Bros., New York: Neue Fibel, oder: Erstes Lesebuch, für die Deutschen Katholischen Schulen in den Vereinigten Staaten von Nord-America. Bearbeitet von mehreren Priestern und Lehrern.—Zweites Lesebuch, und Drittes Lesebuch, of the same series 12mo, pp. 58, 120, and 276.

From Kelly, Piet & Co., Baltimore: A Course of Philosophy, embracing Logic, Metaphysics, and Ethics. By Rev. A. Louage, C.S.C. 12mo, pp.

[Pg 145]

VOL. XVIII., No. 104.—NOVEMBER, 1873.[49]



"Spiritus sunt vagi, et insinceri, pervolantes et perscrutantes."—S. Max. Taur., Tract. iv., Cont. Pag.

It can hardly be denied that the question of spiritualism is forcing itself every year more and more upon the public attention; and that a belief in the reality of its phenomena, and, as almost a necessary consequence, a suspicion of their at least partially preternatural character, is on the increase amongst honest and intelligent persons. By preternatural phenomena, I mean manifestations of the operation of intelligences that are not clothed in flesh and blood; for with other than such as are so clothed, in the way of the senses, which is the way of nature, we have no acquaintance.

I believe that few will examine seriously and patiently the phenomena of spiritualism as a whole without coming upon much that they cannot, without doing violence to their natural instincts, attribute to anything but preternatural agency. Whether they reduce this to white spirits or black, red spirits or gray, will depend for the most part on the religious prepossessions of the inquirers. I have said the phenomena as a whole, because some of these, such as cases of tables turning, upon which the hands of the company are resting, and, again, many of the communications through mediums speaking in trance or otherwise, do not necessarily suggest preternatural interference.

The phenomena on which I am inclined to lay most stress are, 1st, physical manifestations—the movement or raising in the air, without contact of any sort, of heavy bodies, whether animate or inanimate; 2d, intelligent manifestations involving the communication of true information through a human medium, which was unknown at the time both to the medium and recipient. Such phenomena are not unfrequent at successful séances, and spiritualists have a right to demand that we[Pg 146] should criticise their successes rather than their failures.

For examples of the phenomena of modern spiritualism, we shall depend mainly upon two volumes: Experiences in Spiritualism with D. D. Home, and the Report of the Committee of the London Dialectical Society. The former is a well-known though unpublished relation of seventy-eight séances; the relaters are gentlemen whose names are guarantees for intelligence and honor. Of these séances, some were held in rooms which Mr. Home had never before entered, others in a variety of rooms belonging to gentlemen taking part in the proceedings. The supposition of concealed machinery, possible enough were it question of the magician's own den, is thus effectually precluded. The Report is a still more remarkable volume. Even if spiritualism were exploded absolutely, this volume would still retain its interest as a unique collection of mental photographs representing every attitude which it is possible for the human mind to take up with regard to spiritualistic phenomena, from irreconcilable repulsion, through every shade of intelligent hesitation, to complete acceptance.

The Report consists of the reports of the séances of six experimental subcommittees, minutes of the examination before the General Committee of spiritualist witnesses, letters on spiritualism from a great number of literary and scientific persons, and communications in the shape of experiences and speculative essays on spiritualism by some of its principal adherents.

Subcommittee No. 1 (Rep., p. 9) declares itself to have "established conclusively" "the movements of heavy substances without contact or material connection of any kind between such substances and the body of any person present." This is confirmed by Subcommittee No. 2, and embodied in the general report. Amongst a great mass of well-attested phenomena, I select the following: "Thirteen witnesses state that they have seen heavy bodies, in some instances men, rise slowly in the air, and remain there without visible or tangible support." "Fourteen witnesses testify to having seen hands of figures not appertaining to any human being, but lifelike in appearance and mobility, which they have sometimes touched and even grasped." "Eight witnesses state that they have received precise information through rappings, writings, and in other ways, the accuracy of which was unknown at the time to themselves or to any persons present, and which, on subsequent inquiry, was found to be correct." Many of these experimental séances took place without the presence of any professional mediums. Subcommittees 1 and 2 declare that they have never used them, and these were particularly fertile in instances of independent movement, No. 1 having witnessed no less than fifty such motions.

There is absolutely no room for a suspicion of trickery, neither is it more rational to suppose that the phenomena had no objective existence, but were the mere phantasms of the excited imagination of the company; for the witnesses testify that they were in no such state of excitement, and their recorded conversation and behavior are incompatible with any such supposition. Again, such excitement acts spasmodically and irregularly; but, as a rule, the phenomena are seen by all equally. In the few cases in which individuals have manifested abnormal excitement, the séances have been frustrated. Subcommittee No. 2 sent for a neighbor to witness the[Pg 147] phenomena when in full operation, and they presented precisely the same aspect to him as they did to the members of the séance.

There remains, then, a large number of objective phenomena of the kind mentioned which have to be accounted for. Three hypotheses have been advocated with more or less success, which I shall proceed to consider in order.

1st. Unconscious cerebration expressing itself in unconscious muscular action. 2d. Psychic force. 3d. Spirits. I would remark that the first and second agree, in so far as they make the source of the phenomena internal; they differ in that the first would make them the result of a known law, the action of which had been previously detected, whilst the second supposes a previously unknown law or force of which spiritualistic phenomena are the sole evidence.


The doctrine of unconscious cerebration is thus expressed by Dr. Carpenter (Rep., p. 272): "Ideational changes take place in the cerebrum, of which we may be at the time unconscious for want of receptivity on the part of the sensorium, but of which the results may at a subsequent period present themselves to the consciousness, as ideas elaborated by an automatic process of which we have no cognizance." Dr. Carpenter's ground for "surmising" that "ideational changes" may be received unconsciously, and subsequently recognized, and that the consciousness or unconsciousness of the reception depends upon their being presented or not in the sensorium, is the following analogy: The cerebrum, "or rather its ganglionic matter in which its potentiality resides," stands in precisely the same anatomical relation to the sensorium that the retina does; but visual changes may be unconsciously received in the retina when the sensorium is inoperative, and may be subsequently recognized. The reality of this automatic reception and elaboration of ideas is confirmed by the phenomena of somnambulism, which show "that long trains of thought may, with a complete suspension of the directing and controlling power of the will, follow the lead either of some dominant idea or of suggestion from without." This doctrine, when applied to explain the intelligent manifestations of spiritualism, comes to this, that you cannot argue, from the fact that a man informs you truly of something which he could not possibly have learned elsewhere, and which you know you were never aware of in the ordinary sense of the word, that he is informed by a superior intelligence; for you may have received unconsciously into your cerebrum the information in question, or have unconsciously elaborated it from premises so received, and may have communicated it to your informant by unconscious muscular action.

I must do Dr. Carpenter the justice to admit that he nowhere, so far as I have seen, attempts to apply his doctrine in detail to the higher phenomena of spiritualism. He is contented with stating it as indicating the direction in which a solution of such phenomenal difficulties as do not seem to him wholly incredible is to be looked for.

I have every wish to speak on matters of physiological experiment with the modesty befitting my comparative unfamiliarity with the subject. I have no difficulty in admitting all that Dr. Carpenter says, in his article on "Electro-biology and Mesmerism" (Quart., Oct., 1853), on[Pg 148] the action of dominant ideas, whether original or suggested, in the production of the phenomena of somnambulism and mesmerism; but I hesitate as to the possibility of receiving in the form of an unconscious ideational change such a piece of information as this: "I have another sister besides those I am used to reckon"; and of its recovery, not as an image or sensation such as a dream might leave, but as an unequivocal assertion of a fact clothed in all its native confidence. The nerve modification, which I suppose the "ideational change" comes to, is here understood to play the part, not merely of a bell whose prolonged vibrations, when taken cognizance of, may more or less suggest the individual visitor, but of a photographic negative, set aside, indeed, and overlaid, but from which at any moment exact representations may be taken. This theory appears to me to belong to the category of those which, to borrow Dr. Carpenter's expression (art., p. 535), "cannot be accepted without a great amount of evidence in their favor, but which, not being in absolute opposition to recognized laws, may be received upon strong testimony, without doing violence to our common sense." I must add that I have met with no such evidence either in the Quarterly Review or elsewhere. When we ask for instances, in which modern science is ordinarily so fertile, it is at least suspicious that the only at all adequate examples produced in the brilliant article, "Spiritualism and its Recent Converts" (Quart., vol. 131, 1871), are taken from the very spiritualistic phenomena under discussion. Let us, however, for the moment grant all that is expressly demanded on the score of unconscious cerebration, and then see how far it affords an adequate explanation of the phenomena of spiritualism. Of course, independent physical manifestations, such as the subcommittees report, fall entirely without the sphere of this explanation; and Faraday's ingenious machine for testing muscular action has no place where there is no contact of muscles. But what are we to say to communications such as the following (Rep., p. 195), made to Signor Damiani, at Clifton? He asked of the rapping table, "Who is there?" "Sister," was rapped out in reply. "What sister?" "Marietta." "Don't know you; that is not a family name. Are you not mistaken?" "No; I am your sister." He left the table in disgust, but afterwards joined in another séance at the same house. "Who are you?" he asks. "Marietta." "Again! Why does not a sister whom I can remember come?" "I will bring one." "And the raps were heard to recede, becoming faint and fainter, until lost in the distance. In a few seconds, a double knock, like the trot of a horse, was heard approaching, striking the ceiling, the floor, and, lastly, the table. 'Who is there?' 'Your sister Antonietta.' That is a good guess, thought I. 'Where did she pass away?' 'Chieti.' 'When?' Thirty-four loud, distinct raps succeeded. Strange! My sister so named had certainly died at Chieti just thirty-four years before." "How many brothers and sisters had you then? Can you give me their names?" "Five names (the real ones), all correctly spelt in Italian, were given. Numerous other tests produced equally remarkable results." He is much perplexed, naturally, about this sister "Marietta," and writes to his mother about her. He is answered that, "on such a date, forty-four years before, a sister had been born and had lived six hours, during which time she had been bap[Pg 149]tized by the midwife by the name of Mary." Now, this is not a case of an isolated bit of information that may have been given and forthwith wholly disconnected from the current of life, as an Indian child might have been told, on the eve of its voyage to England, that a certain tropical berry was poisonous, which it never saw again. In Signor Damiani's case, the sleep of unconscious cerebration must have been very deep that so interesting a fact should not have been waked up by all the friction it must have sustained every time of the thousand of times that he asserted himself and his five brothers and sisters to the exclusion of any others.

But these difficulties sink into the shade when we try to carry out the explanation a step further. We have to explain not merely how Signor Damiani knew, but how the medium knew, the astonishing fact. I can understand how emotions of various kinds may be read in muscular motions; how the almost inevitable slight hesitation at certain critical letters may suggest them to the keen and practised observer; but how, amongst all the threads of thought which cross the human mind, the very one which must needs be the slenderest and most remote should get itself expressed by unconscious muscular action, and how another should read the hieroglyph, I simply cannot conceive. Nothing I have met with in the wildest spiritualism is half so difficult to believe.

Here is another instance, from the testimony of Mr. Eyre (Rep., p. 179). This gentleman wanted the register of the baptism of a person born in England, and who had died in America a century ago. He was led to suppose that this would be found either in Yorkshire or Cambridgeshire. He hunted for it for three months, and then, in broad daylight, without saying who he is or what he wants, consults a medium. He says: "Before leaving home, I wrote out and numbered about a dozen questions. Among them was the question, 'Where can I find the register of the baptism I am searching for?' The paper with the questions I had folded and placed in a stout envelope, and closed it. When we sat down to the table, I asked, after some other questions, if the spirits would answer the questions I had written and had in my pocket. The answer by raps was, 'Yes.' I took the envelope containing the questions out of my pocket, and, without opening it, laid it on the table. I then took a piece of paper, and as the questions were answered—No. 1, 2, and so on—I wrote down the answers. When we came to the question, where I could get the register of the baptism, the table telegraphed, 'Stepney church,' and, at the same time, Mrs. Marshall, senior, in her peculiar manner, blurted out, 'Stepney.' Being at that time a stranger in London, I did not know there was such a place. I went on with the questions I had prepared, and got correct answers to all of them. A few days afterwards, I went to Stepney Church, and, after spending some days in searching, I there found the register of the baptism, as I had been told."

Here the medium had not even the light of the questions by which to read the unconscious expression of unconscious cerebration. One cannot help wondering what may be the muscular expression for "Stepney church."

The writer in the Quarterly Review, to whom I have before referred, shall give us the next example from his own experience (vol. 131, p. 331). He owns that, on one occasion, he was "strongly impressed"[Pg 150] by a spiritualistic manifestation. "He (the medium, Mr. Foster) answered, in a variety of modes, the questions we put to him respecting the time and cause of the death of several of our departed friends and relatives, whose names we had written down on slips of paper, which had been folded up and crumpled into pellets before being placed in his hands. But he brought out names and dates correctly, in large red letters on his bare arms, the redness being produced by the turgescence of the minute vessels of the skin, and passing away after a few minutes like a blush. We must own to have been strongly impressed at the time by this performance; but, on subsequently thinking it over, we thought we could see that Mr. Foster's divining power was partly derived from his having the faculty of interpreting the movements of the top of pen or pencil, though the point and what was written by it was hid from his sight; and partly from a very keen observation of the indications unconsciously given by ourselves of the answer we expected." Indubitably in the case of two accomplices, a preconcerted system of movements of the top of the pencil might be made to indicate what was written; but, considering the enormous variety of ways of writing, that any one can acquire the art of so reading chance writing is incredible. At best this explanation only applies to the questions. The answers, which were given "correctly," in the shape of dates and causes of death, etc., in red letters on the medium's arm, must have been read in the reviewer's unconscious contortions. The force of the reviewer's admission of the accuracy of these communications is not affected by the fact that when another way of answering questions was adopted—viz., the questioner pointing successively to the letters of the alphabet, until interrupted by the rap—there were indications of his manner being read by the medium. Again, it is little to the purpose that "the trick by which the red letters were produced was discovered by the inquiries of one of our medical friends"—a most curiously vague statement, by the bye—for the mystery to be explained is not the red letters, but the correctness of the information they conveyed. There is nothing in the necessity of some sort of rapport existing between the medium and his questioner inconsistent with the spirit hypothesis; there is nothing in the subsequent experiments of the reviewer even tending to a natural explanation of what had so strongly impressed him; and yet he is able to shake off the strong impression triumphantly. One begins to appreciate the eloquent words of Professor Tyndall:[50] "The logical feebleness of science is not sufficiently borne in mind. It keeps down the weed of superstition not by logic, but by slowly rendering the mental soil unfit for its cultivation."

I recognize with gratitude, as one of the many services Dr. Carpenter has done to science, his full admission of a series of facts in connection with mesmerism and animal magnetism, until the other day looked upon with suspicion by medical men and physiologists; and, further, I am ready to admit that the influence of unconscious cerebration upon some of the phenomena of spiritualism is probable enough. But I maintain that it is distinctly inadequate as an explanation. Its main use, as applied to spiritualism, has been that of a learned label to attract the attention[Pg 151] of scientific men—a scientific rag wherewith spiritualism may cover its nakedness, but which all the ingenuity in the world cannot convert into clothes.


Numbers of intelligent persons, men distinguished in science, in literature, in the learned professions, but whose "mental soil" has not been rendered wholly unfit for the cultivation of all germs foreign to the philosophy of the day, have acknowledged that the phenomena of spiritualism are not only veritable, but inexplicable by any known law. "The absolute and even derisive incredulity which dispenses with all examination of the evidence for preternatural occurrences,"[51] of which Mr. Lecky boasts as one of the results of civilization, has certainly lost ground of late. Professor De Morgan says: "I am perfectly convinced that I have both seen and heard, in a manner which should render unbelief impossible, things called spiritual which cannot be taken by a rational being to be capable of explanation by imposture, coincidence, or mistake. So far I feel the ground firm under me."[52] Mr. Edwin Arnold (Rep., p. 258) speaks to the same effect: "I regard many of the 'manifestations' as genuine, undeniable, and inexplicable by any known law or any collusion, arrangement, or deception of the senses." And so we come very much to what S. Bonaventure said in the XIIIth century: "Some have said that witchcraft is a nonentity in the world, and has no force, save merely in the estimation of men, who, in their want of faith, attribute many natural mishaps to witchcrafts; but this position is derogatory to law, to common opinion, and, what is of more importance, to experience, and so has no foothold."[53] Law has, indeed, long ceased to have anything to say on the subject, and popular sentiment, if not converted, has at least been reduced to shamefaced silence; but once again experience claims her rights, and, in a great wave extending across two hemispheres, the experience of spiritualism breaks upon us, and the opposite opinion is found to lack foothold. Even in this XIXth century, men are beginning to admit that magic or mysticism, call it what you will, though overrun as ever with trickery and delusion, is for all that no nonentity, but a long-ignored reality, worthy, not of derision, but of patient examination. True many of those who go furthest in their recognition of the genuineness of the phenomena do not attribute them to spirits; still, however this may be, no advocate of psychic force can deny that many of the so-called marvel-mongers of the middle ages were at least no mere blind leaders of the blind, but the witnesses of phenomena none the less true because it has been for so long the fashion to ignore them.

In the middle ages, people thought that these marvels were the work of spirits good or bad, or at least the result of their co-operation with man. For such an hypothesis, modern science has an almost invincible repugnance, in which I think there is much that is excusable. It is not that the man of science necessarily disbelieves in the existence of spirits; but the idea of their possible interference in phenomena which he has to consider exercises a disturbing influence upon all his calculations. He is as irritated as though he should be called upon to submit to, and[Pg 152] make allowance for, the tricks of mischievous children who jerk his arm or clog his machinery. Again, he is haunted with the notion that, by admitting the spirit hypothesis, he is contributing to the inauguration of an era of disastrous reaction. To the eye of his imagination, the bright, open platform, the familiar instruments, each a concrete realization, in honest metal, of a known law, the intelligent modern audience, his own classical tail-coat and white neckcloth, melt away, and he sees himself propitiating fickle spirits with uncouth spells, at the bottom of a mediæval grotto:

"A shape with amice wrapped around,
With a wrought Spanish baldric bound,
Like a pilgrim from beyond the sea."

Not that the evil dream could ever be realized in its integrity; but still, when once a spiritualist reaction has set in, who will venture to fix its limits? And so, forgetting that the spirit hypothesis in nowise excludes the operation of psychic conditions, he insists upon every indication of such conditions, as though they were the key to everything, and there were no indications of any other agency. His "mental soil," perhaps, does not permit him to deny the reality of the phenomena of spiritualism, or to talk of unconscious cerebration as a sufficient explanation; and so he is contented to raise his altar to an unknown god, provided only he may baptize him into the dynasty of science by the name of "Psychic Force."

Psychic force has still to be defined. It is the unknown cause of certain effects, taking its color from them only. With reference to independent physical manifestations, it is the power to produce "the movement of heavy substances without contact or material connection." In this sense, Arago "is stated" to have reported to the Academy of Science, "that, under peculiar conditions, the human organization gives forth a physical power which, without visible instruments, lifts heavy bodies, attracts or repels them, according to a law of polarity, overturns them, and produces the phenomena of sound."[54] When considered in relation to the whole mass of spiritualistic phenomena, its vague, unsatisfactory character becomes still more apparent. The nearest approach to a definition of psychic force, in its larger sense, that I have met with occurs in Mr. Atkinson's communication (Rep., p. 105): "It is nothing more than the ordinary and normal power of our complex nature acting without impediment" (consciousness being one of the impediments), "and diverted from its usual relations, though in some cases abnormal conditions clearly favor the development." It is hardly possible to mistake the pantheistic character of this passage; for this unconditioned nature, underlying personal consciousness, which, in virtue of its being unconditioned, knows all and can do all, what else can it be but a common nature, an anima mundi, a world-god? according to the pantheistic conception of Averrhoes, "an intelligence which, without multiplication of itself, animates all the individuals of the human species, in respect to their exercising the functions of a rational soul."[55] I am convinced that psychic force, if drawn out as the one solution of spiritualism, can end in nothing short of this; but, on the other hand, I readily admit that the "anima mundi" or rather, "spirit of nature," as advocated by Dr. H. More, Glanvil, and, if he is not misrepresented, the [Pg 153]famous Carmente doctor, John Bacon,[56] is not pantheistic. More, formally rejecting the doctrine of Averrhoes as "atheism," insists that the "spirit of nature" is substantially distinct from, though in intimate relations with, individual souls. He defines it to be "a substance incorporeal," how far possessing "sense and animadversion" he may not determine, but certainly "devoid of reason and free-will," "pervading the whole matter of the universe, and exercising a plastical power therein, according to the sundry predispositions and occasions in the parts it works upon, raising such phenomena in the world, by directing the parts of matter and their motion, as cannot be resolved into mere mechanical powers."[57]

As capable of holding automatic thought, processes, or their embryons, such a spirit might lend itself as a vehicle of direct intellectual influence between soul and soul, as also, of course, between souls and spirits of another sort. But it must be remembered that, if this might in some measure account for the intercommunication of thought, it in no way tends to explain the genesis of information of which all concerned are ignorant. That some such brute intelligence acts as intermediary would seem to be borne out by the frequent spaces of hopeless incoherency, like nothing so much as the shaking up of loose type, which prelude and interrupt spiritual communications when the intelligent will that would fain direct matters has not yet seized the reins, or has dropped them from its grasp.

Whatever may be thought of the theory, the following passage from the first edition of Glanvil's Vanity of Dogmatizing is worth quoting. The story in it was suppressed in subsequent editions, as too romantic for the taste of the day:[58] "That one man should be able to bind the thoughts of another, and determine them to their particular objects, will be reckoned in the first rank of impossibles; yet, by the power of advanced imagination, it may very probably be effected; and history abounds with instances. I'll trouble the reader but with one, and the hands from which I had it makes me secure of the truth on't.

"There was very lately a lad in the University of Oxford, who, being of very pregnant and ready parts, and yet wanting the encouragement of preferment, was by his poverty forced to leave his studies there, and to cast himself upon the wide world for a livelihood. Now, his necessities growing daily on him, and wanting the help of friends to relieve him, he was at last forced to join himself to a company of vagabond gypsies, whom occasionally he met with, and to follow their trade for a maintenance. Among these extravagant people, by the insinuating subtility of his carriage, he quickly got so much of their love and esteem as that they discovered to him their mystery; in the practice of which, by the pregnancy of his wit and parts, he soon grew so good a proficient as to be able to outdo his instructors. After he had been a pretty while exercised in the trade, there chanced to ride by a couple of scholars who had formerly been of his acquaintance. The scholars had quickly spied out their old friend among the gypsies, and their amazement to see him among such society had well-nigh discovered him; but by a sign he prevented their owning him before that crew,[Pg 154] and, taking one of them aside privately, desired him with his friend to go to an inn not far distant thence, promising there to come to them. They accordingly went thither, and he follows; after their first salutations, his friends inquire how he came to lead so odd a life as that was, and to join himself with such a cheating, beggarly company. The scholar-gypsy, having given them an account of the necessity which drove him to that kind of life, told them that the people he went with were not such impostors as they were taken for, but that they had a traditional kind of learning among them, and could do wonders by the power of imagination, and that himself had learnt much of their art, and improved it further than themselves could; and, to evince the truth of what he told them, he said he would remove into another room, leaving them to discourse together, and, upon his return, tell them the sum of what they had talked of; which accordingly he performed, giving them a full account of what had passed between them during his absence. The scholars, being amazed at so unexpected a discovery, earnestly desired him to unriddle the mystery. In which he gave them satisfaction by telling them that what he did was by power of the imagination, his fancy binding theirs; and that himself had dictated to them the discourse they held together while he was from them; that there were warrantable ways of heightening the imagination to that pitch as to bind another's; and that, when he had compassed the whole secret, of some parts of which he said he was yet ignorant, he intended to leave their company, and give the world an account of what he had learned.

"Now, that this strange power of the imagination is no impossibility, the wonderful signatures of the fœtus, caused by the imagination of the mother, is no contemptible item. The sympathies of laughing and gaping together are resolved into this principle; and I see not why the fancy of one man may not determine the cogitation of another, rightly qualified, as easily as his bodily motion. This influence seems to me to be no more unreasonable than that of one string of a lute upon another, when a stroke on it causeth a proportionable motion in the sympathizing consort, which is distant from it and not sensibly touched. Now, if this notion be strictly verifiable, it will yield us a good account of how angels inject thoughts into our minds, and know our cogitations; and here we may see the source of some kinds of fascination. If we are prejudiced against the speculation, because we cannot conceive the manner of so strange an operation, we shall indeed receive no help from the common philosophy; but yet the hypothesis of a mundane soul, lately revived by that incomparable Platonist and Cartesian, Dr. H. More, will handsomely relieve us; or, if any would rather have a mechanical account, I think it may probably be made out some such way as follows: Imagination is inward sense; to sense is required a motion of certain filaments of the brain, and consequently in imagination there is the like; they only differing in this, that the motion of the one proceeds immediately from external objects, but that of the other hath its immediate rise within us. Now, then, when any part of the brain is strongly agitated, that which is next, and most capable to receive the motive impress, must in like manner be moved. Now, we cannot conceive anything more capable of motion than the fluid matter that is interspersed among all[Pg 155] bodies and is contiguous to them. So, then, the agitated parts of the brain begetting a motion in the proxime ether, it is propagated through the liquid medium, as we see the motion is which is caused by a stone thrown into the water. Now, when the thus moved matter meets with anything like that from which it received its primary impress, it will proportionably move it, as it is in musical strings tuned unisons; and thus the motion being conveyed from the brain of one man to the fancy of another, it is there received from the instrument of conveyance, the subtile matter, and the same kind of strings being moved, and much what after the same manner as in the first imaginant, the soul is awakened to the same apprehensions as were they that caused them. I pretend not to any exactness or infallibility in this account, foreseeing many scruples that must be removed to make it perfect. It is only an hint of the possibility of mechanically solving the phenomenon, though very likely it may require many other circumstances completely to make it out."

There are abundant records of the marvels wrought by the imagination, when, under the influence of desire or fear, or even simple expectation, the attention is concentrated upon a particular spot or a particular set of circumstances; but of the conditions and nature of the operation almost nothing is known. It would seem as if there were a tendency in every act of the imagination to create that which it conceives, although it is only in rare cases that any palpable result ensues. Various cases of recovery from the gravest illness, some of which involved the arresting active, organic mischief, are recorded as brought about by the vehement impression made upon the imagination by a remedy supposed, but never really applied. The action of imaginative sympathy is even more startling. Dr. Tuke relates the following of a lady well known to him: "One day, she was walking past a public institution, and observed a child, in whom she was particularly interested, coming out through an iron gate. She saw that he let go the gate after opening it, and that it seemed likely to close upon him, and concluded that it would do so with such force as to crush his ankle; however, this did not happen. 'It was impossible,' she says, 'by word or act, to be quick enough to meet the supposed emergency; and, in fact, I found I could not move, for such intense pain came on my ankle, corresponding to the one I thought the boy would have injured, that I could only put my hand on it to lessen its extreme painfulness. I am sure I did not move so as to strain or sprain it. The walk home—a distance of about a quarter of a mile—was very laborious, and, in taking off my stocking, I found a circle round the ankle, as if it had been painted with red-currant juice, with a large spot of the same on the outer part. By morning, the whole foot was inflamed, and I was a prisoner to my bed for many weeks."[59] In another case referred to by Dr. Tuke, "a lady of an exceedingly sensitive and impressible nature, on one occasion when a gentleman visited her house, experienced a very uncomfortable sensation so long as he was present, and she observed a spot or sore on his cheek. Two days after, a similar spot or sore appeared on her cheek, in precisely the same situation, and with the same characters."[60]

I have no fault to find with Dr. Tuke for extending this same principle [Pg 156]of sympathetic attention to the case of stigmatization, when he says of S. Francis, absorbed in ardent realization of the Passion of Christ, "So clearly defined an idea, so ardent a faith intensifying its operation, were sufficient to reflect it in his body."[61]

I cannot help thinking that the Fathers recognized the creative power of the imagination when they denounced so fiercely the masquerading in beast-skins on the calends of January. "Is not all this false and mad when God-formed men transform themselves into cattle, or wild beasts, or monsters?"[62] The numerous accounts of the were-wolf transformation, both in classical and mediæval times, all point in the same direction; and Mr. Baring-Gould brings good authority for thinking that the etymology of the "Barsark" rage of the Norsemen designates it as an outcome of their bear-skins.

The direct action of the imagination upon external objects, attributed to Avicenna (Muratori della Fantasia, p. 268), is, of course, something further. The Arabian philosopher is reported to have said that, "by a strong action of the fancy, one might kill a camel." At the same time, the signature on the fœtus, not merely of the emotion of the mother's fear or desire, but of the object or occasion of it, would seem to imply some action ab extra, as well as such cases as that of the sympathetic bruise referred to above.

That the ordinary acts of the imagination, for all their airy and impalpable play, do leave behind them most momentous results, forming, as it were, the very mould and measure of our whole life, is a matter of constant experience. Hence it is that castles in the air are often so costly, to say nothing of the danger that, though we have built them ourselves, we may find them haunted.

I am quite prepared to admit what the Germans have called a night-side of nature—that is, various rudimental powers of doing many things of a seemingly miraculous character, which powers do very probably often co-operate in the production of spiritualistic phenomena, and under peculiar organic conditions, without any spiritual influence, may be brought into considerably developed action. Moreover, as it is, of course, in the investigation of these natural bases of magic that science will succeed so far as it succeeds at all, it is only right that it should expatiate in them. My complaint is that the modern attempt to reduce spiritualism to psychic force involves an inadequate analysis of the facts presented; and spiritualists have surely some ground to complain of the prima facie disingenuousness of a manœuvre which, in regard to the same phenomena, began with, "This is not natural, therefore it is certainly not true," and ends with, "This is true, therefore it is certainly natural."

However much the scientific mind of the day may dislike the preternatural stand-point, yet it may be that, seeing "an absolute and derisive incredulity" is no longer regarded as the one scientific attitude, some examination of the views entertained by Catholic writers on the subject may not be without interest. Many of the acutest amongst them for ages have given great attention to the phenomena of mysticism, although mainly engaged in the consideration of their moral and ascetical bearings. Before leaving this second hypothesis, I propose to bring together such passages from the schoolmen as seem to make the largest allowance on the side of psychic force. Whilst there are, I think, sufficient indications that[Pg 157] the scholastics generally admit psychic force as a natural basis and concurrent cause in many of the phenomena of both divine and diabolic mysticism, it must be allowed that passages dwelling at any length on this point have at least the merit of rarity.

Görres taught, reasonably enough, I conceive, in his Mystik, that there is a physical basis for the great mass of miracles wrought by Almighty God in and through his saints; that is to say, that they do not, ordinarily speaking, involve the creation of an entirely fresh power, but are rather the result of a divine excitation of a power already existing in germ. Of course, he who "of these stones can raise up children to Abraham" only subjects himself to the laws which he has made in so far as it pleases him to do so; and the scholastics were right in their insistence upon what they called the "obediential" power of things—that is, their inherent capacity of becoming anything in the hands of their Creator. Of course, too, it is often impossible to ascertain in a given case whether God is using that altum dominium which he possesses as Creator, or, on the other hand, is merely developing previously existing powers. Everything tends to persuade us that all nature, and especially the human soul, is full of rudimental powers which may be developed, 1st, by the special, immediate action of the Creator; 2d, by spiritual influences, good and bad; 3d, by certain abnormal conditions of the bodily organism. I conceive that these rudimental powers form a common natural basis for the great mass of both divine and diabolic miracles, and that sometimes they may attain to a considerable degree of development without any special influence, divine or diabolic. The existence of such a common basis would seem to be implied in the fact that the devil has been able to imitate successfully and really, as in the case of Pharao's magicians, so many of the divine miracles; for we know that he can at most develop what already exists, without having the least power to create what is not. We cannot imagine that God would ever create where he might develop, according to the scholastic principle which Sir William Hamilton has translated into the Law of Parsimony: Deus non abundat in superfluis. To take a particular example, Görres maintains that the ascetic and mystic process which the mind of the saint goes through by abstraction from earthly things, and the habit of celestial contemplation, does really co-operate in the phenomenon, so common in ecstasy, of levitation. In which case, the saint would be rather aided by God, acting upon his body through his soul, to rise in the air, than, properly speaking, lifted up by him. This levitation is common enough in the best authenticated cases of diabolical possession; and, if it does not occur in cases presumably natural, at least a wholly abnormal lightness and agility is not unfrequent in some of the movements of somnambulism. We find an example of this in the following narrative, taken from a rare treatise of the Benedictine Abbot Trithemius (sæc. 15), entitled Curiositas Regia (p. 29): "Let any one who knows nothing of nature tell me if the specific gravity of the body can be lightened by the action of the mind. I, with two witnesses to back me, will relate what I myself experienced when a boy at school. One night, we were four of us sleeping in one bed; my companion rose from beside me, as asleep as ever he was, the moon in its fifteenth night shining in upon us, and wandered all over the house as though he were[Pg 158] awake, with his eyes shut. He climbed the walls more nimbly than a squirrel. He a second and a third time clambered up on the bed, and trampled upon all of us with his feet; but we felt no more of his weight than if he had been a little mouse. Wherever his sleeping body came, at once all the fastenings of the doors fell back of their own accord. With exceeding swiftness, he got to the top of the house, and, sparrow-fashion, clave to the roof. I am telling what I saw, not what I heard in idle talk. This would seem to be the part, not of a body, but of a spirit which freely uses its native power, so to speak, when the corporal senses are bound, and it wanders outside the mansion of the body.... We do not suppose that this will appear wonderful to the wise, who have a true conception of the power and nobility of the human mind, which in some respects is accounted the equal of the angels, being only separated from them by the interposition of the body."

After speaking of the miracles wrought, first by the invocation of faith, second by sanctity, which commands the ministration of angels, third by the assistance of demons through explicit or implicit compact, he continues: "Some persons add to these three ways a fourth, saying that the mind or spirit of the man himself can naturally work its miracles, provided only it knows how to withdraw itself from the accidental, in upon itself, above the exercise of the senses, into unity. Those who can compass this undertake to work marvels, to predict the future, to lay open the secrets of men's hearts, to dispel diseases, and suddenly to change men's counsels." Trithemius is willing to admit that some such power exists, whilst denying that it can attain to any perfect exercise without some external assistance from good or evil spirits. He gives the same account with Görres of the ecstatic volatus, viz., that the power of God co-operates with the energy of the saint's soul.

William of Auvergne, Bishop of Paris, in the beginning of the XIIIth century, recognizes the reality of several of the phenomena of spiritualism, and indicates a natural basis. Thus, speaking of the mirrors upon which magicians make their patients look, he says that no images are seen in the glass, but that what takes place is "a bending back of the mind's edge upon itself—of his mind, I say, who looks upon such an instrument; for its brightness forbids the mind's vision exteriorating and directing itself, and flings it back and reflects it in such sort that it cannot but look into itself."[63] Within the mind, he says, all sorts of wonders may be read, for therein abides the light "to which our souls in respect to their noble powers are most closely united; and one of the wisest Christians saith that 'this light is the Creator ever blessed,' meaning by these words that betwixt our minds and the interior light, which is God, there is no intermediary, according to the prophet's word, which, addressing the Creator, saith, 'The light of thy countenance is sealed upon us, O Lord'; that is, thy lightsome countenance, which is naught else but thyself." Whilst acknowledging that this light is "sealed," and that its rays do but break out like lightning flashes in a dark night, and confessing that he has long been cured of that error of his youth, the notion that the purification and abstraction necessary for such inward vision could be profitably achieved without the "grace of the Creator," he yet maintains that this [Pg 159]light is, up to a certain point, communicated according to a natural law, analogous, it would seem, to that of the infusion of life. He considers that a melancholy temperament favors this abstraction, and insists that melancholy madmen, in virtue of their abstraction, do receive true irradiations of this divine light, although indefinitely fragmentary (particulatas et obtruncatas), "wherefore naturally they begin to discourse like prophets of divine things, yet continue not to talk so, save for a little while, but lapse into words of accustomed folly." He attributes this relapse to their shattered condition and the excess of the melancholy fumes which overpower them.

Whatever may be thought of the theory, few can have seen much of mad persons without noticing the noble fragments with which their disjointed talk is not unfrequently interspersed. The present writer has often heard one of the persons concerned relate the following story of a madman's prophecy:

The narrator, with two lady friends, had just been received from Anglicanism into the Catholic Church in Italy, and they were anxiously looking forward to the new phase of life awaiting them in England. They were all three going over a lunatic asylum at Palermo, when suddenly one of the inmates strode up to them, and with great solemnity, touching each of them in turn, said to one of the ladies, "Il Paradiso"; to the other, "La Madalena"; and to the gentleman, "Molto, molto d'Argento." Of the two ladies, the first died a holy death on the threshold of her Catholic life, whilst the other entered an order devoted to the reformation of fallen women. The third part only remains unfulfilled, and may possibly mark the relapse into our author's desipientia consueta.

William of Auvergne extends these natural divine irradiations even to the minds of animals, for which he entertains a most unscholastic-like respect: "Yea, this light (splendor) is given to dogs to hunt out the most secret thieves; ... for the dog perceives not the thief himself, and the sense of smell represents him not; for a thief, as such, has no odor."

Trithemius and William of Auvergne may be regarded as authors who lay an exceptional stress upon the natural basis of the supernatural. The former indicates the possibility of the alteration of the specific gravity of the body by the action of the soul within it; the latter suggests a system of natural revelation akin, it would seem, to what one meets with in the mesmeric or somnambulistic trance.

The somnambulistic and mesmeric states would seem to be substantially identical, although the latter involves a relation of subjection to the will of another which is not necessary, though possible, at least in some degree, to the former. Somnambulism very frequently produces the phenomenon of the exaltation of the natural powers; for instance, when in a somnambulistic state, the singer sings more sweetly, the dancer dances more gracefully, than in their normal condition. The same exaltation of natural power has been stated sometimes to take place in deranged persons, as Lamb indicates was the case with himself, in his letter to Coleridge: "Dream not, Coleridge, of having tasted all the grandeur and wildness of fancy till you have gone mad. All seems to me now vapid, comparatively so." I remember being told by an intelligent person very fond of singing, who was subject to occasional fits of derangement, that, when mad, his voice gained in compass a good octave; even if this[Pg 160] proves to be nothing but a lunatic's delusion, it is sufficiently curious that somnambulism should effect in reality what madness vainly imagines.

From time to time, somnambulism seems to open a door in the soul to a source of natural revelation, such as William of Auvergne speaks of. The following authentic instance is particularly noteworthy, because the possibility of expectation, having produced, as it often does, what was expected, is precluded. At a school at Thorp Arch, in Yorkshire, at the beginning of the present century, a boy was known to be a somnambulist. One night, the usher saw him rise from his bed and wander down-stairs into the school-room. He followed, and saw the boy go to his desk, take out his slate, and write. On looking over his shoulder, he read: "On such a day of such a month next I shall die." The boy almost directly after went up to bed, and the usher took the slate to the head-master. They agreed to say nothing about it, and another slate was substituted. The boy went on with his routine life, apparently quite unconscious that anything was impending; and, indeed, it is on all hands admitted that somnambulists in their waking state recollect nothing of their somnambulism. When the day came, the boy died.

Sister Anne Catherine Emerich (1774-1824), an ecstatica of Westphalia, has expressed herself with considerable precision on the subject of mesmerism. Whilst earnestly warning people against its use as to the last degree dangerous, she admits that the phenomena are objective, and that the power brought into action is substantially natural. What she says is so remarkable that I shall not hesitate to quote at some length.[64]

"My impression in regard to it [mesmerism] was always one of horror, and this sprang less from the thing itself than from the enormous danger to which I saw such as practised it almost always fall a prey.

"The practice of magnetism borders on that of magic; in the former, indeed, there is no invocation of the devil, but he comes of himself. Whoever gives himself up to it plucks from nature something that cannot be lawfully won except in the church of Jesus Christ, and which cannot keep its power of healing, and sanctifying, except in her bosom. Nature, for all such as are not in active union with Jesus Christ by true faith and sanctifying grace, is full of satanic influences. Magnetic subjects see nothing in its essence and in its relation of dependence upon God; they see everything in a state of isolation and separation, as if they were looking through a hole or crack. They see one ray of things; and would to God this ray were pure—that is to say, holy! It is in God's mercy that he has veiled and separated us from one another; that he has raised a wall between us. Since we are all full of sin, and exercise influence one upon the other, it is well that we should be obliged to interpose some preamble before seducing one another and reciprocating the contagious influence of the evil spirit. But in Jesus Christ, God himself made man is given us as our head, in union with whom we can, when purified and sanctified, become one—one body—without bringing into this union our sins and evil inclinations. Whoever would bring to an end in any other way this separation which God has established is uniting himself, after a most dangerous fashion, to fallen nature, in which he reigns with all his allurements who drew it to its fall.

"I see that magnetism is essentially true; but in that veiled light there crouches a thief who has broken his chain. All union amongst sinners is dangerous, interpenetration more especially so. But when this befalls a soul that is altogether cloudless; when a state, the condition of whose clairvoyance is its simplicity and directness, falls a prey to artifice and intrigue, then one of the faculties of man before his fall—a faculty which is not quite dead—is in a certain manner revived, to leave him more unarmed, more mystified, and exposed internally to the assaults of the demon.[Pg 161] This state is real—it exists; but it is covered with a veil, because it is a spring poisoned for all except the saints.

"I feel that the state of these persons follows a course in certain respects parallel to mine, but moving in an opposite direction, coming from elsewhere, and having other consequences. The sin of a man with only the faculty of ordinary vision is an act wrought by the senses or in their forum. The inward light is not thereby darkened, but speaks in the conscience, and urges from within, like a judge, to sensible acts of repentance and penance. It leads us to those remedies which the church administers under a sensible form—the sacraments. Then the sensitive part is the sinner, and the inward light the accuser.

"But in the magnetic state, when the senses are dead, when the inward light receives and yields impressions, then that which is holiest in a man, the interior watcher, is exposed to deadly influences, to contagious infection of the evil spirit, such as the soul in the state of ordinary wakefulness can have no consciousness of, owing to the senses, subject as these are to the laws of time and space. At the same time, it cannot free itself of its sins by the purifying remedies of the church. I see, indeed, that a soul altogether pure and reconciled with God, even in the state in which the whole interior life is open, may chance not to be wounded by the devil. But I see that if she has previously consented to the least temptation, as very easily happens, especially to those of the female sex, Satan is free to play his game in the interior of the soul, which he always manages in a way to dazzle her with the semblance of sanctity. The visions become lies, and, if she perchance discover some way of healing the mortal body, she pays a costly price for it in the secret defilement of an immortal soul."

With regard to another kindred phenomenon, viz., the projection of the thinking soul in a visible envelope, there is a remarkable passage in S. Augustine (De Civ. Dei, lib. xviii. 18). He is speaking of a story he heard when in Italy of men being turned into asses by enchantment, and made to carry burdens:

"To say nothing of the soul, I do not believe that a man's body could any how by demons-craft be turned into bestial limbs and lineaments; but the fantastic part of man's nature (which, in the processes of thinking and dreaming, is countlessly specificated, and which, though itself no body, yet with wondrous swiftness, when the man's bodily senses are holden in sleep or bondage, adapts to itself the images of bodies) may be presented in some I know not what ineffable way, under a bodily form, to the senses of others, the while their bodies be elsewhere alive, indeed, but with their senses much more heavily and mightily bound than in sleep. And that fantastic part appears to the eyes of others, as it were, incorporated in the likeness of another creature; and such the man seems to himself to be, and to carry burdens. While burdens, if they be real bodies and not fantastic, the demons carry to deceive spectators, who see on the one hand the burdens, which are real; on the other the beasts, which are mere appearances."

The phenomenon described, or rather suggested, by the saint is substantially identical with that of the wraith, or apparition of the spirit of a living person, when the soul is supposed to be projected in a visible envelope under the influence of some strong emotion, the bonds uniting soul and body being indefinitely stretched, without being broken. Fanciful as this sounds, the apparition of the wraith is perhaps the best authenticated of all ghost phenomena.

Plutarch (De Gen. Soc. p. 266) would seem to indicate the same phenomenon. The Neoplatonic interlocutor, having distinguished the intelligence (νοῦς) from the soul (ψυχή), inasmuch as the former is not properly the body at all, except by reflection, as light in a mirror, but floats above the man's head, bound to the incorporated soul and yielding light for its conduct, says, in respect to the case of one Hermodorus, whose soul was supposed periodically to leave his body: "But this is not true, for his soul did not go forth[Pg 162] from his body, but, slackening and loosing the reins to the intelligence (the δαίμων, as the wise call it, regarding it as something external), allowed it circumgyration and circum-frequentation (περιδρομὴν καὶ περιφίτησιν), and, when it had seen or heard anything, to bear in the tidings."

Catholic theologians, although commonly denying that the soul can be separated from the body in natural or diabolical ecstasy, admit generally that, in the case of the divine raptus, this separation, or rather projection—for death is supposed not to ensue—may take place; although many of them—amongst others Benedict XIV. (De Beatif., lib. iii. cap. 49)—deny that, in fact, such separation ever does occur. On this question, Cardinal Bona (De Discret. Spir., cap. 14) says: "Whether the soul, in the higher or more vehement rapt, sometimes leaves the body, or can leave it, is a doubtful and difficult question; for the apostle, caught up into the third heaven, professed that he knew not whether this was in the body or out of the body; and what so great a man did not know it is not for us to define. 'For who,' saith Augustine, most learnedly disputing of the rapt of Paul, 'would dare to say he knew what the apostle said he did not know?' The same ignorance possessed S. Teresa's mind; for, describing the effects of rapture in The Castle of the Soul, mans. 6 c. 5, she says: 'Whether in the body or out of the body these things take place, I cannot tell: I certainly dare not affirm on my oath either that the soul is then in the body, or that the body can, in the meanwhile, live without the soul.' Then, making use of some similitude to explain the matter, she ends by saying she knows not what to say. But S. Catherine of Sienna, herself a divine patient (Epist. xii. ad P. Raym.), does not hesitate to affirm for certain that her soul sometimes left her body and tasted the sweets of immortality; which occasional separation of the soul and body it is manifest could take place, not by the powers of nature, but by the omnipotence of God." I would suggest that separation or projection would seem to admit of degrees, some of which may be possible to other powers short of omnipotence.

To this phenomenon of projection I should be inclined to reduce the majority, if not all, the cases of replication or bilocation recorded in the lives of the saints. Benedict XIV. (De Beatif., lib. iv. pars. i. cap. 32), when discussing the apparitions of living saints, is careful to explain that he is not pretending to entertain the question of the possibility of "one and the same body of a living man being at the same time in two places, which philosophers call replication." Both S. Thomas and S. Bonaventure insist upon the intrinsic impossibility of the presence of a body "extensive"—i.e. clothed in its dimensions—at the same time in more than one place. That this is so, De Lugo, whilst advocating against Vasquez the contrary opinion, intrepidly admits. We may add that the fact of trilocation being unheard of is, so far, an argument against the possibility of replication; for once admit that replication is possible, and there is no reason for limiting to duality of presence.

It would seem to be essential to the phenomenon of projection that the body remain in a trance during the process. When simultaneous intelligent activity has been proved, the hypothesis is shown to be insufficient. The best authenticated cases, however, of so-called bilocation seem to me to fail precisely in this proof of simultaneity. Take, for instance, the[Pg 163] wonderful miracles of this kind related of S. Alphonso Liguori, such as his preaching in the church and hearing confessions in the house at the same time; the possibility either of his having passed, with miraculous rapidity of course, from the one place to the other, or, again, of the projection of his soul, does not seem to me to have been fairly disproved.

Setting aside the hypothesis of replication, the apparitions of saints simultaneously existing elsewhere need not be the result of projection, as it is quite conceivable that they may be represented by their angels. This seems to be suggested by S. Augustine (De Cura Gerenda pro Mortuis, cap. 10). Such representation would cover simultaneous activity should this be proved. For the perfection of the phenomenon of projection, we require the patient's own testimony that he and no other has been consciously acting in some place where his body was not, and, in default of witnesses, some proof that he has been there. For obvious reasons, such self-testimony is very rare in the lives of the saints. The most remarkable I have met with is the following from the Life of S. Alphonso Liguori (vol. iii. p. 417, Orat. Series). It is unfortunately defective in there having been no witnesses at the term of projection:

"In the morning of the 21st of September, 1774, after Alphonso had ended Mass, contrary to custom, he threw himself into his arm-chair; he was cast down and silent, he made no movement of any sort, never articulated a word, and said nothing to any one. He remained in this state all that day and all the following night; and, during all this time, he took no nourishment, and did not attempt to undress. The servants, on seeing the state he was in, did not know what was going to happen, and remained up and at his room door, but no one dared to enter it.

"On the morning of the 22d, he had not changed his position; and no one knew what to think about it. The fact was that he was in a prolonged ecstasy. However, when the day became further advanced, he rang the bell to announce that he intended to celebrate Mass. This signal was not only answered by Brother Francis Anthony, according to custom, but all the people in the house hurried to him with eagerness. On seeing so many people, his lordship asked what was the matter, with an air of surprise. 'What is the matter?' they replied. 'You have neither spoken nor eaten anything for two days, and you ceased to give any signs of life.' 'That is true,' replied Alphonso; 'but you do not know that I have been with the Pope, who has just died.'... Ere long, the tidings of the death of the Pope Clement were received; he passed to a better life on the 22d of September, at seven o'clock in the morning, at the very moment when Alphonso came to himself."

To all appearances, precisely the same phenomenon is to be found both in the diabolical and the natural order. Innumerable instances are recorded of diabolical projection. Here is one quoted by Görres from Senert (De Morbis Occultis): "A woman, accused of being a were-wolf, anointed her body in the presence of the magistrate, who promised her her life if she would give him a specimen of her art. Immediately after the anointing, she fell on the ground, and slept profoundly. She awoke three hours after, and, on being asked where she had been, answered that she had been changed into a wolf, and had torn to pieces a sheep and a cow close to a little village, which she named, and which was situated a few miles off. They sent to this village, and, on inquiry, found that the mischief she claimed to have perpetrated was a reality."

The following narrative of presumably natural projection is characterized by Görres (Mystik, tom. iii. p. 267, French Trans.) as "very noteworthy and perfectly authentic":

[Pg 164]

"Mary, the wife of John Goffe, of Rochester, was attacked by a lingering illness, and was removed ten miles from her home to her father's house at West Malling, at which place she died June 4, 1691. On the eve of her death, she was possessed with a great longing to see her children, whom she had left at home with their nurse. She besought her husband to hire a horse, that she might go to Rochester and die with her children. They pointed out to her that she was not in a condition to leave her bed and mount on horseback. She insisted that anyhow she would make the attempt. 'If I cannot sit upright,' said she, 'I will lie down on the horse; for I must see my dear little ones.' The clergyman visited her about ten o'clock at night. She seemed perfectly resigned to die, and full of confidence in the divine mercy. 'All that troubles me,' said she, 'is that I am not to see my children any more.' Between one and two in the morning, she had a kind of ecstasy. According to the statement of Widow Turner, who was watching beside her during the night, her eyes were open and fixed, and her mouth shut. The nurse put her hand to her mouth and nostrils, and felt no breath; she therefore supposed that the sick woman had fainted, and, indeed, was not clear whether she was alive or dead. When she came to herself, she told her mother that she had been to Rochester, and had seen her children. 'Impossible,' replied the mother; 'you have never for a moment left your bed.' 'For all that,' rejoined the other, 'I went to-night and saw my children during my sleep.' The Widow Alexander, the children's nurse, declared on her side that, a little before two o'clock in the morning, she saw Mary Goffe come out of the room next to hers, where one of the children was sleeping by itself, with the door open between them, and enter her room; and that she remained about a quarter of an hour close to the bed where she was lying with the youngest child. Her eyes moved and her lips looked as if they were speaking; but she said nothing. The nurse professed herself willing to affirm on oath in the presence of the authorities all that she had said, and to take the sacrament upon it. She added that she was perfectly awake, and that the dawn was beginning to break, as it was one of the shortest nights of the year. She sat up in bed, and watched the apparition attentively. She heard the clock on the bridge strike two. After a few moments had passed, she said, 'In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, who are you?' At these words, the apparition vanished."

Here is another example from Mr. Varley's evidence (Report on Spiritualism):

"My sister-in-law had heart disease. Mrs. Varley and I went into the country to see her, as we feared, for the last time. I had a nightmare, and could not move a muscle. While in this state, I saw the spirit of my sister-in-law in the room. I knew that she was confined to her bed-room. She said, 'If you do not move, you will die,' but I could not move; and she said, 'If you submit yourself to me, I will frighten you, and you will then be able to move.' At first I objected, wishing to ascertain more about her spirit-presence. When at last I consented, my heart had ceased beating. I think at first her efforts to terrify me did not succeed; but when she suddenly exclaimed, 'O Cromwell! I am dying,' that frightened me exceedingly, and threw me out of the torpid state, and I awoke in the ordinary way. My shouting had aroused Mrs. Varley; we examined the door, and it was still locked and bolted, and I told my wife what had happened, having noted the hour—3:45 A.M.—and cautioned her not to mention the matter to anybody, and to hear what was her sister's version, if she alluded to the subject. In the morning, she told us that she had passed a dreadful night, that she had been in our room, and greatly troubled on my account; and that I had been nearly dying. It was between half-past three and four when she saw I was in danger. She only succeeded in rousing me by exclaiming, 'O Cromwell! I am dying.' I appeared to her to be in a state which otherwise would have ended fatally."

In considering the psychic-force hypothesis, I have been anxious to do justice to every slightest indication of such abnormal power in the speculations and experiences of Catholic writers. For this reason, I have spoken of projection, although I am not aware that any attempt has been made by the advocates of psychic force so to ex[Pg 165]plain it. Whilst reiterating my belief that the mind has many mysterious powers capable of being brought into active operation by various influences, and that these are, in all probability, operative in several of the phenomena of spiritualism; granting, moreover, that it is hardly possible to define precisely the extent of the soul's co-operation in the production of these phenomena, I contend, notwithstanding, that the psychic-force hypothesis is the result of a non-natural and inadequate analysis of the phenomena of spiritualism. For, 1st, in the form in which it has been presented, it is indubitably obnoxious to the charge of being an expedient to escape a recognition of spiritual influence, which recognition, in a XIXth-century man of science, would be so very unsportsmanlike, to say the least of it. 2d. It wholly ignores the sense of personal dualism in spiritual experience, to which the history of spiritualism in all ages bears consistent witness. As the idealist would convince us that there is no external world distinct from the phenomena of sensation, so the advocate of psychic force would persuade spiritualists that they have been merely conversing with their own shadows, as with real beings who could hear and answer their questions, and have attributed to these, as independent agents, feats which they were themselves performing. 3d. So far as we have any indication of a thaumaturgic element in the mind, it manifests itself in the supreme efforts of the imagination, kindled by emotion, and abstracted and concentrated by expectation; whereas, in the mass of spiritualistic experiences, imagination in those concerned seems distinctly to fall short of its highest stages.

The third hypothesis remains for consideration; but, in order to do it justice, I shall have to enter at some length into the church notion of magic and direct diabolical interference; and this will form the subject of my second chapter.


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

[50] Scientific Scraps.

[51] Hist. of Rat., chap. i.

[52] Pref. to From Matter to Spirit.

[53] Lib. iv. dist. 34, art. 2.

[54] Dr. Tuke, Influence of the Mind upon the Body, p. 355.

[55] Biog. Brit., Baconthorp.

[56] Haureau, La Philosophie Scholastique, tome ii. cap. 29.

[57] The Immortality of the Soul, op. p. 212.

[58] Biog. Brit.

[59] Influence of the Mind upon the Body, p. 260.

[60] Ibid., p. 428.

[61] Influence of the Mind upon the Body, p. 82.

[62] S. Max. Taur., Hom. xvi.

[63] De Universo, pars iii. cap. 18, 20.

[64] Vie, par Schmoeger, tome i., p. 484 et seq.


My heart's voice is to thee, my Lord and Eternal King, Christ Jesus. The work of Thy hand dares to address Thee with loving boldness, for it yearns after Thy beauty, and longs to hear Thy voice. O Thou, my heart's desired One, how long must I bear Thy absence! How long must I sigh after Thee, and my eyes drop tears? O Lord, all love, all loveable, where dwellest Thou? Where is the place of Thy rest, where Thou reposest all joyful among Thy favorite ones, and satisfiest them with the revelations of Thy glory? How happy, how bright, how holy, how ardently to be longed for, is that place of perennial joys! My eye has never reached far enough, nor my heart soared high enough, to know the multitude of the sweetnesses which Thou hast stored up in it for Thy children. And yet I am supported by their fragrance, though I am far away from them. The breath of Thy sweetness comes to me from afar—a sweetness which to me exceeds the odour of balsam, and the breath of frankincense and myrrh, and every kind of sweet smell.—S. Anselm.

[Pg 166]


In the Ninth Canto Virgil declares to Dante: Tu sei omai al Purgatorio giunto-"Thou hast arrived at Purgatory now!" and it is not until the next Canto that the gate of Purgatory proper is unfolded to the poet. The first nine Cantos being preliminary, are by Italian critics called the Ante-Purgatorio.

In the first cornice of the true Purgatory, "La, dove 'l Purgatorio ha dritto inizio," Dante meets a procession of spirits crouching under great burdens of stone, in expiation of their sin of pride. As this Tenth Canto, however, is mostly occupied with an elaborate description of certain sculptures around the cornice, illustrative of the same deadly sin, and might be less interesting to the readers of The Catholic World, we proceed to the Eleventh, where we are introduced to the spirits of Omberto Aldobrandeschi, Oderisi the illuminator, and Provenzan Salvani, lord of Sienna. In Omberto the pride of birth is especially reproved; and in Salvani the pride of place, the arrogance of power. The sin of Oderisi is of the æsthetic order common to a period of larger culture. Himself an artist, whose fault was pride of art, he inveighs against the vanity of painters and of poets, and the emptiness of a present reputation.


"O thou, our Father, dwelling there in heaven!
Not circumscribed, save by the larger love
Which to thy love's first offspring must be given,
Who from the first have dwelt with thee above!
By every creature hallowed be thy name
And praised thy goodness, as for man was meant
To render thanks to thy benignant flame:
May to our souls thy kingdom's peace be lent,
For of ourselves we could not come thereto
With all our intellect, unless 'twere sent:
And even as of their will thine Angels do
(Chanting Hosanna) sacrifice to thee,
So to Thy Will may men their own subdue:
Our daily manna give to us this day,
Without which help, through this rough wilderness,
Who strives to go falls backward on his way.
And even as we forbear us to redress
The wrong from others which we have to brook
Pardon thou us, benignant One! and less
On our deserving than our weakness look:
Try not our virtue, ever prone to yield,
'Gainst the old enemy who spurs it so;
Deliver us from him and be our shield:
This last petition, dearest Lord! we know
We have no need of;—but for them we plead
Who after us amid temptation go."
[Pg 167] Thus praying for themselves and us God-speed,
Those weary shadows, underneath a load
Like that we sometimes dream that we endure,
Toiled in unequal anguish[65] o'er the road
Round the first cornice, all becoming pure
From the world's tarnish. O if alway there
For us they say such gracious words! for them
What might be here performed in act or prayer
By souls whose will is a sound-rooted stem:
Well might we help them wash whatever stain
They bore from this world, that sublimed and fair
They to the starry circles might attain.


"Ah so may pity soon, and justice spare
You souls this load, that you may move the wing
That lifts you upward to celestial air!
Show us which way most speedily may bring
Us towards the ascent. If more than one there be,
Point us that pass the least precipitous;
Since he who comes and fain would climb with me
Through flesh of Adam is encumbered thus."
Who made their answer to these words which he
Whom I was following unto them addrest
Was not discernible, but this was said:


"To the right hand, along the bank, 'tis best
You come with us. This way to living tread
The pass is possible that you request:
And were I not impeded by the stone
Which my proud neck so masters with its weight,
That I perforce must hold my visage down,
This man who liveth, and who doth not state
What name he bears, I would look up to see
If I do know, and make compassionate
His heart for this huge load that bendeth me.
William Aldobrandeschi was the name
Of a great Tuscan; I was born his son,
Of Latin race: whether his title came
To your ears ever, knowledge have I none.
Mine ancestors, their ancient blood, and what
They wrought by prowess, rendered me so high
In arrogance, that never taking thought
[Pg 168] About our common Mother, all men I
So scorned, that as the Siennese all know,
I to my death at last was brought thereby,
And every child in Campagnatico
Knows how I there did perish for my sin.
I am Omberto, and not me alone
Hath pride done damage to, but all my kin
Hath it dragged hither with myself to groan,
And I who living never bowed my head,
Till God be satisfied, and mercy shown,
Must bear this burden here among the dead."
Listening I held my visage down intent,
And one of them, but not the same that spoke,
Writhing looked up, beneath his burden bent,
And recognized, and called me; still his look
With strained eyes fixing upon me who went
All bowed beside them. "O!" exclaimed I then,
"Art thou not Oderisi, Gubbio's pride,
And honor also of that art which men
In Paris name illuming?" He replied:


"Brother! those leaves with hues more smiling shine
Touched by the pencil of the Bolognese
Franco, whose whole fame was but partly mine.
Haply in life such courteous words as these
I had not spoken, so my heart was set
All others to excel. For such poor pride
Here I must pay the penalty; nor yet
Should I be here, but that before I died
I turned to God, still having power to sin.
O thou vain-glory of man's boasted powers!
How little while thy summit keeps its green,
Unless gross ages come that yield no flowers!
Once Cimabuè thought to keep the crown
In painting's field; now all cry Giotto best,
So that the former hath but dim renown:
Thus could one Guido from the other wrest
The glory of language, and perchance is born
He that shall drive out either from his nest.
Naught is the world's voice but a breath of morn
Coming this way and that, and changing name
Even as it shifteth side: what more shalt thou,
If old thou cast thy flesh, enjoy of fame
Than if death's hand had touched thy baby brow
[Pg 169] Whilst thou wert babbling, ere a thousand years
Have past? which unto God's eternity
A space more insignificant appears
Than would the twinkle of an eyelid be
To the least rapid of the heavenly spheres.
Yon soul before me, moving on so slow,
Once through all Tuscany was noised for great,
Now scarce Sienna breathes his name, although
He was her sovereign, when the infuriate
Spirit of Florence met such overthrow;
For she, now vile, swelled then in proud estate.
Men's reputation is the fleeting hue
Of grass, that comes and goes! even that whereby
Fresh from the soil its tender verdure grew,
The sun, discolors it and leaveth dry."


And I: "Thy truthful words teach me to seek
Goodness in humbleness, and quell my pride.
But who is he of whom thou just didst speak?"


"That's Provenzan Salvani," he replied;
"And he goes here because he so presumed
In bringing all Sienna 'neath his sway:
Thus ever since he died hath he been doomed,
Without repose, to walk his weary way.
Who dares too much there in such coin pays back."


I then: "If every soul who doth delay
Repentance till the limit of life's track,
Must wait below, nor be up here received
Unless good prayers assist him on his road,
Before as much time pass as he hath lived,
How comes this largess upon him bestowed?"


The spirit replied: "When he was living still
In the full glory of his most high state,
All shame subduing, of his own free will
Amid Sienna's public square he sate,
[Pg 170] And there his friend to ransom from the pain,
Which Charles had doomed him, of his dungeon's grate,
Did that which made him tremble in each vein.[66]
I say no more and know I darkly teach
But in short while thy neighbors unto thee
Will so conduct that thou mayst gloss my speech:
Him from those confines did this act set free."


In the translation of Canto VII., published in the April No. of The Catholic World, I proposed a new rendering of the 74th verse, namely,

India's rich wood, heaven's lucid blue serene,


Indico legno, lucido e sereno,

which line I would then have read,

Indico legno, lucido sereno,

without the conjunction. I had not found this reading in any edition which fell to my hands, and it was merely a suggestion of my own to make intelligible what seemed to be unsatisfactory to the sense.

In a late No. (June 14) of the London Athenæum, Dr. H. C. Barlow, a very learned Dantean, confirms my reading by one of the older texts in his library, and also adds that, "in the edition of the Divina Commedia by Paola Costa, we find the reading recently adopted by Mr. Parsons ... which the editor says is an emendation of Biondi, who has defended it with much learned reasoning."

Nevertheless, Dr. Barlow does not accept this amendment; but believes, with Monti, that Dante meant to compare the rich and varied hues of a flower-bed to something like charcoal; to wood, clear and dry; for instance, ebony; and he quotes from Monti this word: "What can be darker than the night? yet when free from clouds we call it serene." The answer whereto is that when the night is free from clouds, and starry, or serene, it is not dark, and many objects in nature are blacker than such a night.

I cannot feel quite so sure of my reading as Dr. Barlow appears to be of his own interpretation, but I have some confidence that Dante did not mean ebony, for the obvious reason that ebony is not a brilliant color such as Dante was describing; and the statement which Dr. Barlow takes such pains to prove, namely, that painters often introduce black for the sake of contrast, does not apply at all to a verbal description—"segnius per aurem," etc.

I am after all inclined to think that the true reading of this much-disputed verse may be

Indico legno, e lucido sereno,

but my mind is not made up entirely, and one object of publishing these Cantos in a periodical is that my version, before it is completed, may have the advantage of critical suggestions, and perhaps elucidation, in doubtful passages, from the learning and ingenuity of such Italian scholars in England as Mr. Haselfoot, Dr. Barlow, and Sir Frederic Pollock.



[65] That is, under loads of divers weight proportioned to their degree of sin.

[66] That is to say he begged: in which act of terrible humiliation to so haughty a spirit Dante is recalling his own bitter experience.

[Pg 171]





What I am going to relate to you is a true story in every respect, seeing that I had it from my late father—in his lifetime the harness-maker of our hamlet of Val-Saint, and who was never known to tell a falsehood: may God have mercy on his soul!

In the village of Ordonniers, which was the next one to us, and in our commune, where flows la Range, lived a farmer named Louis Ragaud. The maiden name of his wife was Pierrette Aubry; but after her marriage, according to our custom, she was called by every one La Ragaude.

They were rich, and no one was jealous of them, as it was known that they had commenced with nothing, having been simply servants in the employ of M. le Marquis de Val-Saint. Little by little they had risen, without having injured any one, always kind to the poor, never miserly or boasting; so that, when at the end of twenty years they found they had saved enough to buy the beautiful farm of Muiceron, which they had previously rented, all the neighbors said: "Behold the true justice of the good God!"

They had been married a long time, and had no children. Now, wealth is a great deal, but not enough for perfect contentment of heart. The good man Ragaud had fields and meadows that yielded rich crops, strong oxen, and even vines that bore well—though it must be acknowledged that the wines of our province were not very renowned. As for the farm buildings, except those of the château, there were scarcely any in a circle of six leagues which were as well kept; and nevertheless, Ragaud sighed when looking around him—no child, alas! and no family, with the exception of a cousin, who left for the army more than thirty years before, and had never been heard of since; so that, very naturally, he could not be counted upon.

La Ragaude sighed still more. She was good and very devout, but unable to bear sorrow; and this was so severe, so constant, it had ended by destroying all her happiness. Often, when looking at the neighbors' children playing before the doors, she felt her heart throb with pain, and would hasten to seek refuge in her own house, where she could give free vent to her tears. As this happened more than once, and as she always reappeared with red eyes, it had been much remarked, and sundry comments made. Not that there is much time to be lost in the fields, but a reflection here and there scarcely retards work. There are even those who say that the tongue assists the arm, and that gossipping helps push the plough. It is woman's tattle, I believe; but a good number of men here and elsewhere have the habit of repeating it, and I do likewise, without inquiring further.

The gossips of the neighborhood—above all, those who had larger families than incomes—were determined to find out the true cause of Pierrette Ragaud's tears; and, as[Pg 172] often happens, preferred seeking for wicked reasons rather than stop their babbling.

"It is a thing I cannot understand," said one, "why the mistress of Muiceron is so unhappy that she weeps constantly—a woman who is so well off. We must believe that things at the farm are not so well as they appear. Perhaps it is her husband who makes all the trouble!"

"Her husband! Magdaleine Piédau?" replied another; "you must be well put to that you imagine such a thing. Master Ragaud is the first workman in the country; and, as for his using bad words, that he has never done, any more to his wife than to others."

"Bah! what you say is true," replied Magdaleine Piédau; "but all the same, neighbor, Ragaud can fly into a rage as well as any other man. I saw and heard him, day before yesterday, beside himself with anger against one of his yoke of oxen. You know Capitaine, the big black one? Ah! my dear, I pitied the poor beast—he beat him well! without counting that he swore so that you would not have known him. Bah! don't talk to me!"

"Ah! that may be, but I speak of people. Now, an ox is not a person!"

"There you are right, thank God! Men are often rough to beasts, and very polite to Christians; but, in my opinion, we must be gentle and patient to both. A beast that works well deserves to be well treated, and Ragaud had no right to beat his ox. I don't say he would treat his wife so; but, at least, we must allow that Pierrette Ragaud does not always look as if her life were a holiday. Ah! she has trouble, that is very sure, poor creature!"

"And the reason?"

"The reason! Go and ask her, Magdaleine, if you are so curious."

"I wouldn't dare; for, after all, it don't concern me very much. What I have said was only in the way of friendly gossip."

"In that case, we can speak of other things; for I don't know any more about it than you. We will leave it for God to clear up. Go and catch your boy, who will fall into the pond, Magdaleine Piédau, and lend me your sickle, that I may cut some grass for my cows.... But to think that Ragaud ill-treats his wife—no, no; that is out of the question. After that, where may we hope to find a good man? One don't know...."

"No, neighbor, one never knows how it is with them. You speak like a priest, my good woman. The deceased Piédau, my man, that every one believed so good, ..."

"Good-evening, Magdaleine."

"Was a drunkard and big eater. I concealed it for ten years, and wept alone like the mistress of Muiceron."

"Good-evening, neighbor."


One summer day, when La Ragaude was washing her earthen pans in the sun, she saw the curé of Ordonniers advancing through the path in the woods. He was a worthy priest, beloved by all, and well deserving of it on account of his great charity. I have heard it said that, in the years when bread was so dear, he gave away his last measure of wheat, and then, having no more for himself, was obliged to go to the miller, Pierre Cotentin, and ask for some flour on credit.

"It is not my custom," said he gaily, "and you are not bound to oblige me; but the times are hard, and you must never refuse to give alms, even to your curé."

[Pg 173]

The miller filled the bag willingly; and as for the money, although he was very fond of it, he would never hear the word mentioned.

Said he, "M. le Curé has an empty purse. We must not ask him where the last cent went, poor dear man! Pierre Cotentin can well feed him—it is justice! Who will have the heart to be jealous?"

And in fact, the curé was so respected that not a boy, no matter how bad he was, ever failed to take off his cap when passing him.

When La Ragaude saw the black cassock coming towards Muiceron, she quickly arranged her pans, and threw aside her working-apron; for she was a careful woman and thorough housekeeper.

"Good-morning, M. le Curé; how are you?" she asked joyfully.

"Very warm, very warm," replied the curé; "otherwise, well."

"My dear monsieur, why did you not wait until the cool of the evening to do us the honor of visiting us? It is roasting in the road. I thought just now I would send a servant to replace my husband in the fields. A storm is rising, the flies bite, Ragaud is not as strong as he was at twenty, and I am afraid of the beasts—they are difficult to control when they become impatient."

"Ah! your husband is absent?"

"Have you something to say to him, monsieur?"

"To him and to you also, my good woman."

"Come in and refresh yourself," said she.

M. le Curé entered, and took a seat near the table. He appeared preoccupied, and answered like a man who did not hear what was said to him. He even placed his cane against the bread-box, and his hat on top—something which he had never done before, as the slightest motion might have sent them to the floor. When he put his hand in his pocket for his breviary, he found he had forgotten it, which embarrassed him not a little; as, it must be said, no man was more exact and particular than he in words as well as in actions.

La Ragaude, not being a fool by nature, quietly replaced the cane and hat in a safe place, but was, in her turn, very much astonished to see the curé so absent, as it was the first time it had ever happened; and from that concluded he must have something in his head of great importance. What could it be?

While busying herself around the room, without showing it, Pierrette Ragaud had distractions also. She drew new wine for cider, and washed a glass which had not been used. But that I do not believe she would have perceived then or afterwards; for she was so accustomed to scrub everything you could have used the side walls of the stable for a mirror.

M. le Curé tasted the wine through civility, but, as he said nothing, she began to feel rather impatient. Women are curious. My deceased father was accustomed to say, from that came all the evil from the commencement of the world. It is true the dear man was rather in his dotage towards the end; but it is also true that I have heard others say the same thing.

Pierrette at last commenced to question the curé very respectfully and gently; for, in truth, she could no longer restrain herself.

"Although the master is out, M. le Curé," said she, "will you not tell me what I can do to serve you?—without pressing to know, you understand, monsieur."

M. le Curé raised his eyes, and replied as gravely as though he were preaching a sermon:

[Pg 174]

"I have come to know, in the name of the good God, Mme. Ragaud, if you are disposed to act charitably."

"Oh! if it is to aid those who are suffering and in need, my husband and I will be most happy to assist you," frankly cried La Ragaude, who spoke with her whole heart and soul. "Thank God! there is yet money in the drawer. Tell me how much you want, monsieur."

The good curé shook his head, laughing, and repeated two or three times, "Good, good," which was a sign that he was pleased.

"You are always ready to give money to the poor, I know," said he; "but to-day that is not the question. I have come to ask you for something of greater importance."

"More so than money! Heaven of our Lord!" said Pierrette, slightly amazed. "I do not know, M. le Curé, how, then, I can oblige you."

She said that, although she had a generous heart; but money with us is always the great affair. In the fields, as in the city, the poor man who eats his bread while working knows that the francs are not picked up under the horses' feet.

"Money," replied M. le Curé, "when the soul is wanting in charity, is given, and there it ends; but what I have come to ask of you is a good work which will not end for a long while, and which will need good-will, and great patience especially, on your part."

"I can guess what it is," said Pierrette.

"Indeed!" replied the curé. "Well, that spares me the difficulty of explaining myself. Let us hear, Mme. Ragaud, what you have guessed."

"I have heard it said you were very much worried about your surplices and altar-linens, since Catharine Luguet left the country so shamefully, like a good-for-nothing girl, to seek her fortune in Paris," said La Ragaude, blushing—for this Catharine was a distant cousin—"and doubtless, M. le Curé, you wish me to replace her, and take charge of the sacristy."

"And if it were so, would you refuse me?"

"Certainly not, monsieur. I would willingly do my best to please you. Not that I have as light a hand as Catharine for plaiting and folding; but for washing and ironing, I can say, without boasting, I am the equal of any one."

"Thank you," said the curé. "I accept an offer made so willingly. But to speak truly, I have not come for that."

"Then," replied Pierrette, in astonishment, "I cannot imagine what you want me to do."

"This is it," said the curé, taking a serious tone: "This morning, Pierrette, a bundle was left at my house...."

"I bet," cried La Ragaude, "it was the beautiful monstrance promised by M. le Marquis for Corpus Christi!"

"No, it was a new-born infant, a beautiful boy, Mme. Ragaud; and, since the good God has allowed you to remain childless, and that this privation has greatly afflicted you, I immediately thought he destined this child for you."

"Monsieur," replied Pierrette, with emotion, "it is true that it is very hard for me to be alone in the house, and to think that I will die and leave no one after me to inherit Muiceron; but I prefer it to working all my life for a child sprung, perhaps, from a wicked race."

"I know where it comes from," said the curé; "but still I can tell you nothing, as it is a secret of the[Pg 175] confessional. But have confidence in me; as for the race, it is not bad."

"It is the same thing. I don't believe in these foundlings."

"Say nothing further about it," replied the curé rather sadly; "I will send it to the hospital."

And then, without appearing to feel either pique or bitterness, M. le Curé commenced to converse on other subjects, speaking of the next harvest, the price of the new wine, and of the last fair, with even voice and kind looks, that showed plainly he did not wish his parishioner to think he was pained by her rather prompt refusal.

This kindness of a heart truly charitable had more effect on good Pierrette than reproaches or scolding. She did her best to reply to the curé, but her eyes were wet against her will, and soon she became so absent-minded the curé with difficulty repressed his mirth, seeing that he had gained ground by the ell, without seeming to do it intentionally.

"You see," said he, "by often hearing the bells ring, one becomes a bell-ringer; and as I love all my parishioners, like a true pastor, I go everywhere, inquiring and advising, so that I may be useful in case of need. In that way, Mme. Ragaud, without ever having driven a plough or taken care of cattle, God has given me the grace of being able to advise on all rural subjects, as well as the first master-farmer in the neighborhood. Thus, I will say to you: 'When there are more pears than apples, keep your wine, good man.' This is a country proverb hundreds of years old. Now, as this year there are more pears than they know what to do with, believe me, keep your vintage, and you will have news to tell me of it by next Easter."

"I do not know how Ragaud will decide," replied Pierrette; "he is always afraid when the cellar is full...."

"The proverb never fails, my good woman; and that is easily understood when one reflects how and why proverbs have obtained credit."

"But, M. le Curé," interrupted La Ragaude, "if you knew where this poor abandoned child came from, it seems to me...."

"What child?" said the curé, taking a pinch of snuff, so as to appear indifferent. "Oh! yes, the little one of this morning. What, do you still think of it? Bah! let it pass; after all, the hospital is not a place where one dies from want of care."

"I know it; but it is sad, monsieur, very sad, for one of those little innocents to say afterwards, 'I was in a hospital'; that always gives a bad idea."

"What can be done, Mme. Ragaud? One becomes accustomed to everything. Come, come, don't make yourself uneasy. We were saying, then, ... what were we saying? Ah! I remember now. I was telling you that proverbs must be believed, and for the reason that these little village-sayings are only repeated after they have been verified by the great and long experience of our fathers. Thus, you will see that the last part of the one I just quoted is equally curious: 'When there are more apples than pears, then, good man, you can drink.' Well, wasn't it a fact last year? There were so many apples that a jug of cider was only worth two farthings; there was enough for everybody, and the wine was so abundant that—you are not listening to me, Pierrette Ragaud?"

"Excuse me, M. le Curé, I am listening attentively; but I was think[Pg 176]ing perhaps my husband would not return; and, nevertheless, he should have a little talk with you."

"About the vintage? We have time enough until then for that," replied the curé with a spice of malice.

"About the little innocent, dear monsieur. The truth is, I feel my heart ache when I think he will go to the hospital through my fault."

"And as for me, my good woman, I am sorry that I spoke to you about it; yes, sorry," he repeated earnestly, "for I have worried you, and I had no such intention when I came to visit you. I see now that you are inclined on the side of the good work; but I don't wish to force you to take it in hand. Here, now, if the hospital frightens you, I have thought of another arrangement, which might work well. My old Germaine, notwithstanding her thirty years of service, is still active, and the work in my house don't kill her. We will buy a good milking-goat at the August fair; until then, you will lend us one, and, God willing, the little one will remain where his good angel deposited him."

"May the Lord bless you!" cried La Ragaude, the tears streaming from her eyes. "But what a shame for us to let you burden yourself with such a heavy load, when you already give more than you can afford! No, no, holy and good Virgin Mary! For my part, I would not sleep easy after such an act."

The good curé clasped his hands, and in his heart rendered thanks to all the saints in paradise. He was very much touched, and as he was about to thank Pierrette as she deserved, Ragaud returned from the fields.

They cordially saluted each other; and, very naturally, as the good man saw his wife wiping her eyes, and the curé almost ready to do likewise, he asked what had excited them. Thereupon M. le Curé commenced a long discourse, so gentle and so touching—he spoke of charity, of the rewards of heaven, the happiness of generous hearts, with words so beautifully turned that never in the parish church, on the greatest festivals, had he preached better. Pierrette, as she afterwards said, thought she was listening to the holy patron saint of Ordonniers, who in his lifetime, it is related, spoke so well that the birds stopped singing to listen to him. Ragaud remained silent, but he shook his head, and turned his cap around in his hands—signs of great emotion with him.

Meanwhile, he said neither yes nor no, but asked time for reflection, promising to give his answer the next day before twelve o'clock. He was perfectly right, and M. le Curé, who felt in the bottom of his heart that the cause was gained, wished even to wait until Sunday; but Ragaud did not like to take back his word.

"I said to-morrow, M. le Curé, and it will be to-morrow," said he, when conducting his pastor to the threshold of the door.

"Dear, holy soul of the good God!" cried Pierrette, looking after the curé as he leisurely walked down the road, repeating his rosary as he went along. "Good dear priest, that he is! We need many more like him, Ragaud!"

"Good, holy man, in truth," replied the farmer; "but what he proposes to us is an affair of importance. You are young and healthy yet, wife, but in ten years your arms will not be as strong as now. You must think of that, even if God keeps you in good health. A child is a comfort in a house, but all the burden falls on the mother. Suppose this little one should become refractory and vagabond, like Cotentin's son."

[Pg 177]

"That is true," said La Ragaude.

"Suppose he should get bad ideas in his head, and send religion and honesty to the devil."

"That would be a great misfortune," again said La Ragaude, but this time sighing.

"I know you," continued the good man—"you become attached to every one. Didn't you weep like a little girl because I beat Capitaine, who is only an ox, and who deserved it? And haven't I seen you half crazy because Brunette had the gripes?—and she was only a cow.... Can it be hoped that you would be more reasonable about a child who would become ours?—for we must do the thing well or not at all; isn't it so?"

"It is just as you say," replied Pierrette, sighing still louder; "but what, then, shall we do?"

"My opinion is that we must consider it well," answered Ragaud.

"You only consider the bad side," said La Ragaude gently; "but suppose the little one should preserve the blessing of his baptism, and let himself be well governed—later, we would be very happy and well rewarded."

"That is true," said the farmer.

"If," continued La Ragaude, "I am easily worried about animals, I know well it would not be the same thing with a Christian. You see, husband, the poor beasts suffer without being able to complain or explain themselves; and, therefore, I am always afraid of their being treated unjustly. But a boy has his tongue, and can defend himself. We can talk sense to him, and if he won't listen, why, we will put him to school."

"Bah! you will spoil him so that he will be master of the house before he is in breeches."

"Don't fear," cried Pierrette; "that will never be, or I should think myself wanting in gratitude to the good God."

"If I could be sure of that, my wife, I would attempt it. But, come; let the night pass before deciding."

They did not mention it again until the next day; but Pierrette took care, before retiring, to light a taper at her bedside, beneath a beautiful picture of Our Lady of Liesse.

Early the next morning, she went, as usual, to feed her turkeys and drive her cows to the meadow. On her return, she saw Ragaud dressing himself in his Sunday clothes.

"I think, wife," said he, "we had better, at least, see this little one before deciding."

Pierrette hastened to throw aside her apron; and then it appeared she had expected such a decision, as at dawn she had dressed herself in her new gown of gray serge, with her bright-flowered neckerchief from Rouen, which had only been worn at the last feast of the good S. Anne, in July.

It was thus the worthy couple proceeded on their way to the priest's house. As it was Thursday, and neither festival, nor fair, nor market-day in the village, the neighbors stared as they saw them pass, and, unable to imagine the cause, chattered nonsense, half from malice, half from spite; and Simonne Durand, well known for her viper tongue, said aloud: "We must believe the Ragauds are going to obtain the priest's blessing on their fiftieth anniversary, as they are so finely dressed on a week-day."

This wicked jealousy went a little too far, and profited nothing to the spiteful thing, as every one knew the Ragauds had only been married twenty years at the furthest; but, when the mind is full of malice, there is little time for reflection.

When the good friends arrived at the pastoral residence, M. le Curé had just entered after saying his Mass;[Pg 178] and we need not ask if he had prayed well. Germaine, his old servant, held the baby in her lap, and was feeding him with boiled goat's milk. Pierrette could not restrain her delight on seeing what a beautiful child it was, and that it was at least six or seven months old. She snatched it from Germaine's arms, and commenced kissing it, not caring that she had interrupted his little repast. This showed that the child was good-natured; for instead of crying, as a sickly, cross baby would have done similarly situated, he crowed with joy, and put out his little hands, dazzled with the fine, flowered neckerchief of his new mamma.

"How pretty and healthy he is!" cried La Ragaude. "My dear M. le Curé, you told me it was a new-born child."

"Did I say so, Pierrette? It was because I did not know much about it."

"So it seems," replied the good woman, gaily. "The little darling is at least seven or eight months old; don't you think so, Germaine?"

"I know one a year old not so large as he," answered the old servant. "But that is not all, Mme. Ragaud; you see him in the day-time, but it is at night that he is good and amusing. He sleeps without stirring, like a little corpse. For my part, I would not be afraid to bring him up."

Ragaud had not yet said a word, and still upon him all depended.

"Come and talk a little while with M. le Curé," said he, pulling his wife by the skirt.

Pierrette quickly rose to obey him, according to her good habit, but she did not give up the young one; so that Ragaud gently reproved her for again showing herself as ready to become attached to men as to beasts.

We need not be sorcerers to divine what happened. In less than a quarter of an hour, the contract of adoption was passed satisfactorily, without notary or scribbling. It was signed with a friendly shake of the hands; and to say which one of these good hearts was the best satisfied would not be very easy.


Now, without further delay, I am going to show you, as they say, the under-card in relation to the little one. True, it was a secret of the confessional, at least for the time being; but later, it was everybody's secret. The story is simple, and will not be long. You remember that our curé, in conversation with Pierrette, led her to mention a certain Catharine Luguet, against whom the good woman appeared very much incensed. This Catharine was an orphan, whose parents, dying, left her when quite young without any means of support. Germaine watched over her like a daughter, and M. le Curé, to keep her near him, paid her apprenticeship to a seamstress; after which, having grown up, and being very skilful with her needle, he placed her in a little room near the church, and gave her charge of the sacristy. But, unfortunately, the poor child was as pretty as a picture, and loved compliments, dress, and dancing, which is a great danger for a young girl, especially in a village. Catharine commenced by degrees to make people talk about her, and not without cause. The Ragauds, who were distantly related to her on the mother's side, at first reprimanded her, and finally would not see her. The girl was quick-tempered, resented the treatment, and one fine day went off, saying that she could easily find in Paris people who would be happy to receive her.

Two years passed without news of her. Her name was no longer men[Pg 179]tioned in the village, and from that M. le Curé surmised some misfortune had happened. He prayed for the poor girl, and unceasingly begged the good God to mercifully receive her through his grace, if not during her life, at least at the hour of death. His prayer was heard at a moment when he scarcely expected it. One morning, when Germaine had left the village at day-dawn to make some purchases in the city, she took it into her head to pay a visit to one of her good friends, who was a Gray Sister in a large hospital. They talked about the patients; and the sister, very much affected, spoke of a young woman she had received the week before, and who appeared very near her end.

"I have put her by herself," said she, "and I will confide to you, Germaine, that this poor afflicted creature has a child; and, between ourselves, I very much believe she is dying as much of shame as of want."

Germaine wished to see her; but, at the first look, the sick woman uttered a loud cry, and hid her head under the counterpane.

"What is the matter?" said Germaine. "I frighten her."

"We have awakened her," replied the good sister, "and she is nervous. I should have entered alone."

But the poor girl sobbed without showing her face. At last the sister calmed her. Germaine, on her side, spoke kindly, and finally she drew down the covering. You can imagine the rest.

It was Catharine Luguet, but how changed! She, formerly so pretty, so bright, and so laughing—and now her mother herself would scarcely have recognized her. The innocent little being that slept in a cradle by her side told all her story. What she had found in Paris, what had brought her back to the country, there to die, were dishonor, misery, and an orphan without a name—but also sincere and true repentance; and the good God, who has certainly received her in paradise, struck the blow, that she might be saved.

Who was astonished, and at heart happy, in spite of his sorrow, which can be well understood? It was our curé. Holy man that he was, he was happier to have his lost sheep brought back to him, even although half dead, than not to have found her at all. The next day, he hastened to Issoudun, and remained the greater part of the afternoon with poor Catharine.

Issoudun was the nearest large city to our village, and, if I have forgotten to tell you so, I beg you will excuse me.

Although my father gave me some slight details of the unfortunate girl's story, I will not relate them; for many long years she has reposed in consecrated ground, and, as the dear, good man wisely said, "The sins which have received the pardon of God should be hidden by man;" and this is true charity.

It is only necessary to say that this first visit of our curé was followed by many others. Catharine declined visibly, and her little one, from whom she would not be separated, was a great worry to her. The sisters took care of him, and fed him to the best of their ability during the day, but they could not attend to him at night. He was beautiful and healthy, and grew like a weed—which was a miracle, considering the state of the mother—but his first teeth commenced to appear, and rendered him restless and troublesome. One morning, when M. le Curé and Germaine went together to the hospital, they found poor Catharine so ill they feared she would not pass the day.

[Pg 180]

"My daughter," said Germaine to her, "be reasonable; let me have your child. I will take great care of him."

"As you please," replied Catharine.

He was instantly carried away; and, that no one should penetrate the secret, a confidential woman, employed in the hospital, came in the night-time, and left him at the priest's house in the village. That same night, poor Catharine became speechless, but was conscious until the moment of her death, which soon happened, and never was there seen a more peaceful and touching agony. The sisters saw with admiration that after death she regained her beauty, and her face its youthful look of twenty years.

"She is smiling with the angels," said the pious souls, and it was not to be doubted; for the angels receive with as great joy the repentant as the innocent.

The little one was baptized and registered under the name of his poor mother. Our curé easily procured all the necessary acts; but for the family name, the dear innocent had none to bear, at least for a long time. He was called Jean-Louis; about the rest, there was silence. As to the secret of his birth, although confided in confession, Catharine, before dying, said to the curé:

"You will tell all, my father, if it is necessary, later, for the future of my child."

And you will see in the end that it was a wise speech.

Between ourselves, this holy, good man of a curé, who was gentle and merciful, as much from a sense of duty as by inclination of heart, had always blamed the Ragauds for their rigorous severity against the poor departed. Says the proverb, "In trying to do too much, one often fails to do well." Perhaps it would have been better to have patiently borne with the poor inexperienced girl than to have driven her from the protection of her only relatives on account of malicious gossip. But Ragaud did not understand jesting; he was, as the saying runs, as stiff as a poker, and, as soon as the wicked tongues commenced to wag about her, he said, "There is no smoke without fire," and closed his mind to all explanations, and his door to the girl. Thus had they acted towards Catharine, without thinking that then she was only giddy and coquettish—faults which might have been cured as long as the soul was not spoiled. The treatment was too harsh; it caused the flight to Paris, which took place in a moment of anger and spite, and all the misfortunes that followed. In strict justice, the Ragauds should in a measure make reparation for an action done with good intentions, but which had ended so badly. Our curé foresaw that sooner or later they would be sorry for it; therefore, in burdening them with the child, he acted shrewdly, but also with great fairness. I certainly will not blame him, nor you either, I think.


From the day that poor Catharine's child was installed in the house of her relatives, there was a change in Muiceron. Pierrette no longer wept, and, far from being grieved, as formerly, at the sight of other children, she willingly drew them around her. On Saturdays, when she baked her bread for the week, she never failed to make a large crumpet of wheaten flour, beaten up with eggs, and a bowl of curds and fresh cream, for the sole purpose of regaling the young ones of the neighborhood. We need not inquire if, on these[Pg 181] evenings, the house was full. The children were well satisfied, and their mammas also; for Saturday's supper remained whole for Sunday, and, in the meantime, the little rascals went to bed gayer than usual, thanks to a glass of white wine that watered the crumpet and filled the measure of joy in all those little heads.

It was also remarked that Ragaud's jests were more frequent at the meetings of the church wardens of the parish on the appointed days after Vespers. Sometimes he even went off in the morning to his work singing the airs of the country-dances, which was a sure proof that his heart was at peace; for, by nature, he was a man more serious than gay, and as for singing, that was something quite out of his usual habit.

These good people thus already received a holy reward for their generous conduct. According to the old adage, "Contentment is better than wealth"; and now they, who had so long possessed riches without contentment, had the happiness of enjoying both. Quite contrary to many Christians, who imagine that the good God owes them everything, the Ragauds every evening thanked Heaven for this increase of wealth. Now, if gratitude is pleasing to men, it is easy to believe that it draws down blessings from on high; and from day to day this could be clearly seen at Muiceron.

Little Jean-Louis grew wonderfully, and gave good Pierrette neither trouble nor care. At his age, children only cry from hunger, and as he, well fed and well cared for, had nothing to complain of, it followed that he grew up scarcely ever shedding a tear.

When he was one year old, it seemed that the good boiled goat's milk was no longer to his taste, as he put on a discontented look when he saw the smoking bowl. Ragaud, one evening, for a joke, put his glass to the boy's lips, and, far from turning his head, he came forward boldly, and drank the cider like a man. This highly delighted Master Ragaud, who wished to try if a piece of dry pork, in the shape of a rattle, would please him as well; but to that Pierrette objected, maintaining that a root of marsh-mallow was a hundred times better, particularly as the little fellow was getting his double teeth.

"You wish to bring him up like a woman," said Ragaud, shrugging his shoulders; but, nevertheless, he let the mistress have her own way.

There were no other disputes about him until he had attained his third year, for then his excellent health, which had caused so much happiness, was nothing in comparison with the good instincts which commenced to develop. He was lively and gentle, chattered away delightfully, and was always so obedient and tender, that to pay him for his good behavior, the Ragauds nearly killed him with kindness. In regard to his appearance, I will tell you that in height he surpassed most children of his age, his hair was black and curly, his eyes dark also and very bright. With all this, he was not very handsome, as, growing so fast, he had kept very thin; but Pierrette said wisely, he would have time to grow fat, and since he ate, drank, and slept when he was tired, there was nothing to fear.

One thing will astonish you, that neither of the Ragauds perceived for an instant that the child was the living image of poor Catharine Luguet; and still the likeness was so striking, M. le Curé spoke of it incessantly to Germaine, and expected on every visit to Muiceron to be embarrassed by some remark on the[Pg 182] subject. But whether the good people had really forgotten their relative, or did not wish by even pronouncing her name to recall a sorrowful remembrance, certain it is that nothing in their words or actions, which were perfectly frank and simple, betrayed in the slightest degree that they ever thought of it.

About that time, Pierrette commenced to be more uneasy, as Master Jean-Louis often escaped on the side of the stables, and delighted in racing up and down the bank, bordered with tall grass, of the stream that ran behind the bleaching-ground of Muiceron. With such a bold boy, who would not listen to any warning, an accident very often happens; therefore, the good woman placed around his neck a medal of S. Sylvain, in addition to that of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which he had worn ever since his arrival at the farm.

S. Sylvain is a patron saint venerated in our province, who won heaven in leading the life of a peasant like us. Pierrette had a great devotion for him, and said that the saints above remember with tenderness those of their own former condition on earth; consequently, no one in the good God's heaven could better protect a child daily exposed to the accidents of rural life. One day especially, when he wished to be very active in helping his mother Pierrette by putting little pieces of dry wood in the fire, while she was soaking the clothes in lye, a plank of the big tub gave way all at once, and the boiling water floated around the room, and only stopped within half a foot of the child, who might have been drowned and scalded, in less time than it takes to say it. Pierrette for two entire days was so overcome she could speak of nothing else.

In the same manner, once, when Ragaud carried the little fellow with him to the fields, he amused him by placing him on one of the oxen; but the animal, tormented by the flies, shook his head so roughly that his rider, about as high as your boot, was thrown on the ground; but before any one could run to assist him he was already standing, red, not with fear, but with anger, and quickly revenged himself on the beast by striking him with a willow-wand that he used for a whip, and which he had not let go in his fall. Ragaud was terribly frightened at the time, but afterwards proudly related the adventure, and said to his neighbors that his son, Jean Louis, would be as brave a man as General Hoche, the hero of the war of La Vendée, and who, according to the old men of the neighborhood, never in his lifetime feared either man or beast.

As for the resemblance to General Hoche, Pierrette cared precious little, not being the least warlike by nature. Truth to say, I scarcely believe she knew precisely who was this very great personage, notwithstanding his immense renown in the province; therefore, she simply contented herself with having a Mass of thanksgiving said in S. Sylvain's Chapel, thinking that his protection was worth more than all the vanities of this world.

The great love of this good household for the little orphan increased day by day. Pierrette and her husband accustomed themselves to call him "My son" so often and so sincerely that I do believe they really ended by fancying it was so. The neighbors could do no less than they; so that every where and by every one he was called the Ragauds' son—so true it is that custom often takes away reflection.

From that grew the idea that this little mite would one day be the big man of the neighborhood; and those[Pg 183] who thought they were making a wise discovery, in supposing it would be thus, fell into the intentions of the Ragauds, as surely as the brook flows into the river; for at this same time, one autumn evening, when the fire burnt brightly on the hearth, Ragaud, seated at table opposite his good wife, commenced all at once to compliment her talent for housekeeping, praising everything around him, from the walls and window-panes, glistening with cleanliness, to the chests and benches, newly waxed once a month. He took pleasure in recalling his great happiness during the past twenty years, attributing all his blessings, after God, to the account of Pierrette's virtues; and as, like the thread in a needle, Jean Louis was sitting between them, eating his soup, he seized him in his arms, and tossed him up three times nearly to the rafters.

"You see, my son," said he, re-seating himself, and still keeping the boy on his knees, "you drew a good number in the lottery; for although you came to us like the down off the thistle, you have, nevertheless, a mother such as cannot be found in a hundred leagues; and as for your father, my brave fellow, he will leave you enough crowns to make you as respected in life as though you were a prefect."

"Happily," replied the wise Pierrette, "the little one is not old enough to understand what you are talking about; for this, my dear husband, is a very improper speech for the child's ears. We would fill him with vanity, and not only does pride offend the good God, but it renders a man very disagreeable to those around him."

"You are always right," replied Ragaud, without taking offence; "but a good fire, a good wife, money honestly earned, and new cider—nothing like these for untying the tongue and making it a little too long. Come, go to bed, my Jeannet, kiss your parents, and say your prayers well; to-morrow we will go to gather the thatch in the fields near Ordonniers, and if you only bring me as much as will fill your apron, you shall have two cents on Sunday to buy a gingerbread."

"Very well," said Pierrette, laughing, "that will be a fortune which will not make him too vain."

A little while afterwards, when they were alone, the conversation was recommenced, but they proceeded regularly about the business, and, finally, debated the question as to how the will should be drawn, according to law, so as to leave Muiceron to the child. The difficulty was that Ragaud knew very little about writing in any shape, and Pierrette nothing at all. They talked away, without making any progress, far into the night, and at last acknowledged they would have to finish where they should have begun, namely, by going next day to consult Master Perdreau, the notary of Val-Saint, on the subject. Thereupon, they went off well pleased to sleep in their big bed, with the canopy of yellow serge; and as the next morning the work of the thatching pressed, on account of the rains which were about to commence, Ragaud postponed his trip to another day.

Now, the good God, who has his own designs, permitted that it should be entirely otherwise from what these good people had intended, and in a manner so astonishing that no one, no matter how wise, could have foreseen it; for La Ragaude, who had nearly completed her forty-second year, became the following year the mother of a beautiful little girl, who was most fondly welcomed by the delighted parents.


[Pg 184]



To the Editor of The Catholic World:

In the letter which I ventured to address to you a short time ago concerning the general conditions required in a good English work of philosophy, I made some observations on the importance and difficulty of wielding the popular language in a strictly philosophical manner. As I apprehend that the title of "Philosophical Terminology," under which that letter was made to appear, is scarcely justified by its very limited contents, I beg leave to add a few other considerations on the same subject, that your intelligent readers may find in these additional remarks a confirmation and a further development of what I said about our need of a more copious philosophical language.

There are two words which cannot easily be dispensed with in the metaphysical analysis of created beings; these two words are, in Latin, actus and potentia. Metaphysicians, in fact, conclusively prove that in every created substance there are two essential principles: a principle of activity, which is known under the name of actus, and a principle of passivity, which is styled potentia. These two terms, which are so necessary in metaphysics, and so familiar to all the scholastic philosophers, might be fairly represented in English by "act" and "potency"; though as yet neither "act" nor "potency" is popularly used in this philosophical sense.

The word "act" with us primarily signifies that which is produced by action; for all action is the production, or the position, or the making of an act. But all action implies an agent—that is, a being which is already "in act," with its actual power prepared for action. On the other hand, nothing is formally "in act," but through an intrinsic "act," which is the formal principle of its actuality. Accordingly, the word "act," though primarily known to us as expressing the product of action, must, by metaphysical necessity, be applied also to that from which every agent and every being has its actuality.

Hence, philosophers found it necessary to admit two kinds of "acts"—the essential and the accidental. The essential is that which gives the first actuality, or existence, to a being—dat esse simpliciter. The accidental is that which is received in a subject already existing, and which only gives it an accidental actuality or a mode of being—dat esse secundum quid.

But the essential act (which is also called substantial, though it has a more extensive meaning, as we shall see hereafter) is, moreover, to be distinguished from actual existence. Metaphysicians, indeed, very often speak of existence as an act; and hence, to avoid confusion and equivocation, they are obliged to distinguish the actus essentiæ from the actus existentiæ. Yet, to speak properly, existence is not simply an[Pg 185] act; it is the actuality of the being;[68] and, consequently, the distinction which must be admitted between the essential act and the existence of a being is not strictly a distinction between two acts, but between the act which actuates the essential term of the being, and the actual state which results from such an actuation. I will say more on this point when I have explained the use of the word "potency."

The English word "potency" is the equivalent of the Latin potentia. This Latin word, although used most frequently in the sense of "passive principle," is not, however, necessarily connected with passivity more than with activity; and accordingly it has been used as well to designate "active power." Hence, it is obvious that this term, potentia, when employed absolutely without the epithet activa or passiva, is liable to two interpretations, and becomes a source of mischievous equivocations. I do not see what prevented our old Latin philosophers from designating the two kinds of potentia by two different words. Had they constantly used virtus or vis for the potentia activa, and reserved potentia exclusively for the potentia passiva, they would not have mistaken the one for the other, as they sometimes did. Let me quote a few examples of this for our common instruction.

Sanseverino, a very learned man, and one of the best modern scholastics, while arguing against the Scotists, who deny all real distinction between the soul and its faculties, says that if the soul and its faculties are really the same thing, then, "as the soul is always in act, the faculties also must be always in act and never in potency." Whence he infers that "the soul would have no potentiality, and would therefore be a purus actus like God"; which is, of course, a pantheistic absurdity.[69] But evidently this inference has no other foundation than the confusion of the potentia activa with the potentia passiva. The author, in fact, knows perfectly well that no being in which there is potentia passiva can be styled purus actus: when, therefore, he draws the conclusion that the soul, in the Scotistic theory, would be purus actus, he must be understood to mean or imply that all potentia passiva would be excluded from the soul. Yet his premises are concerned with the potentia activa only; and it is quite evident, that from such premises he could not have passed to such a conclusion had he not confounded the two kinds of potentia with one another.

I would remark, also, that in his argument the expression, "The faculties must be always in act," cannot mean that the faculties must be always acting, but only that they are always actual, as the soul itself; and, therefore, the author cannot reasonably conclude that the faculties "would never be in potency" respecting their proper acts. The potentia activa is already an "act," as it is known, since it is called actus primus agendi; and is not called potentia, except as contrasted with its accidental operations. Moreover, a faculty does not cease to be potentia activa, even when it actually performs its operations. When I actually make a syllogism, my faculty of reasoning is "in act," and yet it retains its potentia activa with regard to any number of other syllogisms. It is not true, therefore, that a faculty[Pg 186] which is in actual operation ceases to be in potentia activa. Lastly, the soul itself, which, as Sanseverino remarks, is always in act, is nevertheless always in potency also; for the actuality of all contingent being is always potential—that is, liable to modifications of different kinds. Hence, we not only deny the conclusion of the learned author as illegitimate, but affirm that the premises themselves, on which he relies, are untenable. It is the indiscriminate use of the word potentia that vitiates the author's argumentation.

Another great Thomist, Goudin, wishing to prove that in all creatures the power of acting is an accident, argues that potentia et actus sunt idem, quamvis diversimode, and that actus est semper nobilior quam potentia ad eum essentialiter ordinata; whence he concludes that, if a given act is an accident, the active power, whence it proceeds, must needs be an accident too. Here, also, the equivocation is evident. The act is nobilior quam potentia when we compare it with the potentia passiva which is destined to receive it—that is, to be actuated by it—but when an act is compared with the active power from which it proceeds—that is, with the potentia activa—we cannot say that it is nobilior quam potentia ad eum essentialiter ordinata: it is the contrary that is true. Had the author used the word virtus agendi instead of the equivocal word potentia, he would soon have discovered the fallacy of his argument.

I am sorry to say that even S. Thomas sometimes forgets to observe the distinction between potentia activa and potentia passiva; as in the first part of his Summa, where he compares the potentia essendi and the potentia operandi with their respective acts, and establishes a kind of proportion between the two potencies and the two acts.[70] No such proportion can be admitted, unless the potentia operandi and the potentia essendi are both similarly connected with their acts. Yet whilst the potentia operandi is active, the potentia essendi, according to S. Thomas, is passive.[71] They cannot, therefore, be related to their acts in a similar manner. Hence, the terms are not homologous, and the proportion cannot subsist. In another place, the holy doctor argues that, if an act is accidental, the potentia from which it proceeds must be accidental also; because potentia et actus dividunt ens, et quodlibet genus entis, and, therefore, oportet quod ad idem genus referatur potentia et actus.[72] But the potentia which, with the actus, constitutes the being and every class of beings is the potentia passiva; whilst the potentia from which any act proceeds is the potentia activa. The argument, therefore, contains four terms, and proves one thing only, namely, that it is extremely difficult, even for the greatest men, to avoid equivocations when things that are different and opposite are designated by the same term.

In English, the word potentia is commonly represented by "power," to which the epithets of "active" and "passive" have been attached by some writers, in the same manner as was done with the Latin potentia. "Power," says Locke,[73] "may be considered twofold, namely, as able to make or able to receive any change." But "in strictness," says Webster, "passive power is an absurdity in [Pg 187]terms. To say that gold has a power to be melted is improper language; yet for want of a more appropriate word, power is often used in a passive sense."

It is not true, however, that "the want of a more appropriate word" really compels us to use the word power in a passive sense. Have we not the word potency? This word exactly answers our purpose. It is not only the exact equivalent of the Latin potentia, but is also the immediate relation of the terms potential, potentially, potentiality, which are already admitted in common philosophical language as expressing capability, passiveness, and liability. These latter words are only subordinate members of a family, of which potency is the head. Therefore, to convey the notion of potentia passiva, we have a more appropriate word than "power," and nothing compels us to employ the absurd expression of "passive power." On the other hand, the remarks above made, on the consequences of the promiscuous use of the word potentia in the active and the passive sense, would suffice to show that the word "power," even if it could be used without absurdity in the passive sense, should, in philosophy, be restricted to the active; as it is most desirable that things which are so thoroughly opposite be expressed by different words. Thus, the word "power" retaining its active meaning, the potentia passiva may very appropriately be styled "potency."

Some will ask, Why should we use the word "potency" in this new sense, while we have already the term "potentiality," which seems to express very exactly the same notion? I answer that the principle of passivity, which we call "potency," is an essential constituent of created beings; whilst "potentiality" is not an essential constituent, but an attribute flowing from the essential constitution of being, on account of the potency which the latter involves. Accordingly, "potentiality" cannot stand for "potency," any more than rationality can stand for reason, or materiality for matter.

From the foregoing considerations, it appears that the words "act" and "potency" cannot be easily dispensed with in metaphysics, and, therefore, should be freely admitted and acknowledged as philosophical terms. As to their definitions, however, we shall have to rely on philosophical treatises rather than on common English dictionaries. The word "act" is indeed to be found in all dictionaries; but, unfortunately, its meaning is restricted to the expression of mere accidents, while substantial acts are ignored altogether. In Fleming's Vocabulary of Philosophy we find: "Act in metaphysics and in logic is opposed to power. Power is simply a faculty or property of anything, as gravity of bodies. Act is the exercise or manifestation of a power or property, the realization of a fact, as the falling of a heavy body." On these words I would incidentally remark that "power" cannot be defined a "faculty"; because, though all faculties are powers, yet there are powers which are not faculties. Again, "power" cannot be defined a "property" without adding some restriction; as there are properties which are not powers. Moreover, the "gravity of bodies" is not a power, as some unphilosophical scientists imagine, but is a simple tendency to fall, owing to the fact that the active power of the earth is actually applied to the passive potency of the body. Nor is it true that in metaphysics or in logic the act is the "exercise or manifestation of a power." Such an exercise and manifestation is action[Pg 188]that is, the position or the production of the act. As to "the falling of a heavy body," it is true that we usually call it an act, but we evidently mean actuality; for, if the falling were an act strictly, then the tendency to fall would be an active power; which it is not. Lastly, the most important metaphysical meaning of the word "act," and of its correlative, "potency," is not given; which, however, is not owing to any oversight of the author, as we have already said that these two words were not used by English writers in this philosophical sense.

In Worcester's and Webster's dictionaries, the word act is said to mean action, exertion of power, and real existence as opposed to possibility. From the preceding remarks, it may be seen that, in metaphysics, none of these three meanings can be considered rigorously accurate.

Act, in the scholastic language, is that which gives existence by formal actuation. Potency is that which, by formal actuation, receives existence. Actuality is the result of the actuation—that is, the very existence of the act in its potency. Actuality, as we have already remarked, was also called actus existentiæ; hence, existence itself was considered as an act received in the essence, and causing it to be. But this view is now generally abandoned, because it has been shown that it is not the existence that entails the reality of the act and the potency, but the real position of the act in its potency that entails the existence of the being. Accordingly, existence is not an act received in the essence, but the result of the position of the essence; and cannot be called an act, except in a logical sense, inasmuch as it gives to the being denominationem existentis.

An act is called essential when it gives the first existence to any essence, be it simple or compound; substantial, when it gives the first existence to a pure potency; accidental, when it gives a mode of being. The distinction between essential and substantial acts will be explained here below, where we examine the different kinds of forms.

Every being acts inasmuch as it is in act, and is acted on inasmuch as it is in potency. Hence, the substantial act is a principle of activity, and the potency a principle of passivity.

The active power of any being, if taken in the concrete, is nothing but its substantial act as ready for exertion, and is called active power, because its exertion is the position or the production of an act. The active power thus considered is, therefore, in reality one of the constituent principles of natural beings; whilst the abstract term activity does not stand for a principle, but for an attribute of the being—that is, for its readiness to act.

The passive potency of any being, if taken in the concrete, is nothing but the term of the substantial act as liable to be acted on, and is called passive or receptive, because it is actuated by the reception of an act. The passive potency, thus considered, is therefore in reality one of the constituent principles of natural beings, whilst the abstract term passivity does not stand for a principle, but for an attribute of the being—that is, for its liability to be acted on.

Every one who is acquainted with metaphysical matters will acknowledge that it is of extreme importance that these terms and others of a like nature, which are continually employed in metaphysical analysis, be clearly understood by all students of philosophy. So long as our language has no definite words by which to designate the essential constituents[Pg 189] of things, no hope can be entertained of advancing the interests of metaphysics by means of vernacular books.

Act and potency, in material things, are called form and matter respectively; hence, material substance is said to consist essentially of matter and form. The forms of natural things are usually divided into substantial and accidental. The substantial form is commonly defined as that which gives the first existence to its matter—quæ dat materiæ primum esse, or simpliciter esse. It is sometimes defined, also, as that which gives the first existence to a thing—quæ dat primum esse rei. But this second definition is open to misconstruction; because, when the thing in question is a physical compound having a number of material parts, the form that gives to it—that is, to the compound essence—its first existence is its physical composition, which is not a substantial, but an essential, form, as we shall see presently.

The accidental form is defined as that which gives an accidental mode of being—quæ dat esse secundum quid. This definition is universally admitted; but it is a remarkable fact that the examples of accidental forms given by most philosophers do not support it. Thus, the form of a statue and the form of a column are not forms giving to the marble any accidental mode of being, but are the very modes of being, which have resulted in the marble from the reception of suitable accidental acts. Therefore, what is called the form of a statue is not a form giving a mode of being, but the mode itself, on account of which we give to the marble the name of a statue. Suarez and others have indeed pointed out the necessity of distinguishing the forms dantes esse from the forms dantes denominationem; yet, even to this day, in our philosophical treatises, the definition of the former is almost exclusively illustrated by examples of the latter. True forms are acts, whilst modes of being are actualities; and therefore modes of being should not be called forms, but formalities. As, however, the word form is in general use in this last sense also, the best thing we can do is to retain the term, and add to it a suitable epithet. I would call them resultant forms, or consequential forms; and in the same manner, when actuality is styled act, I would call it consequential act, or complementary act, that it may not be confounded with act proper.

It is also necessary to make a well-marked distinction between substantial and essential forms. The necessity of this distinction is sufficiently shown by the very existence of the two scholastic definitions of form. In fact, two definitions imply two concepts. The first definition, Forma est id quod dat primum esse materiæ, strictly belongs to the substantial form, as every one knows; but the second, Forma est id quod dat primum esse rei, is more general, and extends to all essential forms, be they substantial or not. Thus, we can say that velocity is the essential form of movement, though, of course, it is not a substantial form, as movement is not a substance.

The same distinction is to be admitted with regard to natural compounds, at least in the opinion of those philosophers who oppose the Aristotelic theory of substantial generations, or teach that bodies are made up of primitive, unextended elements. Indeed, if chemical combination does not destroy the essence of the combining substances, it is obvious that the compound substance which arises out of the combination will have no special form, except the combination itself; and such a form, however essential to the compound substance,[Pg 190] cannot be a substantial form in the sense of the Peripatetics; because it gives existence to the compound nature only, and not to its matter. Again, if the molecule of a primitive body, as hydrogen, is nothing more than a system of material points or elements connected with one another by dynamical ties, and subject to a law of vibratory movement, which allows the molecule to contract and dilate, then it is evident that the essential form of such a molecule will be its specific composition; for the composition is the immediate constituent of all material compound. Accordingly, since the scientific views which lead to these conclusions are widely received, and very well founded on chemical and other data, and can be philosophically established by the very principles of ancient metaphysics, the said distinction between substantial and essential forms is to be acknowledged as a very important one in questions connected with modern science. Lastly, essential forms are to be admitted, not only in natural, but also in artificial and in moral, compounds. A clock has its essential form, without which it would cease to be a clock; a family has its essential form, without which it would cease to be a family; and yet it would be ridiculous to talk of a clock or a family as having a substantial form. It is, therefore, necessary to divide all true forms into substantial, essential, and accidental, and to place in a separate class all the so-called resultant forms above mentioned.

Thus, the substantial form is that which gives the first being to matter. This definition comes from Aristotle himself, and has been universally received by all metaphysicians.

The essential form is that which gives to a thing its specific nature. This definition coincides with that of the substantial form whenever the specific nature of which we treat is physically simple—that is, without composition of material parts—for, in fact, such a simple nature receives its species from the same form that gives the first being to its matter. Hence, the essential form and the substantial form are one and the same thing so long as there is question of simple or primitive beings. But the definition of the essential form is no longer equivalent to that of the substantial form when the specific nature constituted by it is physically compounded of material parts; because such a compound nature receives its species from its specific composition, which is not a substantial form, though it is essential to the specific compound.

The accidental form is that which gives to its subject an accidental mode of being, or an esse secundum quid, according to the language of the schools.

The so-called resultant form is the actuality resulting from the position of any true form. As, therefore, true forms are either substantial, essential, or accidental, so, also, are all the resultant forms. From the substantial form results the actuality of the primitive being, which, as primitive, is always free from material composition; from the essential form results the actuality of every specific nature, which involves composition of material parts; and from the accidental form results the actual modification of the subject in which it is received.

I have dwelt purposely on these considerations, because the word form, and its derivatives, formal, formally, formality, etc., are variously employed, and sometimes loosely, in philosophy, and because, without a clear and distinct notion of the different kinds of forms, many fundamental questions of metaphysics cannot be rightly understood. I might[Pg 191] say nearly as much respecting the word matter, which is the metaphysical correlative of form; but it will suffice to remark that matter, in philosophy, always means a receptive potency which is actuated by a form; so that, if the form is accidental, the word matter stands for material substance itself as receptive, because it is the substance that receives accidental forms; if the form is essential in the sense above explained, then the word matter means the totality of the material parts required for the constitution of any given specific compound, including their actual disposition to receive the form in question; and if the form is substantial, then the word matter expresses only one of the constituent principles of primitive material substance—that is, the potential term of substance; which is first actuated by such a form.

The word matter is used analogically in many other senses, which are given by our lexicographers, who, however, omit to mention matter as that potency which receives its first existence through the substantial form. Webster says: "Matter is usually divided by philosophical writers into three kinds or classes: solid, liquid, and aeriform." This statement is not correct. Philosophical writers admit that bodies are either solid, liquid, or aeriform; but they do not admit that the matter of which bodies and their molecules are made up is either solid, or liquid, or aeriform. Ice is solid, water is liquid, and vapor is aeriform; and yet the matter in all of them is identically the same. It is impossible, therefore, for philosophical writers to divide matter into liquid, solid, and aeriform. The philosophical division of matter has always been into materia informis, or prima, or actuabilis—that is, matter conceived as void of all substantial form; and materia formata, or secunda, or actuata—that is, matter actuated by, and existing under, a substantial form.

As I am not now writing a treatise on matter, I will dismiss this subject with only two observations. The first is, that the words first matter and second matter are indispensable in metaphysics, and, therefore, must be adopted in our English philosophical language, unless, indeed, we prefer to make use of the original Latin words. The other is, that in reading the metaphysical works of the scholastics, when we find the word materia with the epithet prima, we should carefully ascertain that the epithet is not misapplied. For, it has been observed with reason that most of the abstruseness and uncertainty inherent in the old explanation of physical questions arises from the fact that the matter, which was supposed to be actually under its form, and therefore in act, was very frequently called materia prima, though it is known that "nothing that is in act can be called by such a name."[74] This observation is of the greatest importance, since it is evident that nothing but perpetual confusion can arise from contradictory definitions.

To express the relation existing between act and potency, or between form and matter, the philosophical Latin possesses many good phrases, such as the following: Forma dat esse materiæ, actuat materiam, informat materiam, terminatur ad materiam; and, reciprocally, materia accipit esse a forma, actuatur a forma, informatur a forma, terminat formam. In English, I presume, we are allow[Pg 192]ed to say that the form informs its matter, that the form gives existence to the matter, and that the form actuates the matter. But can we say that the form is terminated to its matter, and that the matter terminates, that is, completes its form? This manner of speaking may be considered awkward, nevertheless its mode of expressing the relation of the form to its matter is so remarkable for its philosophical precision, clearness, and universality, that I would not hesitate to adopt it in philosophy. To say that the form is terminated to its matter, is to say that the matter is the potential term actuated by the form. The philosophical notion of term (terminus), which is susceptible of a general application to all conceivable beings, is a very important one in philosophy as well as in theology; and since it can be made quite intelligible even to the dullest of students, I think that in metaphysical speculation the use of the words term, termination, to terminate, terminability, terminativity, etc., cannot but greatly help both teachers and students in their efforts to explain correctly a number of ontological relations which it would be difficult to express as simply and as correctly by other words.

The word term in the popular use means the extremity of anything, or that where anything ends. The spot of ground where a stone is allowed to fall is the term of the falling; the drop of rain acted on by gravity is the term of the action by which it is attracted; the tree at which I am looking is the term of my vision; the concept which I form of anything is the term of my thought. But all these terms correspond to accidental acts, whereas the term which we ultimately reach in the analysis of substance, is always substantial, as being intrinsic to the substantial act of which it is the term. Hence, when we say that the matter is the term of the form, or in general that the potency is the term of its act, we mean not only that the act, or the form, reaches the potency or the matter, but that the potency or the matter acquires its first reality and actuality by the very position of the act or form which it terminates; in the same manner as the centre of a sphere acquires its first actuality through the simple position of a spherical form. Accordingly, the words act and term are correlative; the act actuates, the term is actuated, and the formal reason of their correlation is actuation. This actuation is not efficient, but formal; that is, the act, not by its action, but by itself, entails the immediate existence of its intrinsic term, just as the spherical form by itself, and not by any action, entails the immediate existence of a centre. As a sphere without a centre, so an act without a term is an utter impossibility. Hence the termination of the act to its term is nothing less than the very constitution of any essence that has a proper and complete existence. For this reason, I am of opinion that the phrase "the form is terminated to the matter, and the act to its potency," is the best we can adopt in speaking of created things, however new it may be to English ears.

With regard to the peculiar construction of this verb with the preposition to instead of the prepositions by, at, or in, which are in general use, I will only remark that these latter prepositions are not suitable to express what we need. The termination at connotes a limit of time or space, as every one knows. The termination in connotes a change or successive transformation of that which is terminated into that in which it ends, as when a quarrel ter[Pg 193]minates in murder. The termination by connotes either an obstacle to further advance, or at least a positive entity existing independently of the termination itself: it cannot therefore express the fact that a substantial term receives its very first actuality by the termination of the act. On the other hand, this fact is perfectly expressed by saying that the act is terminated to its term; and since no other English phrase has yet been found, so far as I know, which can express the fact equally well, I think that we need have no scruple in enriching our philosophical language with this old scholastic phrase.

"The resources of our noble language in philosophy," says a well-known American writer, "are surpassed by no ancient or modern tongue, unless the Greek be an exception. It is capable in philosophy of receiving and assimilating all the riches of the Greek, Latin, Italian, and French languages, while it has in its Teutonic roots the wealth of the German."[75] This is a great encouragement to English philosophical writers. Indeed, to say that among the resources of the English language for philosophy we may reckon its capability of receiving and assimilating all the riches of other learned languages, is to tell us that our resources are still in a potential state, and therefore that no one can reasonably blame us for freely adopting from other languages as many terms and phrases as we need to express our thoughts with philosophical rigor. Yet the task, for obvious reasons, is extremely difficult, as it requires a degree of judgment which unfortunately is common only to the few. "The English language," adds the same writer, "only needs Catholic restoration and culture to be the richest and noblest language ever written or spoken. But it deteriorates, as does everything else, in the hands of Protestants and unbelieving Englishmen and Americans." At least two things are certain; first, that if the English language ever becomes a perfect instrument of philosophical education, it will be due to Catholic writers, for they alone will be able to utilize for its healthy development all the treasures of the scholastic terminology; second, that only in proportion as such a development will be carried on, shall we acquire the means of training our youthful generation in a vernacular course of philosophy. This thought should rouse our dormant energies into action. It was with this object that I undertook to say a few words on philosophical terminology. Our language may be capable of receiving and assimilating all the riches of other languages; but so long as such an assimilation is in abeyance, the language remains poor and imperfect, nay, it continues to "deteriorate, as does everything else, in the hands of Protestants and unbelieving Englishmen and Americans." We still need many philosophical words. I have given a few examples of such a need in the preceding pages.

That we also need a number of new phrases is undeniable; but I will not enter into the discussion of so difficult a subject. I prefer simply to mention a few Latin phrases, which are much used by Catholic philosophers or theologians, and will allow the reader himself to attempt their translation without altering their philosophical meaning, and without infringing upon English usages. Translate:

Actus et potentia conspirant in unitatem essentiæ.

[Pg 194]

Actio motiva terminatur materialiter ad mobile, et formaliter ad motum.

Sicut se habet actus substantialis ad esse simpliciter, ita se habet actus accidentalis ad esse secundum quid.

Facultas ordinatur ad operationem ut actus primus ad secundum.

Quidquid sistit in suis essentialibus, nullo superaddito, est unum per se.

Intellectus attingit objectum sub ratione veri, voluntas autem sub ratione boni.

Actus et potentia principiant ens principiatione metaphysica.

Relatio est id cuius totum esse est ad aliud se habere.

Motus est actus existentis in potentia ut in potentia.

These and such like phrases will afford matter for a great exercise of patience to him who will undertake to translate them faithfully. To conspire into unity, to be terminated to a movable object, to be ordered to the operation, etc., are scarcely good English expressions: yet it is not easy to see what other phrases would be calculated to express the same thoughts in an unobjectionable manner.

I will conclude by giving the opinion of a competent authority on this very point. The Rev. F. Hill, in the preface to his substantial work lately published under the title of Elements of Philosophy, says: "The Latin of the schools, besides being brief, is also peculiarly capable of expressing precisely, clearly, and comprehensively matters which it is difficult to utter through the less accurate vernacular in terms that are neither obscure nor ambiguous." And speaking of the Latin philosophical axioms and sentences, which he inserted in his treatise with their English translation, he remarks: "It was not, however, an easy task, in some instances, to reproduce them with fidelity in the English phraseology, as the classic scholar will readily see from the result." Certainly, the task was not an easy one. Yet the author has most creditably carried out his object. May his example encourage others to cultivate the same field, and thus contribute towards developing "the resources of our noble language," and making it a fit channel for sound philosophical education.

A Friend of Philosophy.


[67] For the preceding article on the subject, see the July No. of The Catholic World.

[68] Esse est perfectissimum omnium; comparatur enim ad omnia ut actus. Nihil enim habet actualitatem nisi in quantum est; unde ipsum esse est actualitas omnium rerum, et etiam ipsarum formarum.—S. Thomas, Summa Th., p. 1 q. 4 a. 1.

[69] Sanseverino, Dynamilogia, c. i. a. 1.

[70] Summa Th., p. 1 q. 54 a. 3.

[71] For he says that esse non comparatur ad alia sicut recipiens ad receptum, sed magis ut receptum ad recipiens (p. 1 q. 4 a. 1); whence it is clear that the potentia essendi is considered by him as the recipient of actual existence. The same he teaches Contra Gent. lib. ii. c. 53, and in other places.

[72] Summa Th., p. 1 q. 77 a. 1.

[73] Essay on the Human Understanding, b. 2. c. 21.

[74] Materia ... per se nunquam potest esse; quia, quum in ratione sua non habeat aliquam formam, non potest esse in actu (quum esse in actu non sit nisi a forma), sed solum in potentia. Et ideo quidquid est in actu non potest dici materia prima.—S. Thomas Opusc. De Principiis Naturæ.

[75] Brownson's Quarterly Review, July, 1873, p. 416.



Light-winged Loves! they come; they flee:
If we were dead, they'd never miss us:
Self-Love! with thee is constancy—
Thine eyes could see but one, Narcissus.

[Pg 195]





"Fais ce que dois, advienne que pourra!"

Louis was thunderstruck at seeing Madeleine. He had not spoken a word to her for several days, and intended to maintain a reserve full of circumspection towards her. His connection with the family had twice given rise to the most malevolent interpretations, and he by no means wished a similar vexation to be repeated. He received the young girl with a coldness that was almost rude.

"What do you wish?" said he.

"To speak with you, monsieur. But I fear I have come at the wrong time. I will return at a later hour."

"Not later, but elsewhere."

"Why?" asked Madeleine, with naïveté.

"But what have you so urgent to tell me?..."

"Nothing concerning you, monsieur; it only relates to myself. I am so unhappy.... If I ventured to come here at this hour, it is because I feared being seen talking with you. I have a secret to confide to you which my parents alone are aware of. If they knew I told you, I do not know what they would do to me."

"Where are your parents now?"

"At my cousin's, a league off. They will not be back for several hours."

Madeleine was so overwhelmed with grief and anxiety that Louis was filled with compassion. He motioned for her to be seated on a lounge before his desk, and then said:

"Well, my good Madeleine, what has happened? Tell me your troubles. If in my power to remove them, it shall soon be done. What can I do for you?"

"You know Durand, the overseer?"

"Yes, yes!..." said Louis, frowning with the air of a man who knows more than he expresses.

"He and my father have become intimate, I know not how or why, within a few weeks—since you stopped coming to our house. He often came before the inundation, and paid me a thousand absurd compliments. I made no reply to his silly speeches, but they seemed to please my parents. The first moment I set eyes on that man, he inspired me with fear. He looks so bold—so false! And besides...."

"Besides what? Madeleine, I insist on your telling me everything."

"Well, he tried every way to make us believe you are.... I dare not tell you...."

"Go on, child. Nothing would astonish me from Durand. I know he hates me."

"He says you are a hypocrite, a—Jesuit, a dangerous man. He told my father you were going to leave the mill, and seemed to boast of being the cause of it."

"I suspected it," said Louis to himself. "Adams was only Durand's tool. Oh! what deceit!"

"Is it true, then, that you are going away?" asked Madeleine anxiously.

[Pg 196]

"Quite true, my child."

"Oh! what a hateful man! I was right in detesting him! Since we have been here living in the same house with him, he has tormented me more than ever. He says he wishes to marry me...."

"Has he dared go that far?"

"Yes; and, what is worse, my parents have given their consent. Durand tells them he has money laid up; that he is earning a good deal here, and is willing to live with them and provide for the support of the whole family.... But I—I have a horror of that man! There is nothing disagreeable I do not say to him. I have told him plainly I would never consent to marry him. My parents were terribly angry at this; my father beat me, and my mother loaded me with abuse. They ended by saying, if I persisted in refusing Durand, they would find a way of making me change my mind. This scene took place last evening. What shall I do? O God! what shall I do?..." So saying, Madeleine burst into tears.

Louis remained silent. He was reflecting. Self whispered: "Leave this girl to her unhappy fate. Do not embark in another undertaking that will get you into fresh trouble and may endanger everything—both Eugénie's love for you, and your reputation itself. This unfortunate girl has already been the cause of more than one sad moment; take care she does not at last ruin you, and likewise compromise herself...."

But such selfish promptings had no power over a heart so generous and upright as that of Louis. Besides, he had learned such shocking things about Durand that, if he did not reveal them in order to save Madeleine, he would regard himself guilty of a crime, and not without reason. After some moments of silent reflection, all incertitude ceased. He had decided on the course to pursue.

"How old are you, my child?" said he.

"I am in my twenty-first year."

"Well, you have hitherto devoted yourself generously to the interests of your parents. They have now made this impossible. There is no choice in the matter. You must leave them."

"I have thought of it. But where could I go? I have no place of refuge, now my aunt is dead."

"I will give you a note to a lady who lives in the city. I may as well say at once it is my sister. She will take care of you, and get you a place as a chamber-maid, if she does not keep you herself."

"Oh! how kind you are!... You revive my courage. When can I go?"

"When you please."


"Yes, to-morrow morning."

"And who will inform my parents?"

"You yourself. Write a line, and leave it with some one you can trust, to be delivered a few hours after you are gone. You can tell your parents you are going to seek a situation in the city in order to escape from Durand. Promise to be a credit to them, to love them always, and even to render them assistance; and I will say more to them when the proper time comes. Above all, I will tell them what Durand really is.... Thank God, my child, that he enables you to escape that man's snares...."

Everything was done as agreed upon by Louis and Madeleine. The latter left for town the next morning. Her parents were not informed of her departure till about noon. They immediately notified Durand.

"The engineer has had a hand in[Pg 197] this," said he to Vinceneau and his wife. "He shall pay for it."

"What makes you think he had anything to do with it?" asked Vinceneau.

"Your daughter went to see him last evening.... My police told me."

"How shall we be revenged?"

"By telling everybody what this Tartuffe is. I will see to it. Ah! he induces young girls to run away without any one's knowing where they are gone! That is rather too bold!"

Durand watched for an opportunity of speaking to Albert, with whom he kept up daily communication. He told him what had occurred, adding calumnious suppositions that may be imagined. Albert, delighted at the news, went at once to tell his aunt. It was near dinnertime. Mme. Smithson said to her nephew: "Wait till we are at table, then relate this story without appearing to attach any importance to it. If I am not very much mistaken, this will be a death-blow to that troublesome creature. Only be prudent, and do not begin till I make a sign. There are times when your uncle takes no interest in the conversation, no matter what is said. Poor Eugénie will blush well to hear of such infamous conduct, for she loves him. It is horrible to say, but so it is. Since I caught them talking together the other day, I have had no doubt about it. Besides, as you have remarked, she grows more and more reserved toward us, while, on the contrary, she has redoubled her amiability towards her father. I really believe, if the foolish fellow had not compromised himself, she would in the end have got the better of us. Her father is so indulgent to her!... But after what has taken place, there can be no more illusion! She will perceive the worth of her hero!... It must be acknowledged there is no alternative! Her romance has ended in a way to make her ashamed of it for ever.... You will see, Albert, she will end by thinking it too great an honor to be your wife."

"Too great an honor! Hum! hum! It will be well if she consents. Eugénie has more pride than any girl I ever saw. Humbled, she will be unapproachable. Believe me, aunt, we must be cautious in availing ourselves of this advantage."

They took seats at table at six o'clock as usual. Mr. Smithson appeared thoughtful and out of humor, but that often happened. Eugénie was no less serious. Very little was said till the dessert. Albert evidently longed to let fly the shaft he held in reserve against Louis. Mme. Smithson was quite as impatient as he, but could not find a propitious opportunity. However, her bitterness against Louis prevailed. Towards the end of dinner, she made Albert an imperceptible sign, as much as to say: "Proceed, but be prudent!"

Albert assumed as indifferent an air as possible, and in an off-hand way began his attack after this manner:

"There is trouble in the refugees' quarter to-day."

Mme. Smithson looked up with an air of surprise at the news. Mr. Smithson and Eugénie remained impassible.

"The Vinceneaus are in great commotion," continued Albert. "Their daughter has run away."

"A poor set—those Vinceneaus," muttered Mr. Smithson.

"Yes," replied Albert, "a poor set indeed! But this time I pity them. Their daughter has gone off, and no one knows where she has gone."

[Pg 198]

"Why did she leave them?" asked Eugénie.

"She and her parents had a violent quarrel day before yesterday, but not the first; they say this Madeleine is more amiable in appearance than in reality. Anyhow, there is something inexplicable about her. It seems she was to have been married; then she refused to be. Result: anger of the parents, obstinacy of the daughter. All that is known besides this is that she went all alone to consult the engineer last evening. Durand and another workman saw her go to his room. This morning she disappeared, leaving word she intended to get a situation, no one knows where; she has not thought it proper to leave her address...."

While listening to this account, Eugénie turned pale, then red, and finally almost fainted. Mr. Smithson perceived the sad effect of the story on her, and was filled with inexpressible sorrow. Heretofore he had refused to believe in the possibility of her loving Louis; but now he could no longer doubt it. For the first time in his life, he acknowledged his wife had shown more penetration than he—more prudence. The look that rested on Eugénie was not of anger, however, but full of affection and anxiety. He loved her too much not to pity her, even though he blamed her.

Eugénie, with characteristic energy, recovered her self-possession in a few moments. Suspicions of a stronger and more painful character than any she had yet had struggled with the love in this proud girl's heart.

Albert was overjoyed, but concealed his satisfaction under a hypocritical air of compassion. Continuing the subject, he said the workmen were all indignant at Madeleine's flight. "The engineer has done well not to show himself since the girl's departure was known," he added. "He would have exposed himself to a public manifestation of rather a disagreeable nature. And I do not see who could defend him...."

"He could defend himself, if he is innocent," thought Eugénie.... Then another idea occurred to her: "But if he has plans he cannot yet acknowledge, ... if he loves this Madeleine, ... ah! how he will have deceived me!... No! it is impossible!... And yet it is true he has disappeared: I have not seen him to-day...."

By an unfortunate coincidence, Louis had been obliged to come to see me that day. I had been taken with a terrible pain in all my limbs—the first symptoms of my paralytic seizure. My mother, frightened beyond all expression, sent a messenger to our poor friend, conjuring him to come with all possible speed.

"Enough!" said Mr. Smithson. "The subject does not please me. I do not like to be deceived, as I have so often been before. It seems to me there is some mistake here. I shall ascertain the truth. But this shall be my care. Let it be understood that no one but myself is to make any inquiries about the affair. No tittle-tattle!"

They retired to the salon a few moments after. Albert offered Eugénie his arm. She refused it, as if to show him, if Louis were driven from her heart, he, Albert, should never have a place there. She seated herself at the piano, and played a succession of pieces with great effect. Her ardent nature required the relief of some outward manifestation. For the first time in her life, she blushed before her parents—before the cousin she despised. But the torture she suffered from her wounded pride was[Pg 199] not the most painful. She had loved Louis—she loved him still, as a woman of her intelligence and energy alone could love—that is to say, to excess. And now she is forced to ask herself: is an affection so pure met only with hypocrisy, or at least an indifference but too easy to understand. Swayed between love and contempt; by turns ashamed of herself, then drawing herself up with pride, she would have given ten years of her life to be able at once to solve the doubt that caused her so much suffering.

While the poor girl was thus abandoning herself to the most distressing anxiety, without any consolation, Mme. Smithson and Albert were talking in a low tone near the fireplace. They appeared dissatisfied.

"The affair has begun badly," said Albert. "One would think my uncle resolved to thwart me in everything.... Why could he not intimate to that fellow that there is no necessity of his remaining any longer?... That is what I hoped and what I expected! He has certainly done enough to deserve being treated in such a way.... Instead of that, my uncle is going to undertake an investigation!... I wager this arrant piece of craft will find some way of making himself out innocent."

"That would be rather too much!" said Mme. Smithson. "You are right: we must despatch business, or all is lost. I will talk to your uncle this very evening, and make every effort to prevent their meeting...."


The whole family were still in the salon, when, about half-past eight, they heard an unusual noise out of doors, and people seemed to be moving about in the darkness. In a few moments, a servant entered and said a few words to Mr. Smithson in a low tone. He immediately rose and started to go out; but, before leaving the room, he said: "I shall not be gone long. I wish you all to remain here till my return."

Eugénie continued to drum furiously on the piano; then, weary of this monotonous employment, she took a book, and pretended to read. Mme. Smithson and Albert were far from being at ease. Triumphant as they were, they stood in awe of Eugénie. To keep themselves in countenance, they began a game of cards.

What was Mr. Smithson doing meanwhile? He forbade his servants mentioning a word of what had happened, which they were aware of as well as he. Sure of being obeyed, he went directly to Louis' apartment. Entering the room, he found him lying all dressed on his bed, groaning and unable to utter a word. A bloody handkerchief was tied across his forehead, as if he had received a severe wound. At a sign from Mr. Smithson, the servant dismissed all the men—hands at the mill—who had brought the engineer to his room. When they were gone, the servant removed the handkerchief that concealed the wound. It was a long gash, which was still bleeding. Louis opened his eyes, and put his hand to his neck, as if there was another wound there. The servant untied his cravat. The unfortunate young man's neck, in fact, bore marks of violence.

The servant seemed greatly affected at the sight. He placed the wounded man in as comfortable a position as he could, bandaged his[Pg 200] wounds, and tried to revive him with eau-de-Cologne. Louis came to himself a little, and, extending his hand, pressed that of the good fellow who was tending him so kindly. Mr. Smithson stood a few steps from the bed, looking on as calmly as if gazing at some unreal spectacle in a theatre. No one would have divined his thoughts from the expression of his countenance; but at the bottom of his heart there was a feeling of animosity against Louis, which was scarcely lessened by the sight of his sufferings. At that moment, he believed Louis guilty, and what had happened only a chastisement he merited. Nevertheless, he sent in haste for a physician, who arrived in a short time. Louis' clothes were removed, and his wounds dressed with the greatest care. The relief he experienced, the warmth of the bed, and the skill of the attentive physician, produced a speedy and favorable reaction. He recovered the perfect use of speech, and, addressing those around him with an attempt at a smile, he said:

"They have brought me to a sad condition."

"You will get over it," replied the doctor.

"How did it happen?" asked Mr. Smithson coldly.

"It is a long story to tell," replied Louis. "I have not recovered from the violent concussion, and am still in severe pain; but I will endeavor to tell you how it happened. It is time for you to know the truth about many things, Mr. Smithson. What is your opinion of Durand?"

"He is a capable hand, but somewhat unaccountable."

"Well, I have found him out.... He is a dangerous man. The condition you see me in is owing to him."

"What induced him to ill-treat you in this way?"

"He has hated me for a long time, though secretly. Before I came here, he did somewhat as he pleased, and was guilty of many base acts. He robbed you in many ways—saying he had paid the workmen money that was never given them, and having an understanding with one and another, in order to cheat you. I found out his dishonest trafficking, and put a stop to it. This was the origin of his dislike."

"Why did you not notify me at once?"

"My silence proceeded from motives of delicacy. You will recollect the man came here with excellent recommendations; he was a Protestant; and you liked him, and thought more of him than of many others."

"That is true. Go on."

"I afterwards discovered he lent money on security. My reproaches offended him still more. Within a short time, he has become intimate with that drunken Vinceneau and his indolent wife, and, since the inundation drove them here for shelter, he has permanently installed himself in their house. He only did this to annoy their poor daughter, Madeleine, with his audacious attentions. The girl was indignant. Young as she is, she felt there was something vile—I may say criminal—in the depths of his deceitful soul. But her father and mother countenanced him. They hoped a son-in-law so much richer than they would enable them to give themselves up to their shameful inclinations—the husband to drink, and the wife to idleness. Madeleine was, therefore, ordered—and in such a way!—to accept Durand's offer. She came to consult me on the subject, and said the man inspired her with invincible horror. On the other hand, her parents threatened her with the worst treatment possible if she[Pg 201] resisted their orders—a treatment already begun. Now, I had learned only a few days previous the following particulars respecting Durand: His name is not Durand, but Renaud. He is not a Protestant, but a Catholic, if such a man can be said to have any religion. His fine recommendations did not come from his employers; he wrote them himself. He is not a bachelor, but is married, and the father of three children. Be good enough to open my desk, Mr. Smithson.... You will find a letter from Durand's wife, in which all these facts are stated with a minuteness of detail, and such an accent of truth, that there can be no doubt after reading it. It was addressed to the curé, begging him to threaten Durand—or rather, Renaud—with the law if he did not send for his wife and children. They are dying of want at Lille, whence he fled without saying anything to them. They lost all trace of him for a year, and only heard of him again about six months ago."

Mr. Smithson opened Louis' desk, and took out the letter. The details it contained were, in truth, so numerous and so precise that there could be no doubt they really referred to the so-called Durand.

"What an infamous impostor!" exclaimed he, as he finished the letter. "Continue your account, monsieur. I am eager to know how this sad affair terminated."

"My friend, Mme. Barnier," continued Louis, "has not been able to leave St. Denis, where she took refuge at the time of the inundation. A violent affection of the muscular system obliges her to keep her bed. I learned this morning from a letter that she was worse, and wished to see me immediately. I went to St. Denis. On my way back this evening on foot, I met Durand not three hundred steps from the mill. I cannot say he was waiting for me, but am inclined to think so. When he perceived me by the light of the moon, a gleam of fury lighted up his features. I had no weapon of defence. He, as usual, carried a strong, knotty cane in his hand.

"'Where is Madeleine?' said he.

"'At my sister's,' I replied. In fact, I had sent her there with a letter of recommendation.

"'Why did you send her away?'

"'Because I wished to withdraw her from your criminal pursuit.'

"'Criminal?... How was my pursuit criminal? I wished to marry her.'

"'You have not the right.'

"'What do you say? I haven't a right to marry?'

"'No, you have not. You are married already.'

"'It is false.'

"'I have the proof in my possession—a letter from your wife.' Then I told him what I knew of his history, and ended thus: 'You have hitherto gone from one crime to another. It is time for you to reform. Promise to begin a new life, and I pledge my word to keep what I know to myself.'

"'I promise—humble myself—and to you!... There is one man too many in the world, you or I. By heaven! this must be ended.'

"I heard no more. Before I could ward off the blow, he hit me, causing the wound you see on my head. Then he continued striking me with diabolical fury. I could not defend myself, but called for help. Two men heard me in the mill, and came running with all their might. As soon as Durand saw them, he fled I know not where. I beg he may not be pursued; the crime is too serious."

Louis had ended his account.

[Pg 202]

"Monsieur," said Mr. Smithson, "you have been strangely unfortunate since you came here. It has all arisen from a misunderstanding. I distrusted you. I was wrong. You have a noble heart. I see it now. What you have said explains many things I did not understand. You have been odiously calumniated, monsieur! Now that we have come to an understanding, promise not to leave me. I will go further: forgive me."

Louis was affected to tears, and could not reply.

"And now, monsieur," said Mr. Smithson, "can I render you any service?"

"I wish my father and sister to be cautiously informed of what has happened to me."

"I will go myself," said Mr. Smithson, "and give them an account of your unfortunate adventure. You may rely on my making the communication with all the discretion you could wish. Will to-morrow be soon enough?"

"Oh! yes. To go this evening would made them think me in great danger."

They continued to converse some minutes longer, then Mr. Smithson returned to the house. When he entered the salon, he found the family exceedingly anxious. They suspected something serious had occurred, but the servants had not dared communicate the slightest particular. Mr. Smithson had forbidden it, and in his house every one obeyed to the letter.

"M. Louis, ..." began he. At this name, Eugénie turned pale. She still loved the engineer, and waited with dread for her father to allay the suspicions so hateful to her, or to confirm them.

"M. Louis came near being killed. He was only wounded, and will soon be well again."

"What happened to him?" cried Eugénie eagerly.

Mme. Smithson and Albert exchanged a look of intelligence. Mr. Smithson related the facts he had just learned from Louis. In proportion as he unveiled the infamy of Durand's conduct, and revealed the nobility of Louis' nature, an expression of joy, mingled with pride, dawned on Eugénie's face. It was easy to read the look she gave her mother and Albert—a look of mingled happiness and triumph which seemed to say: "He is innocent; it is my turn to rejoice!" Mr. Smithson, always sincere and ready to acknowledge an error, ended his account by expressing his regret at having been hard, suspicious, and unjust towards Louis. "I shall henceforth regard him with the highest respect; and I hope, if any of you, like me, have been deceived about him, that my words and example will suffice to correct your mistake."

Mme. Smithson and Albert pretended not to hear his last words; but they struck Eugénie particularly. Had she dared, she would have thrown her arms around her father's neck, and given vent to her joy and gratitude. She was obliged to refrain, but her sentiments were so legible in her face that no one could mistake them. You will not be surprised to hear that Mme. Smithson and her nephew cut a sad figure.

A few moments after, they all retired to their rooms. As Eugénie embraced her father, she could not refrain from timidly asking him one question: "Is it really true that M. Louis' life is not in danger, father? It would be very sad for so good a man to be killed by a villain on our own premises."

"There is no danger, my child, I assure you," replied Mr. Smithson kindly. He then tenderly kissed his[Pg 203] daughter for the second time. This mark of affection on the part of so cold a man had a special value—I might even say, a special significance.

"This voluntary expression of love from my father," said Eugénie to herself, "shows he is aware of all I have suffered, and that he sympathizes with me." And she went away full of joy and hope. Once more in her chamber, she reflected on all the events of the last few days. Louis had been calumniated many times before, and she believed him guilty; but he had always come out of these attacks justified, so that the very circumstances which at first seemed against him turned to his benefit. What had happened during the evening now at an end threw a new light on the state of affairs. Louis was an upright man. He was sincere, and the persecution he had undergone made him so much the worthier of being loved. For the first time, Eugénie ventured to say to herself boldly: "Yes, I love him!" Then she prayed for him. At length a new doubt—a cruel doubt—rose in her heart: "But he, does he love me?" immediately followed by another question: if Louis loved her, would her father consent to receive him as a son-in-law?... He had won his esteem—that was a good deal; but Mr. Smithson was not a man to be led away by enthusiasm. These questions were very embarrassing. Nor were they all. Eugénie foresaw many other difficulties also: Louis was poor; he was a Catholic, not only in name, but in heart and deed. His poverty and his piety were two obstacles to his gaining Mr. Smithson's entire favor. These two reasons might prevent him from ever consenting to give Louis his daughter's hand. Such were Eugénie's thoughts. Reflection, instead of allaying her anxiety, only served to make it more keen.

"One hope remains," thought she, "but that is a powerful one: my father loves me too well to render me unhappy. I will acknowledge that the happiness of my life depends on his decision."

At that same hour, Louis, in the midst of his sufferings, was a prey to similar anxiety. But he had one advantage over Eugénie. "It is not without some design," he said, "that Providence has directed everything with such wonderful goodness. I trust that, after giving me so clear a glimpse of happiness, I shall at last be permitted to attain the reality."

This was by no means certain, for the designs of God, though ever merciful, are always unfathomable. No one can tell beforehand how things will end. But we must pardon a little temerity in the heart of a lover. It is sad to say, but even in the most upright souls love overpowers reason.


The next morning, Eugénie had news that surprised her, but seemed a happy augury: her cousin had suddenly decided to go home! His departure was announced by Fanny. As long as things remained undecided, and Albert had some hope, Fanny had appeared cross and dissatisfied. But now she made her appearance as she used to be—smiling, chatty, and agreeable, without any one's knowing why. The artful soubrette felt it was high time to change her tactics. In consequence of the blunders Albert had committed, and Eugénie's marked antipa[Pg 204]thy to him, he would henceforth be blotted out of the list of mademoiselle's admirers. If, therefore, Fanny wished to reinstate herself in her mistress' good graces, if she wished to make sure of that cherished asylum—the object of all her aims for the last ten years—she must pave the way by her subserviency to her future patrons—Eugénie and the husband of her choice, whoever he might be. With a keener eye, or at least bolder, than Eugénie's, Fanny had no doubt it would be Louis.

With the assurance of those people who make others forget their faults by appearing to be ignorant of them themselves, Fanny went with a single bound over to the side of the man she regarded as a personal enemy the night before. Eugénie perceived the sudden tack. It greatly amused her, though she pretended not to see it.

"Where is my father?" she asked Fanny.

"Monsieur is going to town with M. Albert, and also to notify Mr. Louis' family of the misfortune that has happened to him—a painful errand. M. Louis has a father who is greatly attached to him, and a sister who is still fonder of him—a very amiable woman, with a strong mind."

"Ah! indeed; where did you learn these particulars?"

"Here and there. Mademoiselle knows the good God has given me ears to hear with."

"And especially a tongue that can ask questions, Fanny."

Eugénie went down to the breakfast-room, where she found the rest assembled. Mr. Smithson wore a cheerful air. Albert was in an ill-humor, which he badly concealed under pretended elation. Mme. Smithson appeared anxious, but Eugénie saw with delight that she was more affectionate towards her than she had been of late.

A policeman from St. M—— passed by the window.

"What is that policeman here for?" inquired Eugénie.

"We had to search Durand's room, my child," replied Mr. Smithson. "The man cheated me in a shameful manner. I have obtained positive proofs of it. We found letters from his wife and other people which prove him utterly heartless and base—in short, one of the most dangerous men I ever saw."

Mr. Smithson and Albert started a short time after. The parting between the two cousins was not, as you may suppose, very affecting. As Mr. Smithson entered the carriage, he said to his wife: "Go and tell M. Louis I am on my way to his father's. I intend to bring him back with me, and hope the sister will accompany him; for no one knows so well how to take care of him, or to do it so acceptably. Do not delay giving him this information; it will do him more good than a visit from the doctor."

Mme. Smithson made a brief reply, in which a slight confusion and a lingering antipathy were perceptible. The commission was evidently disagreeable, but she obeyed her husband. As soon as he was out of sight, she proceeded towards the wounded man's room. Eugénie returned to the house. She expected her mother would be back in a few minutes, and was greatly surprised when a quarter of an hour—half an hour—nearly a whole hour passed without her returning. She became extremely anxious. She feared her mother had found Louis in too dangerous a state to be left till Mr. Smithson returned. "Perhaps," she also thought—"perhaps mother and M. Louis are having a painful explanation. Mother is very kind, but at times she is dreadful! Exasperated by my cousin's abrupt departure, I[Pg 205] fear she may, under the impulse of vexation or animosity, say something painful to the poor sick fellow...." And at this, she gave her imagination full course.

At length Mme. Smithson reappeared. Eugénie refrained from questioning her, but she looked as if she would read the bottom of her mother's heart.

"We had rather a long talk," said Mme. Smithson, without appearing to suspect how anxious her daughter had been. "He is a good young man, that M. Louis; a little serious, a little too gloomy, but that seems to please certain people!... He is delighted because his sister is coming...."

"I am not surprised," said Eugénie.

The conversation was kept up for some time in this discreet tone, neither of them wishing to let the other see what she really thought. It seemed to Eugénie, however, that her mother, instead of manifesting any irritation against Louis, was making an effort to reconcile herself to him. Had she then an idea he might become her son-in-law, and did she wish to accustom herself to a prospect but recently so contrary to her views?...

The carriage arrived an hour after. Eugénie felt somewhat agitated at the thought of meeting Louis' father and sister. "Shall I like them? Will they like me?" she said to herself, as she proceeded resolutely to the door to receive them. She first shook hands with Aline. The poor girl was pale with anxiety, but her very anxiety increased her beauty. She made a conquest of Eugénie at the first glance. Her thoughtful air, the distinction of her manners, her intelligent and animated countenance, were all pleasing to her. Eugénie felt, if Aline did not become her friend, it would be because she did not wish to. Their interview lasted only a few minutes; then Aline followed Mr. Smithson, who had taken her father's arm, to Louis' room. Eugénie was also pleased with M. Beauvais. He had a cold, stern air, but so had Mr. Smithson himself.

Quite a series of incidents of no special importance occurred after this, which it would take too much time to relate. I must hasten to end my story, as you wish, I fear.

A week after, Mr. Smithson's house was en fête to celebrate Louis' convalescence. Both families assembled on this occasion. Aline, Eugénie, and Mme. Smithson, who had again become the excellent woman she was when we first knew her, formed a trio of friends such as is seldom found. And one would have taken Mr. Smithson and Louis' father for two old friends from boyhood, so familiarly did they converse. They seemed to understand each other at half a word.

"What a delightful réunion!" said Mr. Smithson when they came to the dessert. "It is hard to think we must all separate to-morrow. But it is settled that you, M. Louis, are to come back as soon as you are perfectly well."

"I give you my word," said Louis; "and promise also never to leave you from the time you see me again."

"I hope you will carry out that intention. We will never separate again. But you are young, and it is more difficult for a young man to foresee what may occur."

"As far as it depends on me, I can." As Louis said these words, he glanced at Eugénie, who sat opposite. His look seemed to say: "There is the magnet that will keep me here for ever!" Eugénie blushed. Every one noticed it.

"It is useless for you to say that,"[Pg 206] said Mr. Smithson. "I shall always be in fear of your escape till you are positively bound here. But how shall we bind you to St. M——? There is one way," and Mr. Smithson smiled as he spoke; "which has occurred to the parents; will the children consent?"

Eugénie and Louis looked at each other. In the eyes of both beamed the same joy.

"The children make no reply, ..." resumed Mr. Smithson.

"Pardon me," exclaimed Louis. "I dare not be the first to answer."

"Silence implies consent," replied Mr. Smithson. "If Eugénie is not of your mind, let her protest against it. Otherwise I shall give my own interpretation to her silence."

"I do not protest," said Eugénie, unusually intimidated.

"Oh! what strange lovers!" continued Mr. Smithson. "I think we shall have to tell them they love each other."

"Perhaps we are already aware of it," said Louis. "At least, I have been for a long time."

"And have you not confessed it to each other?"

"I had forbidden myself to do so."

"Louis, you have a noble heart," said Mr. Smithson. "To keep silence in such a case requires a courage amounting to heroism. But I have remarked that the heroic qualities you have given so many proofs of since you came here always turn to the advantage of those who continue under their influence. This proves that God, even in this world, rewards the deeds of the upright much oftener than is supposed. Doubtless they are also recompensed in heaven, but they often have on earth a foretaste of what awaits them hereafter."

Such was the betrothal of my two friends. The next day, Louis came to town, in order to obtain the medical aid necessary to complete his cure. I had returned myself a few days previous. I cannot tell you with what pleasure I received him, and learned the welcome news from the lips of the fiancée herself, who greatly pleased me at the very first interview, and never gave me any reason to change my opinion. My intercourse with them and Aline—three choice spirits—was so delightful that it sustained me in the midst of the terrible trials through which I was then passing. My grief for the death of my husband had grown more calm, but his memory followed me constantly and everywhere.

In addition to my mental troubles, I underwent physical sufferings that were sometimes excruciating. And I was filled with a dread that was still worse. I trembled at the thought I might always be a burden to my poor mother and sister. I had not fully learned that, when God sends a trial, he likewise gives the strength to bear it, and some way of mitigating it. How many times I have since realized this! God comes to the aid of those whose will is in conformity with his.

The marriage of Louis and Eugénie took place a month afterwards. For them, and I might almost say for myself, it was the beginning of a life of serene happiness that lasted six years. The better these two souls became acquainted, the more they loved each other. They were always of the same mind on all subjects whatever, particularly when there was a question of doing good. Eugénie, under her husband's influence, be[Pg 207]came in a few months a woman of angelic piety. The good works Louis had previously begun under such unfavorable circumstances were resumed at once, and carried on with a zeal and prudence that had the happiest influence on the whole country round. St. M—— was transformed into a Christian republic. The wicked—to be found everywhere—were few in number, and, instead of ruling over the good, considered themselves fortunate in being tolerated. Ah! if it were thus everywhere!... Every summer, I went to pass three months with my friends. I was happier there than I can express. It was delightful to behold a family so admirably united, so beloved and respected everywhere around! Mr. Smithson himself was hardly to be recognized. The sight of the wonders effected by his son-in-law and daughter destroyed one by one all his prejudices against the true religion....

Alas! the happiness of this world is seldom of long duration. Eugénie had been married six years, and was the mother of two children, when she was seized with a severe illness that endangered her life. She got over it, however, but remained feeble and languid. The physicians insisted on her residing permanently in the South. A large manufactory being for sale on the delightful shores of the Mediterranean, a few leagues from Marseilles, on the picturesque and charming road leading from the Phocæan City to Toulon, Louis purchased it, and they all went away!

No words could describe the sadness they experienced at leaving so dear a spot as St. M——, where they were greatly beloved. They likewise regretted separating from me. When I saw them start, I felt almost as distressed as I was at the death of my husband; but I did not tell them so, for fear of increasing their regret. After they went to Provence, they had one more year of happiness; but the amelioration that took place in Eugénie's health did not last any longer. She died three months later.

Some time after, Louis came to seek consolation from his sister and me. His very aspect made us heartsick. His grief was beyond the reach of any human consolation. It would have been wrong had he voluntarily given himself up to it. But, no; he struggled against it. It prevailed, however, in spite of himself, as phthisis resists every remedy and wears the sufferer to the grave. We represented to him the good he might still effect, and reminded him he had one child left to bring up; the other being dead. He listened kindly to our representations, and said he had had more happiness on earth than he merited; that he submitted to the divine will, and resigned himself to live as long as God wished. But all this was said with a dejection and involuntary weariness of everything, that was no good sign. Louis was one of those souls, all sensibility, who die as soon as their hearts receive a deep wound. Had he been an unbeliever, he would have taken his own life, or died of grief in a few months. Religion sustained him four years longer.

During that time, his friends always found him resigned. He became more devout than ever, and more zealous in doing good. A sudden illness at length carried him off. The physicians asserted that he might have recovered if grief had not undermined his constitution, once so robust. When he died, he left his son to be brought up by his sister. God gave him the happiness, before his death, of seeing his father-in-law enter the bosom of the church.

[Pg 208]

Madame Agnes had finished her story.

"Such, my friend, is the history of my life," said she. "It is not very entertaining, I confess, but I think it instructive. All who had a part in it suffered, but they never lost courage. Such a misfortune could not happen to them, because they only expected from life what it has to give—many days of trial, mingled with some that are joyful. But whether their days were sad or joyful, my friends were never deprived of the light of the divine presence. They received from the hand of God happiness and sorrow with equal gratitude, aware that he disposes all things for the good of those he loves, and that in him all they have loved on earth will be found again.

"My friend, imitate the example of these dear ones now gone! Keep intact the gift of faith, which was their dearest, most precious treasure. Let it also be yours! If you rely on God, you will never lack resignation and hope, even in the midst of the most bitter trials. Faith, while waiting to open the gates of heaven to you—faith, practical and ardent, wonderfully softens every trial here below."


The good old saying, that it never rains but it pours, has received additional illustration in the appearance within a very short time of two lives and one memoir of the great Irish agitator, the late Daniel O'Connell. The latter, it is true, is a mere sketch, intended only as an introduction to a collection of ten or twelve of the most noteworthy speeches of that distinguished man, judiciously selected from hundreds which, as a lawyer, politician, and parliamentary debater, he had delivered in the course of a remarkably busy life, extending over nearly half a century. In this regard, if in no other, it will be found interesting and useful to those who have not leisure or inclination to study the history of his career in detail.

Of Mr. Luby's work, published originally in parts, many of which we have carefully perused, we have little to say. It is evidently written in haste, loosely, and without due regard to the canons which are generally supposed to govern composition and narration. There are no facts or incidents in it bearing on the public or private life of O'Connell that are not already well known to every person of ordinary intelligence, and which have not been better and more lucidly presented to the public years ago. It has the demerit, also, of being altogether too discursive, not to say blatant, in style, and the author is too constantly wandering away from his subject to matters quite disconnected from the actions and peculiarities of his hero. Judging from this production, Mr. Luby seems to be a very unfit person to portray the genius, aims, and designs of the great Irish popular leader, lacking as he does that earnest sympathy which should exist between the biographer and his subject, as well as that judicial and philosophical insight into the secret springs of human action which,[Pg 209] while recording patent facts, can comprehend and elucidate the true motives, designs, and probable results of the deeds related. Such has ever been considered the real end of biographical literature.

In this respect, the Life of O'Connell, by Sister Mary Francis Clare, is much superior to Mr. Luby's, as it is in every other essential quality, though in itself far inferior to what might have been expected from so popular a writer, particularly when dealing with so great and congenial a theme. In her book of eight hundred pages, the good religious has shown a vast amount of industry, a genuine appreciation of the character, labors, and conduct of the Liberator, and considerable literary skill in presenting them to the public in the most attractive and readable form. The correspondence between O'Connell and the venerable Archbishop of Tuam, now for the first time published, constitutes a most valuable, perhaps the most valuable, feature in the work, and, as a glimpse at the inner life of the busy lawyer and untiring agitator, will be read with particular gratification by the admirers of his extraordinary abilities in this country. Here, we regret to say, our praise of Miss Cusack's book must end. As a biography of one of the most remarkable public men of this century or of any country, it is not a decided success, and, as coming from the pen of an experienced, facile, and patriotic writer, it will, we do not doubt, disappoint the majority of her admirers at home and abroad. With the exception of the letters to Abp. McHale, alluded to above, and some original notes and appendices supplied by friends, the facts, incidents, and anecdotes recounted of the Irish leader are mainly taken from such books as those of O'Neill Daunt, Fegan, Sheil, and his own son, John O'Connell, all of which may be found in an anonymous compilation published five or six years ago.[76]

We do not find fault so much with the fact that it is so largely a compilation, as with the crude manner in which the extracts from those works are collated and presented to the public. We can even point to several instances where they are inserted bodily in the text, as original, without quotation-marks, foot-notes, or any other sign of reference. This may or may not be the fault of the printer, but the examples are so numerous as to incline us to the latter opinion. We have often admired the industry of Miss Cusack in bringing out so many good books in such rapid succession; as well as her zeal in endeavoring to aid, by the products of her genius, a most meritorious charity; but we hold it to be against the laws both of fair play and literary courtesy to neglect to accord to the labors of others a proper share of acknowledgment.

We do not want to be unreasonable. Had the gifted authoress allowed herself more time, and related the dramatic story of O'Connell's life entirely in her own words, we would have been satisfied. We do not expect that a lady secluded from the world, necessarily devoting the greater part of her time to the duties of her calling, and consequently practically unacquainted with the outside political world, its storms, passions, and intrigues, can treat us to anything like a full or elaborate disquisition on the circumstances, dangers, and difficulties which surrounded and impeded the career of such a man as the emancipator of the Catholics of Great Britain an[Pg 210]d Ireland. Only a person who has devoted much time to the examination of the history of Ireland and England, for the past hundred years, at least; who himself has been a participant in, or an interested spectator of, the unceasing conflict which during that period was naturally waged between the Irish nationalists and their opponents, can attempt to do so. This war was carried on in every relation of life; at the bar, on the bench; in the pulpit, press, and forum; in the workshop, the club, and the halls of St. Stephen; and the central figure, the invincible leader of the aggressive and at length victorious national party, was O'Connell—the man who for near half a century dared all opposition and defied all hostile power in the championship of the cause of his persecuted countrymen and co-religionists.

However men may differ as to the wisdom, policy, or honesty of O'Connell, none will deny that he was a man of stupendous intellect and indomitable perseverance. In everything he was gigantic. In physique, mental attainments, courage, virtues, and even in his errors, he was decidedly great. There was nothing small or dwarfed about him; and as, a popular leader while living, he seemed to hold in his hand the control of the masses of his countrymen; so, when dead, the very mention of his name is enough to awaken the gratitude and evoke the admiration of millions of the present generation, whose advent into the world succeeded his demise. Not only in Ireland was he trusted, beloved, and revered, but on the continent of Europe and in this country his name was associated with the cause of civil and religious liberty, and his every movement watched with interest by all classes. And when at length, worn down by his excessive labors in behalf of faith and liberty, he yielded up his soul to his Creator, his piety and patriotism became the subjects of unqualified encomiums from the noblest and most distinguished orators in both hemispheres. Surely so great an embodiment of zeal and genius, well directed, deserves a fitting chronicler.

Born of a house never remarkable before nor since his time for attachment to creed or country; educated far from the influences of his native land, we find him returning to it just as he had completed his majority, an accomplished scholar and a barrister, with nothing to depend upon but his own labors for support, yet full of ambition and eager for distinction. Had he followed the traditions of his family, he would have settled down quietly to the practice of his profession, and in course of time, doubtless, would have become wealthy and a useful assistant to the hostile power that controlled the destinies of his nation, as too many of his professional brothers had already done. But the young lawyer, to the dismay of many of his relations, soon showed that he was made of sterner stuff. He could not "bend the pregnant hinges of the knee, that thrift might follow fawning." He had arrived home in time to witness the horrors of '98; he had seen his fellow-Catholics, even then four-fifths of the population of Ireland, bowed down to the very dust, sneered at, reprobated, and, on their own soil, denied every social, commercial, and political right to which as freemen they were entitled; and, with a courage that never deserted him, and a capacity for labor that was truly remarkable, he ranged himself on the side of the proscribed, and took up the gauntlet cast down to the oppressed by the powerful and unscrupulous faction which then, as[Pg 211] now, represented British supremacy in Ireland.

His first appearance in public, being then but twenty-three years old, was in 1799, when the question of a legislative union between Ireland and England convulsed the former and deeply moved the public mind of the latter country. At a meeting in Dublin, he denounced the measure in terms so bold, clear, and forcible that those who listened to him had little difficulty in foreseeing his future eminence and usefulness to the national cause. The scheme of Pitt and Castlereagh was, however, carried out, the Irish parliament was destroyed, and the Catholics saw themselves at the beginning of the century not only without a domestic legislature, but shut out from all representation, not only in the united Lords and Commons, but even in the most insignificant corporation and local boards.

Where, then, could the ardent young patriot, gifted, enthusiastic, and impatient of the restrictions placed upon himself and his fellow-countrymen, find an audience and an outlet for the fiery eloquence that heaved and burned in his soul? Clearly in popular gatherings and in the courts of law. But the people at that time were so timid, nay, so degraded, that they dared not assemble in any force to protest against the tyranny that had for so many generations enslaved them; or, if a few hundreds did assemble together, the sight of a magistrate, or the presence of some truculent follower of the castle, like the infamous Maj. Sirr, was sufficient to disperse them, while the few Catholic noblemen and gentry yet left were as timid as so many hares. The Irish Catholics of that epoch, so long trodden under foot, and deprived absolutely of political power and landed interests, were not like the Catholics of to-day, who, in all thankfulness be it said, are triumphantly bearing aloft the banner of the church when so much of Europe is trailing it in the mire of infidelity and communism. Then Wolfe Tone, once their secretary, in his Memoirs, and Wyse, in his History of the Catholic Association, likened them to the servile Jews, and described them as deficient in manliness and self-respect. They crawled at the feet of a hostile government, says the latter, fawned on their Protestant neighbors, and felt honored by being even noticed by persons of that creed, even though in every respect their inferiors. Such people had very little business in the civil courts to give, and what little they had they gave to those who loathed their creed and despised themselves.

O'Connell soon saw that nothing could be effected in the way of popular demonstrations with such unpromising materials. He therefore adopted another and a wiser course. The courts became his fulcrum, and his eloquence the lever, by which he sought to raise the spirit of the nation. Term after term, year after year, his potent voice was heard ringing through the halls of justice by an astonished bar and delighted and electrified audiences, in the defence of the victims of landlord tyranny or official persecution. His arguments to the bench, and his harangues to the jury, were always full of fire, audacity, and logic, and were seldom, even in the face of unmitigated prejudice, unsuccessful. Pathos and humor, wit and vituperation, strong appeals to the patriotism of his hearers, and stern denunciations of the rashness and folly of some of his compatriots, were with him invariably mingled with sound common sense and unerring legal acumen. So great, indeed, was his[Pg 212] success as a pleader in criminal cases, so unlimited his resources in difficult motions, and so general his triumphs over ignorance and bigotry, that, before most of his fellow-practitioners had earned their first fees, he found himself in the enjoyment of a lucrative practice, and, what to him was an object of much greater importance, the spokesman of the degraded majority, and the oracle of his people. His forensic efforts were not confined to judges and juries exclusively. He lost no opportunity of throwing into his legal arguments and speeches some remarks for the benefit of the masses who always throng Irish courts—remarks which never failed to elicit the wildest delight and the most hearty applause.

In this indirect way he was gradually infusing into his countrymen that spirit of manhood which so powerfully moved himself. As an evidence of this, we may quote an extract, though a long one, from his speech in defence of Magee, editor of the Evening Post, then the most influential advocate of Catholic rights in Ireland. In 1813, Magee was prosecuted for a libel on the Duke of Richmond, the retiring lord-lieutenant; and as the crown officers in their speeches, and, as it appeared, by previous arrangement, endeavored to give to the trial—having first selected a jury to suit themselves—a political significance, Magee's counsel willingly joined issue with them on their own terms. The array of legal ability on both sides was proportionate to the gravity of the question involved. For the government appeared the Attorney-General, Saurin, the Solicitor-General, Bushe, and Sergeants Moore, Ball, and McMahon; for the defence, O'Connell, assisted by Messrs. Wallace, Hamilton, Findley, and Philips. Saurin, in his opening, alluding to the Catholic Board, of which the defendant's newspaper was the organ, made use of these words: "If the libel only related to him [Richmond], it would have gone by unprosecuted by me. But the imputation is made against the administration of justice by the government of Ireland, and it forms only a part of a system of calumny with which an association of factious and revolutionary men are in the habit of vilifying every constitutional authority in the land." The opportunity thus afforded O'Connell was instantly and dexterously seized by him to reply with more than his usual boldness and wealth of invective. In the course of his long address to the jury, he said:

"My lord, upon the Catholic subject I commence with one assertion of the Attorney-General, which I trust I misunderstood. He talked, as I collected him, of the Catholics having imbibed principles of a seditious, treasonable, and revolutionary nature! He seemed to me most distinctly to charge us with treason! There is no relying on his words for his meaning—I know there is not. On a former occasion, I took down a repetition of this charge full seventeen times on my brief; and yet afterwards it turned out that he never intended to make any such charge; that he forgot he had ever used those words, and he disclaimed the idea they naturally convey. It is clear, therefore, that upon this subject he knows not what he says; and that these phrases are the mere flowers of his rhetoric, but quite innocent of any meaning!

"Upon this account I pass him by, I go beyond him, and I content myself with proclaiming those charges, whosoever may make them, to be false and base calumnies! It is impossible to refute such charges in the language of dignity or temper. But if any man dares to charge the Catholic body, or the Catholic Board, or any individuals of that Board, with sedition or treason, I do here, I shall always in this court, in the city, in the field, brand him as an infamous and profligate liar!

[Pg 213]

"Pardon the phrase, but there is no other suitable to the occasion. But he is a profligate liar who so asserts, because he must know that the whole tenor of our conduct confutes the assertion. What is it we seek?"

"Chief-Justice.—What, Mr. O'Connell, can this have to do with the question which the jury are to try?"

"Mr. O'Connell.—You heard the Attorney-General traduce and calumniate us; you heard him with patience and with temper—listen now to our vindication!

"I ask, What is it we seek? What is it we incessantly, and, if you please, clamorously, petition for? Why, to be allowed to partake of the advantages of the constitution. We are earnestly anxious to share the benefits of the constitution. We look to the participation in the constitution as our greatest political blessing. If we desired to destroy it, would we seek to share it? If we wished to overturn it, would we exert ourselves through calumny, and in peril, to obtain a portion of its blessings? Strange, inconsistent voice of calumny! You charge us with intemperance in our exertions for a participation in the constitution, and you charge us at the same time, almost in the same sentence, with a design to overturn the constitution. The dupes of your hypocrisy may believe you; but, base calumniators, you do not, you cannot believe yourselves!

"The Attorney-General—'this wisest and best of men,' as his colleague, the Solicitor-General, called him in his presence,—the Attorney-General next boasted of his triumph over Pope and Popery; 'I put down the Catholic Committee; I will put down, at my good time, the Catholic Board.' This boast is partly historical, partly prophecy. He was wrong in his history—he is quite mistaken in his prophecy. He did not put down the Catholic Committee; we gave up that name the moment that this sapient Attorney-General's polemico-legal controversy dwindled into a mere dispute about words. He told us that, in the English language, 'pretence' means 'purpose.' Had it been French and not English, we might have been inclined to respect his judgment; but in point of English, we venture to differ with him. We told him, 'Purpose,' good Mr. Attorney-General, is just the reverse of 'pretence.' The quarrel grew warm and animated. We appealed to common sense, to the grammar, and to the dictionary; common sense, grammar, and the dictionary decided in our favor. He brought his appeal to this court, your lordship, and your brethren unanimously decided that in point of law—mark, mark, gentlemen of the jury, the sublime wisdom of the law—the court decided that, in point of law, 'pretence' does mean 'purpose'!

"Fully contented with this very reasonable and most satisfactory decision, there still remained a matter of fact between us. The Attorney-General charged us with being representatives; we denied all representation. He had two witnesses to prove the fact for him; they swore to it one way at one trial, and directly the other way at the next. An honorable, intelligent, and enlightened jury disbelieved those witnesses at the first trial; matters were better managed at the second trial—the jury were better arranged. I speak delicately, gentlemen: the jury were better arranged, as the witnesses were better informed; and, accordingly, there was one verdict for us on the representative question, and one verdict against us....

"Let me pledge myself to you that he imposes on you when he threatens to crush the Catholic Board. Illegal violence may do it, force may effectuate it; but your hopes and his will be defeated if he attempts it by any course of law. I am, if not a lawyer, at least a barrister. On this subject I ought to know something, and I do not hesitate to contradict the Attorney-General on this point, and to proclaim to you and to the country that the Catholic Board is a perfectly legal assembly; that it not only does not violate the law, but that it is entitled to the protection of the law; and in the very proudest tone of firmness, I hurl defiance at the Attorney-General!

"I defy him to allege a law or a statute, or even a proclamation, that is violated by the Catholic Board. No, gentlemen, no; his religious prejudices—if the absence of every charity can be called anything religious,—his religious prejudices really obscure his reason, his bigoted intolerance has totally darkened his understanding, and he mistakes the plainest facts, and misquotes the clearest law, in the ardor and vehemence of his rancor. I disclaim his moderation, I scorn his forbearance. I tell him he knows not the law, if he thinks as he says; and if he thinks so, I tell him to his beard[Pg 214] that he is not honest in not having sooner prosecuted us, and I challenge him to that prosecution."[77]

Those were brave words, such as the ears of the English officials were unused to hear, but which found a responsive echo in the hearts of millions of the oppressed Catholics, degraded and enthralled as they were at that time. On the first day of its publication, ten thousand copies of the entire address were sold, and in a short time it was to be found in nearly every house and place of public resort in the country. It was also translated into French and Spanish, and eagerly read and commented upon on the continent. In fact, this trial may be considered the true initial point of the great Catholic movement which culminated in emancipation sixteen years afterwards.

To a man of less indomitable will and less transcendent legal abilities, a course such as O'Connell had adopted would have been utterly ruinous. Then, as now, but to a far greater extent, the Irish judges were the mere creatures of the castle, and their least frown or sneer was considered sufficient to blast the prospects of any young aspirant for professional honors, even if he were only suspected of patriotic leanings. But in the future Emancipator they met their equal, not only in point of legal knowledge, but their superior in moral courage and in that mental force which, like a torrent, swept everything before it. The following anecdotes, told of O'Connell while in active practice, illustrate his method of dealing with the government jurists:

"Happening to be one day present in the courts in Dublin, where a discussion arose on a motion for a new trial, a young attorney was called upon by the opposing counsel either to admit a statement as evidence, or hand in some document he could legally detain. O'Connell stood up, and told the attorney to make no admission.

"'Have you a brief in this case, Mr. O'Connell?' asked Baron McCleland, with very peculiar emphasis.

"'I have not, my lord; but I shall have one when the case goes down to the assizes.'

"'When I was at the bar, it was not my habit to anticipate briefs.'

"'When you were at the bar, I never chose you for a model; and now that you are on the bench, I shall not submit to your dictation.'

"Leaving the judge to digest this retort, he walked out of the court, accompanied by the young attorney.

"At a case tried at the Cork assizes, a point arose touching the legality of certain evidence, which O'Connell argued was clearly admissible. He sustained his own view very fully, reasoning with that force and clearness, and quoting precedent with that facility, for which he was distinguished. But it was to no purpose. The court ruled against him, and the witnesses were shut out. The trial was of extraordinary length, and at the close of the day the proceedings were not ended. On the following morning, when the case was about to be resumed, the judge addressed O'Connell:

"'I have reconsidered my decision of yesterday,' said his lordship, 'and my present opinion is that the evidence tendered by you should not have been rejected. You can, therefore, reproduce the evidence now.'

"Instead of obsequiously thanking him for his condescension, as another would have done, O'Connell's impatience broke out:

"'Had your lordship known as much law yesterday as you do to-day,' said he bitterly, 'you would have spared me a vast amount of time and trouble, and my client a considerable amount of injury. Crier, call up the witnesses.'"[78]

The career of the great criminal lawyer—for his civil business was comparatively small—lasted for more than a generation, and his success was uniform and uninterrupted, while[Pg 215] his fees in the aggregate, for that time, were enormous. "A single fact," says the author just quoted, "will demonstrate the confidence which the Irish public placed at this period in the professional abilities of O'Connell. In the autumnal assizes of 1813, twenty-six cases were tried in the Limerick Record Court. In every one of these O'Connell held a brief. He was likewise retained in every criminal case tried in the same city. His professional career was equally triumphant and extraordinary in the autumn assizes of Ennis; while in Cork and his native province, Kerry, it was that year, if possible, exceeded. At this golden period of his life, his prosperity, flowing from his brilliant abilities, and his popularity, springing from his country's gratitude, rendered his position at the bar in the highest degree enviable."

But it was not as a jurist or an advocate that O'Connell was destined to hand down his name to posterity covered with imperishable glory. He only used his great professional success to further two ends. Like a true patriot, and, à fortiori, unlike the politicians of to-day, he desired first to establish his own independence before attempting to obtain that of his countrymen, knowing well that poverty, associated with ambition, is too often the means of leading men, otherwise honest, into the commission of acts not always honorable or meritorious. Then, also, as we have before intimated, he desired, under the protection of the court, to instil into the hearts and souls of the dejected Catholics a spirit of manliness and courage by his burning appeals to courts and juries—words which, if uttered out of court, would have entailed on him endless prosecutions and proscription.

Strictly speaking, O'Connell cannot be considered as the leader of the Irish Catholics till 1820, when Henry Grattan died. That brilliant orator and inflexible patriot, though a Protestant, always enjoyed the confidence and esteem of the persecuted masses; and whether in or out of Parliament, in College Green or St. Stephen's, his conduct was ever such as to command their respect and affection. O'Connell, on the contrary, up to that date, was unable to control for any length of time the feeble movements which, during the previous decade, had been made by the Catholic body to obtain some redress of their grievances. His audacious denunciation of the government, and his contempt for the advocates of half measures, frightened away such lukewarm Catholics as Lords Fingal, Trimleston, and French; while his superior foresight, skill, and perhaps arrogance, frequently led him into disputes with the less clear-headed and more violent of his other associates. A portion of the national press, also, looked coldly upon the burly lawyer, fearing his ambition; while many of the clergy and bishops hesitated to yield implicit confidence to a man who was once a freemason, and a good deal of whose leisure time, it was said, was spent amid the convives of the capital. The "Catholic Committee," which was mainly his creation, was established in 1808, and easily suppressed by the government, after a useless existence of less than three years. Its successor, the "Catholic Board," was equally powerless, and even more given to internal dissensions; and after its demise, in 1814, nine years elapsed, during which the Catholics, divided, dispirited, and despairing, made no effort whatever for their rights, unless the forwarding of an odd petition to the English Parliament might be called so.

In fact, the generation that had[Pg 216] witnessed the horrors of '98 and the wholesale perfidy of the men who planned and passed the act of union, were not fit to carry on a manly, determined agitation: fear had been driven into their very marrow, and the badge of slavery was worn with a calmness that closely resembled contentment. It required a new generation to conduct such a movement with success, and a leader to point the way to victory.

Time at last brought both. The first sign of returning life in the people was evinced upon the occasion of a relief bill having been introduced into the House of Commons in 1821, and passed by that body by nineteen majority. Though of course defeated by the Lords, its partial success, and the unexpected support it received from some of the more distinguished members, had a salutary effect on the public mind in Ireland, and aroused hopes that had long lain dormant in the bosom of the Catholic party. Meetings began to be held in different parts of the provinces, and at length a Catholic Association was formed in Dublin, April 28, 1823. Its founder was O'Connell, then in his prime, physically and mentally; his reputation as an orator and a statesman beyond question; his impetuosity mollified, if not subdued; and his judgment matured by long experience of actual life. At first the association numbered but a few individuals; so few, indeed, that after it had been a year in existence, it was difficult to get the necessary quorum of members to attend its stated meetings; but a combination of circumstances almost providential, and certainly unexpected, occurred, which gave the movement an irresistible impulse. The hierarchy of Ireland unanimously endorsed the movement; the clergy not only approved of it, but were active in extending the organization; the poet Moore dropped the lyre, and took up the pen controversial; the illustrious "J. K. L." thundered through the press; while the halls of Parliament rang with the eloquence of Brougham, Mackintosh, and Sir F. Burdett. The rent or revenue to conduct and disseminate a knowledge of the principles of the association flowed in with unparalleled generosity, sometimes as much as ten thousand dollars being received weekly by the treasurer. O'Connell was the head and front, the vivifying principle, organizer, and counsellor of this grand uprising of an enslaved people; and his efforts were as untiring as his advice was judicious and well timed.

At length the government, the supporters of Protestant ascendency, became alarmed, and at the session of 1825 of the British Parliament a bill was introduced to suppress the association. That body immediately delegated O'Connell and R. L. Sheil to attend the bar of the House, and offer their testimony as to the perfect legality of the organization. They attended, but were not heard, though admitted to seats in the body of the chamber. Still, they were ably represented by Brougham and other influential members. Speaking of the two delegates, the Edinburgh Review of that day well said: "No men in circumstances so difficult and delicate ever behaved with greater temper and moderation, or more recommended themselves to all parties by their fairness and the conciliatory manner of their proceedings. Of necessity ignorant of the men with whom they were called upon to act, they could not avoid falling into some errors.... The sanguine temper which made them give ear to the hope [of emancipation] so unaccountably held out by some per[Pg 217]sons, is to be reckoned the chief of these mistakes; for it led to far too much carelessness about the blow to be levelled at the association.... When the bill was prepared for putting down the association, a debate ensued, not, perhaps, paralleled in parliamentary history for its importance and the sustained excellence which marked the whole compass of its duration. Four whole nights did this memorable contest last, if contest it might be called, where all the strength lay, except that of numbers, on one side. The effect produced by this debate out of doors and within the Parliament itself was truly important. The whole range of Irish policy was discussed, all the grievances of Ireland were openly canvassed, the conduct of the government freely arraigned, and such a death-blow given to the cry of 'No Popery!' and the other delusions of the High-Church party that intolerance lost more ground that night than it had ever hoped to regain by the alarm which the association enabled it to excite. The conduct of that body was most triumphantly defended, and it appeared plainly that the peace of Ireland had been restored by its exertions and maintained by its influence."

Nevertheless, the act passed and the association was dissolved, but only to reappear in another form. The cause of emancipation had gained many and powerful friends, not the least of whom was the editor of the quarterly just quoted. A new Catholic Association was formed the same year, and the work of arousing the supine masses went bravely on. Meetings were held simultaneously in the various centres of population, at one or more of which O'Connell was generally present; for he seemed ubiquitous. The patriotic newspapers teemed with speeches, communications, and extracts, all directed to the same purpose. The country was in a state of tremendous fermentation, to a degree that it was thought impossible it could go further, till the Emancipator himself, by a masterly stroke of policy, which could only have been the inspiration of genius, resolved to get himself elected to Parliament, and "carry the war into Africa." Ireland was now thoroughly aroused and organized; so he resolved, if he could not convince or persuade England to do her justice, at least to shock the latter into something like equity, or expose her to the world as an oppressor and a hypocrite. He had seen what beneficial effects had followed the debate on the "Algerine Bill," and he was determined not to rest till all Europe, all Christendom, should become familiar with the wrongs of the Catholics. In 1828, a vacancy occurred in the representation of Clare. O'Connell presented himself as a candidate, was against all odds elected, and immediately proceeded to London.

Events, however, hurried on so fast that he had not time to present himself to the Commons before the great measure for which he had so long struggled, and for which millions had prayed for years, had passed. On the 22d of January, 1828, the Duke of Wellington was appointed First Lord of the Treasury. Towards the end of that year, the Catholic Association was voluntarily dissolved, in conformity to a preconcerted plan between the Irish Catholics and the British Ministry, having first passed unanimously the following resolution:

"That, as the last act of this body, we do declare that we are indebted to Daniel O'Connell, beyond all other men, for its original creation and sustainment, and that he is entitled, for the achievement of its freedom, to the everlasting gratitude of Ireland."

[Pg 218]

On the 13th of April, 1829, the Emancipation Act received the royal signature, the bill having passed the House by an overwhelming vote, and the Lords by one hundred and four majority.

Many persons fondly thought that this law had laid the fell spirit of Protestant bigotry for ever; but it was not so. The snake was only scotched, not killed. It required another blow to render it completely innoxious. O'Connell, who had been elected before the bill passed, claimed a right to a seat in the Commons, even though a Catholic, and in support of that claim presented himself early in the session. The scene that ensued is thus described by an eye-witness:

"It is impossible to convey a perfect idea of the silent, the almost breathless attention with which O'Connell was watched and perused, when, in compliance with the request of the speaker, he advanced to the table. So large a number of peers had never been previously seen in that House. Two members of the aristocracy accompanied O'Connell, and, as a matter of form, introduced him to the House. Their names were Ebrington and Dungannon. As he passed the bar of the House, every eye was fixed on him. The first oath tendered to O'Connell was that of the supremacy, which he was seen, by the silent and watching multitude, to wave away and refuse. They heard him say: 'I apply to take my seat under the new act. I am ready to take the oath directed to be taken by Roman Catholic members. I do not feel that I am bound to take these oaths.' As he uttered these last words, he passed his hand over the oaths which he objected to, and which were affixed to pasteboards. 'You will be good enough,' added O'Connell, 'to inform the speaker that I do not think I am bound to take these oaths.' The chief clerk gathered up the pieces of pasteboard, and hurried up with them to the speaker, where he was seen pointing out to that functionary the oaths which O'Connell refused to take. The speaker then rose and said that, unless the new member took the old oaths, he must withdraw. The speaker alluded to those blasphemous oaths whose injustice was so flagrant that they had been just repealed. O'Connell, it is said, requested that the oath of qualification, stating that he possessed six hundred a year, should be administered to him; but this was likewise refused. During all this time, the speaker's manner and expression of countenance towards O'Connell, on whom he fixed his regards, were extremely courteous, but the declaration that he must withdraw firm and authoritative. O'Connell looked round, as if expecting support; but this failing, he bowed, and stood facing the speaker in perfect silence. At this moment, Brougham was seen to rise; but before he could address the house, the speaker exclaimed 'Order!' and again intimated to O'Connell that he must withdraw. The latter bowed respectfully, and, without uttering a single syllable, withdrew. After his departure, Brougham, who was still on his legs, addressed the house in a subdued tone, and, after some discussion, the debate was postponed.

"May 18, 1829, was a memorable day in the history of O'Connell's eventful life. Peel, rising in the House of Commons on that day, moved that O'Connell should be heard at the bar—a motion which was carried. Accordingly, he advanced to the bar, attended by Pierce Mahony—the whole house regarding him with the most intense interest. He addressed the house in a long and elaborate speech, in which he clearly demonstrated his right. His courteous manner and temperate address conciliated, in some degree, the good opinion of the members. He exhibited that flexibility of mind, that power of accommodating himself to his auditory, which formed his most remarkable attribute. When he concluded, the question was taken up by the lawyers, who endeavored to explain the meaning of the new act to the very men who had passed it. As the aristocracy had previously determined that O'Connell should not sit, the members of the lower house, who always do their bidding, rejected O'Connell's claim.

"Retiring with Pierce Mahony by his side, O'Connell endeavored to recover the seat which he had occupied previously to his appearance at the table. But to his surprise, he found two gentlemen in possession of it. They were Frenchmen, but spoke English like natives. One of these men afterwards reigned in France[Pg 219] as Louis Philippe. The other was his son, the Duke of Orleans.

"The following day, O'Connell appeared for the third time at the bar of the House. He was told by the speaker that unless he took the oath of supremacy, the House would not permit him to take his seat.

"'Are you willing to take the oath of supremacy?' asked the speaker.

"'Allow me to look at it,' replied O'Connell.

"The oath was handed to O'Connell, and he looked at it in silence for a few seconds; then raising his head, he said: 'In this oath I see one assertion as to a matter of fact, which I know to be untrue. I see a second assertion as to a matter of opinion, which I believe to be untrue. I therefore refuse to take this oath.' A writ was immediately issued for a new election."

He was again triumphantly elected for Clare, and from thenceforth till his death occupied a seat in the House, representing at various times different constituencies. Of his conduct as member of Parliament, however his contemporaries might have differed in opinion, either through partiality or prejudice, posterity will do him the justice of according to him a wonderful versatility of talent, a conscientious desire to forward the interests of his country, an unswerving courage and dignity in meeting the taunts and sneers of Tory and Whig alike against his compatriots—a process of reasoning then much in vogue among English politicians. From Peel, Russell, Disraeli, and Sipthorpe downwards, no man, among the seven hundred or so that are supposed to represent the commons of Great Britain and Ireland, ever dared to raise their crest against Catholics or Irishmen, but, swifter than the flight of a falcon on a heron, the Liberator pounced upon him, and, metaphorically, tore him to pieces. In the debates on the Reform Bill, the Poor Law Act, and the tithe question, he was generally found on the side of popular rights and free government; and if, as has been charged, he sometimes leaned towards the Whigs, it was because he accepted their measures as the lesser evils.


[76] A Life and Times of Daniel O'Connell, with Sketches of his Contemporaries, etc. 2 vols. Dublin: John Mullany. 1867.

[77] Life and Speeches of Daniel O'Connell, M.P. New York: J. A. McGee. 1872.

[78] Life and Times of Daniel O'Connell. (Anonymous.) Dublin. 1867.


"And the people were waiting for Zachary."—S. Luke i. 21.

As morning breaks, or evening shadows steal,
Duties and thoughts throng round the marble stair,
Waiting for Him who burneth incense there,
Till He shall send to bless them as they kneel.
Greater than Aaron is the mighty Priest
Who in that radiant shrine for ever dwells;
Brighter the stones that stud His glowing vest,
And ravishing the music of His bells
That tinkle as He moves. The golden air
Is filled with notes of joy that dance and run
Through every court, and make the temple one.
—The lamps are lit; 'tis past the hour of prayer,
And through the windows is their lustre thrown—
Deep in the holy place the Priest doth watch alone.

[Pg 220]




That green and sequestered domain which Mr. Schöninger had looked at across the water-lilies and peopled with his fancies, which, indeed, he had visited, and was perfectly familiar with, was not so far out of the world as it appeared. It was in a great triangle made by three railroads, and there was a station-house a mile back from the pond by which the tenants of the cottage held easy communication with the two cities near. Still, the place was not very accessible from without; for this mile of country road had been made by simply driving over pasture and field, and through alder-woods, till a track was visible, and then continuing to drive in the same track. After coming through the alder-swamp, the road became two yellow-brown lines across the greensward, and ended in a grove that completely hid the barn built in it. Between these two yellow-brown lines, at regular distances, were yellow-brown spots, showing where the horse had stepped. Dobbin appeared to always step precisely in his own tracks.

It was seldom that any one drove over this road except old Mr. Grey, whose horse and wagon were, after their kind, quite as old as himself. Mrs. Macon, zealously collecting useful articles for the new convent, had driven there in her light phaeton, and spent two hours rummaging the attics with Mrs. Grey, and talking over the relics they found; that is, Mrs. Grey explained, and her visitor listened. She had gone away with bundles piled up to her chin.

One afternoon late in August, Mr. Grey harnessed Dobbin to the wagon—"tackled" Dobbin, he would have said—and started for the railroad station. He had almost reached the alders, which seemed to bar the way, when he drew the reins and listened. If it had been Mrs. Grey, instead of her husband, she would have driven straight on, for she was perfectly deaf.

These alders leaned over, and, in summer, completely hid the road, and whatever went through there had to breast a tide of leaves. It had never occurred to Mr. Grey to cut the twigs away, nor, apparently, had it occurred to Dobbin to fret against them. They jogged on uncomplainingly, never in a hurry, and lived and let live. Mr. Grey's philosophy was that every person in the world is appointed to do just so much, and that, as soon as his work is accomplished, he dies. He preferred to do his part in a leisurely manner, and live the longer.

The sound he listened to was a faint noise of wheels and hoofs, in, or beyond, the alders. For two carriages to meet in that place would be a predicament more perplexing than that of the two unwise men and the two wise goats on the narrow bridge we have all read of; because here neither could turn back, nor walk over the other, and if one should be killed, still that would not clear the track. So the driver waited, his mouth slightly open, to hear the better, and the lash of his old-fashioned whip hanging motionless over his[Pg 221] shoulder. The old white horse dropped his nose, and went to sleep, and the creaking and rattling wagon looked as if it had made its final stand, and meant to go to pieces where it was.

There was just sound enough to show how still it was. Some wild creature under a rude cage on the lawn snarled lowly to itself, there was the swift rustle of a bird's wings through the air, and the roll of a train of cars lessened to a bee's hum by distance. The pond was glassy, the rails shone hot beyond it; farther still the sultry woods heaved their billows of light and shade; and, farthest of all, over a little scooped-out valley, a single mountain stood on the horizon.

There was, indeed, a carriage among the alders, but by no means such an equipage as that which awaited it. It was like a fairy coach in comparison, with a glitter of varnish and metal, and snowy-white lining that shone like satin, and beautiful horses that pranced from side to side as they felt the soft, brushing leaves and twigs against their dainty coats, and pushing into their very eyes. The mice on the box wore glossy hats, and appeared to be very much disgusted with this trap into which they had fallen. To the birds overhead the whole must have looked like something swimming in a sea of green leaves.

The fairies in the coach were not fully visible from any point, but a clear voice rose presently from the submerged cushions. "There's a sufficient road underneath, John," it said. "Drive where you see the alder-tops lowest. There are no roots, if you keep the way. It is only overleaning branches."

In a few minutes they emerged, and drew up beside the wagon. Its occupant did not make the slightest reply to the bright salutation of the two ladies. It was not his custom to salute any one. He merely waited to see what would be said.

"O Mr. Grey!" says Annette, "if I had a pair of strong shears, I would cut a peep-hole, at least, through that jungle. Did you get my letter?"

He nodded, with a short "Yes," looking with calm scrutiny at the two young women.

"Well?" continued Miss Ferrier.

"Elizabeth is out on the pond," he said; "but the old woman will blow the horn for her. She'll show you the flowers; and you can have 'em all. I can put them aboard of any train you settle on."

There was a moment of silence; for Mr. Grey had condensed the whole business into a few words, and there was really no more to say. Annette had written him to save all his flowers for her wedding, and this was his answer.

"Are you going away?" she asked, rather needlessly.

"I'm going to meet the next up-train," he answered, and began to tug at his reins, and chirrup at Dobbin.

They left him making great efforts to get under way again, and drove noiselessly on.

"What a peculiarly condensed sort of man he is in his speech!" remarked Miss Pembroke.

"Condensed!" exclaimed the other. "His talk reminds me of some one whose head and limbs have been cut off. It takes me by surprise, and leaves me astonished. I always feel as if something ought to be done."

So one carriage creaked into the alders, and the other sparkled up to the house door.

This door stood open, and within it sat an old woman, her hands fold[Pg 222]ed in her lap, her eyes looking out over the water. She had a placid face, and looked refined. A sweet, faint smile greeted her visitors, and her voice was sweet, and was very low, as the voices of some deaf persons are.

"Elizabeth has gone out on the water," she said. "I will call her."

"Don't rise!" exclaimed Annette quickly, preventing her. "I'll get the horn for you. I know where everything is here."

The old lady understood the action, though she had not heard the words, and sank back into her seat again.

"She feels for everybody's pain," she said gratefully, speaking to herself.

Annette tripped lightly across the sunny, silent room, and took down from a nail beside the chimney a large ox-horn suspended there. With simple politeness, the old lady obeyed her visitor's wish, and did not rise even when the horn was placed in her hand. She merely leaned forward, and, placing it to her lips, blew a loud and prolonged blast that sounded far over water and forest.

"That will bring her," she said, and gave back the rustic instrument for Annette to return to its place.

The two then strolled down to the water-side to wait for the lady of the lake. They seated themselves on a mossy rock close to the water, under the shade of the only tree left there. It was an old pine-tree, of which the main part was decayed, but one strong branch made a shade over them, and held firmly all its dark-green fasces in token of a sovereignty it would not abdicate while life remained. Beside the rock, in the warm sunshine, stood a group of Japan lilies.

"I don't like them," Annette said. "They are beautiful in their way, but they look cruel and detestable. They seem to me like a large pink and white woman who poisons people."

"My dear," said Miss Pembroke, as she bent her head over the flowers, "it would be well if you could contrive to shut the battery of those nerves of yours once in a while."

"It might be well if I could be changed into one like you," Annette responded; but immediately corrected herself. "No! And I do not believe that the most unfortunate and discontented person in the world would be willing to change his individuality with another. It is only his circumstances he would change, and be still himself, but at his best. Perhaps that is what will keep us contented in heaven, though we may see others far above us: each will be himself in perfection, with all the good in possession that he is capable of holding, and will see that he cannot be different without being some one else."

"Perhaps," said Honora dreamily.

It may be that she felt unconsciously a little of that superiority which the calm assume over the troubled, though the calm may be of the pool, and the trouble of the ocean, or both a mere question of temperament. She leaned over the lily, and examined the red clots on its petals; how they rose higher, and strained upward toward the centre, till by their passionate stress they drew up the milky flower substance into a stem to support them; as though they would reach the slender filaments that towered aloft over their heads. Two or three tiniest red spiders were picnicking on the fragrant white ground among these stems, and did not seem to even suspect the presence of a large black spider, with extrava[Pg 223]gantly long legs, which walked directly over the flower and them in two or three sextuple strides.

"The petal they stand on must seem to them a soft and snowy-white moss," drawled Miss Pembroke, half asleep with the heat and the silence. "I should think the perfume of it would be too strong for their little noses."

"Perhaps the particles of fragrance are too large for their little noses. Or, perhaps, they have no noses," responded Miss Ferrier, gravely.

A faint, responsive murmur of assent from the other.

Annette tossed twigs into the water, and watched the dimples they made, and which way they floated. "That is a wild fox up under that cage," she said. "It is cruel to keep it there. I shall free it when we go back."

"Perhaps Mr. Grey is going to stuff its skin, and may not like to lose it," Honora answered, having finished her examination of the lily. "I have heard that he is quite a naturalist, and has specimens of every animal, and insect, and plant about."

Annette tossed a pebble this time with energy. "I hate naturalists," she remarked. "I always fancy that they have bugs in their pockets."

"Bugs in their pockets! That would be uncomfortable," was the placid comment.

"For the bugs, yes!" said Annette; then, after a moment, added, "Whenever it is a question of tormenting what Lord Erskine called the 'mute creation,' I am always for the plaintiff. Who is to be profited by knowing about bugs and beetles? It is a contemptible science, and, I repeat, a cruel one. I never can like a woman or a man whom I have once seen sticking pins through beetles, and butterflies, and bats; and I would as lief have a human skull for an ornament in a room as a stuffed skin of anything. I shall set that fox free this instant. I observed it as I came past, and it looked like a person going crazy. Its eyes were like fire and there was froth round its teeth."

Miss Pembroke looked up in alarm, for Annette had risen. "Do be careful!" she said. "His bite would kill you. Don't you remember that Duke of Richmond who was bitten by a fox, in Canada, and died of hydrophobia a day to two afterwards? He was playing with it, and it snapped at his hand."

"I'm not going to play with it, but to free it," said Annette, and walked rapidly across the green. "I've found one fault in Honora," she muttered. "She is sweet and good to a certain length, but her sympathies are circumscribed."

The cage of strong withes was securely fastened to the ground with wooden pins, and the door was tied with a slender chain. The fox was furthermore secured by a rope which held one of his legs. He faced about and glared at his liberator, while, from the outside, she cut the rope with her pocket-knife. His eyes were like balls of fire, but he did not snap at her. He did not trust her, but he had perhaps a doubt that she meant him well.

The leg free, Annette slipped the knob of the chain, and opened the door.

"In honor of the Creator of men and beasts, and S. Francis of Assisi, go free now and for ever," she said.

The creature stood motionless one instant, then, with the rush and speed of an arrow, it shot through the opening, flew across the green, and leaped into the water, that hissed as though a red-hot coal had[Pg 224] been dropped into it. Annette ran, laughing and full of excitement, back to the rock, and watched the swimmer. Only his nose and long tail showing, he made fiercely for the shore, his whole being concentrated in the one longing for freedom.

"If he should run into a cage on the other side, I believe his heart would burst with the disappointment," Annette said, standing up to watch him. "Bravo! There he is, my dear brother, the fox."

He leaped up the farther shore and over the track, and rushed headlong into the broad, free woods.

"Won't he have a story to tell!" said Annette, seating herself; "that is, if he ever stops running. You may depend on it, Honora, I shall be a great heroine among the foxes; and as years go by, and the story is passed down from generation to generation, I shall undergo a change in the picture. My hair will grow to be golden, with stars in it, and my eyes will be radiant, and they will put wings on me, and I shall be an angel. That's the way the myths and marvels were made. But how they will get over my sawing off the rope with a dull pen-knife is more than I can tell."

"The spirit will be true, dear, if not the letter," Honora answered, smiling. "What signifies a little inaccuracy in the material part? That will be turned to dust before the story reaches the winged period."

Miss Ferrier had something on her mind which she shrank a little from speaking of, but presently mentioned in that careless manner we assume when we care more than we like to own:

"I've been wondering lately whether it would be silly in me to have my genealogy looked up. It seems a little top-heavy to have one's family tree all leaves and no roots, though mine is not so in reality. My father and mother were both very poor and ignorant when I was born; but my great-grandfather was a French gentleman. He became poor in some way, and had no idea how to do anything for himself. I dare say he was very weak, but he was immensely genteel. He and his sons lived in a tumble-down old stone house somewhere near Quebec, and ate oatmeal porridge out of painted china bowls, with heavy spoons that had a crest on them. There they moaned away their existence in a state of resigned surprise at their circumstances, and of expectation that the riches that had taken to themselves wings would fly back again. There was one desperate one in the family, and he was my grandfather. He grew tired of shabby gentility, and set out to work. The others cast him off; and I suppose he wasn't very energetic, or very lucky, for he went down. He married a wife from the working class, and they had no end of children, who all died sooner or later, except my father. My grandfather died, too—was glad to get himself out of sight of the sun; and my poor father—God be merciful to him!—stumbled on through life in the same dazed way. All he inherited was the dull astonishment of that old Frenchman who could never be made to realize that riches would not some day come back as they had gone. Of course"—Annette shrugged her shoulders, and laughed slightly—"it would be necessary to drop some of the later details. That is the way people do. Build a bridge over the chasm into the shining part. Miss Pembroke, what do you think of my unearthing my great-grandfather, and setting him up in my parlors for people to admire? Wouldn't it be more interesting than a stuffed fox?[Pg 225] I am of his ancestry"—her laughter died out in a flash of pride. "If they had any fire worthy their blood, I have it. Some spark was held in abeyance, and I have caught it. I would like to go back and search out my kindred. Well! do you think me vulgar?"

Honora looked at her earnestly. "No, Annette; but you are condescending too much. You are coming nearer to vulgarity than I ever knew you to before. Lineage is something, is much, and those who can look back on a noble and stainless ancestry are fortunate, if they are worthy of it. I do not wonder that they are pleased to remember their forefathers. But character is more, and does not need ancestry. It is sufficient to itself. What, after all, is the real advantage of belonging to a high family? It is that one is supposed to inherit from it high qualities. If one has the qualities without the family, it is far higher. It is the kind of character that founds great families—that natural, newly-given loftiness. I should be sorry if you allowed yourself to take a step in this matter, Annette."

"You can easily say all that," Annette replied, half pleased and half bitter. "You have a past that you can look to with pride."

"With pride!" echoed the other. "I do not understand you. If you mean Mrs. Carpenter, I certainly like to think of her; but her qualities were entirely personal. I have nothing to be ashamed of in my family, and I am thankful for that; but, also, I am not aware that there is anything to be proud of. It is a merely negative feeling."

"But," Annette said, "your people have always been well off, and some were very rich, and they were educated."

"And you think me capable of pluming myself on that—of being proud of an ancestry of prosperous traders and merchants who were passably educated!"

Honora flushed, and drew herself up involuntarily, with an awakening of that invincible personal haughtiness which is more soaring than any mere royalty of blood.

"I never give it a thought, except in a negative way. They merely did what decent people with ordinary sense and capacity are obliged to do. No, Annette, don't fancy that I can walk on such small stilts. If it were an old historical name, now, one that painters had illustrated and poets sung, that would be fine. If there had been great warriors and mighty rulers, there would be a chance for pride to come in. Or, better, if it were some hero or benefactor to the race, whom I could look back to; or if it were a poet. I always fancy some grace surrounds the children of a poet. They may not sing, they may be personally commonplace; but, like the broken vase,

"'The scent of the roses will hang round them still.'"

"I think you must be descended from a poet," Annette said, smiling.

"And so, child," concluded Honora, laying her hand on her companion's arm, "don't condescend to go into the past for some reason why you should be respected; find it in yourself. I think it right to tell you now what might otherwise sound like flattery. I, and many better judges than I, think you uncommon and admirable. You have made little mistakes—as who has not?—but they were never mean ones. Don't be led into pettiness now."

Annette blushed.

"What set me talking of ancestry?" she exclaimed. "It's a dusty subject, not fit for this fresh, clear place. It belongs to the town. How[Pg 226] quiet and lovely it is here! I would like to come often. In the city, I can't hear myself think."

They sat a while without saying anything, and looked over the water. A shower was travelling across the distant mountain, trailing in a dim silver mist from sky to earth. It sailed nearer, so that drops from the edge of it dimpled the pond not far away.

A boat came toward them, propelled by a pair of strong arms. Elizabeth had heard her grandmother's summons, and was coming home. Her little boat was piled full of boughs of the wild cherry. Strings of its fruit, like strung garnets, glowed through the green leaves. With this was a tangled mass of clematis. She had hung a long spray of the vine over her head and neck, and its silvery-green blossoms glistened in the loose rings of her short, black hair, which it pushed over her forehead, and almost into the laughing eyes beneath. Through this vine, and the blouse that covered but did not hide them, the working of her supple shoulders could be seen. Her smooth, oval face was deeply flushed with health, exercise, and warmth.

She was perfectly business-like in her manner, and attended strictly to what she was doing. Even in passing before the young ladies, and looking directly in their faces, though her lips parted in a smile, she made no other sign of recognition. She brought her boat round in a smooth circle, not without pride, apparently, in displaying her skill, pushed it into a tiny cove, where the long, trailing grass brushed both sides, sprang lightly ashore, and tied it to the mooring-ring.

Then she made her half-embarrassed salutation, and stood wiping away the perspiration that lay in large drops on her forehead, and in little beads around her mouth.

If these three young women had been changed into flowers, the rower would have been a peony, Honora a lily, and Annette—but there is no flower complex and generous enough to be her representative. Be her symbol, rather, the familiar one of the orb just rounding into shape out of chaos. She was less well balanced than Honora, merely because there was so much more to balance. Her freak of searching out an ancestry would never have been acted on, even if her friend had approved it. It was one of those thoughts which need only to be put into words in order to be dismissed. Annette had rid herself of a good many foolish notions in this way, and had been growing wiser than her critics by the very acts which they took as proofs of her weakness.

Miss Pembroke had discovered this, for she looked lovingly. Others were astonished to find themselves awed to-day where they had mocked but yesterday, and professed that they knew Annette Ferrier only to be puzzled by her.

It sometimes happens to people that illusory thoughts and feelings, which, pent in the mind, have an appearance of reality, and even of force, perish in expressing themselves, as the cloud breaks in thunder.

There was another difference between these two: Annette had one of those souls that are born nailed to their cross.

It is usual with hasty and superficial judges, people who, as Liszt says, "desire to promulgate laws in spheres to which nature has denied them entrance," to show what they fancy is a good-natured contempt for these discontented beings who cannot accommodate themselves to life as it is. They mention them with an indulgent smile, and seem to take pleasure in wounding still[Pg 227] further these sensitive souls, not aware how clearly they display their own presumptuous selfishness. The ease with which they content themselves with inferior aims and pleasures, they dignify by the name of philosophy and good sense; and they presume to censure those who, tormented by a vision of perfection, and feeling within themselves the premature stirring of powers that can be employed only in a higher state of existence, seem so imperfect only because to be perfect they must be superhumanly great. There are two ways in which this divine discontent may be silenced: the soul may degrade itself, and treat its ideals as visionary; or it may find rest in God. But no ordinary piety suffices; only a saintly holiness, flowing in and around the troubled soul like a sunny and peaceful sea, can lift and bear it smoothly on to that land where nothing sacred is mocked at, and the smiles are awakened by no sight of another's pain.

Annette Ferrier had made this much progress, that she had learned to rely on no one for a sympathy that would satisfy her, and had owned to herself that her heart required other and nobler aims and motives than those which had occupied her. She was half aware, or would have been, if the thought had not been rejected as treasonable, that if she were not already engaged to Lawrence Gerald, nothing would induce her to accept him as her future husband. But she had accepted him, and there was no longer room to doubt or to choose, or even to think of doubting or choosing. It lacked but a week to their wedding-day, and she was making her last preparations. What was worth doing at all was worth doing well, she thought, and resolved to make the occasion a festival one.

The three walked up the green together, Elizabeth between the two young ladies. Miss Pembroke stepped quite independently, her hands folded lightly together; Annette held by the end of the clematis wreath that still hung over the young girl's shoulders, and looked at her with a caressing smile.

"Did you buy the little writing-case we were speaking of when I was here last?" she asked.

"Well, not exactly," was the hesitating answer.

"Not exactly! That means that you have engaged it, or got one that does not suit, and must be exchanged."

Miss Ferrier had dropped the wreath, and was engaged in gathering up the cloud of pale blue muslin that flowed around and behind her, and did not observe the smile on the girl's face.

"No," said Elizabeth, gathering courage from her visitor's kindness. "You see, when I sat down and looked at the half-eagle you gave me, I thought it seemed a pity to go right off and spend it for a writing-case. I could have that, if I wanted to, so I didn't feel quite so anxious about it; and there were other things I wanted just as much. It would be nice to have a little clock in my room, and five dollars would buy one. So since I could have that, too, I felt easier about not having it. Then, I would like a larger looking-glass. Well, I kind of thought I had it, since I could buy it if I would. And I could get any one of the half a dozen other things I wanted, making about ten in all. But when I knew that I could have either whenever I chose, I didn't feel in a hurry to get anything; and I was so sure of each one that it seemed to me as if I had them all. So I just kept the[Pg 228] five dollars; and while I keep it, it is as good as fifty to me. When I spend it, it will be only five dollars, and I shall want nine things dreadfully, and be sorry I hadn't bought one of them instead of what I did get."

Annette dropped her gathered-up skirts from her hands to throw her arms around the young rustic's neck, and kiss her astonished face.

"You dear little soul!" she cried, in an ecstasy, "how quickly you have found it out!"

Elizabeth blushed immensely, for she was not used to being kissed. "Found out what?" she asked.

"Why, that nothing in the world is very desirable except what you can't get."

"Oh!" The girl tossed her head back, and laughed ringingly. "I found that out as long ago as I used to cry for mince-pie to eat, and then cry with stomach-ache after I had eaten it. Grandfather used to tell me then that if there is anything in the world that we want so much we cry to get it, it will be sure to make us cry still more after we have it. I never forgot that. Grandfather knows a great deal about everything," she concluded, with an air of conviction.

"Did you ever see a creature learn so easily?" Annette said to Honora. "She begins life with all the wisdom of experience."

Honora sighed as she answered, "She reminds me of something dear Mother Chevreuse said the last time she came to see me: 'Nothing is worth working for but bread and heaven.'"

They had reached Mr. Grey's floral treasure-house by this time, and the flowers absorbed their attention.

"Bushels of asters!" exclaimed Annette, pausing outside the door, and glancing along the garden-beds. "And they are almost as handsome as roses. Those will do for the balconies and out-of-the-way places. And, Elizabeth, I want you to cherish every pansy as if it were a jewel. I don't care about the piebald ones, but the pure purple or pure gold are quite the thing. And now, Honora, step in here, and own that you never before saw fuchsias. You remember Edgar Poe's hill of tulips sloping to the water, like a cataract of gems flowing down from the sky? That Poetical creature! Well, here's a Niagara of lady's ear-drops."

When at length they had started, and were driving down to their alder-bath again, Honora leaned out of the carriage, and looked back.

"What a lovely place this would be to spend a honeymoon in!" she said softly, as if to herself.

"Which, yours or mine?" asked Annette.

Honora blushed. "I was thinking of honeymoons in the abstract," she replied.

Elizabeth stood on the lawn, and looked after the carriage as long as it was in sight; and when it was no longer in sight, she still gazed at the green wall that had closed up behind it. Perhaps she was thinking what a fine thing it must be to drive in a pretty carriage, and have gauzy dresses trailing away behind one like clouds; or may be she was recollecting what they had said to her, and how that delicate, airy lady had kissed her on the cheek, and laughed with tears in her eyes.

While she gazed, deeply occupied with whatever dream or thought she was entertaining, the alders parted again, and a man appeared, hesitating whether to come forward, yet looking at her as if he wished to speak. Elizabeth did not much like his looks, but she advanced a step to see what he wanted. No harm had ever[Pg 229] come to her there, and she had no thought of fear. Besides, she would have considered herself perfectly well able to put this person to flight; for his slim, little figure and mean face were by no means calculated to inspire either fear or respect.

Encouraged by her advance, the man came forward to meet her.

"My grandfather will soon be home, if you want him," she said directly, holding aloof.

The stranger did not want to see him; he merely wished to ask some questions about the place which she could answer.

They were very trivial questions, but she answered them, keeping her eyes fixed intently on him. He wanted to know what they raised there; if it was very cold in winter; if it was very hot in summer; if they had many visitors there; if she was much acquainted in Crichton; if she had a piano; if she could play; if she knew any good music-teacher. And perhaps she had seen Mr. Schöninger?

No, she had not seen him.

"Oh! perhaps you have met him without knowing," the man said with animation, in spite of an assumed carelessness. "Seems to me I saw him come here this summer. Don't you remember a man whose buggy broke down beyond there, and he came here for a rope?"

The girl's eyes brightened. "Oh! is that a music-teacher?" she asked. "His voice sounds like it, or like what a music-teacher's ought to be. Yes, I remember him. He got on to the wrong road driving up to Crichton, turned off here instead of going straight on, and something broke. I gave him a rope, and he went away."

"Let me see; there was somebody else here at the same time, wasn't there?" he asked, with an air of trying to recollect. "Wasn't there a woman here getting things for the new convent?"

The disagreeable eagerness in her questioner's eyes chilled the girl; but there seemed no reason why she should not answer so insignificant a question. She did so reluctantly. "Yes, Mrs. Macon was here."

"And her carriage was standing at the door?" he added, nodding.

"Seems to me you're very much interested in our visitors," said Elizabeth abruptly, drawing herself up a little.

The man laughed. "Why, yes, in these two. But I won't ask you much more. Only tell me one thing. Did you see this Mr. Schöninger come up to the door, and go away from it?"

"I saw him come up, I didn't see him go away," she said.

The truth was that Miss Elizabeth had admired this stranger exceedingly, but had not wished him to suspect it. So instead of frankly looking after him as he went out, she had turned away, with an air of immense indifference, then rushed to the window to look when she thought him at a safe distance.

"Then you didn't see him when he passed by the phaeton that stood at the step?" pursued the questioner.

She shook her head, and pursed her lip out impatiently.

"He had a shawl over his arm when he came. Did you notice whether he had it when you saw him going away?" was the next question.

"I don't know anything about it," she said shortly; but recollected even in speaking that she had said to herself as she watched the strange gentleman going, "How does he hold his shawl so that I can't see it?"

"Now, one more question, and I have done," the stranger said. His weak, shuffling manner had quite disappeared, and he was keen and busi[Pg 230]ness-like. "Was there anybody else about the house who saw this man?"

"Yes; grandfather was in the garden; but he didn't come near him."

"What part of the garden? In sight of the door?"

"I won't tell you another word!" she exclaimed, turning away. "And I think you'd better go."

When she glanced back again, the man had disappeared. She felt uneasy and regretful. Something was going on which she did not understand, and it seemed to her that she had done harm in answering those questions.

"I wish I had gone into the house when I saw the prying creature," she said to herself; "or I wish I had held my tongue. He's got what he came for, I can see that."

He had got what he came for, or very nearly.

"Shall I waylay the old man, and question him?" he thought; and concluded not to. "If he knows anything, he will tell it at the proper time."

The green boughs brushed him with their tender leaves, as if they would have brushed away some cobwebs from his sight, and opened his eyes to the peace and charity of the woods; but he was too much absorbed in one ignoble pursuit to be accessible to gentler influences. What he sought was not to uphold the law; what he felt was not that charity to the many which sometimes makes severity to the few a necessity. His object was money, and charity lay dead in his heart with a coin over each eye.

That evening Miss Ferrier and Lawrence Gerald talked over their matrimonial affairs quite freely, and in the most business-like manner in the world. They discussed the ceremony, the guests, the breakfast, and the toilette, and Annette displayed her lace dress.

"It is frightfully costly," she owned; "but I had a purpose in making it so. I shall never wear it but once, and some day or other it will go to trim a priest's surplice. You see, I ordered the pattern to that end, as nearly as I could get it, and not have it made for me. There was no time for that. The ferns are neutral; but the wheat is perfect, you see, and that vine is quite like a grape-vine. I shall wear a tulle veil."

She threw the cloud of misty lace over her head.

"Why, Annette, it makes you look lovely!" Lawrence exclaimed.

"I am glad you think so," she responded dryly, and took it off again.

Lawrence was seated on a tabouret in Annette's own sitting-room, which no one else was allowed to enter during these last days of her maiden life. It had been newly furnished after her own improved taste, and the luxury and elegance of everything pleased him. He was still more pleased to see her so well in harmony with it. He was beginning to find her interesting, especially as he found her indifferent and a little commanding toward him.

"And now, Lawrence," she said, folding carefully the beautiful Alençon flounce, "you have some little preparation to make. You know you must be reconciled to the church."

"I have nothing against the church," he said coolly.

"The church has something against you, and it is a serious matter," she urged, refusing to smile. "You haven't been to confession for—how many years? Not a few, certainly. No priest will marry us till you go."

"I suppose a minister wouldn't do?" remarked the young man, with[Pg 231] the greatest hardihood, seeming mildly doubtful about the question.

"Now, Lawrence, don't talk nonsense," Annette begged. "When one is going to be married, one feels a little sober."

"That's a fact!" he assented, with rather ungallant emphasis.

She colored faintly. Her gentle earnestness might have touched one less careless. "It is beginning a new life," she said; "and if it were not well begun, I'm afraid we should not be happy."

The young man straightened himself up, and gave his moustache an energetic twist with both hands—a way he had when impatient.

"Well, anything but a lecture, Ninon," he exclaimed. "I'll think the matter over, and see if I can rake up any transgressions. I dare say there are plenty."

"You will speak to F. Chevreuse about it?" she asked eagerly.

He nodded.

"And now sing me something," he said. "I haven't heard you sing for an age. Is there anything new?"

She seated herself at the exquisite little piano, well pleased to be asked. Here was one way in which she could delight him, for he grew more and more fond of her singing. Annette's was a graceful figure at the piano, and she had the gift of looking pretty while singing. Her delicate and expressive face reflected every light and shade in the songs she sang, and the music flowed from her lips with as little effort as a song from a bird.

"Here is 'The Sea's Answer,'" she said.

Lawrence settled himself into a high-backed chair. "Well, let us hear what the sea answered. Only it might be more intelligible if one first knew what the question was, and who the questioner, and why he didn't ask somebody else. There! go on."

Annette sang:

"O Sea!" she said, "I trust you;
The land has slipped away;
Myself and all my fortunes
I give to you to-day.
Break off the foamy cable
That holds me to the shore;
For my path is to the eastward,
I can return no more.
But ever while it stretches—
That pale and shining thread—
It pulls upon my heart-strings
Till I wish that I were dead."
Then the sea it sent its ripples
As fast as they could run.
And they caught the bubbles of the wake,
And broke them one by one;
And they tossed the froth in bunches
Away to left and right,
Till of all that foamy cable
But a fragment lay in sight.
And on the circling waters
No clue was left to trace
Where the land beyond invisibly
Held its abiding-place.
"But, oh! "she cried, "it follows—
That ghostly, wavering line—
Like the floating of a garment
Drenched in the chilly brine.
It clings unto the rudder
Like a drowning, snowy hand;
And while it clings, my exiled heart
Strains backward to the land."
Then the sea rolled in its billows.
It rolled them to and fro;
And the floating robe sank out of sight,
And the drowning hand let go.
"O Sea!" she said, "I trust you!
Now tell me, true and bold,
If the new life I am seeking
Will be brighter than the old.
I am stifling for an orbit
Of a wider-sweeping ring;
And there's laughter in me somewhere,
And I have songs to sing.
But life has held me like a vise
That never, never slips;
And when my songs pressed upward,
It smote me on the lips.
"And, Sea," she sighed, "I'm weary
Of failure and of strife;
And I fain would rest for ever,
If this is all of life.
Thy billows rock like mothers' arms
Where babes are hushed to rest;
And the sleepers thou dost take in charge
Are safe within thy breast.
Then, if the way be weary,
I have not strength to go;
And thy rocking bosom, Ocean,
Is the tenderest I know."
Then the sea rose high, and shook her,
As she called upon its name,
Till the life within her wavered,
And went out like a flame.
And stranger voices read the Word,
And sang the parting hymn,
[Pg 232] As they dropped her o'er the ship's side
Into the waters dim.
And the rocking ocean drew her down
Its silent ones among,
With all her laughters prisoned,
And all her songs unsung.

There was silence for a little while when the song ended; then Lawrence exclaimed, with irritation, "What sets people out to write such things? The whole world wants to be cheered and amused, and yet some writers seem to take delight in making everything as gloomy as they are. Why can't people keep their blues to themselves?"

The singer shrugged her shoulders. "You mistake, I think. I always fancy that melancholy writing proves a gay writer. Don't you know that school compositions are nearly always didactic and doleful? When I was fifteen years old, and as gay as a lark, I used to write jeremiads at school, and make myself and all the girls cry. I enjoyed it. When a subject is too sore, you don't touch it, and silence proves more than speech."

Lawrence kept the promise he had made, though he put its fulfilment off as long as possible. The morning before his wedding-day he was at early Mass, and, when Mass was over, went into F. Chevreuse's confessional. It would seem that he had not succeeded in "raking up" many transgressions, for ten minutes sufficed for the first confession he had made in fifteen years. But when he came out, his face was very pale, and he lingered in the church long after every one else had left. Glancing in from the sacristy, after his thanksgiving, F. Chevreuse saw him prostrate before the altar, with his lips pressed to the dusty step where many an humble communicant had knelt, and heard him repeat lowly, "Enter not into judgment with thy servant; for no one living shall be justified in thy sight."

The priest looked at him a moment with fatherly love and satisfaction, then softly withdrew.

The spiritual affairs of her future husband attended to, toilet, decoration, ceremony, reception, all planned and arranged by one brain and one pair of hands, Annette had still to school and persuade her mother to a proper behavior. She, the daughter, had conquered Crichton. They no longer laughed at nor criticised her, and were in a fair way to go to the opposite extreme, and regard her as an authority on all subjects. For the Crichtonians had the merit of believing that good can come out of Nazareth, and could become enthusiastic over what they conceived to be an original genius victoriously asserting its independence of a low origin and of discouraging circumstances.

But the mother was, and ever would be to them, a subject of quenchless mirth. Her sayings and doings, and the mortification she inflicted on her daughter, were an endless source of amusement to them.

"Now, do keep quiet this once, mamma," Annette begged pathetically. "You know I shall not be able to hover about and set people to rights when they quiz you. You will have to take care of yourself. Don't trust anybody, and don't quarrel with anybody."

For once the mother was disposed to yield entire obedience. She had begun to assume that mournful face which, according to Thackeray, all women seem to think appropriate at a wedding; and there was far more danger of her being inarticulate and sobbing than of her showing either pugilism or loquacity.

"I'm sure I sha'n't feel much like saying anything to anybody when I see my only daughter getting mar[Pg 233]ried before my eyes," she said reproachfully.

"Suppose you saw your only daughter growing into an old maid before your eyes, mamma," said Annette, laughing, and patting her mother on the shoulder. "Would you like that any better?"

"Well," Mrs. Ferrier sighed, "I suppose you may as well be married, now you've had the fuss of getting ready. All I care about is your happiness, though you may not believe it. I'm no scholar, and I know people laugh at me; but that doesn't prevent my having feelings. You deserve to be happy, Annette, for you have been a good child to me, and you were never ashamed of me, though you have tried hard to make me like other folks. I couldn't be anything but what I am; and when I have tried, I've only made a greater fool of myself than I was before. But for all that, I'm sorry I've been such a burden to you, and I'm grateful to you for standing by me."

This was Mrs. Ferrier's first confession of any sense of her own shortcomings, or of her daughter's trials on her account, and it touched Annette to the heart.

The outside world, that she had striven to please and win, faded away and grew distant. Here was one whom she could depend on, the only one on earth whom she could always be sure of. Whatever she might be, her mother could not be estranged from her, and could not have an interest entirely detached from hers.

"Don't talk of being grateful to me, mamma," she said tremulously. "I believe, after all, you were nearer right than I was; and I have far more reason to be ashamed of myself than of you. I have been straining every nerve to please people who care nothing for me, and to reach ends that were nothing when reached. It isn't worth the trouble. Still, it is easier to go on than to turn back, and we may as well take a little pains to keep what we have taken much pains to get. I'm sorry I undertook this miserable business of a show-wedding. It disgusts me. A quiet marriage would have been far better. But since it is undertaken, I want it to be a success of its kind."

"Oh! as to that," Mrs. Ferrier said, "I like the wedding. I don't like to see people get married behind the door, as if they were ashamed of themselves. You don't marry every day, and it may as well be something uncommon."

They were conversing more gently and confidentially than they had for a long time; and the mother appeared to greater advantage than ever before, more dignified, more quiet. Annette pushed a footstool to the sofa, and, sitting on it, leaned on her mother's lap.

"Still, I do not like a showy marriage," she said. "It may do for two young things who have parents and friends on both sides to take all the care, while they dream away the time, and have nothing to do or think of but imagine a beautiful future. For serious, thoughtful people, I think the less parade and staring and hurly-burly there is, the better. But then, that quiet way throws the two very much alone together, and obliges them to talk the matter over; and Lawrence and I would find it a bore. We are neither of us very sentimental."

She spoke gently enough, but there was a faint touch of bitterness in her voice that the mother's ear detected.

"I don't know why he shouldn't like to talk the matter over with you," she began, kindling to anger; but Annette stopped her.

[Pg 234]

"Now, mamma, there must be an end put to all this," she said firmly. "And since there is no other way, let me tell you the true story of my engagement. You seem to think that Lawrence was very anxious to get me, and that he has made a good bargain, and ought to be grateful. Well, perhaps a part of the last is true; but the first is not. I've got to humiliate myself to tell you; but you will never cease to reproach him unless I do." A burning blush suffused her face, and she shrank as if with a physical pain. "Lawrence knew perfectly well that I liked him before he ever paid the slightest attention to me; and when he began to follow me ever so little, I encouraged him in a manner that must have been almost coaxing. He knew that I was to be had for the asking. Of course, I wasn't aware of this, mamma. Girls do such things, like simpletons, and think nobody understands them; and perhaps they do not understand themselves. I am sure that Lawrence was certain of me before I had the least idea what my own feelings were. I knew I liked him, but I never thought how. I was too romantic to come down to realities. Of course, he had a contempt for me—he couldn't help it—though I didn't deserve it; for while he thought, I suppose, that I was trying to win him for my husband, I was only worshipping him as superior and beyond all other men. If girls could only know how plainly they show their feelings, or rather, if they would only restrain and deny their feelings a little, they would save themselves much contempt that they deserve, and much that they do not deserve. So you see, mamma, Lawrence might at any time, if you reproach him, turn and say that I was the one who sought him, and say what is half true, too. I didn't mean to, but I did it for all that. Now, of course, it is different, and he really wants to marry me. He is more anxious than I am, indeed. But the less said about the whole matter the better. When I think of it, I could throw myself into the fire."

"Well, well, dear, don't think about it, then," the mother urged soothingly, startled by the passion in Annette's face. "It doesn't make much difference who begins, so long as both are willing. And now, don't torment yourself any more, child. You're always breaking your heart because you have done something that isn't quite up to your own notions. And I tell you, Annette, I wouldn't exchange you for twenty Honora Pembrokes."

Annette leaned on her mother's bosom, and resigned herself with a feeling of sweet rest and comfort to be petted and caressed, without criticising either grammar or logic. How mean and harsh all such criticisms seemed to her when brought to check and chill a loving heart!

"Mamma," she whispered, after a while, "I almost wish that we were back in the little cabin again. I can just faintly remember your rocking me to sleep there, and it seems to me that I was happier then than ever since."

"Yes," Mrs. Ferrier sighed, "we were happier then than we are now; but we shouldn't be happy to go back to it. I should feel as if I were crawling head-foremost into a hole in the ground. We didn't know how happy we were then, and we don't know how happy we are now, I suppose. So let's make the best of it all."

The wedding proved to be, as the bride had desired, a success of its kind. The day was perfect, no mishap occurred, and everybody whom[Pg 235] the family had not invited themselves as spectators. Policemen were needed to keep the way clear to the church door when the bridal party arrived, and the heavens seemed to rain flowers on them wherever they went.

Seeing Mr. Gerald bend his handsome head, and whisper smilingly to the bride, as they entered the church, sentimental folks fancied that he was making some very lover-like speech suitable to the occasion. But this is what he said: "Annette, we draw better than the giraffe. Why hadn't we thought to charge ten cents a head?"

Her eyes had been fixed on the lighted altar, just visible, and she did not look at him as she replied, "Lawrence, we are in the presence of God, and this is a sacrament. Make an act of contrition, or you will commit a sacrilege."

And then the music of the organ caught them up, and the rest was like a dream.

"How touching it is to see a young girl give herself away with such perfect confidence," remarked Mr. Sales, who was much impressed by the splendor of the bride.

"Give herself away!" growled Dr. Porson in return. "She is throwing herself away."



The story of the erection of the Cathedral of Chartres is an epic from beginning to end. Before it arose in the amplitude and majesty which the great epoch of Christian art knew how to bestow upon its works, nothing less was required than the greatest courage, the most indomitable perseverance, and a determination of will which no difficulties or reverses could turn from its purpose. The building of this cathedral was a struggle against fire and sword, against barbarians and the elements—a long conflict, which in the end left piety and devotion victorious.

No sooner was the era of persecution closed by the conversion of Constantine, A.D. 312, than a church was raised over the Druidic grotto, and thronged incessantly by the multitudes of pilgrims who came to venerate the sacred image. The wood covering the hill, no longer possessing, as formerly, any sacred character, was cut down, in order that the town might extend itself in that direction; and houses began forthwith to cluster round the foot of the temple, as if seeking the immediate protection of Mary.

Of this earliest structure it is impossible to give any description, as no account of it remains. It was in all probability a basilica resembling others of the period, built with much less splendor than solidity, and existed through several centuries until the year 850. Charles the Bald was then on the throne, and Frothold was Bishop of Chartres, being the forty-second prelate of that see. The times were very troubled. Charlemagne had years before gone to his[Pg 236] glorious repose, leaving to his degenerate successors a sceptre too heavy for their feeble arms to wield—a vast empire without cohesion, and which, lacking the firm hand of a sagacious ruler, was already torn with dissensions. The incursions of the Northmen, invariably accompanied by fire and carnage, were continual upon the hapless kingdom of the Franks. Hasting, the Danish chieftain, laid siege to Chartres, which was at this epoch surrounded with strong and solid walls, and held out courageously, well knowing its fate should it fall into the hands of the barbarians. After spending some time in ineffectual endeavors to effect a breach, the wily Northman had recourse to craft, causing the bishop to be informed that he was ready, with all his followers, to accept the Christian faith, and humbly requesting admittance into the city. Scarcely had he entered, when he threw aside the mask; the bishop and most of the inhabitants were massacred, the church destroyed, and the city given up to the flames. This exploit was no sooner performed than rewarded as it deserved. Before the savage invaders had time to hasten back, laden with plunder, to their vessels, the Franks of the surrounding country fell upon them and slew them without quarter.

Soon the church and the city arose again from their ashes. The new sanctuary was but an humble erection. The people gave to God the best they could, but they were impoverished, and in that age of iron the arts had sunk to the lowest condition; moreover, another century had not elapsed before a similar disaster seemed about to befall the building.

In those barbarous ages, the sacking and burning of towns and the slaughter of their inhabitants were events always possible, often impending. In the year 911, Chartres was besieged by the fierce Norman chieftain, Rollo, at the head of a formidable army provided with powerful engines of war. The Dukes of France and Burgundy, with the Count of Poitiers, hastening to the succor of the city, gave battle outside its walls; but they were hard pressed, and to the anxious watchers on the ramparts seemed likely to be overborne by the foe. The bishop, Ganthelm or Gancelin, was not only a warrior in time of need, but was also full of devotion to Mary. In the heat of the combat, he put himself at the head of the Chartrians, taking with him the reliquary containing the greatest treasure of his church—the sacred tunic of Our Lady—and fell upon the invaders. This vigorous sortie was so successful that the Northmen were utterly defeated and with so great a slaughter that, according to the account of the monk Paul, the river was choked with their corpses.

The holy tunic just mentioned had been given to Charlemagne by the Emperor Nicephorus and the Empress Irene, who previously kept it at Constantinople, whither it had been brought from Ephesus in the year 460, in the reign of the Emperor Leo. Charlemagne, who meditated an Empire of the West, of which the capital should be Aix-la-Chapelle, had at first placed the relic in that city. His successors, being unable to carry out his designs, nevertheless recognized the importance of preserving so great a treasure to France, and Charles the Bald, removing it from Aix, presented it to the church of Chartres. The history of this double translation may be seen portrayed in the great window of the chapel of S. John Baptist; the archives of the cathedral and the Poem of the Miracles agreeing with these representations in their account of the[Pg 237] facts, with regard to which the poet Maître Nicolas Gilles, writes:

"Lors prinrent la sainte chemise
A la Mère Dex qui fut prise
Jadis dans Constantinople.
Precieux don en fit et noble
A Chartres un grand Roi de France;
Charles le Chauve ot nom d'enfance.
Cil roy à Chartres le donna."[79]

But the effects of protection from on high are not such as to permit a people and its rulers to do evil with impunity. Some time afterwards, Thibault le Tricheuri.e. the "sharper" or "cheat"—ce chevalier fel et enginous—"this dangerous and deep-skilled knight," as he is called in the chronicles of the time, who by some unknown means obtained possession of the county of Chartres, made an expedition against the town of Evreux, which he took by stratagem, and, going on from thence as far as Rouen, so utterly devastated the country that, in all the land through which he had passed, "there was not heard so much as the bark of a dog." During his absence, the Normans and Danes together laid siege to Chartres, which they took by assault, and again burnt the town, together with the church. Thibault, returning to find his son slain and his town in ruins, went mad with anger and grief.

Towards the close of the IXth century was a period of great calamities and sinister predictions. There was a general spirit of discouragement and gloom. Men said that the end of the world was approaching, for the year one thousand was close at hand. They built no more churches; for to what purpose would it be? Still, Our Lady must not surely be left without her sanctuary at Chartres, nor could the people themselves dispense with it; they set to work, therefore, and the destroyed building was speedily replaced by a new one; yet, as they had no hope of its long continuance, wood had a larger place in its construction than stone. A few years later, however, when the unchecked course of time had belied the prophecies of popular credulity, it seemed as if Heaven itself willed to teach the Chartrians that God and their blessed Patroness must be more worthily honored; for in the year 1020, under the episcopate of Fulbert, on the Feast of the Assumption according to some, on Christmas Day according to others, the church was struck by lightning, and wholly consumed.

Bp. Fulbert was a holy man, and also a man of intelligence and courage. He felt that God had given him a mission. Amid the smoking ruins of his episcopal church, he laid the foundations of a noble structure which should be fitted to brave the injuries of time, and not be liable, like the former ones, to the danger of conflagration. In order to carry out his design, Fulbert needed treasure. He at once devoted all his own fortune to the work, and then appealed to his clergy, who imposed on themselves great sacrifices to satisfy their generosity; the people of his diocese also aiding eagerly with their contributions. Not satisfied with all this, he addressed himself to the princes and nobles of France, and especially to King Robert, who has been called the father of religious architecture, and who could not fail to take a lively interest in the erection of a sanctuary to Our Lady of France. The princes of the whole Christian world were in like manner invited to assist in the undertaking, and the King of Denmark in particular signalized himself by his munificence.

[Pg 238]

Gifts arriving from all parts, Fulbert was enabled to commence the works, as he had desired, on very large proportions, and to push them forward with so much activity that in less than two years the crypt was finished—this crypt which is probably the largest and finest in the world, and which is still admired as a marvel of the architecture of the XIth century. This sanctuary of Notre Dame de Dessoubs-terre, or "Our Lady of Underground," more worthy than any which had preceded it of the Druidic Virgin, was then opened to receive, through long centuries, successive generations of the faithful. Nevertheless, this was but the root of the majestic tree which was to rise and expand above this favored spot. Fulbert devoted the remaining years of his life to the work, so that when he died, in 1029, it had made great progress; and, being continued with equal energy by Thierry, his successor, was considered sufficiently advanced to be consecrated in 1037, although still requiring much for its completion.

After the death of Thierry came a period of marked relaxation in activity. Several bishops in succession made no progress in the erection. S. Yves, one of the most illustrious prelates who ever filled the episcopal throne of Chartres, confined himself principally to the interior adornment of the cathedral. Munificent gifts from Maude, Queen of England, enabled him to replace the ancient and already dilapidated roof by one of lead. A new impetus being given to the undertaking, in 1115 were laid the foundation of the two spires, so remarkable and so well known to the world. In 1145, the works were in full activity, and it was wonderful, observes Haymond, Abbot of S. Pierre sur Dive, to see with what ardor, perseverance, and piety the people set to work to bring about the completion of their church. "What a marvellous spectacle!" he writes. "There one sees powerful men, proud of their birth and of their wealth, accustomed to a life of ease and pleasure, harnessing themselves to the shafts of a cart, and dragging along stones, lime, wood, and all the materials necessary for the construction of the sacred edifice. Sometimes it befalls that as many as a thousand persons, men and women, are harnessed to the same wagon, so heavy is the load; and yet so great a silence prevails that there is not heard the faintest murmur."

It was chiefly during the summer season that these labors were carried on. At night, tapers were lighted and set on the wagons, while the workers watched around the church, singing hymns and canticles. Thus it was at Chartres that the custom, afterwards so prevalent, began of the laborers assembling together to pass the night as well as the day near the building in course of erection.

The old spire being at last completed, and the new one reaching to the height of the roofs, in 1194 another fire broke out, the cause of which was unknown. It had seemed as if a strange fatality pursued the pious undertaking, were not every event providentially permitted or arranged. The faithful of those days so understood this fresh catastrophe, acknowledging that it was the chastisement of Heaven for those sins from which, in spite of their zeal, the toilers in this work had not always kept themselves free. It is easy to comprehend that, notwithstanding all precautions, these large and prolonged assemblages could not have been without great dangers. Some considered the disaster as a manifestation of the divine will that the work was not carried on to a sufficient degree[Pg 239] of perfection; while others again regarded it as an effect of the jealous hatred of the arch-enemy, and, according to the historian Mezeray, declared that demons, under the form of ravens, had been seen flying over the cathedral, with red-hot embers in their beaks, which they let fall upon the sacred edifice. This time the destruction was immense. Nothing was saved but the crypt and the two spires, with the connecting masonry forming the western portal. The latter, not having as yet been joined to the main building, were unharmed by the flames.

Historians of the XVIth century and later do not mention this fire, and suppose the edifice which at present exists to be almost entirely the work commenced by Bp. Fulbert—an error only to be accounted for by the most complete ignorance of the laws of ecclesiastical architecture. Contemporary writers, as, for instance, William le Breton and Rigord, monk of S. Denis, as well as Robert of Auxerre, who adds that a portion of the town was also consumed, are unanimous as to the date and principal particulars of the disaster.

Melchior, the legate of Pope Celestine III., was at Chartres at the time of its occurrence, and it was he who revived and sustained the spirit of the people, overwhelmed as they were at first by their calamity. Assembling them around the ruins of their church, he did his utmost to console and cheer them, winning from them the promise to raise a cathedral which should not have its equal in the world, and which should be built entirely of stone, so as to render its destruction by fire impossible.

The impulse was easily given. At the conclusion of the legate's stirring address, the bishop, Regnault de Mouçon, and all the canons of the cathedral, gave up their revenues for the space of three years towards the expenses of the building, as may be seen in the Poème des Miracles of Jehan le Marchant; Philip Augustus adding his offerings to those of the clergy with a royal liberality. The towns-people, also, considering that their misfortune was not so great by far as it might have been, seeing that the reliquary containing the sacred tunic of Our Lady was saved, thanks to the devotion of certain courageous men, who bore it from the burning church into a place of safety, felt bound to show their gratitude by depriving themselves of part of their possessions in favor of the work.

A powerful and irresistible current of devotion seemed in those days to carry along with it the hearts of men; and the enthusiasm of the Crusades having been chilled by reverses, the religious sentiment of the people found its outlet in another channel—raising sanctuaries of which the magnificence should be a marvel to succeeding ages.

Moreover, it must not be forgotten that, in those ages of faith and fervor, the fabulous sums which would be required in our days for similar erections were not necessary, even taking into account all proportions with regard to the respective value of money. The time had not then arrived for none but master-masons, working for ready money only, and of that a free supply; they who had nothing but their strength and good-will cheerfully gave the alms of their toil, thus sharing equally with the rich and great in forwarding the enterprise. Everywhere architects arose, ready to translate into stone the religious thoughts and aspirations of the time, which was not a period of popular enthusiasm only, but that[Pg 240] in which Christian art was rapidly expanding into its most remarkable development, and replacing the heavy and massive edifices of the Romano-Byzantine style by those possessing a boldness, freedom, and splendid gracefulness hitherto unknown.

Where was found the marvellous genius capable of conceiving and executing the plan of the Cathedral of Chartres?—this man who, careless of human fame, and careful only to work for God, has left no record of his name, and is called by Jehan le Marchant simply li mestre de l'œuvre.

The "master of the work" for three years wrought with incredible ardor. The idea had sprung from his mind complete, and he longed to see it realized in its colossal harmony. It is only in the crypt, in the old spire, and in the western portal, spared by the fire of 1194, that the ancient style is to be recognized; everywhere else the art of the XIIIth century triumphs, and we behold the poem of stone as it was hewn out in the first purity of its beauty.

At the end of three years resources failed, and the work could not go on. "Then," says the poet Jehan, with all the simplicity of a mediæval chronicler—"then the Holy Virgin prayed her divine Son to work fresh miracles in her Cathedral of Chartres, in order that the increase of alms and offerings might be such as to secure its completion:"

"La haute Dame glorieuse
Qui voloit avoir merveilleuse
Iglise, et haute, et longue, et lée,
Si que sa per ne fust trovée,
Son douz Fils pria doucement
Que miracles apertement
En son Eglise à Chartres feist,
Que tout le peuple le veist,
Si que de toutes parts venissent
Gens qui offerendes tous feissent,
Que achevée fust siglise,
Qui estoit à faire emprise."[80]

Miracles, which in this place had at all times been numerous and remarkable, and which we might cite by thousands, are said to have now greatly multiplied. Those which at that period excited the enthusiasm and gratitude of the people to the highest degree were the cures of a terrible malady very common in the middle ages, and known by the name of the "burning sickness." The unfortunate persons who were attacked by it, besides being consumed by fever, suffered internally as if from torture by fire, while outwardly their bodies were covered with frightful ulcers, of which the pain was intolerable. The victims of this malady came from all parts for relief and healing to Our Lady of Chartres. According to Jehan le Marchant and other contemporary writers, the disease never failed to disappear, either during or immediately after the novena which it was customary for each sufferer to make in the church.

This increase of favors revived the ardor of the faithful. Gifts and thank-offerings were made in great abundance, and the building of the church went on, with what vigor may be gathered from the fact that, in little more than twenty years afterwards, the cathedral was built and covered with what William le Breton calls its merveilleuse et miraculeuse roof of stone. It is in the year 1220 that he writes: "Entirely rebuilt anew in hewn stone, and completed by a vaulted roof like the shell of a tortoise, the cathedral has no more to fear from fire before the day of judgment."

The new tower received a spire like that of the old, excepting that it was [Pg 241]constructed of wood and lead, and destined to perish in the very partial fire of 1506, to be replaced by the beautiful and delicately sculptured steeple of the XVIth century, still so greatly admired. The porches were finished,[81] as well as the sculptures, in their finest details, and the windows put in. On the 17th of October, in the year 1260, the edifice was complete, and on this occasion the Bishop of Chartres, Pierre de Maincy, seventy-fifth successor of S. Aventine, solemnly consecrated his cathedral, in presence of the king, S. Louis.

Description, however picturesque, is utterly inadequate to convey a worthy image or idea of a Gothic cathedral in all the mysterious fulness, richness, and variety of its details. Chartres must be seen, must have received many quiet hours of contemplation, before its magnificences will have shown to what heights Christian art was raised by Christian devotion in those early centuries of enthusiasm and of faith.

And yet we cannot leave the reader at the threshold without inviting him to glance with us rapidly, and therefore most imperfectly, within.

How grand is the perspective which opens upon the view, when, looking from the "Royal Gate" towards the sanctuary, the eye takes in this triple nave, with its forest of pillars, amongst which fall, in rich and softened splendor, warm rays of light and color from the higher windows! All the dimensions are on a scale of grandeur. In its elevation, the cathedral is divided into three parts, the idea of the Blessed Trinity ruling this arrangement. The arcades, springing from the ground, form the first line, under the triforium, which forms the second, while above this rises the third height, containing the clerestory windows, which are lofty, double lancets, each surmounted by a rose. The lower walls are pierced by simple lancets of very large size. To the right and left of the nave are aisles without side chapels; but in the double aisle which is carried round the choir are seven apsidal chapels, of which the centre one, dedicated to Our Lady, is the most important. The pillars of the nave are massive in their proportions, to bear the weight of the lofty superstructure. There are sixteen circular or octagon pillars round the choir, with well-sculptured capitals; and in the centre of the transept rise four colossal pillars, around which cluster a number of smaller ones, which are carried up to the spring of the roof. The latter was the most beautiful in the world, and was called the Forest, being constructed of fine chestnut-wood, which time colors with a sort of golden hue, and which attracts neither dust nor spiders. The roof of St. Stephen's Hall at Westminster gives a good idea of what this must have been, with its exquisite fan tracery and graceful pendants, until, on the fourth of June, 1836, the whole was destroyed by fire. The iron roof by which it has been replaced, though excellent in its kind, is far from approaching the worth and beauty of the ancient Forêt.

The church is paved throughout with large slabs of stone, not one of which is a grave-stone, as would be the case in almost every other cathedral, under the pavement of which are buried numbers of ecclesiastics and other persons; but this is virgin earth, wherein no sepulture has ever taken place. We give the reason in the words of Sebastian Rouillard: "The said church has this pre-eminence as being the couch or resting[Pg 242]-place of the Blessed Virgin, and in token thereof has been even until this day preserved pure, clean, and entire, without having ever been dug or opened for any burial."

The choir is the largest in France, and one of the most splendid in existence, notwithstanding the unfortunate zeal of the chapter in the year 1703 to alter and disfigure its mediæval beauties according to their own ideas, which appear to have been warped to the lowest degeneracy of "Renaissance." Happily, however, the prodigious expense to which they put themselves resulted in but a partial realization of their plan, in which ancient carving and mural frescos were swept away to give place to gilding and stucco, marble and new paint, to say nothing of kicking cherubs and arabesques gone mad. It was at this time that the groups representing the annunciation of Our Lady and Our Saviour's baptism were placed at the entrance of the choir, which, even if they were the work of a more skilful hand, instead of being that of a very mediocre artist, would yet be out of harmony with the church; and the same may be said of the group, in Carrara marble, of the Assumption, which rises behind the high altar, and which is the work of the celebrated Bridan, who finished it in 1773.

When, two centuries before, the choir was still without enclosure, the XVIth century provided for it one of the rarest specimens of late Gothic art ever seen. Jehan de Beauce, who had been charged with the building of the new spire, was chosen to make the designs and direct the work; and though he died whilst it was still unfinished, his plan was carefully carried to its completion. In this marvel of conscientious labor there are forty groups, each containing numerous figures, nearly the size of nature, representing the Legend of Mary and the principal events in the life of Our Lord. Around these groups cluster pillars and arches, turrets, crocketed spires, everything that can help to give them, as it were, a framing and background as full and elaborate as possible, while all sorts of odd and Lilliputian creatures are playing in and out of the pediments, or clinging to the columns in the most capricious and fantastic manner. Besides these forty principal subjects, the enclosure is further enriched with thirty-five medallions, the first of which represents the siege of Chartres by Rollo, followed by subjects from the Holy Scriptures, and then, strange to say, by others taken from heathen mythology! The pagan spirit of the Renaissance was already daring to invade the sanctuaries of the Catholic faith.

Before proceeding to mention other architectural details, two of the especial treasures of the cathedral require some further notice. Besides the Druidic Virgin, of which we have already given the history, and whose chapel has, since the Revolution, been carefully restored, as well as the twelve other subterranean chapels of this marvellous crypt, there is in the upper church another statue, almost equally venerated, which dates from the first years of the XVIth century, and is called "Our Lady of the Pillar," from the columnar pedestal on which it rests. This figure is enthroned, and adorned with gold and painting of good execution, as far as may be seen under the abundant vestments of lace, silk, and gold with which the loving piety of pilgrims, greater in devotion than good taste, delights to load this statue, of which the dark but beautiful face has an expression of great sweetness and benignity, as well as that of the divine Child, whose right hand is[Pg 243] raised in benediction, while his left rests upon the globe of the world.

It was to this venerable image of Notre Dame du Pilier that the Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., granted the signal favor of a solemn coronation, which took place on the last day of the month of May, 1855, in the presence of seven prelates and a concourse of clergy and people so immense that the church could not contain the multitudes. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception had just been promulgated, and a special jubilee in honor of Our Lady of Chartres had been granted by the Holy Father, and the whole city was in a state of indescribable joy.

With regard to the vestment of Our Blessed Lady, to which allusion has so frequently been made, and which appears to be of indisputable authenticity, we will give the remainder of its history up to the present time. When this was presented to the cathedral by Charles the Bald, it was enclosed in a chest of cedar-wood covered with gold. The veneration with which the precious relic was regarded did not allow of the chest being opened without necessity, and its form was naturally supposed to be that of a tunic or undergarment. Numbers were made after the imaginary pattern, and, after being laid upon the reliquary, were greatly valued as pledges of Our Lady's protection, especially by those about to become mothers. As to one detail, however, everybody was mistaken, the vestment not being by any means of the form supposed. This was for the first time discovered in 1712, when, by order of the bishop, Mgr. de Merinville, the coffer, which was falling to pieces from extreme age, was opened with the most extraordinary care and precautions. A kind of gauze, embroidered with silk and gold, enveloped the sacred relic, which proved to be a veil of great length, woven of linen and silk. It was then, in presence of Mgr. de Merinville and other witnesses, enclosed in a chest of silver, and placed again in the ancient reliquary, which had been strengthened and repaired. This, being most richly ornamented with precious stones, was, in December, 1793, carried off by the men of the Revolution, who took the relic to Paris, and submitted it to be examined by the members of the Institute, without giving them any information respecting it, and anticipating from their verdict a triumphant proof of its being nothing more than a cheat and deception of "the priests." It was with less satisfaction, therefore, than surprise that they were informed by the learned members that, "although they found it impossible to give the exact age of the fabric, it was evidently of very great antiquity, and the material was identical with that of the long, folding veils anciently worn by women in the East." Owing merely to this character of remote antiquity, it was allowed a place among the curiosities of a museum. When the Reign of Terror was over, certain pious persons obtained possession of it, but had the want of judgment to divide it, giving larger or smaller portions to different churches and individuals. In 1820, Mgr. de Lubersac succeeded in collecting several of these portions, and, after having had them carefully authenticated, he placed them in a reliquary of coral, which has since, by Mgr. Clausel de Montals, been replaced by one of greater richness, so arranged as to allow the precious relic to be visible.

We must, before taking leave of the cathedral, bestow at least a passing glance upon its glorious windows. Here and there one has been broken by revolutionary or other anti-reli[Pg 244]gionists, one or two others have had a deep-toned color clumsily replaced by one of brighter hue by certain of the aforesaid XVIIIth century canons, who required more light to read their office; but, on the whole, they are in admirable preservation. We can linger but to read some few of the characters of this vast book of light, which is justly called by the Council of Arras "The Bible of the laity"; for months would be insufficient to decipher its glowing pages.

There are one hundred and thirty-five large windows, three immense roses, thirty-five roses of a middle size, and twelve small ones. These are almost all of the date of the XIIIth century, and are the gifts of kings, nobles, ecclesiastics, burgesses, and workmen of every trade, as may be seen in each window, which usually contains a kneeling figure of the donor. The great roses are marvellous in their splendor. That of the north transept, which, from being the gift of S. Louis, is called the Rose of France, represents the glorification of the Blessed Virgin, who occupies the centre, bearing in her arms her divine Son. The five great windows beneath the rose make the complement of the subject. In the centre is S. Anne, with Our Lady as an infant. On the right and left stand Melchisedech and Aaron, types of our Lord's priesthood; David and Solomon, the types of his royalty.

The southern rose was given by the Count of Dreux, and has for its subject the glorification of our Lord, which is also that of the sculpture over the western entrance. In the centre window of the five below is the infant Saviour in the arms of his Mother, while to the right and left are the four greater prophets, bearing on their shoulders the four Evangelists, to symbolize the support which the New Law receives from the Old. The western rose represents the Last Judgment. The three splendid windows beneath it are more ancient than the rest, and are said by those who are learned in stained glass to date from the XIIth century at the latest. One of these is the far-famed "Jesse Window," in which the tree of Jesse bears among the verdure of its branches the royal ancestors of Our Lord; the second represents scenes from his life, and the third those of his passion and death; while above appears the resplendent figure of Mary, known by the name of Notre Dame de la Belle Verriere, and justly celebrated for its admirable beauty. In the seven great windows of the apse, Mary is still the centre. In those of the choir occur amongst others the figures of S. Louis, S. Ferdinand of Castile, Amaury IV., Count of Montfort, and Simon de Montfort, his brother. The lower windows are filled with scenes from the Holy Bible and the Golden Legend, and contain a great number of figures of small size, while the higher ones are principally occupied by grand and separate figures of prophets, apostles, and saints.

Standing in the middle of the transept, one sees the extremities darkened by the great masses of the porches, but above them shine the great roses, whose rainbow hues play upon the entrance of the choir; the aisles and chapels are softened by that sort of half-luminous obscurity in which we find ourselves on entering the church; but the shadows flee more and more before the light, which, ever increasing, streams down in torrents as we approach the centre of the cross, making the sanctuary resplendent with emerald and ruby rays. And this marvellous picture has ever-changing aspects, beauties ever new, according to the hour of[Pg 245] the day, the brightness of the sun, and the season of the year. Reader, when in propriâ personâ you make your pilgrimage to Notre Dame de Chartres, you will feel how poor and how inadequate has our description been, and, with the Presence that is ever there, will own that it is heaven in all but the locality.

We will conclude our sketch with a few historical notices of interest, without which it would be incomplete.

Although we have lived to see occasionally something approaching to a renewal of the ancient throngs of pilgrims, and notably so on the last 27th-30th of May, when a multitude of more than sixty thousand persons, including twelve prelates, besides six hundred other ecclesiastics, two generals, one hundred and fifty officers, and one hundred and forty members of the National Assembly, went from Paris and various parts of France on a pilgrimage to Chartres, still this does not recall the continuous concourse of former days, when it often happened that the town was not large enough to contain the crowds of strangers, so that on the eve of certain festivals it was necessary to allow great numbers of them to remain all night for shelter in the church itself. The parvis of the cathedral, which slopes downwards from the choir to the western door, rendered easy the cleansing process which followed in the early morning, when floods of water were thrown upon the pavement.

This eager devotion of the common people has in it something more touching even than the innumerable visits of the rich and great to this chosen shrine. In the course of the XIIth century, Chartres numbered among its pilgrims no less than three popes and five kings of France; Philip Augustus being accompanied by his queen, Isabella of Hainault, who came to ask Our Lady's intercession that she might have a son. Whereupon, says William le Breton, even whilst the queen was making her prayer, the candles upon the high altar suddenly lighted of themselves, as if in token that her request was granted, and which accordingly came to pass.

Before the completion of the church, it had been visited by two princesses greater for their sanctity than for their rank—namely, Blanche of Castile, the mother of S. Louis, and the gentle and pious Isabelle, her sister. They were followed not long afterwards by the holy monarch himself, who, on his first visit, was accompanied by Henry III., of England, and on his second, in 1260, was present at the consecration. Philip the Fair, who attributed his success at the battle of Mons en Puelle entirely to the protection of Mary, came thither to do her homage by offering the armor he had worn in the combat; and in like manner Philip of Valois, after the victory of Cassel, gave to the church of Chartres his charger and his arms. And when the times darkened over France, and her king, John the Good, was the prisoner of Edward III., the latter refused to listen to the entreaties of the Dauphin and the Papal legate that he would grant peace on reasonable terms, although "the Father of Christendom had again and again with his own hand written letters to the English king, calling on him to 'forbear from the slaughter of souls redeemed by the Blood of Christ'"; success had made him relentless, and, leading on his victorious army, he laid siege to Chartres. We learn from Froissart, among other chroniclers, how Our Lady signalized her[Pg 246] power, not only in saving the city, but in leading, humble and submissive, the lion of England to her feet: "For there befell to the King of England and all his men a great miracle: a storm and thunder so great and horrible came down from heaven on the English host that it seemed as if the end of the world were come; for there fell down stones so great that they killed men and horses, and so that even the boldest trembled."[82] ... "Thereupon the King of England, leaping down from his saddle, and stretching out his arms towards the church of Our Lady at Chartres, devoutly vowed and promised to her that he would no longer refuse to grant peace upon any terms consistent with his honor." When, therefore, he entered the city, it was not as a warrior, but as a pilgrim; for he repaired at once to the cathedral, in company with the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Lancaster, and many other English knights, and shortly afterwards signed the Peace of Bretigny.

Charles V., having revived the glory of the French arms, was not unmindful of his gratitude to Our Lady of Chartres, to whom on two occasions he made a pilgrimage barefoot, prostrating himself before the sacred image; "considering," as he declares in his letters-patent, "the splendid, great, and notable miracles which our Lord God works day by day in the said church," and praying for the peace and prosperity of his kingdom.

One other fact connected with the kings of France ought not to be omitted—namely, the sacring of Henri IV., which, instead of taking place at Rheims, according to, we believe, invariable precedent, was, by his own special desire, solemnized in the church of Our Lady of France at Chartres, when he made, as it were, a second abjuration by thus publicly declaring himself to be henceforth a devoted client of the Blessed Virgin. "Thus," observes the Abbé Hamon, Curé of S. Sulpice, "Protestantism, which had flattered itself with the hope of mounting on the throne of France, was broken at the feet of Our Lady of Chartres, where also paganism had expired before it in the defeat and subsequent conversion of Rollo."

Were we to attempt to name the saints who have gone as pilgrims to Chartres, from S. Anselm and S. Thomas à Becket to S. Francis de Sales, S. Vincent de Paul, M. Olier, and the Blessed B. Labré, the enumeration would be endless; and though it would require, not pages, but volumes, to recount the favors obtained by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin for her city, we cannot refrain from selecting a few well-authenticated historical facts in addition to those already mentioned.

In the year 1137, Louis le Gros, having great cause of displeasure against Thibault, Count of Chartres, resolved to chastise him in a signal manner, and advanced against his city, with the resolution to raze it to the ground. The inhabitants were in the utmost terror and distress, knowing their helplessness before the power of the irritated monarch. The bishop, Geoffrey de Lieues, causing the reliquary containing Our Lady's tunic to be taken from the church, carried it in procession with his clergy and people outside the gates, and advanced to the royal tent. At this sight, the anger of the king subsided. He fell on his knees before the sacred relic, which he then devoutly followed, entering alone into the city, not to destroy it, but to grant it special privileges.

[Pg 247]

More than four centuries later, in 1568, Chartres was besieged by the Huguenots under Condé. They opened a heavy fire against the Porte Drouaire, above which gate the Chartrians placed an image of the Blessed Virgin. This greatly excited their fury, and their utmost endeavors were used to shoot it down. But the sacred image remained untouched, though every stone near it was shattered. The rampart was nevertheless so far weakened as to be unable longer to stand against the powerful artillery. A large breach was opened, towards which the besiegers crowded, that they might carry fire and desolation into the city. But while the defenders believed that all was lost, the whole of the population not in arms was praying in the cathedral. In the very moment of their success, the enemy lost courage; the trumpets sounded a retreat, and the Huguenot army left the city, never to return. It was in memory of this signal deliverance that a chapel was raised between the Porte Drouaire and the river Eure, dedicated to "Our Lady of the Breach," and which, after being destroyed in 1789, was in 1844 rebuilt.

Whenever Chartres has been threatened with pestilence or famine it has been customary for the bishop and dean of the chapter to bear the holy tunic in procession from the cathedral to the Abbey of Josaphat, in the midst of an immense concourse of the faithful, kneeling in the dust, with heads uncovered. Even in our own time there has been a recurrence of these expiatory solemnities. The cholera, which in 1832 made so many victims in Paris, appeared also in Chartres, and deaths multiplied in the city. But no sooner had the inhabitants, with all the religious pomp and devotion of ancient days, borne the venerated relic through the streets, imploring her succor who had for ages proved her right to the title of Tutela Carnutum, than the plague was stayed. All the sick were cured, and two more deaths only occurred—the deaths of two persons who had publicly insulted the procession on its way. A gold medal was struck on this occasion, having the following inscription; "Voted to Our Lady of Chartres, by the inhabitants of the city, in gratitude for the cessation of the cholera immediately after the solemn procession celebrated to obtain her powerful intercession, on Sunday, the 26th of August, 1832."


[79] "Then they took the holy garment, which had belonged to the Mother of God, formerly in Constantinople; and a great king of France made of it a precious and noble gift to Chartres—Charles the Bald, so called from his name of infancy. This king presented it to Chartres."

[80] "The high and glorious Lady, who willed to have the church all marvellous, and high, and long, and large, so that its equal nowhere might be found, prayed sweetly to her gracious Son that manifest miracles might be wrought in her church at Chartres for all the people to behold, so that from all parts there might come persons who should make offerings wherewith the church might be finished as it was undertaken to be done."

[81] Except certain parts of the side portals, some of the statues of which are of the XIVth century, the three gables, the chapel of S. Piat, that of Vendôme, and the enclosure of the choir.

[82] Les Grandes Chroniques, tom. iv. ch. 46.

[Pg 248]


The moon, behind her pilot star,
Came up in orbèd gold:
And slowly near'd a fleecy bar
O'er-floating lone and cold.
I look'd again, and saw an isle
Of amber on the blue:
So changed the cloudlet by the smile
That softly lit it through.
Another look: the isle was gone—
As though dissolv'd away.
And could it be, so warmly shone
That chaste and tender ray?
I said: "O star, the faith art thou
That brought my life its Queen—
In her sweet light no longer now
The vapor it has been.
"Shine on, my Queen: and so possess
My being to its core,
That self may show from less to less—
Thy love from more to more."
A touch of the oars, and on we slid—
My cedar boat and I.
The dreaming water faintly chid
Our rudeness with a sigh.

Lake George, September, 1873.


[83] Ps. xxxv.[Pg 249]


The "arrowy Rhone" and Lake Leman have become in modern literature the counterparts of the classic Anio and Nemi of antiquity. Peculiar memories cluster about their shores; they have been the intellectual battle-field of systems, even while poets and dreamers were seeking to make a Lethe of their enchanted waters; and perhaps on no other northern spot in Europe has God lavished such beauties of color, of atmosphere, of outline, and of luxuriant vegetation. Geneva rivals the south in its growth of orange, oleander, and ilex, in its lake of sapphire hue, its sunsets of intense variety of color, and its profusion of white villas, homes of summer luxuriance, and temples of delightful idleness. The clearness of the mountain air, the irregular outlines of the smaller hills, the view of the Alps beyond—above all, that of Mont Blanc—the quantity of hardy Alpine flowers, the dusky, mediæval beauty of the town, and the unmistakable energy of its sturdy-looking inhabitants, denote the northern character of Geneva. The old Cathedral of S. Peter, where Calvin's chair is now the greatest curiosity and almost the greatest ornament (so bare is the church), and the new Cathedral of Notre Dame, a building hardly large enough for the now numerous Catholic congregation of Geneva, speak of the change that has come over the town in the last four hundred years. The religious phases that have come and gone in this small and seemingly insignificant spot form an epitome of the religious history of Europe. The age of faith, the age of fanaticism, the age of indifferentism, have reigned successively in Geneva. In the XIIIth century, as in many an earlier one, High Mass was sung at S. Peter's, and monks or canons sat in the stalls which yet remain in the choir; in the XVIth, Calvin and Beza sat in plain black gown, teaching justification by faith alone, and burning Michael Servetus for tenets that disturbed the new "personal infallibility" of the Reformers; in the XIXth, Socinianism is the creed of the "national" church, and Catholics, Evangelicals, and Anglicans have each handsome and roomy buildings, crowded on Sundays, and adorned with every outward sign of freedom of worship. Catholics form half the population of the canton, and nearly half that of the city itself. There are few conversions, however, so that this proportion does not sensibly increase. Many of the suburbs are entirely Catholic. The diocese extends to many Savoyard parishes, which are, of course, altogether Catholic. Until the recent outbreak against perfect liberty of conscience, when that liberty was to be applied to the old church, the position of Catholics, clergy and laity, was comparatively satisfactory; the bishop (of whom we shall speak later) was universally beloved by his people, respected by his liberal opponents, feared by his illiberal enemies; the moderate party in politics, consisting of the class corresponding to an aristocracy, and all of them men of polite bearing and strong religious (Evangelical) convictions, were always on the side of Catholics in upholding their privileges as citizens of[Pg 250] the state, voters, and freeholders; the two churches, S. Germain on "the hill," and Notre Dame on the plain (among the new hotels and villas), besides other chapels on the Savoy side of the lake, and the new suburb of Plainpalais, were always crowded, and there were many schools for rich and poor under religious teachers. The Sisters of Charity had a house, to which tradition pointed as the house of Calvin; and many English visitors knocked at their door, to beg to be allowed a peep into the courtyard, where they would pluck a blade of grass as a memento or relic. These have now been suppressed; the clergy, who were originally salaried by the state, have been thrown on their own resources; the bishop has been sent beyond the frontier. He is said to have remarked to the Holy Father, à propos of this measure: "Your Holiness sent me to Calvin; Calvin sent me to Voltaire (the bishop's retreat is Ferney); but I have great hopes of outliving them both."

Still, we would fain insist upon the great difference between this mark of intolerance and the old rules of the Calvinistic theocracy. The Conseil d'Etat does not represent Calvin and his personal fanaticism; it speaks a language of its own, and one which Calvin himself would be horrified to listen to—the language of state supremacy defying God. If Calvin were alive, he would no doubt feel a hearty satisfaction in burning Mgr. Mermillod; but he would have as great a relish for the burning of Prince Bismarck. Calvinism was at least sincere in its fanaticism; the Bismarckian animus is not even that of a fanatic, but of a cynic. So it is not the spirit of the pale, nervous reformer of the XVIth century that is responsible for the recent outrage against freedom of conscience at Geneva; but a spirit more potent, more ambitious, more grasping, and, above all, more farseeing—the spirit of open infidelity boasting of its material power of repression.

Of the political attitude of Geneva we need not speak, further than to say that its acknowledged neutrality, and the intellectual culture of its inhabitants, have given it a new life, and made of the focus of the only "Reformation" that had any sincerity or inherent strength in it a new focus of peaceful and dignified repose. From the champ clos of Calvinism, it has become the arena of the world, especially of diplomacy, and the city of refuge of all exiles, royalist, Mazzinist, and social. Among the latter came one who has contributed to Geneva's glory—Byron, the gifted prodigal, who is among poets as the "morning star" once was among angels. We meant, however, to speak rather of one of Geneva's citizens than of the historic city itself; though such are the manifold charms of the place that only to name it is a temptation to plunge at once into a thousand speculations as to its past and a thousand theories as to its future.

Mgr. Mermillod, the successor of S. Francis of Sales, is a native of Caronge, a suburb of Geneva, and was born of a Catholic family, poor in the world's goods, and obscure in its estimation. He has a vivacity rather French than Genevese, but with a solid foundation of that more serious character which distinguishes his countrymen. As an orator, he is hardly second to the Bishop of Orléans, Mgr. Dupanloup; as a lecturer to pious women on the duties of womanhood, he is superior to most ecclesiastics. In the guidance of souls, the enlightened discrimination between what is in itself wrong, and[Pg 251] what harmless if done in a proper spirit, he seems to have inherited the special gift of S. Francis of Sales in directing women of good family, living at court or otherwise, in the world. His singular prudence and the graciousness of his manner are essential helps to him in the prominent position he holds towards modern governments, and the daily contact which confronts him with modern sentiment. He is the weapon expressly fashioned for the last new phase into which the eternal struggle against the world, the flesh, and the devil has entered. Like S. Francis, he wraps his strength in gentleness, and carries out the suaviter in modo, fortiter in re. In conversation, of which he is fond—for his is not the monastic ideal of holiness—he is sprightly, witty, and accurate. His power of crystallizing ideas into a mot is quite French, and the childlike joyousness of his demeanor is no less so. The word ascetic seems to imply the very antipodes of his nature; and yet his private apartment, which we were once privileged to see, is almost like a cell. Here is a description of it, gathered from the impressions of two worthy visitors: "I felt," says one, "in this little buco (hole) as if I were in the cell of a saint, and examined everything with veneration. That little prie-Dieu, so simple in its build, which daily witnesses the prayers and sighs of the pastor, anxious for his flock and the souls entrusted to him by God; of the Christian humbling himself and praying for his own needs.... Perhaps some day this little room will be visited as S. Charles Borromeo's is now at Milan. I am favored in that I know it already. Two purple stocks and the tasselled hat alone recalled the bishop, while the framed table of a 'Seminarist's Duties,' taken in connection with the simplicity, nay, poverty, of the room, might make one think it the habitation of a young cleric."

And another account adds: "What a memory to have seen this room, so narrow, so humble, so evidently the home of a saint! We shall always be able to fix the picture of the bishop in our memory, night or day, praying or working, at all times; ... and that beautiful print of Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque, and that tiny prie-Dieu!"

The bishop's library, his ordinary working-room, was also a very simple retreat, and often fireless in the coldest days of winter. The house stood next door to the cathedral, and the rest of the clergy, four or five in all, lived there in community. Among them was the old vicar, the second priest to whose charge the reconstituted parish of Geneva had been entrusted before being raised to the dignity of a bishopric. It was very touching to watch this old man lovingly deferring to the young bishop, who was formerly but a curate under him, and rejoicing as a father in the elevation of one of whose fitness for the episcopal office he, above all, had reason to be certain.

"No man securely commands but he who has learned well to obey."[84] Another of the clergy was a very remarkable man, the type of a character found nowhere in these days save under the cowl of the monk, and even among religious probably nowhere save in the Benedictine Order. He was the bishop's private secretary, and his right hand in the business of the diocese. He belonged to the Reformed Benedictines of Solesmes, and was a friend and spiritual subject of Dom Guéranger, author of the invaluable Liturgical Year, the beautiful History of S. Cecilia, and other works. It was only by a special [Pg 252]dispensation that he was allowed to hold his present position and live outside his cloister; but having, in early life, been the schoolmate of the bishop, and being eminently fitted to wield ecclesiastical sway, this privilege (which was none to him, however) had been obtained by Mgr. Mermillod. He was called rather by the title of his religious profession, le père, than by his name in the world—a name since become known as that of the author of a learned and voluminous Life of S. Dunstan. He was, as it were, a stranded pilgrim in this age of compromise—a stern, heroic soul cast in the giant mould of the XIIIth century; rather a Bernard of Clairvaux than a Francis of Sales; in learning a descendant of Duns Scotus, and a disciple of Aristotle; an ascetic, a scholastic, a rigid disciplinarian, an unerring director. In person tall, dignified, spare of form, with keen, eagle glance, clear-cut, largely-moulded features; in dress simple to rusticity, and a fit model for an old monkish carving at the foot of a pulpit or on the boss of an arch.

They completed each other, these two saintly characters, the bishop and the monk, bound together in a mystic marriage for the production of spiritual children for God and the church; and the contrast between them seemed, as it were, typical of that other union of distant ages, one with another, for the furtherance of a principle ever the same, whether its accidental exponent be Peter the fisherman, Hildebrand the Reformer, Bernard the monk, Francis of Sales, the gentle bishop, or Pius IX., the yet more gentle and more persecuted Pope.

Our stay at Geneva covered three-fourths of a year, so that we grew familiar with the beauties of the neighborhood in its different aspects of summer, autumn, and winter. It would be difficult to chronicle every detail of these beauties of earth, sky, and water, which, as the seasons brought them severally into prominence, seemed to form a series of cabinet pictures for memory to dwell upon ever after. There is nothing like a long stay in one place to make one feel its loveliness; the transient wayfarer among the most enchanting scenes sees not a quarter as much natural beauty as the constant dweller in a less favored spot. In the wild rush, named with unconscious satire a tour, the traveller sees a kaleidoscopic mixture of incongruous, discordant beauties, and of each in detail he sees but one phase, sometimes an abnormal one, sometimes an obscured one, and not seldom he sees but the vacant place where this beauty should be. His opinions are hastily formed, and, strange phenomenon! the more hastily the more ineradicably, and they are often erroneous, or at least one-sided. A man looking for the moon during the week when the moon is new, and concluding, therefore, that no moon exists or is visible at any time, would not be a rasher tale-teller than he who asserted that because he passed twenty-four hours in Venice during a fog, therefore the sun never shone in the Adriatic city; or that since in a week's scamper through the environs of Naples he never came across a beautiful woman, therefore the type of the Grecian goddess was extinct among the women of Parthenope. Sweeping statements are as invariably wrong as they are temptingly easy to make; it is needless to say how intellectually absurd they are. Give your experience as your experience, and you will have contributed something to the sum total of acquisition on any given subject; but do not give it as the only, absolute, indisputable, and[Pg 253] final result of research. All knowledge is but partial; it is subject to all kinds of qualifications. Few men can speak with authority of more than a grain of it at a time, and it is equally unwise and undignified to put yourself in the position of the Pharisee whom the lord of the feast directed to give place to a guest of worthier and seemlier station. But this is a digression. We began by saying that long residence in one place is the true way to see, learn, and probe its beauties; as well as its resources. Until your heart grows to a place, you do not know it, and no place unassociated with family or patriotic connections can teach your heart to grow to it without long residence. Perhaps there are exceptions, corresponding to "love at first sight," but even this in human relations is only an exception. We remember one place, seen for one day only, for which this sadder feeling of kinship and yearning grew up in our heart—it was Heidelberg; but intimate knowledge in ordinary cases is the only channel to a great and appreciative love.

Geneva won its way to our love thus, and, more than any one spot we visited—not excepting even Rome—came to represent to the memory the happiest, most peaceful, and most fruitful period of our lives. We shall be forgiven if we draw a sketch of the surroundings which are associated with our knowledge of the Bishop of Geneva. In all our reminiscences his figure is the central one, and the group of persons who formed our circle of friendship seems naturally to revolve around his person. Our summer life was spent in a shy little villa, invisible from the high-road, and embowered in groves of pine, chestnut, and oak; our winter days were passed, perforce, at the uncongenial but perfectly appointed Hôtel de la Paix. The party consisted of our own family only, with one or two accidental additions from England for a week at a time. The house was slightly built and cottage-like, with a flight of steps on each side, the front stoop being festooned with a jessamine-vine, and the wide, grand drive, flanked by a bed of flaming balsam-flowers, sweeping up to the door under the shade of two or three massive horse-chestnuts. No room in the house was carpeted, and only the drawing-room had a parquet floor. The bed-rooms were miracles of simplicity and cleanliness—milk-white boards, white-washed walls, no curtains to bed or window, and an absence of any furniture, save a narrow bed, a washstand, a dimity-covered table, and one cane chair, making them seem so many dormitory sections partitioned off. We made the "best" room a little more picturesque, as that of a loved invalid never fails to be, by the help of crimson velvet coverlets, blue silk and knitted wool in cushions, a portable easy-chair, muslin bed-curtains, and a display of cut-glass bottles with gold stoppers—in short, the contents of an English dressing-case on the pretty, white-robed table. Books, also, and any pretty thing that struck our fancy in the treasure-houses of the town, accumulated here, and made of it the choicest room in the house. We had a severer trysting-place on the ground-floor, where reading was carried on systematically, illuminating and ecclesiastical embroidery filled up many an hour, and our journals (from which we have already quoted) were compiled. But there was a rarer treasure yet—a chapel. A tiny room, darkened all' Italiana, with red curtains, and containing a portable altar suitably draped, recalled the oratories of Roman palazzi; and here was often seen the tall figure of le père and[Pg 254] a little chorister from Notre Dame, as we had Mass said there generally twice a week. It was a sanctification to the house, and we felt it an incitement in our "labor of love" of reading and manual work. Another gathering-spot was the wall on the garden side, forming the parapet between the terrace and the lower level of meadow-land. There was a whole colony of spiders nestled in the miniature grove of jessamine that hid the wall; and, as we sat with our books on the steps leading from the terrace, we assisted, as it were, at a perpetual natural history lecture in actu. The webs were generally very perfect, and, as the autumn came on, the early dews transformed them into a jewelled network, shining rainbow-wise, with the loveliest prismatic hues. Sometimes, when they were broken, they seemed like a cordage of diamonds—the tangled ruins of some fairy wreck clinging to the mast, represented by a green twig. But there was in the grounds another more sylvan and lonely retreat still—our own especial haunt. It was a damp valley, below the level of the high-road, carpeted with periwinkles and decaying leaves, and shut out from human observation by a grove of oaks and chestnuts. A peculiar darkness always brooded over it, and one might have forgotten the existence of noontide had he spent twenty-four hours in its gloom. A little brook ran along the bottom, its waters carrying miniature freight-barks in the shape of half-opened horse-chestnuts or curled and browned oak-leaves. If anything so small could bear so lofty a likeness, we should say that this sombre valley was akin to a Druidical grove.

Our outdoor pleasures were few, as the world understands them; they mostly consisted of long drives into the interior, where we would often pass dignified, melancholy-looking iron portals, let into a wall festooned profusely with the Virginia creeper, and giving a glimpse of some deserted, parklike expanse of meadow. Other less pretentious entrances showed a wilderness of roses, flowering shrubs, and vines, but always in contrast with the luxuriant Virginia creeper, which nowhere else in Europe grows in such perfection. A variety of shades absolutely Western greets the eye and delights the imagination; the hues of the Indian summer seem concentrated in this one plant, and, from its rich glow, an artist can easily guess what a forest of indefinitely multiplied trees, painted in the colors of this creeper, would look like. Two of our visitors were welcome additions to our party and sympathetic sharers in our pleasures—one, a lady well known for her energetic and active charity, whose presence in any place pointed invariably to some hidden work of mercy to be performed there, and whose mission just then was to comfort a lonely and despairing widow under peculiarly trying aggravations of her sorrow; the other an artist whose name in his public capacity has already appeared more than once in the pages of The Catholic World, and whose character of childlike simplicity and reverent earnestness has endeared him to us in private life as a friend and a model.

People staying at Geneva—at least, English people—always make a point of going through the arduous expedition to Chamouni and the Mer de Glace. We do not mean to disparage the spirit which inevitably urges on our countrymen and countrywomen to put their necks in jeopardy on the slightest provocation; but, turning the adventurous instinct of our Anglo-Saxon blood to a better purpose, we chose rather to make two[Pg 255] or three expeditions to sites hallowed by the presence of the Apostle of Geneva—S. Francis of Sales. Mont Blanc could not, from any point of view, appear more majestically beautiful than it does from the shores of Lake Leman; and we preferred to gaze upon the monarch with the eye of an artist rather than that of a gymnast. We here lean upon the authority of Ruskin, whom we are glad to appeal to in an instance where his naturally reverential mind makes him a safe and unbiassed guide. Our first pilgrimage was to the Castle des Allinges, on the Savoy side of the lake, a ruin now, but where, in former days, the saint often said Mass in a chapel, which is the only part of the castle still untouched. There is no lack of visitors to this shrine during the summer, and each party is generally accompanied by a priest. We were happy in persuading le père to be our companion, and started overnight for the village of Thonon. The lake was unruffled, and the sun shining tropically, as the little steam boat carried us over the waters. Thonon is a Catholic village, with an ugly church, adorned by carved and gilded cherubs and other unsightly excrescences ambitiously striving to be Michael Angelos and Donatellos. Frogs never can let oxen alone, especially in art. We slept at the inn, a picturesque and proportionately dirty hostelry, very little changed, we should say, from what it was in the days of S. Francis. It stands on a high terrace above the lake, the top of which terrace forms a drilling-ground; for Thonon has fortifications and the ghost of a garrison. The road from the boat-landing winds up through stunted vines to a dilapidated gateway, and is often dotted by the curious one-horse vehicle of the country, called char-à-banci.e. a sort of diminutive brougham turned sideways, and hardly capable of holding two persons—a kind of side-saddle locomotion rather curious to any one accustomed to sit with his face to the horses. The view over the lake by sunrise the next morning was dreamlike in its beauty—each rounded peak veiled in mist, and the motionless waters lying at their base as a floor of azure crystal. As we went further up into the mountains, the sun's rays flashed on hill after hill, throwing a softened radiance over each, and shooting darts of gold across the clear blue of the lake. We met carts laden with wheat-sheaves, and men and boys going to their day's work; passed farms and dairies before coming to the heathery waste that separates the lonely hill-top of les Allinges from the cultivated lands below; jolted over the stony path, called, in mockery, a road; and, having seen in a short two hours' drive as many beauties as we could conveniently remember, arrived at the Chapel of S. Francis. It has been changed since his time, but the altar is said to be the one at which he celebrated Mass. The chapel is a white-washed room like a rough school-room, fitted up with painted benches and cheap prints; but the feeling that draws so many Christian hearts to this refuge of the missionary Bishop of Geneva hallows the bare walls and open poverty of the chapel, and a spirit seems to rise from the altar recess to rebuke any worldly sense of disparagement or even disappointment. The manner in which le père said Mass was enough to make one feel the solemnity of the occasion and the gratitude that ought to possess one after having had the privilege, doubtless not to be repeated in a lifetime, of praying on this consecrated spot. We all received holy communion during Mass. An old man is station[Pg 256]ed at les Allinges as custos, sacristan, and Mass-server; and his little garden, in full view of the lake, makes a pretty domestic picture grafted on to the mediæval one of the "ruined castle ivy-draped."

S. Francis, so says tradition, often wandered day and night over this mountain on his apostolic missions, and, being once overtaken by darkness, found no better resting-place than the fork of a chestnut-tree. Wrapped in his cloak, he there went to sleep, lulled by the howling of the wolves, which abounded in that neighborhood. Many similar stories are told in Savoy of his missionary adventures; one of them recording that one day he presented himself, with two or three companions, at one of the gates of Geneva. The guard, not knowing him, asked who he was, before he would allow him to pass; the saint calmly and smilingly replied, "I am l'évêque du lieu" (the bishop of the place). The guard, concluding he was some foreign visitor, and that Dulieu was the name of his diocese or manor, nonchalantly opened the gate, and let him in. When the magistracy discovered who had thus got entrance into the city of Calvin, there was a terrible outcry; the too innocent guard was summoned and threatened with death for his gross neglect of his duty, and a hasty search was begun for the hated Papist bishop. S. Francis had by that time quietly finished his business and left the hostile walls of Geneva. This is not unlike the incident related by Cardinal Wiseman in Fabiola, where a Christian substitutes for the watchword Numen Imperatorum, without repeating which he could not pass out to his secret worship in the catacombs, the words similar in sound, though widely different in meaning, Nomen Imperatorum, and succeeds in cheating the guard, who was a Pannonian, and whose knowledge of Latin was but elementary. It was probably during one of these stolen visits that S. Francis administered the sacraments to a poor Catholic servant-girl in the cellar of the Hôtel de l'Ecu d'or—an old inn still standing at Geneva, and where the identical apartment is now shown.

From Thonon we took the boat to Lausanne, on the opposite side of the lake, visited the Castle of Chillon, and returned to Geneva, after another night spent at the Vevay end of Lake Leman; where the mountains, purple and rounded; the vegetation, southern in its quality and luxuriance; the winding road by the shore—all contribute to remind you of the Bay of Naples and the Sorrento road along the Mediterranean.

Lausanne itself, its cathedral, monuments, fortifications, and general quaintness of architecture and beauty of position, was the goal of another expedition, in which our English friend, Mr. B——, accompanied us, and became our commentator and artistic guide.

There were many other places we also visited; one of us was indefatigable, and followed the bishop to Thonex, where he solemnly deposited a corpo santo; to Collonge, where he blessed a new cemetery with all the pomp of ritual, made easy by this village being situated on Savoyard ground; and to Caronge, where he distributed the prizes at a girl's school, and gave an excellent and appropriate lecture on the education of women in this century.

But the most beautiful ceremony of all was the consecration of the new parish church of Bellegarde, the French frontier post and custom-house. This village is a mere handful of white-washed cottages dropped among the spurs of the[Pg 257] Jura range. The mountains, though not high, have all the beauty of the Alps; their varied outline, their abrupt gorges, and their swift torrents being yet more beautiful because embowered in a vegetation of softer aspect than the monumental pineries which close-clothe the Alps. Within half a mile of Bellegarde is a curious natural phenomenon—la perte du Rhône. The river, here scarcely more than a mountain brook, after struggling through a barren, sandy bed, strewn with boulders of a porous white stone worn by the action of the water into strange shapes of vases, cauldrons, and urns, suddenly plunges under an arched entrance in a wall of rocks, and disappears. Its subterranean course is some miles long, and it re-emerges, on a lower level, a placid, shallow stream. Around the mouth of this unknown cavern the scenery is very striking; deep clefts of rock, with fringes of Alpine flowers, alternate with thick growths of oak and chestnut; and from every peaklet of the mountains some charming pastoral scene comes into view. The new church was a plain white building, of no architectural pretensions, but strong and impervious to the weather. The internal decorations were simple in the extreme; no frog emulation here, as in ambitious Thonon. For once we saw French peasants au naturel; they really seemed the fervent, hospitable, unsophisticated people one longs to see. The Jura protects Bellegarde from Geneva; there is no large town near on the French side, and there is neither hotel, nor mineral springs, nor iron mines, nor natural resources of any kind to attract the acquisitive mind of the XIXth century. So God still reigns undisturbedly in this narrow kingdom—narrow, indeed, if measured by the numerical strength of its inhabitants, but noble and precious if measured by the worth of each immortal soul which it holds. The people were collected outside the church, as the full ceremonies of consecration were going to be performed, and many of these take place before the people can canonically be admitted into the interior. A priest stood on the natural pulpit of a low stone wall, describing to the faithful the symbolic meaning of each ceremony, as the bishop and his assistants passed round and round the walls, chanting psalms and anointing the building, or, entering the portals, inscribed the Greek and Latin alphabets in the form of a cross on the floor of the church, made seven crosses on the different internal walls, and recited psalms and litanies before each. The men stood in the burning sun, bare-headed and motionless, often kneeling in the dust, and singing hymns in French corresponding to the meaning of the Latin prayers; a line of Gardes Nationales, in uniforms rather the worse for wear, and many wearing the Crimean medal, stood opposite the entrance, while an excruciating brass band played with a will a mixture of national and religious airs. When at last the congregation all poured into the church, High Mass was sung, the brass band doing duty in a scarcely less subdued tone than before, but being as much of an improvement upon the theatrical and sensuous exhibitions nicknamed sacred music in many grander churches, as a rough but pious print is—religiously speaking—an improvement on a lascivious Rubens. The sermon (we forget whether preached by the bishop or not) was a touching exhortation to the people to remain knit in heart and soul to this church, the emblem at once of their hopes in the future and their spiritual struggles[Pg 258] in the present. In the afternoon, the bishop sang solemn Vespers, and towards dusk we all returned to Geneva, happy in having witnessed a ceremony so seldom seen in its beautiful entirety. Mgr. Mermillod was throughout the summer our frequent guest at the villa, and as we purposed staying through the winter as well, he promised to accompany us to Annecy, in Savoy, to visit S. Francis of Sales' tomb and other places hallowed by his memory, on his own feast (29th of January). We started on the eve in two or three close carriages, with postilions. The road lay over a low pass of the Savoy Alps; the cold was intense—such as we have never felt in any other temperate climate in Europe, and which nothing but the unexpectedly rigorous winters of the Northern States have surpassed in our American experience. The road was lined with trees, and valleys here and there opened a vista which in summer must have been gorgeous. It was scarcely less lovely now. Each slender twig was sharply defined, and covered with a clinging garment of frost; the white mist wreathed itself round the mountain-tops, falling down the river-sides like shadowy waterfalls, and, mingling with the white sky overhead, formed, as it were, a vast dome of snow. No noise disturbed the silence save the creaking wheels of our vehicles, and as far as eye could reach there was no sign of life but our own presence. We might have been in cloud-land, or below the surface of the ocean, among hedges of gigantic white coral! After two hours of this elf-like journey, we came to a ravine over which was thrown an iron suspension bridge, and here the intensely earthly resumed its dominion and made itself clearly felt in the prosaic necessity of paying toll and listening to profane language, rendered yet more uncouth by the Savoyard patois.

Annecy is a little, old-fashioned town, with a cathedral in not much better taste than the church of Thonon. The place wears a deserted look, and, the cold being terrible, yet fewer of the inhabitants cared to be seen loitering in the public squares. We adjourned first to the inn (we fear modern pilgrims are less fervent than of old), but could get no fire. Grates are unknown, and a miserable stove, badly managed and half filled, is the starveling and inefficient substitute. The old inn was a characteristic place. We went through the kitchen, the general meeting and table-d'hôte room, to our upper chambers. The staircase was wide enough for a palace, of beautiful carved oak, as was all the wood-work in the house. The next morning the bishop said Mass for us at the shrine of S. Francis. The building of greatest interest after this is the Convent of the Visitation, a rambling house with a large kitchen-garden, which we crossed to reach it. We were shown, through a double grating (the Visitation nuns are enclosed), the various relics which form the spiritual wealth of the convent. They have the original manuscript of S. Francis' Treatise on the Love of God written by his own hand, the pen with which he wrote it, and a shirt embroidered for him by S. Jeanne Françoise de Chantal. In the lower part of the house, corresponding to the position of a cellar, is a little chapel partly hewn in the rock, which serves as the foundation, where S. Francis gave the veil to S. Jane and one companion, or rather, blessed the first semi-religious costume which the founders of the order wore. This consisted of a black gown and cape, and a large, close,[Pg 259] white cap in one piece covering the neck and shoulders as well as the head. This house then belonged to S. Jane in her own right. In the chapel to the right of the altar is a picture of her in this dress, and on the other side a description of the simple ceremony. Later on, when the order was constituted, the dress became thoroughly monastic, as it has remained ever since. The cell of S. Jane is exactly as she left it; not made into a regular chapel, but, on days connected with her memory or that of S. Francis, Mass is said there at a temporary altar. Her cloak is kept in a press in the room, and one of us was privileged in having it thrown over her shoulders for a few minutes by the superioress. The order is not at all austere, but there is an immense deal of moral sacrifice imposed by the spirit of the rule. S. Francis designed it rather as a discipline of the mind than of the body; and since saints have differed about this point, we are not at a sufficient elevation to pronounce upon it. Individually, however, we prefer the spirit of the older and more ascetic orders, as involving a more complete oblation of the whole being to God; but—to every age its own institutions, and, we might add, its own saints.

Mgr. Mermillod is surely one of those saints of our day. Indefatigable in preaching (once the distinctive duty of a bishop), his own flock sometimes complain, not without reason, that he is always away, preaching a retreat here, a mission there—Lent in Paris, Advent at Lyons, etc.; but in the winter of 1866, he fortunately preached five conférences at S. Germain, at Geneva itself. The church was in the old, hilly part of the town, but neither that nor the difficulty of approach—the frost made steep roads impassable that winter, and even the cabs went on runners—seemed to diminish the ardor of the people. All denominations were represented at these evening lectures, and the subject was invariably one accessible to the understanding and commanding the interest of all. One, on the regeneration of fallen man, was peculiarly fine; but the arguments were perhaps inferior to the language in which they were clothed. It wound up with a forcible peroration on that "brutal and atheistical democracy which, in its most hideous exponent (the French Revolution of 1793), prostrated itself before a courtesan, and knelt before a scaffold. When the worship of God perished, the worship of shame was the substitute; and when the blood of God ceased to flow upon the altar, the blood of man began to flow on the guillotine." The orator's enthusiasm in speaking sometimes carried him beyond his argument, and he even lost the thread of his similes in the ardor of his utterance. His watch invariably stopped before he had been twenty minutes in the pulpit, and this entraînement was all the more vivid from being quite spontaneous, as he never wrote his sermons, but preached extempore from a few scattered notes. How much study he must have gone through at a previous time to make him so polished, as well as so forcible, an orator, we can only conjecture.

In ordinary social intercourse, his charm was chiefly sweetness and sprightliness, with a certain happy diction which is a special gift, seldom found except among Frenchmen or those to whom French has become a second mother-tongue. Our long winter evenings at the Hôtel de la Paix (the cold having driven us from the villa) were often enlivened by his genial presence; other friends, too, came sometimes, and one, a[Pg 260] Russian and an acute thinker, M. S——, was one of the most welcome. He was blind, but his infirmity only seemed to enhance his powers of conversation, and made his company more agreeable than it might otherwise have been. One night, the bishop was speaking of Lamennais and his more hidden life. There were soul-struggles and temptations assaulting him even in his chosen retreat of La Chênaie, in the midst of his triumph, when the Christian youth of France clustered round him, and sat at his feet as his humble disciples. He sometimes fancied himself irretrievably destined to eternal loss, and experienced paroxysms of terrible agony. The Abbé Gerbet, his confessor, once surprised him in one of these fits of despair, and did his best to strengthen and comfort him; but the demon was not to be laid so easily. The bishop, telling us this, added: "The three greatest geniuses of France in this age have fallen, the one through pride, the others through vanity—Lamennais, Victor Hugo, and Lamartine." The conversation having rested upon these two failings, some one quoted the saying that "The greater part of mankind is incapable of rising to the level of pride." A Russian lady who was present then said: "Indeed, one ought to have a great deal of pride to save one's self from petty vanity."

Thereupon M. S—— quickly remarked: "Oh! therefore, we should burn down a city to prevent fires." Our Russian friend was very sharp at repartee. Another evening, when he brought with him a young German, the conversation fell upon Duke Ernest of Saxe-Coburg, Prince Albert's brother. He had lately had an immense forest awarded to him as damages for some losses sustained during the Austro-Prussian war of the previous summer; so S—— said:

"There are people who make arrows out of any wood, but he has contrived to make wood out of any arrow." This is a French rendering of "'Tis an ill wind that blows no one good"; but the connection in this case between an arrow, a weapon typical of the war, and the wood, or forest gained in compensation, is better expressed by the French form.[85] Later on, some one remarked that in that war the telegraph had been Prussianized throughout Germany; and when the young German, S—— 's friend, was trying to give us an idea of Duke Ernest's ticklish position, S—— interrupted:

"Yes, yes; I know what you mean; in short, he played the part ... of the telegraph!"

Mgr. Mermillod had a winning way of turning everything into a moral, and at the same time giving balm to a rebuke and strength to a counsel. For instance, one day, as he visited a sick penitent of his, whose mental energy was for ever soaring beyond her physical capabilities, he said:

"You will do more good on your sick-bed than you could in the best of health in the London salons. Remember that Our Blessed Lord lay but three hours stretched upon the cross, and thereby converted the world; while, during his three years' ministry, he scarcely converted a handful of Jews."

On New Year's Eve, 1866-7, gave us a few little books of devotion as a souvenir, and then, making the sign of the cross on each of our foreheads, said:

"Here are crosses to disperse the crosses of 1866 and frighten away those of 1867."

[Pg 261]

Another time, on one of his penitents going to him with a load of doubt, uneasiness, almost despair, he gave her the wisest and gentlest counsels, after which he said sympathizingly, comprehending the whole in a dozen words:

"I understand, my child; you go from one extreme to another—from sadness to laughter, from melancholy to irony."

Once when some one in his presence expressed a wish that all priests were like him, he answered humbly: "My dear child, every priest is in some sort an incarnation of the Spirit of God."[86]

It is sad to think of Geneva without the presence of its pastor, so admirably fitted as he is to carry on the work of S. Francis and execute the designs of God in this important see. The faith is most vigorous just where the attack is hottest, and it is on the missionary bishoprics, flung thus into the warring bosoms of non-Catholic nations, that, humanly speaking, the future—and let us say the triumph—of the church very much depends.

With such internal bulwarks as the Benedictine secretary of Mgr. Mermillod represents, and such external champions as the eloquent, energetic, and enlightened bishop himself, it is not too much to say that not even the faintest heart has reason to dread the fall of the rock-built citadel of Peter.


[84] Following of Christ, b. 1. c. xx. v. 2.

[85] The original proverb sounds less ponderously: "Il en est qui font flèche de tout bois, mai lui, il a fait bois de toute flèche."

[86] The Catholic reader will not misunderstand the still more forcible original: "Tous les prêtres c'est une petite incarnation du bon Dieu."


It is not surprising that Catholic literature was at a low ebb for many years after Henry VIII., of evil memory. Deprived of the means of knowledge in their own country under Edward VI., Elizabeth, and James I., Catholics were compelled to seek education abroad in colleges where they forgot their mother-tongue and the writers of their native land. As to their brethren who remained at home, it was dangerous for them even to possess books, and they seldom had time or opportunity to make themselves acquainted with their contents. A prayer-book, black with use and carefully secreted, was all the library of those who were liable at any moment to be ferreted out of vaults and wainscots, and hanged, drawn, and quartered for believing in the Papal supremacy. The Puritan movement in the time of Charles I. and the Commonwealth was highly unfavorable to literature in general; and the Catholics who joined the royal standard were more anxious to wield the sword than the pen. But the fewer the authors who broke the long literary silence of the Catholic body in England, the more their names deserve to be cherished. We will endeavor, therefore, to make a catena auctorum, and to offer a few comments on each link in the chain. Though all of them were Catholics at some period or other of their lives, they were not all persistent in their faith nor exemplary in their practice. It will be understood that they are[Pg 262] cited in their literary capacity, and not as saints, martyrs, and confessors in a calendar.

Robert Southwell, however, must head the list, as he was both author and martyr. He published many volumes in prose and verse, though his life was closed prematurely in his thirty-fifth year. Educated at Douay, he labored in England eight years during Elizabeth's reign. He was a member of the Society of Jesus, and he touched the hearts of his suffering brethren by his tender and plaintive verse. S. Peter's Complaint, with Other Poems, appeared in 1593, and Mœoniæ, or Certaine Excellent Poems and Spirituall Hymnes, in 1595, the year in which he was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn, under a false charge of being engaged in a political movement. His real offence was that of the Bishop of Ermeland and the Jesuits of Germany in the present day—his allegiance in spiritual matters to the authority of the Holy See. Robert Southwell's memory is still cherished in England, and it is not long since selections from his poems were read to a crowded audience in Hanover Square Rooms, London, by the Rev. F. Christie, S.J. They do not rise high in poetic merit, but they are full of noble, just, and devout sentiments. "Time Goes by Turns" is found in most collections of British poetry. The following are the last stanzas of his "Conscience":

"No change of fortune's calms
Can cast my comforts down;
When fortune smiles, I smile to think
How quickly she will frown.
"And when in froward mood
She moves an angry foe,
Small gain I find to let her come,
Less loss to let her go."

Religious writings—sermons, meditations, and even works of controversy—had more importance, in a literary point of view, in Queen Elizabeth's reign than they have now. At that time, people read little; books were few and dear. Books of piety cultivated the mind, though used chiefly to edify the heart. They exercised many persons in the art of reading, who, but for that branch of literature, would have read nothing at all. They kept up a habit which was good on secular grounds, apart from the higher spiritual consideration. Looked upon in this light, the tracts and letters of such holy men as Campion, Persons, and Allen (afterwards cardinal) had a twofold value. Edmund Campion was an accomplished scholar. He received his education at S. John's, Oxford, and being courteous and refined, as well as clever, he was universally beloved. After leaving college, he went to Ireland, and wrote a history of that country, which was highly esteemed. Having been reconciled to the church, he repaired to the new college at Douay, that he might there study theology; and after following the usual course, he was admitted into the Society of Jesus, and sent to England to comfort and strengthen his brethren who were contending for the faith. His friendship for Persons, his publication of a work written by that father, entitled Reasons for not Going to Church (that is, to the parish Protestant church), and the seizure of a private press, which a Catholic gentleman had given to the friends, that they might work off edifying books and tracts, led to his apprehension. He was dragged through the streets of London, with a paper fixed on his hat, stigmatizing him as "Campion, the seditious Jesuit" (July, 1581), and being tried for treason, of which he was quite guiltless, he was barbarously executed, after suffering the most horrible tortures. The life of Cardinal Allen, if carefully written, would be an important addition to[Pg 263] English Catholic literature, and involve numerous particulars of thrilling interest respecting the political and domestic history of the times. His writings lie in the border-land between theology and politics. His Apology or Defence of the Jesuits and Seminarists was a reply, written in 1582, to the proclamations of the government which denounced the Catholic priests as traitors. Persons engaged in the same controversy, dwelling chiefly on the dogmatic and practical side of the question. All honor to these heroes of the cross, whom literature as well as religion claims as her own!

In placing "Rare Ben Jonson" among Catholic authors, it is not meant to claim him altogether as one of the church's children. In early youth, he bore arms and served a campaign in the Low Countries. His troop being disbanded, he took to the stage; but a hot temper often led him into brawls, and in one of these he had the misfortune to kill a brother actor. Being in prison, he contracted an intimacy with a fellow-prisoner, a Catholic priest, which ended in his conversion. During twelve years he remained a Catholic, and then returned to the Established Church. It was the only pathway to worldly success, and he became a favorite with James I., as Shakespeare had been with Queen Elizabeth. We name them together, for, indeed, they were rivals; yet what a difference between the texture and the productions of their brains! Ben Jonson was made poet-laureate, and wrote comedies and masques without number. Here and there we find in his works noble sentiments worthily expressed, as in that classical drama, Catiline's Conspiracy. We find also rhythmical sweetness, as in the song, "To Celia,"

"Drink to me only with thine eyes,"

and in the "Hymn to the Moon,"

"Queen and huntress, chaste and fair."

Now and then he touches a more sacred chord, and such as might suit a Catholic lyre, as in the following hymn:

"Hear me, O God!
A broken heart
Is my best part.
Use still thy rod,
That I may prove
Therein thy love.
"If thou hadst not
Been stern to me,
But left me free,
I had forgot
Myself and thee;
"For sin's so sweet,
As minds ill bent
Rarely repent,
Until they meet
Their punishment."

The way had been prepared for Ben Jonson's success as a dramatist—not to speak now of Shakespeare, Beaumont and Fletcher, Massinger, and Marlowe—by the miracle plays or mysteries of the middle ages, similar to those which are acted at the present time among the Indians in Mexico, and the famous Ammergau, or Passion Play, in Bavaria. In these plays, The Fall of Man, The Death of Abel, The Flood, Lazarus, Pilate's Wife's Dream, St. Catharine's Wheel, and the like, were brought on the stage with the approbation of the clergy, in order that they might bring home the mysteries of the faith to people's heart and imagination, and supply in some measure the place of books. The miracle plays had been succeeded in time by moral plays, which, from the early part of Henry VI.'s long reign, had represented apologues, not histories, by means of allegorical characters. Vices and Virtues, however, did not stand their ground long at the theatre. They gradually changed into beings less vague and shadowy, who, while they[Pg 264] represented vices or virtues in the concrete, had, in addition, the charm of resembling real life.

Richard Crashaw's fame as a poet rests mainly on one line, and that in Latin; nor was the rest of his poetry of sufficient force and merit to enable him always to retain the credit of that single line. It has over and over again been attributed to Dryden and other hands. Yet it is positively his, and a poem in itself. It is to be found in a volume of Latin poems published by Crashaw in the year in which he graduated at Cambridge (1635). The line is a pentameter—on the miracle at Cana of Galilee—and consists of two dactyls, a spondee, and two anapests. It is often quoted inaccurately, but we give it exactly:

Nympha pudica Deum vidit, et erubuit.
"The modest water saw its God, and blushed."

The author's mind was devotional from his earliest years. He had always been hearing about religion; for his father preached at the Temple, and took part largely in the controversies of the day. There was one favorable feature in the religious polemics of that period—both sides professed belief in God and in the Christian religion; now our warfare is with atheists, deists, pantheists, positivists, with whom we have scarcely any common ground. After his election as a Fellow of Peterhouse in 1637—about the time that Hampden, Pym, and Cromwell himself were embarking for New England, and were forcibly detained from sailing—he became noted in the university as a preacher, and passed so much of his time in devotion that the author of the preface to his poems says: "He lodged under Tertullian's roof of angels. There he made his nest more gladly than David's swallow near the house of God. There, like a primitive saint, he offered more prayers in the night than others usually offer in the day. There he penned these poems: Steps for Happy Souls to climb to Heaven by."

In 1644, sorrow came to his calm nest; and as he would not sign the covenant, he was driven from the university he loved and from surroundings increasingly dear. Accomplished in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Italian, and Spanish, skilled in drawing, music, and engraving, he was still more noted for his talent in the higher art of poetry. He belonged to what is called the fantastic school of Cowley, which is full of conceits. But "conceits" are often original and beautiful ideas quaintly expressed. The poetry of conceits was a reflex of the times, and is, with all its faults, far preferable to classic platitudes in flowing verse.

The overthrow of the Church of England by the Commonwealth was to Crashaw a cause of poignant regret. He could no longer bear to look on the towers and spires of venerable churches given over into the hands of bawling, nasal Puritans. He quitted England, and, crossing the Channel, found that, in France, he was a member of no church at all. His own communion was extinct, and he was a stranger to the Catholic Church, before whose altars he now stood as an alien. But he had taken up his residence in France, and it was not long before he decided on embracing the faith which that land prized as its most precious heritage. After the decisive battle of the Civil War had been fought at Naseby, the poet Cowley, who was an ardent royalist, visited Paris, and found Crashaw in great distress. He represented his case to Henrietta Maria, the exiled queen of England, and presented him to her. He received kindness from her majesty, and letters[Pg 265] of recommendation to her friends in Italy. Having made his way to Rome, he became secretary to one of the cardinals, and was subsequently appointed canon of the church of Our Lady at Loretto. Here he resided during the remainder of his days, and died "a poet and a saint" (as Cowley calls him) in 1650, the year after the execution of Charles I.

Two years after his death, a volume of his posthumous poems was published; and his memory was honored by Cowley in what Thomas Arnold calls "one of the most loving and beautiful elegies ever written." His Steps to the Temple: Sacred Poems, and other Delights of the Muses, which appeared in 1646, had reached a second edition before his decease, and a third was published in 1670. In 1785, his entire poems were published in London, and included a translation of part of the Sospetto di Herode of Marini. His style resembled that of Herbert, and a few lines breathing a Catholic spirit shall be quoted from his works. It is called A Hymn to the Nativity:

"Gloomy night embraced the place
Where the noble Infant lay:
The babe looked up, and showed his face—
In spite of darkness, it was day.
"We saw thee in thy balmy nest,
Bright dawn of our eternal day.
We saw thine eyes break from the east,
And chase the trembling shades away.
We saw thee, and we blessed the sight:
We saw thee by thine own sweet light.
"She sings thy tears asleep, and dips
Her kisses in thy weeping eye;
She spreads the red leaves of thy lips
That in their buds yet blushing lie.
Yet when young April's husband-showers
Shall bless the faithful Maia's bed,
We'll bring the first-born of her flowers
To kiss thy feet and crown thy head:
To thee, dread Lamb! whose love must keep
The shepherds while they feed their sheep."

Sir William Davenant was another poet-convert to the Catholic Church, and his conversion took place nearly at the same time as Crashaw's. Like that poet, also, he was in the favor of Queen Henrietta Maria during her exile in France. His life was full of adventure. As a child, he was acquainted with Shakespeare, who frequented the Crown Inn in the Corn Market, Oxford, kept by his father. That father rose to be mayor, and William entered at Lincoln College. Leaving Oxford without a degree, he became page to the Duchess of Richmond, and subsequently was attached to the household of the poet, Lord Brooke. Exhibiting a decided talent for dramatic composition, he was employed to write masques for the court of Charles I. These light plays, of which Milton's Comus is the best specimen ever produced, were highly popular, and served for private theatricals in the mansions and castles of lords and princes. William Davenant had fame enough to be celebrated in his time, and to be made poet-laureate when Ben Jonson died; but his writings had not body of thought, original conception, or sweetness of expression enough to preserve them long from oblivion. His ballad, "My Lodging is on the Cold Ground," seems to have had more of the principle of life in it than anything else he wrote. During the Civil War, like many other authors, he flung aside his books, and girded on the sword. He was then known as General Davenant, and he negotiated in the king's name with his majesty's friends in Paris. Twice captured, and having twice escaped to France, he nevertheless returned, took part in the siege of Gloucester, and was knighted by the king for his services on that critical occasion. In 1646, we find him in France, in the service of the exiled Queen of England, attending Mass, and conforming to the discipline of the Catholic Church. Living in the Louvre with Lord Jermyn, he had once[Pg 266] more leisure to cultivate his taste for poetry. There he began writing his longest poem, and a very tedious production it is.

But his versatile mind was now occupied by a new scheme. He promoted an emigration of colonists from France to Virginia, and, having embarked for the distant settlement, the ship in which he was sailing fell into the hands of one of Cromwell's cruisers. He was captured and taken to Cowes Castle, and is said to have escaped trial for his life through the kind intercession of his brother poet, Milton. It was not till after two years of imprisonment that he regained his liberty; and when at last he did so, all his efforts were directed to a revival of dramatic performances, which the austere Puritans had entirely suppressed. He succeeded at last in establishing a theatre, and, gaining support by degrees, he ultimately restored the regular drama. With the return of Charles II. his difficulties ended. King and people alike heaped their favors on him. He died at his house, in Lincoln's Inn Fields, in 1668, and was buried with distinction in Westminster Abbey. He was very handsome, of ready wit and a singularly fertile mind; but it is to be supposed that his attachment to the Catholic religion was not by any means a prominent feature in his character and career.

Like several of those already mentioned, John Dryden is but an imperfect link in the chain of English Catholic authors since the Reformation. It was not till a late period of his life that he entered the true church, but he lived long enough to impress on his works a decidedly Catholic stamp. Indeed, The Hind and the Panther, published in 1687, some months after his conversion, was looked upon as a defence of Catholicism. The hind represented the Roman Church, and the panther the Church of England. It was a singular circumstance, to which, so far as we have observed, attention has never been drawn, that three poets-laureate in succession, Ben Jonson, Sir William Davenant, and Dryden, were converts to Catholicity. The life of the last of these poets was too long and too eventful to allow of our recalling even the chief occurrences by which it was marked. Suffice it to say that before he was twenty-eight years old he had passed from Westminster School to Trinity College, Cambridge, and had acted as secretary to his kinsman, Sir Gilbert Pickering, who stood high in the Protector's favor, and went by the name of "Noll's Lord Chamberlain." On the death of Cromwell, Dryden wrote an elegy upon him, which was also a eulogy; and soon after the Restoration, he commenced writing for the stage coarse comedies and stilted tragedies. Married to a daughter of the Earl of Berkshire, he was appointed poet-laureate, with £200 a year. This was in 1670, the tenth year of the reign of his licentious majesty, Charles II.

When that sovereign expired (having been reconciled on his death-bed to the Catholic Church), Dryden eulogized him as he had eulogized Cromwell, and in the same poem turned with alacrity to the praises of James II. Nor was it long before he embraced the religion of the Duke of York. The motives which induced him to take this step have often been made the subject of debate. The authority of Lord Macaulay is constantly adduced in support of Dryden's venality and insincere conversion. But in opposition to this, it must be remembered that Dr. Johnson and Sir Walter Scott arrived at a different conclusion. The latter[Pg 267] biographer of Dryden contends that the poet's writings contain internal evidence of his convictions having been in complete accordance with the step he took, and that many external circumstances contributed to make it easy for him to act in the way he thought right. Duty and interest are not always at variance; and if Dryden gained by the change in the first instance, when James II. was on the throne, he lost eventually many temporal advantages. Having refused to take the oaths of allegiance or forsake his religion, he was dismissed, under William III., from his offices of poet-laureate and historiographer; he had the mortification of seeing Shadwell, the dramatist, whom he had often ridiculed, promoted to wear his laurel; and for the rest of his life, he was more or less harassed by the ills of poverty. He educated his children in the faith which he had embraced, and they showed the strongest signs of heartfelt attachment to the person of the Sovereign Pontiff and the church of which he is the head. One of them entered a religious order, another was usher of the palace to Pope Clement XI. In writing to them both in September, 1697, Dryden said: "I flatter not myself with any manner of hopes, but do my duty and suffer for God's sake, being assured beforehand never to be rewarded, even though the times should alter.... Remember me to poor Harry, whose prayers I earnestly desire.... I never can repent of my constancy, since I am thoroughly persuaded of the justice of the cause for which I suffer." This is not the language of one who had sold himself for a pension of £100 a year. Dryden did not, like Chillingworth, return after a time to the Established Church. He died in the religion of his choice, and many of his poems, particularly the paraphrase of the Veni Creator, and the two odes on St. Cecilia's Day, breathe alike the devotion and the well-ordered ideas of a Catholic. There is much force in the closing line of this stanza:

"Refine and clear our earthly parts,
But, oh! inflame and fire our hearts!
Our frailties help, our vice control;
Submit the senses to the soul;
And when rebellious they are grown,
Then lay thy hand, and hold them down."

When Dryden, in The Hind and the Panther, describes the different Protestant sects, he very naturally gives the preference to the Church of England, and speaks of her with a becoming tenderness, she having been the church in which he was nurtured:

"The panther, sure the noblest next the hind,
And fairest creature of the spotted kind,
Oh! could her inborn stains be washed away,
She were too good to be a beast of prey!
How can I praise or blame, and not offend,
Or how divide the frailty from the friend?
Her faults and virtues lie so mixed that she
Not wholly stands condemned, nor wholly free.
Then like her injured lion (James II.) let me speak,
He cannot bend her, and he would not break.
If, as our dreaming Platonists report,
There could be spirits of a middle sort.
Too black for heaven, and yet too white for hell,
Who just dropped half-way down, nor lower fell;
So poised, so gently she descends from high,
It seems a soft demission from the sky."

Dryden's successor on the throne of letters in England was Alexander Pope, who was also a Catholic, though not a convert. His father, a linen merchant of Lombard Street, London, was a Catholic before him, and had been led to embrace the faith by a residence in Lisbon. His were the days of penal laws and various disabilities, among which was exclusion from the public schools and universities. Alexander's education, therefore, was private, and not of a first-rate kind. He may almost be called a self-taught man. He had seen Dryden when a boy, and he knew Wycherley, the dramatist, who is here mentioned because he was in[Pg 268] the number of those who adopted the Catholic profession under the auspices of James II. Wycherley was, as Arnold calls him, "a somewhat battered and worn-out relic of the gay reign of Charles II." Macaulay has little respect for him, for the very reason that he could interest us—because he became a Catholic. He styles him "the most licentious and hard-hearted writer of a singularly licentious and hard-hearted school." But the gentle Charles Lamb was more indulgent to his memory and his works. "I do not know," he says, in the Essays of Elia, "how it is with others, but I feel the better always for the perusal of one of Congreve's—nay, why should I not add even of Wycherley's?—comedies. I am the gayer, at least, for it; and I could never connect those sports of a witty fancy in any shape with any result to be drawn from them to imitation in real life. They are a world of themselves almost as much as fairyland."

We will not pause to discuss the soundness of this criticism; we have to do with Pope, and chiefly with his religious character. No one can read his "Dying Christian's Hymn," beginning,

"Vital spark of heavenly flame,"

without being convinced that the author was capable of the deepest religious feeling. The times were not favorable to a Catholic poet, nor is it in Pope's writings that we must look for the strongest evidence of his faith. The "Letter of Eloisa to Abelard," indeed, could hardly have been written by a Protestant; but it says nothing of his personal religion. We find, however, by his correspondence with Racine and others, that though infidelity and gallantry were the fashion of his day, he was known among his friends as a Papist, and that he speaks of himself as such unreservedly. The words of Dr. Johnson on this subject are as follows: "The religion in which he lived and died was that of the Church of Rome.... He professes himself a sincere adherent.... It does not appear that his principles were ever corrupted, or that he ever lost his belief of revelation.... After the priest had given him the last sacraments, he died in the evening of the 30th day of May, 1744."

It is pleasing to reflect that this illustrious poet, so distinguished by his deep thought, his affluent imagery, his pathos, his scathing satire and matchless versification, recoiled in his solitude and sickness from the false philosophy of his friends, and closed his weary and painful existence at the foot of the cross; that he departed hence, not only with laurels on his brow, but with the Viaticum on his lips and the church's blessing on his drooping head. But it was not at the awful hour of death merely that he began to prize the religion which England proscribed. There is a little anecdote related of him which shows that he had a distinct and warm feeling on the subject long before he came face to face with the last enemy. He and Mrs. Blount had been invited on one occasion to stay with Mr. Allen, at Prior Park, near Bath, on a visit. Pope left the house for a short time to go to Bristol; and while he was absent, it happened that Mrs. Blount, who was a Catholic as well as himself, wished to attend Mass in the chapel in Bath, and requested the use of Mr. Allen's chariot for that purpose. But her host, at that time being mayor of the city, had a decided objection to his carriage being seen at the doors of such a place, and begged to be excused lending it. Mrs. Blount felt deeply offended at this time-serving, and, when Pope returned, told him her feelings on the subject. The poet was so incensed at this offence[Pg 269] offered to his religion and his friend that he, and Mrs. Martha Blount too, abruptly quitted the house.

There is, happily, no need of our contending for the places which Dryden and Pope should occupy among literary celebrities. Their attachment to Catholicism at a time when it was especially distasteful to the English people—during the reigns, we mean, of William the Third and Queen Anne—did not detract from the popularity of their writings even while they lived. The striking genius of Dryden as a translator, his racy language and manly style, have been fully appreciated by posterity; and if we put Pope above him in the rank of poets, it is because we discover in the latter more profound philosophy and rhythmical sweetness. He enjoyed, too, an advantage over his distinguished predecessor in that he was not a convert, but had from childhood been imbued with the doctrines of the ancient faith. The Catholic system, even more than he knew, lent force and color to his imagination, restrained his philosophic speculations within orthodox bounds, and imparted a certain majesty and consistency to his verse, even when it was concerned with purely secular topics. It had done the like for Dante, Chaucer, Calderon, and Corneille before him, and it has done the like since for Thomas Moore, as we shall endeavor to show in a future number.



The saying is becoming almost trite that the Catholic Church has done wonders in this country. Its rapid rise, growth, and spread are little short of miraculous. Half a century ago, the church was scarcely known here, save in a misty way, as something very remote and powerless. To-day it stands up as a factor to be counted in American polity. It points to its five or six millions of believers. It points to its cathedrals, its magnificent churches, its splendid educational establishments, its parochial schools, its illustrious hierarchy, its active and zealous priesthood, its religious orders and societies of men and women, its lay associations for various pious purposes, its newspapers, and its multiplying writers. It has seized upon the very genius of this new people. It lags not behind, but keeps apace with their enterprise; and scarcely are the piles driven in for the building of a new city or town than the cross is seen above the growing settlement.

Protestants have recognized this fact. They are daily bearing witness to its truth. It is but recently that the press, secular and religious, was alive with a discussion on "The Decline of Protestantism," here, in this very land. And the two foes that Protestantism had most to dread were, as all agreed, the one from without—Catholicity; the other from within—infidelity. It was expected the Evangelical Council would take into consideration the same subject: the[Pg 270] best means to be adopted in order to beat off those two terrible foes—Catholicity and infidelity.

All this is well. It is well that the foes of the church should themselves testify to the irrepressible spread of the truth; that they should cut the dividing lines so clearly between Catholicity and infidelity—their Scylla and Charybdis, either of which is destruction to them. It is well that the men who within living memory despised the church should now come forward and testify that that church has conquered them. That they themselves should thus bear witness to the spread of Catholicity and the corresponding decline of Protestantism is flattering enough, if mere human feeling were allowed to enter into a question which involves man's eternal salvation; but it is well, also, that Catholics lay not too flattering unction to their souls.

They may occasionally point with pardonable pride to their swelling numbers and all that has been indicated above; but at the same time, it would be a fatal mistake to imagine that everything has now been done for the church of God; that it has nothing to do but run on smoothly in the eternal grooves fixed for it, sweeping triumphantly through the country, and bearing away all in its track. A young and a new Catholic generation is coming into possession. It does not know, and can scarcely appreciate, at what terrible cost, after what long and painful struggles, cathedral after cathedral, church after church, college after college, school-house after school-house, were built. It finds them there and is content, as an heir finds the woods and the fields won inch by inch by the toil and the sweat of his father. If the young generation would not squander its inheritance, would not see it dissipated before its eyes, and slip away out of its nerveless grasp, it must be up and doing while the morning of life is on it; tilling, trenching, delving, casting out the weeds, watching for the enemy that would sow tares among the wheat, that it may leave a larger, a richer, and a brighter inheritance to its own children when it is gathered to the soil of its fathers—the good soil consecrated by their bones.

Yes, a goodly inheritance has fallen upon the young Catholic generation of America to-day; and a goodlier yet is in store, to be won by their own endeavor. Never in this world's history was there a fairer field to fight the battle of God in than in this great country; and never yet, take them all in all, were there fairer foes and less favor to contend against. But let it be borne well in mind, the battle is a severe one; all the severer, perhaps, because the field is so open and Catholics are so free. Here in America there is nothing of the glory of martyrdom to sustain us—a glory that turns defeat into victory, and by one death wins a thousand lives. Ours is not the clash of arms and of battle, but of intellect. We have to reason our way along. The cry of "the decline of Protestantism" is a cry well grounded. The churches are losing their children. A reaction against Puritanism has set in as decided and as disastrous in its results as that which set in in England on the accession of Charles II. The children throw off even the gloomy cloak of religion to which their fathers clung long after the many deformities and defects it concealed had shone through the threadbare garment. The thought of young America to-day is, "Let the doctors wrangle about their creeds. All we know or care to know is that we have life, and let us enjoy it while we may."

And thus the battle of the age is[Pg 271] coming to be fought out among and by the young—young America Catholic and young America non-Catholic. True, our ranks are swelling daily, and nowadays principally by native growth. The birth-rate, if classified as Catholic or non-Catholic, is so strikingly in favor of the former as to attract the universal attention of the medical faculty. Converts, too, crowd in upon us; but, numerous as they are, they are only driblets compared to the vast ocean that roars outside. Five or six millions is a mighty number; but there are thirty millions or more left. Were it not remembered that God, although the God of battles, is not always on the side of the big battalions, our hearts might sicken at the mustering of the forces—our six millions surrounded, absorbed, as it were, by that mighty army five times greater, stretching away dim in its immensity, yet meeting us at every turn, and, directly or indirectly, contesting stubbornly every inch of ground.

It is true that they are broken whilst we are one. They fight under a thousand different banners; and even while presenting a united front against us, they are rending each other in the rear. The deserters from our side are few—practically none—and such as do go become objects of infamy even to those who make a show of welcoming them. But besides the two directly opposing forces, Catholics, and Protestants of some professed creed, there is a neutral ground, vaster than either, and equally opposed to both—infidelity; and thither is young America drifting.

And truly it looks a fair region for a young man to enter. There is no constraint upon him beyond the pleasant burden, light to bear, of fashionable etiquette. A dress-coat and a banker's account will pass him anywhere. The man under the dress-coat does not matter much; and the inquiry as to how the banking account came into his hands is not scrupulously close. He will meet there the lights of modern science and literature—men who can trace the motions of the world, and find no Mover; who have sifted the ashes of nature, to find only matter; who have analyzed the body of man, to find no soul in him; to whom life is simply life, and death, death. There is the abode of wit, and scoffing, and irreligion, and bold speculation, and the unshackled play of the undisciplined intellect, and under it all the power to do as you please, because you may believe as you please, provided you sin not against the laws of etiquette.

Now, the work of the church is to break up that neutral ground, which, indeed, is the most formidable of the day. It must keep its own young men from being drawn thither, and win those that are there into its bosom. But although in very truth the yoke of Christ is sweet and his burden light, it takes a long time to impress that fact upon youth in the heyday of life. And with all the power of the prayer of the faithful, with the voice of the preacher, and the attractions of the ceremonies of the church, there is no merely human agency to win youth like youth itself; no sermon so powerful as the unspoken sermon preached by a Christian young man, set in the midst of a world that practically knows not Christianity. And this is one great point of the present article.

Our young men and young women who mix daily in the army occupying that neutral territory of infidelity are, or may be made, our best missionaries. There the voice of the preacher never or rarely penetrates. His voice is as "the voice of one[Pg 272] crying in the wilderness." But though the preacher's words may not reach there, the effect of his words may be visible in the conduct of those whom his words do reach—the Catholic youth who live and move in the daily world.

Hitherto this point has been, perhaps necessarily, much neglected. Catholics have not half utilized their forces. They have not made use enough of the young. Indeed, the work of reclaiming them at all has been a severe one, and is still far from even the full means of accomplishment; for it may here be noted how Protestants cling to the godless school system, though many of their best thinkers and leading organs acknowledge that a system of education founded on no faith at all must naturally produce scholars of no faith at all. But it is time for Catholics to see that if they would not only keep their own—hold fast to the inheritance that their fathers bequeathed them—but also win more, something more definite must be done to hold together the young, and unite them in one common cause. If you want missionaries, you must educate them. If you wish the young to be Catholic, not on the Sunday only, but always, you must take the proper means to that end.

Our meaning is this: Catholicity must not be confined to the churches only. Half an hour's Mass weekly is undoubtedly a great deal when rightly heard; but it is, after all, only a portion of the spiritual food necessary to carry a man safely through the week. The poison of the atmosphere of utter worldliness that our young people breathe can only be counteracted by an antagonistic Catholic atmosphere; and this can only be created by having Catholic centres of attraction under church auspices, where Catholics may meet occasionally to converse, to read, to hear a lecture, or to amuse themselves in a healthful manner.

It is not long since, at the "commencement season," we were listening to the young orators of the graduating classes of our various educational establishments. Kind eyes looked on as they poured forth their eloquent ten minutes of benison on the heads of the comrades they were leaving behind them. It was pleasant to hear the words of wisdom, of eloquence, and the soundest morality fall from their lips. But the listeners, the admiring parents or friends, felt, nevertheless, that their boys were speaking comparatively from "the safe side of the hedge," and that it remained to be seen how far the good thoughts to which they gave utterance on leaving the college would guide them and rule them in the real battle of life that was only then about to begin.

What has become of the thousands of young men who have gone out and continue to go out, year after year, from our colleges? For the most part, they are lost to the eyes of those who trained their boyhood. They may continue to hold fast by the principles they imbibed at school, or they may not. In our large cities and towns, there are always more or less of our Catholic college graduates, most of whom are unknown to each other, or rarely meet. How different would it be had they places in which to assemble! Something has been done to meet this very striking want. Very many churches have attached to them this or that young men's association, devoted generally to literary pursuits; but for the most part, these excellent associations have not effected much; not because they have not the right spirit and energy, but purely from lack of organization, from not know[Pg 273]ing exactly what to do or what not to do, from not being united with fellow-associations, and generally from lack of funds.

In New York, for instance, where Catholics boast of half a million of their creed; where they have so many magnificent churches, some of them with very wealthy congregations; with so many wealthy Catholic residents, professional men, and large business firms; with half a dozen weekly newspapers or more—where are the young men? Where is our Catholic hall, club, reading-room, library? Nowhere. Nevertheless, there are, in one shape or form, numbers of associations of Catholic youth scattered through the city, and greater numbers of Catholic youth still who do not and will not join them, because they do not find in them attraction enough.

Now, this is a thing worthy of being investigated closely, and remedied speedily. We Catholics ought to be ashamed of ourselves to see what the Protestants have done in the organization known as the Young Men's Christian Association, with its splendid reading and meeting-rooms, gymnasium, and lecture-hall, where the ablest lecturers of the world hold forth and draw the crowds of the city to hear them. Nor does this association stop here. It has multiplied itself, not only throughout the city, but throughout the country. Branch houses are covering the whole land; and, whatever may be its present or its future, it is certainly admirable in conception and organization. Its honor and reputation rest in its own hands.

There is only one association to which the Catholics of New York, speaking generally, can point as having achieved something; as not purely local, but general, in its character; as, in fact, a success, though it is still struggling almost in its infancy. This is the Xavier Alumni Sodality and its correlative, the Xavier Union. That admirable association, the Catholic Union, is designedly omitted from the present article, which deals only with the young men.

The Xavier Alumni Sodality was established in New York on December 8, 1863. It was intended originally, as its name implies, for graduates and ex-students of the College of S. Francis Xavier. It began with about half a dozen members. It gradually and very wisely widened its scope so as to take in the alumni of any Catholic college who might choose to join, as also merchants in business and professional men. Its objects may best be set forth by quoting from the printed "Constitution":

"I. The encouragement of virtue, Christian piety, and devotion to the Blessed Virgin among educated Catholic gentlemen, the perpetuation of friendships formed by them during their college life, and the promotion of Catholic interests.

"II. The means to obtain this end shall be principally the daily practice of certain devotions, the frequent and worthy reception of the sacraments, and religious and social meetings at stated intervals."

In the following sections of the "By-laws" we find:

"Sec. 14. On the Sunday following December 8, and on a Sunday during Easter-time, there shall be a general communion, at which all members shall be expected to assist. The first general communion shall be preceded by a Triduum, or three days' spiritual retreat.

"Sec. 17. In case any member of the Sodality falls sick, the Rev. Father Director and the President (who is elected of and by the members) shall appoint one or more members to visit him.

"Sec. 20. There shall be a Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of a deceased member as soon after his death as convenient. The members of the Sodality are expected to assist at this Mass.

"Sec. 22. There shall be a standing[Pg 274] committee called the 'Committee on Employment,' and consisting of the President and six members of the Sodality, appointed by him at the January meeting. [The members meet on the first Sunday of every month.] Its duties shall be to assist young men to procure mercantile or professional employment."

There are quite a number of special indulgences attached to the Sodality, whose genuine worth and practical tendencies may be faintly imagined from this short statement. Its effects, and the success attained by it, may best be judged from the fact that the half a dozen members of ten years ago have swollen to the number of over four hundred, notwithstanding losses by death and by members leaving the city. This number is being increased at every meeting; whilst out of the Sodality has sprung the Xavier Union, which, though established only two years ago, already numbers two hundred members.

To quote the "Preamble" of its printed "Constitution and By-laws"—

"The Xavier Union was organized in March, 1871, by a number of gentlemen, members of the Xavier Alumni Sodality—a Society established in 1863, and having for its object the encouragement of virtue and Christian piety among the educated Catholic young men of this city [New York], and the promotion of Catholic interests by their united efforts.

"From this body, in order to unite its members more intimately, better to carry out its objects, and to effect other desirable ends not strictly within the scope of a purely religious body, the Xavier Union has been formed.

"This Union has in view both the mental and moral improvement of its members.

"By a regular and proper representation of Catholic questions, by association with men of mature years and study, and by their frequent meetings with each other, it hopes to keep alive among its members a spirit of true Catholicity, and to encourage by example all Catholic young men in fidelity to the teachings and practices of their religion.

"It further proposes to promote the study of good books, and to foster a taste for the sciences and arts; but it intends more especially to exert itself in awakening and keeping alive an interest in Catholic history and literature.

"While pursuing these ends, it has in view the furnishing its members with every desirable means for their proper recreation, both of mind and body. Thus it hopes, by guarding youth against the temptations of youth itself, and withdrawing it from the no less insidious than dangerous associations of a city, to encourage our educated young men to a proper use of both mind and body, and to make them ambitious to be and do good, that they may exert that influence on society which is to them indeed a duty.

"In furtherance of these objects, the Union shall, through its management, provide—

"I. A library.

"II. A reading-room having all desirable reviews and journals.

"III. Literary and musical entertainments."

The best comment on these objects and the desirability of them is to point to the success which has already attended this movement.

The Union, which is recruited exclusively from the Xavier Alumni Sodality, rents for its use a building containing a reading-room, reception-rooms, billiard-room, and a handsome library of six thousand volumes. It is found already that the accommodations are far too small, and a proposal is on foot to erect a building adequate to the growing wants of the society, and containing a large hall for the giving of lectures and for other purposes. The want of this was found last year, when, for a series of lectures given under the auspices of the Xavier Union, it was found necessary to hire one of the public halls. Of course, the question is mainly one of funds.

However, here is something practical, tangible, which can point to results, and which challenges the attention of all Catholics, particularly of our Catholic young men. The[Pg 275] Xavier Alumni Sodality and the Xavier Union have so far done everything for themselves under the guidance of their able director. Their work, as may be imagined, has been very up-hill, for the entrance fees are not large; nevertheless, with the profit of lectures, they have constituted their only source of revenue. In the face of all difficulties, however, there they stand, an active and ever-increasing organization of educated young Catholic laymen, with their rooms for reading and amusement, and their library. They form already the nucleus of a great Catholic centre, which, with a little tact, a little generosity on the part of those who can afford to be generous, and who could not be generous for a better purpose, a steady perseverance in the way they have entered upon, may rival any club in the city, may be a rallying-point for the Catholic laity, and may furnish a constant supply of amusement, information, and recreation of mind and body for Catholics of all ages, but particularly the young.

Special attention has been devoted to these two organizations, because they are, beyond doubt, the most prominent associations of Catholic young men in New York. Indeed, at the present writing, we know of none equal to them in the United States. This is not at all said by way of flattery to the societies mentioned; rather by way of reproach to those who have neglected to form similar societies. Educated young Catholics are plentiful in most of our large cities; and wherever a number of educated young Catholics exist, there such societies as the Xavier Alumni Sodality and the Xavier Union ought to exist, with their rooms for association, meeting, reading, and amusement. Much the same programme, and much the same organization, and much the same aims and tendencies, would answer for all. A new and wonderful impetus would thus be imparted to Catholic thought, Catholic work, and, above all, to Catholic literature and education. An esprit du corps would be engendered among our Catholic youth that is sadly wanting at present, and that would inevitably tell upon society. Any large Catholic project might be almost instantaneously taken up and discussed throughout the country; and, above all, Catholic young men would find places where healthy amusement was blended with instruction and blessed by a religious spirit.[87]

Neither need such organizations be restricted, as it were, to any special class. The Sodality of the Blessed Virgin, of which the Xavier Alumni Sodality is a branch, may be made to embrace all classes. It was founded in the Roman College of the Society of Jesus, on December 8, 1563, exactly three hundred years prior to the foundation of this promising offshoot in New York. The society has an eventful history. It began in the Jesuit Colleges, and was restricted to the students. It speedily spread thence throughout the world, embracing all ranks from the crowned head to the peasant. One branch took up one good work, another devoted itself to some other. It entered the world, society, the army, everywhere. Popes belonged[Pg 276] to it, kings, astute statesmen, great generals, as well as the rank and file, and the humblest craftsmen. Many a saint's name glitters on its scroll. S. Aloysius Gonzaga, S. Stanislaus Kotska, S. Charles Borromeo, S. Francis of Sales, Blessed Berchmans, and many another consecrated in Catholic history, were all members of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary. So great was the good it wrought that popes have bestowed upon it many rights and privileges. It has had the glory of persecution. Infidel governments suppressed it from time to time, in France particularly, fearing lest it should lead men back to God; for if there is one thing more than another that the devil fears, it is seeing the young go from him wholesale.

Now, this matter is worthy the attention of all Catholics. Enough graduates go out yearly from our colleges, and enough intelligent and zealous Catholic young men are scattered through our great cities and towns, to take this matter up earnestly, and establish Catholic societies of this kind for practical, pious, and sanitary purposes. They might embrace in a short time all the Catholic youth of America. As has been seen, the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary is very elastic in its constitution, though one in its organization and aims; and it may be made to embrace all classes and states of life. It has history, stability, saintly members, and good works innumerable to recommend it. It has been specially blessed and favored by many popes, and it has for its head the Blessed Mother of God, whilst those who enroll themselves in it do so as children of Mary.

Coming back to the opposing forces here at home—Catholicity, Protestantism, and infidelity—we see nothing more powerful to withstand the assault of the latter particularly than Catholic societies of this nature. The social atmosphere to-day is full of insidious poison. The young unconsciously breathe it from their infancy up. The edifice of faith in God was never more persistently assaulted by the united forces of the powers of this world. No persecution of the Roman emperors, unless, perhaps, that of Julian the Apostate, ever threatened the religion of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, with a tithe of the bitterness and hatred that frown upon it now. Men nowadays do not so much seek out the chiefs of the church, the pontiffs, and the bishops as the little children and the young of all ages. In some cases, as in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Brazil, they add open and violent persecution to its secret and more fatal forms. The great cry of the age—a good and earnest cry—is for education. Educate the masses! Educate all at any cost! That cry is good in itself, and is as old as the church of Christ, and no older. But to it is joined another cry: The church is out of date. It cannot educate. It has failed. It will keep the people ignorant and superstitious. That is just the right state for the priests. We know that of old. The priests in pagan times were just the same. They kept the people blind for their own sakes. But the newspapers have broken all that up. Men who read their daily Herald or their daily Times know a little too much for that nowadays. So out with the priests and their church altogether. We want the children to know how to read, and write, and cipher, and be intelligent. If they want religion, they may find it where they can. But religion is quite a secondary consideration nowadays. It used to be the first thing. That was the[Pg 277] great mistake. We must now make it the last.

That is pretty much how the lights of the age—the scientific apostles—talk. Their opinions are re-echoed in the pages of journals which, compared to Christian or Catholic, are as a thousand, nay, ten thousand, to one; so that they are ever before the public eye in one form or other. Consequently, religion is not only thrown out of the school, but, to a great extent, out of the world altogether; nay, if the accounts our Protestant friends give of themselves be true, out of the pulpit also, when preachers preach "a theology without the Theos, and a Christianity without Christ." It is perhaps only natural, then, to find public morality at a sad discount; private morality, on a large scale, a thing ugly to inquire into, and commercial morality broken down before commercial gambling. It is not strange to find the loosest ideas on the marriage tie prevail, and a corresponding disregard of the sanctity of the household and the mutual obligations of husband and wife, of father and child, spreading wider and further every day. It is no wonder to find public amusements, as a rule, unfit to be witnessed by the eye of a decent man or woman. It is not surprising to see well-dressed crowds listening eagerly to brilliant lecturers, who in mellifluous accents and the chastest English, and in evening costume, pleasantly and quietly, and in the best possible taste, laugh away the idea of God and Christianity; and it is no surprise to find the children of those well-dressed crowds growing up and moving about the world, with no sense of Christian morality at all, and at best, to use an ordinary expression, a human sense of what is "square."

Right in the face of this scornful infidelity or shaky faith, it is noble to see the Catholic world, especially the young Catholic world, rising up everywhere to proclaim openly, boldly, and with no hesitation in the tone, its whole-souled faith in the Roman Catholic Church, its tenets, its doctrines, and its practices. Allusion, as will be understood, is made chiefly to the pilgrimages in Europe, and more particularly to the contingent furnished by Protestant England. A pilgrimage, composed of Catholic young men, visited, the other day, the shrine of S. Thomas of Canterbury; another soon after crossed over to France, to visit the shrine of the Sacred Heart at Paray-le-Monial; and doubtless others will follow. We see it advocated in the Catholic press that our young men here do likewise. They would do well; but whether their desire take living form or not, certain it is that in this country they are just as eager to give evidence of their Catholic faith as in any other. And just here, in this proposal to make an American pilgrimage to some of the Catholic shrines in Europe, step in the want and necessity of such Catholic organizations, distinct enough individually, but linked together more or less, and springing from a common centre, to aid effectually in making such a proposal feasible.

Coming back to ourselves, the rising Catholic generation may congratulate itself that it has fallen upon good times. It would be well for it to remember that these good times are the result of the labors of their fathers; and that as they were won by incessant conflict, so they must be retained. The present generation has not so many odds to contend against. That fact is perhaps as much a danger as a benefit. The Catholic generation that is passing away had to suffer more or less a social ostracism. The barriers between class and class[Pg 278] are dwindling down; and to-day, on the whole, a Catholic does not find his religion mark him off from his fellow-citizens as a man to be left out in the cold.

That is no doubt very satisfactory. At the same time, however painful may be this kind of social ostracism, certain it is that the class who come under its ban are more apt to be circumspect in their conduct than classes removed from it. To-day the spirit of liberality is abroad; but liberality often means liberalism, which is a very different thing. The order of the day is that it does not matter what you are, Protestant, Catholic, Jew, or pagan, provided you only act as everybody else acts. This sudden effusion of brotherly love among all castes and creeds is no doubt very gratifying, and a vast improvement on old-fogy barriers; but, at the same time, it involves often a sacrifice of principle. It is a rank and unhealthy growth, springing from the neutral ground of infidelity, or that unpronounced infidelity known as indifferentism.

Catholics cannot enter the world as non-Catholics. Their religion must be more than a Sunday religion. It cannot be left outside on entering their office, nor in the hall on entering society. It must accompany them everywhere, not aggressively, indeed, so as to be outwardly offensive to the neighbor who does not believe in it, because he does not know it, or because he may not see its effects visible in those who profess to believe in it; its principles must guide them in the transaction of their business, in the amusements or recreation they take, as well as in the confessional or at the altar. Without this, it is no religion. Without this unaggressive, but none the less real, atmosphere of piety, surrounding and emanating from Catholics in the world as well as in the church, the heaviness of the present social atmosphere can never be lifted. It requires a constant current to and fro, and this can only be obtained by the creating of a Catholic influence right in the heart of the world.

This is for our young men to do by their societies and associations; by knowing each other, meeting together, consulting, and creating a tone that will tell sooner or later upon society. Many a fine young fellow is lost for pure lack of a good companion. Many a one spends his evenings in places and amid society that, if not actually sinful, are undoubtedly demoralizing in tendency, because he has no other society or place of amusement to enter. It is too hard upon the young to tell them that they must not follow the way of the world, if no better mode of recreation is provided for them. The blood of youth is coursing through its veins, and the heat will find vent, if not in good, then in evil. It is the place of all true Christians to help and provide that good, by aiding in the work of building up societies, halls, reading-rooms, and libraries for our young people. The blessing will come back upon their own heads in their children, in their children's children, and in the building up of a sound, moral, Christian tone among the young in these days, when it is considered more manly to deny than to inquire; to sneer at all religion than to kneel down and adore the God that made us to his own image. With our young men linked together thus, working together throughout the whole country, showing by deeds, and words, and open profession that they are Catholics, those who to-day, in 1873, wonder at the marvellous growth of the church within the last[Pg 279] half-century, if God spares them another half-century, may find their country, if not Catholic, covered, at least, and blest from end to end, with Catholic homes of learning, piety, and charity; whilst the church may respond to the foolish taunt that is flung at her, that her religion is a foreign religion, and her children nursed in foreign ideas, by pointing silently to what her children are—by contrasting her Christian sons with the product and growth of an education with God left out.


[87] Besides the two Associations particularly mentioned in this article, there are numbers of others scattered throughout the country. In Brooklyn there is attached to almost every parish church a Young Men's Catholic Association. The writer restricts his mention of names necessarily to the two societies which stand forth most prominently in New York, and which give greatest promise of a bright future. If they can be improved upon by others already existing or to come, they would probably be the first to adapt themselves to the improvement. But as matters stand at present, their constitution and organization might be very safely recommended, at least, to embryo associations.


There is nothing in the exterior of the building to indicate its real character, nor is it in any way calculated to strike terror into the mind of the beholder whose imagination, fed by early prejudices, connects the idea of a jail with gloomy precincts, drawbridges, and armed sentinels pacing before frowning gates. The jail of Reading, the chief town of the royal county of Berks, presents the very antithesis of all this. This is a gay edifice of variegated red brick and white stone, in the style called carpenter's Gothic—a rather appropriate name for the jocular mongrel performance it designates, and which is one of the most surprising hallucinations of the modern architect's mind. The building stands close by the Forbury gardens and at the back of the Catholic church. The delusion as to the character of the place is not dispelled on entering; the uninitiated stranger might, on passing the great door, still fancy himself in some free dwelling, where no abnormal impediments prevented his exit; but crossing the court, he ascends by a flight of steps to a second gate of ominous appearance, and before whose glittering steel bars the spell of liberty dissolves. Within this second gate there is another, equally formidable, which opens into a broad gallery lighted from the roof and crossed by light bridges at intervals, to which you ascend by a steep, ladder-like iron staircase. The second story is occupied by the women prisoners, the lower one by the men.

As few of our readers may have had the opportunity or the curiosity to go through an English jail, perhaps they would like to do so vicariously, as the Shah enjoyed dancing—sitting quietly in his chair, while foolish people fatigued themselves for his entertainment. We were accompanied by a young priest, whose ministry had frequently led him within the steel gates on another errand than curiosity; and, thanks to his friend's (Canon R——) introduction to the governor, we had permission to see every detail of the place. The aspect of the long galleries, with the bright-tiled flooring and white walls glancing in the flood of sunshine flowing from the roof, kept up the first impression of cheerfulness. There was nothing so far to suggest unnecessary rigor or broken spirits, still less cruelty and demoralization.[Pg 280] All was airy and exquisitely clean. Warders in official uniforms paced leisurely up and down the corridors and galleries; and though the silence was broken only by their foot-falls and our own voic